Visiting Florence was a little strange. I think it always is strange visiting the place that you’ve been most excited to visit. You expect to be overwhelmed by certain things and when you are not, you are left with an annoying nagging sensation accusing you of not trying hard enough. Until you finally do reach a place or experience, that makes being overwhelmed as easy as slipping on a slide in a park. Zwiippp and you are back to feeling like you’d expected to. Except your expectations are no longer of any consequence. Only that thing you are watching or feeling.
Just as I felt a little let down, I saw the Pieta. Then the next morning Brancacci chapel. With that one guy in every Massacio fresco, who is looking away. Or atleast looking unlike what is expected of him. His frescos remind me of Degas’ paintings. With the beauty emerging in small details, or in the absence of something that should be there. And the whole stretch between the river and the Uffizi.
But Rome was different. That maybe because the feeling of being let down came somewhere in the middle and not on the first day. And more from inconsequential eating joints than from acknowledged sources of beauty.Except, I did find parts of St. Peter’s Basilica, vulgar and ugly. Only the austerely beautiful Pieta seemed to belong. Or maybe, that was the only thing out of place? Because the first day in Rome was lovely. We walked and lingered and watched people eating roasted chestnuts. And men roasting the chestnuts that the people were eating. And we heard strains of accordion music. Which was one of the happiest things I’ve heard. And also the saddest. And we slept soundly. For the first time in Italy. Which sounds great, but that is only because it took me 4 days to finally step into Italy time. But it was lovely. Lovely to wake up in the morning and hear street noises outside our window. And see bare, feathery trees that seemed happy about winter. And large tarry roads that looked liked people had danced on them. It was Sunday.