Monday, 22 February 2010

Since I have just arrived in the Renaissance city I thought now was as good a time as ever to begin again. I’ve been deep in a cocoon for a few months now (‘Not entirely my fault,’ she pleads. ‘It was been winter after all’) and while I would hardly suggest I am a butterfly now, I have decided to take a look at the world again.

Of course this is easier said than done, cocoon walls can be tricky to leave, but if anywhere has the power to entice me out it has got to be my Lieblings StadtFirenze.

I suppose I must seem a little disloyal to all my Fasnachting students who are enjoying carnival in Basel this week. Shouldn’t I be there eating cheese tart and flour soup? Probably. But I have done it a few times now and this year I am searching for peace and rest. And believe me it’s hard to rest with a thousand piccolos tooting in your head. So here I am in beloved Florence, staying at the tranquil Residenza del Palmerino tasting olives and drinking vino rosso. It’s wonderfully authentic and the family who own it are embracing and inclusive. Tonight they are holding an aperitivo so their guests can meet and salivate (I presume) over crostini, prosecco and Florence. The Residenza is a little distance from town but it is easy to get to by bicycle or by bus. I imagine for those on their first visit to Florence it might seem too far but if instant gratification isn’t your thing there is something delicious about staying in the hills and enjoying the adventure of finding il centro historico every day. There is also a meadow out the back of the villa with olive trees and an old dog called Parma who could broker peace anywhere in the world with her sweet, sanguine eyes. What more could one ask for apart from a personal gelateria I suppose.

The Residenza previously belonged to the English writer, Violet Paget who went by the male pseudonym Vernon Lee. I am hoping to channel her spirit somehow and find my voice again here. I haven’t written for quite some time. Weary I suppose. Busy with life as well. A little low after the Swimming Kangaroo situation which I really have to get over sometime soon.


Today Io ho fatto una passeggiata through the narrow lanes and came across the La Fattoria di Maiano which was very pleasing as I found a very nice stone wall on which to perch that was neither hard nor cold on the bottom. It also offered a most adorable view out to Settignano. Of course I would say that about anything in Florence - even the dog turds seem polished here. Actually I must say I find Firenze looking particularly rosy-cheeked at present. The traffic has been removed from the Piazza del Duomo and what a difference it makes. Via Faenza has been paved which made me sad for I had loved her treacherous cobble stones but it gives the street a more elegant gait I suppose. My friend A, who lives here is surprised at how much I sense the change. I think I am like the Na'vi people on Pandora. I am in tune with Firenze. A change in its blood is a change in mine too.

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