Sunday, April 7, 2013

Wandering, skies, Santa Maria Novella, MNAF, Duomo

I started in mid-afternoon today after a late bedtime and a long, restless, but ultimately satisfying sleep.  Each night, I throw off stress dreams like they're blankets holding me down, choking me, and then I find I'm still buried under a stack of stifling covers.  Surely this will end.  I hope so.

Despite that, I am sleeping a lot, resting far more than usual, walking far more than usual, and greatly enjoying my time here.  I don't want at all to sound like I'm not doing well.  I'm simply surprised at how much stress I've been suppressing and how strongly it is affecting me. 

Today was a wandering day, because I've decided to leave Florence tomorrow and head to a new city.  (Yes, I know which one.  No, I won't tell you until I'm there.)  I love Florence deeply, but for whatever reason, it is time to move on. 

The skies here are, as I've observed before, simply amazing.  Standing on the Ponte Santa Trinita and staring back at the Ponte Vecchio, the sky in mid afternoon was nearly clear and washed from horizon to zenith in shades of deepening blue.

As always, click on a picture to see a larger image.  

Turning around and shooting the other direction, the skies changed completely. 

Ah, Firenze! 

I wanted to visit the photography museum, MNAF, the Museo Nazionale Alinari Della Fotografia.  As is my custom in Florence, I did not take a map.  I prefer instead to glance at one briefly, note a few key street names, and then wander until I find it--or decide to give up.  I usually locate my destinations, though rarely by an optimum path.

After a fair amount of walking, a little gelato, and a small sandwich, a turn around a corner revealed this. 

I particularly love the fresh flowers in it. 

Directly opposite it, in a large open square, a group of young folks were holding an informal break-dancing competition.

To the left as I looked at them was Santa Maria Novella, the first great basilica in Florence. 

To the right, amazingly enough, was my destination, MNAF.  (Its entrance is behind all the construction.)

As I've observed in earlier entries, I love Florence, and she repays my love with magic.

The exhibits in MNAF are not large, but they are fascinating and occasionally quite compelling.  The special feature was a collection of photos by Joel-Peter Witkin, a controversial (and, to some, shocking) photographer who lives in New Mexico.  I found his work fascinating. 

The other small rooms focused on everything from the origins of photography, to early cameras, to negatives, to photo albums, and, finally, to objects built from or around photos.  I don't believe the museum allowed photography, but I once again broke the rules one time to capture this intricate memento mori piece. 

Closer to home, I had to stop by the Duomo for a last (for this trip, not forever, I hope!) visit.  The left doors read, "Hail, full of grace". 

The right encourage us to "Behold the handmaid of the Lord".

The center, main wooden doors were locked behind their exterior protectors.

Wow, are they lovely. 

I took multiple pictures of the Duomo on this late afternoon, but uploading here is tedious, so I'll leave you with this one, which focuses on the main cathedral (on which you can see the shadow of the Baptistry), the tower, and the sky above, because the Duomo does encourage you to gaze heavenward.

I was finishing this entry when the sound of singing and marching drifted in the open hotel window.  On a road that feeds into the Piazza Publica, a group of musicians, all dressed in black, were leading an impromptu (I think) parade. 

Did I mention the skies here?

As I said, ah, Firenze!

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