Sunday, July 11, 2010
On Friday morning we had a short lecture about the Renaissance origins. Then I worked on my essay all day in the hot, hot, hot library at the institute. The students organized a party, so I had a small lunch for dinner and supper and stayed up there all day confusing myself with my reference material. Well my research is done but it is not very well organized.
I so wanted to get to Rome but Friday in Florence was a full transportation strike and I felt I could not chance not getting back to here from Rome. Just as well I have work to do and would really like to see Rome with my own family.
We did have fun at the get party and Giuseppe brought me safely home in his car. He invited Corinna and I to go on a car trip with him on Sat. We accepted. We got up early and had breakfast on Sat. morning by the Duomo. It was open and so we went into the church and climbed the tower. Our legs were quaking after the four hundred steps. We decided to leave the dome for another day and the Baptistery as well. We got ready and went to meet Giuseppe. He said he can 'profit' a lot from coming to a place like Florence for he learns to relax and relaxed was his approach for the day. We left in the afternoon and went to San Gimignano, the philosopher Giovanni Baccaccio's house, and then Siena. I wish we had gotten to Siena sooner. We were short changed here and definitely have to return. Joseph took his time doing some shopping for his house, always stopping for wine and coffee and then wine and coffee. Did I say and then more wine and coffee? The towers were fantastic and you should Google them to really understand their significance in history. When the families wanted to move to the city apparently they took their towers with them for the new place in the city. Let me know when you have figured out how they moved the towers. Renaissance mobile homes! Siena is very significant. St. Catherine of Siena's chapel is there which houses the relic of St. Catherine - her head. I must admit this, although a Catholic Pilgrimage was not top of my list and I was not disappointed that the chapel doors were closed. I however could have cried that we just missed entering the Duomo. It is so amazing. We walked around the cathedral and were in awe at every inch. It is the horse, or animal church, as it has many animal sculptures on it as this is the town of the horse race - Palio - which is on July 2 and Aug. 18. We saw the chapel where they bless the town horse and the one where all the horses go in to be blesses. There are 25 communities in Siena so there are 25 horses that go into the chapel to be blessed. The town hall is beside it and it is converted into a stable for this event. The square is a shell shape and is huge. There is a fountain, I believe where the horses also drink from. We were there in time for the parade. It is a week after the first race so the parade was done to make fun of all the loosing horses. It was quite a carnival feeling. A very ancient tradition. One day it would be neat to see this race. We got home late because we enjoyed a great meal there. I had the 'beer chicken' - Pallo alla birra. Delicious new menu for home. That is the end of Sat. July 10