Yesterday (Tuesday) we made our way from Pisa to the countryside of Tuscany. It was a welcome change. Pisa was a somewhat grungy city, grey and graffiti ridden, lacking the joy of Cinque Terre. We hopped a train at Pisa Central and an hour later we were arriving at Gallicano, a quiet little Tuscan town at the base of a beautiful mountainside.
The train station appeared to have only one employee who sold the tickets, provided information, called the taxis and whatever else was needed. When we inquired about a taxi she offered to call the owner of the Bed and Breakfast where we held our reservation. Not long after Umberto, the owner, arrived to personally take us to his home. It is a beautiful, old house, 7 km up the mountain, with a breathtaking “panoramic view,” as Umberto proudly describes it. There are beamed ceilings, antique furnishings, a pool and patio. After settling in our room we headed out to find the pizzeria Umberto suggested for dinner. It is in fact the only restaurant near his little village, a 1 km and 600 meters walk back down the mountain.
I suppose the food was worth the hike, delicious as usual, but I did not look forward to the trek back up. We passed several B&B’s on our way and I wondered aloud why we didn’t stay at one that was closer to the food. We made the hike without stopping since night was falling fast and the little road had no streetlights. I’ll take the sirens, barking and occasional loud neighbors of the city over the silent, pitch-black darkness of the country any night. Several of the places we passed had grapevines growing in the yard which prompted Leroy to again insist how easy it would be to start a vineyard in our inner city neighborhood. Oh, Lord.