Florence, 1997. “Of the impossibility of photographing the Duomo”. One of the prettiest cathedrals in the world. (Milan’s not bad either.) The Duomo in Florence is a delicate work of white and black marble. A masterpiece really. But houses are so close to it you never really can get a comprehensive view. (Analog photo. One used to take several shots to form a larger picture)
The Duomo itself, Santa María del Fiore. Construction started in 1296. Ended around 1340. Only five years before Notre-Dame-de- Paris. Cousins of a sort. (Florence, 1997). I’d been to Italy several times before, on business, endless meetings in Milan or Torino. No time for sightseeing. In 1997, we packed the family and started in Tuscany.
Ponte vecchio, the ‘Old bridge’ on the Arno river. In those days no space was lost, houses were built on top of bridges. Even in Paris all bridges had houses on them. It might be fun to rent a flat on the Ponte Vecchio for a few days today, but I wonder about the crowds all day and night. Though, post Covid, who knows? In 1997, Florence was fine, not so many crowds.
The Toscan countryside lends itself to black and white. I still have a sixties book on Tuscany by Gianni Berengo-Gardin, all B&W, superb.
An unusual Pietà by Michelangelo at the Museo dell’opera del Duomo. Florence, 1997. Let’s hop on the train to Venice.
Piazza San Marco, 1997. More pigeons than tourists then. One could still grasp a feel for the place.
The four horses on top of the main door to the cathedral have a long story of being stolen. Originally Roman statues from 2nd or 3d century AD, they were stolen by the Venetians when Constantinople was sacked – by the crusaders – in 1204. Looted in Venice by Napoleon – when he “liberated” Italy from the Austrians, in 1795, they were placed on top of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, until 1815, when, after Waterloo, the horses were returned to Venice. The horses now on the Arc de triomphe at the Tuileries are copies. Given the current general state of
stupidity madness I wonder whether Erdogan will claim the return of the horses to Istanbul?
Not too sure which island this is. Burano maybe? From modern pictures, Burano looks very different. Scanning old analog pictures gives an interesting grainy effect. Need to try that in B&W.
“Venise serait ma fin.” Venice would be the end of me. Corto Maltese in “Un ange à la fenêtre d’orient”, by Hugo Pratt. A cousin of mine rents a house in Venice every summer. I guess Venice will be the end of him.
Couldn’t leave Venice without the cliché, could we? No, this is not a postcard. Ah done took it mahself. Yes ma’am…
All roads lead to Rome. 2,500 years of civilization packed in the same place. Along the Forum if I recall. (Strange things happen on the way to the Forum.)
A small setback in civilization, mayhap? The monument to Vittorio Emmanuelle II was built by Mussolini. I’m told Italians – never short of a ‘bon mot’ – call it either the typewriter or the wedding cake. It does look like its has a lot of whipped cream.
Saint Peter’s. Five analog pictures here. When I think I could now do that in one click. 🤣 in ’97, there were tourists, but nowhere near the multitudes that swamped the world up to 2019. Will cities limit the number of entries in the future? Politicians are likely to charge…
Somewhere on the Forum. Roman bas-relief. Featuring a procession carrying a Jewish menorah, the seven-branch chandelier. Intriguing, since Romans were not exactly lenient on the Jewish people. After some research, I found the answer. This bas-relief is dated 81AD, it is on the Arc of triumph of Titus, the Roman emperor who destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem in 70AD. (Always do research!) 😉
Saint Peter’s square from above. (How did I get up there?)
Trajan’s column, 113AD. Commemorating the victories of Emperor Trajan. It was a model, no doubt, for Napoleon’s column on place Vendôme.
This would be Moses, I assume, carrying the tables of the Law. Besides a new Story for the World, mayhap we need a new Law?
Piazza Navona. Italians have perfected the art of fountains. World leaders in fountains. And doors. And…
Lascia ogni speranza voi che entrate… “Abandon all hope ye who enter”. I might have expected such a “Dantesque” door in Florence, but no, it is in Rome. (This one is for Manja) No offense to Romans, Rome is not my favourite Italian city. Florence is. Probably did not spend enough time in Rome. Maybe we should spend a few months in Rome. LOL. When?
Villa Borghese, 1600’s, now the seat of the French Academy in Rome. One of the most coveted top French civil servant jobs. Rent a bike or stroll in the gardens. You may see the shadow of Pauline Bonaparte, Napoleon’s little sister who married a Borghese prince.
Fountain of Trevi. Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni just passed by.
This post is dedicated to all my Italian friends. Grazie mille a tutti. Thank y’all as always, for flying Equinoxio Airways’ Time-Space shuttle. Arrivederci.