My Italy experiences had nothing to do with Michelangelo, in as much as any Italy experience can have nothing to do with Michelangelo.
Italy trip 1995: I thought I was going to Paris. I only discovered the surprise plan when the flight attendent announced Venice as the destination as I settled in my seat and flipped through “Paris on the Cheap.” I was a little disappointed. I still haven’t made it to Paris. But my boyfriend-at-the-time was so pleased with himself. And Venice was lovely, and perfect. Old. Stone. Flowers in unexpected places, even though it was a bitter November. The only museum we entered was devoted to Dali – I was so happy to discover he painted more than melting watches. We also listened to a string quartet playing in a church. A persistent car alarm floated through the open doors; musicians and audience members muttered in Italian and then shrugged. Later we danced on cobblestones to someone else’s music drifting over from a restaurant we couldn’t afford.
Italy trip 2005: Mostly I remember carrying one-year-old Luca everywhere we went. He responded to unfamiliarity by needing a constant connection to his mother’ skin. I carried him through Florence. I held him on trains. He sat on my lap through most of a wedding. Our art viewing was limited to what we could find outside. And graveyards. And grape vineyards. Which was really plenty. The food itself was art, the wine M and I shared over lunch every day, the sidewalks, the gardens. Everywhere we happened to look waited something lovely, and perfect. For a while after we got home I tried to maintain that expectation, but it wears off in the rigorousness of daily life. It has to, or nothing would get done.
I’d like to go, someday, on a grownups-only trip. I’d like to spend a week looking at things children aren’t generally interested in. Michelangelo things. Someday.