Archive for 2013. augusztus

Life in Florence – Last Suppers around the city

augusztus 22, 2013

Funny enough, after many ‘ Last supper’ paintings in my life, I finally have understood why in Italian they call it Cenacolo.

In the Middle Ages they called the area of the convent, where they were having meals – Cenacolo and most of the Last supper paintings are painted in that area of the monasteries/convents and churches…

I dedicated my day to the visit of some of these Last supper paintings, as Florence is famous for them, they are all around the city. The first one is only 4 minutes on bike from home, in Via Faenza, where there is the so called CENACOLO di Perugino/Cenacolo di Fuligno cenacolo peruginoPerugino (Pietro Vanucci) was a quite famous artist from Perugia, Umbria (the same city of Baci Perugina – yess!!) and he studied in the workshop of Verocchio together with many others (Mantegna, Boticelli, Ghirlandaio, Filippino Lippi, Piero della Francesca, Leonardo – nice company)

The convent was founded by some superrich families in the ‘400 and connected to the Sant’Anna monastery of Foligno, this is why they call it ‘ Fuligno’.  This place used to be the Egyptian museum of Florence for a long time and after the flood of 1966 they stored here most of the things that needed restauration till 1990.

When they found the painting in the 1800s, someone was thinking to see the autograph of Raffaello d’Urbino on the dress of St Matthew apostol, then they became sure that the Cenacolo was made by Perugino and bottega, 1462. (workshop)

CENACOLO 2

sant apollonia cenacoloThe second Supper of the day was at the convent of Sant’Apollonia made by Andrea del Castagno (from the city of Castagno :))

This one is a more scary one, everybody looks strange on it and Juda is always sitting on the other side of the table. No doggy or other nice things around.

CENACOLO 3

The next stop wasthe Cloister of the Barefoot (Chiostro dello scalzo) dedicated to the Company of the followers of San Givanni Battista, that is closed for holidays. If you look at the entrance, it reminds me the film Eyes wide shut – with Nicole Kidman – it seems to be quite scary.

I continued to the San Marco complex – convent at Piazza San Marco.

It consist of 4 main things:chiostro dello scalzo

Cenacolo 4: Last Supper of Domenico Ghirlandaio – my favuorite one so far, with a cat and with nice birds, everybody barefoot with different hair stiles and San Giovanni (=Maddalena=wife of Jesus) sleeping on the table…

Cloister – with a massive cross and San Domenico (= St Sunday) painting from Beato Angelico.

Biblioteca – area with miniatures and explanation of how they were making colours and painted the codexes – extremely interesting. Beato Angelico dedicated years to paint some of these miniatures.

Cells of the monks: Beato Angelico was living for his entire life in the convent and made a nice painting in every monk’s cell. There is a cell where Girolamo Savonarola (important person from the life of Florence) and where Cosimo the Medici were staying – higher class cells with minibar and underground paintings. 🙂

Foresteria – where they were making the simbols/coat of arms for the buildings for the different families

Life in Florence – discovering the miracles of the city

augusztus 19, 2013

San Lorenzo Basilica and complex

Open 10-17, the library and the chapels only in the morning

This is a massive complex that I visited on two occasions, due to the amount of things to see.

There is the Biblioteca Laurenziana designed by Michelangelo on request of Clemente VII (the first Medici pope) to house the manoscripts and books they had. Imagine a huge reading room designed by Michelangelo and then because of his leave to Rome, finished by Giorgio Vasari with amazing glass windows and pavement and with books from Vergilius or scripts from Leonardo da vinci.

From the central cloister you get to the Tomb of Cosimo il Vecchio incorporated in one of the main pillars holding the basilica above and his favuorite artist Donatello who died 2 years after him.

The Basilica of San Lorenzo– founded in 393!!! As first cathedral of Florence – main church for the Medici family. Filippo Brunelleschi was commisioned to reconstruct it in the ’400. The church is full of amazing paintings and pulpits from artists especially from the Reneissance. With your ticket they give you a tablet to guide you around J

Medici chapels – Le capelle medicee

Again, our friend Michelangelo who designed the funeral monument of 2 medici princes, then he needed to run to Rome, so left the rest unfinished. A really interesting exhibition around the building about Leone X, the second Medici pope.  Minimum an hour needed only for this.

The House of Michelangelo – Casa Buonarotti

(Attenzione – closed on Tuesdays, Via Ghibellina 74)

Another amazing spot, the building complex of the Buonarotti family, with the first pieces of Art from Michelangelo – La madonna della scala and the Battaglia dei cherubini (did them when he was arond 15), handwritten letters addressed to the Pope Leo X, who was commissioning him to do the Facade of the San Lorenzo Basilica, then changed his mind (and probably budget :)) and assigned him to work on the Medici chapels…

Plasters, drawings, paintings… showing all the preparation for the amazing masterpieces like David. Walking in history 🙂

OLTRARNO – oN THE Other side of the Arno River –

Chiesa di Santa Felicitá – Church of San Felicity near Ponte Vecchio –  via Giucciardini

A little church dedicated to Saint Felicitas of Rome (the 25th January – My B-day!!! is dedicated to her) with a Chapel built by Filippo Brunelleschi (the one with the cupola) and the masterpiece painting from Pontormo that is the most important painting of manierism in Florence. There is also a painting of St Felicity and her 7 sons who were killed all in different ways together with the Saint…

If you continue walking, you can arrive to the church of San Frediano Nuovo in Cestello (only mornings) –

St Frediano was a bishop in Lucca who had a couple of miracles, mostly connected to his skill of being able to talk to the rivers and tell them to not to flod the city, but to flow somewhere else. He talked also to the Arno river in Florence.

 

Life in Florence – the tropical days of August

augusztus 12, 2013

Emilia changed my life.Emilia

To have a bicycle in Florence is a MUST. and you do not understand it till you do not own one.

This is what happened to me. When

I first saw Emilia,I was sure that a new page of my life in Florence

is opening up.

So having Emilia, it’s easy to get around and what is more, having friends with bikes can multiple the fun of getting lost in the city 🙂 And not only!!! Other advantages of having a bike:

– keeps you fit while cycling around

-you generate a nice breeze when you go fast that helps in these tropical days

-you can put your bag/cardigan/shopping/books in the basket, larger items and friends on the back (portapacchi)

-smaller then a car and easier to park

-can go in one way streets/ can cross red lights / can go in dead ends and can get out 🙂

and many many more advantages…

 

Dante’s INFERNO at Piazza Santa Croce

http://www.tuttodante.it/

Roberto Benigni (the famous Tuscan actor from the film La vita é bella – Life is beautiful) every summer recites on the Santa Croce square parts of Dante’s  Divine Comedy.

Dante was from Florence and actually on the square there is a massive statue of him that makes the performance even more impressive. This year (most probably because of  the new Dan Brown book ) the Inferno (Hell) was on play. We went to the opening evening, 20th July and on the 5th August we watched it from the window of a friend who lives at Via Torta next to the square. If you speak Italian this is a MUST summer event in Florence 🙂

Torre San Niccoló

tour of 30 min from 17 – 19,30, 3 euro (discounts for students, free for guides) tel. (comune di Fi) 0552768224

Another amazing experience, the visit of one of the still existing towers from the 74 towers that were built along the old city walls of 8 km. Ruling the area with the same name, from the San Niccoló tower we had an amazing view on the sunset.sunset best

The guide told us the stories about the city walls, the tower houses around the city, about San Niccoló (Santa Klaus) and the legend around the balls we usually put on the Christmas trees. The stariways built behind the tower by Giuseppe Poggi (1965) take us up to Piazzale Michelangelo.

And of course the Easy Living bar 🙂 with the Spiaggetta small sandy beach next to the ARno river.

Summer evening must Dos at Easy :

– Frittura di pesce con patatine e mayonnese (=fried seafood with chips and mayonnese)

-Yoga on the little sandy beach

-Aperitivo, which is free with your drink

10 August – Saturday – The night of San Lorenzo and the shooting stars

Another amazing day in Florence, starting with breakfast at sunrise 🙂 with Justyna at Santa Croce and then onto the little town of Puccini: LUCCA. City visit, churches, cathedrals, shops, Puccini, Torre Guinigi, Ilaria Carletto, amphitheatre square, city walls, Napolean square and then onto Viareggio and the sea.

The are of Viareggio in general is famous for the night-life and not for the sea… so we needed some local advice to find among the forest and bushes the long free-beach where people build up their own tents and which is an  infrastructure and jelly fish free zone 🙂

MARE

Big waves and a nice leisurely beach day with the girlies finishing with an Aperitivo at the Carpe diem bar before heading back to Florence to be on time for the shooting stars.

aperitivo

We were watching the stars from the terrace, I caught 5 before falling asleep  and having an amazing nice sleep outside, finally not in the flat where it is average 67 degrees celsius in the night. What a nice day!!! 🙂

11 August – The cars, the bikes, Justyna and me

A day of studies, full immersion in the ‘200 and Romanesque period of Florence together with Coppo di Marcovaldo, Cimabue and all the others. In the evening I had the brilliant idea to go to check the cars (mine haven’t been used for weeks). Justyna came with me and without a map it took me a bit to recognize where they were parked around the Cascine park.

Once got to the cars, checked them, all ok, moved them around the parking area then I took off the battery of my car and closed its door. Then I realized to have the car key, my phone, my bag and everything else inside the car, which was shut. NO panic – Instead of destroying the car door, we started to plan with Justyna to go home and climb up to the terrace to enter the flat through the window to get the spare keys for the car. Sounded like a plan, we got back to the bicycles when I realized to have the house keys in the basket of my bike 🙂 Lucky me!!! So we cycled home, had a drink and got back to the car with the spare keys.

After the adventure we well deserved the fried sea food with coke at Easy Living 😀

12 August, Monday and a new week 🙂

Only 4 days left and Edina and Beata are coming to visit me… I am soooo excited!! 🙂

This morning I decided to try to get hold of the labirynth of opening hours of the churches and visit the ones connected to my studies about ‘200 and Romanesque.

I got on Emilia and went to check the opening hours of Battistero of San Giovanni and the complex of the Duomo. Actually a combo ticket is 10 euro for all 5 monuments and ticket is valid for 6 days,(Campanile, Cupola, Battistero, Museum of the Duomo, Santa Reparata) this is what the lady said when I asked her at the entrance instead of doing hte 50 m queue for the ticket office. I still do not understand who are these unstoppable and fanatic tourists who want to visit Florence even when it is crazily tropical desert type HOT!!!???

Then onto the street Borgo Santissimi Apostoli to try to find the church with the same name, even if maps do not show these small churches. And yess!! a very helpful local person showed me the little courtyard called Limbo square and the little church with paintings from the byzantine period of Florence. Limbo is the place where the kids who are not baptized stay after they die. with this intro, the church has a strange atmosphere and they have leaflets and signs asking you to come and meditate among the walls of the church.

Next stop Oltrarno (= on the other side of the river)

San Frediano in Cestello church

http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiesa_di_San_Frediano_in_Cestello

and again found it closed. Open from 17-18:30…

So I continued with Emilia to the church of Santa Maria del Carmine and the Capella BrancacciCapella Brancacci

Piazza del Carmine 14 Tel. 0552382195

Amazing Church which was burnt down in 1771 and rebuilt in Baroque style – that is not typical for Florence.

The most famous Brancacci Chapel can be visited all they long and free for guides 🙂 so I spent some time around the cloister and the paintings from Masaccio, Masolino and Filippino Lippi.

Life in Florence – Too much Tuscan sun???!!! :)

augusztus 1, 2013

Once upon a time I decided to have some time off from the everyday life and planned to move to Florence for a while, the city I love best in Europe.

Lucky enough, it’s been a month now that I left my job, flat and normal life and now I find myself in Firenze where I spend the days with preparing for a Local Guide exam for the territory of Florence. I am local guide for Budapest and used to work for years as a tour guide, taking people around the city telling interesting stories to them is still something I really love 🙂

The territory that I need to learn for this exam includes the city and 44 smaller locations around… As during my visits of museums, churches, hospitals, libraries I see many interesting things I decided to take notes here what hidden treasures I find every day 🙂

1 August – This morning I needed to go to the Provincia office and on the way back I stopped at the English Cemetery, where Elizabeth Barrett Browning is buried – toget

her with many other famous writers, will need to go back as it is closed in the morning on Thursdays. (Welcome to Italy!!! :))

Later I decided to walk towards the Santissima Annunziata square and on the way (Borgo dei pinti) I found the house of Andrea del Sarto and the place where Giuseppe Giusti stayed…Once arrived to the SS. Annunziata square, I decided to start with the Basilica.
 

Once entered, I listened to the mass a bit then walked around and tried to memorize at least some of the 1789 paintings and saints and painters in the 30 + chapels of the main part of the church… then I gave up and went out to the cloister through some proibited exits with curtains.

That was the area where apparently Madonna del Sacco (Madonna with Bag – what else in Florence :)) painting from Andrea del Sarto was located. It was all closed outside, then I started to chit-chat with the person (gardener??) who was cleaning the cloister with a vacuum cleaner (WTI = welcome to Italy). I think this guy is a professor from the Faculty of Arts of some local University or maybe a tour guide in incognito… He told me about all the interesting stories how the curch was founded by the 7 saints, that the last one was S. Alessio and his family the Falconieri were sponsoring the church. The stories about the company of the Annunziata that was the Association of the Arts and drawings. As this church was the main site for it, many artists contributed to embellish the church (Agnolo Bronzino, Andrea Del Sarto, Vasari, Ghirlandaio etc) and according to the urban legends (and the guy :)) the artists (including Benvenuto Cellini) were mummified and buried in a seated position in a circle under the church like knights in the medieval times.. who knows?:)

He also let me in the Capella della compagnia di Santa Lucia – amazing paintings S Luca painting the Madonna from Vasari and many others and 12 sculptures, definitely the most beautiful and interesting part of the church. He let me stay and check around for 4,5 minutes.

He also told all the stories about during the flourishing times of Florence most of the rich people lived from banking/lending money for interests = Usuraia , which was a sin according to the church. To avoid INFERNO  they needed to buy ‘ Solvation’ (cancellation of their sins) donating a lot of money to make sure they can be buried somewhere at the garden/courtyard/chapel of one of the churches and not outside the city walls.  This cloister is just fully packed with Lapids and tombs. Apparently criminals and people who commited public sins were burnt outside the city walls and not buried.

He also showed on the tomb of one of the rich Falconieri guys that the church originally was small and the 7 saints who moved here to live (abandoned their families) in the little place built around the chapel of Annunziata.

Annunziata is a Madonna painting, and according to the legend a Priest (frate) called Bartolomeo was painting this fresco and tried to finish it but somehow he could not manage to paint the face of the Madonna. According to the legend one night while he was sleeping, the painting got finished – miracle happened 🙂 This reminds me mr bean and  the whistler’s mother painting…

Late afternoon trip to the Uffizi Gallery where I needed to queue even if I have the Amici degli Uffizi card that entitles me to free entrance – this brought me to meet a lady, chit-chat in the queue.
She said she visits the Uffizi very often, even when she has just a half an hour or an hour. She started to come here with his grandfather…

At the end I told the lady that I am more then happy to follow her to see her favourite paintings and she can also show me around if she wants. She was enthusiastic and definitely a fan of Botticelli and his era. We spent an hour together and I really enjoyed to see the Gallery having as tourist guide the President of the Botticelli Association of Italy. 🙂

On the wanegroniy back, grabbing an awsome Ganduja chocolate cake at the REvoir bar on Piazza Signoria from the book INferno of Dan Brown, I discovered that the Negroni cocktail was invented in that particular place.

An important observation of Justyna, Anja and mine from the last 5 weeks, that in Italy people drink – eat – drink – eat – laugh – sing – drink – eat but DO NOT DANCE.

In the evening we decided to go to Flo (http://www.flofirenze.com/) that seems to be the only place where you can dance in the summer.

The place is nice and we had fun, even if from the 367 people who were there last night only 39 were dancing + us 🙂 The only problem was that we were waiting in the queue for 2!!!! hours and when we left at around 3:30 there was still a queue… On the way walking home we took some jumping pictures around the empty Piazza della Signoria !!! 🙂

What a nice day in Florence!!