Wine Town and Gelato Festival
- a souvenir -
As "Wine Town" festival participants, Brian and I each got a nice wine glass to carry around Florence with us. (We also each got a pouch on a necklace so we would have a place to store our glasses between tasting venues. I'm not kidding - we had wine glass jewelry.) We brought these glasses back home with us, and in the past year, they have been our favorite wine glasses. I write this post now, because one of them was broken tonight.
Like so many of our days in Florence, we stayed in the apartment through lunch, and then ventured out for the evening. Both the Wine Town festival and Gelato Festival began the day before, and we already had our tickets (and wine glasses). We went through Piazza Santa Maria Novella and Piazza Republica, which were common parts of our walk, and we sampled a few varieties of gelato. Our main goal, though, was to see as many of the performances associated with the wine festival as we could. Tastings of wine were not cheap, and so we had no more than our initial tickets provided - maybe 7 over two days.
Performances and Wine at Palazzo Vecchio
In a room of Palazzo Vecchio, in which we had never been, we saw a couple of unusual dance performances. I find it difficult to describe the first - I hope the pictures help. The central male dancer was strapped into a very large hemisphere of steel. Instead of having his feet on the ground, his lower half was converted to round ball; as he leaned and twisted, he could roll the ball around in a dance.
The next performance had, what I would call, a gyspsy-feel to it. Two musicians and one dancer were in this group, and the dancer danced with knives. She would drop the knives over her shoulder or throw them to the ground around her feet as she danced. I thought it was scary and mesmerizing.
As we waited for the performances, we watched the people at the booths for the wine tastings. Some booths were for single wineries and might have had only one or two wines to taste. Some were for larger distributers, and there might have been thirty wines. We watches one of the hosts at one of these large tables taste each wine for himself. He systematically pour himself a small taste, smelled it, swished in it his mouth, spit it into a nearby bucket (there just for this purpose), dumped out the remaining wine, and then wipe out the glass with his cloth. We assume that he needed to know what each wine tasted like so he could talk to the patrons about them.
Music at and by the Bargello
We did a little shopping and sampled more gelato before the next performance, which was at the Bargello. This time is was a music performance. We had been in the Bargello the previous night for a solo jazz guitarist, and the next night he played again with a couple of more instruments. After that was another jazz group. Listening to music in the Bargello was great; it was one of our favorite museums of Florence and one of the places where Brian frequently held office hours.
As we walked down the street from the Bargello to the Arno, we again saw a group of street performers we had watched the previous night. There were seven violinists, a drummer, and someone with what looked like a small cello. They were dressed as wind-up toys; each of them had an amplifier strapped to his or her back, and attached to the amp was a silver-painted cardboard giant toy-winder. Having their amps on their backs meant that they could dance in elaborate formations while they played. It was great fun.
Art Exhibitions at Palazzo Strozzi
The Palazzo Strozzi Museum was open late on Saturdays, and we saw two exhibitions that night (I think they might have been free because of the festivals.) We saw a show of Renaissance art called Primavera, and a contemporary art show called An Idea of Beauty. We had a little more gelato on the way back to the apartment, and then I bought a new leather purse (my only such souvenir for myself) from a street vendor next to Piazza Republica. I cooked supper at home, then Brian went out for a late-night walk without me.
My calendar for 5/18/13 reads:
Stayed home through lunch. Out for ice cream then shows at P. Vecchio. Shopped for postcards. Ice cream. Music and wine at Bargello. P. Strozzi Primavera and Beauty shows. Ice Cream and home for a late supper. B went out for a walk late without me. (Bought new purse).