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Northern Italy Road Trip Part II

Author: Jim and Donna C. (More Trip Reviews by Jim and Donna C.)
Date of Trip: October 2010

The other sculptures were fascinating, various saints, popes and patrons. Most were pieces of the cathedral or baptistery at one time. We spent an hour but needed to move on.

Upon leaving we decided we didn't have time to do laundry so we continued our tour by catching the bus again around to the church of St. Croce. It is a big church with a beautiful marble front, but the rest of it is brick. Both Michelangelo and Galileo are buried here. Couldn't go in, so we walked around a bit then headed back for the bus and the hotel, some lunch and our class.

Had lunch where we had breakfast. Pretty good. The pastries looked wonderful but we resisted. Got up to the room around 1400. Jim rested a bit and Donna cleaned up the room a little. At 1430 we headed over to the Docent's workshop a few blocks away. We picked the hotel to be close and we were there in a few minutes. We found his place, number 6 blue, and rang the buzzer. He answered and buzzed us in.

We went up to the third floor to his small apartment. He showed us in and invited us to the rooftop for a view. It was really nice. He told us he was expecting another couple and two women from California showed up, one older one younger. They were both staying in Italy for three months on a art history foray from school. Fresco art was part of their final assignment.

We sat around his dining room table. The docent was originally from Scotland, but had been in Florence for 15 years, specializing in Fresco painting and teaching. He began with a talk on what Fresco painting, its history and science.

Fresco painting is putting color on wet plaster. As the plaster dries the color carbonizes into the plaster and becomes part of the plaster. We were then give an eight by four inch tile with wet plaster on it, and shown some pictures we could copy. We had to take the pictures and draw them as we saw them on a piece of paper. This is called a cartoon.

After completing the cartoon, we take a tool with what looks like a nail in the end of a stick then proceeded to punch holes around our design. We then lay this on the wet plaster and dab color onto the cartoon creating an outline.

Then we take the paint pigment which is basically colored dirt, place it on a piece of tile, put water on a brush and dap into the paint. We then go over the dotted outline and created the cartoon outline on the plaster. We begin to paint and color -- washing lightly layer by layer.

He helped us with the colors but basically it is our art. The session lasted about 3.5 hours or so. At the end we had a great appreciation of Fresco painting and a piece of art to take home. It was a lot of fun. We walked back to the hotel with our treasures.

Since it was only about 1900 we decided to do laundry. We loaded up one of the carry on bags with laundry and set off to find the Laundromat. Took us 15 minutes to walk, and 60 minutes or so to wash and dry.

We headed back to the hotel, looking for a place to eat dinner. Finding nothing open we ate at the hotel. Not too bad. Back down to the room to fold laundry, hang some to finish drying and off to bed. A very satisfying day.

Continue to Northern Italy Road Trip Part III

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