David and Florence
wasn't a 'season of mists and mellow fruitfulness' but a glorious encore
of warm, mature sun that compensated for the lacklustre performance of
summer. It was a wrench to leave as we spent a few days not living In
Cornwall but in Florence, celebrating a 'significant' birthday.
I booked a hotel near the Ponte Vecchio to radiate sightseeing from
a central point; now I know I'm a country bumpkin by assimilation and
if I see one other person while walking Woody I feel resentful at the
intrusion...but the crowds!!!! The bridge over the Arno was a slow shuffle
of jewellery- shop- browsing, indecision- making humanity from every
corner of the earth; men nonchalantly whistling and taking an unnatural
interest in crumbling statues, while women pressed against the windows,
avariciously ogling at the glittering, glinting displays. I'm not totally
innocent here, I still lust over the beautiful, mauve suede shoes common
sense told me I didn't need!
We gave up on the queue for the Uffizzi
and the Duomo. However, the focus of our visit was to see Michelangelo's
David in the Accademia and I had the sense to book our slot on-line before
leaving home. We queued again to exchange our vouchers for tickets! Why?
It wasn't as if they didn't know we were expected. And even more irritating,
Americans! We've been to the US many times and never had anything but
good manners and courtesy, maybe some just don't travel too well.
Eventually, vouchers exchanged and we were through the barrier, walked
down a gallery of partially carved sculptures.... and there he was! It's
not easy to put into words the significance of that moment: David on
his pedestal, quite simply lit from above, such beauty, such perfection;
the crowds vaporised and it was just me and him.
The writer in me knows how
to put a spin on how the small, but brave, if you have God
on your side, can overcome might and size and that's why David was commissioned
to be symbolic of the Florentine republic, the Renaissance and Medici
power. But this true icon of youth, beauty and strength is more than
that. I'm writing this a few months later and I still shudder knowing
I had been touched by genius and that a human hand created such wonder.
And to really lower the tone, if AC Milan's temporary signing is any
indication, Florence isn't the only Italian city with a David who is
statuesque, homo-erotic with an unimpressive tackle!
this page to a friend