26 December 2012 is La Festa di Santo Stefano (St. Stephen's Day) in Italy, which marks the announcement of the birth of Jesus and the arrival of the Three Wise Men. It also means all of the stores and most of the restaurants are closed and the streets are pretty empty. A perfect day to arrive in Florence, exhausted and needing to catch up on sleep.
I arrived around noon, checked into Hotel Villa Fiesole and then walked uphill to the center of town. Fiesole is a small hillside town with spectacular views of Florence. It’s about 5 miles from Florence and was discovered between 9 and 8 B.C. As I walked into the center of town, I passed ancient stone walls. Il Duomo beckoned to me in the distance behind a translucent wall of clouds. Speeding cars passed me, one almost cutting my trip short since if he were any closer I’d be in the hospital.
The Medici built a villa in Fiesole, which I walked by on my way to lunch. Fra Angelica lived here. Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas spent summers here. Frank Lloyd Wright lived in Fiesole in 1910. The façade of Villa San Michele was built by Michelangelo.
It’s rainy and overcast today. The temperature is in the 50’s. I ate lunch at IPolpa, a local and authentic restaurant, i.e. they do not cater to tourists. Perfetto.
Prima course: Zuppa di porri e sedano rape
Secondi course: Totelli di Salsiccia e carolo novo all’olio novo e pecorina
And a delicious glass of red wine.
I’m sitting in front of a fire at the hotel now…dozing off….listening to Christmas music….dozing off…