Brother Guy for playing road-trip buddy, interpreter, and sometime tour guide. My wife, K, for giving me up for a week, for which she has been cruelly repaid with a lousy cold and flu. Mrs. Nancy Husted, for instilling a desire to see Florence-- more about her another time. Jo Walton, who never met Mrs. Husted, but definitely plays on her team. Steve Collins, actor, musician, explorer, who would never claim to be a Renaissance Man, for travel tips. And the mysterious Ex Urbe, whose writings about Rome, Florence, the Renaissance, and especially gelato were excellent preparation for a trip to Italy. Not to mention her "Spot the Saint" series, a candy-coated way of turning Christian iconography into a puzzle, invaluable in fighting glaze-over and incomprehension; I must have seen a hundred Annunciations in the past two weeks, and a hundred and fifty Madonnas With Child.
The costly all-the-museums-you-can-eat Firenze Card made gluttons of brotherguy and me. It confers the privilege of avoiding ticket lines and the necessity for reservations, so if one likes, one can imagine that one is a distant Medici cousin or something. However, its clock is ticking, so the value-minded will race to cram in enough museum visits to break even on the combined admission costs in a mere 72 hours. This might be Avarice rather than Gluttony. I will need to consult Dante.
Having nothing else to do in Florence but eat and sometimes pray, we blew well past the break-even limit. The official count is not yet in but I believe we did eight before Guy got on the train back to Rome and I squeezed in 2.5 before the card expired. This was not exactly sane. It sure was educational, though.
Since the Firenze Card also confers free Wifi, you'd think I'd have posted to Livejournal more while in Florence. Guess not.
I frequently found myself thanking the people of Florence for keeping all these artworks, buildings, gadgets, etc. for so many centuries, plus rescuing them from floods and fires, restoring them, and so forth. And there's one more person I'd like to thank. You know who you are.