Magical is not a word that I just toss around like a bone for our dog. In fact, I don’t like the word at all. It seems too girly and feminine and romantic for my tastes. Montemerano, however, is magical.
In every sense of the word. The village is located at the top of a hill just 7km from Saturnia and its natural thermal hot springs, and is the best preserved Medieval village in Maremma. We explored the entire village, had an excellent pizza at the Bar Pizzeria dal Moro, and then went back for some moonlit pics of the main square before returning to Saturnia for the night. My words will never describe the rustic villas in tufo adorned with the lush foliage and flowers of the region, the cobblestone streets, or the beautiful silence of a square after dinner.
When we did make it to Montemerano, I used up 2 rolls of film on my digital camera on unsuspecting people’s doorways before rounding the corner to see a church. Outside was pretty spartan, I have to say. Rough, carved stone, a wooden door, a crucifix above the door, and a forlorn look in its metaphorical eye that made me feel like I should visit it just so it wouldn’t feel so lonely. My first thoughts were that the church was your typical Italian church. I won’t lie and tell you that I can identify a church by its’ interior from 50 feet away, but they are more or less all pretty similar. You walk in, you see some pews, you see some candles, you see some artwork, you look up at the ceilings and see some paintings, you see a person sitting at a desk tucked away in a corner with pamphlets explaining the restoration efforts and costs with a small basket for collecting change, you get the idea I’m sure. I made my way slowly down the center aisle towards the front of the church and noticed the candles flickering to my right just in my peripheral vision. I paid no further attention to them and just basked in the silence, grateful that I had turned off the shutter sound on my camera so as not to interrupt anyone. Soft music was playing over hidden speakers but this somehow did not break the absolute stillness of the place. While I enjoyed the silence, I started to feel a little as if the walls were closing in around me and decided to put my customary euro in the donation tray and light a candle.
An engineering feat. Brunelleschi’s Duomo in Florence is worth the trip alone.
If you are looking for the absolute riches, creamiest, chocolatiest gelato in Florence – go to Venchi’s and treat yourself to the Cremino 1878 with any other flavor. You won’t regret it – I promise! Try the 1878 Cremino.
After a long day of travelling from Viareggio to Naples by almost every mode of transportation known to man, we made it to the B&B Orsini 46 and called their number to advise them of our arrival. Our room, the Ischia, was very spacious, bright, tastefully decorated, and CLEAN. We had initially thought to bring our daughter and a single bed had been made beside the queen size with matching bedding. I don’t know about you, but these touches matter to me. If anything, I like consistency! The bathroom had a lovely, large, shower with rainfall head that heated quickly and lots of counter space for my various beauty ‘necessities’. The B&B is centrally located in the Santa Lucia area and if you can’t reach most of the major sites by foot, you are extremely close to public transportation hubs. In the 2 days that we were in Napoli, we were not once burdened by our location. It was a pleasure to walk past the church, San Francesco di Paola, each day and to take in the everyday scene of Napoli – kids racing past on motorinos, wildly gesticulating people having passionate arguments about politics (or maybe just coffee), or stylish men and women setting the fashion trend for the rest of us. Our experience at the B&B Orsini 46 exceeded our expectations and now, aside from having a new place to stay when we visit Napoli, we have two more friends.
I’m going to share with you a secret that I’ve kept quiet until now.…..go at night….
That’s right, at night.
Go after the sun has set. Find a nice bar and have an aperitivo, or even an early dinner, then make your way to the Piazza dei Miracoli. You won’t believe your eyes.
The vendors will be closed and their shops will have the shutters drawn. The throngs of tourists will be gone. The security guards telling you to stay off the grass will be at home enjoying dinner and telling their families about the funny things they saw foreigners doing that day. But most of all, you will notice the silence.
The Piazza dei Miracoli is a place that I take every single person who comes to visit us to see. Even if during the day, the Piazza dei Miracoli is one of the most majestic squares I have ever seen, and I never get tired of seeing it.
In another tip I will tell you about each building, a little history, and some little known tales and folklore surrounding various aspects of the square. But for right this second, I want you to imagine having this square to yourself. Or perhaps a few other likeminded people who speak in soft whispers and are more intent on experiencing the piazza from the lack of assault on the senses than with it.