October 1, 2018
My 174th consecutive daily posting.
Time is 5:30am.
Boston’s temperature is low 70s.
Weather will be unsettled with showers later.
Staying in touch:
From Tommie Toner:
Don grew up in Chicago - the South Side, no less.
Moved to Bessemer, AL when he was in middle school - the 8th grade, I think.
Moving South was a real culture shock to him - especially, the school system and the fact he had always gone to schools with Black people as well as all other cultures and races of middle and lower middle-class kids.
Bessemer was all White, all Protestant and Catholic religions for the most part.
His family really missed Chicago as they several trips back over the years to visit friends and eat ethnic food.
Web Meister responds: I find these recalls enriching. Please keep them coming.
The first leg of my 24 day solo auto-trip took me from Boston to Niagara Falls, Ontario.
A nice town.
A nice visit if you like to gamble. Plenty of casinos.
The falls live up to expectation.
Crossing the border into Canada is a wait.
Can be an hour in stopped traffic.
Hotels reasonable: a lot of them.
“Under the Tuscan Sun,” a fun, romantic movie.
Tuscany is a region in central Italy with an area of about 23,000 square kilometres (8,900 square miles) and a population of about 3.8 million inhabitants (2013).
The regional capital is Florence (Firenze).
Tuscany is known for its landscapes, traditions, history, artistic legacy, and its influence on high culture. It is regarded as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and has been home to many figures influential in the history of art and science, and contains well-known museums such as the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace.
Tuscany produces wines, including Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Morellino di Scansano and Brunello di Montalcino.
Having a strong linguistic and cultural identity, it is sometimes considered "a nation within a nation".
Tuscany is traditionally a popular destination in Italy, and the main tourist destinations by number of tourist arrivals in 2014 were Florence, Pisa, Montecatini Terme, Castiglione della Pescaia and Grosseto.
The village of Castiglione della Pescaia is the most visited seaside destination in the region, with seaside tourism accounting for approximately 40% of tourist arrivals in Tuscany.
Additionally, Siena, Lucca, the Chianti region, Versilia and Val d'Orcia are also internationally renowned and particularly popular spots among travelers.
Seven Tuscan localities have been designated World Heritage Sites: the historic centre of Florence (1982); the Cathedral square of Pisa (1987); the historical centre of San Gimignano (1990); the historical centre of Siena (1995); the historical centre of Pienza (1996); the Val d'Orcia (2004), and the Medici Villas and Gardens (2013).
Tuscany has over 120 protected nature reserves, making Tuscany and its capital Florence popular tourist destinations that attract millions of tourists every year.
In 2012, the city of Florence was the world's 89th most visited city, with over 1.834 million arrivals.
I hope to travel there in May, 2020.
Think of Tuscany.
Think of Florence.
Of Florence, think of the Medici family.
The House of Medici was an Italian banking family and political dynasty that first began to gather prominence under Cosimo de' Medici in the Republic of Florence during the first half of the 15th century.
The family originated in the Mugello region of Tuscany and prospered gradually until it was able to fund the Medici Bank.
This bank was the largest in Europe during the 15th century, and it facilitated the Medicis' rise to political power in Florence, although they officially remained citizens rather than monarchs until the 16th century.
The Medici produced three Popes of the Catholic Church—Pope Leo X (1513–1521), Pope Clement VII (1523–1534), and Pope Leo XI (1605)—and two queens regent of France—Catherine de' Medici (1547–1559) and Marie de' Medici (1600–1610).
In 1532, the family acquired the hereditary title Duke of Florence.
In 1569, the duchy was elevated to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany after territorial expansion.
The Medicis ruled the Grand Duchy from its inception until 1737, with the death of Gian Gastone de' Medici.
The grand duchy witnessed degrees of economic growth under the early grand dukes but was bankrupt by the time of Cosimo III de' Medici (r. 1670-1723).
The Medicis' wealth and influence was initially derived from the textile trade guided by the wool guild of Florence, the Arte della Lana.
Like other families ruling in Italian signorie, the Medicis dominated their city's government, were able to bring Florence under their family's power, and created an environment in which art and humanism flourished.
They and other families of Italy inspired the Italian Renaissance, such as the Visconti and Sforza in Milan, the Este in Ferrara, and the Gonzaga in Mantua.
The Medici Bank, from when it was created in 1397 to its fall in 1494, was one of the most prosperous and respected institutions in Europe, and the Medici family was considered the wealthiest in Europe for a time.
From this base, they acquired political power initially in Florence and later in wider Italy and Europe.
They were among the earliest businesses to use the general ledger system of accounting through the development of the double-entry bookkeeping system for tracking credits and debits.
Every time I hear the Medici name I’m reminded of “Miniver Cheevy,” by Edward Arlington Robinson:
Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn,
Grew lean while he assailed the seasons;
He wept that he was ever born,
And he had reasons.
Miniver loved the days of old
When swords were bright and steeds were prancing;
The vision of a warrior bold
Would set him dancing.
Miniver sighed for what was not,
And dreamed, and rested from his labors;
He dreamed of Thebes and Camelot,
And Priam’s neighbors.
Miniver mourned the ripe renown
That made so many a name so fragrant;
He mourned Romance, now on the town,
And Art, a vagrant.
Miniver loved the Medici,
Albeit he had never seen one;
He would have sinned incessantly
Could he have been one.
Miniver cursed the commonplace
And eyed a khaki suit with loathing;
He missed the mediæval grace
Of iron clothing.
Miniver scorned the gold he sought,
But sore annoyed was he without it;
Miniver thought, and thought, and thought,
And thought about it.
Miniver Cheevy, born too late,
Scratched his head and kept on thinking;
Miniver coughed, and called it fate,
And kept on drinking.
Love you all.