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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper

43.7695604, 11.2558136

Friday 16. [16 February 1894] Dispensed with our dull Italian lesson
and off at 11 to Pistoia. Got there soon after 12 - a delicious little
walled place full of churches and beautiful things. They got their
builders from Siena and Pisa and round about and were great people
in the 11th and 12th centuries before Florence [Firenze] took them
captive. The type of the Sienese building seems to be this [sketch]
then more tiers of arches - two probably on short columns the upper
one smaller and nearer together than the other - a nice piece of
carving over the door and always the same lozenges under the
arches and the same barred white and black wall. The door doesn't
seem to me to be quite satisfactory, the inner arch being a little
clumsy and awkward. For the rest the effect is charming and very rich.
We lunched at a little inn then walked up to the Piazza del Duomo with
which we were delighted. The cathedral has a lovely pediment of tiny
columns and arches - added later - and the same open arches, 3
rows of them, crown the top of the campanile. Over the door a
beautiful Luca della Robbia which looks extremely well and gives just
the needful little touch of colour to the exquisite tiny faÁade. Opposite
a minute octagonal baptistery with a sort of lace border of Gothic
arches round the top. On either side of the square beautiful Gothic
municipal palaces in the courtyard of one of which there are stone
seats against the wall where the Podesta used to hold his tribunal.
We lay on a wall in this square and eat oranges and the lazy men of
Pistoia lay in the sun and watched us and the women in yellow and
red dresses gossiped by their doors and watched us - and we
watched the sunlight creeping up the tower. There is a fine Lorenzo di
Credi in the church - il ne me dit rien pourtant - and some tombs and a
beautiful silver altar all worked with figures and stories. We walked
about the town and saw many nice churches, then we took a cab and
drove outside, then we had tea and came away. Lovely sunset and
afterglow on the hills.

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