Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Concert at Basilica di San Marco

The feeling of Christmas is straordiaria in Florence. The snow has added a glorious, heavenly feel to this magnificent city. Lights and snow everywhere, the echo of Christmas hymns emanating from every church that I pass, church bells ringing constantly, chestnuts roasting on street corners, music playing everywhere, a brisk cold snap in the air. The bars are filled with people keeping warm with caffè and cappuncino. Baccala, panetone, struffoli for sale everywhere. The streets packed with a feeling of joy and anticipation and sensation the likes of which I haven't felt since pre-2001 New York. And even better.

This morning I went to the piazza to see how my bike was surving the weather. It was covered with snow and a sheet of ice covered my saddle. I cracked off the ice, dusted off the snow, and all bundled up, I enjoyed the cold ride to the market, where I bought artichokes, clementines, and broccoli rape.

This evening I rode to Piazza San Marco where I attended a spectacular Christmas Concert at the Basilica, which was packed. Good thing I got there early. The church was quite cold, but thanks to several heat lamps that were added, it gradually warmed up. The program included a rich variety of Christmas music sung by the church's choir, a solo soprano and tenor, and included classic Latin hymns, a selection of Neopolitan Christmas Carols which were hot, Florentine pop Carols, and Italian Gospel Music....what a unique blend of vivacious energy! The night was topped off by a playful group of little girls who sang and danced and lifted everyone's spirits even higher.