A New Appreciation for Mondays
After only 1 ½ days in the world’s most romantic city, our tour guide, Vania, a native of Venice, met us at our hotel and guided us, suitcases in tow, through the narrow cobblestone streets of Venice, over two bridges and through two campos, to a waiting water taxi, which took us to the Venice train station.
At the train station, Nathan’s lovely wife pulled the group train ticket out of her packet of travel documents and confirmed that we had 45 minutes until our train, the #10 to Florence, departed.
Thirty-five minutes later, Nathan’s lovely wife had every person in the group searching their bags for our ticket. After I searched my bag, I sat down on my suitcase in the middle of the train station and began playing iPhone solitaire.
Five minutes after that, a panicked Vania went to the train office with a photocopy of our ticket and begged on our behalf for mercy. She came back sadly shaking her head. I could tell she was worried about having to take care of the stupid Americans for another day.
That was when a conductor for the #10 train, seeing the looks of dismay on our faces, approached us. “Did you lose a ticket?” he asked.
“Si, si!” we all yelled in unison. “GRAZIE!”
He held up our ticket. Apparently, someone had found our ticket on the ground and turned it in. I turned to the relieved Vania and said, “You’ll have a good story to tell at Sunday dinner.”
She smiled for the first time all morning.
If Venice is the world’s most romantic city, Florence has to be the most artistically inspired city on the planet. It’s the birthplace or chosen home of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Dante, Botticelli, and Galileo.
And for those impressed something a little more modern (and the architecture of today’s high heels), Florence is the birthplace of the great fashion designers Roberto Cavalli, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Guccio Gucci.
It’s most famous resident, though, is a 17-foot marble statue named David.
The David’s story is interesting. He was commissioned to a sculptor named Agostino in 1464, who hacked away at the legs for a year or so before losing the commission in 1466 when his master, Donatello, died.
A guy named Rossellino took over the job but quickly lost the contract. The hunk of marble lay neglected and exposed to the elements for 25 years before a young Michelangelo beat out Leonardo da Vinci for the job of completing some kind of statue of David.
He got the commission on August 16, 1501. And then the 26-year-old got up and started the job on a Monday morning.
Michelangelo famously worked under the premise that David – now the standard of artistic perfection — was in the stone all along. The rough edges just had to be chipped away. It’s a metaphor for us all.
And isn’t it great to know that inspiration is possible on a Monday?