The crowds are starting to build up in Florence as Easter nears. On our long walk today we actually ran into our first people jam in front of San Lorenzo Church, the church built by the Medici’s, the powerful Renaissance banking family. Florence is in a frenzy getting things in order for the big tourist season to come. Overnight, plazas are planted with new flowers and plants. Scaffolding is coming down to reveal newly plastered or painted buildings. Heavily walked streets have been repaved with new cobblestone or old cobblestone repaired. Streets are being hand swept. It’s Easter and company’s coming! The buzz on the streets is almost electric.
As we walked today, we came upon two churches that are not big tourist draws in this art rich city. They were beautiful and historic and one was breathtaking upon entry. The first, San Marco, is known as Fra Angelico’s church because he designed it and it contains some of this great artist’s best paintings. It was also the church led by Savonarola, a reform minded priest before Luther, who was eventually burned at the stake for his views. The next was the Church of the Annunciation, set in a rustic square and an interior that was a riot of color and art and texture. I was totally intrigued by its haunting beauty and by the image of the Virgin Mary from the early 1200s. I was struck by the thought that within these two churches are a vast accumulation of great art, more than in many city museums in other parts of the world, and yet, here in Florence, they get little to no mention and Kathy and I simply stumbled into them on a walk. WEG