Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Parigi + Firenze + Siena!

"Eiffel Tower" by xlibber
It's official: I'm going to Paris! And Firenze! My original idea to take the train from Paris south through Provence, down to Nice and over to Genova turned out to be way more complicated (and costly) than I had imagined, so I scaled back quite a bit on my travel plans. Now I've arranged to spend a week in Paris, then fly to Firenze and spend two weeks there. Basta! I leave in four weeks!

All I can say is "Bless my Italian friends!" I'll be visiting the Ruggeri family in Paris, who I haven't seen since 2009. I've visited them twice before at their home in Rieti, Italy, before they moved to Paris in 2010. In Firenze, the mother of my friend Paola has a room to rent, so I'll have an inexpensive place to stay in one of my favorite parts of Firenze, near the lovely park in Piazza D'Azeglio. Besides Paola, several other Italian friends may come and visit me while I'm there, so the time will fly by too quickly, I'm sure.

I haven't taken such a short trip to Italy since 2006, and it will be odd to be there only two weeks. But the expense is minimal, so why not? I won't be working in October, so it's a good time to travel.

I've never been to Paris, or France, for that matter, except to change planes, so I'm pouring over travel guides to get ready for my trip. There's so much to see, I doubt I can fit it all in within a week. While in Firenze, I hope to visit Siena and Montepulciano for a few days. Massimo in Bologna informed me today of a special event going on in Siena. Here's a summary of the notice he sent me:

"The most beautiful, large and magnificent design that was ever done," wrote Giorgio Vasari, describing the magnificent floor of the Cathedral (Duomo) of Siena, an exceptional example of Italian Romanesque-Gothic style. The floor will be visible for a little over two months, through October 24. The precious marble floor is generally covered by sheets of chipboard flooring to protect it from the many visitors to the Duomo, approximately one million a year. The floor, formed by fifty-six inlays, is one of the finest attractions of the church, which took centuries to complete, from the fourteenth to the nineteenth century.

Siena's Duomo, when I was there in 2006. The front facade was undergoing restoration.
Che fortuna that I had planned to visit during the time this special event will take place! As always, once I get over the fears and hassles of planning a new adventure, magic seems to happen.

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