Venice     Florence     London

May 2014
more photos here


Wednesday 14th May

What are my plans for this trip? Well, there's the Pontormo and Rosso exhibition at the Strozzi, the church of Santa Croce has just last week opened a new exhibition space, there's a new Gallery of the 1900s (Museo del Novecento) in the renovated Leopoldine complex opposite Santa Maria Novella, also opened a matter of days ago, and the Opera del Duomo museum closes for a few years for renovation half-way through my week. My hotel booking comes with a three-day museum pass too, so I hope to maybe be doing the Accademia and Uffizi some justice, the former of which I've not visited since the early 90s. I also want to catch the train and spend a day in Bologna, to at least visit the Pinacoteca so cruelly closed to our party on my recent trip to Ravenna and Bologna. And maybe also buy some more of the yummy chocolate-covered coconut bar bought from a stall in Bologna on that trip. 

Have you noticed how airline pilots always have solid and dependable names, like Brad or Henry, or at least they say they do when they do their reassuring greetings as you're sitting and waiting for takeoff - they're never called Barry or Tim? Well, this morning my flight was ably piloted by a Kevin, I kid you not. The only flies in my travel ointment were the long wait for the baggage carousel at Pisa to do its thing, but my case being in the first half dozen out made up for that, and the fact that trains don't run from the airport to Pisa Centrale station at the moment. They're building some kind of people-mover thingy so instead of the train there's a bus which costs €2, or less if you buy a ticket before you board. As Pisa is the usual way to fly to Florence I would have thought that I might have read about this development. Makes one wonder even more about maybe trying the new BA direct flight from London City to the little-used Florence airport. The train from Pisa C was new and clean and not full and got to S.M. Novella station in about an hour. I'm trying the Hotel Cerretani this time, and first impressions are good, for having  friendly-but-not-fawning staff, good strong wifi, and a bottle of complementary water for me to knock back as I unpack and type this stuff. The room is spacious and the bathroom marbley. The large window in my room is nicely full of the dome of San Lorenzo. Instead of the usual mozzarella and tomato wrap BA's inflight veggie option was a mini cheese and onion roll and half an egg and cress wrap, the latter of which I didn't eat, because I don't do eggs. So an early evening meal for this more-than-peckish traveller, methinks.

Creature of habit that I am I had to go and have a Scugnizza pizza (mozzarella and fresh tomato) at La Grotta di Leo, with an insalata mista and a birra media. The waiter even remembered me, after an initial mix-up where he thought I was railway station staff. Tradition took me to the gelateria in Piazza Santa Maria Novella too (cocco & limone) and the shop nearby that does nice panforte, to go with my evening herb tea, made all the more posh by my room having an actual kettle, so I didn't have to use my bought-in-Venice EU-law-breaking element thing.


The view from my window.

Thursday 15th May

So, the breakfast test. Plenty of space, in a long tall room, muesli already mixed with cornflakes (a cocktail I usually create myself), good orange juice, a  selection of pastries, including a couple of Tuscan specialities, and slices of fresh pineapple. Cue satisfied sigh. Getting back to my room to find my room being made up already and told to come back in 10 minutes was less good, but better than coming back in the afternoon to find it not done, I suppose.

It turns out that my Firenzecard museum pass also gets me in free at the Pontormo and Rosso exhibition at the Strozzi. So it gets used this morning already, and so begins its 72 hours of use. The exhibition left me more informed about P & R, but my opinion of them stayed pretty much unchanged. Pontormo's work is occasionally impressive, and sometimes even very likable; Rosso's stuff is mostly weird-looking, with often odd faces and I feel slightly drawn to maybe two or three of his works. The exhibition does them both proud, though, and has some good things by Andrea del Sarto too, who was their teacher and of whom I'm more a fan. I recommend the audioguide as well - a bit prone to eccentric translation and odd turns of phrase, but also not aimed at idiots.

I thought I'd make more use of my card and have a comprehensive wander around Santa Croce. The card lets one bypass the ticket queue and it gets electronically scanned at the very entrance and a paper ticket is printed out of the attendant's hand-held thingy. There's a lot to see in Santa Croce, much of it wonderful some of it not. The nave of the church is full of rubbish monuments so can safely be appreciated in the five minutes it takes you to wince at Vasari's monument to Michelangelo and get the OK tombs of Galileo, Machiavelli and Dante looked at. Oh and you might like to admire Donatello's lovely gilded limestone Cavalcanti Tabernacle. The left-hand transept has some decent frescos but is always restricted to those wishing to do religious stuff. Which leaves the right-hand transept and the best stuff. There's the Giotto-frescoed Perrozzi and Bardi chapels; the former faded and hard to make out, the latter damaged and easy to love. Diagonally opposite these two chapels is Gaddi corner. Taddeo's Baroncelli and his son Agnolo's Castellani are two chapels filled with fine frescos and worth lots of attention. The Castellani is annoyingly roped off, though. Agnolo Gaddi is also responsible for the frescoing in the polygonal vaulted apse (see above right), but his work is again not easy to get close to as there's a rope keeping you back beyond the altar steps. The high altarpiece is by various hands from he late 14th Century, but was put together in 1869.

Off through the doorway from the right-hand apse is the recently spruced up Sacristy, which now has the famous flood-damaged Cimabue Crucifix and high on the wall opposite three huge frescoed scenes by Spinello Aretino (The Way to Calvary), Taddeo Gaddi (The Crucifixion) and Niccolo di Pietro Gerini (The Ascension). The Rinnucini chapel off the Sacristy is frescoed with scenes from the life of the Virgin and St Mary Magdalene by Giovanni da Milano, another follower of Giotto, whose only surviving pictorial cycle this is. There's also an attractive early polyptych altarpiece by Giovanni del Biondo. An (albeit handsome) gothic grill prevents a closer view of these walls and the altarpiece. The corridor here has some early altarpieces from here and there, with Michelozzo's Medici Chapel at the end housing some later displaced works, contemporary with the chapel, by the likes of Allori and Bronzino. This chapel, and the room off the Sacristy containing works by Giovanni del Biondo, Nardo di Cione and Lorenzo Monaco, are also part of the recent improvements.

Back into the church and out the (right-hand) side door takes you to the Pazzi Chapel which is one of the highlights of Brunelleschi's career. Beyond is the wonderfully peacefully second cloister, by Brunelleschi (see right) reached through a doorway by Michelozzo. The entrance to the museum
is here too. It's full of some quite nice fresco fragments, a few underdrawings and some paintings. The highlight is the Last Supper by Taddeo Gaddi, topped with a huge Tree of the Cross. In here are also some suspiciously vivid fragments of a massive fresco which once covered the whole right-hand wall of the nave of Santa Croce, before Vasari installed all the tombs. Next to the Pazzi Chapel, through the shop, is a small cloister with an exhibition about the Arno floods. A door off this cloister leads to a bunker-like crypt (beneath the sacristy), called the Famedio, a First World War memorial installed by the Fascists in 1937 with the names of the 3,672 Florentine soldiers who died inscribed on black marble all around the walls.

Apologies if I've gone to town a bit on Santa Croce, but I feel as if I got the hang of it this time, and wanted to pass that on, along with details of the new spaces. A mozza/tom panino on the walk back, the rest of last night's panforte nibbled with my tea and typing, and then a rest.

A stroll up to Piazza SS Annunziata in the evening, to find the Spedale degli Innocenti all covered in scaffolding. Then to La Lampara for a pizza with caramelised onion and capers, but without the sausage. Interesting flavours, and I mean that in a good way - I'd have it again. Dark chocolate and cinnamon was my evening gelato.



Friday 16th May

Today did not begin well and, truth be told, took a while any getting better. My first idea was to make for the Accademia to use my Firenzecard to beat the queues to visit a gallery I'd not been inside in (blimey!) twenty-odd years. The queue was considerable for the non-holders of tickets, and the ticket-holders' queue was about twenty people. And in the time it took me to suss all this out none of the queues had moved an inch. Impatiently I decided to try the Opera dell Duomo museum, which I had never been in, and which is soon due to close for ages. It was open, there were no queues, I breezed in, and found that most of it was already closed off. Two rooms of bits of stone on the ground floor, Michelangelo's Pieta and Ghiberti's Doors of Paradise - that was it. About three quarters of the collection was closed, according to one who knows me, and recommended I visit, because she knew I'd enjoy the stuff I didn't see. Next I made for the church of the Bigallo, which I knew was on my list, and which was closed for restoration, of course, and then to Santa Maria Novella. When I got there I found it didn't open until 11.00, so I walked around the block, bought myself a bottle of water, and returned to the ticket office after 11.00 to find it was closed all day 'for a ceremony'. No signs up, no prior knowledge, just lots of disgruntled turned-away visitors. My next step was to take myself down to the Arno and throw myself in. But when I got there I thought 'The Brancacci Chapel - that'll cheer me up!' And I could use my card. On the way I popped into San Frediano. It was ages before 12.00 o'clock but the attendant decided that hanging around after 11.30 just for me was a waste of his time and chucked me out and pushed off.

I went into the church of Santa Maria del Carmine before the Brancacci Chapel, as the church was closing at the 12.00. It's a big church, bare-walled and aisleless, with very shallow chapels, they're more niches really. But a very decorated ceiling and a very wide transept which does have deep chapels. The baroque Corsini Chapel is the other worthwhile feature, opposite the Branccaci at the end of the left transept. Designed by Pier Francesco Silvani, it has a ceiling frescoed by Luca Giordano and marble reliefs by Giovanni Battista Foggini. A separate entrance, with a cash desk, gets you into a cloister, off which you enter the Brancacci Chapel, through the gift shop. There weren't hoards and I got in quick and lingered long. After the way the day had begun it was like a soothing early-renaissance bath. There really is no substitute for just hanging around, reading your guide book, and hanging around some more, spotting favourite bits, looking to identify who did what and feeling all the better. Next to the gift shop is the refectory where they show the (sleep-inducingly comprehensive) film about the church and chapel. It also contains a Last Supper by Allori (see above right) that's well worth a look, and features two cats. If you wait for the film to finish the lights do come on and let you look at the underdrawings also on show, but they're a bit rubbish.

To Mama's Bakery nearby, for a chive-flavoured cream cheese bagel and a bottle of pear nectar. I took away a slice of apple and blueberry pie too, and on the way back dropped into La Carraia for a latte di mandorla and cioccarancia gelato. Also on the way back I went up a street new to me and found a palazzo new to me too, looking very handsome in raking sunshine. Life's alright isn't it?

An evening investigation of a couple of bookshops resulted in no new findings, although an author unknown to me had drawn quite a crowd in IBS. (It turned out to be Elisabetta Amalfitano talking about 'Le gambe della sinistra - L'asino d'oro'.) To the Ristorante Alla Grigia, a favourite from past years, made even more attractive by now being less than a minute's walk from my hotel. I had spaghetti with tomato sauce with a green salad and a beer. Then strawberries with lemon juice and sugar, with a coffee. Classic.



Saturday 17th May

After yesterday's experiences I decided that today I was going to ditch the damn Firenzecard and do what I wanted to do. A bit wasteful, I know, to lose a whole day of potential freebies but once I'd made the decision I felt like a free man again. I hied me up to San Miniato, to do it justice on my Florence churches site. On the way I checked to see if
San Niccolò was open as it never is, as it it wasn't. Having the big main doors open to show a plywoody door with a handle that looks like it's there just to be easily pushed is an old trick of this church, so I wasn't fooled for a minute. Except I did go up and pull on it. I don't know what the Italian for 'Hah, sucker!' is but I bet someone inside said it.

San Salvador, on the way up, is a somewhat dull church, but lingering a bit more than usual I found a couple of nice paintings, noticed its stained glass windows, of which there are many, and ended up a bit better disposed towards it. Despite the annoying children running around, old enough to know better, who were with the person in charge, he said vaguely, and who were only just short of climbing all over the altar. San Miniato is no-one's idea of dull and I had a good long visit, with Blue Guide in hand, and feel I have the hang of it now. Expect a goodly revised entry on Churches of Florence very soon.

To Mama's Kitchen again, for cream cheese on an everything bagel, topped with slices of cucumber this time, and the pear juice again, which goes well with the mild taste of the cream cheese, I think. And I took away a cinnamon bun, the provision of which made me think that after yesterday God was again smiling upon me. (I love cinnamon buns, and they're not that common a commodity in London.) And a shop selling Japanese craft items which I passed yesterday, and saw something in the window which I thought my nearest & dearest would surely like but the shop was closed, was open! The very personable woman running the shop engaged me in conversation regarding my knowledge of Japanese culture and explained all about the thing I was buying. We then got onto where I lived and what was I doing in Italy, and soon she was pouring me out a glass of green tea as we chatted. And leaving a shop in Italy and having to say arigato was a fresh experience. My journey-back gelato was mango and crostata di frutti di bosco.

For my stroll this evening I set out towards Santa Caterina, an eccentric-looking church I felt I needed to improve my site photo of. And when I got there a service was turning out, and it turns out to be just as odd inside. Wandering around also got me finding some fine not-so-old (and very old) architecture near the Questura on the way to Porta San Gallo. I also found the gates to the cloister of Sant'Apollonia open, and it is indeed a graceful cloister, covered in graffiti, it now being part of a school. If you've ever seen a renaissance cloister covered in graffiti you'll know how depressing it is. If you haven't, you're lucky - I couldn't even bring myself to take a photo. A bit later I discovered a very good place for falafel near Piazza Santa Maria Novella, and sat and ate it there, with a Lemonsoda. Being a Saturday meant things were a bit raucous, so I returned to the peace and comfort of my room, with redbush tea and some minibar biscuits.



Sunday 18th May

Today I went to Prato, a trip I'd been promising myself since getting keen on Filippi Lippi, due in no small part to reading A Gift for the Magus. The train from Florence SMN takes 20 minutes and costs
€2.50. It was pretty full, and in no time I was surrounded by a pack of scouts who were unusually well-behaved, maybe due to the presence in their group of female scouts. The walk from Prato Centrale is not pretty, but it's not far. (The next station after Centrale is nearer the historic bits, I later found out.) I was looking for the art gallery and/or a tourist information point first - a map or some art, either would do. Not finding the info place I went into the prettiest building I could find, the Museo di Palazzo Pretorio (see right), to ask directions, and it turned out to be the gallery I was looking for! It has several floors, the first has the gold-ground altarpieces, the Filippo Lippi paintings, and basically all the best stuff. There's a room here which explains all the Holy Girdle stuff pretty neatly too, with the help of a Bernardo Daddi predella. The next floor gets later and goes a bit Allori and Santi di Tito. The top floor has some impressive cartoons by Alessandro Franchi, a new name on me but he was like a Pratese pre-raph, with a chapel frescoed by him in the Duomo, where I was heading next.

The Cathedral of Prato is dedicated to Saint Stephen, so he gets featured in a lot of the frescos. The left wall of the apse is frescoed with scenes from his life by Filippi Lippi, and the right wall with his more famous scenes from the life of John the Baptist. These are the highlight cycles, and I lingered long. €3 gets you good gazing-up access to this chapel and the pairs either side. There's the Assunta Chapel, done by Uccello, which is worth a good look too, although one side was finished by one Andrea di Giusto, who seems to have been an inferior hand. There's also the Vinaccessi chapel by the aforementioned Franchi, which is very 19th Century, but I liked it. The church itself makes up for in height what it lacks in width, and by the door is the jazzed-up chapel which contains the Holy Girdle, or the Sacred Belt as the church's leaflet has it. It's frescoed all inside by Agnolo Gaddi, with scenes from the Life of the Virgin and Stories of the Sacred Belt, but you can only peer through railings at them, although putting money in the light helps.

It was now nearing 2 o'clock and so I decided to quit before I got knackered. Making for the railway station through streets deserted as only streets in an Italian town on a Sunday afternoon can be, there was a bit more activity in the park by the station - mostly women in clothes too sparkly, skirts too short, and heels too high for a summer Sunday afternoon, I thought. The station bar provided me with a very crusty panino of mozzarella, tomato and basil, which I shared on the platform with a pushy sparrow in the twenty minutes before the train came. Said sparrow chirped raucously to alert me to his presence and hunger, and then when he'd finished what I'd chucked him he was back and chirping some more, or maybe he'd sent a mate. Back in Florence I popped into Lindt to see if they had anything that might go with my afternoon tea, and lo they had a bar made of white chocolate with a coconut and pineapple filling. It turned out to be a bit icky, but edible.

My evening walk was a bit unplanned: one of those 'I can't decide, maybe I'll get inspired when I get outside the hotel door' situations. Getting to Santa Croce was not the best bit, but I went around the back and down to the river and had a nice and dusky walk with many photo opportunities back to the Ponte Vecchio. The street sellers of tourist tat now range themselves along the north bank pavements quite far east, it seems, to try and catch the final euros of the day-tripper parties heading back to their coaches, as the nearest they can park is beyond Ponte San Niccolò.




Monday 19th May

Some churches today, I thought. Making eventually for Sant'Ambrogio I stopped off at Santa Trìnita first because it's such a favourite. As usual it was quite quiet, and as usual I couldn't get out in under half an hour. The Ghirlandaio frescoes, of course and the Lorenzo Monaco ones too. But this time I noticed all the works of Neri and Lorenzo di Bicci and how most of the fragmentary bits of fresco, including those high up above the end wall chapels, are by Giovanni dal Ponte. Also special is the tomb of Benozzo Federighi, Bishop of Fiesole, by Luca della Robbia (see right) with its impressive enamelled terracotta mosaic frame. It shares its chapel with a couple of bits of martyrdom frescoes by - him again - Giovanni dal Ponte. In a burst of pushiness I asked the man if he would let me into the sacristy, which he seemed happy to do. It's a pleasingly tall space, which used to be a Strozzi chapel. It's pretty bare, but there are some detached frescoes in here, and the tomb of Onofrio Pazzi by Lorenzo Ghiberti, commissioned by his son Palla, who was banished after the revolt in 1434 against Cosimo il Vecchio. Palla was one of 500 who were banished, and he died in Padua. The tomb is decorated with flowers painted by Gentile di Fabriano, who also painted the Adoration of the Magi (now in the Uffizi) for this chapel.

I admit to needing a map to find San Remegio again, but I did. It's a nice and chunky and modest little gothic space, but with appealing fresco fragments, of course, and an early Madonna and Child altarpiece that's been attributed to Duccio, Cimabue and Gaddo Gaddi (father of Taddeo) in it's time, but now is given to the Master of San Remegio.

I ended up with under ten minutes in Sant'Ambrogio before we were all chucked out, which always seems to be the case. I must get myself organised one of these years. Just time to do one quick circuit, admiring the big Rosselli frescos, and sinopie and a lovely little Madonna del Latte two altars down on the right, and that was it.

Attracted to the bookshop opposite I was a little soothed to find a sweet book on the cloisters and courtyards of Florence, dual language and half price, and a book on Florence's churches in the same series, which didn't just do the usuals. This book wasn't marked as half price, so I asked, and the nice lady halved that one too. Me - bartering! And asking to be let into a sacristy! Both in the same morning! Exhausted by all this pushiness I headed through the market (deciding not to try my luck negotiating a reasonable price for a pannet of cherries) and passed Santa Croce on my way to the Ponte Vecchio and over to Mama's Bakery for a repeat of my lunch of Saturday, except the takeaway cake was an apple muffin. The gelato was pear and ricotta with lemon - the pear was a bit pear-droppy, but thereby held its own with the tang of the lemon.

My Blue Guide tells me that the Badia Fiorentina, although often open for prayers and reading monks, is open for visitors, including the Cloister of the Oranges, on Mondays from 3.00 to 6.00. So after my typing-up, tea and cake, but before my snooze, I'm back out and over there. The church has a highlight Filippino Lippi painting, some oddly fine tombs by Mina di Fiesole, some detached fresco fragments (if I had a quid for every time I've typed those three words this trip...) by Nardo di Cione, and some architectural frescoes in the choir that are almost Piranesi-ish. But then you go up to the gallery of the aforementioned cloister, what frescoes! Not sure why they're not more well known, possibly because they're not by a known, or even named, artist. They tell the life of Saint Benedict, a saint responsible for some of the odder miracles, like the early one where his nurse breaks a sieve and he mends it with prayer, and so it's hung over the church door to encourage veneration (see below right). Well, that's my Monday afternoons on future trips to Florence sorted. Essential.

Like the Cloister of the Oranges I'd never been down the pedestrian underpass that takes you out of the railway station under, in my case, the five roads between the station and my hotel. Until this evening. It's like another world down there! Just not a very nice one.





Tuesday 20th May

For my last full day - more churches. San Lorenzo first, but it doesn't open until 10.00 and so I had twenty minutes to go improve my photograph of San Michele Visdomini, a little church by the back of the Duomo whose façade I thought might look better without a small van in front of it. And this proved correct. As the church was open I thought I'd check out how it looked without it's highlight Pontormo altarpiece, recently restored for the exhibition at the Strozzi. It has been replaced by a reproduction, with an obvious join along the middle, but this fact is not admitted to anywhere. I was surprised by a chapel with sinopie by Spinella Aretino, though. This chapel also has fresco fragments in its vaults.

You need to go buy a ticket in the corridor to the left of the front of San Lorenzo, the one that leads to the cloister. Once in the church I was offered a free tablet audioguide, but only if I left my driving license or passport, and so as I don't drive and am not daft enough to carry my passport around with me that was that. There was an almighty racket being made by a cleaning machine blasting away at the stone frame of Pontormo's Marriage of the Virgin altarpiece that's also in the Strozzi exhibition. The notification here said merely that it was away being restored. The Donatello pulpits were both covered in scaffolding too, but the one on the right has had its restoration finished and the plastic sheets hide a viewing platform allowing you to walk around three sides and admire it up close. A treat, and I'm not even a fan. I do love Brunelleschi and Donatello's Old Sacristy though, for it's pleasing space and the panels of the Evangelists with their symbols sitting on their desks. Art wise the other highlight is the early Filippo Lippi Annunciation in the same chapel as Donatello's tomb. He is actually buried in the crypt below, as is his friend Cosimo il Vecchio, under the enormous slab with grills in front of the high altar. Your ticket also gets you into said crypt, accessed through the cloister, to see both resting places, and to the museum, which is one room full of reliquaries in glass cases.

I knew that Santo Spirito closed at 12.30, and managed to get there about 11.45, to experience Brunelleschi's two best in one morning. I didn't really have long enough, but the altarpieces in the transept and around the back are full of highlights, even if I had to rushingly appreciate the last half-dozen. The surprising number of painted altar frontals I remembered from past visits. This trip's discovery was the Mazziere brothers, responsible for some admirable altarpieces here, but unknown anywhere else. Must investigate. Being so near I had to go for a final bagel, with a coconut and nutella muffin to take away. And realising I'd yet to sample anything from my most fave Gelateria dei Neri I took a long detour along the Arno and found it had closed down! But has opened in shiny new premises over the road. Chocolate orange and mandarin were enjoyed.

In the evening I went on a church photograph improvement hike to the Roma gate in Oltrarno, stopping off on the way at the nice nibbles and chocolate shop in Via della Scala to stock up on panforte. And then it was back to
La Grotta di Leo for a cipolla pizza, insalata mista and birra media. The beer rather spoiled my palate for a gelato, but apart from that it was a very Florence-y last evening.



Wednesday 21st May

A late afternoon flight give me a last morning in which to...well, it was a toss up between Santa Maria Novella or Sant'Ambrogio. One involving probable queuing, the other a good trek across town. In the end Sant'Ambrogio won - it needed a good visit, and that means not getting there late in the morning and being chucked out after 10 minutes. Beggars outside churches in Italy are not rare, but this was the first time I'd been approached whilst sitting inside one. It's a church that deserves more attention, does Sant'Ambrogio, for it's serious way with frescoes and the gems it contains.

Online I'd read about the train-replacement bus from Pisa Centrale Station to Pisa Aeroporto, and how it's still possible to buy a ticket to the airport from Florence that includes the bus. I tried this at S.M.Novella, at a ticket machine, and had my credit card rejected twice. When I attempted to just book a ticket to Pisa Centrale it worked fine, so it seems the machine is trying to tell you something. One of the clued-up beggars that hang around the machines and help hesitant customers was of the decided opinion that through tickets could not be bought. The poster on the bus-stop at Pisa C says the replacement bus is running until December 2015, when the new people-mover is expected to be finished.

My flight was delayed by about 30 minutes, the man sitting next to me was one of those blokes for whom to think something is to say it out loud to his wife, and the trains home messed me about exhaustingly, but the cats were pleased to see me and I managed to bring home two totally unnibbled panforte. Also I felt that I got the hang of the right mental approach to the whole solo travel thing this time - how not to stress yourself and worry and feel too compulsed to do too much. Calmness was achieved. And the hotel was one I'd rush back too.

Of the plans that I began the trip with the new museum
(Museo del Novecento) was not open, despite announcements to the contrary and the Opera del Duomo museum may not have closed yet, but most of it had. Add to that a failure to get to Bologna or into the Accademia or Uffizi and you have a fair number of unachieved goals. But on the upside, see above. A good one!


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