I was born and brought up in Florence. To live there in itself an artistic education. I wasn't born in a palace with Raphael's paintings on the walls as some of my friends were, but in those days the message of the past and the taste for beauty could be felt everywhere in the city. The first pieces of furniture I touched, crawling round the house, had been handed down through the family for centuries. There were paintings collected by my grandfather, and Della Robbia reliefs, reproductions if not originals, hanging over the doors. In Florence you do not have to go to school to learn about art and civilisation; it is all around you. I would wake up at 6.30 am. to go to school and open my window. We lived on the fifth floor with a view right across the red-tiled roofs of the town and there, right before me, was the dome of the cathedral. From that moment on wherever I went throughout the day I was surrounded by the heritage of our Renaissance. Florence is a quiet city, there is nothing flashy; there, everything is conceived according to the severe mathematics of beauty. It is not like Venice. Venice is spectacular, full of picturesque things but very little of real quality. It's not serious; it's Luna Park. But Florence is stern and pure. There are no compromises or digressions in Florence. There are no bright colours, no crimson or gold, just the grey and yellow of the stone, the white marble, the olive groves and the dark cypress trees.
1.- Answer the following questions, explain your answer.
- 1. Why does the writer appreciate Florence so much?
- 2. What does he think life in Florence is like?
- 3. What does the text say about Florence's houses and buildings?
- 4. What does the text say about the writer's childhood?
2.- Are the following statements TRUE (T) or FALSE (F). Write the evidence from the text. (No marks are given for T/F only)
- Unlike his friends, the author was not born in a palace.
- From the windows of his room, the author could see Florence's cathedral.
- For the author Florence means calmness and true beauty while Venice is impressive and real.
- All the paintings in the writer's house were genuine.
3.- Complete the sentences making use of the word/words when given. Be careful with grammar.
- A) In Florence wherever you _______it is possible ________ a remnant of the past.
- B) The writer _________ in Florence, ___________________ a young boy.
- C) The ______________ grandfather was fond of __________________ paintings.
- D) Florence's colours are not __________ brilliant __________________ Venice's.
4.- Match the word on the left with the appropriate definition on the right. Notice there are five definitions.
- A) stern -with little or no movement or sound.
- B) tiled -brilliant and attractive but not in good taste.
- C) flashy -severe, strict.
- D) quiet -having or showing high character and qualities. -covered with plates or baked clay.
5.- Describe the way in which one particular place or town has had a significant influence on your life. Write about 60 to 100 words.