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Bored in the Uffizi 08/01/2011

Posted by florencecapital in Uncategorized.
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c. 1910

Another class of tourists there is whom I watch, I own, in amazement, wondering why they come to Italy, since the tastes they manifest would find more gratification at Brighton, if not on Hampstead Heath when Bank Holiday comes round. They hasten through galleries and churches, ruled by their watches, dictated to by the guide-books in their hands. Their methods are so sketchy (from choice and not necessity), that few cities have sufficient attractions to detain them many hours, and one of them has been known to ask if three days was too much to give to Rome! Such come to Florence, sometimes even spend long times here, but never, I venture to say, do they see her as she is. It was lately my fortune (or misfortune?) to follow such a couple round the Uffizi. They were obviously bride and bridegroom, their appearance proved them of the rich and leisured class. They paused before a martyrdom of St. Laurence, and the husband sought information of his wife, who was quick to supply it. ‘You want to know what this is? Why, that poor chap, what’s-his-name? one of those old saints, who was martyred, put on a gridiron like a mutton chop!’ So they disposed of St. Laurence, and, wandering on, stopped again before Piero di Cosimo’s strange, whimsical dream of Perseus, where it was the bride who trusted for enlightenment to the classical learning supposed to be got in public schools. It was, however, but a broken reed to which she trusted, for all the response was, ‘Oh, I forget that old yarn, it’s nothing much anyway. Come along, aren’t we nearly at the end?’ And as they passed on, I heard his question, ‘Do you really like these old daubs?’ and the candid answer, ‘Well, honestly, now I am getting used to them I don’t mind them as much as I did at first!’

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