Sunday, May 23, 2004

May 23, a sunny Sunday in Florence and it's Savonarola's birthday. After a great breakfast of coffee and hot rolls, we headed out to our local Internet point and found ourselves running to a large piazza where a parade was underway. Brightly colored banners, a giant red fleur de lis, one of the symbols of Florence, and trumpeters, drummers, and 'nobility,' all in Renaissance dress, reds, blues, yellows, led the parade to the Ponto Vecchio (old bridge), where rose petals were thrown off the bridge to honor Savonarola.

Serendipity, for yesterday, we had just visited the San Marco Basilica and cloister where Fra Angelico painted his famous murals. Just yesterday, we had stood in Savonarola's old office, study and cell. I saw what was purported to be his bible, a bible from the 14th Century, complete with tiny, very neat marginal notes -- in Latin.
Savonarola, a charismatic preacher, much loved by the people, wanted to end corruption in government. He's famous for his bonfires of the vanities, where even Botticelli threw a few of his paintings. Influential and feared, Savonarola was actually successful in leading the republic, for a time. But support waned (I'm not sure why, no research tools here). The poor guy said he would walk on hot burning coals to prove his integrity, but then he changed his mind. (No kidding!). But it was too late. He was arrested, tried, hung, and burned . . . in the Piazza Signoria. Right where yesterday we saw a Savonarola plaque in his memory. So today, rose petals were thrown to honor his birthday. He remains an enigmatic character, perhaps reflective of the Italian persona. Efforts have been made to canonize him, so far unsuccessful, perhaps because he relied on prophecy a bit much. A mystical, mysterious man. Makes me wonder who else was influenced by Savonarola. Michelangelo? See Botticelli's painting titled Calumny to see his take on the trial of Savonarola.

The murals by Fra Angelico were beautiful, angels with psychodelic rainbow wings, evocative faces, a sense of piety everywhere, the cloister still the same as those old days back in the 15th Century. Sadness mixed with beauty. Happy Birthday, Savonarola!

Hello from Florence. Just two more days here -- and six churches to go.

Be well. When you see roses, think of Savonarola.


3 comments: said...

stumbled across your page while looking for some info on the Paolio. Caught a wonderful documentary on it last night. Very expressive and emotional.
I think your writing for that day was just as good.
May the road rise up to meet you and the wind be always at your back.

Beth said...

Hello, Dave. Thanks for your nice note. I think you are the first person who has actually posted a comment to my blog, but I did want to correct one idea on one of the pages you visited re Florence and Savonarola. We were travelling without books for research, and I don't speak or read Italian.

My first impression was that since the occasion seemed so joyful, a parade, music, solemn promenade, vividly colorful medieval costumes, with Savonarola himself appearing all in black, carrying a bible, that it was in celebration of his birthday, but once home I found that the parade occurs annually to honor his death, and somehow that seems very appropriate.

The travel notes were written hurriedly, often with the internet cafe rates very evident, but still a connection to home and to share the immediacy of travel, especially since we were seven months on the road (a reality I still can't believe).

I like blogging for it gives me a reason to write, yet the issue of audience always seems elusive, perhaps that's part of its charm. Thank you for connecting and commenting. I wish you well. Beth

monkeyfast said...


Better than klear action whitening and ION whitening systems! Half the
price too!

Welcome to, is proud to present to you the first ever at home
laser whitening treatment. We are bringing you the most popular in
office treatment at home for the fraction of the cost! One laser
treatment at a doctors office can run around $600 as shown above. This
is very exciting news for anyone who is looking into whitening their
teeth professionally in the comfort of their own home. Best of all you
can have this plasma light technology for much less! The light is yours
to keep and can be used as many times as you like! You can achieve
professional results in less than 7 days! Our method also works in
between your teeth and deep down below the enamel. This procedure will
not damage or wear away the enamel.

How does it work?

Its very simple. The Plasma light will increase the breakdown speed of
Carbamide Peroxide, in turn releasing more oxygen which speeds up the
bleaching process. The oxygen acts as a bleaching agent that whitens
your teeth safely and effectively. This is why you can pay as much as $600
to get your teeth whitened professionally.

Plasma Laser Light Technology!

Never before seen in any at home whitening kit! Just Like at a real in
office visit, all our deluxe kits have the plasma light tool to
accelerate the whitening process. No one else offers this authentic at
home tool. Its Very easy to operate and safe to use. Accelerate your
whitening by as much as 300% with this method! This means whiter teeth
in less time!

At last, you no longer have to visit your dentist for that
white bright smile you have always wanted!

Our professional dental whitening kit is the same product used by many
of the top cosmetic dentists. Why consider paying up to $600, when for a
few short minutes per day, you to can achieve the exact same results in
the comfort of your own home. Best of all, it will cost you a fraction
of the price!

40% stronger than an in-office visit...

To provide you with superior results, our fully licensed line of
products is one of the industry's strongest and most effective tooth
whitening formulas. The main active ingredient is 35% Carbamide Peroxide.
This concentration is 40% stronger than most dentists use during an in
office visit!

A little more about our 7 day plasma treatment:

* This procedure will NOT harm or damage your tooth's enamel.

This system can't be found in stores!

We are the only internet site who sells this new product!

We are the exclusive seller of this NEW at home treatment!

You and your friends can take advantage of this treatment with just one
plasma light!

Plasma light treatment only takes on average 7 days to complete!

Results are 100% guaranteed and 100% safe! for more informationCLICK HERE