Saturday, 11 June 2011

Rainy day in Florence

Wet weather continued as I made my way to Florence. I stopped briefly at a motorcyle shop in Modena to pick up a spare part for the helmet. Ahh! now I can open and close the visor - this makes for an easier life on the road, never mind the difficulties of coping with the toll booths on the motorway. I had hoped to travel on a scenic route through the Appennines but with miserable weather, this was an unattrractive option so I gunned the autostrada directly to Florence and arrived at the hostel in the early afternoon.

The hostel turned out to be a splendid villa with a colonnaded frontage and classical entrance hall, all set within beautiful - and very Italian - gardens. I had planned to tour the town after a snack but with thunderstrorms rolling in one after the other I thought better of it and took a book out the front and sat reading whilst the rain hammered on the gravel a few yards in front of me.

Friend Enzo has a twin brother, Carlo, in Florence so I texted him and he came round to the hostel an hour later. He looked gorgeous in his carabinieri's uniform and cut something of a dash amongst the people at the hostel. Later that evening he took me on a (four hour) tour of the town showing me some of his favourite places - and one or two cafes, where we stood for a few minutes drinking espresso. We took in the Conservatore Musica where his wife Dorotea works and listened for half an hour to some of the students' end of year performances.
The following day travelled up the hill above Florence to Fiesole - a charming small town with gorgeous views (and very expensive looking vilas). The weather cleared a little and finally I was able to make out that characteristic Tuscan view with olive trees, vines and cypresses across the hills.

Interestingly, the citizens of Fiesole wanted it to be known that they voted for Italy to become a republic when the refereendum was taken after WW2. They thought it so important that they set it in stone!

After this I spent some time with Carlo and family & had lunch with them. Carlo is an educator who trains young carabinieri at the academy in Florence. He lives on the premises and here's the view from his rooftop garden. Not bad, eh?

In the afternoon I headed south - through yet more rain - to Perugia.


  1. How lovely to do Florence from an insider's perspective! I hope you managed to get in at least some art and architecture between espressos though.

  2. You have friends everywhere! Pleased to see you've sorted the helmut visor out - now you just need to get a new comb and some shampoo otherwise nobody will want to socialise with you.
    How's the chianti or are you saving that experience for the south? LAWRY

  3. Drank Chianti in Rome last night there.Splendid drink.
    Unfortunately, shampoo left at Florence hostel - running on cheap soap for the present.