Florence, Italy

After taking the train from Verona to Florence we would be staying at an apartment near the central station on a quiet back street. Florence, a city of almost 400,000 people is the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region. It is famous as a treasure chest of Renaissance art.

For the memory is selective and it is easier to remember what one wants to remember, so if I have to chose between the splendour and the miseries, I will chose the moments of happiness in spite of the fact that there are few situations in which men and women are completely happy and completely free.

Eric Newby

We came upon a store that sold truffle spread and oil and we stocked up for our trip and some to take home. My wife had never tasted truffles before and originally thought it was some type of chocolate. We also met an artist who has show his work all over the world. His work was quite stunning but unfortunately out of our price range. There were many nice shops with all sorts of handiwork. I bought a very small casting of a Kazun, a tiny round stone one room structure used over the centuries to store food and other supplies safely out of the elements for those working in the olive groves and vineyards. They could also serve as a temporary shelter from a passing storm.


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Next we had lunch in a town called Motovun. To get to the town we had to drive a dirt road but all was ok once we arrived. Motovun is one of the best preserved Istrian hill medieval towns. It is located at the south side of Mirna River Valley. For racing enthusiasts Montona, as it was then known was the birthplace of race car driver Mario Andretti and his twin brother Aldo. The brothers raced hand-crafted wooden cars through the steep streets. After World War II Istria became a part of Croatia, under Yugoslavia. His family, like many other ethnic Italians left with the Andrettis later emigrating to America.

We had lunch at a place called, "Konoba Mondo". I had a wonderful pasta sprinkled with truffles. Speaking to the waiter regarding Motovun's famous son I was startled to hear that we had missed Mario by one week and that he ate at the very same restaurant where we were now eating.