Thursday, April 07, 2011

Vacation Recap: March 16

Now we took the train to Florence, where we would spend a couple of days before returning to Rome. The rocking train put us to sleep. At the station, Sue's Italian went back into action, finding us the bus we needed to get to Casa Santo Nome di Gesù, Piazza del Carmine, 21. An elderly Florentine woman on the bus gave us much friendly advice.
After checking in at our convent, we headed back out to Villa I Tatti.  This Harvard library and research center is Bernard Berenson's former home on the outskirts of Florence.  We had signed up for a 3 O'Clock tour to see some of the artworks Mr. Berenson left to Harvard.  It took a while to get there.  We took a long ride on bus !0, then we climbed a hill.
Among the other members of our tour was a woman Sue remembered from a Freshman or Junior Parents Weekend, at which event this woman had spent most of her time complaining about the fact that she hadn't been able to use Lamont when she was at Radcliffe.  And, strangely enough, when she found out that we worked at Lamont, she again bewailed her former exile at great length.  Well, it was an injustice, but that was over 45 years ago.  Was this woman a Lamont-access monomaniac?
No, I don't think so.  My further observations suggested that she simply needed to be the center of attention. She was the girl in your class who always had her hand up.  She had a Susan-Sontag hairdo.
Our guide was an enthusiastic, charming, and knowlegeable woman.  She told us a story about a portrait of a man who had been at a party where all the guests were massacred (by the Medicis?); but his name was the only one remembered among the massacred.  A previous tourist had asked our guide if it was worth being murdered, just so you could be remembered.  "You'd have to ask Achilles that!" said the Susan-Sontag wannabee.  OK.
Inside photos were forbidden, but here's a picture of the garden.

We also had a tour of the library, so it was after 5 when we left.  We wanted to eat at a place called Trattoria 4 Leoni that night, but it was full up.  So we made a reservation for the next night and continued our quest for grub.  We sat down in a casual place filled with student-types.  A peddler came in and began pitching his stock from table to table.  We agreed to leave.  Finally we ate at Il Magazzino, Piazza della Passera 2-3.  The guy told us we had to be out in an hour.  I can't remember the meal, but the receipt says we had bevande, piatto unico, and primi piatti. I do remember they had so much wine they were storing bottles on their window sills.

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