Tuesday, July 31, 2012

7-30,31 rides


It is cleaning day for us here, so I set off around 11:40 for a relatively short ride, as it was already getting hot.  I rode to Piazza della Cure, and took the back road to San Domenico, then continued up the hill toward Fiesole, and turned off toward Miano.  It is a good descent to the base of the climb to Vincigliata, probably loosing 500 vertical of the 700 climbed at the start.  The climb to the road above Vincigliata is a good, relatively strenuous climb, gaining I would guess around 1000 vertical.  From here, I went to Montebeni, then down the sinuous, relatively steep descent to Compiobbi.  From Compiobbi, I rode the main road back to Firenze.  Only 27 kilometers in around 1 hour 20 minutes.

The back road to San Domenico goes from quite small to tiny here.

The tower at Vincigliata from a little ways up the climb.

The castello and torre at Vincigliata from just below the castle.


Today's ride was based on finding some roads in the area I was looking at from my deck last night.  I set off with the idea of exploring some of the roads in the Arcetri area above Piazzale Michaelangelo and Poggio Imperiale.  I found pretty much all the roads, and most went pretty much where the maps suggested.  A couple were pretty cool, but the drop from the top to the road between Galluzzo and Pozzolatico was very steep, I would guess in the 20% plus range, and connected to the main road at that steep an angle.  I am not sure if it will hit the standard repertoire, but we shall see.  From the junction, I rode to Pozzolatico, then almost to Mezzomonte, turning off for San Gersole just before the town of Mezzomonte.  The road to San Gersole, then down to Grassina is newly paved, so yippee!  I found a new water station in San Gersole, right before the real descent starts, so that is good also.  From Grassina, I went to Antella, although I was trying for the direct road to Cappanuccia, but did not go far enough up to catch it.  From Antella, I climbed what was a pretty standard route to a little hill top, then descended into Cappanuccia.  There, I found Via Ruggero, which climbs past Castello Ruggero, a winery, then drops to the road between Strada in Chianti and San Polo.  I climbed to San Polo, got some more water, then climbed the hill between San Polo and Cappanuccia, descending the great road to Cappanuccia.  From there, I went back to Grassina, marking the location of the road in my mind, then to Ponte a Ema, found the back way to Cinque Vie, then the back way around to Piazza Ferruci, then back home.  Around 55 kilometers in around 2 and 1/2 hours, with a guess of 2000 vertical feet climbed.

One of the new roads I was exploring on the hill above Arcetri.

Right on!  Perfect, new floor on the San Gersole road.

Trees framing the hill toward the top of the climb from Cappanuccia to the 
Strada in Chianti / San Polo road.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

7-27,28,29 rides


Back from a couple of days in Forte de Marmi with Kate and the kids, so there are a number of errands to be done, so I start a little late and need to be back by 2:00.  I start out with the idea of finding the meeting place for the group ride tomorrow or Sunday, and I find the road I believe is correct, but do not make one turn, and do not find the place on the way out.  I am sure I have done everything right and re-trace my route with no success.  I head out on my ride and plan on going by on the way back.  I have been on group rides where we have gone by the location on our return, so I believe I will find it that way.  I return to Porta Romana, and take the winding road up to Poggio Imperiale, then over to Galuzzo.  At Galuzzo, I find Via Vecchio Pozzolatico, and take it to Pozzolatico.  From here, I am on the main road to Impruneta, then ride through Bagnolo  to Tavernuzze.  I take the real main road to the turn-off for San Andrea, and climb to Spedellato.  From there, it is across to Chiesa Nuova where I fill up water and douse my head, as it is predicted to be 100 degrees Fahrenheit today.  I go back toward Firenze, and take the turn-off to Scandicci, as this is the way we have found the meeting place (Iliopesca) previously.  With some wandering around, I eventually find the road I have ridden before, and there is Iliopesca.  I was quite close before on my way out, but did not see or take a turn that would have taken me there.  From Iliopesca, I ride back toward the centro, and take the Viales home.  A total of 58 kilometers in 2 and 1/2 hours of riding time.

Via Pozzolatico Vecchio - I just love this road, tiny, walled in places and almost no traffic.  A great example of what I love about riding in the Florence area.

A shot of the road just ridden from the same location as above.

Villa Mangicane, a luxury resort and working winery framed by cypress trees 
from the San Andrea road.  


I met with the club this morning at 7:30 at Iliopesca.  Only three of us showed up, but I met one new person, and rode with another from 2 weeks ago.  From Firenze, we went an interesting way to Montelupo, basically using back roads to Signa a Lastra, then connecting with the river road into Montelupo.  From there, we rode to Empoli, then up to Vinci.  We connected with some other clubs first on the river road, then in Empoli, and all road together until Vinci, where the real climb started and the group splintered.  We climbed up past Lamporecchio to San Baronto, where we stopped for a cafe and pastry.  On the entire climb, another rider rode with Leif and I and at the bar, he bought us pastries. The camaraderie of the cyclists here is really great.  As I have said many times, it is an integral part of the culture, and fun to be a part of.  The climb is relatively long but quite gentle, the steepest part at around 7%, and I would guess an average of 3 to 4%.  Most of the climbs around here do not fit that description, so it was a very nice change.  It also wound around with mostly bicycle traffic on a Saturday morning, which was also quite nice.  From San Baronto, we descended toward Pistoia, and turned off when we reached the flats toward Quarrata, eventually picking up an old road back into Firenze.  A really fun ride on a number of new roads for me.  I had been to Vinci a number of times, but had turned off on different climbs to Vitolini and Carmignano before.  Right at 100 kilometers in around 3 and 1/2 hours or an average of 28.6 kph.  Keep on Riding!

The scene inside the bar in San Bartono.  The fellow in the yellow kit was 
the nice person who joined us on the climb and bought cafe and pastries.

Looking back at the road in from the bar in San Bartono.

The scene outside the bar at San Bartono.  The place is full of cyclists, and has a great vibe, making for a very fun scene.  


Another hot day today, but I started slow, as I had the desire for a real "American" breakfast with eggs, toast, pancetta, and tea.  I was off around 10:30, and ended up riding 67 kilometers in around 2 hours and 55 minutes, with a guesstimate of 3500 vertical.   I went up Via Bolognese to Pratolino where I did my first water re-charge and head dousing.  I rode up from Pratolino to the cut off to Casellina, Valiani, and Bivigliano.  I took the road down to Vaglia, which was really great.  This used to be one of my standard climbs, and I have only descended on the road a couple of times, both when the road was wet.  Today, it was dry and most of it was newly paved.  A really fun, twisty descent.  From Vaglia, I went down the main road to the turn to stay on Via Bolognese, which I took.  I was thinking of doing the Frati de Bosco route, but took one turn too early and ended up coming into San Piero a Sieve the back way, which was fine.  I found a water source on this road and re-charged and doused again.  From there, I went over to the turn to Faentina, and took that road up through Faltona, Polcanto, to the pass.  This road was about 90% newly paved, which is always nice.  It is a good relatively gentle uphill, although not as gentle as yesterday's.  From the pass, I went down to Fiesole, again re-charged water and doused, and returned home.  Another super fun ride.

The road between Valiani and Bivigliano.  Che bella.

One of the 8 or so tight, relatively steep switchbacks on the 
descent into Vaglia.  Super fun!

Yeah, baby.  New floor from Faltona up to the pass above Polcanto.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rides 7-23 and 7-24


I did a relatively quick ride this morning, as we had a full day of errands after being in the mountains for a week or so.  I rode my new back way to San Domenico, then continued up the road to Fiesole to the turn-off for Miano.  I descended to Miano, then over to the base of the road to Vincigliata.  This is my first time riding down to Miano and up to Vincigliata.  The climb was really beautiful, but relatively hard in places.  I was at the top in around 30 minutes and descended to Fiesole, then turned off for the descent into Pian de Mugnone.  From there, I rode down Via Faentina to Piazze delle Cure, then rode over the bridge and home.  25 kilometers in one hour nine minutes riding time.  As I lost my camera in Ortisei, I have no pictures for today.  After speaking with Emily, I will be able to borrow her's until I can purchase something new.


We are off to Forte de Marmi tomorrow for a couple of days, so I set off for a relatively long ride today.  I started with my new favorite way out of the city, going the back way from Piazza della Cure to San Domenico.  There I joined the main route to Fiesole, climbing there, then continuing above Fiesole to the contouring gradual climb to Alberaccio.  From there, I went over to Santa Brigida, where I saw my landlord from last winter and stopped for a chat.  His English is better than my Italian, but he lets me work on the Italian and is helpful when I struggle for words.  We had a nice chat, then I continued through Fornello and Doccia, turning off at the molin de vento (windmill) to descend to Rufina.  The wind was howling, so I tempered my speed as a side wind freaks me out with the sudden bike movements on the descent.  From Rufina, I climbed the back road to Diacetto.  This is a wonderful climb of around 1500 vertical, a rarely used road, not too steep, and a very pleasant ride.  From Diacetto, I descended to Pelago, then descended to the main road back to Pontesieve.

I had seen a back road from Compiobbi to above Monteloro on the computer last night, and wanted to give it a try.  I already had around 3500 vertical climbed, but decided I felt good and gave it a try.  So I turned off a Compiobbi, and found the road easily.  It went pretty much where the map on the computer showed, but in places it hit around 15% steepness, which is hard for me if it continues very long.  It only really stayed at 15% plus once for more than 100 meters, when it must have been that steep for 500 meters.  I was still thinking it was a cool road, as there was virtually no traffic, and right after it seemed to crest the hill, it appeared quite idillic.  Well, right after this, the road turned to dirt, which is not too bad, but eventually the dirt turned to a double track that would be more appropriate for a mountain bike.  I continued and the piece that was roughest was only for 200 meters or so, then it did join the Monteloro road above Monteloro.  I rode that to the top, then went up a little more to the via Faentina road from Olmo down through Caldine, Pian de Mugnone, and back home.  Right around 92 kilometers in 4 hours 25 minutes.  I think close to 4500 vertical.  Good fun ride.  I am not sure if the new route from Compiobbi to above Monteloro will be used again, but exploring is good for the soul.


My new favorite way out of town to the North.  Beautiful road with almost no traffic.

View from just past Fornello toward Doccia.  The ridge in the background is the climb to Diacetto.

The climb from Rufina to Diacetto.  Acone (a favorite ride and exceptionally difficult climb) is in the background.

A tiny town about 2/3 the way up the climb from Rufina to Diacetto.

A beautiful scene on the new backroad from Compiobbi to above Monteloro.  Just after what you can see in the picture, the road turned to dirt, then eventually rough, rocky dirt.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hike in the rain

Today, I awoke to cloudy skies and eventually to rain.  It stopped, more or less, so I proceeded with my plan for a hike.  I took the bus to the second town above Ortisei, Selva or Wolkenstein.  This part of Italy has been part of Austria a few times in the past, so most towns have two names and usually three languages are spoken.  There is an older, traditional language common only to the area which at least to me sounds like German.  From Selva, I took a large gondola to Ciampinoi, where I started my hike.  The previous days have seen a large number of hikers, but today, I was pretty much alone up there.  I proceeded out trail 21 to trail 21a, then connected to #526.  The scenery was again quite spectacular.  The clouds came and sometimes tried to go, but mists covered the peaks most of the time.  Part of the hike was directly below one of the highest of the Dolomiti peaks called Sassolungo.  Just before reaching the Elingo Comici hut, the rain really started.  I had been out around 40 minutes, and luckily the hut was quite close.  I took shelter in the hut, and ordered a hot chocolate.  As I drank the Ciocolatta Calda, the hut quickly filled with wet and cold looking hikers.  I had seen a relatively large group starting a traverse below the Sassolungo, and it appears they decided to return.  The wind had picked up, and it was raining quite hard.  I gave it some time, but it did not appear to be clearing, but the rain let up a little.  I knew it was only a half hour moving quickly, to the top of the gondola, and I put all the clothes on I had with me and headed out.  I left my real rain pants in Florence, and the light ones I had were soaked quickly.  The wind had picked up to around 30 mph, so it was quite a little jaunt.  The thermometer at the hut read 5 degrees centigrade, and I did see my first snow flakes (graupel) of the season on the return.  Visibility had dropped to around 50 yards, and even re-tracing my footsteps, I made a wrong turn just before the gondola.  I returned to the gondola, and changed into warmer, dry pants and made my way down the hill.  I caught the bus, and had brought Emily's umbrella, so I got home relatively dry and warm.  I took a hot bath, then Emily and I were off to town to try some lunch, as the rain had stopped.

While we ate (a wurstel con crauti at the food cart) the skies cleared, and we saw blue sky.  We returned to the hotel, and I proceeded with plan B.  I walked back to the center of town and took the gondola to Mont Seuc, a 3200 vertical rise from town.  There, I read my book and enjoyed what is called an Radler, which is a combination of lemon soda and draft beer.  The guides had drank this on Wednesday when I went with them.  It was great.  The scenery was awesome, with some clouds clinging to the highest peaks.  Back to the hotel for spa time, then a final incredible dinner later tonight. How lucky we are to be able to do and enjoy this.

Marmolata in the background with the edge of the Gruppo Sella in the foreground.

Misty clouds around the Gruppo Sella.

Clouds around the Sassolungo.

A shot of the Sassolungo with the trail on the side.

Sassolungo and trail.

The trail that traverses below the Sassolungo.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Hike in the Alpi di Cisles

Today, I again set out on a hike by myself.  My feet, the big toes in particular, were quite sore from being jammed on the steep descents of the last two days, so I worked on them a little and laced up the shoes tight to take the pressure off, and started with the intent of a short hike.  I rode a large gondola, then a tram up to the Seceda, and area above Ortisei.  The first trail that I set out on climbed gradually and contoured the edge of a large cliff, which eventually ended in the Gran Fermeda, one of the large Dolomiti.  The distances on my map were a little deceiving, based on what I did yesterday.  So, my plan had been to turn around after about an hour at a trail junction, but I reached the trail junction in around 20 minutes.  This allowed me to greatly expand my hike, which ended up a very happy and comfortable 2 1/2 hours.  From the edge of the cliff, I descended toward the Troier hut, then traversed above it to the Pieralongia hut.  From there, the trail went through some rock formations and contoured around a high basin.  I continued on this, then descended around 1500 vertical to the Firenze hut.  From this hut, I climbed a pretty steep 1000 vertical, descended into a hidden valley, then climbed up to the Troier hut.  It was really beautiful - excellent craftsmanship and maintenance.  I continued a quite steep climb until I joined a trail junction, which left me a gradual climb and around a kilometer to the top of the tram station.  I returned to town on the tram and gondola and met Emily.  She had found a food cart which she said looked good, which we tried.  I devoured a half chicken which was roasted and excellent.  Back for time by the pool and in the spa at the hotel.  The hotel has really incredible food, and we will go down for another excellent 4 course meal in an hour or so.

The Gran Fermeda in the mist at the start of the hike.

The trail above the descent toward the Troier hut.

The rock formations just past the Pieralongia hut.

The farthest out portion of the hike - the Firenze hut.

The beautiful countryside in the Alpe di Cisles area with the Sassolungo Dolomiti in the background.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thursday hike in Ortisei

I struck out on my own today for a hike.  After yesterday's guided hike, I was ready to go at my own pace.  I bought something called a Gardena card, which lets you ride all the lifts / trams / funiculars / buses to get around the valley.  This is really how the access works around here.  I took a tram / large gondola up the opposite side of the valley from yesterday to start hiking, gaining a fast 3000 vertical feet in 15 minutes.  The land really opens up outside of the valley.  The area I hiked in today had multiple very small towns, a number of ski lifts, but very few cut ski runs.  The area is mostly open though and the scenery was nothing short of spectacular.  The area is mostly high mountain farms, some of which become huts or restaurants for the hikers.  There are quite a few hikers (trekkers) here, of all ages.  The numbers thin out after an hour or so of relatively (for me at almost 59) fast pace.  I hiked down to a valley from the top of the tram, past two large hotels, then up a relatively small rise (around 400 vertical) then down around 1000 vertical to a small town called Saltria.  From there, I climbed around 2500 vertical to a beautiful hut / restaurant called Molignon.  I was already out around 2 hours at this time, so I resisted having a lunch there.

From this hut, I had a really beautiful contouring up and down, but keeping the same relative altitude for around 4 miles above timberline, just below the jutting dolomiti.  Really amazing.  I passed a number of farms, eventually coming to another hut / restaurant called Zallinger.  I again resisted as time was certainly passing, and started descending back down to Saltria.  From Saltria, I re-traced my route from the morning to a short lift that took me back to the tram station.  I think I must have lost my camera on the lift, as when I checked for it after getting out of the tram, it was gone.  Oh well.  It was around 6 years old and digital cameras have come a long way since then.  I will borrow Emily's camera in the meantime, but I don't have photos of the beautiful scenery to share.  I will include a couple from yesterday that show the area I hiked in, as viewed from the other side of the valley.

The tram I took from the valley - it really is 3000 vertical gained.

I actually hiked to the right of the spire you see, but the landscape where it opens up and is green is very similar to where I was hiking.

At the very right of this picture, is the Zallinger hut, which is the farthest I hiked today toward the dolomiti formation centered in this picture.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ortisei - travel and hike

Tuesday morning, we were off to the mountains to escape and enjoy the Dolomiti.  Neither of us has ever been in this part of Italy, so it is an adventure into the unknown.  We had an easy bus (Emily researched) ride to the Campo de Marti train station, where we caught the fast train to Bolzano.  It still took around 3 1/4 hours, but the travel was smooth and easy.  Emily had researched that we could catch a bus by the train station in Bolzano to Ortisei.  The stop was right there, and we only had to wait around 20 minutes.  You buy the tickets on the bus, which we did not know, so that added a little stress, but Emily went to a cafe and asked and ended up talking with two bus drivers.  The ride was spectacular - steep, tiny roads that wound up, over, and around mountain valleys.  The landscape is incredibly green and beautiful.  We thought that the final stop for this bus was Ortisei, but were not sure and there were no announcements so we just watched the stops and it did stop at a station there.  I had received via email instructions to find the hotel, which were mostly fine, and with a little perseverance - mostly from Emily, we found the hotel.  The hotel is beautiful, and we are treating ourselves to 5 nights at this 4 star hotel.  The plan includes breakfast and dinner, and dinner last night was a true gourmet treat.  I hope the dinners continue to be so great.

Part of the deal with the hotel is being able to participate in group hikes with a local guiding company, Catores Guides.  I signed up via email, as I did not know for sure when we would arrive.  On Tuesday, we scouted out the town after checking in to the hotel, and we eventually found their office.  So, today, I was up to do my yoga practice, then Emily and I went down for breakfast.  The breakfast was really quite nice and very good, but not in the ballpark of dinner the night before, although that would be difficult.  I met at the guiding office, and the group was larger than I had hoped, around 16 plus 2 guides.  We walked through town and up to a relatively new funicular that with the purchase of a ticket, takes you up around 3000 vertical feet.  From there, we climbed another 500 or so vertical, then did a beautiful traverse past a lodge in the middle of nowhere to a very small church.  The views on the traverse were really spectacular.  One of the guides spoke a little English, but that was it.  He pointed out peaks and mountain groups to me as we traversed.  The pace was quite slow, which was a little frustrating, but going with the flow worked for a great day.

From the small church, we descended on very steep trails to a farmhouse that serves lunch to whatever hikers want it.  The prices were reasonable, and it was nice to have a relaxing glass of wine and a local specialty with an incredible view.  Really fun, nice pranzo.  Again, almost no one spoke English, but I struggled with my Italian and some of my table mates struggled with some English, and we communicated well.  After a break of around 1-1/2 hours, we resumed our descent, now going down steep double track roads which eventually turned into less steep dirt roads.  This brought us into a small town called St. Peter, where after a 40 minute wait we were able to catch a bus back to Ortisei.  I was home around 5:00.  Things were a little slow, but what a great day with incredible views.  I would never have found this on my own.  What a pleasure and privilege to be here and be able to enjoy this.

The beautiful church at the center of town in Ortisei.

Downtown Ortisei.  This is a big winter ski resort, the area is better known as Val Gardena.

One of the great views from the traverse on the hike.

Probably the best view I had of this group of the Dolomiti.

Great view spot at a sheer drop.  I thought this bench was really cool, being built on a tree still rooted to the ground to hold it all together.

The lunch (pranzo) spot with the group and some other hiker / mountain bikers.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Quick ride to Monte Morello

One of the benefits of living in this area, which is so great for cycling, is having a number of 1 to 2 hour rides from home.  Today I went up Via Bolognese to Pratolino where I douse my head and refill water. From Pratolino, I take the back way to the road to Monte Morello, and proceed around this road.  With the exception of a couple of short but real climbs, it is a great contouring climb at around 2 to 3%, which for me means the big ring.  The first half of the descent is the same type of grade and road so you don't really need to touch the brakes.  The middle of the descent however, has a real steep drop for a couple of hundred vertical, then mellows out to around 10% descending.  It then enters around 8 full switchbacks, and the grade goes to around 6 to 8%, a real blast!  After the descent you are in Sesto Fiorentino, and today I had a tail wind to push me home on the city roads.  A ride of 39 kilometers in around 1 hour 35 minutes.

The gradual contouring climb through the forest at Monte Morello.

Another shot of the contouring climb.  I just love it when you can get in the big ring and climb.

Slow down!  Here is one of the 8 switchbacks on the descent into Sesto Fiorentino.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ride con Squadra

I was at a meeting place, Piazza Liberta, which is very close to our apartment at 7:25.  I had to wait a little, but we had 5 to ride for a tour.  Much discussion ensued between our two leaders - all in Italian (I am in Italy after all, so this should be expected) - and then we are off.  We ride out the viales to the road to Pontesieve, and Davide leads the way.  He totally hammers, and suddenly we have ridden 28 kilometers at an average of around 40 kph.  From Pontesieve, we follow the road over to Figline Valdarno, which I have ridden parts of before, but never the whole route, and it is really nice.  We are hammering a little less, but still keep some good speed going.  There are a few reasonable climbs on the way which slows the group down.  Surprisingly, I seem to be the 2nd or 3rd fastest, in particular when we are climbing.  From Figline, we climb the Passo de Sugame, then descend down into Greve.  One of the guys, Leo, is hurting a bit, and we need to slow the pace a little.  The climb from Figline to the Pass is really great, mostly gentle and a very beautiful road.  No wonder Sting choose this location for his house in Tuscany.  From Greve, we mostly motor back the easiest way.  There was discussion of different alternatives, but with Leo and Luigi slowing down, this is the best route.  Back through Tavernuzze, to Porto Romano, then back home on the viales.  Great ride.  It is fun to go with a group and it is good for me to be pushed at times.  99 k in a riding time of 3.5 hours or around 27.5 kph average.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Saturday ride 7-14

Up and off for a ride around 10 am.  A little late as it is predicted to be around 95 today, but the morning starts with relatively cool temperatures.  I ride through the centro in Firenze to Porta Romana, then climb Bellasguardo.  I haven't left town this way in a while and it used to be my standard route, so it was fun.  I cruise through Scandicci after Bellasguardo, then make the big climb up to Marciano.  From there, I descend down to Vigliano, then proceed on the road adjacent to the highway, and take the first bridge in hopes of finding a very back road method I rode with Don and Kay to Marliano.  I find the road, and it is tiny but quite fun, which is how I remember it.  It starts with a very steep climb, I would guess around 15% for around 250 vertical feet, then the climb mellows out / contours, then you descend into Marliano.  I check for water in Marliano, but do not find it.  From there, I go over to the more main road then turn left to descend to Ginestra Fiorentina.  Here, I am looking for a different route to lead me to Montagnana, which I find.  It is a lovely climb and a relatively deserted road with a good surface.

From Montagnana, I rode over on the ridge / climb through San Quirico (where I unsuccessfully looked for water again) then up to San Pancrazio, where I do find water.  A good dousing, as it has really become hot, then filling up with nice, cold water, and fill up the bottle, taking a little break and having a small snack.  From San Pancrazio, I do the very fast descent to the valley below, then the relatively nasty climb to San Casciano.  I was thinking about finding the main road, as the climb is pretty mellow there, but it would have meant descending another 200 feet then re-climbing it. After San Casciano, I ride through Spedellato, then fill water and douse my head and take a break at Chiesa Nuova.  From here it is down to Galluzzo, then over to the back road to Cascine del Ricco, then Cinque Vie, climbing from there the back way to Piazza Ferrucci.  Home on the Viales.  A little over 80 k in 3 hours 40 minutes, which is pretty good for me.  All in all, another great ride.

The beautiful little road climbing through Marciano.

The super tiny road to Marliano from Vigliano.  Thanks, Don and Kay.

Another shot of the beautiful tiny road to Marliano.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Forte de Marmi, Ride, Pool

Tuesday morning we received a call from Kate that Vittorio had burned his hand, just being a curious 1-1/2 year old, grabbing a hot iron.  To help out, we decided to spend a couple of days with them at the beach instead of one.  We arrived on Wednesday, and upon seeing both kids, Torrio looked fine, and was acting totally fine.  We went to the house, and Emily took Viola to the beach and I accompanied Kate and Vittorio to the hospital to have the bandages on his palm changed.  He was a total trooper while it was changed, but when I saw the wound, I thought, wow - that must really hurt.  It is mostly "superficial second degree burn with a couple of small spots of deeper second degree burns".  Anyway it looked bad to me, but he is pretty fine with it.  Kate had decided to get a second opinion at the children's hospital in Florence, called the Meyer, which has an outstanding reputation.  The surgeon there saw Vittorio (Kate left around 1:30 to drive him there and returned to the beach around 7:00) and pretty much said the same as the hospital in Forte de Marmi.  He did however cut away all the dead skin, thinking it should have been done already, and put a "patch" with medicine on the area, then wrapped with gauze, then an arm wrap.  It seems this medical patch is relatively new and a good treatment for burns.  Basically, he will be fine - he is young and they heal well and quickly, he will just have to stay off the beach for 3 weeks, which is about the amount of time they have left there.  Oh well, it could have been much worse.

Emily and I stayed with Viola and the new babysitter, Cali, who was there for her first day when a whole 15  minutes into it, the burn happened.  We spent time with Viola at the beach, helped with quiet time, and returned to the beach for more fun.  In some ways the injury was very hard for Viola as well, as a lot was happening, she was scared, and was getting around 1/10th the attention she is used to.  Anyway, the day went well.  Kate was home from take Torrio to the Meyer and we helped him with a new small bike / trike / scooter that his aunt Angie had brought for him.  He really showed no concern with the burn and was really doing knee drops on the asphalt and laughing until we stopped him as it hurt me just to watch.  We rode bikes into the downtown area of Forte de Marmi and had slices of pizza for dinner.  It was at least a little crazy, as both kids, Vittorio in particular, were all over the place.  Within a couple of minutes of the pizza arriving, Torrio decided the piece cut up for him was not ok and had to have the whole piece for himself at once.  We fooled him a little by cutting it into a couple of slices, but he had wiped the tomato sauce on his wrap, which was the only thing he really should not have done.  Oh well, again, things happen.  We returned home, and got everyone ready for bed as it was relatively late.  Kate and I removed Torrio's bandage and the gauze wrap and replaced it with clean gauze and replaced the stretchy sleeve to it's original position.  Everyone was in bed, and a long, action packed day was complete.

Thursday, Kate went to work, and Emily and I helped with Viola and Vittorio, with assistance from Cali, who was doing her best to do what she could and get to a point where she was in charge, not Viola.  From experience, this is not easy.  We had a good day, trading spots with Viola at the beach and with Vittorio at home, and Cali successfully put Torrio down for nap and Viola down for quiet time and Emily and I had some beach time together.  Kate was home from work a little early, Nicco came in from Florence in the middle of the day, and we finished our time here this trip together, catching the train around 6:30 to Florence.

This morning, I did a quick ride, as Emily and I had a "groupon" to go to a place outside of town to have a light lunch and enjoy the pool all afternoon.  I rode out Via Faentina to Pian de Mugnone, then climbed to Fiesole, then climbed up to the road to Vincigliata, then descended back to the Miano cut off and returned home.  It had been a few weeks since I did the descent from Vincigliata, and it really is just a perfect tiny road with around 15 switchbacks and almost no traffic.  Lots of fun.  Emily and I then caught the bus and had a lovely, relaxing afternoon at the Hotel Villa Rondini pool.  Home again now, I am caught up with the blog.  Ciao!

Emily and Vittorio on the deck checking things out below.  
You can see the protective sleeve on his arm.

Cali getting Viola ready for the sun with a good application of sunscreen.

View of the beach and sea from Kate and Nicco's cabana.

View down the beach from the cabana.

View toward the restaurant at Bagno Giovanni where the cabana is.  
The mountains above Carrara are in the background.