What I saw today.
Piero della Francesca’s fabulous Polyptych of the Misericordia is in the Museo Civico di Sansepolcro in the town of Sansepolcro, in the Tuscan region of Italy. The painting is one of the earliest works of della Francesca, who was born in the same town.
On my new favorite pilgrimage around the north end of Florence, leading right up into the surrounding foot hills, lies this lovely park. The Giardino Robert Baden Powell. I can’t quickly find any information online about why this garden is thusly named; I guess that’s a research problem for the coming winter. But here’s some info on Powell from Wikipedia:
Lieutenant General Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell ( 1857 – 1941), was a British Army officer, writer, founder and first Chief Scout of the world-wide Scout Movement, and founder, with his sister Agnes, of the world-wide Girl Guide / Girl Scout Movement. Baden-Powell authored the first editions of the seminal work Scouting for Boys, which was an inspiration for the Scout Movement.
If you enter the gates, you encounter this luscious garden, seen above.
Further up the street, the street sign lets you know you are now on Via di Montughi. I can’t quickly find anything online about why this street is named after this family, but I have noticed on many walks through the area that the Montughi name is all over this area. Clearly they were (and are?) wealthy land owners in Florence. More research for another wintry day?
Notably situated on an old wall, the plaque below, roughly translated by me, states: “Oh, Virgin Mary, we ask you to watch over the people of Montughi, help them love the poor, the orphans, the strangers, the icon of your crucified son.” Dated 2002 and signed by the children of Madonnina del Grappa.
I sometimes wonder if I am the only person who reads these signs and wonders what they signify. Chissà?
The next picture shows what I’ve said many times before: Italians can design shutters for any kind or size of a window.
The next plaque along this path of mine reads, roughly translated, as: “The words of Piero Calamandrei, ‘Languish, Suffer, Die, but don’t Betray.’ Posted here on the front of the notorious ‘Villa Triste’ [sad villa] are vivid memory of the heroic sacrifice of many for the liberty of everyone.” Posted by the Comune of Florence in 2018.
This is obviously a memorial from the Risorgimento, about which history I am sadly uninformed. More research for the winter.
And then there is a quick reminder that I live in the 21st century, and graffiti reappears in this august place.
Ah, but another, even older plaque is spotted. Dated 1857 is all I will decipher for this moment.
And, below, there are the beautiful and many-varied door knockers all around the city.
The centuries’ old tradition of graffiti is alive and well in Florence, as witnessed by this sign that has been “decorated” by various “artists.”
Enter the gates at #3, and you will find yourself at a beautiful point of view over Florence. The city lies before your feet from this glorious vantage point.
Walk a little further and you will encounter the “dragon” from which the name of this little park within a park is named. It doubles as a fountain in the summer and is fun to see from the top or tail, or anywhere along the way.
Yes, indeed, it is a mighty fine view, any month of any year, Covid or no.
I recently posted about the marvelous 19th-century glass house that is preserved for the public in Florence’s Giardino Orticultura. At the end of that post, I included an adorable private glass house that is a stone’s throw from the public garden.
I lust after this private glass house!
I love how the site is not square, but that did not daunt the patron or architect. They made an unorthodox shape to fit the site.
Here’s how it looks from down the street. It glows in the late afternoon sunshine of a December day in Florence.
It sits perched at the street end of what is probably a really nice palazzo, looking like a diamond sitting atop an engagement ring.
There’s no doubt about it, I’m in love!
There’s a beautiful home I walk by in my neighborhood a lot. Here it is:
It was obviously built during a time when rich materials and treatments were still available and maybe even somewhat affordable? Who knows. All I know is, I admire it.
I love the way the current owner has planted the terrace. It is beautiful in all seasons, even now, in winter, with red roses still in bloom.
Not far from the grand house pictured above, sits this smaller but still grand home. “La Villino Gisella.” Someday maybe I will give my home a name. Chissà?
I’m not the only one out enjoying the mild weather and sunshine. Many people are out walking their dogs and, being Italian, of course they congregate to socialize!
Beautiful autumn colors and textures.
Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s beautiful altarpiece, now in the Uffizi Collection.
When most people think of Florence, they think of Medieval buildings and Renaissance paintings and sculpture. But, Florence is a living, breathing city and I love finding traces of subsequent centuries throughout the city I am lucky enough to live in.
In the park that is called a horticultural garden that is a couple of blocks from my apartment is this gorgeous 19th century glass house. They were all the rage in the 19th century, especially notable in the UK. But, Italy has some too, as you can see here.
Look at how pretty it looks at dusk on a foggy evening!
The views from the hillside belvedere behind the glass house provides amazing views of the city. See the Duomo’s dome off in the distance, and Giotto’s bellower? Lovely.
And, not 3 blocks away from this public garden, on the major street leading out of Florence from here, on the Via Bolognese, is another period glass house that I adore. This one belongs to a private home. I would have loved being the owner of this 19th century glass house had I been a Florentine of the 19th century. What a luxury!