Thursday, 1 August 2013

From Florence to Orvieto

When you leave Florence, the Tuscan countryside is pretty.  For some time, it is anything but flat.  The ground goes up hill and down dale.  If the train track were laid strictly on the landscape surface, passengers would soon be ill.  Not far off to the left, the northeast, a substantial mountain range follows us.  Way off to the right, the southwest, a skirting board of mountains lines the horizon.  In between, we see vineyards, meadows, hay bales, and once or twice some sheep.  We see a multitude of trees of varying kinds, small bushes, pencil pines, other pines, and, only very occasionally, a tree like the acacia tree with its leaves near its apex.  We cross a river.

Soon, apart from isolated pockets of built up industry and small towns, we see irrigated fields, small rural lanes and gardens, and we even pass a lake (Lake Chiusi?).  The landscape briefly becomes flat like a plain before adopting a smooth dip and rise pattern.  Vineyards fringed by pencil pines and 'acacias' are soon replaced by a sea of yellow sun flowers.

Eventually, after a couple of hours' travelling, we arrive at Orvieto, a city built on a massive raised level, 1000 feet above its surrounding valley.  We have left Tuscany behind, and are now in Umbria.  We have the feeling we are in the middle of nowhere.  We heard a bird chirping for the first time in ages.

The changing landscape of Tuscany

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