Wednesday 15 July
Today we spent 45 minutes trying to buy a shower cap in Arezzo for Ann only to find two of them in a special pack in our hotel bathroom. After solving this problem we ventured back into old Arezzo to find Georgio Vasari’s house where he cared for his wife and extended family but unfortunately had no children of his own. The four storey house has a rooftop extended garden and all of the rooms including the ceiling were painted by Vasari himself as well as a considerable number of the paintings on the walls. The House is now a beautiful art gallery and attracts many visitors.
After this peaceful place we rejoined the tourist throng first tackling the Arezzo -Florence- Lucca freeways which the Mercedes-Benz loved and was only defeated by the odd Audi and Maserati!
I was determined not to be impressed by the “miraculous tower” as it is called especially as the parking was horrendous and we would have given it away except for the excellent assistance of two Senegalese souvenir salesmen who gave us fantastic support to find and then park our very small car. Right hand drive parallel parking into a very tight space was not something I learned in driving school! We were happy to reward them for their efforts. So when in the 37 degree heat we walked the narrow pathway towards the “Miracle Piazza” I was, as ever, overcome by the sight of the towering white and grey marble Duomo towering above the skyline. To then come into the piazza and see the gleaming marble leaning tower was indeed breathtaking. I had always wanted to see the Renaissance front of the Duomo and was not disappointed.
We then drove the beautiful 17kms through the hills to Lucca which is a stunning and elegant walled town unlike any we have seen in Tuscany. The streets are relatively wide and the houses are uniformly well maintained and stylish surrounding vast squares celebrating Garibaldi, Puccini and many others. We were expecting another burnt orange hill top town. We found an elegant italian city closer to Bath than Arezzo. An ancient Gothic cathedral with an extraordinary painted ceiling was a plus as was the equally fine Renaissance basilica with very simple internal decoration.
The freeway run home to Arezzo was just 80 minutes and a tribute to Italy’s ability to move many cars and even more trucks! over long distances in quick time