Forever...that is how long the above dedication to my Mother will remain. It is written in a beautiful, handbound leather book, made at the Scuola del Cuoio (Leather School) on Santa Croce’s premises, preserved in the historical archives of the Basilica di Santa Croce. These archives have been kept since the early 16th century.
Two years ago while visiting Santa Croce, I was drawn to Brunelleschi's Cappella Pazzi (Pazzi Chapel). It's a small chapel tucked away outside the main Basilica. It was quite stunning inside, however it was severely deteriorated. The beauty and sadness stirred up a range of emotions in me that I couldn't quite pinpoint. I took a seat on one of the stone benches and sat there for close to an hour. A few months after I returned to New York, I saw a post on social media about a Kickstarter campaign to restore the Pazzi Chapel. Santa Croce has always been my favorite in all of Firenze and I immediately knew that I wanted to be a part of this. I also knew that I'd do so in my Mother's honor. Her memory lives on in those who loved her in New York. I wanted to commemorate her in Firenze, a place that I also love so much, and a place where she had always encouraged me to go and spread my wings. I wrote a more detailed blog about this on May 6, 2016 (excerpts above). If you'd like to read the full blog click here: "A Gift to my Mother for Mother's Day"
This past Wednesday, my friend Claudio and I went to see the restored Pazzi Chapel, and it is absolutely breathtaking!
When we entered I asked if it was possible to see the Book of Backers. The woman at the desk said she wasn't sure and at that point I thought I might have to let this idea go. However, after 15 minutes she came to find us in the Basilica and gave us the address of where the book is currently being held. She said she called ahead to let them know we were coming. I will forever bless her for this kind gesture because what ensued was one of the most touching and emotional moments of my life. Davvero!
We were greeted with much warmth and gratitude for my donation. Siliva Peruzzi carefully handed the book over to me. I can't explain what it felt like to lay my hands on this book. I had received a digital version of the pages, but holding the actual book in my hands...well, I'm actually at a loss for words here.
There was great emotion in the room as the three of us understood the impact of the moment, and I know there was no mistake that we three were meant to share it. A decision two years ago to turn left and enter a chapel, on what seemed to be an ordinary day, comes full circle to create one of the most impactful days of my life. In this I remind myself that baby steps are equally important, to always pay attention to them, and endeavor to summon up the courage to follow through on them.
I bless everyone who had a role in making this happen. And I add a special Grazie Mille to Claudio for accompanying me, not only for helping to translate and find the office, for taking these photos for me to cherish and share, but more importantly for experiencing these emotions along with me. Era un grande regalo caro amico. Grazie mille.
Buon Weekend & Big Love, PatriciaG
I put together a short (34 seconds) video of the chapel to share the experience with you.