Florence Diaries. Day-2.

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Today morning I decided to take the short train trip to the nearby town of Arezzo, where Benigni had shot some of the landmark scenes for his film ‘Life is Beautiful’. It is a lovely little town.

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Italy is pigeon country. There are pigeons everywhere and nobody seems to be bothered. The pigeons don’t create a rukus here.

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The summer heat was a little better today but even then nothing like some tree cover for the high noon.

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Back to Santa Maria Novella and I paid a visit to a bakery we had been last time, a few years ago. Bought a bag of cantucci, a double-baked hard biscuit full of almonds. A must-try if you are visiting Italy.

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Also paid a visit to the spanking new Museo Novecento, the museum for modern art in Florence. Italy is still very much in love with the Renaissance and as a result modern art seems to have taken a back seat (at least through the eyes of the museums). There is a fantastic collection in Milan, right next to the Duomo, which displays a few Picasos. Other than that there is not much of a representation in Italy. The Museo Novecento tries to correct that mistake, at least for artists from Tuscany. The museum displays two pieces by Morandi, my favorite Italian modern artist. He has got a spartan minimalist approach. The two pieces differ by 10 years in age and the evolution of Morandi’s style is clear to see. Painting almost similar still life objects (cups and vessels) he has abandoned a meticulous shading style to a more modern broad-based style with limited tones. Despite the reduction in tones, his objects don’t seem to have lost any depth. In fact they appear to have more depth with well defined edges. Very subtle artist who needs all the attention to appreciate. These two pieces made my visit worthwhile for the day. And there are more from other artists.

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Sunset at the banks of the Arno, with a whole melodrama on the streets. A Chinese couple had flown all the way to Florence to shoot their wedding album. They could have chosen a more colorful month with a bit of fog for the wedding.

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There are no evenings without street performances in European cities.

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