A Wanderer in Florence eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 333 pages of information about A Wanderer in Florence.
contribution to the feast a model of this very church we are studying, the Baptistery, of which the floor was constructed of jelly, the pillars of sausages, and the choir desk of cold veal, while the choristers were roast thrushes.  Rustici further paved the way to a life free from care by appointing a steward of his estate whose duty it was to see that his money-box, to which he went whenever he wanted anything, always had money in it.  This box he never locked, having learned that he need fear no robbery by once leaving his cloak for two days under a bush and then finding it again.  “This world,” he exclaimed, “is too good:  it will not last.”  Among his pets were a porcupine trained to prick the legs of his guests under the table “so that they drew them in quickly”; a raven that spoke like a human being; an eagle, and many snakes.  He also studied necromancy, the better to frighten his apprentices.  He left Florence in 1528, after the Medici expulsion, and, like Leonardo, took service with Francis the First.  He died at the age of eighty.

I had an hour and more exactly opposite the Rustici group, on the same level, while waiting for the Scoppio del Carro, and I find it easy to believe that Leonardo himself had a hand in the work.  The figure of the Baptist is superb, the attitude of his listeners masterly.

CHAPTER V

The Riccardi Palace and the Medici

An evasion of history—­“Il Caparra”—­The Gozzoli frescoes—­Giovanni de’ Medici (di Bicci)—­Cosimo de’ Medici—­The first banishment—­Piero de’ Medici—­Lorenzo de’ Medici—­Piero di Lorenzo de’ Medici—­The second banishment—­Giuliano di Lorenzo de’ Medici—­Leo X—­Lorenzo di Piero di Lorenzo de’ Medici—­Clement VII—­Third banishment of the Medici—­The siege of Florence—­Alessandro de’ Medici—­Ippolito de’ Medici—­Lorenzino de’ Medici—­Giovanni delle Bande Nere—­Cosimo I—­The Grand Dukes.

The natural step from the Baptistery would be to the Uffizi.  But for us not yet; because in order to understand Florence, and particularly the Florence that existed between the extreme dates that I have chosen as containing the fascinating period—­namely 1296, when the Duomo was begun, and 1564, when Michelangelo died—­one must understand who and what the Medici were.

While I have been enjoying the pleasant task of writing this book—­which has been more agreeable than any literary work I have ever done—­I have continually been conscious of a plaintive voice at my shoulder, proceeding from one of the vigilant and embarrassing imps who sit there and do duty as conscience, inquiring if the time is not about ripe for introducing that historical sketch of Florence without which no account such as this can be rightly understood.  And ever I have replied with words of a soothing and procrastinating nature.  But now that we are face to face with the Medici family, in their very house, I am conscious that the occasion

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A Wanderer in Florence from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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