Some days the universe just continues to serve up one wonderful surprise after another, and I must say today I was just drinking it all up in Florence, Italy. I had (HAD makes it sound like I was suffering) to go into the beautiful historical center of Florence for work today to pick-up a document to export one of our handcrafted mosaic artworks to its new owner.
Italian law requires that all artwork which leaves Italy must have a document which certifies that it is what it says it is . . . in this case contemporary art. It is one of their attempt to stop the illegal outflow of priceless antiques and works of art. All of our stone and glass mosaic artwork pieces are made here in Florence and are considered contemporary pieces of artwork because of the time frame which they were made – even if they are inspired by pieces like the Sistine Chapel!
Like most goverment offices all over Italy, the department I needed to visit was located in a historical building. In this case, it was in a small building on the Palazzo Pitti grounds. The core part of the Pitti Palace dates from 1458 and was originally the town residence of Luca Pitti, an ambitious Florentine banker.
And like most offices in Italy (even though I made an appointment for 9 AM) I had to wait an hour to get my authorized docs. BUT. In this case, there was a wonderful quirk. Since I was already on the grounds of this vast, mainly Renaissance palazzo, I was invited to spend my time waiting in the equally famous Boboli gardens, which were enlarged in the 17th century to their present extent of 45,000 meters² (11 acres). Now it would be pretty impractical to think I could visit the entire garden (without making my boss a little suspious of my tardiness) but I did jump at the possibility to spend an hour roaming as far as I could.
It was a miracle of all miracles that I actually had my camera with me (because I never seem to have when its the right moment) and was able to capture some of these beautiful sights. The day was splendid with a clear blue sky, relaxing temps and just the hint of a breeze. Of course taking these photos was like documenting the fact that I was goofing off during work hours . . . but I guess I could insist that it was all for research… In any case, I will worry about that only if they read my blog.
As I walked along the pebbled paths, I have to admit, I was impressed. Not only by the luscious garden and the fact that it was so well maintained (especailly with the well noted drought that we have been experiencing here in Tuscany) but by the awesome complexity yet simplicty of the garden . . . it is . . . IMMENSE. I also couldn’t help but notice that many of our mosaic art pieces seemed to be inspired by this very same garden.
The mid-16th century garden style, as it was developed here, incorporated longer axial developments, wide gravel avenues, a considerable “built” element of stone, the lavish employment of statuary and fountains, and a proliferation of detail, coordinated in semi-private and public spaces that were informed by classical accents: grottos, mympheums, garden temples and the like. The openness of the garden, with an expansive view of the city, was unconventional for its time. And if fact, you can see several stunning views of the Florence skyline from the just the small corner of the garden that I was visiting. If you are going to be visiting Florence, and want to escape a bit of the hectic streets then definitely check out Boboli gardens – bring a good panino and find yourself a secluded corner to just absorb the sounds of the city (like the church bells) that filter into this green oasis. Or you could simply check out some of our stone moasics, and get a piece of Florence to have home with you all the time.