We hired a cab, and I took Mama and Emily to Mrs. Morris. While they stayed with her, I went to the San Marco, an old monastic church founded in 1290. Adjacent to the church is the Monastery of San Marco, once far famed, to which was suppressed in 1869. It was decorated with charming frescoes by Fra Giovanni da Fiesole [Editor’s note: also known as Fra Angelico], some time in 1425, which are unrivalled to this day in their portrayal of profound piety.
You may remember having bought some fine postal cards of these, which are now in the book in the Show Room. The powerful preacher, Savonarola, once lived here, and we were shown his cell with desk. He was burned at the stake on the piazza Signoria in 1498. The cloisters are richly frescoed, and the entire building is very interesting as it shows how these old monks lived many hundred years ago. In one of the cells, we saw a bronze bust of Savonarola and a copy of an old picture representing his execution, autographs and his crucifix.
After calling for Mama and Emily, we again set forth for Medici Chapel and landed in the Chapel of the Princes, the burial chapel of the grand dukes of the Medici family. It is octagonal in form and gorgeously decorated with marble and valuable mosaics in stone. In six niches are the granite sarcophagi of the princes, and on the clado round the chapel are placed the armorial bearings of 16 Tuscan towns in exquisite stone mosaics. A sum of over four million dollars was expended by the Medici family on the construction and decoration of this chapel. A “dead” capital it seems to me. The new sacristy built by Michael Angelo contains the statues of “Day & Night” and “Evening & Dawn,” of which many photos can be seen in the Florence shops.
From here, we went to the Palazzo del Podesta commonly known as Il Bargello, which contains the National Museum. Here we saw a picturesque court, embellished with coats of arms, and forming with its massive colonnades, a fine flight of steps and fine picture of the spirit of the 14th century.
We enjoyed the many statues, among them many of Michael Angelo. It is impossible to describe the fine collections of old bells cast in 1249, the fine tapestry, the enamels and fine goldsmith work, the handsome ecclesiastical vestments and hand embroideries, shields, weapons, carvings in ivory, bronzes of the 15th century, glazed terra cottas, works in marble, medals, coins and old manuscripts with hand painted capitals and pictures.
At the P.O. we received your nice letter of the 14th, which did not reach me before because it had only a 2¢ stamp on it., (see enclosure for proof) also the Globe and the P.D. containing election news, which letter will be answered by mama. You do not mention anything about your Auto!!
After lunch, we five took a car ride to Fiesole and enjoyed it more because a slight shower had laid the dust. We went into a little shop and bought some bags crocheted out of straw, very pretty.
Home for dinner and, as I am finishing this letter with Mother in bed and Emily sewing, I feel glad to know that I have caught up again. We appreciate your letters very much as we know how hard it is for you to “Take your pen in your hand.” We are well and happy and enjoying ourselves. We leave for Venice on Friday, and I have engaged a pension with a Methodist preacher whose daughter will serve us as guide. Good night. Love to all,