Saturday, February 20, 2010

All in the Details

Have you ever woken up after a really good dream and felt sad because it was so real it almost could have happened? That's what happened to me this morning. Don't worry, I'm not all that sad - I love a good dream! I was listening to The Light in the Piazza soundtrack before I went to sleep...that's probably the cause. It's a beautiful Broadway show set in Florence (!), and I feel it would be wrong to not listen to every so often while I'm here. On the surface it looks an Italian boy-meets-American girl love story, but it goes much deeper than that. If you ever get the chance to see it, I recommend it; it's a lovely story and music is perfect. And for the Glee fans, Matthew Morrison (Will Schuester) was the original Fabrizio on Broadway.

After coming out of my dream haze, I noticed that the weather was not exactly behaving as necessary for us to walk to the Galleria dell'Accademia. It was in fact, pouring. What is it about gloomy weather that makes a person feel so tired? The roomies and I bummed around for several hours, waiting very patiently for the rain to cease at least long enough for us to run into the museum. I made, among other things, some oats of course:
I thought instead of boring you with yet another picture of banana oats in a bowl, I would take a picture of the oat-tastic magic while it's happening!

The rain finally petered out and we were off to get us some culturin'! The Galleria dell'Accademia is actually a block away and across a piazza from our apartment, so it was an easy walk. Getting into the museum was made even easier by this baby:
This card gives you free access to all the state museums of Florence. API, my study abroad program, gave us all one. You can buy them, and I highly recommend it if you're in Florence for any extended period of time - free access to all the big museums in the city that was home to the Renaissance is, um, kind of one of the coolest things ever.

I must say, I love going to museums. It's so peaceful and you can just wander around and think about anything that pops into your head. The Accademia was especially cool because, unlike every museum in the States I've been to, you can get mere inches away from the works and see everything. My favorite thing about admiring art is being able to see the tiny details the artist added. It really helps me respect their talent even more. Art is so like writing; it's really about creating a character and telling a story. You get a broad idea of the scene from the picture from afar, but it's the little details that tell you what's really going on. The subtle shadow from a flower on the floor tells you what time of day it is; the miniscule embroidery on the hem of a dress tells you how wealthy this person is. Just like writing - it's all in the details. It's really...inspirational.

Alright alright, I know what you want to hear about. As I'm sure you're aware, the Accademia is home to Michelangelo's David, the real reason we ventured out in the rain on a Friday afternoon. The first room of the museum is filled with paintings by various Italian painters, I believe around 17th or 18th century (don't hold me to that, I saw a lot of dates and paintings today). You walk into the next room, turn the corner into a hallway lined with some unfinished sculptures Michelangelo was commissioned for, and look up. There he is.
I was quite relieved that the museum forbade cameras, because no camera could possibly capture accurately this incredible feat. I must have stared at him at every angle for who knows how long. Again, the detail held me speechless. You can see every crease in each toe, every vein in his harm, every wrinkle in his knuckles. It is...whoa. The expression on his face changes depending on the angle; at one he is in some kind of pain, at another he seems to be completely at peace. I already want to go back, just to stare.

The only thing I can compare it to is the Taj Mahal; it's so huge and breathtakingly beautiful, there are no words to explain. Even pictures worth thousands of words could not wholly convey structures like this. Just go and see it. Just go.

We walked through the rest of the museum - it's not a particularly large, so it didn't take too long. I think we were all so struck by The David, it was difficult to take much more in. But museums are just a nice way to spend an afternoon. Very zen.

After a quick grocery stop, we went home and bummed around some more. I made my new favorite snack - grilled pecorino cheese and tomato:
I think the one on the left loves me! See the heart?
Happy food makes me happy too :)

 before heading back out in search of a vegetarian restaurant recommended to us that was on our street. We found it...closed. So, back we went to try the restaurant a few doors down from our building. It was very cute, very Italian (although it was clearly a tad on the touristy side). After great deliberation, I let my curiosity get the best of me and ordered risotto alle fragole - strawberry risotto!
It was in fact, completely delicious. I'm not sure what cheese they used, taleggio maybe? Very creamy but not overwhelmingly so. I liked it MOLTO!
We split dessert because there was chocolate cake, and that is a force against which we are powerless:
It ended up being infused with rum, a popular thing in Italian desserts I've found. Not the best I've had, but  after the one from the chocolate festival, well let's face it - that will be tough to top. Nevertheless, we had no problem polishing the plate off. 

We came back and watched Juno because I *gasp* had yet to see it. It was super cute, but it's one of those movies I know I am going to have to sleep on to really absorb it. I did like it very much :)

And now I am sitting here, listening to Bing Crosby and sipping peppermint tea. Tomorrow we are going to San Gimignano to, among other things, find the world champion of gelaterias! Don't you worry - pictures will most certainly be taken.

Buona notte!


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