Tuscany 2013 - 11: Garfagnana to Florence - THE END (50 p.)

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Proud Earthling

To the previous part of the series:
Tuscany 2013 - 10: From the Sea into the Apuan Alps (50 p.)

The itinerary for this part:
Sat, April 20 2013

Borgo a Mozzano dep 12:26  6967 ALn 668

Lucca arr 12:50
Lucca dep 13:12  6736 ALe 642

Pisa C arr 13:43
Pisa C dep 13:54  23382 -> Firenze SMN PP

Signa arr 14:46


Signa dep 15:47  23384 PP

Firenze SMN arr 16:07

Firenze SMN dep 22:09 +10 Min  EN 234 E402A / ...

Sun, April 21 2013

Wien Meidling arr 8:33 +20 Min

To the map of Tuscany:

April 20 2013

We return to Borgo a Mozzano in Garfagnana region on the final day of my week-long trip. The "Festival of Azaleas" was just being celebrated, flower installations had been erected all over town. As I walked through the centre a heavy shower set in, but at the same time the sun was smiling through a cloud gap. I shortly took shelter next to a milk machine where you could take bottles and fill them up with fresh produce. In the same hut a flyer had been put up by someone looking for his lost cat "Frizzi".
Along the same street a farmers' market had opened that day.

As the rain died away I continued to the main highlight of the region which I reached at 9:30. Situated right at the edge of town: Ponte della Maddalena, also calls Devil's Bridge. I met another photographer from Karlsruhe waiting for the steam train. In the meantime a bus stopped shortly, tourists poured out onto the bridge. I calculated that the special should arrive between 10 and 11 o'clock, it actually approached at 10:15. This time as a change no class 640, but 2-6-2 685.089 had the task to get the Railwaytouring Company-charter across the mountains. I chose a spot where I could also catch the train further back along the Serchio river reservoir.

I was in luck, a Volkswagen Beetle old-timer had been parked in a picturesque position.

The train traversed the stone arch bridge originating in the 14th century. The span of the main arch was 37.8 meters, the one at the railway had been added when the line was built.

25 minutes later scheduled train R 6965 Aulla Lunigiana - Lucca passed the scene.

I chose the "classic" view for a regular service as it provided less options for alternative shots.

The bridge offered way too many perspectives for way too few trains. The next one was about to take a while - also the rain started again - so I conveniently sat down in town to get an espresso doppio with croissant at a combined pasticceria / tobacconist's with view at the farmers' market. There I afterwards bought some delicacies to bring home.

The pigeon really sat there in such a photogenic manner, many picturesque scenes could be found.

The architecture already leaned towards the Alpine.

Only around noon the next train reached the spot, I waited on the bridge together with an Italian family.

The bridge is only 3.7 meters wide. After R 6964 had continued uphill, I walked back to the station.

This symbolic table had been set in front of the church.

At the station I came across a well-guarded lawnmower and mini-tractor collection.

Soon after departure R 6967 crossed the Serchio near Piaggione and followed it on the other side.

At Lucca I once more had to change trains.

I took a short look at the city walls outside the station. As so many places in Northern Italy I had visited Lucca in my youth.

Via Pisa I immediately continued to Signa where I was greeted by sunlight.

I had plenty of time and took a detour through the old town centre.

Balcony photography at Signa.

With the bag on wheels in tow I chose the usual direct path back to the station. The bambini-league was just playing in the local club colours yellow-blue.

Shortly after 4 p.m. I arrived at Firenze S.M.N. and had time until the departure of my night train. I deposited the bag at the already known baggage check then continued to the tramway which had not shown up the past Sunday morning. At the moment only one line is operating in Florence, the majority shareholder of the company is a subsidiary of Paris Metro. More about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trams_in_Florence

AnsaldoBreda "Sirio" class vehicle in front of Santa Maria Novella church, next to the railway terminal of same name. Trams were also reversing here by changing direction.

Let's leave the railway now, Florence is calling. We start our tour with this shadow of a hand.

17:35, Florence, Piazza della Signoria.

In front of the Uffizi along Arno river.

Of course Ponte Vecchio was much busier Saturday afternoon than Sunday morning.

At Ponte Santa Trinita I bought a tasty but too large portion of ice-cream at the adjacent gelateria of same name. Additionally, it was quite chilly that day, the wind was blowing through Arno valley. In order to remain here until sunset I had to bundle up.

Piazza della Repubblica offers the only modern square inside the medieval centre.


I waited at Ponte Santa Trinita for the sunset.


I constantly had heard some seemingly medieval sounds from Ponte Vecchio and thought of a show for tourists. Instead I only found some Hare-Krishna-followers who obviously had danced for hours.





Setting sun with Ponte alla Carraia in view, San Frediano in Cestello to the left in the background.

I started an evening round through the sparsely lit city.



Palazzo Vecchio and the statues in front were brightly lit.





In front of Santa Maria Novella I concluded my tour of Florence. At the stalls I already had eaten in the afternoon and bought some more souvenirs.

After arriving at the station I fetched my bag. The departure platform for the EuroNight to Vienna was not indicated on displays yet, but at least timetable posters existed.



Ten minutes delayed, E402B 129 brought the EN from Rome to a halt, I boarded my couchette coach together with several other passengers... an amazing week in Tuscany had found its conclusion.

Next time: Something completely different! :)

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