Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Pisa, Florence and Roma

Extract from my piece for Baku Magazine - Link

Falling in love is a curious thing. Falling in love with a city, even more so. And falling in love both with a city and in that city? Well, that’s pure magic.
Florence – the birthplace and cradle of the Renaissance. A living, breathing museum of architectural splendour and one of Europe’s greatest cultural jewels.
It’s a city shaped by wealth. Its founding families were not only the architects of modern Florence, but also of art, culture and modern capitalism.
Golden domes reflect the sunlight giving everything touched by it other-worldly golden warmth. We walk the city at dusk, when it’s at its most glorious. Narrow streets and crumbling courtyards stand steeped in the smoke of time. Sculpture is everywhere, bodies and cherubs drawn in shadows.
By way of contrast, everything in the Tuscan capital is harmonious. Even the Arno river is the same pale sand of the surrounding buildings, with khaki lowlights from the vine-covered hills. After flexing our cultural muscle around the Uffizi Gallery the sky beyond the endless corridors of Da Vinci’s and Boticellis, is a deep passionate azure, as if straight out of a Giotti fresco.
My thoughts turn to Michelangelo’s David – a life liberated from cold white stone. His pale unblemished flesh as real as any, a face that forever dwells in thought. The haunting sense of time stood still surrounds one in this city. Statues trapped in the ember of eternity amid a sea of people, all on their way to somewhere else.