"I'm back in the country that speaks the language of the heart:
Cara Italia: the world's first love."
- Wilton Barnardt, Gospel-
Let me take you on a ride.... close your eyes and you will smell it: olives, lemons and
the scent of the bitter oranges. Rosemary and salvia and the heavy scent coming from the
fields where the wine is growing. Or oilseed perhaps. Poppy bleeds among the wheat. In
the distance blur pine trees. And the sky is violet.
The steep mountains of the valley of the Brenner are behind us. A short glimpse to
Bozen, the Dolomites and faded apple plantages and soon it is going out into the
width of the plain of the river Po. The radio is playing Eros Ramazzotti and he's
is in absolutely right place here.
Abandoned farmer's houses. A few venetian-looking towers with steep roofs
Rice fields. Passing Mantua, Modena and Bologna. The heaven is leaden above the
miserable plain. Little raindrops falling. We are passing the broad stream of the Po.
But then: Afar the sky is blue and the band of the Apennin on the horizon. This we
have to pass.
A few kilometers of the Emilia-Romagna, high up to the pass of Castiglione and through
several tunnels. And on the other side finally Toscana.
Sun, the famous, violet sky, the first little groves of cypresses and pine trees ...
what do you wish for more right now? Soon enough you leave the Apennin and drive
down south into the valley of the Arno. It's not far anymore until Florence. You see
the cupola of the cathedral: a picturesque red-hovering being in front of the wall
of the escaping mountains. And you will understand each day a little bit more why
the inhabitants are saying: No day should pass that I have to live without the view of
We are approaching the town from the south: along blooming acacia, cork oaks, cycamore
cypresses and pine trees, passing the ancient church of San Miniato up to Piazzale
High above Florence. The air is clean, surprising clean. The view is endless, until it
is broken by the slopes of Fiesole - and a little beyond.
The belly pressed to the stony balustrade, you see the grey building directly opposite:
the national library. The slender, pointed church tower of Santa Croce: Michelangelo's
burial place. The hotel, just beside the waters of the glistening Arno, beside them
the long-stretched building of the Uffici. Further along to the brown pinnacle tower of
Palazzo Vecchio. The etherial cupolo of the cathredral and just left, little beside it,
the octogon roof of the baptistery. And even farther left a red cupola again: here are
resting the Medici-sovereigns and far on the horizon the pointed tower of Santa Maria
Novella is piercing the sky: Florence, we are coming...