May 26, 2012

Tuscany: Venice to Florence to Greve

Entering Tuscany on the A-14 interstrade from Venice was simple enough, but kind of a crazy ride.  The little foothills became big mountains.  The sky began to drizzle.  There were about 8 million ka-zillion tunnels, to the point of annoyance.  Bumpy, curvy roads -- a playground for BMW, Mercedes and Ferraris, not so much for our little Fiat Panda.  The baddest Panda in the land.

(Europe is full of Pandas.)
Marj was bouncing around the backseat with loose luggage smashing into her.....
  I was in front hanging on to the strap above my head.

We bounced down the huge drop into Florence and landed with a purpose.

Pizzeria O'Vesuvio. 
DJ Pauly D's pizza.
This place made famous by the hideous show "Jersey Shore" is located in the heart of old town Florence.  Right there in the skin tight alleys and cobblestone drives.  Don't try to drive there.  Baddest Panda in town or not, a car's not going here.

Trying to drive around Florence absolutely ruined the whole city for me.  As we approached Florence, I was giddy with history.  I tried to imagine the city on lockdown - enemies encamped all around, the struts blocked - no way in or out.  For ten months they lived like that until starvation and disease brought them to surrender. 1530 - the time when Machiavelli and Michelangelo were hanging around town.  Florence was started maybe 50 BC or something like that as a retirement community for veterans.  This place has tons of history and I was ready to experience it.
Until I got  there.
1.5 million in the metropolitan area

Within one hour, I wanted out.  And fast.  I hated Florence.  The ancient area is packed with tourists, you can barely move.  Cars and bikes and scooters, beeping, screeching, trying to get past pedestrians.  Ugh.  It was terrible.  We had our pizza, peeked over at the Duomo and high-tailed it out of there in the Baddest Panda Ever.
And then?
Yeah, this:

This, my friend, is Tuscany. 
Go ahead and see the David statue in Florence.
See the leaning Tower of Pisa.
But go in and get out quick.

Even with the drizzling rain, our apartment in Greve-in-Chianti was awesome.

Upon waking the next morning, the rain was gone, the sun was out and we began a walk up the hill out of Greve to see the wine country up close.

I guess we're just not city-folk.

Previous posts on Italy:
First night in Rome, Bicycle Protest at the Colliseum
Pizza Joint in Rome
Ancient Rome
Art in Rome, a Dali Exhibit
Art in Vienna, Austria

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