Florence: about the town and hills (contin.)

This continues on from the last entry, half of which evaporated, improbable but it just went pooff.  So this is hasty as the iPad battery is rapidly, and resentfully, dying.

Up on the hills

Even the grave markers I found up on one hill are older, reflecting the very established nature of parts of Florence. Still, not old as 19th century markers in a church originally build early middle ages.

Marbled churches are a local specialty. Many use the same design.  If you are on a good thing, stick to it…. But the graphics above the entrance door differs. I prefer St Nic’s.


One of my favourite bits-above-the-door was on an otherwise unassuming church a bit out of the centre. If you were illiterate, here’s the story they would want you to have…

Look at the cathedral, the Duomo. Just gorgeous. Oh. And of course, the huge lines are an integral part of it. 

First, the picture above one entrance.


Multiple lines. And always, groups of very heavily armed soldiers around important things including the Duomo, the American consulate and the synagogue.

Each line is so well established they can estimate how long you’ll be there for. Hmmm, do they continue day and night?  The lines, that is. I suspect so. 

Maybe they just look that way. Like the 1.5 hours to go line! 


A passing person commented yesterday how she’d remembered the Duomo as cleaner. And it’s possible. One section must be near the top of the cleaning list with water runs evident. 


And another has recently been done.  The contrast speaks heaps – buckets?


How recently? Years? Months? Who cares. But the difference is clear. Reminds me of how filthy London buildings were in the mid 1970s. Come the late 1990s and they could not have been more different, cleaned, with the smog largely gone. 

I keep wondering how a city produced so much excellence in the arts over time. Guess that’s the key: ‘over time’. The middle ages lasted for centuries and a wealthy area inevitably attracted talent. With our attenuation of time the number of outstanding creators looks large. Again, it’s from a relatively large population centre with time concatenated. Maybe it’s more than that. Many cities throughout the world have left us with nothing to remember them by, even if they endured for long periods. 

Yes, time for lunch again

Different day, different lunch place. I keep meaning to return to my most successful first day but trying different places usually pays off. I’m in a small local restaurant. Out in the fumes again but outside they have chairs. 

Inside it’s stools only. No thanks, even though they have cute dogs there too.

The waiter is also cute and speaks very good english. We went through the menu item by item. I’m having crostini and a gnocchi with gorgonzola. The crostini is the nicest liver pate I’ve had. Not the solid type I’ve made but a more liquid version, oil rather than butter. 


Yes, it looks disgusting. I know. Tasted wonderful.

The gnocchi had a gorgonzola and red cabbage sauce. Once was enough. Gnocchi was salty although the sauce was nice. 

Life above the street
It’s 02:00 and as noisy as ever down on the street. Women chatter softly as they pass, some of the men chatter softly too and some shout, loudly. Then a girl started shouting. No obvious reason. The roadworks still funnels everyone through narrow spaces on either side. The concrete mixer and pneumatic drill both started at 08:30 on Saturday! They stopped early, 16:23.  I leave Sunday morning before they start up again. I won’t miss them. This Airbnb has been my only disappointment in Florence. 

And then there was the apartment’s added extra. Scorpion alert. Don’t read this if you are coming to Tuscany and equally ignorant. 

Those in Tuscany are about 5cm long and aggressive. Well, this describes the sneaky one hidden under my bath mat. I was too shocked to photograph it! If I got the camera it might’ve made a run/waddle for it. ‘Erasing’ it with the bath mat didn’t work. (Thankfully they can’t swim 😋.) Checking creases in my sheet has taken on a new meaning. Shook my boots this morning. Scorpions don’t climb. Do they? Don’t tell me. I do not want to know. 

Give me a good old Sydney or Mexican cockroach any day. They don’t bite viciously and aren’t as scary when unexpectedly exposed. Even the very big ones on the Yucatan Penninsula.

The best bit about life here I’ve left until now, the atelier down below and to one side. Before you get excited, count out your first €2,000. All the rest will be due when you buy. 



Each time I go somewhere specific I try to change my route. There is so much to see in old Florence. Every little street can offer something new and different. 




I suspect some towers have a practical function, like hiding pumping stations. Maybe not. 

And of course, people warehousing is everywhere down in the city, down from the pleasant hills with their light breeze. Near the river is very different.


Thought to leave with you

What did these guys think they were doing? Both of them. Or, same guy, different days, different sculptor.  

 No correspondence please….



Update on whether I’ll live or die

Again unclear. Today is a rest day. Not just to get time to eat the Italian version of brownies – different.  No, I tried to buy codeine to suppress my cough. You need a script here. Bisolvon gummies provide an interesting option. Not as nice as bottles of the real stuff but they are helping. Pity I can’t read the recommended dosage. Skoling the bottled version never hurt (nor helped much). 

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