You can learn a lot standing in line.
On ibuprofen for sore body parts, with a face covered in red dots and a humble spirit I stood in the Uffizi line beside PJ. We got up early and rushed out to wait in this queue, one of three we needed, or thought we needed, to endure before we could gain entry into the famous museum that houses the greatest collection of Italian Renaissance paintings in the world. For us, an event of a lifetime.
It was 8:00 a.m. The cool morning breeze off the river was refreshing. The crowds were minimal. Life seemed to be unfolding wonderfully well.
We stood at door 2 knowing it was to open at 8:15. In front of us were three college aged men from Connecticut in shorts and sandals kibitzing with each other, and a nervous couple from Toronto desperate to fit the museum into their Tuscany itinerary. Behind us stood a Chinese couple, quietly in love, waiting patiently
As the minutes passed the line grew and the crowd pressed in, their growing expectations palpable in the fresh morning air like the smell of cherry blossoms in the early spring. We watched the door.
It didn’t open.
We started to chat one another up,discussing the places we’d been, the things we’d seen… where we’d come from. The mood was friendly but heavy with anticipation. We knew our relationships would be short and enjoyed the casual interaction of strangers meeting on a journey.
But the door didn’t open.
People stopped by and asked what was going on. We didn’t know.
The door opened, a man emerged and walked down the line telling us things were delayed. Rumors of a strike began and the mood of the crowd darkened.
The door closed behind him.
We waited. People talked about their options. Most decided to stick it out. After all, how long could it be?
Then another man came out and posted a piece of paper on the bulletin board. I went up to read it, “…due to a staff meeting the doors will open at 10:30”. The rumors of a strike went rampant, and people began to leave.
It was 9:30. We’d invested time into this line. We stayed, chatting with people around us sharing our stories.
I won’t prolong this tale. We’ve all been there, waiting for a special event that hovers a fingertip beyond our grasp, wondering if we will ever reach it. We did, but not by standing in the line.
I held our place, while PJ went to a local church and bought tickets for tomorrow. I can’t wait. My fingers are crossed that the rumors of a strike are outrageous exaggerations created by nervous minds. Uh huh.
Along the outside corridors of the Uffizi are statues of all the great artists, scientists, poets and thinkers of the Renaissance that came from Tuscany. The list is impressive. I had no idea so many great thinkers and artists came from here. The ones I recognized were: Dante, Galileo, Donatelli, Americus Vespucci, Machiavelli, Botticelli … the list goes on
On the way home we wandered into the Duomo. Spectacular.
I like Rick Steve’s description: “Florence’s Gothic cathedral has the third-longest nave in Christendom. …neo-Gothic facade from the 1870’s is covered with pink, green and white Tuscan marble. …The cathedral’s claim to artistic fame is Brunelleschi’s magnificent dome, the first Renaissance dome and the modle for domes to follow.”(p. 465, Rick Steve’s Italy 2012) When they built the church they left a hole in the top for a dome even though they didn’t know how to build one. But along came Brunelleschi and the first dome was built. The paintings inside it are breathtaking.
We had Tuscan cured ham for dinner. Another great day in Florence.
Picture #1 Caftours website
Picture #2 Wikepedia
Picture #3 Sights and Culture website