Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fiesole Belongs to the Lizards / “Casual Rave. No Biggie.”

A great weekend! A weekend of discovery.

For one, did you know that Italian IKEAs are the same as all IKEAs? (Surprise!) The same, but still amazing. We bought cheap blankets because the ones they provided for us at the apartment are a little scratchy and suspicious looking. Actually getting to IKEA was an adventure in itself. The bus was a lot harder to find than we thought. I envisioned a sleek and stylish blue and yellow shuttle bus, but we actually just had to take a regular public tranportation bus. It took us half an hour to find the bus stop but it was all worth it.

Saturday we actually made it to Fiesole! It’s this amazing hill town about half an hour outside of Florence. It actually existed before Florence. The Etruscans settled in Fiesole sometime in the 9th or 8th century BC, and when the Romans tried to take over, they couldn’t quite capture Fiesole, so they started setting up Florence. But then eventually got Fiesole. Anyway, this place is covered in ruins. We had to pay 8 euro to see the good ruins, but it was worth it. There’s an amazing Roman amphitheater ^, Roman baths, an Etruscan-turned-Roman temple(!), and a museum with all sorts of relics.

The entire city was overrun by lizards. They were all over the place. I’m pretty sure I saw about fifteen or twenty. Fiesole may have once belonged to the Etruscans, and to the Romans, but the lizards rule now.We wanted to try to get dinner at a non-touristy restaurant, so we decided to explore the rest of the town. Margaret and Sarah wanted to wait in a park while Signe and I explored a little further up the hill. We ended up stumbling upon the ruins of an Etruscan tomb! It was pretty small in size, but still pretty incredible. After peaking around, we noticed a little kitty in the bushes toward the back. I joked that it was an Etruscan soldier guarding the tomb in the form of a stray cat. It would’ve been funny, if the cat wasn’t really weird and dying. No matter how close we got (which wasn’t very close, eww) the cat didn’t move much. Signe had some food scraps so we left it on the ground about a foot in front of the cat. He got up and sort of started hacking, and then sneezed about twenty times and then picked at the food. He sneezed some more, and wheezed, and hacked, and started to follow us when we were leaving. Poor guyyy. I don’t think he had the energy to follow us all the way out. That or… some ancient Etruscan spell forbade him to leave.

Anyway, we ended up settling for a bar/ristorante with mediocre food and lousy service. Then we headed home to prepare for an evening of Electronicaaa.

Since we’ve been here, I noticed posters and flyers were littered all over the city for “Nextech” an electronica festival. When I think “festival” I imagine sitting outside on the grass, chillin, Lollapalloza style. But we were in for a surprise.

The venue was way northwest in Florence, and was this giant stadium-type structure. It was massssive. There were all these trippy video projections on every wall and the place was filled with the vibrations of booming techno.

I’m pretty sure that was a rave. Or maybe Europeans don’t “rave”? Was that just a 90’s American phenomenon? Regardless, electronica is awesome. And the atmosphere wasn’t weird at all. I didn’t see any skeezy, unsavory characters or drug use or anything sketchy like that. Europe is about the love! Oh, not to mention I only saw/came in contact with two Americans. And we spoke Italian. So cool. 

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