Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Sampling Arezzo’s Stops and Streets

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Driving through the alleys and around the pedestrians of Arezzo has prepared me for taking the car back to the rental agency in Bologna when we wrap up this trip.

Many of the folks from around here, when they don’t head for Rome, do their “major’ shopping in Arezzo, a sizeable medieval town an hour to 90 minutes north of here, depending what road you take. One of its shopping attractions is an extensive array of antique furniture.

Our jaunt was impromptu; we were heading to a shop just the other side of Castiglione del Lago a dozen kilometers up the road. Arezzo’s another 35 kilometers farther, 20 kilometers past the gleaming hillside town of Cortona, so we decided to re-visit the place we hadn’t been to for eight years.

On that last visit, we took the Roma-Firenze toll road and rolled into a parking lot behind the duomo perched atop the hill overlooking the city. We photographed the park there and strolled down the hill several blocks and found a great restaurant – Il Saraceno – where I had rabbit while watching a gentleman at the next table wolf down two kilos of steak. That’s how they sold it on the menu – by the kilo.

This time, we were on the local road forming lines behind large lorries and didn’t get to the hill overlooking the city.

We didn’t even get out of the car. I did for a few minutes. After spending about half an hour brushing pedestrians aside, dodging motorbikes, slamming brakes to avoid rear-ending other vehicles, squeezing up against parked vehicles to avoid moving vehicles, standing in traffic-signaled lines several times for several minutes each time, I ducked into a temporary parking space and asked a young couple how to reach the parcheggio behind the church. They said go two corners (they don’t use blocks in Italy because short blocks, curved streets and roundabouts make that standard confusing if not downright useless) and turn right, another two corners and turn right, and then to the second semafora (traffic light) and turn right again and head straight up the hill to the church. After another session of aiming the car away from amblers and autos, we wound up exactly where I’d talked with the young couple. So we tried it again and was squeezed onto a roundabout that looked like it would lead us out of town, I drove around the block again, suggested we give it up and got back to the roundabout that got us onto a main artery – the first one we saywhere – that took us to the Roma-Firenze A1 and headed back. Return trip took half the time and the toll was only 3 euros.

(Nonths later, I got  mail saying the rental-car company had taken another $70 out of my credit-card account for providng the Arrezzo police with information about my rental agreement and then tickets from the Arrezzo police department — the service was outsourced — with fotos of my two transgressions within 15 minutes of each other and which I still hav no idea about. But they said I owed them  a total of $190 U.S. for the two infractions. I just paid to get rid of the crap. That was an expensive visit.)

We left at 10:45 and got back about 2:30 in time for pranza at Masolino’s – an almost-four-hour car ride. We did get to see Arezzo’s shops and sample its streets.

Snow Storm

Snow flakes did their stunts outside our window all night and most of today (Dec. 19) and piled onto parked cars and piazzas. They also clustered into sheets of ice so walking around the village was treacherous – you walked around its edges to avoid the slippery slopes and slants.

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

December 21, 2009 at 7:05 am

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