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purposely misbehaving

We’d read about things that are frowned upon in Italy at the start of our trip. Just to make sure we were well behaved. Putting your feet up on seats is baddd. So we knew we were in trouble even before we saw the scowling clouding up the train-guard’s eyebrows. Too late to do anything about it, we both move to snatch our delinquent toes down off the leather seats opposite. No doubt here. He is thoroughly unimpressed and we are sheepish. And we have no excuse. Other than the fact that we’re on our way back from Lucca and we’re on holiday; we’ve eaten one too many plates of lunchtime pasta and have walked across a few too many gazillion Piazzas.

They love a good square in Italy. Which works well I guess with the national obsession with passagato. In Lucca, residents sprinkle out onto the raised Renaissance walls shoring up the town. At lunchtime, they break out the sweat-loving-lycra and free-wheeling bicycles and take advantage of the flat 4km circuit. The leaves are starting to turn towards Autumn so views of the town’s towers and spires competing to spike up as high as the steady mountain back drop, are framed by a surprisingly healthy-looking mix of crisp burnished and fresh green foliage.

We wanted relaxing today. And relaxing we got. We mentioned our anarchic plans to some Florentine residents last night. They seemed unconvinced as to the merits of Lucca:

“It’s a long way”. Well. That depends on what you’re comparing it to. As wise-head Emma points out.

And, that was before we’d decided that perhaps we weren’t so bothered about treading the tourist trail for one of our days here. I think their eyes might have popped clean out of their heads had we divulged this last night. There’s only so much sight-seeing you can do before the Piazzas, Churches, Duomo’s, Via’s, Corsa’s and butt naked statues begin to roll into one. Besides, there are sites which must be seen in Rome. So we have to beat off our tourist-site-saturation-limit until after we’ve arrived there.

Tomorrow is unplanned so far. It’s nice to just take the days as they come. One thing we will be doing is feasting on the juicy tomatoes, un-beatably aromatic organo, clumsy lumps of buffalo mozzarella and wafer thin slices of parma ham which we bought from the (not so cheap) supermarket next door. No more pasta or bread. Make it stop! Fresh and healthy all the way tomorrow. We’ve even avoided gelato for the last two days. And yes. That does deserve a round of applause. Thank you.

Whilst our bellies are groaning, our eyes are still drinking their fill. Bright burnished rainbow houses with blinds casting zebra shadows inside, fill our Firenze-bound train’s windows.  Designer Tuscan graffiti zips by in swathes:

“Emma, do you think there is more street art here than in London?”. She nods decisively.

“Yes. Definitely.”

It stamps every available tunnel, accessorising walls and colouring-in rusty carriages, eternally crowding in and over itself. Of course, there’s the obligatory “Hate all Cops” and “Fuck the buff”. Which is nice. But in one station I spy a beautiful over-sized Audrey Hepburn perfectly executed on an improvised lilac-spray-can background. Not the sort of thing that you’d predict seeing from the train tracks on the way to Lucca. The best art is the unexpected. Wherever it might be. Florence. Tuscany. The world?

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