Outside Florence: Saturday, August 7, 2004

  1. A small tour group ("Walking Tours of Florence") arrives by city bus in Fiesole, known for its views and its ruins.

  2. A very non-1st-century-BC central fountain.

  3. A Japanese tourist and I have the coliseum/stadium to ourselves. The rest of my group chose to get a Diet Coke and admire the view, or go shopping, instead of venturing into the ruins and the museum. It was a good view.

  4. The city tower looks out over the theater seating. This amphitheater is still used for productions.

  5. A thwarted attempt to capture most of the ampthiteater.

  6. These are the Etruscan ruins (several centuries B.C.?). The Etruscans lived and ruled in these parts until taken over by the Romans sometime in the first few centuries C.E. And OK, I have to admit, they're not necessarily all that thrilling to look at. But you can let your imagination wander. What were people doing here 2100 years ago? What did they have for breakfast?

  7. An archeologist would laugh at me. I don't remember if this is more Etruscan, or, if we're already onto the Roman baths. Go ahead, you archeologists, laugh your little heart out.

  8. Ditto. Although this is looking very bath-like to ME.

  9. This is definitely an Etruscan altar.

  10. Roman baths, shaded by the trees that look to be olive and cyprus, or ought to be, as those are the Tuscan trees, so we'll just pretend that they are.

  11. I think all the ruins and excavations look better in person. You'll just have to visit Fiesole, only 8 km from Florence.

  12. A stupendous series of Roman arches. Probably part of baths.

  13. Florence, as seen from Fiesole.

  14. An olive tree grows wild on the wall.

  15. A famous old Florentine quarry that we passed while taking a hice, long hike in a park in Fiesole. Highly recommended: a walk in Montececeri Park.

  16. What can I say? It's hazy in Tuscany. Far off, a fortress surrounded by forests of cypress and olives (see above.)

  17. A twist on the landscape. It's much more lovely in person. Go to Tuscany.

  18. This very young couple is on their honeymoon! They live in NYC but immigrated from Russian 8 years ago (him) and 12 years ago (her.)

  19. Tuscany seems to be still somewhat feudal. The families that go back to the 16th century or whatever still own the fortress and the lands. They put out a specialty Chianti. In some cases, they rent out their summer homes to be Hollywood sets.

  20. The legendary cypress.

  21. The legendary olive. Part of a large grove.

  22. Church near where we ate lunch.

  23. Inside the Countessa's villa. She rents it out not only for tourist lunches, but also for movies: "Tea with Mussolini", "Room with a View." A modern view of conquest.

  24. Before the brief tour and then lunch, we wandered around the outdoor patios.

  25. The villa itself. For more information, see http://www.ConteMiariFulcis.it. You can get married there, or plan other events there. Shoot a movie. Whatever.

  26. Another faded attempt to capture the play of trademark olive trees against trademark cypress trees.

  27. Our intrepid guide. If she looks Italian, that's because she is. But she was born and raised in Australia; she came to Florence to study Italian a few years ago, and never left. She has dual citizenship. The immigrant's child comes home.

  28. The Countess' pool looks a bit under the weather. Or at least too dry for diving.

  29. More care is given the formal garden.

  30. Another view of the Villa.

  31. A ceiling in some room or other of the preserved part of the Villa. They set up a few rooms with period art and period furniture. You get a tour of the preserved part before you're allowed into the real goal of the long morning's walk in the hot sun: lunch on the deck. Miles (kilometers?) of antipasti.

  32. Some of our crowd tucking in. They didn't really "taste" wines here - just set out a white and a red. The white was Enzo Mecella, Pagliano, Verdicchio di Matelica. The Chianti is easier: Chianti 2003, Valdarno superiore. I was informed that 1997 was the best year in recent memory for Chianti.

  33. More of the group. You can see we are only getting underway. The trays of antipasti were pretty much cleared.

  34. Our intrepid leader, at lunch! I have to figure out her email so I can mail her this picture. Maybe I can just mail it to "Walking Tours of Florence."

  35. A cat was there, I took its picture, you got a problem with that?

  36. Chapel near Countessa's Villa. The chapel is not leaning precariously. It is something my camera does to me.

  37. Back in my beautiful Florence, twilight has come.

  38. Bridge, town, hills.

  39. I frankly admit it, this is my favorite picture. I like how the burning sun doesn't take away from the detail on the buildings along the river.

  40. Suggestions?

  41. The sunset that would never end, over the Arno, impassive buildings just watching the progress of the sun.

  42. The sun colors the bridges.

  43. Here it is again; mystery building. I have no idea what this is. I flunk Florence 101.

  44. Typical Florentine street. Walk with a map.

  45. A woman from Prague (originally from Siberia) who struck up a conversation with me at a restaurant, as we each read from our books. She is tired of Prague and the fashion industry and wants to move to NYC. I need to dig up her email, too, and mail her the picture ...

Marianne Mueller
Last modified: August 30, 2004