Sunday, October 21, 2007

What is it about Florence?

What's in that bag, Marta? An Italian handbag perhaps?

I had a lovely day in Florence yesterday, meeting for lunch and sketching with Marta of Marta's Art, who is holidaying in Europe with her family. After lunch we planned to sketch. We lingered long over lunch and I had a chance to see Marta's gorgeous sketches she's been posting throughout her trip. She's managed at least a sketch a day which can be a real challenge travelling with others.

We spread our sketchbooks out over the table and Marta gave me a watercolour pan of Smalt in exchange for a pan of my new Dragon's Blood. What great names for colours - like something out of Harry Potter!

I had promised her a visit to Zecchi, my favourite art shop. Our bitter disappointment when we found it shut was only matched by the bitter weather.

It wasn't all bad because it meant I had time to show Marta one of my favourite places in Florence - Piazza Santissima Annunziata. Apart from being the site of my favourite hotel (a former convent of the Servi di Maria), this piazza is famous for Brunelleschi's Spedale degli Innocenti (Foundling Hospital) considered one of the highest points of the Renaissance architecture. The foundlings are commemorated between the arches in lovely blue and white medallions of glazed terra-cotta by Andrea della Robbia.

The hospital with its inner courtyard and fabulous loggia is a sketcher's paradise. We didn't sketch a thing! This is the third time I've carried my sketching kit to Florence and not made a single mark. Sometimes I think it's because I'm overwhelmed by choice. This time the cold had a heck of a lot to do with it.

Sorry for the awful weather, Marta. But it did snow when I brought my daughter (below) here in 2005.

We did manage to fit in a promised visit to the Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella where Marta met an angel that I really must sketch some time!

My photos don't do her justice. Sorry Marta, I really shouldn't operate a camera without my glasses.

I see from your blog you got lost after you left me at the station. I also see you made use of the time to sketch the Ponte Vecchio. So it turns out only I failed to sketch in Florence!

There's always next time. Marta is determined to come back to that art shop.

It was a delightful experience to meet a blogging friend face to face. I recognised her immediately from across a square. Marta had a wonderful and generous surprise for me, but that will have to wait for a future post.


Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

How fun! I haven't visited Marta's blog yet, but now I definitely will :)

mARTa said...

Robyn, my visit to florence was made so specail because of the afternoon with you...mile grazie per tutto! Getting lost is part of the adventure! I have some lovely one in today in Barcelona but I can´t find wireless internet access so my blog is void of color, which makes me must switch from italian to spanish...Salud!

caseytoussaint said...

What fun - I'm so glad you two got together. Now I'm looking forward to meeting Marta next week.

dinahmow said...

"what is it about Florence..."
Impossible to say in a comment space!
And thanks for the snow pic.I only ever knew Florence in sun or rain!

Anita said...

Snow in Florence - In October? Brrrr! Sounds like you had a great time!

PS You've been tagged - see my blog!

Anonymous said...

It looks like you've enjoyed the time, in spite of the weather....we also have very cold weather here, so when Casey and I meet Marta next week, it will be many "chocolat's chauds" for us! so strange to see snow in florence!

Joan said...

It sounds like you and Marta had a great time together, even if you didn't get to sketch together. It looks like it was mighty cold for plein air. I had that in Germany too last week. I was disappointed I couldn't sit out and sketch there. Thanks for sharing your photos of your fun meeting.

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