I have visited this noble Renaissance city innumerable times over the years, either as a pitstop on my motorcycle journeys or to view the exquisite art housed within its museums and churches. However, it seems like a lifetime ago when I walked its piazzas and busy streets, toting a Mamiya RB67 on an extended photographic project. Yet here I am revisiting this city on the Arno and seeking out its iconic views to capture this time around on an SD card.
As I wait amongst the selfie-taking Instagrammers in Piazzale Michelangelo for the sun to set over a cityscape that, in large, has survived the test of time. I fancifully hope that the engineer and architect Filippo Brunelleschi would appreciate that his dome on the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is still the focal point of the city’s panorama. And that evening, as the light turned from blue to gold and then to hues of mauve, I thanked Hesperides for their gift.
I decided to google up a quote that would paint the scene in words and found.
“This is the fairest picture on our planet, the most enchanting to look upon, the most satisfying to the eye and the spirit. To see the sun sink down, drowned on his pink and purple and golden floods, and overwhelm Florence with tides of color that make all the sharp lines dim and faint and turn the solid city to a city of dreams, is a sight to stir the coldest nature, and make a sympathetic one drunk with ecstasy.” Mark Twain
Now to the second image in this post. It was taken at sunrise from the public gardens adjacent to the basilica of San Miniato al Monte. The image possesses a different mood; it is a still morning, and I can taste the dew-laden air; there are no crowds of sightseers, and the city before me seems still to be in a peaceful slumber. I sit back and wait as the golden morning light slowly reveals the architectural elements built by the city’s forefathers.
Twain,M. (2012). Autobiography of Mark Twain: Volume 1, Reader’s Edition”, p.76, Univ of California Press