Petrified irreverence

Posted July 20th, 2006 by Sylvia S Tognetti and filed in Paradox, Trip reports, Tuscanophilia

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If you have ever been to Florence, here is a detail you might have missed, that is right smack on the front of the main cathedral. This picture is the final in a series of carvings of angels that surround the main doors. As the story goes, the first in the series (pictured below the jump), holds a tax bill in his hands and passes it on up to the next angel, who passes in on to the next, who points to the next… until it gets to a few who can’t seem to hear, until it gets to the last one, who dismisses it with this infamous gesture. According to Maurizio Ranieri, a Florentine who brought it to my attention, the series is the story of Florence – which you really can’t separate from the Florentines themselves, without whom the place would not exist. A place where miracles, like the construction of that dome that sits on top of the cathedral, according to Malaparte, are not performed by saints.
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I have added a few more of these angels below the jump so they don’t slow down the loading of the page any further. I am on a high speed connection at the moment but, while on travel these past few weeks, I was reminded just how slow dial-up internet can be – particularly when there are pictures… And prices for high-speed wireless access in hotels that have it is highway robbery.

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One Response to “Petrified irreverence”

  1. maurizio says:

    Il gesto dell’angelo,in toscano, è detto il gesto dell’ombrello oppure “mio nonno portava l’ombrello così!” è uno dei tanti modi per dimostrare come i fiorentini ed i toscani in generale si sentono di casa in paradiso. Begnini riportava l’episodo del padre che, di notte, nel campo osservando lo spettacolo maestoso delle stelle diceva “Quante stelle stasera ci sono…” e concludeva il tutto con una pesante bestemmia.
    Noi toscani, quando amiamo o stimiamo una persona, spesso la offendiamo bonariamente a dimostrazione proprio del nostro affetto genuino, sincero.
    Nella nostra presunzione, immensa io credo, noi pensiamo che Dio sia contento di aver inventato i toscani o forse, è meglio, noi sotto sotto crediamo che Lui sia proprio nato a Firenze ma non lo voglia dire.

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