Saturday, February 4, 2017

my favorite Piazza

I am posting this series of sketches from my trip to Italy this month for many reasons. Fatigue from politics and dreary weather; fatigue from chest cold/flu virus with 6 weeks recovery, all leading to a desire for softer warmer memories. I haven't produced much art yet this year due to above mentioned virus so I have been making a memory book of our trip to surprise my husband for his birthday. This is a project among many that I have been wanting to get to and cold dark winter days have been the right time. (Photo here shows me sketching near the large doors to the Palazzo Vecchio with the statue of David looming above, and the Fountain of Neptune shining bronze in the far background.)
The city of Florence was my absolutely favorite place that we visited, and I am echoing the opinions of many more erudite travelers. And in that fascinating city I found a Piazza that was my favorite spot to visit again and again. Piazza  della Signoria, famous gathering place of Florentines for centuries that sums up all that is wonderful about visiting a place with layers upon layers of history and culture.
The statue of David in these photos is not the real one by Michelangelo but a copy placed in the entrance to the Palazzo Vecchio.

Under the Loggia dei Lanzi are more statues by Cellini, Donatello, and more Italian Renaissance masters than I can name. Other spots about the Piazza where I sketched are the Fountain of Neptune and the equestrian monument of Cosimo I de'Medici. Scanning through my sketchbook and remembering those hot golden days wandering around the city until my feet collapsed under me is such a pleasure and I want to share it here.
Another pleasurable memory is the discovery all over Rome and Florence of ancient Roman  drinking fountains drawing from underground springs with pipes that still deliver cold mineral water. I found one of these in the Piazza della Signoria that had ancient bronze lion-head spigots for cold water, welcoming for filling up your water bottle on hot days, but also a spigot with fizzy mineral water. Just like a sweet tonic water, fizzy like soda but so refreshing. I insisted on making every trip a detour to get my plastic bottle full of that good stuff for free in my favorite piazza.