I arrived in Florence five days before the painting group. I stayed at a pensione in Piazza Santo Spirito which is one of the few areas of old Florence that maintains a vestige of its original character.
Early mornings I worked on my first painting standing in front of the homeless who slumbered in their sleeping bags alongside the church under the disapproving gaze of its priest. 'Tutti in piedi! E tempo di lavorare!" (Up on your feet! It's time to work!) he shouted one day - an exhortation which had no discernible effect.
The open air market in the square offered fresh fruit and vegetables. Evenings tourists and Italians patronized several restaurants while the homeless, adding a commedia dell'arte flavor, squabbled around the fountain . Young students across from the expensive restaurants crowded the charming little 'aperitivo' ' Pop Cafe' .
There are views of Florence which transport me back to 1967-68 when I lived in a little attico behind the Palazzo Vecchio. I would pass over Ponte alle Grazie and look back at the city center from across the Arno. Because it is associated with so many memories this view continues to resonate strongly with me.