Saturday, February 25

Umbria to Florence-and Back Again!

Guest Post by Susan from Il Gusto del Paese - Umbrian Vacations
and launching her new blog, Umbria Uncovered

When I told Stefano that we were taking the train from Todi to Florence he laughed.  
"Any local that aims to venture to Florence, has to drive to the Perugia train station first.  The local train is not part of the regional/national system and thus the schedule and connections cannot be relied upon…"

We decided to take our chances. We arrived at the station - naturally, to find the ticket window closed.   So we hightailed it to the hunting/ticket shop next door (!) and were quickly advised that we would have to buy the Perugia – Florence leg upon arrival in Perugia - the cost from Todi to Perugia, 2.30 € per person. 

All went well with the Perugia connection, and just a few hours later we were at our hotel in the center of Florence.  Can you imagine leaving home and 3 hours later being in the heart of historic Florence?

After four wonderful days of sightseeing and shopping, we meticulously timed our Florence departure to meet the last train from Perugia to Todi.  By now, we knew the scoop:  it's not possible to buy through tickets, so once in Perugia we would quickly purchase tickets for the local train back to Todi. 

Disembarking in Perugia, we see the well-worn Todi train.  "Is that the train for Todi?"

"Si…subito!"   We race across three tracks but then remembering we don't have tickets.  We knock on the engineer's window, pleading, "Signore, non abbiamo biglietti!"

View of the Duomo from atop the Rinascente store
I'm not sure whether it was in sympathy or indignation, but he waved us onboard. Later,  when coming through the cabin to verify tickets, he just looked at us and raised his hands. Whew!  We would have gladly paid, but on this particular day, it seems it wasn't possible.

We quickly moved on to our next challenge – how the heck would we know when we were arriving in Todi.   There were no announcements, no outside lights, no signs…We couldn't even count the stops from Perugia, as it turns out the local train makes ad hoc stops along the track if requested in advance!

As we disembarked at the Todi train station platform, another passenger pulled down the window.  He started shouting who knows what at us...Had we forgotten something on the train?  No, this heretofore quite reserved gentleman was yelling to us to run for the bus 
– as
it was the last one to the centro and would depart immediately! 

Did you know...?

The magnificent duomo in Florence was built over a period of 170 years with the first brick being laid in 1296 AD. The cupola was finally completed in 1436. The height of the duomo from the street to the top of the cupola measures 90 meters (300 ft.). You are welcome to climb the 436 scalini to the top but be prepared for a rather narrow and arduous ascent. Be sure to take your camera as the views from the top are spectacular! 

But for the lazy ones (like me! Francesca Maggi) - do yourself a favor, and climb the few steps from the top floor of the Rinascente Store in Piazza della Repubblica, sit yourself down and have a drink and admire the Cupola and a 360 degree view from their rooftop instead!  Much more relaxing...believe me.


Dave514 said...

Did You Know?
The most famous painting in Firenze and the one never seen by 99.99% of visitors, whether foreigner or Italian, is found in the Cenacolo di San Salvi reached only by taxi. It painted by, "The Perfect Painter."

OK Francesca, you tell'em...what's the painting and who painted it and when and in what style?


Dave514 said...

Shame on you! You haven't been to the Cenacolo di San Salvi either...have you?

You haven't marveled at the painting of the Last supper by Andrea del Sarto in the early Mannerist style. Go to this site

then click on the photo to enlarge.


Irreverent Italy said...

Too funny! I had never heard of it, although I know Andrea del Sarto...But I'm not a big fan of Florence...I usually spend my time in the caffe's or searching out the perfect gelateria...!!!

Dave514 said...

You'd go to Firenze for gelato? I've only one word for you, Peasant...LOL!