Re: me, the tourist.

    Miguel> I do not have any real plans yet for what I will be doing
    Miguel> in Europe during those days, but I would definely like to
    Miguel> meet some of my friends over there, so if you have any
    Miguel> ideas, please mail me.

Miguel, you (and any other gnomer) should feel welcome to visit us in
Italy (near Florence).  I include my standard directions, FAQ and


Dear potential visitors to Italy in the spring, and people who want to
contact me for urgent work reasons,

Here is my attempt at putting together information on how to reach us
in Italy.


Contacting us

The best way to contact us is email, of course.  In any case, our
phone number is +1 [39] (55) 80 74 272.  To use this from US you call
(usually) 011 39 55 80 74 272.  If you are in Italy but outside of the 
Florence province you dial 055 80 74 272.  If you are in Florence or
the surrounding area you can dial 80 74 272.

If you leave a message with any non-english speaker, make sure that
what you say is very unambiguous, especially with respect to AM/PM.  I
would use 24 hour time, which is common in Italy.


How to get to our place

To get an approximate orientation of where you are coming, take a look
at the attached partial map of Italy.  The purple arrow points to
where we are (about half way between Florence and Siena).  The yellow
arrows point to Milan and Rome, likely places into which you might
fly, or at least places you will probably pass on your way.

By train and bus

IMPORTANT: talk to us a couple of days before to tell us at what time
you expect your train to arrive in Florence.

Take a train to Florence (one leaves almost every hour from Milan and
Rome).  Try to arrive in Florence well before the last bus leaves,
which is at about 7:30pm.  (Actually, make that 19:30!).

** case 1: you arrive before the last bus leaves

You get off the train, walk down the aisle until the head of the
tracks.  Turn right, and exit through the station's side stairs.
Cross the street and turn left on the opposite sidewalk.  Hug that
building; you will pass a bar, turn a corner, then you will find the
entrance to a bus terminal inside the building.  The bus line is
called SITA.

Enter the terminal and buy a ticket for Tavarnelle (its full name is
Tavarnelle in Val di Pesa), which is the nearest village.  Ask which
bus goes there next, and keep asking until you *really* understand the
answer.  They are usually buses for Siena, but some buses for Siena
don't make stops, and some other buses also stop by Tavarnelle.

Get off about an hour later at the main square in Tavarnelle (ask the
buss driver for "la piazza di Tavarnelle").  We will meet the one or
two buses that leave nearest the time your train arrives in Florence.

** case 2: you arrive late in the evening, after the last bus

In that case we will drive in to Florence to meet your train (traffic
might delay us...).  In this case, get off the train.  If you don't
see us, walk to the head of the rails, turn left and go to the large
pharmacy which is near the head of the rails and camp out next to that

By car

Coming from Milan or Rome get on to the Autostrada A1 (this is the
main Italian artery highway, sometimes called Autostrada del sole) and
head toward Florence.

Florence has four exits; in north-south order they are

Firenze Nord
Firenze Signa
Firenze Certosa
Firenze Sud

You get off at Firenze Certosa.  There will be a loop right after the
tollbooth in which you have three options: a green sign for Siena, a
blue sign for Siena and a blue sign for Firenze.

You take the *green* sign for Siena, which should say something like
"Siena, Raccordo Autostradale" on it.  (The blue sign will get you
there, but much more slowly.)

After about 15 or 20 minutes you will come to an exit for Tavarnelle;
get off there, and follow the signs until you approach the village of
Tavarnelle.  As you are getting into town, keep your eyes peeled for a
sign that says "Noce" and follow that.  If you miss it, there is
another sign for Noce in the main square.  If not, ask for directions

Follow the road to Noce and go beyond noce.

Once you are out of noce, the road becomes a dirt road in the
proximity of a large villa surrounded by cypresses.  Keep going on the
dirt road.

After a few minutes you start looking for a 5-way intersection: two
roads go off to the left, one to the right, just on a right-hand
curve.  The road to the right has a lone pine tree and a faded sign
that says "Il Paganello".

You take the second road to the left; it is a small and bumpy tractor
road.  Follow it down until you reach two farmhouses; there you will
see a driveway going steeply up to the right.  Take that driveway, and
you will find our house.

[Note: if you are coming from Siena because you took the scenic "via
Cassia" from Rome, you go to Siena, then follow green signs for
Firenze, get off in Tavarnelle and follow the directions above.]


Tips on asking for directions: in Florence you can ask how to get to

Once you are on the road to Siena (either blue or green) you can't
miss Tavarnelle.

Once you are in Tavarnelle, people in the main square should be able
to point you to Noce.

Once you are in Noce and beyond, people should be able to point you to

Once you are in Noce you can also ask for a phone, call Rosalia's
mother (80 74 222) and they live right in the village, so they can
come find you.  The village is tiny: a single street, about 300 meters

                 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: should we come visit?
A: of course!

Q: when can we come?
A: any time after April 15 and before July 1.

Q: but won't you have other people visiting?
A: the house is quite big, and we have had some pretty large groups.
Don't worry.

Q: who can I bring along?
A: anyone.

Q: does that include my 3 kids?
A: of course.

Q: when's a good time to be in Italy and avoid too many German
A: there are always tourists, but I recommend avoiding July and
August (August is the worst).  My favourites months are May and
September.  May is good because you can visit us.

                   Brief Italian phrasebook

Dove e` il bagno?			Where is the toilet?

Dove e` la stazione?			Where is the station?

Metti giu le mani!			Take your hands off me.

A che ora parte il treno per Firenze?	When does the train for Florence leave?

Su quale binario e` il treno		On which track is the train for
per Firenze?				Florence?

Voglio un biglietto InterCity		I want a 2nd class InterCity train
di seconda classe per Firenze.		for Florence.

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