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Report 673: Tuscan Rambles

By Doug Phillips from Canada, Spring 2004

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Page 7 of 17: Day 6 – Thursday May 6: Florence – Train from Chiusi

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Tuscan villa

We left our apartment before 8:00am and drove to the train station at Chiusi, about 20 minutes away. From my reading, I had concluded that driving to Florence was not the best means of transportation. At the train station the only available parking spots were for a maximum of two hours – all the daylong places were taken, I think mostly by commuters. I sought advice inside the station. One of the ticket agents directed me a few blocks away to the centre of the town, to an empty lot in the commercial area. It worked out fine and the price was right (free), but I doubt it will be empty for long.

We took the hour-long train ride into Florence and arrived at the central Santa Maria Novella station. I wanted to check on return journey before we left the station. There are several scheduled trains, but some are what we used to call “milk runs”, making several stops along the way, increasing the travel time. The ticket agent was extremely helpful, even printing out the schedule of the trains back to Chiusi.

On leaving the train station we visited the church of Santa Maria Novella then went into to the nearby Medici Chapel with its trio of outstanding sculptures by Michelangelo. From there we walked over to the area of the Baptistry and Duomo and stopped for lunch in a small restaurant.

In our earlier visit to Florence back in the 1970’s we had visited the Uffizi, the Duomo, the Boboli Gardens and the statue of David in the Accademia. We were considering another visit to the Uffizi, but the long lines quickly changed our minds. It made sense for my BW and I to split up for a few hours to pursue individual interests.

If you want to do some serious window-shopping in Florence, head to the Via de' Tornabuoni, with its designer stores and ridiculous prices. Here you’ll find Louis Vuitton, Trussardi, Cartier, Beltrami, Yves St Laurent, Lotti, Bulgari, Prada and others. At Yves St. Laurent for example, the store is divided into many very small rooms with only a very few items on display in each. We were accompanied on our trip by one of the staff wherever we went. I brought back a souvenir, a small booklet of their spring show.

Even in this off-season period there were crowds of people wherever we went. We decided that one day in Florence was enough for us.

We arrived back in Chiusi about 8:00pm. Apparently, we departed the railway station by a different way than we entered since we drove through unfamiliar territory and eventually came upon the spa resort town of Chianciano Terme. In a few minutes we were back at Villa Nottola.

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