One morning we rushed down to the train station and fought with the automated ticket machine in time to see the train to Florence pull away without us. This is how Ryan felt about that.
But since we had a whole day, we took the next available train, which happened to be going to Arezzo. We didn’t know anything about it other than the dot on the map, but it ended up being one of our favorite stops. It’s a smallish city, so it’s not so touristy, and the people are warm and friendly.
It is the town where the endearing(!) Holocaust film Life Is Beautiful was filmed, and we had our mid-morning caffe latte at Cafe Dei Costanti where part of the movie was filmed. The cafe has been there since 1804, and was charming top to bottom, from the old guys reading their morning newspapers to the waitress who spoke no English but was very hospitable.
The restaurant we ate lunch at had the kind of soup that you want lick the bowl clean to not wast the last remnants. I refrained, and instead tried to get the recipe from the server through mime and broken English. It was a combination of smooth pureed beans, tiny pasta, sage, oregano, and garlic, served with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh pepper. I’m am working on re-creating it and will post the recipe once it somewhat resembles the original creation.
Arezzo was the perfect town to wander around and enjoy the sleepy streets and quiet churches and piazzas, and had plenty of doorways to hide from the rain.
When we tried to get back from Arezzo, we got on the wrong train. It was a good 20 minutes before we realized we were on the wrong train. So we jumped off at the next station, and after a brief animated discussion with the platform attendant, finally understood that the train we wanted was about to pull away. So back we dashed down the steps to the underground passageways, underneath all the tracks, and back up onto the correct platform to just catch the train. Whew.