In spite of the 120 degree heat today, I ventured out on my bike, heading south to Greve and Panzano. On days like this, the Chianti hills are empty and serene since many residents have already escaped for the coast to enjoy their August vacations.
One very delightful pleasure about cycling in Italy, is that seemingly every village that you pass through during your ride no matter how small, has a water fountain in the main piazza. These fountains are in many cases unique and beautiful works of art which match the personality of the village. You always know that you can refill your water bottles and refresh yourself....it's only a village away. Today, these fountains saved me from dehydrating. I had to go "piano, piano" because of the heat, but was able to appreciate the beauty around me all the more.
Having heard what "scorchers" the summers are here in Florence, I had braced myself for the worse, and even dreaded it. Living for the last 5 years in coastal Southern California, I thought, had probably thinned out my blood. But now that I'm experiencing a real Florentine summer, I'm realizing that my real reference point is New York City, which cooks you like an oven, and I was expecting worse than that. Definitely difficult as compared to San Clemente, but nowhere as bad as NYC. And those "zanzare" (mosquitoes) ??? Not sure why, but I haven't been bothered by them yet. Perhaps it's the swallows that keep them under control.
I am amazed at how efficient these 600 year old buildings are. They were built to keep the heat and sun out. As long as I close my windows and shutters during the day, my apartment stays cool. With the help of a fan, so far, I've been fine. Nothing like good old A/C, but I can do this.