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Raining & Climbing in Florence!

Mercato Centrale, 3:05 am

So my first night in Florence turned out to be quite informative. One, although convenient, the market square may not be the place to stay if you need peace and quiet to sleep. It seemed like the room was going to blow off this city on a Wednesday night until about 2:30 in the morning. I am worried what the weekends will be like. It does turn out that today was a holiday and so people may have went out to take advantage of their ability to sleep in this morning. Let's just say that my husband received an email today requesting earplugs.

Being awake at this time of night allowed me do some reading in preparation for today's history lesson with our on site historian Dr. Katharina Giraldi and to think about what I might do over the next three weeks in the studio. Chalked with leftover paint, brushes, linen and lots of wall space, part of me wants to do a small series of paintings in addition to everything else I have planned, but we will see what actually happens. As I listened to everyone's voices, in a variety of languages; this city seems even more multicultural than Toronto, I again began to think about how sound manoeuvers in and out of the shadows. I wondered as I lay in bed if I wasn't occupying a shadow in that those who I was listening to couldn't see me. Or, am I simply a shadowy figure in that they can't see me? Can semantics and symbolism enter into the same frame of thought? Hmmm. Regardless, I knew I would need to do more sound recordings while I am here.

Piazza del Duomo on a cloudy day.

Able to fall back to sleep until around 8:15 am, I grabbed a half of baguette left over from last night's dinner and hustled to meet my professor Martha Ladly, as well as David Salazar and Annette Mangaard at the Piazza del Duomo. More of a maker than a history buff, I wasn't all that excited until I I walked around a corner with a not so great Styrofoam cup of coffee and saw this! "Oh", I said, like I didn't know it was going to be so darn impressive.

While waiting for others to arrive I walked around the entire outside and pictures as the overcast sky was surely hindering its magnificence. We shortly headed into the Baptistery of San Giovanni, an octagonal domed building just west of the cathedral where Christians were at one time submerged in water to be baptised. Beyond an ornate ceiling and the doors of Ghiberti on the outside, it was fascinating to learn that people were buried right in the walls of the building as well as in the ground surrounding the structure.

Shadow of Crucifix in Baptistery of San Giovanni

As suspected there were going to be plenty of shadows to collect within the various architecture and museums we would be visiting while we are here. I would imagine doing a series of shadows simply based on Jesus on a cross would be extremely haunting and speak to the dark underbelly of religion throughout history. I did photograph a few more shadows of crosses throughout the day so we will see if this series might come to light in the days ahead.

We then made our way to the Opera Di Santa Maria Del Fiore Museum. This is where all the originals are now located. Carelfully rendered replicas now adorn the outside of all the various buildings we would visit today. It is a good thing the marble originals are safe and sound in the centre as people have written all over the walls of the stairwell up to the inside viewing area of the dome as well as on the marble columns outside on the viewing deck outside the lantern of Brunelleschi’s Dome. What is wrong with people? Are they trying to leave their mark like the great sculptors and architects of Italy? I’m thinking they might need to do a little more than that to get noticed around here.

For more pictures from the day visit my Facebook page.

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