On the Road in Tuscany, by Tillie

My family and I have left Rome; who knows when we will return? Maybe I will return with my kids years from now and try to find the neighbourhood I spent the 10th year of my life.

Yes, maybe I will, but now I am at the beginning of a brand new adventure. The “new adventure” is a road trip. We did not have a car in Rome so we are renting one. My grandparents are going with us. We are in Tuscany right now and will stay here for 4 more days. After we depart from Tuscany, we will drive to Sicily (Sicily is supposed to be a beautiful big island, where I will have my 10th birthday!) stopping at many small towns on the way.

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Our dining table in Tuscany came with a good view.

From our villa we have taken day trips to Lucca and Pisa. In Pisa we climbed The Leaning Tower of Pisa. You might have heard of it because it is called one of the seven wonders of the world, but if not I will explain what it is to you now. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is very, very famous. It is a very tall tower that, as soon as it was done getting built, started to, oh you guessed it, lean. Tourists have been climbing up it for years. The Leaning Tower of Pisa was started in 1173 but was not finished until 1399. At first the Leaning Tower of Pisa was 60m tall, but now it is 56.67m on its highest side and 55.86m on its lowest. No body is quite sure how many steps it has.

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View from the tower of Pisa

Like millions of other people, my parents, my sister, and I decided to climb up its many, many steps and–counting the way down–its many, many, many, many steps altogether. I don’t see why climbing so many steps in a tower that is really, really tilted would appeal to anybody, but it certainly didn’t appeal to me. In fact, if I wasn’t done the Scary Experiences blog post I would add it to that list. I did it, and came down safely, but I have to say that The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a bit overrated being called one of the seven wonders of the world and all.

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Me and mom at the top of the tower.

After we got out of the crowds around The Leaning Tower of Pisa we went to see an amazing and completely gruesome hell fresco. A fresco is a painting that is painted onto a wall when the plaster is still wet.  Even though I feel like this year I have seen enough frescoes to last me a lifetime (especially Christian ones, mostly of Jesus), I have to admit that this hell fresco was very memorable.  It’s one of my father’s favourite frescoes too – he remembered it from when he was in Pisa with my mom almost 20 years ago, and was excited to share it with us.

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The Triumph of Death and Last Judgement Fresco (Hell Fresco) at Camposanto in Pisa
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Torture

In Lucca we wandered around a bit (and bought a couple of cheap tourist sweatshirts, because we were unprepared for the cold weather). We walked on top of the city walls, which are famous for being in almost perfect shape.  They were surprisingly thick, with a boulevard you could walk on and even some playgrounds and park areas on the side. The day we were there a very popular plant market was in action. I was completely ravenous and helped myself to some of the delicious food for sale, which consisted of: something like a crepe, but not quite a crepe, with Nutella in it, some little ricciarelli (Tuscan cookies), and the world’s best porchetta sandwich.

I have had my share of good porchetta sandwiches (porchetta is a kind of pork roasted with spices in it), but I have never had one quite like this. Sometimes there is too much of the crunchy skin in a porchetta sandwich and it makes it hard to chew because of the big hard pieces of skin in your mouth. And sometimes the bread is so hard it’s challenging to bite through it or even fit your mouth around it.  But this sandwich had the perfect amount of skin so that there was a nice crunch, but it wasn’t overwhelming. And the bread on this porchetta sandwich was sliced thin so that it was soft on the flat sides and crusty on the edges. They also grilled the sides of the bread so that it was nice and warm. Yum!

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Juicy, crunchy porchetta. Ready to be put into my sandwich.
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One of the cool shops on top of the Lucca wall.

After walking around Lucca for a while, we went out for a dinner that the majority of us found disappointing. When we emerged from the restaurant we found that there were little bats everywhere, and we discovered that night in Lucca is even colder than the day.

So far this has been a great road trip, even though it just started, and I hope it continues that way.

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