The key to becoming the most popular person in Europe is simple: wear an anti-Trump pin. I’ve said it before and I’ll said it again. PEOPLE LOATHE HIM. Jim and I are not visiting the more popular tourist areas. There are NO Americans, at least not a one that we’ve seen and not even Brits, which is surprising.
The mountains villages that surround Pistoia are remote and teeny. I remember when we rented in Poppi (weeks after my breast cancer diagnosis) and the town, all of two blocks and a square had two cheese shops – one where the owner made buffalo mozzarella FRESH every day. I would be there when the shop opened, every day ordering a larger order. Our friend, Anne Martin from NYC, was with us. And we lived day to day for the mozzarella. In the town nearest us, there is Pharmacia and a small shop that carries EVERYTHING under the sun from Micky Mouse toys to wine, and fresh meats, all contained in a 12 X 12 area. That’s it. The end. If there is something else, and it’s ever open, I don’t know what it is. Shopping wise. There are also two small bars and pizzerias.
One of the countless advantages of having a super long trip like this I can “waste” a day. I woke up in the middle of the night with a splitting sinus headache. It lasted well into this afternoon putting the kibosh on all my plans – exercise (that’s one that seems to fall through every day); painting; finishing my book. Sitting outside with a drink and staring out at the blue sky, looking at all villages for miles around us tucked away in the green hills. What did I do instead? Snuggled up with Jim and the mutts and watched “Deustchland83”, a German thriller about the Cold War! It’s Sunday and EVERYTHING and I do mean everything is shut tomb tight. I don’t think Jesus could get them to open those bloody shops! And I’m bad at planning ahead so that means pasta, salad and NO dessert. That hurts. Its vacation!!
That reminds me that I must take pics of the German bomb shelter on the grounds and post them. The views from this house are so extraordinary, it makes perfect sense why the Nazis would occupy it. Not because of the scenery, but because they could see the enemy. At least I assume that’s why. Many they were all about landscape and wiping up Jews and others was just so there could be more greenery.
I never realized there were this many shades of green. The ride we took yesterday to Mammimo Basso to see and partially walk the Ponte Sospeso, in the Abetone Mountains is or was the longest suspension foot bridge in the world. All around you is majestic mountain greenery. Below is the Lima River. Looking down was a little freaky. I tried not to, although you can’t help but be drawn to it!
There are recent finds that date the area where it was built back 9-10,000 years before Christ, Epigravettian period. Not only before my time, not ever entered Into be gray zone before now. Even spellcheck never heard of it!
From there we went to the MOST remote village of Lucchio may have been the most gorgeous rides I’ve ever been on. Not to mention the most terrifying. The GPS would tell us to turn and we’d ignore her because we thought no car could get up that alleged road. Sure enough, we’d have turn around and go up it. At several points we checked out and walked up. And mind you they were two-way “roads.”
The place was so old and so deserted feeling, although there were still residents. A total of six people. It was even higher than. Lucchio is carved Into a rock that looked like it was touching the sky. WOW.
The other amazing thing about these villages is they’re too small to have squares. We’ve always stayed near a place that has a public square where the men sit around all day and talk and the women run the fabulous food shops. We haven’t seen one square. I haven’t even seen the kind of specialty food shops you find in places like Cortona, Siena, Florence, etc.
One of the coolest parts of this trip is how isolated we’ve been in all the places we’ve stayed. When I found this tower house we’re renting in Pistoia, I had very little to choose from in the mountains. If I wanted to stay in other parts of Tuscany where we’ve been, zillions of choices. But I took those memories here. So when I saw Cireglio was only 2 km I was thinking homemade buffalo mozzarella and gelato. I’ve yet to have a gelato in Italy and I’ve been here TWO WEEKS.
For that reason alone I should lose five pounds!! I can still remember the gelato we had in Cortona!!
I just realize all my references lead to food!!! I’d say I was shallow, but by looking in the mirror, at this point, it wouldn’t be an honest statement.
The more areas of Italy I see the more I understand why it took them so long to become a unified nation given the topography alone! But it’s a knockout. It also makes me so curious about how these town can survive. We’ve discussed that with the rental agent who speaks perfect English. Most of the towns are occupied by “older” people. There’s very little outside agriculture and a few other industries, that people can do. They do seem to want less materially. Maybe that’s part of it. Lifestyle is much more about living life vs. stressing their way through it.
Ahh, the lesson of the day. Or the daily lesson which is it’s always Prosecco time.