Oh, New York Times, must you tease me like this? Watch their “36 Hours in Florence” video, which went up today. Next week at this time, I’ll be there.

I have to confess that my gratitude and admiration for the paper for producing things like this is severely testing my grinchiness at them for their cultural prejudices.

I have never been to Florence. Today I have been up to my ya-yas in Dante. True: I am an emotional person, and I tell you, it is going to be hard for me to go to these places that meant something to Dante Alighieri without getting teary. I am so immersed in that man’s work. I feel in my bones how much that city meant to him, and what it meant to him to be exiled from it. Sitting here in my armchair in rural Louisiana writing this, I tremble to think about what it will be like to stand in the baptistery in Florence, where baby Durante Alighieri was baptized, and to know that the great man saw that place so many times in his life, until they sent him away forever.

Joy. Gratitude. Passion. I tell you, I am so exhilarated to be going to a Catholic country, where sensuality and spirituality converge.

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