After leaving Rome, I traveled up north to Toscana region or Tuscany. Trains in Italy are the least expensive in Europe provided you take the slow train in second classe. I almost missed the train to Rome which had me in near fit of tears. I do not know why this journey has been taxing on me. Perhaps due to my emotional exhaustion beginning of trip has something to do with it. I made it just within minutes of train leaving for Firenze.
One thing a traveler must remember when riding the trains in Italy, is that you must validate your ticket before boarding. Fines are hefty although most conductors are lenient to foreign travelers.. however, they can fine you for 40 euros if you do not validate the ticket. The machines are located at various points in the station and it's really easy to validate, just insert your ticket into the slot. My train ride to Firenze was 3 hours and it was beautiful to watch the scenery change.
I am still breath taken with the lands of Italy.. the rolling hills.. vibrant red poppy flowers that decorate the already beautiful landscape. I arrived in Firenze SMN station and quickly boarded the next train for Pistoia. This is when my luggage broke. I have traveled with this suitcase for almost a decade and it was devastating to realize that my trusty indescript black rolling luggage is on her last leg. We put a lot of miles in traveling together.. No matter. I have no money or the heart to replace her during this trip.. so I continue on with the metal handle poking out through rest of my trip.
I arrived at Pistoia, Toscana and took a taxi to San Momme where I was staying. I did not realize that it was in a remote village up in the Appenine mountains. First sign of fate, the owner of this eco resort has the same birthday as I do. If you are seeking a true Tuscan experience away from the tourists, San Momme is the place to stay.
In the very remote Tuscan hill region with narrow roads that barely fit one car on the road, it was interesting to see how the Italians lived in an area that is sparsely populated. They all knew each other of course yet inviting and warm to outsiders. The town had a church bell that rang every half hour and hour. It was a place where time stood still.
In the mountains, I found peace and all the tensions I carried melted away. There were times where I felt as the main character did in the movie, "Lost in Translation" as I did not speak the language and no one really spoke English. The solitude was deafening at times but it allowed me to contemplate many things which is the point of this trip.