There’s no place like Duomo

I made a sketch for you
2013-04-27 12.02.09

Brunelleschi built this great Duomo, using municipal funds, because it was originally designed to host 1440 inter-city gymnastics and show-jumping competition. After the event, they quarrelled whether it should be a music venue and Juventus said that only they could fill it on a regular basis. They added the giant dome, when someone suggested it could become a planetarium.

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However, thanks to inspired PR work, a number of massive evangelical congresses were held there in the 1460s and the church finally put in the tower, in order to offer bunjee-jumping as an additional visitor attraction. It was claimed that the footprint was the wrong size & shape for indoor football, and the catering could never cope. They designed a feature called “The Gates of Paradise” and if you paid 100 Euros to go through them, you were guaranteed a comfortable place for the afterlife. That really sealed the income of the place for a few hundred years.

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Michaelangelo put himself into the scene of Jesus’ burial called Pieta, along with Mary and Mary Magdalen, even though he wasn’t alive until about 1500 years later. But the Romans didn’t complain and time travel was quite widely accepted in those days. This is why the pope never criticised Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

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We saw the scaffolding they used for the build operation and it’s still quite sound. To cheer the place up, they got a really good deal from StatuesRus, and they sold miniature copies through Sculptures4U.

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Hotel Berchielli, right on the lungarno, has a very big and posh foyer, so it was pure chance that I spotted an old lag from Cold War days who was masquerading as a porter. He was watching me in the mirror, and I was watching him, watching me in the mirror. I decided to confront him but he done a runner and we chased him up to the hotel’s roof giardino.

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I had him cornered, but then, from behind me, I suddenly heard the languorous tones of George’s familiar Texan voice. A partner in the CIA whom I’d worked with in Ulanbator and in Petropavlovsk, when we were breaking the Baltic uranium gang. He and Connie, his sidekick, pose as Dallas lawyer and wife, corporate executive deputy assistant vice president. But they are actually two of the agency;s deadliest operatives. They were in contact with the Bosch family right from the start. Dallas loves to shoot birds, sail his boat and Mrs D likes Sonoma county red wine.

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It turns out that the murdered pizza chef knew the receptionist in the minibar because they found his number on her mobile phone. What is the link? Janet sent me a coded message in a plastic bag, which she dropped in a drinking fountain, near to Michelangelo’s David [not very hygienic or clean-streets-friendly]. It said “Don’t go to the Uffizzi shop.” DNA revealed that they both did a Capoeira class at a shabby gym in the back streets of Pescia. This is clearly the hub of their operations so we are on our way, pdq.

I hope we pass a few Museos and Palazzos and Chiesas and fine Piazzas as we race over there. It looks as though Janet is ahead of us, and she could be wreaking havoc!

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