Sunday, 5 April 2009

Out in the wild

I sometimes think that I'm somewhat intelligent and then the world shows me that... not really so.
There was a school trip to Pistoia. The programme was something along the lines of Churches of the mendicant orders, blah, blah, three more lines. Meeting at 0930 in front of San Francesco church in Pistoia. I went to the station, at every ticket vending machine, there was a bunch of idiots toying with the software so meantime I missed the train. Well, the trains to Pistoia go every now and then so I checked, there was another due in 20 minutes, I found it, settled onboard, read or something, then the train started moving, then there was the announcement, "Welcome onboard of Italian railways, the train stops at Firenze Campo di Marte..." Well, Pistoia is on the other side, but whatever, thought I, "... somewhere, somewhere else, San Giovanni di Valdarno, Figline Valdarno..." Holy shit, wrong train. I got off at Campo di Marte - back home, I live across the street from the station - hopped on the bus, got to SMN again, boarded the right train, got to Pistoia more than an hour late and now what. I had no clue about the exact plans because I happily forgot what stood in the e-mail.
Since I've had rigorous and demanding training in history of urbanism, among others, I knew that almost every town with a railway station has a railway street perpendicular (moreless) to the tracks and that this railway street goes to the centre. And, after all, I've already been to Pistoia although I didn't remember all the details. I went to the main square, asked for a map in the information centre, discovered that I left the shift lens behind so no architecture photography today (shit, shit, shit, it was the bestest architecture photography weather. Luckily, that sort of crisp, cold light is not so rare here as back North) and I decided to make a round of all the mendicant churches. Or those I thought mendicant.
The folks weren't seen in the vicinity of San Francesco, after all, it was eleven or so. I continued towards Piazzetta Scalceati, after all, the mendicant monks sometimes went barefoot. No trace of art historians aroud Sta. Maria a Ripalta.

Next was the San Andrea - I was surprised that it had the green and white marble facade, I thought that San Zeno, baptistery and San Giovanni Fuorcivitas are enough elaborate facades for a small town. Well, one lives and learns. No trace of art historians either.

Santa Maria del Carmine was rebuilt, nothing cool and medieval, and neither there were any art historians to be seen.

In via del Gobbo, I could see a nice example of Communism in urbanism: If the public space belongs to all, why couldn't we grab a bit of it.
San Bartolomeo: another elaborate marble facade, pretty inside, no art historians in the general vicinity.

Santissima Annunziata at Piazza dei Servi - totally empty, not a single art historian.
San Pietro - shows two facades, pretty, no art historians around.

Meantime, it got pretty warm, I took off that big thick black sweatshirt and walked around in a tank top. Natives still wear coats and furs so I think that for some, I was the sight of the day. I would welcome if they could avoid shouting at other natives and pointing at me. Maybe it's something ethnic and I should appreciate it but, hey.

I went back to the main square - no trace of art historians even around the baptistery, so I got somewhat angry and decided to go back to the station and back home. I took another route, via piazza Garibaldi... and there they were, the professor pointing at something on the portal of San Domenico.
Then the art history thing could start.

note: I yet have to learn HTML to get the layout right.
note II.: I managed somehow. Hope.

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