Day 734: Graffiti Entreaty

Laetitia’s group crossed the Arno and walked up the many steps to Piazzale Michelangelo where they had panoramic views of the city.  As the group headed back toward the Ponte alla Carraia to cross the Arno again and return a hotel they passed a house with grotesque graffiti.  Over the years the terms “grotesque” and “graffiti’ have evolved new meanings very different from what they meant originally.  The term “grotesque” arose during the fifteenth century when Renaissance artists explored Nero’s former palace, then buried and overgrown with rooms that resembled underground grottoes or caves.  They began to produce works inspired by these fanciful forms of humans and animals that decorated the palace walls and this style of art became known as “grotesque.”  Later the word’s meaning evolved to “comically distorted.”  In Italy, a graffito was a drawing or inscription on an outside wall or other public surface intended as decoration.  The term was not originally associated with vandalism as it is today.

When Laetitia mentioned to her group that they were going to see graffiti, one man looked aghast apparently afraid that his wife would be exposed to crude sexually explicit drawings.  Laetitia stifled a smirk, suppressed making a sarcastic comment like “We’re all adults here,” and explained that in the original Italian sense of the word, graffiti was simply decorative art.  The exchange was the source of the limerick of the day.

When you’re thinking you’ll make an entreaty
Against going to look at graffiti
Don’t expect genitalia
Here in old Italia
Where it’s art, enjoy it with your sweetie.

Day 733: Hoi Polloi Ploy

What is now the Uffizi Galleria, a museum, was originally an office building that housed those who administered the government of the Medici Family.  Despite its origins, the building has been a museum, officially open to the public, since the eighteenth century.  It contains many notable art treasures including the Annunciation, by Leonardo da Vinci, and The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli.  Laetitia and her group spent the morning at the Uffizi.  After lunch, they crossed the Arno on the Ponte Vecchio.  The age of the “Old Bridge” is not precisely known, but it is mentioned in a document dated 996 A.D.  From antiquity the roadway crossing the bridge was lined with shops and that remains true today, selling everything from fine leather goods to kitsch.  There is an elevated passageway called the Vasari Corridor connecting Palazzo Vecchio with Palazzo Pitti so that the nobility wouldn’t have to rub elbows with thehoi polloi.  They viewed Palazzo Pitti from the outside, but didn’t do a tour.  Laetitia used the Vasari Corridor as the subject for the day’s limerick.

The passage Vasari’s a ploy
For bluebloods to avoid hoi polloi
As the Arno they cross
For they know that such dross
Will likely do things that annoy.

Day 732: Pino Orioli

Laetitia took her group to Museo Bargello.  Originally the Bargello was a public building housing the Capitano del Populo, “Captain of the People,” an office intended to counterbalance the power of the nobility.  In the museum collection are Michelangelo’s Bachus and Donatello’s David, in both marble and bronze.

When Laetitia went to the hotel bar late that afternoon, she learned from Felicia that she had been to Scandicci and had visited Villa L’Arcipresso.  Felicia told her that during the tour of the villa she learned that in 1928, D. H. Lawrence had arranged for the first edition of Lady Chatterley’s Lover to be printed privately in Florence with the assistance of Florentine publisher, Pino Orioli.  Italian workers who spoke no English typeset the original edition by hand.  This resulted in lots of errors and, because of its explicit sexual content, the book could only be sold under the counter.  Nonetheless, sales were brisk and the income helped Lawrence pay the medical bills associated with his declining health.  While on her afternoon excursion, Felicia had picked up an English translation of Dante’s Inferno to read in the evenings while she was on the tour.  Lawrence and his publisher were the subjects of the day’s limerick.

Past authors who penned “areolae”
Might need a Pino Orioli
Just like D. H. Lawrence
Who published in Florence
Thwarting Brits who viewed sex as unholy.

Day 731: Day Off

This was the last day of Laetitia’s second year as a Mind’s Eye Limerick Tours guide.  Last year the powers that be at Mind’s Eye headquarters, wherever that is, had given her a couple of days off and she had used them to go to the Cayman Islands.  She wasn’t so lucky this time, but they did give her the day off from leading a tour when she asked for it.  There was another party at Uncle Milt’s tonight so she spent the day putting the final touches on songs for it.

When the party crowd started asking for the songs, she was in the kitchen preparing food, so she came out with her apron on and performed the songs with Cousin Luciano and Cousin Bryn.  Cousin Alicia accompanied them on the piano.  They sang Fanny PétanqueMozart Misbehaves and Honeymoon Geography, written a few days ago while they were touring Europe.

With Alicia, Luciano and Bryn
I sing songs about folks with a yen
To err in ways comic
Though not anatomic
That I hope will make all of you grin.