Around Northern Italy in a Fiat Panda

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The Contessa and the Commendatore Visit the Home Country

Saturday Oct. 13: Firenze

food & lodging

Food & lodging notes

K A full day of art. Quick breakfast on the run (just learned we are paying for breakfast in the hotel anyway). To San Frediano in Castello, Santa Maria del Carmine (Masaccio / Masolino frescos in the Brancacci Chapel); the Pitti Palace; Santo Spirito; the Uffizi front to back. Back to the hotel room in extremis at 7:30, then out for the best food of the trip so far at Biribisso, v. dell’Albero.
A Uffizi splendid — wonderful pictures in a good setting — chairs so one can sit and contemplate.
K (The Alice Institute for Humane Museum Facilities and Labelling says “Two thumbs up!”)

The Brancacci Chapel frescos were the first attraction we’d had to stand in line for, and they repay any amount of waiting. (We’d gotten spoiled touring off the tourist beat in La Spezia and Lucca.) Because of the delicacy of the frescos, viewers are restricted to 30 at a time for a period of 15 minutes. The figures in the frescos stand on the ground. Doesn’t sound like much, but it had never been done. (50 years before Leonardo, 75 before Michaelangelo and Raphael.) They cast shadows. There is one source of light in the chapel, a round window high up in the apse; the shadows as depicted all come from this light source. The realism this touch adds is startling. There are more wonders in this small space than I can recount, but the standout is Masaccio’s monolithic triptych of the “Render unto Caesar” story.