Sunday, September 19, 2010

An Antidote to a Rainy Florence Night

In a city of art, history, and tradition of charging rich tourists up the nose for everything, stumbling upon Palazzo Vecchio during a late night stroll through rainy Florence was a refreshing change of pace. For three euros (typically six, but with the Salone Dei Cinquecento closed due to special events, the ticket was cut by half), we, along with no more than ten others, were able to tour the palace right before they closed at midnight. Without daylight and crowds, the palace is eery, with every step echoing and shadows thrown by the palace's anguished and twisted mannerist sculptures. The best part of the night however is when we entered into the upper walkway of the Salone Dei Cinquecento and became audience to a best-of compilation of arias performed by a trio of excellent singers for a fancy banquet of some sort. For half an hour, we listened, clapped, and yelled "bravi!" along with the guests of honor, and were thrilled whenever the singer's high notes were complimented by lightning flashes outside the palace. We were not lucky enough to see Vasari's "Battle of Marciano in Val di Chiana" as it s supposed to be seen, but the closer view gave me an opportunity to search for the inscription "Cerca trova," Vasari's supposed clue to Lenardo's lost "Battle of Anghiari" thought to have survived underneath Vasari's fresco. After the concert, we mingled for a few minutes longer and were forced back out on the streets by the sleepy docents ready to go home. The visit changed my opinion of this tourist city, and left me entranced and promising to come back to see more of her.

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