“Two years. How the hell did that happen?” This is my typically smartass way of saying “Happy Anniversary” to Steph, but I’m only half joking. It truly does baffle me as to how I ever managed to land such a great gal. Just goes to prove there is no justice in the universe, only chaos.
Our flight leaving Florence doesn’t depart until 16:30, giving us a good part of the day to have a final wander about town. We check out of the hotel but leave our carry-on behind the reception desk. The staff and facilities at the Residence La Contessina have been fantastic and we would definitely stay here again.
We still have a valid ticket (I think anyway, if my translations are correct) for the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, but I’m unclear as to whether or when it will be open today. Given its location right across from the Duomo we won’t exactly be inconvenienced if we can’t get in.
As it turns out the museum is indeed open and we’re the first ones in when the doors open at 09:00. Even though it houses major works by the likes of Donatello and Michelangelo, the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo doesn’t get quite the same level of recognition as the Uffizi or the Galleria dell’Accademia. Our expectations going in are thus fairly muted.
Wrong again Mr. Stokes, wrong again.
The Museo dell’Opera del Duomo is fantastic, both in the artistic works it houses and in the design of the building itself. Spacious, well lit and wonderfully modern, this is a real gem hidden in plain sight. Plus, they actually allow photography. What a novel freaking concept! We split up – I with my Nikon and Steph with her iPhone – to go all photo-geeky on the place. I’m so glad we booked a later flight.
We reconvene outside the museum for our usual digital camera show-and-tell session. “Get outa my head woman!” It’s a bit creepy (in a cute sort of way) how we always seem to find similar photographic angles on a scene. I would just like to state for the record however that we do not now nor shall we ever become one of those couples who finish each other’s sentences. That’s creepy in a cutsie sort of way, and we don’t do cutsie. Just ask my snookum-wookums-wifey if you don’t believe me!
After the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo we wandered a bit more, exploring side streets we hadn’t yet traveled. One doesn’t have to look hard to find blemishes on the façade of Florence; the walls (interiors mostly) of ancient buildings are covered in rote, uninspired graffiti; rubbish overflows bins and piles up in the streets; beggars and scam salesmen harass visitors; it often smells of sewage, even inside some restaurants. Beyond Florence, Italy itself is mired in an economic crisis and suffers from deep seated political/criminal corruption. In short, the place has some serious problems.
Keep in mind, however, that the façade we now see on the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore is not the original, but was only rendered in the late 19thcentury. A façade can change, so long as the underlying structure is sound. Florence has been around for a long time – and I mean a damn long time. I’m pretty sure there is something solid underneath to build the future upon…..once the appropriate officials and bosses are bribed of course.