We are high above Florence. The tour bus allows ten minutes at Michelangelo Square. The rain begins. Drops drip off the famous David’s marble pecker. Allegories of Night and Day and Dusk and Dawn surround him. I recall a play with frontal nudity. That character sang Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” before a mirror while wielding a knife. Next is a climbing adventure, “Giotto’s Campanile” as the bell tower of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is called; cost me 350 lire. It is higher than the Pisa Leaner. I buy two damp postcards from a vendor at the top. I like a description of the view from my guidebook: “From above, historical buildings tower over a sea of red roofs, stretching out towards the Tuscan countryside.” Tourists throng the cathedral. I stop at The Pieta and remember a sailor on leave, drinking beer at the end of my Project block talking about it. He loved the word as well as the statue. In the left Nave, I meet another Pieta, smaller. Michelangelo wanted it for his tombstone, but he never finished the virgin’s face. At a statue of Mary Magdalene, a guide claims that it was not Mike’s work at all, lacks the warmth found even in the unfinished virgin’s face. I search for the painting of Dante and the Divine Comedy, no luck. I see someone I think was a year ahead of me in college. She sees me, doesn’t say a goddamned word. Amen. I brave the chilly rain and go out walking. I hit many spots in the guidebook designed for a two-day visit. The bus passes David on the way out. When I tell of this day in the future, I’ll use “pecker” for some, “penis” the rest.
Thomas M. McDade is a 74-year-old resident of Fredericksburg, VA, previously CT & RI. He is a graduate of Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT. McDade is twice a U.S. Navy Veteran serving ashore at the Fleet Anti-Air Warfare Training Center, Virginia Beach, VA and at sea aboard the USS Mullinnix (DD-944) and USS Miller (DE / FF 1091).
See more from Thomas in 8.1