Sunday, 20 March 2011

Kosher and Catholic on the same day

Kosher and then... March 11, 2011

Today we took the tour bus for the second time, but this time Alden was with us.

We listened to the same spiel regarding the various sites, but they were out of sync with the trip. Tour buses are kinda hit and miss here, and a lot depends on the staff.

We hopped off at the grand synagogue and went for a look inside. We had to go through a metal scanner and put our keys and stuff in bins, just like the airport.
Inside, we entered the garden outside the synagogue, and it was pretty nice, but nothing to write home about. Inside the synagogue was a different story. The walls are very ornate and have tiny designs all over them. The walls are also HUGE . It must have taken years to make all those designs on them. There were chairs upstairs for the women.

This is the only synagogue in Florence and it's a Sephardic one and very Orthodox. Women have a covered section on the main floor or they are allowed to be upstairs during services but we were allowed free range for viewing.

There was also a museum that had many, many old artifacts and Judaica of major life cycle events, like births, Bar Mitzvahs, etc. One special and very fancy “dress” was for Bris. It looked like a doll sized extra long wedding dress. We all wondered why they'd make it so hard for the Moil to do his job.
We stopped at Ruth's Kosher vegetarian deli for lunch and were served by Ruth's husband as Ruth was busy getting ready for Shabbat. It struck us also how few Jewish people there are in Florence.

A bit later, we all shared a cow stomach sandwich for a snack which is considered authentic Tuscan food according to Alden. Clearly NOT Kosher. I think Alden wanted to see if we were adventurous enough to try it. It seemed similar to pulled pork without the barbeque sauce but tender on a soft roll. Not bad actually but wouldn't want to eat it on a regular basis.

Bruce Gibbs had recommended that we see a particular crucifix. We went to the church to find it.
It was a gift to a priest from Michaelangelo. The priest had allowed Michaelangelo access to the church morgue so he could dissect the corpses and study anatomy, thus making the more realistic sculptures and paintings that he was known for.
The crucifix was in a separate vestibule all by itself. It was a pretty good work of sculpture, but something always turns my stomach when I see a representation of a human nailed to a cross.

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