Other than that I have taken a few side trips to Prato and Lucca. I went to Prato to visit the Textile Museum which was exhibiting the collection of embroideries and old laces that once belonged to the Countess Antonia Suardi. There was some lovely pieces in the exhibition and it was beautifully displayed ( though it was difficult to photograph because of the subdued lighting) I particularly love old lace and my particular interest this time has been to pursue textile things Italian There were also some lovely embroideries dating from the 16th century and as always I am in awe of the workmanship and fineness of such ordinary things as pillow slips and even the little sampler was full of zest!
Prato itself proved to be a charming outing, The Duomo though smallish is quite quite beautiful and unusual. There was a marble pulpit designed and carved by Donatello, on the outside of the Duomo with a umbrella shaped roof which is quite spectacular and unlike anything I have ever seen. And then there is the recently restored Fresco cycle of Fra Fillipo Lippi- which is quite wonderful... breathtaking actually and just the best surprise! I spent more than an hour taking it all in and even better there was only a handful of others there at the same time. It is believed that the John the Baptist cycle was largely created by the workshop assistants but even so there is a beauty and grace in the figures . Then as I was looking for somewhere to eat Eugenia( as she told me her name was) led me down the road to a small vegetarian cafe frequented by Monash uni students when they come and do their intensive Italian courses.
I even climbed the 207 steps of the clock tower to get a view over the city and a rather remarkable roof top garden. Isn't it just sensational!
The floors of the Cattedraledi S, Martino would likely set any patchworkers' heart skipping, but I particularly liked the marble inlaid pictorial scene in the middle of the cathedral.