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Rainy Sunday in Florence

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Oct. 31st, 2010 | 05:15 pm

So I spent over 20 minutes on the line
Ticketing room, Florence train station
at the train station to change the time of my train to Rome only to be told it was impossible because the ticket was done in the States. All-righty then. I'll just have to have that Tuesday morning in Siena. I'm sure my hotel will keep my luggage for me until I need to go to the train, so it'll all be fine.

Jumped on the little electric bus that goes from the terminal to the Oltrarno, and went for a second look at the Pitti. This time I had to wait in another loooooong line (in the rain) for a ticket. The place was too crowded, my feet hurt, and so seeing it all again lacked sublimity. I did squeeze off a couple of strictly illegal photos of the ceiling though, before the scoldy museum guard caught me. Still don't get what the problem is with photo-taking without flash. The art doesn't get "used up" by being photographed.
Ceiling, Pitti Palace
Ceiling, Pitti Palace
and of that St Agatha I mentioned the other day serving up her breasts like two flans
St Agatha with her breasts on a plate
and I found out who my weirdie beardie guy is!
He was a sculptor in 19th century Florence, Emilio Zocchi, and his portrait is by Raffaello Sorbi, who made it in 1868.

I limped around the Oltrarno area for a while, had some gelato (dark chocolate and cheese cake) but it was pouring and the arch of my one my feet that's been achey for a few days was really hurting me, so I waited again for the little bus, which was a long time coming, and rode it the long way around, which gave me a further glimpse at some Oltrarno neighborhoods, where 99% of everything was shut up for Sunday, and then back to the train terminal.

On Via Nazionale near my hotel was a cheerful cafe where I sat for a while with a hot chocolate (only on vacation can one have gelato followed an hour later by hot chocolate), and got into chatting with an old man who was a retired firefighter from Weehawken New Jersey. He thought I was a mindreader when I asked him about this, but it said so on his belt buckle. We discussed the beautiful views of New York you can get from Weehawken (which is up on a bluff on the west side of the Hudson and indeed is a great place to view Manhattan), and how hard it is to climb the tower of Pisa when you only have half an hour before the tour bus leaves, and then he wanted me to tell him how to walk to the Ponte Vecchio, but I said there was no way he could do it without referring to a map as he went. (There is no such thing in Florence as going directly anywhere. It's all twists and turns.) I was a little apprehensive that he was going to try to pick me up, but no such thing. We parted amicably and I came back to the hotel to put my feet up.

I'll go out for a restaurant meal later, maybe back to the place where I had the boar sauce the other evening. Last night I bought apples and a small hunk of cheese at the supermarket and ate them in the room for supper. I couldn't get the cheese I wanted because the counter woman said she couldn't cut me a smaller piece, which didn't quite make sense, as she cut me a small piece of a different (less expensive by quite a bit, too) cheese. Not that we're talking about anything special here anyhow -- it was just a supermarket, and everything there looked just like everything at the cheese counter in Westside Mkt.

Checkout time at the hotel isn't until noon, which will give me a chance to squeeze all my stuff back into the case in a leisurely way tomorrow. I have an open ticket to Siena and there's a train every hour, so I'll just go when I'm ready. I was excited about Siena when booking this trip, but now that I see the weather forecast is for more heavy rain, I'm a bit disappointed -- Rick Steves mentions especially that it's a beautiful town at dusk, but there isn't really going to be a dusk tomorrow. Well, I'll do my best.

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