A few weeks ago I went out with some friends who attend another school here In Florence. I met up with my friends then we went off to their girlfriend’s apartment to have a few drinks before we went out. I was drawn to a girl who reminded me of the girls I was close with at Indiana University this past year. One can make the obvious assumptions college girls were like at IU. We chatted away, both of us being more uninhibited people, instantly began to poke at each other about things like where we grew up, our accents, and schools we attended. After a few more drinks and more conversation, the group said it was time to go out. We all rallied up, the heard of tipsy American students made their way leisurely and loudly to a bar across town. The bar we went to was awful, not my kind of place, loud banging techno music, drunk American students passed out in the benches around the bar, and people dancing on tables, I’m over that scene. I didn’t last long there and neither did my new friend.
As we were walking back we passed the Duomo. That morning I joined a renaissance art history class, we met at the duomo and our teacher/guide taught us all about the building and its history. I decided to flex my inner art historian and tell her all about the building. The year the front façade was done, what the reliefs stood for on Giotto’s Tower, I was on a roll. She was impressed; until I told her I learned it in class that morning. As I walked her home, she said she needed to give me a tour, show me something new, something I haven’t seen yet in Florence. I said you’re on. I’m always down for an adventure.
About two weeks later, after lots of texts and calls talking up her keeping her end of the bargain she had a plan. She wanted to show me a view Florence from a small quiet town right outside the city called Bellosguardo. We met up the following afternoon and walked across town, through a more residential calm section up a hill to a small ledge where we could see a beautiful view of the whole city of Florence. We sat there on a ledge looking out and pointing at various landmarks that were popping out from the government sanctioned terracotta rooftop sea. After sitting there for a while we decided to go explore the small towns near where we were. She told me that many famous writers and philosophers would come to the villa behind us, rent a room and work. This excited me, it was cool to sit in the same spot and see the same view when Galileo was doing his research. Unfortunately the villa is not a museum, but a hotel. Its private garden blocked off with barbed wire, threatening signs, and a metal gate with a long key code. It was weirdly quiet. Every few minutes a small car would honk to alert other drivers on the other side of the many blind turns that they were coming and were not going to slow down, and tear down the road. The streets were walled; on the ledge of the walls were shards of glass to keep birds from perching and making a poopie mess. Every few hundred feet there would be a gate, obstructing beautiful estates owned by evidently very wealthy people. We peeped in through the cracks and looked over the walls on our tippy toes and tried to imagine what their lives were like and what they did for a living. In contrast to the rich country homes, there were numerous abandoned buildings in each town, alas all securely blocking our sense of curiosity and exploration.
We wandered around a little more then headed back down into Florence. It was a fun little adventure, now it’s my turn to think up our next feat in our duel of Firenzian tours.