Florence… Move Over, Brady Bunch. Make Room for David.

Florence. What does the word conjure for you?

Florence ItalyFlorence Henderson with her bright smile on The Brady Bunch? How about Florentine cookies that proliferate around holiday time? Would you prefer Florence, Italy, also known as Firenze… with its magnificent David and other treasures in the world of art?

Lucky me, I’ll take Door Number Three… vicariously, at least.

My younger son (finally) checked in from overseas via Skype, some two weeks after arriving for his semester abroad in Florence.

Among the first things he mentioned was how amazing it was to sit and draw masterpieces he has looked at in books since he was a child. Apparently, these early days have been filled with orientation, Italian classes, and sketching in front of the likes of Michelangelo’s David and Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus.

Boticelli Birth of Venus

And yes, there has been plenty of pasta on the side.

As Italy is a place I’ve never ventured (and still dream of visiting), I’m all ears as my son recounts his first impressions. Among his comments were “beautiful” (despite rain), his classes are “cool” (despite the usual workload), seeing David was awesome, and he’s pretty thrilled to have his own room for the first time in three years of college – with a small garden courtyard!

Arm in ProcessDuring our half hour on Skype, he showed me his sketches in process – David’s arm, a partial figure of Venus – and he’s excited that the architectural project he’ll be working on is sited in Rome.

Ah. Deep breath… as a mother, as an art lover, and as one who is delighted that my son is beginning this remarkable experience. And if I need further inspiration, my art books are only steps away, and then there is this lovely lady’s visual feast walking (and eating) through Italy.

I can’t help but smile and remember my kiddo drawing from a book on masterworks. Put away, carefully, are his drawings from the Sistine Chapel when he was 10 and 11. That he will be venturing to Rome for the “site” of their architectural project must be a thrill for him. I doubt that 10 years ago when he was immersed in sketching each of Michelangelo’s figures so meticulously that he ever imagined he’d find himself, at 20, able to actually see them.

His descriptions thus far have also included “a lot of fun and a lot of work” along with a mention that it’s “nice to be drawing again” – and I suspect that means returning to his roots, which means the classical figures and portraits he sketched as a child.

So enjoy my enjoyment, please, of this brief visit and these two quick images shared with me online, courtesy of “figlio mio.”

Florence 02j

Florence 03j

I’m curious. Are you children already dreaming of what they’ll be when they grow up? Are they young adults just beginning to live out those dreams?


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    • D. A. Wolf says

      And, he said there are sales everywhere right now Pam… (He’s a scholarship student of course, and $$ has to go to supplies (and pasta), but he was describing the gorgeous leather goods… (Group trip?) :)

  1. says

    I’m smiling just reading this – for you as a mother and him for his dreams becoming reality. What a rich feast to be in Florence. My oldest daughter always wanted a family, lots of kids – she has four. She is uber talented at photography and I hope she’ll pursue her own business down that vein before long. Well, when she gets the little ones just a little less little. And my second daughter loves to write, ride horses and has always wanted to fly. She just finished her pilots license schooling & training, she works as a trail guide on horses on the weekends, and she is breaking into freelance writing and landed some projects with Disney – most recently doing some writing for Malificent. My youngest son is in the Air Force, currently deployed and getting his degree and happily married to a beautiful girl from Chile. He is seeing the world. My oldest son is stunted by some demons; frustrated, usually high, and it breaks my heart. I know the difference.
    That was a long answer to your question. In any event – I’m so happy for your son – and I’m so on board for a group trip. Although I’ve been to Italy three times – I’ve never been to Florence. I could start saving for pasta now. Right now.
    Barbara recently posted…of what do you write?My Profile

  2. says

    I always knew I wanted to travel as an art student and saved up and headed to Europe. I can so relate to your son and I actually snuck a film cartridge full of water into the site of the David to do a little watercolor until the guard noticed me and kicked me out. We are now living in Italy, our children are eleven and nine and going to school here, we are loving this simple lifestyle. I know my Mum worried about me when I was off backpacking in my 20’s, luckily we have a few more years till our own children want to travel solo.
    ciao lisa x

    • D. A. Wolf says

      Lovely to hear from you Lisa, from so far away! How amazing to be surrounded by so much history and art – and everything else.

  3. Leslie in Oregon says

    Dear D.A.,

    Please seriously consider visiting your son in Florence while he is there. You have an incomparable opportunity for the two of us to share peak experiences* savoring the delights of that city. My last trip to Florence was in April, and I still remember the outdoor concert (Beethoven) I attended one lovely, moonlit evening. By April, your son will be able to show you what he has discovered there. Go see him while he is learning so much about the art you both love. And bravo to him on the sketch: it is beautifully rendered!

    *I speak as a mother who has joined her son while he has been dancing abroad and around the U.S.

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