Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Friday, September 4, 2015

Frankenstein Sundae, 151

Finding the grave of Claire Clairmont near Florence, Italy.

And for some inexplicable reason, I wrote about the trip quite a bit in my journal when I got back to my hotel, so here’s an edited version:

I went to the tourist bureau inside the [bus] station and learned that a #32 bus goes all the way to Antella [just southeast of Florence], where Claire Clairmont is buried in a Roman Catholic cemetery and memorial [Cimitero monumentale della Misericordia (Monumental Cemetery of Mercy)].

So I found a #32, asked the driver “Antella?”  It was. Then I wondered about a ticket. He pointed off somewhere vague, and I got in line & asked for a ticket, but I’d given the guy about 10x more money than I was supposed to. He kept giving me a thumbs-up sign (later, I figured he meant I’d paid too much), and I finally realized the problem.

The bus was passing, & I waved at it, and the driver, mercifully, stopped. I got on, showed him my ticket, & he just waved me to the back, where I sat in a hot lump, facing backwards. A tap on my shoulder: A kindly middle-aged woman told me in broken English that I needed to validate my ticket—insert it in one of the little orange machines (there were a couple of them on the bus), and so I did. I thanked her profusely, and there were smiles all ’round.

It took quite a while to get to Antella—even though it’s only about six miles. Three tough-looking youths got on at one stop, but they ignored me (whew!) and soon got off.  Eventually a forward-facing seat opened up, and I plopped into it. Out into the suburbs we went, arriving at the end of the line in the lovely village square of Antella. I saw no sign of a church, but then I noticed that the same helpful woman had gotten off the bus, too.  I approached her & showed her the address I had, and she pointed up a street. “Five minutes,” she said.

Off I went, acting as if I knew what I was doing, and there it was, on the right, about five minutes away. It is a beautiful place—marble—many chapels with graves & markers on the floors & walls. I sort of randomly looked for Claire, then read the directions I got from The Clairmont Correspondence. I found the chapel of the S. Annunziata (there are quite a few chapels), and there it was, a simple & small white marker in the floor to Jane Clairmont.  [A tomb, erected at her death, was removed long ago.] Where her actual remains are is anyone’s guess.

After a few photos, I walked briskly back to the bus stop, took a quick shot of the little piazza, and saw #32 arriving. I hopped aboard: “Firenze?” You bet. I validated my ticket—and beat the 1-hr. time limit by 1 minute (ride all you want for an hour for 1500 lire—about 90¢).  The ride back was more enjoyable facing forwards
Piazza in Antella

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