Friday, November 24, 2006
After this brief stop-over, I proceeded towards the Duomo, the cathedral of Florence. It is one of the most beautiful squares in the world, with its pink, burgundy, cream and dark grey wedding-cake like church, bell tower and the round battistero.
While walking towards the Cathedral, my attention was caught by the plastic chairs under a tent outside a restaurant. The chairs at the outside edge had all been turned inside to save them from the rain. It thought it would make for a nice view of the cathedral, though the final result does not look very artistic!
While I admired the church, a group of tourists arrived, got down from the bus and immediately started clicking. All right, I know, with my camera clicking, I am no position to comment on the camera clicking of other tourists, but still it did look funny.
They must be Japanese, I thought. But as I came closer and heard them talking, I realised that they were Chinese! Must be a nightmare for these Europeans I guess, seeing all those Chinese, who are shown in the media as illegal immigrants, exploiting human labour to make cheap things, doing "dishonest" practices to dump their exports, etc., to realise that their bread and butter depnds upon these lowly tourists! Perhaps a day would come when Indian tourists will also descend here like a storm of birds, haggling over the price with the souvenir shops. Perhaps they already are!
Chuckling to myself about the injustices of life, I walked towards the Piazza della Signoria, or the square of the Lords, with its magnificant old palace and the statues.
The famous statue of David by Michaelangelo, outside the gate of the old palace is a copy, the original is inside the museum. I am surprised that the church and all those self-righteous leaders have not cried to ban or cover those statues. Actually they must have tried. Two smaller statues next to the door, have the genitals covered by fig leaves, though they seem to have an opposite effect, in the sense, from a distance, they look like pubic hair. I like this picture and the policeman in the middle of the nude statues.
Next to the old palace, the loggia has some of the statues for display, including two by Giambologna, the sculptor who did the Neptune statue for Bologna.
I think that this is a sign of civilization and of abundance, that city has decided to put some of good statues outside, so that general public can admire them without going inside the museums and without buying any tickets.
In fact in Italy, Florence has the reputation of being a civlized city like Lucknow in India. When Italy was unified, it adopted the language of Florence as the "standard Italian".
My tourist time was almost over, so I rushed to have a quick look at the old bridge over the river Arno.
Right outside the Innocenti centre, there are two fountains with science-fiction kind of martian figures puking water on the back of flying turtles.
Even if the cathedral is unadorned, it has a beautiful dome with wonderful paintings, though you need to have a mirror in your hand to look at them since looking up directly can strain your neck!
Not just the big churches, or monuments, even simple doorways of some houses, probably belonging to some noble family, can give beautiful glimpses of paintings and statues.
Or like this shop selling leather bags and accessories, that has two wonderful statues guarding its door.
It was time to go back to the meeting so I walked back to centro Innocenti.
In the evening as the meeting finished, it was already dark. Before going back to the railway station, I had a quick look at Santa croce church with the statue of Dante, another famous son of Florence, who used to live around there!
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