Traveling the world is not instantaneous. Its a hurry up and wait kind of deal – important to be ready for anything and easy going. Really, we had no problems getting here to Italy, minus a small multi-second drop in mid air at 33,000 feet over the Mediterranean (that reminded me of the worst and only ride ever on a roller coaster). But we caught better air soon and I very happy to have the long transatlantic flight over with. A relatively short drive and a ridiculously scary but easy encounter with the Italian language at a auto-grill along the highway later I was at the small Tuscan hill town of Castiglion Fiorentino.
This is my window view up and down the alley like streets of the town.
There is a realism that my consciousness can’t seem to wrap its head around. It is a different land, but not totally alien. Italy isin the low sloping roofs of the villas that never gather snow here south of the alps. Its in the towers and the mosaic of brick, sandstone, plaster, and concrete that compose the cities. Its also in the activity of the individual working in the garden, hanging laundry, and gunning the Vespa. Its very hard to believe that I am finally here! Italy. Wow. This isn’t half of what they describe it as.
After an amazing dinner in the studi centre, of spicy tomato pasta, rosemary chicken, roasted potaoes, Castiglion Sangiovese vino, and vanilla ice cream sandwiches, it was time for a good long rest. About time, those few hours on the plane don’t really count for much in the past 36 hours.
I awoke of my own accord near 6am, local time, too excited to make myself fall asleep, which is uncommon for those of you who know me well. At 7:30 the bells from the chiesa (church), next to the study center chimed, for almost a minute. Excited to truely start my adventure, I went seeking the sun. And found it…
Out from the u-shaped courtyard, the sun was peaking behind a mountain. The light was so clear and buttery, it was incredible. The warmth of the sun and the gentle breeze had so much quiet power. Pigeons tap danced on the metal rain gutters and cooed while the roosters, dogs, and Fiat motors joined in.
Later in the afternoon, we went with Paolo, one of the founders of the school here, on a tour of the city. His connections could get us pretty far. We went to the public library to see some old books. Really old, 1100’s books, illuminated manuscrips, and the sort. Sadly, many of the most beautify tempera paintings had been cut out during the war when the library was unattended. The existing scattered among the chants were impressive.
Today we went to Cortona, a short public bus ride down the valley and around the short mountain. It was just the first of a long run of field trip days. We will be off to Florence tomorrow, and Arezzo on Saturday. Just a few places out of many of my dreams. Ciao!