Today I spent the first half of the day exploring Florence. Florence is exactly as beautiful and romantic as you think, maybe even more so. It is interesting returning after 25 years. There is no right age to be here. Perhaps different things attract and excite me today than back then, but if anything it is even more thrilling now. For one thing, I am staying in considerably nicer places. Florence is easier to enjoy with a bit more money. I went to see Michaelangelo’s David, and it was surreal to be there in person. I spent hours just wandering around, window shopping. I found an old fashioned glove shop. A small store with cubbies filled with gloves. You don’t browse, you are fitted then shown gloves in your size. There are small round pillows on the counter for customers to rest their elbows while gloves are placed on your hand. Hand stitched, buttery soft silk lined leather. Yes of course I bought a pair.
When I finally set off in my little Fiat for Poppi, the gps did not recognize the address. I called and a nice man named Alex told me “come to Poppi then call me, and I will come down and lead you to the villa.” Even with a gps, I don’t think I could have found it. We pulled off a small side road and drove perhaps 2 miles up a one lane gravel road. When I say we are in the middle of nowhere Italy I am not exaggerating! I have wifi but no phone service. Our rooms have no locks. We can help ourselves to whatever we want. There are 3 2 bedroom stone villas that share a common room with a fireplace and small kitchen area. There is no television. Very peaceful and incredibly beautiful. My room has a large rustic antique armoire and a stone floor. I have a door leading out to a garden with a sweeping view of the hilly farmland.
Our class has 7 people: a nice couple from Belfast currently living in Saudi Arabia, a perfect stereotype of a New York Jew, complete with a heavy Brooklyn accent, an American woman currently living in London, a man from Qatar, a retired woman from San Francisco, and me. When I arrived 3 of them were sharing a bottle of wine and I joined them. Really fun and interesting people! We met Paola, our teacher and chef who prepared an insanely wonderful dinner for us, and we sat by the fire drinking grappa and limoncello until we were too stuffed, drunk, and exhausted to stay awake.
Time for bed. This is going to be an incredible week!