Archive for June, 2009

Arrival in Florence Friday, June 26th, 2009

The Arrival

I scooted my carry-on and six foot bicycle carton along the marble floor in United’s check in line in San Francisco’s International Airport. The line serpentined  for two hours before I was given my boarding pass and  was able to walk light hearted towards the boarding gate. This was going to be a thoroughly new experience. And…I had some reservations and anxiety about the sanity and safety of the adventure. But, at sixty, being excited about anything is a good thing. Would my bike arrive undamaged? And the traffic in Florence…could I manage or would it be a fool-hearty attempt? Should the adventure begin to go awry, I could always ditch the bike and take the train to my brother’s house in Chiesina Uzzanese. That was Plan B; and just having plan b is always calming and reassuring.

Once on board I settled in my aisle seat for the direct flight to Frankfurt and connection to Florence. I wished to get as much sleep as possible so that I could be in decent shape for the ride to the inner city and Croce di Malta Hotel. Patricia had packed prosciutto, salami and chunks of hearty french bread to save me for the horrors of airline food. My method for the trip was simple….two small bottles of cabernet sauvignon and my deli stache when hunger yearned. I noticed envious eyes at times as I pulled food on my tray and wine in glass as all waited for their plastic food on plastic trays.

Had landed in Farnkfurt’s Rhein Main many times but Florence’s Peretola or Amerigo Vespucci Airport was a first. I did not know what to expect. Flurry of tourists in July? Hectic scene? Hustle and bustle? My first concern was assuaged as I saw my bike box loaded onto baggage carts just outside the aircraft. And seemingly all in one piece. What good luck, I thought. I walked across the tarmac and into a small one story cement building which was the entire airport. Yep….just like the San Jose Airport in the 1960’s. I loved it. To my right two baggage conveyors which were fed by a hole in the wall wooshed in motion. My boxed bike arrived with only one small hole. Now to find a quiet place to re-assemble the bike. Grabbed a cart and loaded box and bag, walked by waiting tourists, and line of taxis in front and found an alley to the left of the terminal. Just perfect! It was quiet and out of the way.

P7120012 Handle bars, front wheel, bungie cords, pedals and repair kit —all was there and quickly assembled. Through the parking lot and by the rental car area I proceeded with my baggage laden bike to a service station with a convenient restaurant and bar. What a great place to get my bearings. I ordered some chianti and poured over maps so that I could begin my search for the Arno River and a recognizable route to Florence’s inner city and my wonderful Croce di Malta Hotel. It was mid afternoon and later that evening I was to meet my nephew, Giovanni, for a late dinner. Confirmed with the bartender the general direction and I looked dubiously towards the myriad of tall buildings, one way streets and zooming, growling traffic. I sipped a bit more chianti and it was good.

The airport was as an island sequestered from the city by six lanes of continuous, aggressive and seemingly unstoppable traffic. I tried one direction but only found myself peering for a gap in the traffic like a timid doe. This is ‘nuts’, I thought. I walked some two hundred yards around the corner in the other direction and found intersection, traffic lights and a road leading through an underpass. The noise was deafening. And…I was going in a direction and not necessarily the direction I wanted. The bike felt top heavy with the baggage so I dared not ride with traffic in such close proximity. I walked till I came onto a somewhat bedraggled neighborhood with desolate lanes. Tested the bike and with a bit of speed I managed wonderfully well. Terrific! Now I was riding but was lost. Asked several people where the river was and they looked at me like I was a martian. Fortunately, I meandered in the right direction as the city neighborhoods turned into lush vegetation and park setting. I remembered from the maps that there was a large park near the river so, I sensed that I was close. A gentleman directed me straight ahead toward city center. Spirits high and smile on face. The trip was taking shape according to plan.

P7120028By the Arno River, on a sunny July afternoon, a wide elevated bicycle path delivered me towards the now visible old city center of Florence and the Ponte Vecchio some miles ahead. The arrival in a different culture, with the architectural icons in first view, create a surreal feeling. Am I really here? These are the moments where the cares and troubles of the world seem distant. I rode slowly, looked left and right with care not wanting to miss hidden details, noted my feelings with equal care as I wished to imprint this moment in my consciousness. It was wonderful to be alive!

The tawny color of the city glistened in the afternoon July sun before me. It was all P7120043familiar. Rode by number 30 Lungarno, my nephew’s apartment, and noted its location. I would give Giovanni my clothes bag after dinner that evening to bring to Chiesina as I rode without care on my planned route the next day. As I neared the Ponte Vecchio ever increasing numbers of tourists, dressed in summer togs moved in every direction. At the Ponte Santa Trinita I instinctively darted up a shady lane which opened onto Piazza Novella and my hotel clearly visible up the street to my left. I had negotiated the first leg….I felt triumpahnt.

Once inside the cool, marble and glass lobby I engaged the young, neatly dressed lady behind the counter. She was friendly and business like….but soon broke out into a large grin as I explained my bicycle, and clothes bag leaning like Cat Ballou’s horse against the wall just under the regal “Croce di Malta” sign. Once properly checked in she bade me to wait next to the bike lest it be stolen as a bellman would soon arrive. Fifteen minutes passed and I, still as a sentinel next to my bike, re-awakened to the reality of being in Italy. Shoddy, sloppy, ‘no sense for punctuality’ Italy. I peaked through the rotating glass doors to the desk lady motioning to myself waiting and she gestured…right away.  In a few minutes she appeared through an old door a few meters down the street and collected my bike for safe keeping. With a raised eyebrow and rather sarcastic grin I schlepped my bag into the minuscule elevator to my fifth floor room. Once showered and properly dressed a visit to the quaint lobby bar was a certainty.

The harsh ring tones awakened me from a deep nap. “Your nephew…” , the desk-man was saying in Italian, “is waiting in the lobby”. I had slept for and hour or so and after a shower and shave and fresh clothes felt much refreshed. Giovanni sat in the front lobby with his cute dog, Ty. He looked lean and well groomed and we sat for a while and chatted.

We walked towards the Arno and across Ponte Santa Trinita towards Oltranrno for our restaurant. Midway on the bridge Giovanni pointed to his car and recounted the problems with parking and vandalism in the city of Florence. They keep ripping off the rear view mirrors. Another five hundred yards and we were in a sheltered piazza, well lit and the entrance to a quaint rustic trattoria. We sat at tables outside. We shared a table for four with another couple we did not know. They are more practical in Europe and are not so demanding on private tables. It’s kind of refreshing in one way…but I guess it depends as to who your’re stuck next to.

We ordered a bottle of house wine and antipasto of crostini, entrees of baccala and polenta, dessert, more wine and espresso and cognac all around. Ty sat quietly under the table never stirring. From time to time a passerby would stop at our table and notice the dog and comment how beautiful and well behaved. We spoke of Moreno and his illness. Then we had more wine. Other folks recognized Giovanni and would stop by and chat briefly.  By this time another couple had been seated and we were in a melodious mood and I was buying drinks for everyone. I think we were having a wonderful time.

After dinner we walked down dimly lit medieval lanes on cobble stones for severalP7120031miles. The unevenness of the cobbles was reaking havoc with my left knee. The same knee I had injured on a walking adventure to San Francisco with Patricia with cowboy boots. She had told me that cowboy boots were for riding horses and not walking, but I did not listen. Giovanni was a brisk walker and I followed along without complaining. We arrived at a well lit open piazza where dozens of people huddled. An outside bar anchored the crowd. Giovanni positioned us at a well lit corner of the bar where we ordered some drinks, chatted and looked at the groups of young people. Giovanni said that this evening was a light turnout. Soon a number of couples who recognized him formed about us. We were having gocciolino’s. I chuckled at the term ‘gocciolino’, literally meaning a ‘drop’. But… I guess our home grown term ‘shot’ is equally strange. In any event Giovanni and our new found friends had gocciolinos and I some white wine while I spoke to one of the young ladies who was traveling from The Czeck Republic. She was multi-lingual and well educated and a charming personality. She was in tow with a middle aged guy who had money and she somewhat lamented, as the gocciolinos progressed, about not doing her own thing on her own terms. We had a grand time and as I occasionally  panned around the piazza more and more people drifted into the outdoor party. They bought rounds and I bought one also…although the young girl wanted to buy a round too. I can’t remember whether she ever got the opportunity.

We retraced our steps along dimly lit alleys. Florence in the evening is not well lit. My knee did not bother me as much as before but…it was probably due to the too many wines at the piazza bar. Giovanni walked with a brusque pace and we carried on a low keyed conversation as we arrived at Croce di Malta to pick up my valise and proceed to his apartment along the Arno. He gave me a quick tour of his ground floor flat and  I headed back to my hotel. As I walked back I thought…well the getting up early and begin the bike trip across Tuscany…it might not be as early as I had planned.

Luciano

The Cycling Tuscan

Silicon Valley Real Estate……. Luciano…Broker/Owner…   www.dalmatianrealtysv.com

Touching the Mind of Brunelleschi Thursday, June 25th, 2009

P8080726I had left my bike at Chiesina. My Tuscan month ride was over. As great as it had been, now I wished to see two items in Florence-Brunelleshi’s Dome and Vasari’s Corridor. I had left instructions with the concierge at the Croce di Malta some weeks ago to obtain tickets for the corridor but, alas, tickets were for groups of ten or more, so the corridor would have to wait till next time.

My day began with a comfortable breakfast at the Croce di Malta Hotel’s dining room consisting of cereal, yogurt, fruit, a croissant and strong black coffee. I love these European breakfasts. They’re done with some delicacy, the service is good and the atmosphere is casual amidst the din and excitement of tourists preparing for their day’s adventure in this exciting city. Like many of the other groups I spread out my maps and journal as I rhythmically munch on the breakfast dishes all the while visualizing the highlights of my day’s adventure.

I exit the hotel noting the marble maltese cross well worn but yet regal marking the entrance on the sidewalk just beyond the revolving glass doors. My gaze picks up the simple stationery window across the narrow street, a window that I remember as a nine year old child visiting Florence with my mother. I walk gingerly across the cobbles of Piazza Santa Maria Novella and note the cloister at the noP8060663rth end. It’s all under restoration this year. A few more blocks and Via Dei Calzaiouli opens onto the large square revealing  Brunelleshi’ Duomo. The scale amazes me. It has each and every time I’ve first viewed it. Then I lapse into historical reflection. I look at the cobbles, at the Baptistery, Ghiberti’s Doors, the Cupola….I think of the characters who gazed upon these same scenes, walked upon these same cobbles….strip out the trappings of modernity like electrical wires, signals, cars, buses and the scene is the same as it had been in Lorenzo’s prime in 1480. Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli, Filippo Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, Leonardo, Macchiavelli….all walked these same streets. Perhaps this is the magic of travel as you are immersed in an antique culture.

P8060684I walked between the main entrance and the baptistery. All were awing at Ghiberti’s door, ‘The Doors of Paradise’. I cast a quick glance but I never have appreciated their elevated reputation. Around the corner at the base of the rotunda a short line of folks awaited the opening of a small door leading to the hundreds of stone steps to the top of the Cupola. My knee was fragile but was determined to make it. As I waited I gazed up at the roof-line and saw the steep curvature of the ribs and roof tiles and imgined the workmen all about with ropes and pulleys hoisting stones, bricks, mortar, work animals and carts and piles of building materials in every direction. The scene must have been a cacophany of construction sounds, loud orders, chatter, wheels on stone, braying of work animals, hammers and chisels, all echoing throughout city neighborhoods.

Filippo Brunelleschi was an irascible, arrogant and accentric luminary. He was reputed to be seen about Florence in a black soiled and wrinkled smock with tussled hair, rarely bathed and always with an elevated air of occupation. The Duomo had been unfinished for a century and florentines referred to the domeless rotunda as il tamburo, the drum. As the story gooes, la signoria, Florence’s ruling body, under the influence of Cosimo, Father of the Italian Renaissance, set out to commission an architect to complete the dome. The largest dome in Christendom and fitting for the stature and opulence of the richest city-state in Europe, Florence. Ghiberti was in the competition but the nod was eventually given to the accentric Filippo who when asked to submit his plan, merely cracked the dull end of a simple egg leaving the concept of a spherical dome on the table before a bewildered Signoria. There must have been a confidence diffused to the Signoria by the accentric’s arrogance for they awarded Filippo the commission.

The door opened and we began our climb from ground level to the base of the cupola. By now the line had lengthened so we formed a long queu climbing the antique stone steps with graffitti defaced walls….what a shame. Who cares if Dieter was from Stuttgart or that Angela loves Chuck from Omaha…. priceless piece of history defaced by twitless barbarians. The climbing continued, my knee hurt but I was a trooper and marched on.

All went well till we reached the base of the Cupola. Through a small door we filed onto a narrow shelf lined to the inside with a three foot high glass parapet. We were lined to the inside wall like single filed flies some two hundred feet above the cathedral floor. I began to feel uncomfortable. A dozen or so people were ahead of me and scores behind. I thought what if there is an earthquake. Can’t go forward or backwards. Here we are stuck on this narrow ledge with glass partition. Wonderful. The line edged forward ever so slowly. Ahead of me was a family oblivious to my recently discovered perils; they were germans and as jolly as could be; they were kooken sie this and ausghetzeiknet that and wunderbar alles…as they were admiring the artworks decorating the interior of the cupola. They were not moving and I was incresingly sure that an earthquake was to come. There had not been one since the thirteenth century and we were definitely due.

P8060693Eventually….we reached the narrow corridors and stairways within the double shells of the cupola. This is what I had wished to see. The genius of Brunelleschi. His mind at work. Walls at a slant. Bricks fabricated to order at odd angles. The curvature of the outer and innner dome. The oak ribs emanating from the exterior dome to the interrior suppurt structure. And more bricks….all defying the laws of gravity. Herringbone patterns curving at seemingly unstable angles and terminating at odd slants forming an aperture for yet another stairway tunnel. I walked slowly and became oblivious as to the people before and after me. There were narrow windows revealing splotches of Florence’s skyline and the thick structure of the outer cupola and terracotta tiles. It was magnificent. I was in awe!

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Above is the space between the inner and outer cupola. Connecting oak ribs and well worn stairway along with variety of windows showing Florence’s skyline.

The “drum’, the rotunda, had to support a dome of many tons. And…the Signoria wanted an elegant dome, a dome without bruttresses. They wished a state of the art dome, like the one in Rome, the Pantheon. Brunelleschi spent much time in Rome taking measurements  and studying the secrets of the Pantheon now lost to the world. His answer was a series of anchors and chains at the base of the Cupola. The base of each rib terminated in an anchor and was connected by chains to adjacent anchors to support the outward force of the dome.  The anchors and chains were subcontracted to ironwokers of Pistoia. He designed special bricks which he also subcontracted to fabricators in the environs. He brought meals to his workers to save time and energy from the ascent and descent of the great height. He invented, designed and built hoisting machines with innovative reversing gears…state of the art at the time. He worked out brick patterns to absorb the inward weight and angle of the cupola. It seems that every facet of his project was an extension of the envelope.

The last dimly lit corridor yielded to another door and the bright morning light, blue sky and the breathtaking skyline of Florence from the Lantern atop the Cupola. I carefully noted details in every direction, being careful to focus in one direction and take fotos of notable sights. Looked notheast toward Prato, the famous silk and textile center and Pistoia; the Arno River disappearing in the west; the steeply curved, tiled roof line with adjoining ribs, Giotto’s tower, Piazza Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio, the top of Vasari’s Corridor from the Ufizzi atop Ponte Vecchio to the Pitti Palace, Piazza Michelangelo nesled above the Arno to the south adjacent to Fort Belvedere and the other great cathedral of Florence, Santa Croce to the east. The Appenines to the east and north and the Arno Valley to the west and south. It was all a feast to the eyes…except perhaps for the ever present graffitti defacing the marvelous marble lantern.

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The trip down was less eventful and much easier although there was some congestion in areas as groups were still ascending.  At the base of the Cupola a landing appeared with wonderful desplays of repair and hoisting equipment…all terribly midieval and interesting.

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Soon, I hobbled on the last step and exited the rustic door to the cobbles of the piazza, delighted to be once again on ‘terra firma’.

Luciano J. Ercolini

‘The Cycling Tuscan’

Silicon Valley Real Estate….. Luciano…..  Broker/Owner…. www.dalmatianrealtysv.com

Scenes from Tuscany Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Cycling Pisa

Over the Arno River on the way to the Leaning Tower! And…what a joy it was. I had been to Pisa a number of times but it was never as free and fun as this time by bicycle.

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Montecatini, Montecatini Alto above, Bar New York. One of my favorite sidewalk bars for caffe e latte and people watching.Ah, ehr…maybe a Cognac, too!

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My paesano, Niccolo, outside the Ufizzi Palace. He got a ‘bum wrap’ from history. To understand the mind of a Tuscan one must understand the mind and times of Macchiavelli.

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Along Via Francigena, the tenth century ‘pilgrim’s road’ to Rome, is the famous town of Altopascio with hospital, refectory and hostel. Pilgrims would be given lodging, medical care and hearty minestrone soup to sustain them on their journey. Above is the cauldron for the soup.

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The hilltop town of Montecarlo. Here begins the ‘Via del Vino’ to Lucca. The town is walled with fortifications of Medieval and Renaissance eras. Many of my riding days began with caffe e latte and updating my journal at the bar on main street. Absolutely delightful way to begin the day!

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North of Pescia along the Pescia River are historical remnants of midieval paper factories. This region was renouned for its fine paper, water marks and all. It is reputed to have produced the paper for the wedding invitations of Napoleon. The above building is Hotel San Lorenzo which was converted and restored from a paper factory. Within the lobby, bar and dining room are fine relics of the paper manufacturing era.

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This is a stretch of the original Via Francigena, the ninth to thirteenth century Pilgrim’s Road to Rome . It is located in the hamlet of Galleno. Via Francigena was a network of roads beginning in Canterbury across France, over the Alps into Italy, along the west coast into Tuscany, inland to Lucca, to Altopascio, Galleno, Fucecchio and south to Siena and Rome. Other lifetime pilgrimage destinations at the time were Santiago Campostella in northern Spain and Jerusalem.

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I sit on the southwest corner of Piazza delle Catene in Lucca-cool, comfortable and relaxed watching busy locals and dazed, hot and sticky tourists. Am about to eat a focaccia prosciutto and cheese sandwich with Montecarlo wine bought from La Grotta Pizzicheria on the north end of Via Fillungo. Isn’t life great?

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The Vasari  Corridor from the Ufizzi Palace(right) across top of Ponte Vecchio to Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens and Fort Belvedere. This architecture embodies the psychology of the times best articulated by Niccolo Macchiavelli. In the Prince Niccolo advised leaders to be vigilant of threats from within the city and from outside the city….so the times were fraught with danger from everywhere. This corridor protected the Medicis on their trip to and from work from the dangers of the ‘street’.P7190231

The town of Vinci, birthpalce of Leonardo. In the center of town is an interesting museum depicting the mechanical innovations of the ‘Master’ in scale models. Vinci is in the rolling hills adjacent to the Arno River and the beginning of the heralded Chianti region.

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The walled, ancient city of Lucca! My very favorite. An Etruscan city and a Roman castrum, a pawn of Pisa and then Florence in the middle ages…but always a jewel in the heart of Tuscany. The footprint of a Roman amphitheater still exist where I’ve enjoyed many a deli lunch midway a bicycle ride. On one  trip I walked around the city atop the walls examining the fortifications, soldier’s quarters, munition storage areas with views of the inner areas of the city and outer environs fading into the Apuan Alps. A walk down its main street, Via Fillungo, blends antiquity with the luxury and elegance of modernity. It was a stop in the ancient pilgrim’s road, Via Francigena , with the ‘volto santo’, the holy relic, housed in its cathedral, San Martino. But most of all I love the flavor of the city. To shop for fine woolen sweaters. To eat crisp focaccia while window shopping. To while away an hour people watching over an espresso and a cognac at a sidewalk cafe. To visit an ancient church in an out of the way quarter. To climb one of the towers offering magnificent panorama. The city is small, comfortable and friendly.

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Covered bridge over the canal to the hamlet of Ponte a Cappiano. Rebuilt by the Medicis in the mid sixteenth century. Served as a fortified bridge, mill, forge and center of local commerce. This was also en route of Via Francigena which lead to the Arno crossing and south to Siena and Rome.

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Town center of Montelupo Fiorentino some fifteen miles east of Florence on the Arno river. The area is locally renowned for the fine pottery which has been in production for centuries. It is of the same quality and style as Deruta although internationally lesser known. I spent some delightful hours strolling through the pedestrian center and marveling at the colorful and imaginative pottery.

P8020606Hilltop fortified town of San Miniato visible from miles around. Strategically located between Florence, Pisa and Siena and overlooking the Arno plain. It was witness to the many battles of these city-states and suffered the ravages of mercenary armies in middle ages. Today the area is known for the famous ‘white truffle’ and is a popular tourist stop at the gateway to the Chianti region.

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One splendid Sunday morning in July I absorbed the Tuscan countryside. With nary a schedule or place to go. I rode to the beat of my own drummer and thought beautiful thoughts.  I smiled and waved and my pals whom I’ve never met nor will ever meet returned a greeting in the Tuscan sunshine. Life is good…if you know where to look!

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Acquedotto Nottolini==This aqueduct delivered water to the city of Lucca from the Mount Pisano area some three kilometers to the south. The four hundred plus columns are routed through the hamlets of Guamo and San Concordia. Following link is a fine picture gallery of the water collection areas, water temples and environs http://brunelleschi.imss.fi.it/itinerari/galleria/AcquedottoNottolini.html

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The Medici Hunting Lodge in the town of Cerreto Guidi some twenty miles west of Florence. It’s now a museum showing the opulence and lifestyle of the renowned medieval family. There is a most interesting room depicting a series of paintings of seventeenth century turbaned Turks with their spectacular hunting dogs. The museum is free to the public but I had to be persistent as the guard had locked all and was sleeping inside. I rang the entrance bell heartily!!

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On the mountain roads notheast of Lucca are gems to be found around every corner. This might have been an old winery or olive processing facility. Now it’s a relic of interest on a desolate Tuscan byway.

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Just north of Pisa close to the small town of San Giuliano my bicycle seat snapped off the post. I rode for some miles seat-less but was a great distance from home. This lovely lady who owns the hardware store let me fish through her supply of old bolts till I found the right one. I was able to complete my trip through the mountains of Pisa and Lucca and home. No further mishaps that day!

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The Florence Airport(Peretola or Amerigo Vespucci) reminiscent of air travel during the casual and carefree period. Two ground level buildings, departure & arrivals and a walk to and from the plane on the tarmac. I had the pleasure of experiencing this mode on my last journey and leaving the airport on my laden bicycle for city center. For those with a sense of adventure….I heartily recommend this style.

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Piazza Michelangelo overlooking the city of Florence. Built between 1865-1870 when Florence was the capital of the Kingdom of Italy. One day I walked the hills to the southeast of Florence to Fort Belvedere behind the Pitti Palace and meandered through the narrow forested streets. The views of the city were marvellous. I had brought a lunch and ate it right in front of the Church of San Miniato nestled above Piazza Michelangelo which in turn is situated on a hilltop perch offering the best panorama of Florence. It was so breathtaking that the next day I did it again. This time, though, by taking the #13 bus right in front of the train station which was also interesting as it gave a tour of the various neighborhoods of the city.

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Life in the hilltop towns of Uzzano and Stignano. Older ladies in typical Tuscan dress doing daily chores or perhaps waiting for the grandchildren to arrive. Life in these hilltop towns is soooo quiet as all businesss activity is conducted in the valleys just below. The homes’ exteriors are rough and rustic and a contrast to the marbles and woods and fine stucco work found inside.

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It was a long ride. South through the flat-lands of the Cerbaie to the Arno River through Pontedera and the river towns to Pisa. I could feel the coolness of the nearby ocean and I toured through city streets un-bothered by traffic. Then over the Pisan mountains to Lucca where just in the nick of time I bought lunch at my favorite pizzicheria and ate it in the amphitheater just around the corner. A focaccia filled with prosciutto, cheese and basil and…Montecarlo Red. If you ever find yourself in Lucca here’s their mouth watering website  http://www.pizzicherialagrotta.it/index.html

Perhaps the best value while casually traveling through Italy. Bars and Roadhouses. Reminiscent of the gasthaus & restatte I used to love while traveling through Germany.

This is Casa Rossa just outside of Fucecchio near the Arno and gateway into the heralded Chianti Region. It was my first lunch on this Tuscan bicycle trip. I slowly ate two facaccia sandwiches (salame and prosciutto) with cold draft beer for about $10. Just great. These places have an energy of their own. Travelers dash in for quick coffee and snacks and locals come to socialize. I eat and look out onto the road traffic and listen to the local color. It’s a rich way to spend and hour.

This is a leather tannery. My uncle, Enzo, owned such a place. This area along the Arno from Fucecchio to Santa Maria Sul’Arno and along to Pontedera was known for its leather tanneries.

During the forties and fifties my uncle would travel about Tuscany by bicycle and buy the hides from slaughter houses and butcher shops. Burcher shops in those days would slaughter their own animals locally at the shop.

In the seventies during one of my visits to the area I saw the tannery in operation. I remember hides of all varieties in vibrant colors ready for shipping for manufacture of shoes, coats and purses.

Enzo was a true capitalist. A successful businessman and savvy investor.

Luciano

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Landlord & Entrepreneur since 1977***** Realtor since 2000***** Broker/Owner since 2004

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