I knew I would hate the noise rolling luggage makes on cobblestones but even worse is the struggle to actually move the wheels over cobblestones in Florence where they can be quite uneven or absent.
It’s over 1.4 km from Piazza Santa Croce to the train station. It seemed most efficient to store my luggage at the train station for the day, rather than moving it around with me or storing it in some other site and moving it a second time. To do this, I checked out at 7:45 am and taxied with my stuff to the station.
For school, we met at Palazzo Pitti to continue on our theme of Mannerism so only briefly looked at the Boboli Gardens outside Palazzo Pitti.
Here’s some of what we looked at—not all of which is Mannerist.
Below is a landscape, or rather a seascape by Salvator Rosa, a Baroque Italian painter. Elisa pointed it out as a not famous but worthwhile artist.
After class, I went to the church of Santo Spirito to go inside. It was designed by Brunelleschi but he died during the construction and his central plan was changed. The outside looks entirely different from the inside and is one of the few primarily Renaissance churches in Florence.
The church closes at 1 pm and my train wasn’t until 2:20 so I had thought I would walk the 1.8 km but the skies were starting to look threatening and I had already heard a loud clap of thunder.
Luckily I decided to call a taxi. It not only rained but hailed so much this is what it looked like by the luggage storage at the train station.
Getting from Florence to Mantova required 3 trains. As I was on the first to Bologna, I got a Trenitalia message saying train 2 was 45 minutes late, which meant I would miss train 3 in Modena. From my Saturday train misadventure I learned I could just get any other train going to where I wanted to go if my train was late. I took a regional train to Modena and caught train 3 as scheduled. Some hard learned lessons can have silver linings.
When I arrived in Mantova, the hardest part was calling for a taxi in Italian. The Italian wasn’t the issue, the dropped calls were my problem.
Mantua, or Mantova in Italian, is a city of around 50,000 in the Lombardy region. The name may possibly be Etruscan named for their god Mantus. The old town (centro storico) is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Mantua’s historic power and influence under the Gonzaga family made it one of the main artistic, cultural, and musical hubs of Italy.
The city is surrounded on three sides by artificial lakes, created during the 12th century as a city defence system. These lakes receive water from the Mincio River, a tributary of the Po River which flows from Lake Garda. The three lakes are called Lago Superiore, Lago di Mezzo, and Lago Inferiore (“Upper”, “Middle”, and “Lower” Lakes).
The hotel the tour group is staying at has a rooftop terrace but it looked too scary for me.