Nulli vendemus, nulli negabimus aut differemus rectum aut justiciam

Jump to Comments So I guess I should write an update about being in Florence.

Basically, I live in a palace. They’re still not done furnishing everything, or even with construction on the ground floor. Maybe a little history.

The palace was built at the inception of the Renaissance on one of the main roads into Florence by a noble family named Capponi. (No, not Capone.) Eventually it passed into the hands of another noble family, the Bardi, and the last one of them willed it to the Frescobaldi (there is still a Marchese (marquis) Frescobaldi) with the explicit purpose of it being used for education. It was used on-and-off during the latter 20th C. as a halfway-house for “artistic ex-criminals” and run by some nuns. The old pope even shelled out some Jubilee money to have its roof fixed in the late 90s, but it was disused by then. So anyhow they’ve had a lot of fixing-up to do. It’s almost done, fortunately. And it’s pretty seriously nice looking.

It is located next door to a church, rebuilt in the renaissance by Brunelleschi, called Basilica di Santo Spirito (which means Basilica of the Holy Spirit), or as I like to call it, St. Spirit. Apparently it is attached to an Augustine monastery, and, unfortunately, there is only one monk left (or maybe two and the other is out of his mind, I’m not sure) so the church isn’t open to visitors.

The piazza in front of the church is very nice and still has some trees. During the day there are often markets there or sometimes someone playing the violin or accordion, and during the night, noisy drunks with guitars. That’s all I have to say about that except our shutters are coming sometime within the next 7 to 10 days and not a freaking moment too soon.

I’ve only eaten good food since I’ve been here; food that would be cheap if the bottom weren’t falling out of the dollar. Even just buying prefab pasta and sauce at the supermarket is better than most things one can get at home.

My phone has been giving me trouble. I unfortunately had to downgrade the firmware on it to the baseline version back when I was in the US. So in order to upgrade it I’ve had to order a docking station for it. Fortunately amazon.de has them for just ten freaking euro (something that usually costs about 60 bucks) and with no import tariff between EU member states I totally ordered one. I’ve had less luck buying a monitor though — I’ve found one that I’ve wanted, but when I tried to buy it in a Marco Polo (like an Italian Circuit City) store I got the run-around and only ended up purchasing a mouse (which I wanted, but I also wanted a monitor dangit). I tried purchasing it online from the French eletronics megawesome tomfoolery that is FNAC, but they won’t ship it to Italy because big ticket electronic items in France have to have some sort of recycling insurance and it can’t calculate the cost if I don’t have a French address (wtf). I also tried purchasing it from Mediaworld (like an Italian Best Buy) but I don’t have a codice fiscale (like an SSN but not exactly) so I can’t buy from them online. Oh well. I’ll see what I can do this weekend.

Uh yeah. Look for a return of the photodump as soon as I finish shooting this second roll of film and get it developed. What else do you want to know about? Put it in the comments.


  • I want to know about the other students you are there with. What they are studying, what kind of people are they, what backgrounds do they come from, etc.

    I want to know a little bit more about the city itself. Do you feel “right back at home?” Or does being in a new residence make the city feel completely new all over again? Have you been to any of your old favorite hangouts (if there were ever any “favorite hangouts” to begin with)? If so, remind me what they are.

    I want to know if you’ve already gotten sick of the nearly exclusive porcine selection of Italian markets. At least, that’s what I seem to remember you complaining about last time when you were very close to getting ready to come out (i.e. that you were sick and tired of pepperoni, ham, bologna, etc.). I also would like you to clarify what you were saying about “prefab pasta” since it sort of confused me. Are you saying it’s both cheaper *and* tastier to purchase Prego/Ragu? Or are you saying that Prego/Ragu is one of the qualities (either cheaper or tastier than homemade) while the homemade pasta sauce is the other of the qualities?

    I want to know how you get money. Do you go to a bank and cash in checks from home? Is there (amazingly!?) an ATM there that works with your debit card? I would also like to know if Italy is like Japan (where “cash is king”) or if Italy is a more debit-friendly credit-friendly checkbook-friendly nation.

    I would like to know what good blinds are going to be doing you regarding noisy drunk guitarists. Blinds do not a “quality” sound reducer make. I guess they might offer *some* relief, but I’m guessing you’re suggesting something more optical. If so, you omitted it! (Since bright lights are not intrinsic to noisy drunk guitarists!) I’m also wondering if your comment about the blinds implies … you have no windows at all? O_o (Because, again with the blinds argument, I’d think that windows would be much better than blinds for blocking out sound.)

    Perhaps most important of all … if you are in the market for a monitor, I’d like to know how you’re doing this, i.e. getting online, updating your weblog, etc. Roommate? Computer in a public area somewhere? Net café? Maybe you said it already and I oafishly missed it, but please forgive me then and say it once more.

  • Some of your other stuff I’ll address in another post, but I’ll hit two things here.

    The shutters (not blinds) are solid pieces of wood that go inside the window frame, essentially turning the window frame into a little hatch. As places like this in Italy have windows that are only made of a single pane of plate glass, the shutters rather should make a good deal of difference in the noise level.

    I’m in the market for a monitor because my macbook, while a very nice computer, doesn’t have a screen that is at all useful for long-term viewing, just like most laptops. I have to look down and also the contrast changes significantly with even slight changes in the screen orientation, etc. Seeing as I will be reading a lot of online copies of journal articles and writing papers, my computer interface is of paramount importance.