Wednesday 26th March 1997

Last night was the worst nights sleep I have had in a long while. The Spaniards came in at 4 saying ‘Get up we want you to have something to drink’we all just told them to F off and at 5.30am Toby came in to check that we were all in our beds? We woke up at 8.30am after a very bad nights sleep. I meant to have a shower this morning to wash my hair but I just simply couldnt be bothered. I had a very brief breakfast of a cup of hot chocoalte and a piece of revolting cardboard bread. Group A set off really early at 9am. Toby was still asleep on the sofa in the hall when Group A left and so Tom put an alarm clock on his stomache in the hope that it would wake him up. It didn’t and it was ringing for what felt like hours! Eventually Lindsay went and turned it off but he stillnever moved. When we were about to leave at half 9 Charlie woke him and we ended up in leaving about 10 mins late.

We headed off to Or San Michele where there are niches all around the building which have particular statues in representing each of the niches, some of them are copies witht he original being in the Bargello. After that we had a coffee and I brought a bottle of water because it was going to be quite a long time before we came out of the Bargello. So after all of our cappuccinos we headed across the road to the Bargello only to find that it isnt open until 12 so we had a quick think as to what we would do instead and Charlie decided on Santa Maria Novella. It was about 15 mins walk away but we all eventually got there. The facade is done by Alberti apart from the bottom section with the pointed arches which was Gothic therefore earlier. The rest of the church was also GOthic. On the interior we saw the Holy Trinity by Massacio and some frescoes by Ghirlando who was the teacher of the young Michaelangelo. We sat outside for a while and I got ten postcards and stamps and I stuck the stamps on and we headed back to the hotel. We had lunch at the cafe just next to the hotel again, well Lindsay, Bettina, Toby and I did. I had a dish of ravioli, tiramisu and a glass of wine. I then came inside and I wrote mypostcards all nine of them and I wrote some more of my diary. Lindsay had a little siesta and I spotted that the Spaniards must be leaving this afternoon as all of their bags were on the loggia – absoloutly brilliant news. I am debating as to call the parents or not, I may tomorrowjust to tell that I am fine and that it is gorgeous out here. Apparently it cost 90p a minute so I would have to be very quick. We had our afternoon session with Tom and we were greeted downstairs at 3.30pm with the news that we weren’t actually going up the duomo today which was a shame and that Charlie would take us up on Saturday afternoon. We still went to the Ospedale degli Innocenti (the Floundling Hospital or the Orphanage) It was done by Brunelleschi in 1417 and it had four new things in the open ground floor loggia with the inviting steps leading up to it, the measurements of all the workers were the same and the fact that it was a place where iligitimate children were accepted and looked after – even today it is part of the social services. There is a courtyard, a room for dormitaries and a chapel which we can see from the exterior.The Medici’s long after it was built came and added a fresco in one of the ceilings of the archways and put a coat of arms on the front and called it their own. We then walked back towards the hotel and went to Santa Trinita. Again the exterior is about 16th century mannerism as you can see all of the broken pediments and extra pretruding bits and bobs when you go into the churchnyou can see once again that the interior is Gothic but if you look even closer there was originally a much smaller Romanesque church which the facade of has been kept and it is now behind the facade today. It is in this church that Ghirlandio’s frescoes are of St Francis and of the story of the little boy who fell out of a window in the street where the church is and was then told by a vision of St Francis to get up and walk and so he did. THe tomb of Sasetta and his wife – the Medici’s banker – not the painter – is also int here along with the alter piece of the Adoration of the Shephers (also by Ghirlando) which has Joseph looking nervously over his right shoulder and the three shepherds show influences of Flemish painting in particular, Hugo van de Goes and the cradle is an empty tomb with Latin writing and a garland on the tomb. The Adoration of the Magi by Gentile de Fabriano was in the church but it has been removed to the uffizi. We then came back to the hotel and I sat on my bed trying to remember everything from this afternoon. For supper we went to a pizza place – all of us together and we saw Hettie Harvey coming out which was most strange. I had the usual tomato and mozzerella salad which was again delicious. For pudding I had the same as last night which was delicious and I think that I may buy some before I go back. Apparently jeans are amazingly cheap – £15 for all shapes and sizes and colours. I have to say – I am quite tempted at the thought of buying Hugo a wallet if I could find him a nice cheap one. We came back after supper and played some cards and had a very amusing time hearing lots of Toms stories of when he took young children around the National Mars and Venus by Boticelli story, Picasso’s girlfriend story and an old artist asking if new or old – no telephone lines and how new must have all had a cable. All highly amusing. Sue went to bed pissed – pray that she wont snore tonight. Apparently the new lot are German which could be even worse than the lot before but we will have to wait and see. I changed and went to bed absoloutly knackered.


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