This marked the half-way point in my journey around Europe in 2014. Florence was a really wonderful place to feel centred and find a sense of gravity from all that I had so far experienced. To pause and recollect during the train ride here did wonders to the eyes that I saw this city with.
I was completely swept away by the awe of the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. It was simply breath-taking and my goodness the sound resonance in this space is really something special. I could imagine generations of people filling the space with beautiful music during a Mass or festive celebration. To walk through this space and simply be as present as possible was really something that made an imprint on the way I see new and unfamiliar spaces. Listening to the sound, seeing how light moves, observing where the line of eye-sight naturally moves… all of this we take for granted during daily living. To focus in on the details for just a moment was really something special, and in such a wonderful place… this was bliss.
At this stage of my travels I wanted to go to museums and be a tourist, but also just to walk around and feel a little more at home. I be-friended a few people where I was staying who wanted also to explore museums. They had a really in-depth knowledge of the artworks we went to see and it was so cool to converse with their ideas, perceptions and overall take on art and the way we interact with it.
The constant interaction with art in this city is really something special. For years I had studied masterworks, architecture and places in books and now… here it all was right in front of my eyes. It was completely overwhelming at first and such a joy to be experiencing, surrounded by revolutionary architecture and works which were created in this country…
I must admit that it always makes me a little sad to see people take a quick photo of artwork then walk quickly away… it’s a new way of seeing the world, to own and possess our experiences like this, and one that I think is damaging on the human psyche, our satisfaction of experience and overall sense of awareness in time.
I think if returning to Florence in the near future I would wait until after the July heat, or perhaps a little before. The evenings were beautiful but during the days it was really necessary to take things slowly and embrace the mid-summer heat. Sorbet did of course help in this venture and constant interactions with espresso bars. Love the Italian coffee life!
Firenze; July 2014