Friday, October 23, 2015

Outside of Florence

Near San Casciano

Many films have been set in the Tuscan countryside--and for good reason.  It is lovely. We thought that staying in Florence for a month, we would get out more and explore some of the towns we hadn't seen in previous visits. But as we got into the way of life in Florence, we just didn't feel the need to get away.

We did make  a trip to Fiesole, in the hills above Florence. They have an old Roman theater and a great Etruscan Museum there, but we had been before, and we felt the price was a little high. So we simply sipped cappuccinos at a cafe with a view and walked back to Florence along narrow, but busy roads.

We got yet another view of Florence as we walked back, looking out for cars and motorcycles that zipped by, missing us by inches.

We passed olive groves, villas and schools, and saw egrets in the river on the way back, but it wasn't quite the hike we were looking for. A week or so later, I read a TripAdvisor review of San Casciano, which supposedly has some good country walks and features an Etruscan tomb. So we plotted the bus route to San Casciano and set out one morning with a picnic lunch,

But San Casciano was dead! It was the middle of the day, and everything had shut down for the 2-3 hour lunch break! In Florence only a few shops still observe that tradition (such as our vino sfuso store), but most stores are open, and the tourist office doesn't close. No so in San Casciano.

San Casciano in the early afternoon.
In truth, we did see a few people, and we encountered some British tourists who were looking for wifi. We even found a couple of cafes that were open, so we could have coffee.  But the museum and sights were shut tight.

All was not lost, however. As we made our way to the bus station to return to Florence, we encountered an art installation.  Called "The Boat," it was created by an English artist who was working in collaboration with some young people of the town. Although not yet finished, it created a striking visual display from above.

We visited briefly with the artist, and Kevin helped her carry some supplies to her store.  I feel bad, because I meant to note her name, but all I can recall is her last name is Sainsbury (like the British grocery chain). 

Although we didn't get our walk, we did get a bus ride in the country and an encounter with an artist and her work. Not a bad day!

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