Saturday, October 10, 2020

The Battle of San Martino

 Some months ago, I visited the site of the Battle of Solferino, a battle in the Italian War of Independence that indirectly led to the founding of the red Cross and the Geneva Convention.

This time, whilst I was near here for work, I took a couple of hours off to visit the site of the Battle of San Martino, where the Italians fought a bloody frontal battle with the Austrians.

Like Solferino which took place at the same time, it was a battle that took place almost by accident and the question of “who won” is open to debate. The Austrians withdrew at the end of the day, leaving an exhausted Savoyard army unable to give chase.

A huge tower was built to celebrate the battle and you can climb to the top via a spiralling internal ramp. There is also a little museum where the letters of soldiers who died in the battle contrast with the patriotic slogans on the walls.

Nearby, there is the Ossuary where the sculls and bones of the fallen decorate a little chapel.  The effect is quite unsettling.

I finished my visit to san Marino with a visit to a local vineyard to buy some wine.

The Battle of San Martino Monument, San Martino della Battaglia BS,

The Battle of San Martino Monument, San Martino della Battaglia BS,


The Battle of San Martino Monument, San Martino della Battaglia BS,


The Battle of San Martino Monument, San Martino della Battaglia BS,

The Battle of San Martino Monument, San Martino della Battaglia BS,


The Battle of San Martino Monument, San Martino della Battaglia BS,


The Battle of San Martino Monument, San Martino della Battaglia BS,


The Battle of San Martino Monument, San Martino della Battaglia BS,


The Battle of San Martino Monument, San Martino della Battaglia BS,


The Battle of San Martino Museum, San Martino della Battaglia BS

The Battle of San Martino Museum, San Martino della Battaglia BS


The Battle of San Martino Museum, San Martino della Battaglia BS

The Battle of San Martino Ossuary, San Martino della Battaglia BS


The Battle of San Martino Ossuary, San Martino della Battaglia BS


The Battle of San Martino Ossuary, San Martino della Battaglia BS


The Battle of San Martino Ossuary, San Martino della Battaglia BS


The Battle of San Martino Ossuary, San Martino della Battaglia BS


The Battle of San Martino Ossuary, San Martino della Battaglia BS


The Battle of San Martino Ossuary, San Martino della Battaglia BS



Sunday, September 20, 2020

A Day in Florence

 I have a yearly structural inspection job that I do down in a grubby industrial area close to Florence. It takes me about an hour, and then I have the rest of the day to explore Florence.


In past years I have done the obvious stuff like the Cathedral and Baptistry, so this set is about what you can see on the western side of the city. The Covid thing, meant drastically reduced crowds this year, which made photography easier. But I had my temperature measured several times and that smelly hand gel in all the places I entered is a pain. Some of the museums are closed and you cannot wander at will in the larger sites, but must follow a strict one way route.

This was the first time out with my new Nikon Z7 for a days "city exploring". Having just one body is not ideal but less of a hinderance than I expected. The 14-30 got a lot of use, as did the long end of the 24-200 for detail shots. I also took the 16mm F fisheye to experiment with. The 28PC did not get any use. The IBIS in the Z series seems to be good down to 1/15 if you take care.

My first stop was at the peaceful mostly Baroque "Chiesa di San Salvatore in Ognissanti", with its crucifix by Giotto (1315).


The next two places I wanted to see closed at 1.30 so I hurried off to the "Cappelle Medicee". This is a rather daunting place with its tall dark marble walls. You can also feel the statement of power and wealth of this banking family in this place. It is also famous for the sculptures by Michelangelo Buonarroti.

The "Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia" was a nice surprise. It is free to enter ( entrance fees in Florence are mostly extortionate by Italian standards), and you can see a lovely "Last Supper" by Andrea del Castagno, in complete peace and quiet as this place is not on the "must see tourist bucket lists".

Turning the corner I came across the "Mensa Sant'Apollonia" in the ex cloisters behind the Cenacolo. This is place now a canteen for University students and I had not read some of the Trip Advisor reviews, before innocently venturing into this place. 
I found a more agreeable place to eat lunch nearby in a trattoria that catered for the lecturers of the University, where I ate well for surprisingly little.

Last on the list of places to visit in the centre was Basilica di Santa Maria Novella. This place has a crucifix by Giotto (1288), with a early use of prospective and realism. The highlight of this monument for me was the sumptuous "Il Cappellone degli Spagnoli" with frescoes by Andrea di Bonaiuto (1345).

Here are some pictures.

Chiesa di San Salvatore in Ognissanti. Crucifix by Giotto.

Chiesa di San Salvatore in Ognissanti

Cappelle Medicee

Cappelle Medicee

Cappelle Medicee. Sculpture by. Michelangelo Buonarroti.

Cappelle Medicee. Sculpture by. Michelangelo Buonarroti.


Cappelle Medicee. Sculpture by. Michelangelo Buonarroti.


Cappelle Medicee. Museum

Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia, Last Supper by Andrea del Castagno

Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia, Last Supper by Andrea del Castagno

Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia, Last Supper by Andrea del Castagno
Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia, Last Supper by Andrea del Castagno


Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia, Last Supper by Andrea del Castagno

Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia.

Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia

The Cenacolo seen from the Mensa Sant'Apollonia. Behind those windows is the room with the fresco I posted above!

Mensa Sant'Apollonia.

Mensa Sant'Apollonia.
Mensa Sant'Apollonia.


Mensa Sant'Apollonia.


Basilica di Santa Maria Novella



Basilica di Santa Maria Novella


Basilica di Santa Maria Novella, crucifix by Giotto.

Basilica di Santa Maria Novella.


Basilica di Santa Maria Novella.


Basilica di Santa Maria Novella, crucifix by Brunelleschi.


 Basilica di Santa Maria Novella

 Basilica di Santa Maria Novella

 Basilica di Santa Maria Novella

 Basilica di Santa Maria Novella

 Basilica di Santa Maria Novella

 Basilica di Santa Maria Novella

 Basilica di Santa Maria Novella

Teatro Romano Fiesole 

Teatro Romano Fiesole 

Teatro Romano Fiesole 

Teatro Romano Fiesole 

Piazza Michelangelo, Florence