Somebody’s wedding

Outside the ancient church of Santi Apostoli, just down the street from my apartment, I happened upon a wedding today.  It was about 3 pm and hotter than hades.  All the guests in the church were fanning themselves with their programs.






Across the Piazza del Limbo from the church, Hotel Berchielli seemed adorned in white as well.  Very pretty!


Florence in late summer, 1944

Mid-August–October 1944

New York Times reporter Herbert Matthews observed that “Florence is no longer the Florence that the world has known for 400 years. . . . the heart of Florence is gone.” Of its six bridges—San Niccolò, alle Grazie, Vecchio, Santa Trinita, alla Carraia, and alla Vittoria, only the Ponte Vecchio survived. In fact, the Germans had rigged it with demolition charges as well. Some among the Allies theorized that the Germans had changed their plans at the last minute, perhaps concerned that the debris caused by the destruction of the two-story bridge would actually have facilitated an Allied crossing by providing enough rubble to form a new foundation in the low water of late summer.

[American Monumnet’s Man, Frederick Hartt described the horrifying scenes during the initial days of liberation:]

In the city there was no water, no light. . . . the mosquitoes came in clouds from the stagnant Arno, the heat was intense and the air suffocating with the odors from the broken sewers and gas mains, the unflushable closets [toilets], and the corpses still buried under the ruins along the Arno.

Fascist snipers from windows all over the town picked off civilians at random. During this period nearly four hundred persons, mostly civilians, were killed by the German batteries which continued to shell the town sporadically from Fiesole.

Edsel, Robert M.. Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation’s Treasures from the Nazis (pp. 188-189). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

How Italian treasures survived WWII

De Rinaldis informed Cott that most of the works of art in Rome had been safely stored in the Vatican….the Vatican [itself] possessed one of the greatest collections of art in the world. [During the early 1940s, however, it housed as well] the temporary addition of works from the Brera Picture Gallery in Milan, Accademia in Venice, Borghese Gallery in Rome, Museo Nazionale in Naples, the holdings of dozens of less prominent museums, and many priceless riches from the nation’s churches, it now had few, if any, rivals anywhere on earth. Joining its remarkable collection were—to name just a few—the Caravaggios from Santa Maria del Popolo and San Luigi dei Francesi, and oversize canvases by Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto, and Tiepolo from Venice. Never before or again would the results of such creative genius be gathered in one place.

Edsel, Robert M.. Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation’s Treasures from the Nazis (p. 138). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.