Thin Cities

Florence is tile-roofed and nuzzled into a valley and cut across the middle by a muddy river and it is art itself, the duomo in the middle its heart, its pinnacle.

I saw the Botticellis this morning. I saw.

You can see Botticellis everywhere, in New York. The most splendid one, my favorite up until this morning, is in Boston in the Gardner Museum with no plaque and tucked into a strange little corner and it is resplandant. A Madonna and child and a single angel, smiling, eyes closed, his robes so delicate, detailed.

But today. Foret it. Forget it all. I have always read in art books, and you see in the captions. All the really good ones, the really famous ones, are here. In the Uffizi. The Venus, Primavera, the two important Madonnas. It is hard to describe what it’s like, seeing your six favorite paintings all in one room.

I could turn cartwheels right now. I have a sunburn. More sunburn. It started in Venice two weeks ago, just across the bridge of my nose and now it’s rather everywhere. I am tomato-y. A little. I will be in fine shape, tan-wise, for the Amalfi Coast. But that’s not this trip. That’s another one. One Italy at a time.

Read Calvino, some of the chapters twice, in a splendid garden on a hill across the Ponte Vecchio overlooking the green Tuscan hills and the orange villas perched on their peaks. And the city below. A garden of fountains and laid paths and grottos and an arbor of splendid hanging flowers, a blanket of them, each blossom attended by a fat bee.

I am so glad I bought the Calvino. It’ll still be on my Visa two years from now, and I don’t even care. Cities as living, breathing, thing. As coffer. As magic trick. As phantasm. The exact right thing to read while I’m here.

Wherever here is.

Saw the David. There’s nothing to say about the David that the David cannot say himself.

Ate what is allegedly the Best Gelato in Town and it was rad. I admit. Like the best ice cream-that-isn’t-ice cream, smooth on the palate, rounder. I don’t even know what that means, but that’s what I want to say. Round. I think they use that word for wine. I know nothing about wine, so let’s mix culinary metaphors, then. I ate it in a square with twenty other people eating the same gelato, the same people who formed a line around the block. As intimidating as those lines can be, that’s how you know.

I’m going to wash my hair. More words later.

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.