This morning we woke up for the first time without a plan. Not that we have seen everything there is to see. Far from it, but we have done all we initially set out to see, with more planned in the future. Yet, there we were with nothing to do, nowhere to go and inside on a rare perfectly beautiful sunny day.
That's when Jo received a calendar message on her phone that I had sent some time ago and forgot about. It said Hidden Treasures Masterpieces and no more. We scrambled through the web to find the exhibition of several newly restored works by Botticelli and Ghirlandaio Rudolf being held at Villa la Quiete, a house quietly tucked away, a bit on the uphill from regular (tourist) Florence.
And the last morning train, the 10:22, to the station nearest the exhibition was leaving in 15 minutes. Luckily, we live just 5 minutes from our train station, so off we went. Two stops on the train and we were deposited in a lonely section of town. We and our friend, Google Maps, walked up some mostly deserted city streets and then some sidewalk-less roads. Inside an unlikely looking building was a guard who let us pass into a stunningly designed space modestly filled with well lit (not always the case), up close and personal masterpieces in perfect condition. And it was free, and that is certainly a rarity. A day well spent.
Of course, it was now still before noon and we once again had no plans. Outside the villa we noticed a sign with a map outlining two walks into the hills. Off we went. Mostly uphill on roads that were often barely one car (and no people) wide, guided by the many map stations and Google, past small houses and then farms with picked vines and olives turning from green to black. Then near the top we began to pass today's villas. Great views. Great adventure.
The journey down led us to the next train station on a line out of Florence. Returning home, we hung laundry, bought a few groceries, noshed on a bakery lunch with Coke Light and took a glorious nap. Such a sweet day.
Florence, btw, is down in that middle dip.