Florence Vicinity, 2017

Wednesday 26 April

1) Oneness-Dream began our next morning with a performance at 9.30am at the picturesque Church of San Tommaso in Baroncelli, atop a hill in Bagno a Ripoli commanding a panoramic view across the valley and the whole city of Florence. The visit proved a photogenic highlight of the entire tour. The quaint church, dating from 1260 is quite small, with a close acoustic. We had the church almost to ourselves, and followed the performance with photos of the choir in front of the church and the outstanding view of Florence as a backdrop. One of these images which would be selected for the cover of the CD of the tour.

2) Fiesole is now a wealthy enclave, about 8km from florence and overlooking the city, and is home is several well-reserved sites of archaeological significance from the Etruscan and Roman eras. The choir took the opportunity to sing a few songs in the outstanding Roman Theatre at Fiesole, which is still used to this day. The audio recording of this performance was affected by frequent wind gusts and is not of listening quality.

3) Oneness-Dream’s next engagement was in a privately-owned chapel, “Cappella oratorio di San Iacopo” on the estate of a friend and supporter of the choir, “Castello di Monteacuto”, also in Bagno a Ripoli. This was the smallest and most intimate of all the locations in we sang in Tuscany, eliciting a performance memorable for its subtlety and sweetness.

4) Having not strayed far from the city today, Oneness-Dream returned to Florence for performances in two beautiful and significant churches in the afternoon. At 4pm, we sang in the Chiesa di Ognissanti, on the square of the same name in Central Florence overlooking the river Arno. The church is dedicated, poignantly, to “all the saints and martyrs, known and unknown”. Originally from around the 1250s, this Franciscan church was rebuilt in the 17th century. After the morning’s intimate chapels, this was a return to magnificence, glory and majesty, with an acoustic to match. Artworks and frescoes abound, by the likes of Giotto, Ghirlandaio and Botticelli, who is buried here.

5) Following the Ognissanti, it was a brisk walk along some narrow streets and across a few piazzas to our final performance for the day at 5pm in the Chiesa di San Carlo, on the Via dei Calzaiuoli. Built in 1349, the church retains its original Gothic facade and appears today much as it would have in the 14th century. Passing tourist traffic appreciated the unexpected musical offering.

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