Five days later… Let’s talk about Florence kids. The problem is, every time I actually have time to lie down on the couch and put fingers to keyboard, I have this problem where I pass out immediately. Honestly, I think I underestimated how exhausting the mere fact of living in a city is. I constantly feel grimy (sexy right?) and tired, so once I hit this couch it’s lights out. But currently I’m pushing through the pain of my straining eyelids to get this out before I forget everything that happened this past weekend.
To the left here we have “that important Florentine building,” known to most as the Palazzo Vecchio, or the town hall building of Florence. But let’s get to the important stuff, like appertivo and leather. ALL THE LEATHER.
Tips for buying leather in the Florence leather markets:
1. If you’re someone who would rather pay a little bit more money and put some faith in the good of humanity than be mistrusting, don’t go it alone. Everyone is so nice and friendly – except that one guy who yelled at us to never come back – that you will want to first of all, trust they are selling you real leather, and second, trust that when they say it’s the lowest possible price, it actually is. If this is you, find a heartless friend that’s willing to be a hardass to the poor friendly leather men who are just trying to make a decent living. I’m kidding; you really do need a less emotional ally.
2. When you find a random vendor named Moyne and hit it off and he shows you all of the differences between a real leather bag and a fake one, have your friend go back to the other guy who was trying to sell you the fake one and make sure he’s telling the truth, and then trust him and consult him on all future leather purchases. Also smile and ask for another discount for “being nice and trusting you all along,” because it be effective.
3. How to distinguish between fake and real leather bags:
- Smell it.
- Have them do the lighter test. But according to the almighty Moyne, a lot of the guys will just run the lighter over quickly, which doesn’t do anything even if it is fake. They have to hold it there for awhile
- Check the inside zippers: metal good, plastic bad.
- The thing inside that says genuine leather? Yeah, it should be leather.
- Check the stitching. For what? I don’t really know.
4. Always, always, always, leave and come back. Either you’ll know it’s the final price, or they’ll drop it down more as you walk away. Still walk away, compare prices at other places, and come back.
Follow these tips (and maybe make one last-minute probably too expensive but beautiful handmade boot purchase), and you’ll end up with these:
Plus something for your mom that I can’t well post here lest I ruin the surprise. (Hi Emmy) Also be sure to check out the Mercato Centrale, because there are things like this there:
Other highlights of Florence: the Galleria degli Uffizi and the Galleria dell’Accademia. Here’s what my notes on those two endeavors reveal to me: I learned that a polyptych is a painting divided into panels. Fillippo Brunelleschi discovered perspective. Yes, this is what my audioguide told me. He discovered it. Speaking of which, we studied perspective in drawing this week at the Basilica della Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill. Thank you Mr. Brunelleschi I guess:
Other interesting notes from the Uffizi: One of my favorites was the Seven Virtues, first on the left by Botticelli and the rest by Piero del Pollaiolo. Fun fact: Botticelli’s La Primavera (Spring), apparently contains over 200 different species of flowers and plants. Don’t ask me how, but that’s what some botanist said in my headphones. Also, Francesco Melzi never saw boobs. We know this because he painted them so horrifyingly lopsided it is highly improbable that he ever had sex with a woman. Okay that one was mine. Real fact: the hyper elongation of the figures in Parmigianino‘s work represents intellectual idealization – go Renaissance right? But our (mine and Lily’s) favorite painting in the entire gallery was the one and only, Ritratto di Donna, by Jacopo Negretti Vecchio. Though we cannot find an image online, even if we did we are certain no one could ever achieve the same depth of analysis as we did.
But you don’t need my trip to tell you about famous art. So let’s talk about cheese. A cheese so magical, so undeniably perfect, that I cannot remember how I managed through days without knowledge of its existence. My life was an aimless wandering through a forest of darkness, and this cheese brought me light. Pecorino con tartufi. It’s all I want, all I need. I wish I was exaggerating, I really do. Behold.
Somehow I pried myself away from the cheese long enough to climb the incredibly creepy dark narrow steep spiraling staircases of the Duomo, aka Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. Long enough to enjoy this view:
And long enough, praise the Lord, that I could come down and witness this.