63 & 64, Florence, Piazza Michelangelo, 8 & 9 July 2003

Overwhelmed by actually being in actual Florence, I’m glad of the little studio apartment that I found on the internet. We are conveniently located at the bottom of a large flight of steps, with the venue Piazza Michelangelo (basically a car park with a giant replica of the famous David statue and a fantastic view of the city) at the top.

From here, Clarabelle and I have a base to explore Florence. As an art history graduate, for me this place is basically the mother-load, the cradle of the Renaissance and I want to visit as much of it as I can. We cram in the Uffizi, several art-stuffed cathedrals, more ice cream, more churches, exhibitions and a city bus tour where the 35 degree heat makes it almost impossible to sit down on the scorching seats… the gigs almost feel like an afterthought, ALMOST.

In the Piazza Michelangelo we watch the sun set over the Duomo to the strains of Low, looking down over the orange roofs of Florence I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. It’s just about dark by the time Radiohead come on but it still feels like a ridiculously picturesque setting for a gig. (Apparently the band wanted the stage to face the city, but weren’t allowed.)

We paid a visit to the queue but I have no desire to hang around in the heat, even if it means I miss the chance to hear the band sound checking.

We went for cocktails at a nearby terrace bar and met Sam, last seen filming in Portugal.

The atmosphere, looking down on the city, watching it get dark, is what I remember. The gigs happened and I was at them but beyond that I don’t have much. Reports confirm that the band were more relaxed the second night.

Afterwards, I am in a funk, apparently one of the American fans was trying to find me to tell me that there was a party, but I was already outside and couldn’t get back inside the compound. We have an extra day here to pack in more tourism and then a short journey to Ferrara, a place that, where if not for the gig, I would probably never visit. I have no idea what to expect.