Getting it in before it’s gone!

I spent almost eighteen months preparing to come to Florence.  Most of my preparation came in learning about the great art that is here so I could design a course on Art and Architecture in Renaissance Italy.  There are great works of art and interesting stories around every corner in Florence. 

So we went into two museums that I hadn’t been in yet.  The first was the Medici Palace.  This was the home of the Medici Family that was the most powerful family in Florence through most of the Renaissance.  Their wealth paid for much of the great art that came out of this period.  The Medici Family discovered Michelangelo at a very young age and invited him to live with them as he studied his craft.  In the Medici Palace is a chapel that shows the wealth, power, and gall that the Medici had during this time.  They commissioned a series of frescoes in their chapel that depicted the patriarchs of their family as the wise men in the procession of the magi!  It was really impressive to see in person. 

The second place we went to was the museum at San Marco.  San Marco was a convent for monks in Renaissance times, and it was the place were Fra Savonarola preached and lived.  He was a very strict religious figure and he spoke against the debauchury and excess that he felt plagued Florence in the late 1400s.  He gained power in Florence in the early 1490s when the Medici Family was exiled from the city.  He organized the Bonfire of the Vanities (you’ve heard that phrase, right?) in which books, jewelry, and paintings were all burned because they were morally lax.  Eventually, the city tired of Savonarola because the city had fallen into an economic mess during his rule.  He was eventually burned at the stake in a very public execution in 1498.  San Marco has a painting that depicts the execution.  It is not a great painting, but it is interesting because it shows many of the famous buildings in Florence.  The Piazza Signoria, where the execution took place, looks almost the same today.  You see the Palazzo Vecchio – and the Duomo is at the left.


I also got the Italian soccer ticket purchase experience today.  Because security at soccer games in Europe is so tight, your name and birthday is printed on your ticket.  You have to show a passport to buy a ticket, and the ticket seller either copies it or records your passport number.  And you have to show your ID when you enter the stadium.  If your name is not on the ticket, then you don’t get in.  There’s no scalping of tickets here!  So the transaction of buying a ticket takes forever.  Giovanni and I bought tickets for Tuesday’s semifinal match of the Italy Cup – Fiorentina vs. Internazionale!  We waited for over 45 minutes to buy the tickets in a line that was only about 10 people deep!  Mamma Mia!

One pleasant surprise was that Maria’s ticket cost the same amount as Nicholas’ and Thomas’ tickets.  I guess Fiorentina is trying to get more women to come to the games!  The funny thing is, Maria would have been willing to pay more than what my ticket cost!


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