We have spent the last 11 days camped at San Pero A Sieve, a small town up in the hills about 17km North of Florence.
The campsite seemed an ideal base for exploring the city as there is an hourly train which takes about half an hour and it has some of the best showers we have yet to encounter.
Our pattern has been to spend a day in the city and then a day resting… Tourism is exhausting work!
We visited the Duomo but copped out climbing the 460 steps to the top. We saw the Church of the Annunciata but they were making a film in the Innocenti so didn’t get in there.
We did get to see David in the Academia but they don’t allow photographs so nothing to show here. We wandered around the Palace of Strozzi.
There was too much to see and do to make any sense of it all, so, as with Venice, here is a link to the pictures we took without any commentry at this stage: Pictures of Florence
We also visited ancient relatives graves
in the English Cemetery.
This last was under the guidance of Prof. Julia Bolton Holloway,
a retired professor of Medieval literature from Collorado Uni, Mother of three children, Curator of the cemetery and Catholic Nun. A fascinating individual who devotes much of her time to the cemetery, of course, but in doing so is doing some really impressive work with the Roma in the area.
The Roma in Italy
These unfortunate people have been chased out of Romania. Under the communists, they were allowed to go to school – not now. They were allowed to own houses – not now unless they are registered and most are not because they don’t meet the new registration standards. Of course, under the new regulations, if you are not a registered householder, you can’t work and if you don’t work you have no rights to any public services!
The sad thing is that some foolishly went to Italy where things were a bit better. Until the TV Magnate who is the Prime Minister decided that they shouldn’t be allowed to work there either unless they had a registered Italian address. The addresses which most of them lived at were no longer considered acceptable for registration, so once again these people found themselves unable to work for a living despite the EU saying that they can. Berlisconni is interested in the EU law and knows that the Roma can’t afford to fight him in the courts.
Julia Holloway is desperate to use their high quality skills to renovate the cemetery and has the funds, partly from the Swiss owners, to do so. But the Italians won’t allow them to do so and they don’t have the skills to allow the use of Italian craftsmen/women to do it either.
Having spent 6 days exploring Florence, we slept in this morning on the basis that we needed another rest-day. We would then return for another go Monday or Tuesday with the Uffiza and another couple of museums still on our “must do” list.
Sadly, just before our 11:30 breakfast, the owner of the site drove up to say “You do know we close today for the Winter? You are the only ones still on the site and we close at midday”
A quick negotiation got us permission to stay until two o’clock and we did move before the deadline. It seems to have caused much amusement that we had no idea of their closing date nor that everyone else had already gone…