Tuscany 2013 - 7: Cinque Terre into the Heart of Tuscany (50 p.)

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To the previous part of the series:
Tuscany 2013 - 6: Pure Cinque Terre (50 p.)

The itinerary for this part:
Tue, April 16 2013

Manarola dep 19:35  24501 PP

La Spezia C arr 19:46
La Spezia C dep 20:07  FB 9787 -> Roma Termini ETR460

Pisa Centrale arr 20:47
Pisa Centrale dep 21:01  11783 -> Firenze SMN PP


Firenze Le Piagge(!) arr 22:08 +5 min
Firenze Le Piagge dep 22:09 +5 min  6665 -> Livorno C DD

Signa arr 22:14 +5 min

Wed, April 17 2013

Lastra a Signa dep 6:37  11747 -> Grosseto D445

Castelfiorentino arr 7:03
Castelfiorentino dep 7:10  Bus 33 -> Empoli

Cambiano arr 7:15

Map of Tuscany:

April 16 2013

We return to Piazzetta Eugenio Montale where my view was almost as free as the one seen by seagulls between moon and sun in the sky...

In the already quite hot sun you could conveniently lie on a bench. Even though the view at the rails was blocked, you could hear the electronic station announcer voice well. So, I was always informed about trains stopping or passing binario uno or due, as well as listening to the standard station information soundbits, like warnings of not getting to close to the "linea gialla" or hopping onto moving trains.
The next announced train of dreams was InterCity 680 to Milano at 16:43 consisting of a classic rake in top condition.


Also, I enjoyed once more two class E655-hauled freights, one into each direction.

View back at the train near Corniglia.

I named this spot the "Hanging Gardens of Manarola".

Shortly behind the InterCity followed Frecciabianca 9774 Roma - Genova.



Oranges in April.


Light balcony-photography.

Extreme balcony-photography. ;-)



An UFO roaming about...

The platform was always filling continuously until the next local train arrived.


I moved on through the narrow streets.

To the next viewpoint, Piazza Castello.

The navy hunting UFOs?

Street names were also indicated in the local Ligurian language. Modern Italian is the equivalent of Florentine, everywhere else traditionally other languages or dialects are spoken. No wonder with city states battling each other over centuries...
Extreme laundry drying.

Another view at the Hanging Gardens.


R 11318 La Spezia - Savona passed.

Around half past six I walked back down to the harbour, at Corniglia two locals were meeting.

Excessive balcony-photography.

Boats were still stored in the streets during the cold season.



Inside the tunnel to the station I found this map. You can spot the tunnel exit in town, to the left, half way down Via Renato Birolli, steep steps are leading uphill. Both viewpoints can be identified by black lines.

R 11214 Santo Stefano di Magra - Novi Ligure rushed past the station.

E444R 023 hauled IC 673 Milano - Livorno.

The lady in elegant pink waited for R 24508 to Sestri Levante.

Don't do it yourself, children!



Shortly before sunset I finally caught a train back to my hotel.

Inside a coach of R 24501 I noticed door handles formed like rails.

Waiting for my train towards Roma Termini.

But first E444R 025 pulling IC 518 Roma - Ventimiglia majestically came around the corner.

ETR460 028 as Frecciabianca 9787 took me to Pisa Centrale.

The 45 minute ride cost me about as much as the rest of the whole journey Signa - Cinque Terre and back. For some more sleep it paid off - but not without previous adventure.

I conveniently took one of the rear coaches of R 11783 from Pisa and prepared to get off at Signa. The train started braking, rolled a little, then stopped completely. What was that? Where was the platform? In the darkness you could not see anything outside, the door did not open. I quickly ran one coach ahead, but no success there. I already thought the train had stopped short of the platform, as now it rolled again - however, that was it, the station moved past the window ever faster. The mobile phone ran hot, it theoretically should not be possible to change trains at Firenze Le Piagge. Otherwise I would have had to wait in the dark for an hour. Is still risked it and sprinted to the other platform hoping that the train into the opposite direction was equally delayed - and really, the double decke rake was just pulling into the station! In the end the excitement just cost me a bit over ten minutes, the bed was luckily reached soon enough. However, from that moment on I only travelled at the head of the train, as conductors were mostly staying in the first coach.

April 17 2013

Wednesday was planned as half a rest day, I still departed early, for the first time from Lastra a Signa. To reach this halt I had to march on past Signa station and across River Arno drenched in red sky. The bridge of the newly built railway line is the second one in the background.

Signa to the left, Lastra a Signa to the right.

As Firenze Rifredi takes the cake as "prettiest station" in Tuscany, Lastra a Signa clearly earns the title "most idyllic halt"! ;-)

D445 1176 hauling R 11747 via Siena towards Grosseto took me to Castelfiorentino, the first major place on the southbound double track diesel line from Empoli. After the train had departed I caught a bus number 33 to Cambiano, a short ride back north towards Empoli, mostly used by schoolchildren. At this spot I wanted to wait, we will see for how long...
A rather hazy morning, supported by the fact that obviously the farmers of the region just were trying to burn down half of Tuscany.

View at Castelnuovo d'Elsa - which special unit was just flying into Tuscany? Well, in Italy of course the Guardia di Finanza!

In the morning the line was operated by a half-hourly tact, mostly alternating loco-hauled trains and older units. R 11752 accelerated from Castelfiorentino at 7:30 a.m..

At 8 o'clock R 11756 Siena - Firenze followed.

We will continue further into the heart of Tuscany in the next part! :)

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