The Medici sure knew a fine piece of land when they
saw it.

We had trekked all afternoon with the cypress twisting along the paths. Aged statues had very few pieces left so guessing the character became harder and harder to figure. Most were propped and suspended by awkward metal rebar and metal tubes, leaving empty space equivalent to what was missing. A few of them looked as though a game had not ended, and players took turns, rather slowly, fitting in a stone puzzle piece of the body each had been dealt.

We had visited Neptune in his abbreviated habitat. He stood rock on rock, threatening his trident at a fish, while sea deities hid beneath in the hollows crouched out of the way of him doing his business.

We had chalked the mosaics and taken the obligatory photo ops. Looking around there were literally masses of opportunities begging to be violated.

With all of the other amusements in the Baboli Gardens we were still disappointed that a high sharp wire wall had sealed off the Grotto of Buontalenti. The structure seemed to be in repair, but it didn’t look as though the maintenance man would show anytime soon. Yes, 423 years can be a very long time for fake molten rock to look rather slimy and rotten. I think they may have just got sick and tired of foreigners putting their hands all over it. The day had been planned around visiting Buonarroti’s Prisoners. Actually, the fakes, as the real works were in the Galleria dell'Academia. There, the trumpet in your head goes off for David, not the six prisoners lining the nave. Mickey thought himself a tool of god, and reckoning god created free-hand, did the same. With the frenzied spirit upon him, and chisel in hand he hacked in a cloud of dust to expose the figure locked inside the stone. These restless men are claustrophobic, possessed, struggling to free themselves from the stone. The figures were abandoned just as they surfaced from a pool of water. Perhaps he was satisfied with the bellies emerged shiny and finished like a target.  There are no apologies in the grooves from the chisel. Emotionally charged work has always intrigued me far more than the perfection of David, who in his temple is treated to reverent gazes and hushed voices.

Of course, on the flip side, Mickey may have simply been delighting in a practice of 3/D stone sketching by pulling out muscular, tanned, and sweating bodies of the workers from the Carrara marble quarries.

Oh, how we wanted to climb that dangerous looking barbed wire and walk into that chamber. It was the only way in, unless of course you climbed on top and dropped in through the ceiling cupola.

We never took these things personally.

After we had gained entrance, we reckoned we were obliged to stay until dark.
The bathing Venus was no longer alone. The mural to the back ‘looking out’ from the shelter of the grotto was a pastoral setting of wild beasts that simply glanced over the hidden place. The play of faux, relief and dimensional made the grotto look expansive. There was a nice little kitten that had followed us in apparently taking an easier route. She was a bubbly little thing the color of whipped butter making herself at home by loitering with sheep, and curling up in a Shepard’s goblet.

Michelangelo’s men were impressive in this venue. Two of the prisoners were graced there but not imprisoned by the hardened merd that had been slug everywhere around. The well endowed bearded man and the see-no-evil figure were embedded, but stood out in white form from the Mannerist sculpture that also inhabited the cave. The two were slumped over and forward, leaning into from opposite corners.

We camped in the back near Rossi’s Helen and Paris. Talking about the surreality of situations, thinking of past moments, and wondering if we would ever think of this one hence.

On our way out in the wee hours the cypress had grown eerie sparkle lights, glowing from the damp ground to the tiptops high above us.  They lit up in time, in turn, in tune with each other. How thoughtful the lightening bugs had been to enchant the garden. I half expected to see Puck fall out from behind a bush, quote a snatch of Shakespeare and disappear again into the briar.

(Kyle'd do just about anything just to hear me laugh.)


  1. I knew you were the infamous vandal of Florence!

    I'm struggling with the Muse in this one... is Chardonnay the kitten?

    Edits: "A few of them looked as though a game had not ended..."

    "Looking around there were literally masses of opportunities begging to be violated."

    "... as the real works were in the..."

    "... bubbly little thing the color of whipped butter. (new sentence?) She made herself... "

  2. Thanks, Doc.
    Yes, I know a cat named Chardonnay ... but didn't want to be too obvious with the muse.
    You did not ask, so I guess you recognized the 'two over easy'. -J

  3. I love your travel blogs with Kyle. He was a match for you. (Take that all 6 ways) Great piece.

  4. Like the piece then I loved the gardens they really are magical as is the walk through the back of the hill and down into Florence through the narrowest of streets but tenuous hold on the muse there. Yeh the two over easy worked but Chardonnay? Didn't find my camera bag while you were there by any chance?

  5. Sounds like an amazing place. But until I read Jeff's comment, I couldn't find
    the Chardonnay at all.

  6. Com'on people, I only put it out there. I can't make you think! ;) -J

  7. cryptic as ever, but i love the ebb and flo. Sure, the muse is a little overlooked, but truthfully for most of the pieces it's just plugged in, so what? good meandering storyline, weeee