Friday, September 26, 2014

Mom's 1953 Europe Road Trip: More of Italy

From Mom's Europe trip diary, in the "PLACES VISITED" section: 
September 26, Saturday – Road between Venice and Florence, Italy
After breakfast, checked out of hotel and went to garage by gondola.  Got car and started for Florence.  Stopped for lunch at Bologna and had to take a detour through Pistoia and Prato for Florence for some reason.  The policeman and I had no understanding about detour.  Earlier [on September 23] we had to take a detour between Padova [Padua] & Ferrara--was almost out of gas but we made it.  Arrived in Florence & had a hotel room.*  Went to eat at Giovacchino's, had wine which went to my head so fast I gave the fellow 900 lire (about $1.50) too much in tips.  Went to bed after that.

According to the "HOTELS STOPPED AT" section of the trip diary, my mother and her friends stayed at the Hotel Helvetia & Bristol in Florence, Italy.  Mom stayed here again in the summer of 1977, when she traveled with her sister, my aunt Sister Jean Marie Guokas, and the Foreign Study League.  Sister Jean Marie had served as a counselor with the program for a number of years (responsible for eight high school students spending the summer in Europe).  When she became an administrator with the program (responsible for the whole traveling group), she recruited my mother as a counselor one summer.  Mom was thrilled to have the opportunity to go back to Europe.

Here are some things Mom might have seen on this day of travel:
Venice gondola / Mark Gresham / CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
In Ferrara (which she likely passed through again this day), she might have seen the Palazzo dei Diamanti (Diamond Palace, in the photo below left), named after the diamond points into which the façade's 8,500 white (with pink veins) marble blocks are cut.  The positioning of the diamonds varies in order to maximize the light reflected off the building.

In Bologna, she couldn't miss the landmark Due Torri (Two Towers, in the photo below right), both of which lean, supposedly built in the 12th century.
Photo above left: Palazzo dei Diamanti [Ferrara, Italy, 3 October 2009] / Irenefinessi / CC-BY-SA-3.0.
Photo above right: Bologne (Italie), les deux tours [ABT 2005] / Patrick Clenet / GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0.

In Pistoia, she might have seen the 
13th century Ospedale del Ceppo, originally a hospital, which has a loggia (exterior corridor) decorated in 1525 with a ceramic glaze frieze by Santi Buglioni, and tondoes by Giovanni della Robbia.  Some of this is pictured below.
Ospedale del Ceppo, Pistoia, Italy [5 December 2007] / Mattana (Own work) / Public domain

In Prato, she likely would have noticed the imposing Castello dell'Imperatore (Emperor's Castle), built in the 13th century for the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II.
Castello dell'Imperatore, Prato, Toscana, Italia [4 July 2013, cropped] / Sansa55 (Own work) / CC-BY-SA-3.0
Here's a possible travel route for this day:

This is the 50th in a series of posts transcribing entries in my mother's 1953 Europe Trip journal.

© Amanda Pape - 2014 - click here to e-mail me.

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