July 08, 2007

Pisa Notes (and Hollywood Stars!)

Pisa, Italy airport has simpler access than a direct flight from Paris to Florence. Spent a leisurely day at Pisa before coming back home to France, and located their main tourist area; "The Miracle Square", or Piazza del Duomo; with three cathedrals, a museum, and the Tower of Pisa; which recently re-opened after engineering magic reduced the steady tilt, (which had begun to occur on almost a daily basis). Did not have time to tour the tower, but instead enjoyed exploring the cool interior of the cathedral in the foreground, marveling at the sculptures, architecture, and paintings - ignored by many who came only to see the leaning tower.
When first arriving in Pisa, we were excited with our lodgings at a 13th Century convent; St. Croce in Fossabanda, lovingly refurbished with grants from the city of Pisa a few years ago. Our goals of staying at non-chain hotels were realized with this little gem of a structure, and once again we were thankful for the limitless choices offered through the internet for travelers.

The murals within the convent have also been restored, and although none of the rooms were very large (existing single cell-sized dimensions), were very comfortable - except for some voracious mosquitoes... Through our doorway; overlooking the central plaza, the tower's working bell (discovered at 8 a.m. the following morning...), summoned us to a wonderful free Italian buffet breakfast of fresh yogurt, fruit, pastries, omelets, cereal, coffee and juices. Prior to leaving our relaxing lodgings, we enjoyed some thoughtful solitude to relax and create.
Will provide more of "The story of a week in Florence" in my next blog. The weather was amazing during our stay; warm, not too humid, and sunny - and we can understand how so many from other countries plan to "just visit', and end up moving to this sunny, welcoming country. Pale skin and hair tend to betray obvious "foreigner" status to the real residents of this land, but I enjoyed being "a minority" in their paradise. And the excitement? Saw movie stars! In the Florence train station, prior to returning to Pisa, I saw a man in his 40's, wearing a rumpled suit jacket and jeans standing in a ticket line, who I swore was Matthew Broderick. John walked by for a second view and was unsure, and with no body guards, and no Jessica, we assumed he just looked like Matthew. Found a shady bench at track 10 while we waited for our track location to be posted, and just prior to train #10 leaving, were happily surprised when a large baggage cart FILLED with Louis Vuitton luggage, two burly body guards in dark suits, and Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick dashed by to enter their privately booked first-class car! My first star sighting in Europe - and I was thrilled for the rest of the day! M


L/Elle said...

What, Matthew didn't recognize John from his star turn as a CW soldier extra in "Glory" ? Ha, Ha.

Is Jessica as glam in person as on screen (please say no .. !)

Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Looking forward to hearing and seeing more. Lisa

Kim G said...

Wow, Marty that is cool. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip to Italy. You sound like such a world traveller. Okay more names for the pink cat clock:
Pippi (to help you remember the real cat)
Broderick (to help you remember your star encounter)

Kim G.

Joe said...


Looks like you're having a ball!

Florence is one of my favorite places. I wanted to sit and just gaze at Michaelangelo's David but the museum police did not approve! That was in 1972.

Love your painting at the top of your blog column, John!

Keep having fun! (as if that's not possible.)

Josh and Brandye are off to SIU in Carbondale this August. Brandye is going to work on her PhD in Health Education and Josh is going to work on a BFA in Art (Painting) and hopes to complete an MFA as he wants to teach at the College/University level.

Nephew Chris, gave me your blog address and now I realize Lisa sent it to me earlier on in your trip.

Best to you both,
Joe Nobiling