Monday, 28 March 2011

Heidi comes to Florence

My first term at Angel Academy has come to its end and this last week has also been such a treat with cousin Heidi here from Paris working on one of her projects. We ate and talked and then talked some more about how well we were eating, went out for pre-dinner drinks and ate some more. I feel inspired now to enjoy being a foreigner and (gasp) a tourist in Florence, so that I might experience more that life has to offer here (which is largely about food)… and especially to let myself make linguistical bloopers for the sake of connecting with the locals in my ‘hood’. I have to confess to avoiding many of the small interesting food shops because of my lack of Italian and my VANITY – not wanting to be another stupid tourist – but after enjoying the fruits of Heidi’s shopping and zest for discovery I see the necessity for courage to venture into unknown territory. Pickled lettuce, huge green olives (incredible), tender veal from the local butcher, cheeses, ETC.

My own greatest discovery of late is rabbit. I tried my famous lemon chicken, except with rabbit, for dinner one night and we both declared it most excellent and worthy to be the focal point of many future eat-fests. It’s readily available in butchers, supermarkets and restaurants at no great expense, is similar chicken only more tender and less fatty, and works very nicely with lemon, potatoes, tzaziki and salad (write to me for the recipe).

Last night Heidi and I walked around the streets of Santo Spirito and I took her to see where my new apartment will be, in a little ‘tower’ in Via Santa Maria. Then we strolled along the quiet late night streets, admiring the Florentine architecture, the grandeur of the Pitti Palace, little ornamented door handles, ancient torch holders along the sides of buildings, the juxtaposition of a quaint stone church hundreds of years old beside a brightly lit hotel with art deco interior, the Ponte Vecchio lined with jewellery shops closed for the night, looking like a scene from a movie set in the 1500s. If only I could have a glimpse of what those old stones have seen!

The first term of school has flown by… above is my final life drawing. I have 2 weeks off which I’m very pleased about and which will involve sleeping in, discovering uncharted galleries and museums, perhaps a day trip here or there, some private Italian lessons, meals and cuppas with friends (those that haven’t gone home for the holidays!) and of course moving house (which is the greatest pre-occupation this week). I miss Heidi already, can’t wait to visit her in Paris in summer. Thanks for a great time Heidi!

È tutto per oggi!

(For latest pics click here)

Friday, 18 March 2011


Today is the 150th anniversary of the ‘Unity of Italy’, a bit like Australia Day, and thus a public holiday. I planned to go and see a bit of whatever is going on in town but I haven’t gotten further than the living room as I’m enjoying catching up with my domestic life and blog and things.

Above is my second Bargue drawing completed after 5 weeks of dedicated labour. I’m into the 3rd and last Bargue now which won’t be finished until well into next term. We work on our Bargues in the morning and in the afternoon we do life drawing, usually a new pose every day as we learn the technique.

Here is my first complete life drawing in graphite which was a 2 week pose. We are currently in the middle of a seated pose for 2 weeks which will take us up to the end of term.

The weekend before last I had a free Sunday afternoon so I hopped on my bike and headed South to explore the nearby hills. (I live on the southmost part of Central Florence so the hills behind me aren’t very far). I pushed myself and bike up the hilly road to Bellosguardo (literally ‘beautiful outlook’), which was soon surrounded by Tuscan countryside and little ‘farms’ (only 15 minutes from my house). The sun and exercise warmed me so much I had to shed my winter coat, hat, gloves, scarf, all squished into my bike basket… and for the first time in a while I was enjoying the Out of Doors without feeling like the Michelin Man, with the suns rays warming my skin through my clothes. With the growing inclination the view also increased in splendor until I reached the topmost point and looked back down on the city. It was hard to imagine all the people in Florence moving around in the shade of the city buildings when it looked so sunny from above.

Joy of joys was the discovery of a little park in Bellosguardo with lovely patches of sunfilled grass which I ran towards with abandon and hurled myself down upon my coat (said grass being a touch wet) to let the sun soak into bared skin of legs, arms, stomach (everywhere possible while still remaining descent!). Heavenly, heavenly, heavenly… I dozed off during my vitamin D treatment and upon waking finally resolved that I must find a new apartment with more light if not direct rays of sun. Which is actually what I’ve done in the meanwhile and I’ll be moving, all going to plan, in 2 weeks time. My new place is a little (very little) apartment on the 4th floor in a street only a few blocks from here, closer to the Boboli Gardens of the Pitti Palace. It is “molto luminoso” (very luminous) with north and south facing windows and a rather wonderful view. I’m REALLY looking forward to having that view. It also has a fridge with a freezer which now seems like a wonderful luxury.

To see photos of Bellosguardo click here.

È tutto per oggi!

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