We first went to the Ufflizi 35 years ago in October, and had to fight crowds and wait in line just to get a glimpse of a few famous Botticellis (Like “Birth of Venus”).
I love wine and cuisine, but art is the pinnacle of inspiration and the esthetic pyramid. Still I can’t enjoy art in a mob scene any more than I’d enjoy great wine served from a keg in plastic cups. So Florence’s barely-open late-lockdown state offered an opportunity.
We hit the museum at 8.30 in the morning, and it was empty. Sure there were a few other people, but at times we had entire halls and exhibition rooms to ourselves with great Renaissance works from Botticelli, Titian, Michelangelo, Raphael, Filippo Lippi, and my favorite — Michelangelo Merisi, aka Caravaggio.
Caravaggio was a punk, street brawler and alleged murderer — a man as crazy as he was gifted with painting light and gritty reality.
The Uffizi has few of his works, but it’s got his Bacchus — perhaps the wine world’s most famous painting. (See the detail above)
Art sets the mood for appreciating wine, and…..(how’s that for a transition?)….my touring of New generation Chianti Classico producers continued with Michele Braganti of Monteraponi — a once dawdling youth whose life seems to have been saved by farming and producing wine.
“My mother sent me here as a punishment,” Michele says of his exile to the wilds of Radda more than 20 years ago.
Now he makes stellar terroir-driven wines. Read my column at Wine Spectator.
Also read my earlier NewGen Chianti Classico Part 1: Istine