In a moment of mad enthusiasm, I decided to attend a wedding party on the Appian Way, which was fine in theory, only the British Airways flight was delayed a couple of hours, so I missed the actual ceremony. But I was able to enjoy the Appian Way as the sun went down, the gypsy band and the assembled multitude of wellwishers from all over the world:-
I benefitted from the fact that the Bargello, like the Uffizi, opens at 8.15 so that it is possible to have a contemplative hour with some of the greatest Renaisssnce sculptures before taking a taxi to the airport. I like the way that the sculptures are displayed, as if outside, with the windows open, in a building which is itself of considerable significance as the first town hall and then its prison. This is it from outside as I waited on the church steps opposite for it to open:-
The sun was falling on Donatello’s David:-
I’ve always liked the Oltrarno, ever since staying in the Casa Browning a decade or so ago. It’s slightly more down-at-heel than the other side of the river, full of old antique shops and people faking the antiques in the side streets, print shops and florists, small wine bars, run down palazzi and views across the river.
This is the carving on the baroque Fontanella Buontalentiana in the corner of the Piazza Frescobaldi:-
Just up from the Palazzo Strozzi on the Via Tornabuoni is San Gaetano, an early baroque church, designed in the early seventeenth century for the Theatines and with statuary on the façade from later:-
James Bradburne’s latest exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi is Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World. He encouraged me to see it, but I wasn’t able to make it to the opening. It’s an extraordinary exhibition, wonderful bronze sculptures which are normally scattered amongst the regional archaeological museums where they were unearthed, like the bronze discobolos discovered in 2004 off the island of Kythnos and now in the Museum of Underwater Antiquities in Athens. The portraits are of great intensity, strongly characterised because of the fluidity and strong expressiveness of the medium, some slightly idealised like the Aristocratic Boy from the Metroplitan Museum, some more tragic like the Young Ephebe from Heraklion in Crete. Most of them have been discovered in the twentieth century, mostly by accident, so are not nearly so well known as those statues which are part of the classical canon. It ends with divinity, but divinity is less moving than humanity.
We had lunch at Coco Lezzone, an old-established trattoria not far from the centre of Florence, which serves three excellent courses at speed, very good seafood risotto, meatballs and fresh cherries, no menu, no coffee. It sports a faded photograph of the Prince of Wales from the early 1970s:-