Friday, December 21, 2007

back in Florence

You may recall, dear reader, that when in Florence I found something I thought was so cute that I decided to get one when I get home. If you have forgotten this, see here, next to last paragraph. I was particularly fond of the pink one, (as was MAS), but have decided after seeing a whole rainbow of these little beauties, to search out a red one. This is what I was talking about. I saw fuchsia, yellow, navy, baby blue, black, silver, lime green, red, forest green, and several combinations. If you’ve ever paid attention to car colors in the US you know I will be able to find beige, black, silver. Period. What is it about American car manufacturers that they have no sense of “fun on the road"?

This is a Smart car. They are all over Europe, especially France and Italy. They are supposedly available in the US through Chrysler – if it’s still in business! I saw them everywhere and as $7.30 a gallon for gas, they are a Smart purchase. When I return in May, the Smart Car hunt will be on! I saw one in San Francisco shortly before I left, a bright yellow one carrying a web site for inquiries as to what in the world it was. A perfect city car although I saw them on the highways, too. These, and all sorts of small, sassy Fiat models that we can’t get in the US, most probably because of emission controls. I mean, how much can this tiny car emit??

Two blocks from the Santo Spirit apartment is the Pitti Palace, a treasure trove of art and sculpture and the home of the Boboli Gardens. At that time of the year the gardens themselves are not in bloom but the trees are beginning to turn golden and the vistas were beautiful. This pond, with it's Neptune rising above the Isolotto centered in its pool at the bottom of the terraced upper gardens.

On the way out of the garden we walked through this beautiful arbor, unfortunately not in bloom now, but you can imagine it laden with orange blossoms, the air saturated with scent. That shadow in the left foreground is a stone Bacchus waving us on to see the sunken rose garden and pond off to the left. Heaven only knows what went on there, given that particular god as the doorman. The Patient found it particularly inviting and lovely. It reminded us of a lush arbor in the Alhambra in Granada, but that one was planted in oleander that had been trained up and over the walkway.

These grand gardens were the private domaine of the Medicis. They were the brainchild of Eleonora di Toledo, wife of Cosimo I de' Medici and took many, many years to complete. There is no natural water source so they pumped irrigation water into the gardens from the Arno River, about two blocks away. When the Medici's got bored roaming through their hundreds of rooms crammed with gorgeous art and furnishings, they would wander out into the gardens to get a taste of nature. From the top of the terrace you have a sweeping view of Florence, its many domes and spires, and acres of terra cotta tile roofs.


At 6:38 PM, Blogger mary ann said...

Oh, I loved this post ~ thanks!


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