So much has been written about Florence that I find myself intimidated… Also, I can’t figure out how to post a picture using my iPad. The little critter is great to travel with, but its functionality, hmm.

So yesterday I stood in the National Museum of the Bargello and quivered. Michelangelo’s Dionysus, Giambologna’s Mercury. A few Bernini pieces. Giambologna’s Oceanus, which I liked much more than his jokey, overexposed Mercury–though I will say that the Mercury in its three-dimensional concrete presence is much more beautiful and powerful than FTD gives it credit for. And isn’t that just the quality of sculpture that makes it so compelling: its presence, the way you bring yourself to it, take a breath, and be here now. And do you know, they are showing Leonardo’s St John the Baptist at the Bargello?! There is another piece of art whose beauty and mastery demand that the viewer shows up and be present.

I am a few minutes from jaunting off to the Uffizi, where I will be ravished by Botticelli! Later today to Santa Croce for the Giotto frescoes. Maybe I will have time to track down the Michelangelo crucifix which, with its elongated physique, is so different from the rest of his work, which shows always the stress and compression of powerful downward anxiety and anguish.

The day really started the night before, at the most delicious restaurant il Santo Bevitore, just over the Ponte alla Carraia, which served the most beautiful glass of Brunello di Monticino. It was dry, round, smooth, rich, luscious–everything wine, like life, should be and seldom is. Last night I had a wonderful meal at the restaurant Buca Mario. I almost left because of a group of 26 American tourists swarming ahead of me, but I hung in there, and I am so glad I did! And I would be remiss if I did not mention the wonderful Hotel Albergotto, where they are incredibly pleasant and helpful and my room has a large bathroom.

Pictures to come later…

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