The bonfire of the vanities


DO A GOOGLE SEARCH on the Bonfire of the Vanities and you’ll get Tom Wolfe’s book – but of course there is more to the Bonfire of the Vanities than meets the eye.

machThe picture above is of the cathedral in Florence, the city’s symbol is the Fleur de Lys, that is to say prosperity in a way, but the real Bonfire of the Vanities concerned the egregious monk, Savonarola. It was he who urged the Florentines to throw on a real bonfire all those fripperies people love so much. It is said that Botticelli threw some of his paintings into the real bonfire because he regretted them. As the painter of Primavera,  and Mars and Venus, this is much to be regretted.

Savonarola attempted to redefine Florentine life, and these days it is very hard to get a beer in Florence. Ice creams, however, are easy. Savonarola found himself burning in flames in Florence. There are very many high towers there, it has to be said. Plus Machiavelli and Dante stalked the streets, with the former writing a very short piece about princedom in the Renaissance, and surviving, while the latter just couldn’t get over Beatrice.

Today, Florence is a favourite place for tourists to visit. And up high you can walk down past the home of Galileo Galilei, the poor guy who tried to explain to the Vatican that Rome wasn’t the centre of the universe. In the 15th century the centre of the universe was Hampi (Vijayanagar), bigger than Rome then,  and with an army of one million. Ah, civilisation!  Below is pictured a sunset over Florence.


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