MWNN, Loony GSD and I visited San Giovanni di Val D'arno today. We arrived, as is our wont, just as lunchtime began, parked the car, and walked the dog through the deserted old town. We were alone save for the couple of Caribinierie patrolling the shady side of the streets. The main piazza is really a pair of matching squares with the Palazzo at the centre. The clock tower of the Palazzo faces the two oldest churches in the town, the San Giovanni and the Bassilica di Maria SS della Grazie. The former was closed but the side wall bears witness to the fact that this is the birthplace of Masaccio. Like a lot of towns in this part of Tuscany, the churches are teeming with art from the Masters. The Bassilica's main altar is housed on the upper floor beneath which are three chapels; the Pilgrims' chapel, the Miracles' Chapel and another. The Bassilica is reached via twin 'scalone' from which there is a great view over the piazza. MWNN led me the GSD into a lift (elevator to my American friends) thinking it led to a viewing platform. The doors opened straight into the area under the dome at the rear of the Basilica so I returned to the ground floor to wait my turn in the cool of the portal. It was worth the wait.
We had panini in a little cafe in a side street with the dog sitting beside us. In France, the dog would have been offered water before our order was taken, but this is not the practice in Italy. A quick shop at the Co-op where we'd parked the car and we headed home.
We arrived back at the Lilac apartment with only half an hour to prepare for the tennants of the Castello Bisticci (the Lemon Terrace is the top floor, inhabited by Don and Cathy from Michigan, the middle floor by Theresa and Barry from Newcastle, Australia, and the tiny studio on the ground floor by Judy from Seattle.) Pre-dinner drinks and snacks began at 5.30 on our shady terrace. When the sun began to set and the wind go up, I fed the dog and settled her down in her corner by the wood burning stove. We all moved across to the Lemon terrace for Pizza, more drinks followed by tea and a selection of wonderful Italian 'pastries'. The party finally broke up close to midnight.
Which is why there was a very late breakfast at Casa Hesadevil this morning. I'd just finished my final cuppa when the Angelus bells rang out from the churches of Troghi and Cellai in the valley below.