Firenze adventures, continued



We went to an Italian opera:

Verdi, Giuseppe
Arias from La Traviata
Puccini, Giacomo
Arias from La Boheme
Puccini, Giacomo
Arias for Tosca
Puccini, Giacomo
Arias from Madame Butterfly
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus
Arias from Le nozze di Figaro

mom, liza and I heard it through the church door and didn’t want to pay, so we stood outside with our faces pressed to the wood
and then ‘la boheme’ began and we couldn’t help but dance a bit
we thought we were alone but a man smoking on the corner started to laugh at us,
so we snuck into the entryway and hid between the doors
eventually the doorkeeper caught us
and was generous enough to let us in halfway through for free.

Yesterday was splendid. We accidentally snuck into (yes, lots of sneaking) the grand Boboli gardens, twice the size of central park, filled with fancy ancient statues and fountains and woods. We made it there through an old cabinet of curiosities museum, and the courtyard led into a back exit. The Pitti Palace is a museum of 18th and 19th century art. Found a fantastic portrait: a portrait of the sculptor Emilio Zocchi by Raffaello Sorbi…
We then went to the museo Strozzi to see an exhibit of futurist, fascist and anti-fascist art of the 1930’s. It was a really interesting combination of politics.
There was a series of chairs with the lable, “there was a trend towards mass production meant new tubular chairs and rationalist lamps.”
My favorite painting was HYPOS by Edward Halliday, of a bunch of italian peasants falling asleep to the calling of hypnos’s horn, which to me seemed like a liberal thumb against fascist brainwashing of the populace.
They had a sound system with recording of the first Italian radio broadcast in 1924, along with some classic old singers from the 30’s, and a phone into which gallery-goers could record 2-minute bedtime stories. Here are some fantastic old artists:
Calro Buti, Trio Lascano, Alberto Rabagliati, Renzo Mori, Tino Rossi
Liza and I then made our way to a fantastic bar concert, the band was the Draba Orkestar and we loved it. Sort of a mix of Chevrona, squirrel nut zippers, django reinhardt, etc. We made a friend with an artist who suggested that we all take front row seats and draw the band, which we would have done anyway. We all got one drawing in but abandoned the project because we couldn’t help but dance. The whole time. Both our new friend the artist and the main singer are named Simone, and they want to cook dinner and go to a ukulele show tonight.
Liza and I got terribly lost on the way home, but we sang opera to the nearly full moon.

Three things we found today:

  • an old church with some rather odd graffiti: thousands of counterfeit dollar bills glued just out of reach onto the wall.
  • the best gelateria, with flavors like black sesame, ricotta and fig, pistachio, orange and dark chocolate.
  • a creepy museum/cabinet of curiosities– which we had previously only ran through to sneak into the Boboli– called LA SPECOLA, filled with glass cases of preserved fish, birds, lizards, toads, ostriches, walruses, elephant skulls, and wax anatomical sculptures of humans.

Liza and I have been mastering the art of the Aperitivo, where you buy one drink during happy hour and have free access to a huge feast of pasta, risotto, prosciutto, pickled peppers and zucchini, crostinis, mozzarella, etc. We also managed to catch two small, weird, lovely concerts: I Ragazzi Scimmia, during which we had a damn fine slice of spiced cheesecake and edited some poems, and in a two-story bookstore/bar, a very bizarre orkestra of ukuleles called Sinfonico Honolulu. These Italian singers has such bizarre expressions and accents! They did covers of David Bowie and the Rolling Stones.
I went running this morning in a beautiful park lined with plane trees and fountains, and arrived back ‘home’ to find a little market in the square of Santos Spiritos. We’re going to make a dinner tonight for our new friends Simone and Simone: fresh raviolis with pesto and ricotta, green beans, salad, wine, etc.

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