Orsanmichele, Florence. The real deal.

I posted an appetizer for this lovely, historic masterpiece in Florence yesterday.  Here’s the real entry.

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Inside the church is Andrea Orcagna’s bejeweled Gothic Tabernacle (1355-59) encasing a repainting by Bernardo Daddi’s of an older icon of the Madonna and Child.

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The ceiling paintings of the central square interior on the ground floor.  This special building in Florence was initially a palazzo, which became the city’s main granary, and later was transformed into this gorgeous church.  It is about halfway between the Duomo and the Palazzo Vecchio, occupying a central place in the city and religious spheres of Florence.

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Stained glass doesn’t play a prominent role in Florentine medieval architecture, as it does, for example in France.  Yet Orscanmichele has some gorgeous stained glass.

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Orcagna’s frame surrounding the beautiful  painting is breathtaking in its beauty.

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This opening shown below  is place in the building from which the grain was distributed.

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For art historians, Orsanmichele means sculpture.  Some of the finest works of late Gothic through Renaissance works were created for this edifice, and remain within its walls.

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Verrochio’s masterpiece, Christ with Doubting Thomas, can be appreciated up close, as can all of the sculptural works created for the building’s exterior niches.

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The other works are equally accessible and lovely.

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The hike to the 3rd floor is only for the fit.  But, what a payoff!  The vistas of surrounding Florence will take your breath away as well.  Only in a good way.

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Find the days the church is open and by any means necessary--vai!

Caffè Gilli, Firenze. A little piece of heaven on earth.

To my mind, Caffè Gilli has it down pat. Beautiful surroundings, delicious foods, fine baristas serving superb coffee.  What more could you ask for?

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The ceiling medallion speaks to the turn-of-the-century (20th, that is) era of its apparent redecoration.

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The commemorative over-sized plate marks the Caffè’s 200 year anniversary in 1983.

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And the pastries and confections speak for themselves!

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The colorful glacée below are decorate with masks for Carnevale.

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These glacées tell us springtime is either here, or just around the corner.  It felt like spring in Florence yesterday when I took these photos.

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And the fine, professional personnel always put on a nice show of bar-keeping.

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It’s pretty close to heaven on earth to me.

After school snack.

When I was young, my mother would pick me up from school in the afternoons and stop at the little market in our town on our way home.  I was usually famished, and she would typically let me choose a candy bar or some other snack.  I almost always had a Snickers bar or a Hersey’s milk chocolate with almonds.  If the Hersey’s bar didn’t have almonds, I wouldn’t eat it.  It was too sweet for me if it didn’t have the flavor and crunch of almond to break it up.

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Now that I am pretty much a grown up, I stop at my own choice of businesses, and the stores that I choose have an array of indulgences I could not have imagined as a child.

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There’s tiramisu for when I really need to be picked up.

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There are all manner of chocolate goodies.  I alway like to look at the ones with the candied violets on top.  Horticulture + chocolate = heaven.

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An ode to the nuts in the Hersey’s bars I used to eat.

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Okay, now we’re talking.  A merenda made with fresh berries!  Woo hoo!

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A couple of amaretti with a caffè macchiato.  Perfection.

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Meringhe, or in inglese, meringues.

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A pretty cake with the Florentine lily on top.

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After school or after anything!