Have you ever been so in love that you wanted to shout it to the whole world and scribble it on every surface, carve it on every tree and note it in every diary? Isn’t it the greatest gift of all to feel that at least once in your life?
The Ponte Vecchio (old bridge), dedicated in its past to butcher shops, it is charming beyond belief as it sits in bright colors over the Arno river. It reminded me fo Lego blocks, something else that makes me smile 🙂
Italy is one of those countries where you find yourself humming while you eat. Some places are just like that. In fact it is a place where you instantly decide you want to live if you had any choice in the matter. As soon as we arrived there, my 8 year old daughter asked me to help her buy a postcard. She then asked me for the address of her new teacher back in Shanghai and went on to write her a nice paragraph letting her know that she will unfortunately not be attending her class this year as she now lives in Italy. Italy captures the heart of children too 🙂
I often wonder if the impressive and extravagant architecture of cathedrals is meant to distance believers from what is heavenly and saintly, almost belittling mere humans in the face of religion. But when I think of religion, the image that comes into my mind is a special place in nature that is so inspiring that it draws on all the awe that lives in me and leaves me in sympathy with the mysteries of life, not scared, not feeling smaller, why would it? Aren’t love and kindness the essence of religion?
Where this bicycle stands there once was a carriage with horses and smart people wearing hats and tailcoats and they all looked at the duomo with reverence.
So much of the charm of old Europe comes from its layers upon layers of history and the value they place on preserving tradition. Walking into the exquisitely charming rooms of this beautiful pharmacy in Florence, my heart skipped a beat. Knowing that it was first built by the Dominican friars of the 16th century and that it served since then the very same purpose while retaining its beauty and authenticity is just heart warming. It spoke to me of value for the old and a great appreciation of beauty and of good taste, things that are otherwise being quickly lost to commercial materialism in the rest of the world.
It was recommended by a friend (thank you Paola), and likewise I recommend it back to you: if you are in Florence, try not to miss it!
After many years of fascination and research of cathedrals, I have come to discover that these massive houses of worship were mostly constructed over generations in places that held a great historical significance. If you dig deeper into the history of cathedrals like Chartres in France and the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, you will find out that the land they were built on used to be home of other much older churches and religious places. This all perhaps points to the significance of the exact location on the planet and much less to convenience or coincidence. It is fantastic to see the villages and towns you drive by in Tuscany and to see that the focal point of each one of them is a church or cathedral around which people gather in the Piazza.
We live in a world where some of us need to be trained to protect the rest from each other. They are armed with weapons that could take away life or seriously injure any of us who decides to cause harm, take away another’s belongings, or threaten the peace by seriously misbehaving. It is almost like guardians in a playground for grown ups who cannot be trusted to remain civil. At what point did humans lose trust and became a danger to themselves and to each other?
I often think about the times when humans lived without electricity, the nights when darkness enveloped all with a shroud of mystery. Where people different then? They must have been forced to gaze at the night skies for any source of light, or at the blazing fires that kept them warm. Does electricity force us into a state of daytime existence in the hours of the night that were meant for stargazing, mystery dreaming and contemplation? Is that why we feel so connected to the planet when we go camping or when we visit the desert at night? I also wonder what this river in Florence looked and felt like at the time of the Renaissance…
Like all art lovers, I have dreamt of the first time I would lay eyes on Florence. I read, I researched, I gazed at art, I dove into the renaissance, its music, its glorious artists, its astounding architecture, and I thought what I would finally meet would be so awe inspiring. But Florence exceded my expectations by leaps and bounds. I fell in love instantly, I was smitten, I walked around with a mouth gaping open and I could almost hear my camera giggling with delight. It was magical, enchanting, rich in history and golden. I try with this image to paint my feelings about Florence as I superimposed them on what my camera registered.