Dawn Reader

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

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Frankenstein Sundae, 238

More about Livorno (aka Leghorn), Italy ... Mary's attitudes ... my brief visit in April 1999 ...

Years later, in 1844, Mary would publish a travel book—Rambles in Germany and Italy—an account of her journey with her son Percy Florence (now in his mid-twenties) back through some of the territory she had first seen with her late husband a quarter-century earlier. She saw Leghorn only from the deck of her ship, but she wrote, The view from the sea near Leghorn is not sufficiently praised.[1] She said nothing at all about the port itself.

My own brief trip to Livorno/Leghorn was on April 24, 1999. And here are some excerpts from my journal that day.
 … Livorno (the English called it Leghorn) is not a happy town, and I was a little on edge the entire time I was there—just as the city itself appears to be on the edge between a place that cares and a place that doesn’t. The station is beautiful (I took a shot of it right at the end of a roll), and I set off on what turned out to be a long walk—over a mile—down to the waterfront.  I didn’t quite make it all the way because of time—but I saw enough of the old part of the city to get the main idea. I must keep reminding myself that the Shelleys were here more than 175 yrs. ago—not much they would recognize, that’s for certain. There were a couple of interesting parks where I fired a few shots, and I also got some of fishing boats, pleasure boats, etc. and then I scurried back, arriving about 30 minutes early—I could’ve gone farther, I guess, but I was running out of gas. Bought some soda water & crackers in a station shop. Some Italian sailors (I think) are on board. All of them wear little daggers suspended from belts—they dangle nearly to the knee and cannot be much more than decorative & symbolic—if they had to run, I think they’d trip. But they seem nice, eager, young, and proud, so who am I to utter a discouraging word, eh?  I’m really astonished at the dimensions of vandalism here—the trains are totally defaced w/ spray paint, as are walls, machinery—even statues in public parks. Coming in the Pisa way, I can really see how [Livorno] sits at the foot of the mountains.

[1] Travel Writing. In The Novels and Selected Works, vol. 8 (London: William Pickering, 1996), 341.

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