A Room with a View
Today’s prompt takes me back to my secondary school days when in our graduating year we had to study E.M. Forster’s novel with the same name. I remember it being an interesting book with shades of romance, tinged with history, exposing of the shallow mores of Edwardian society in Forster’s inimitable biting prose. I can still remember Mrs. Downey’s cutting remarks delivered in her frosty British accent, matching Forster tone for tone as she deconstructed the novel piece by piece.
Since then, I’ve always imagined what it would be like to walk down the river bank, with Lucy and George, cousin Charlotte and Mr. Beebe visiting museum after museum in the historic city of Florence soaking in the atmosphere of a medieval town.
It was thirty years or more before I got a chance to visit Firenze which by this time had acquired epic proportions in my mind and I could hardly contain my excitement as I watched the sun kissed hills of Tuscany roll by on a warm autumn day as the speeding Frecciarossa made its way from Rome to the Stazione Ferroviaria Santa Maria Novella. The undulating landscape kissed golden brown by the summer sun unfolded itself, the fields ripe with autumn colours in shades of gold and brown and yellow ochre with pink roof tops peeping from behind the magnificent Cypress trees.
And as I got off the train and rolled my strolley down the cobbled streets towards the unmistakable magnificent Dome of the Duomo visible from every spot my heart beat faster as I approached my hotel in Via dei Calzaiuoli just around the corner from the Battistero in front of the Duomo. I quickly checked in and dumped my bag to set off to the Galleria degli Uffizi determined to beat the rain in a darkened sky. And what day it was wandering through room after room of Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Michaelangelo with the words of Rick Steves unfolding the significance of each painting.
I wandered past towards the Arno and crossed the famous Ponte Vecchio before making my way back to the Piazza della Repubblica just behind my hotel. I sat sipping my hot coffee watching people throng the cobbled square to share a coffee or take a ride on the carousel waiting patiently on the other side. streets of medieval Florence where merchants once walked by in buckled shoes in horse carriages now replaced by throngs of tourists of every hue, soaking in the atmosphere charged with history. And I sat in the corner of the sipping a coffee while a solitary carousel waited patiently for the people strolling through the square to take a ride.
My brief two days tramping the streets of medieval Florence where merchants once walked by in buckled shoes in horse carriages now replaced by throngs of tourists of every hue, were blissful as I soaked in the atmosphere charged with history.
Gazing up at a perplexed David in the Accademia, wondering why he was confined to this open space and not out in the open where was supposed to be, I could imagine the confusion in young Lucy’s mind as she grappled with her feelings of first love.
My Florentian holiday was just a taste of the beauty of Tuscany and I can hardly wait to go again with time to absorb and savour the beauteous splendour of this ancient city.