We arrived in Florence yesterday (that's me and my mother, for those who aren't aware). The only other countries I've visited before are Canada (which is pretty much like the U.S. but with funny road signs) and Mexico. Coming back from a month in Guadalajara, I was so shocked in the hours after getting off the plane by how grey and colorless everything looked. I don't know about all of Mexico, but at least the parts I've been to, they sure like bright colors. Well. Getting off the plane in Florence, I had a similar feeling: "Oh my gosh, this place is even more drab and colorless than the U.S.!"
We arrived at our B&B utterly exhausted, of course, but it was 4pm (not a good time for a nap) so I went for a walk to familiarize myself with the neighborhood. Holy freakin' cow. There are incredible, and I mean, included-in-Gardner's-friggin'-Art Through the Ages-famous statues and buildings everywhere. The Duomo is unbelievable. Gazing at it, I understood the term "Wonders of the World." Photos do it no justice whatsoever. I wish I was a painter so I could capture the--the--I don't even know how to describe it. Maybe I will write a poem about it or something.
But anyway, getting back to the colorlessness: I have blogged before about my theory that the eye/brain in some sense has to choose between processing color and processing contrast. That would be why the great old black and white movies are ruined by colorization: it detracts from the subtlties of contrast between light and darkness. And so I thought, perhaps that is why Florence is so drab: it's all about statues and edifices whose beauty is in the complexity and subtlety of form and shape. If there was more color, you wouldn't see the shadows as clearly, so you wouldn't see the shape as well.
The Duomo, though. Oh my God, the Duomo. It has color--quiet colors--light green and pink marble. Again, I am at a loss for words to decribe the astounding beauty of that magnificent structure. Anyway, those were some first impressions. I will probably write more later ...