Firenze ~ Saturday, September 03, 2011
I recently attended a professional conference in Florence, Italy--a beautiful city with famous cultural attractions, like this, stunning views, and renaissance architecture. Sure, I like all that, and between lectures about new developments in speech recognition, I also made sure to sample local cuisine (everyone asks about the pizza, but the ice cream is not to be overlooked--and nobody looks askance at a grown man walking around with an ice cream cone in Italy, either).
But I was really looking forward to checking out Florence's brand new tram system. Here's an official site of ATAF, Florence's transit agency, but here's a more informative tram-fan site, and here's the Italian Wikipedia page about Tranvia di Firenze.
The tram line starts at the main train station, next to the historic part of the city; but if you visit note that the tracks right in front of the station are not yet used--you have to walk through the station (or go through the underground mall beneath it) to the side away from the old city.
The cars are a nice, modern, low-floor type.
The line heads out into residential areas; mostly fairly modern, although it did pass this apparent castle.
A scenic part of the line goes through a large park, where there was a (semi-permanent?) carnival going on.
The outer end of the line is at the edge of the city, and quite rustic.
The tracks even go by an old vinyard.
It's a scenic terminus, and modelers would do well to remember that in the classic streetcar era so many of us try to reproduce in miniature, ends-of-lines at the border of city and country were common. It would be an interesting scene for a layout.
On the ride back, I made a practical stop at a less scenic, and very familiar environment, by a strip mall with a large new Coop, an originally Swiss grocery chain expanding into Italy, to pick up components of a makeshift dinner. Can't eat out every night! Some bread, some cheese, salami and grapes from a supermarket makes a pretty meal when it's from a supermarket in Italy.