Montag, 23. April 2018

March −The First full month

I know it's already the end of April but...succede(it happens)!

After my first full month in Florence it is time for another update. Someone new moved in at the beginning of the month. Also, a rare thing happened. It snowed so much that the cupola was actually covered in snow. Well, at least for a day.

Life was slowly getting more normal. I still did touristy things and visited even more museums before university started for me. First, I visited the church of Orsanmichele. Once a grain storage, it now is a small, beautifully painted building with a museum on the top floor (just opened on Mondays and Saturdays) close to the Palazzo Vecchio (or della Signoria). Across the small street is also the entrance to the house of Dante with a frescoe of the author and poet above the entrance door. On my way back home the Palazzo Medici Riccardi caught my eye. So off I went to another museum!

I got another chance to pay just a booking fee for a museum with my student card. I spontaneously decided to visit the Galleria dell Accademia and see the famous David from Michelangelo −the original one− myself. To be honest, I don’t get it. I mean sure, the David was incredible. But…it is just an overcrowded mini-version of the Uffizi. And with that I mean that it took me just 60 to 90 minutes to see everything and buy souvenirs. It’s just The David with the slave statues and some church art, one room with marble figures and two rooms with renaissance music-instruments. When I left it was still early enough to walk slowly to Santa Maria Novella and take a look at what changed there (I got like 4 hours until the church closed).

And Santa Maria Novella pleased me far more than the Accademia. One chapel reopened after my last visit in 2013, the police school (or whatever it was) was relocated and you didn’t have to leave your bags at the entrance anymore in order to see all the frescoes in that part of the complex. Add three more rooms with a temporary exhibit on the restauration of some of the frescoes and some clothes of the bishops to the list. Additionally, the informational material got a makeover. The brochure you get with your ticket has now a nice and correct plan of the complex on it, there are plates with information everywhere and you can even take a plate with you and read description to every fresco in English and Italian. Overall, it was well worth the 7.50 I paid and I will definitely visit again when the restauration of the rooms with the museum shop is done.

Same goes for Santa Croce which I visited next. So much changed there in the last 5 years that it felt like a museum/church I never visited before!
The church itself is still the first thing you get to see when you visit. There are some restauration works in progress (first of all the restauration of the tomb of Michelangelo and the family chapel/shrine) but they don’t affect the feeling that you are inside of a big mausoleo with more “ordinary” graves covering the floor and big and beautiful designed monuments for Galileo Galilei, Niccolo Machiavelli, Dante Alighieri and others along the church walls.
From there you walk to the Pazzi Chapel −also recently restored− and a walkway of graves before you enter the cloister with its finally finished exhibition about the flood of 1966.

My first university course was Archeologia Romana, and I have to say that tis course was like hell. I knew the topic but I could not understand much as the professor spoke so fast. In the afternoon, I had the first lesson of “Storia degli insediamenti medievali”. It was a nice course, not too difficult to understand and the professor was really friendly and helpful. My first lesson of Archeologia Preistorica was really different from what the course is now. We got a short introduction and were told that it will be a practical course. As I never really worked with stone tools before, this course would be very difficult for me (at least at that point).
My life outside of university got much shorter now but I was totally ok with that. That fact made me appreciate my time and the little things more. I even went out to get some pictures of the city during sunset/Blue hour and climbed the steps to Piazzale Michelangelo

Continuing doing new stuff, I went to Fiesole with my language school and visited the Palazzo Vecchio with my new roommate AND climbed the Torre di Arnolfo with her (this was new although I managed to take a picture of the same floor tile during each of my 3 visits and already visited Fiesole).

It took another week to get from rain to sunshine, but this time it was for more than one day. I took the opportunity to visit Pisa with my language school during a really sunny day (I really feared to get my first sunburn) and get out of the city a bit. Although it was my first visit to the city, it was really easy to navigate. We got some info on the city itself and its history while walking slowly to Piazza dei Miracoli. We stopped at a small church directly at the Arno bevor crossing the river and making our way to the most touristy place in town. It is the same river, but I like the view from Florence more. It is a bit less modern and more medieval (at least for me). The Piazza itself was interesting. Sure, the main sight was the leaning Tower (which is not that impressive after the first look), but depending on where you stand you can see that it is not only the tower that is leaning­–also the Baptistery and the Duomo look a bit odd.
After the guided visit with the language school, I decided to stay and buy a ticket for the Duomo, Baptistery and the Campo Santo (Graveyard). All three were much less crowded than I expected from the crowds outside.
The most interesting part was definitely the Baptistery with the opportunity to visit the gallery by climbing a staircase between the walls to see the mosaics of the floor. Also, the Campo Santo was stunning with all the different graves, characters and frescoes.

The next day was all things tradition for me. Not only was it Palm Sunday, but also Capodanno Fiorentino; the Florentine new year. Not really knowing what to expect I packed my camera and went to a gelateria in the via dei Servi with my roommate while waiting for the parade to arrive at the Chiesa di Santissima Annunziata. We were a bit late for that so we already heard the drums while exiting with a cone in the hand. It was absolutely stunning! Men and women in historical costumes, trumpets, drums, guards with crossbows and something similar to muskets– all you can wish for. We even entered the church after the parade and observed everything that happened (although we did not understand everything). This day way definitely the most memorable so far and I am still stunned when I look at the pictures I took(some below, click on my Instagram to see more of them).

This month, we also received the bill for January to the beginning of march for electricity. I never knew you could have an electricity bill of over 880 Euros just for 2 months! After that, I really got to know my roommates. Not only had I learned the hard way that living with 6 strangers from all over the world is not easy, but also to speak up no matter what the others think of you because I probably won’t see 5 of them again after I move out. The first to complain were the ones who are obviously responsible for the high bill. Not understanding that the air conditioning in the kitchen does not need to be at 31 degrees from 8 am to midnight, they complained that the others used too much light and heating. They were lucky that I was asleep when the beginning of this conversation happened. I don’t even care what they do and let them live their lives, but when it comes to actually paying more for electricity although I did not even use the air conditioning when it was snowing and well under zero degrees outside I can’t just let it be. Especially if it is obvious why that happened (and it happened before in December). So I did all I could and created a separate group to at least do our part and make a plan for using the boiler in one of the bathrooms. I don’t think the others even talked about the boiler in the other bathroom and it is still on 24/7.

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