[T]he tourist, despite all his claims to want to see the "real Florence," isn't interested in its urban sprawl; he is interested in what [art historian] Bernard Berenson called "conoscing," the object of which is the discovery of unsuspected marvels.... He wants to bring home, if not photographic evidence, then at least the interior knowledge that he has partaken of all the marvels that Florence has to offer - as if it were possible in the course of a single human life.
And what marvels there are! Astonishingly, Florence houses almost a fifth of the world's art treasures. A fifth! A thorough Florentine itinerary takes in architecture, sculpture and painting, major museums (The Bargello and the Uffizi), as well as small ones (the Stibbert and the Horne), public buildings, palaces and innumerable churches, Botticellis and Leonardos and Michelangelos and Giottos and Massaccios and Fra Angelicos and Gozzolis and Pontormos and Donatellos... And even if you see all of these things, even if you stay in Florence a year, or five years, there will be something that you've missed, some remote church known only to the cognoscenti..., about which you will be informed only the eve of your departure.
D. Leavitt, Florence, A Delicate Case (Bloomsbury 2002), pp. 22-23
It's all over but the shouting. I leave for Rome by car tomorrow at 5:00 a.m., and from Rome for New York 5 hours later. Am I ready? I'll be packed in another hour, tops, but I'm not ready. Oh, sure, I miss family and friends, but I will miss so much that i found here. You know, I went for a whole month without getting into a car or bus or train or an elevator or on an escalator on bike or skateboard or scooter or Segway. I walked everywhere. What's more, everywhere I walked was interesting. I'm going to miss that. (Which is not to say Manhattan's not interesting! It is, after all, the Center of the Universe. Still, it's not the same.)
I'm not going to go on and on about what I'll miss here. I could, but I won't. I'll wait until I actually miss it, then I'll let you know about it.
Before I sign off, I owe those of you who expected some kind of closure, a tying off of narrative threads or themes I introduced in earlier entries and left incomplete, with promises to tie them off eventually, an apology. I simply didn't have the time or talent to pull it all off in so short a time. I mean, I only started this blog a little more than seven weeks ago, and I've posted (with this one) 35 entries, several videos, and a number of photos. That's a post, plus extras, every 4 days or so! Not bad for a guy on sabbatical. Still, it's not what I promised, and for those of you who might be disappointed, again, I apologize. Of course, there's nothing to prevent me from trying to fulfill my promise in the few weeks remaining to me before I return to work. In fact, unless there are any strong objections out there, that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to say what I have to say about Dante and the Council of Florence and the Medicis and the Church in Italy and Venice and the Patriarchate in Constantinople and what it all has to do with - yes! - Savonarola, for anyone who gives a darn out there. Tell you what: if you want me to continue, to bring this project to completion, give me no sign. If I don't hear from enough of you within, say, the next week, I'll assume your moral support. Alright then: you have one week not to stop me, starting... NOW.