Ponte Vecchio looks like a structure that you’ll only find in a fantasy novel or in a video game.
That feeling of being at an imaginary place persists even when you are walking through the arched corridors near the bridge.
But when you are finally walking on the bridge, it feels like you are passing through a busy bazaar in India. Except that people with striking resemblance to Einstein might make an appearance.
I had carried along my new-found obsession for shuttered windows and old façades from Rome. Worse, I wasn’t content merely clicking them and tried to draw them in my pocket diary while waiting for lunch (with disastrous results). I guess when you are in the town where Michelangelo grew up, photography feels a bit passive – even a betrayal of sorts.
The corridor that led us to Palazzo della Signoria (where a replica of Michelangelo’s David awaited us), was lined with easels and painters practicing their craft. Some had left their tools and gone away. We saw some confused artists running around and wondered if they were dodging harassment by local police.
We knew we were seeing a replica of David but that didn’t make it any less awe-inspiring. For reasons that I have forgotten by now, I couldn’t get myself to photograph it and was perfectly content clicking random things around it. I do remember being very happy.
We spent the remaining day walking and enjoying random surprises that the streets of Florence kept springing at us.
By now the cathedrals were giving us déjà vu. On seeing one, the wife asked if we had seen it before and I said, “well, we must’ve, but in Rome”.
I was reading Huxley’s Devils of Loudon during our visit to Rome and Florence, and I couldn’t help but think of Urbain Grandier on seeing this door engraving.
Something about Ponte Vecchio drew us towards it again. It was the perfect note to the end our visit to Florence on.