Florence is a nice change from the huge crowds of Rome, and the weather is cooler. Today we lined up to see DAVID in all his glory—just as Michelangelo sculptured it long ago in 1501-02. Beside David’s statue were many other bodies, torsos, and marble works that reminded Pat and me of her own outstanding work in Pietra Santa, Italy back in the 1970s. We are fortunate to have the results of Pat’s marble sculpturing in our library.
We broke away from the group and ate some delicious homemade vegetable soup at a small café before doing some shopping and partaking of some gelato before returning to our hotel for naps. In the states we hardly ever eat ice cream but this Italian gelato is outstanding.
Although this is a doll tour, we’ve not seen any dolls yet in this first week—although the group has certainly talked lots about dolls. It is an amazing group of doll collectors, doll dealers, and doll experts. We learn so much in the numerous side conversations between and among the 35-member group. Marshall Martin, the #2 leader, handles antique dolls on the Antique’s Doll Shows on national TV and Lynn Murray, our tour leader is a past president of the UFDC (United Federation of Doll Collectors) and an expert on all aspects of dolls plus being a wonderful person and pleasant to travel with. Her other assistant, and sister, Anne, is also knowledgeable and a good back up to Lynn. Last evening Pat ate next to a group of doll members from Virginia and I had breakfast with the same group this morning—all accomplished women with stories of their nursing, teaching careers and connections with the doll world. Many of their stories are similar to Pat’s long-term interest in dolls.
Italy’s history goes so far back! We got in a cab in Rome and asked the woman driver to take us to a ‘modern art museum.’ She told us, “In Italy anything up to 300 years old is ‘modern art.’ When we think of the USA being merely 250 years old seeing the Coliseum (built in 80 AD) is absolutely amazing. Of course it was reconstructed in the 1805 and again in 1937, and is continually repaired as thousands and thousands of people walk through it every day.
I remember being in Florence in the mid 1980s on Brunswick Yarns’ business with our VP, Ernie Dandeneau and designer, Jennie Harper. We attended a needlework show here and met our Greek friends, the Molokotos family for a late dinner. We’ also met a couple of bright, young British designers who were out of money and asked me for a loan. Since we planned to work with them on a design project, we loaned them what they needed and deducted it later from their bill. Their names were Val and Jill and they came to a Brunswick Yarns’ sales meeting in Pickens, SC to present their take on what was happening in the design world—most entertaining and our sales force loved those Brits.
I have learned this trip to travel much lighter and wash one’s clothes along the way—especially when we’re staying for 3-4 days in the same hotel.
Spent much of today at the Uffizi Museum in Florence. We’ve seen most of the famous European art museums on these tours.