Last entry from Italy!!
We’ve taken it easy a bit here in Milan as Florence was quite full on. We are much further out. A 2k walk in to the Duomo which we did yesterday in extremely hot conditions, 28 - 29 degrees. The heat radiates off the pavements and buildings. At least with tall buildings there is always a shady side to the street.
On our way we cross a beautiful park filled with people lying on the grass, children playing, and families having picnics or barbecues. No cafes. In a couple of areas there are fun activities for children’s to do, pedal cars and merry-go-rounds As well as the usual playground equipment. One piece we did see that we thought was brilliant - a huge blue bucket-like structure, actually like a cow’s udder, with small red buckets sticking out. Placed not very high on a central pole. Small children throw balls into the large bucket and they come out one of the smaller ones. So it is training them to shoot baskets for basketball or netball.
In the park is an Art Gallery and the Natural HIstory Museum. AG on Friday afternoon - Ian was very
happy to see an exhibition of Henri Toulouse—Lautrec’s posters. It included his favourite, man in a black cape and hat, with red scarf. Another interesting very contemporary piece, was a model of the Algerian city of Ghardaia, made of couscous, a staple for Algerians. The artist is making a point that modernist architects like Le Corbusier got inspiration from this city and surrounding areas without acknowledging it. The room was filled with a sickly sweet smell of couscous. In fact you could smell it before you entered the room it was in.
Just one more, a video of small boys in Afghanistan playing with an ancient downed Russian plane. They have attached ropes to it and play with it as if it is a kite and they are actually flying it. It was just delightful seeing the looks on their faces.
The Duomo was very large with pale pinkish marble icing-like intricate structures all around the roof. We loved all the fashion on display in the shop windows. We just looked as our bags are rather full after doing some shopping in Florence. I did look at a Vivienne Westwood tunic top. Two different pieces of fabric laid
on top of one another, sewn at the shoulders and side, with seams frayed and sticking up. €140. My mother, who was a dressmaker, would have had a fit.
The aircon wasn’t working today at the Natural History so we sped around very quickly in the stifling heat. A few references to NZ, a kiwi and a rather small moa. An amazing section was on fossils which in themselves looked very arty. The displays are a traditionalists dream - all static with lots of reading. Not a screen in sight.
After that we joined the park sitters and read our books.
An early start tomorrow - off to the airport for our flight to Warsaw. Hope you all had an enjoyable Queen’s Birthday weekend, despite the weather, which by the looks of it was a bit extreme.
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