Thursday, October 30, 2014

My two very different visits at the Palazzo di Pitti

detail of ceiling

I love the name Pitti Palace..sounds like my house on Via Malcontenti (actual street in Bologna I think I posted). I first went there 6 years ago as a student in a summer abroad program in which I lived in a  monastery in a tiny hill town in Abruzzo for 5.5 weeks sharing a room with 3 other women. Two of my roommates had already seen this and the Uffici, our main target, but Donna (not her real name) had not and agreed to hang out with me even though she had zero interest or knowledge of art. She worked on the assembly line at some secondary auto supplier (where Josh had his first job). She and her brother signed up for this program as it took place just a few miles from where her dead mother came from. On their first free day, she and her brother walked to her mom's village and within a minute located relatives that showed her the mom's house. Our cook at the monastery cooked just like her mom did. She thought her mom had invented those recipes.

Aside from our intensive language course in the morning, we had an Italian cinema class in the afternoon. Movies would be shown on the walls of the monastery as soon soon as the sun went down (very late in summer) Cinema sotto le stelle the town posters said as the 300 residents were welcomed to join us.  On the first day, we were asked what our favorite film was and why? Our class had the young students, under 25 and then us older folk starting with Donna at 40 up to almost 80. The young ones managed to say names of pretentious Italian art films as did most of us older folk until Donna.

You know what I think is a great movie? Caddyshack! It's got the cute little ground hogs, it's funny...what's not to like?

So that was Donna, a free spirit. Very pretty and this was not lost among the younger townsmen. I worried that some of them might not take no for an answer. But she wasn't worried.

We had 2 hours before our reservation at the Uffici. We got 2 museums to see in Firenze..I suggested the Pitti Palace which was empty versus the line around the Piazza della Signoria for the Uffici (a big puzzle to me as you get the same art in the Pitti Palace plus beautiful rooms whereas the Uffici is rather plain.) Although Donna was impressed with how fancy the rooms were, the art didn't impress her one bit (nor later in the Uffici). She focussed on finding the ugliest Baby Jesuses.

Hey Sue! she'd shout. Get a load of this one. That's one ugly baby!

Fast forward 6 years and some odd months later. I am with Steve this time who knows a bit about art. Also he is hell-bent on photographing every single detail While he does his thing (my camera and iphone  do not do well in big indoor spaces) I read the card provided about each room's highlighted art. We were there 5 hours. The place is spectucular. Although the b&b lady would have gotten us reservations to the Uffici, we passed. This was spectacular enough.
the medici throne

Queen's bedroom

big art



Elephant's Child said...

Wow, wow and wow again.
Mind you the world needs more free spirits. Do you have any contact with Donna these days?

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

Sadly no. Her brother and I communicated for a while and I kept in touch with one of my other roommates who actually was much closer to Donna but Donna cut communication with her too. I still do communicated with a pair of retired Wayne State professors regularly and ate dinner with them on one of my bike rides up north where they have a cottage.


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