by Melinda Gallo

Day trip to San Casciano

A friend of mine, Francesca, referred me to an agopunturista (acupuncturist) in San Casciano, which is about 30-35 minutes by bus from Florence. My appointment wasn't until 4PM, but I had to take the 2:30PM bus. I rushed out of the house at 2PM and took a local bus up to the train station. I was surprised to see Gianluca, my former Italian teacher and friend, board the bus.

Living in Florence :: Day trip to San Casciano

I hadn't seen Gianluca in months, so it was great to see him. I said goodbye to him, jumped off the bus at the train station, and walked briskly to the SITA bus station down the street from the train station. When I arrived, I noticed that it appeared closed. The area where the buses usually park to pick up and drop off people was being worked on. I went to the ticket booth and bought my round trip ticket to San Casciano, which was made up of two one-way tickets to San Casciano from Firenze.

I asked the man where I go to pick up the bus and he explained it to me. I was so scared that I'd be late that I didn't listen completely, so I asked him a second time. He handed me a little map and told me to follow the signs. By this time, I only had 5 minutes to get to my bus, so I ran. I saw a couple of SITA buses lined up and boarded the second one and asked the driver if he was going to San Casciano. He said, "Sė" while still looking forward. Most people who got on asked the same question.

I was afraid that I would miss the stop for San Casciano, so I turned to the girl behind me who had also asked if the bus stopped at San Casciano if she knew when we'd be arriving. She told me it was the next stop and I asked her if she knew how to get to the Piazza dell'Orologio and she said, "Ti faccio vedere."

I noticed that the girl had Asian origins as we walked to the elevator to go up five levels to street level. Her heels echoed in the bus station's hallways. "Non sei mai venuta qui?" (Have you ever been here before) she asked. I told her that I hadn't. "Allora, cosa ci fai qui?" (So, what are you doing here?) she asked me. I told her that I was going to see an agopunturista, but she didn't respond.

She steered me in the right direction when we got out to the street. I walked down the streets in the quiet town alone. It's enjoyable to walk around on such a cool and sunny day. Florence seems so far away as I can't hear much if anything at all. San Casciano was asleep. Most shutters are closed, all the shops and restaurants are locked up, and only a few other people are roaming the streets.

I decided to go to one of the two bars in town to have a drink while I'm waiting for my appointment. The bar that I picked had an outdoor terrace, so I took my drink outside to look out at the countryside while admiring all the shades of green and listening to the birds chirping. It was wonderful to just sit alone on the terrace to wait for my appointment.

A few minutes before my appointment, I went to the cassa (cash register) and paid for my drink. I walked down the main street where one shop keeper was sweeping the sidewalk in front of his shop and noticed that many of the shops were open.

After my appointment, I walked to the bus station to catch the bus back to Florence. I was able to sit in the front row next to the driver of the bus and enjoyed the short ride through the countryside back to Florence.

I feel almost like I went on a small vacation by leaving Florence for the afternoon and enjoying the Tuscan countryside. When I got on the city bus to get back to my apartment, I noticed how busy Florence was. It was nice to drive past the crowds and not walk in them for once.

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