Statuesque (Issue 616)

In which we are reminded to play territory management carefully lest we get lost in abundance.

We’d started our Italian Caper in Florence. Easter Sunday. Spectacular. During our four Florence days, we viewed dozens of paintings and statues and fragments in the the Duomo and Duomo museum, The Basilica Santa Croce, The Basilica Santa Maria Novella, The Loge – fabulous statues next to the Palazzo Vecchio, The Accademia yes, the David statue is still there, with Michelangelo’s “Prisoners” statues, and the Uffizi…

…which, it turns out, began as a statue museum. In fact, after one climbs the four flights of stairs to reach the museum, one is immediately in the midst of a 75 yard long hallway FILLED with ancient statues collected by Lorenzo the Magnificent and later expanded by Cosimo I in the late sixteenth century. VERY exciting… our first moments in one of the greatest museums in Europe … we turned to study the first statue… and then the second… and the third… and the fourth….and the fifth…. so many to see…

On Day 4, we said goodbye Florence, hello, Rome. On Day 5, we went for the early history – the Colosseum and the Roman Forum (the old town center – you know, the Vestal Virgins, the statues, original “try the veal, we’re here ‘till Thursday” Caesar’s Palace, that sort of thing).

And then, Day 6: First stop: The Vatican Museums. Having reserved in advance, we dove through the security machines into the seething humanity in the lobby, procured our tickets, crowd-creeped up stairs through more security, snagged our audio tour gear, walked through the Court Yard of the Pinecone, and turned into the first major gallery, the Braccio Nuovo Gallery, a roughly 100 yard long hallway containing about a thousand…

… statues, including portraits of Emperors and gods. I gulped. A THOUSAND….!

We turned to study the first statue…. and then the second…

… and then I turned to my family and I said words to the effect of, “Are we serious?” after which I mumbled something like, “I’m DONE with statues, I’m DONE with museums, I’m done. I’ve leaving.”

They countered with the Sistine Chapel. I hesitated. They raised with St. Peter’s. They had me. I folded….

Beginning the mile long trek to the Sistine Chapel, I lead-legged up the stairs and turned left to see the…

… STATUES in the Octagonal Courtyard. They nearly had to resuscitate me.

A friend later asked me, “What tips would you have for someone going to Rome?”

“Focus,” I replied. “Focus. Do your homework ahead of time, know specifically what you want to see, develop a detailed itinerary. Stick to the plan. Otherwise you’ll disappear into the land of 1000 statues. It’ll take serious drugs to bring you back.”

Speaking of serious drugs, let this be a lesson to us, sales gods. Not the drugs, the focus.

I went to Italy with a guide book I hadn’t read, a list of museums I wanted to visit each day, some loose Euros, and the addresses of our hotels, which is like going out on a one week sales trip with little more than your flight numbers, your hotel reservations, and a couple of protein bars.

Whether one’s ‘market’ is 150 or 1,000 or 15,000. Read the guide book. Choose the targets. Make a plan. Execute. Repeat.

 

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