Orsanmichele, Florence. The real deal.

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


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.


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.


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.


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



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


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.


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.


The other works are equally accessible and lovely.


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.




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?


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



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



And the pastries and confections speak for themselves!



The colorful glacée below are decorate with masks for Carnevale.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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


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



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


A couple of amaretti with a caffè macchiato.  Perfection.


Meringhe, or in inglese, meringues.


A pretty cake with the Florentine lily on top.


After school or after anything!