|The view from the desk where I'm typing.|
The five of us were quite content to stay on the grounds most of the time, especially because every time we ventured anywhere we promptly got lost, but we did go several times to Florence. The drive that was supposed to be 45 minutes stretched to two hours every time because we found new ways to get lost each trip. Getting lost was made more bearable by telling ourselves that we were seeing different areas of Tuscany, but, still, getting lost was always a frustration, and we were always relieved to return to our peaceful paradise where we could sit on the terrace at night watching the stars and hearing only the very occasional rustle of a wild boar in the distant woods.
David and I are not staying in the country on this trip to Florence.
Unlike my last trip to Florence, there's little danger of getting lost this time since no driving is involved, but, as with all places, there is a trade-off. Here, the noise never ends until 6:00 in the morning. Our little piazza seems to be the gathering spot for spontaneous parties from dusk until around 2:00 when the bars close and the piazza becomes the after-party location of choice. It seems to be occupied from 7:00 in the evening until 6:00 the next morning every single night of the week.
People mill around, kiss, throw beer bottles for the pleasure of hearing the glass break against the ancient stones, shout at one another, throw trash all over the ground (the area is cleaned every morning by men with brooms and a street-cleaning-machine), and talk loudly enough for us to eavesdrop if only we could understand Italian.
Our landlady has said that this is the price one pays for being in centro, and while there are undoubtedly quieter side streets not fronting on popular piazzas, she is, for the most part, correct. There doesn't seem to be anything quiet about Florence. It's an in-your-face, gloves off, up-front with nothing hidden, kind of place. Especially at night. Sleeping with earplugs is not an option, it is the only way sleep is possible.
|View from our front door.|
I know nothing about opera, but I know that was what I heard. That beautiful clear voice cut through the stillness erasing the memory of the night's clamor and reminding me, once more, of why David and I have come to this magical place called Florence.
*The good families of San Gimignano had a unique way of displaying their wealth. The family with the highest tower gained the most status. At one point several hundred years ago, there were 70 towers poking the sky, but now there are only about a dozen left.