The fastest route…

Stefano has complete faith in his GPS navigator. So do I, normally…even though on a couple of occasions in the UK we’d somehow ended up in a cow field (I kid you not) instead of our B&B. But that’s another story and, to be fair, we haven’t yet had a problem with the super new GPS system.

Yesterday, though, I could tell something just wasn’t right. My friend Ben had dictated meticulous “how to get here” instructions to me over the phone, and I had double-checked them via Google maps. To be triple sure, I’d also printed the driving directions I’d found on the (rented) villa’s website, which even provided photos of various landmarks, such as the gas station where we were supposed to turn right and so on. No way we could get lost, I thought.

According to my directions, we were supposed to get off the highway upon reaching the city of Lucca, about an hour’s drive from Florence, but Stefano’s navigator wanted us to keep driving toward Pisa. Then it directed us to get onto another highway, this time heading north, towards the port city of Genoa.

At that point, I piped up and said: “I think we’ve made a mistake. We’re going towards the sea, but we should be heading toward the Apennine mountains, based on what Ben told me.”

Stefano snorted with contempt and replied: “Don’t worry. I told the navigator to give us the fastest route, not necessarily the shortest.”

We kept going towards Genoa.

We finally got off the highway and began slowly climbing up the side of a mountain…one of those incredibly narrow winding bendy curvy roads that I’ve experienced only in Italy and that really shouldn’t be a two-way road at all. But this one was. Of course. Yikes. 

And we finally (and safely!) reached our, er, destination. Now, I don’t remember the exact name of the town…It began with a “T,” so let’s just call it Torciglione. Well, Torciglione turned out to be no more than a few houses clinging to the side of the mountain. We stopped in what I suppose was the main square, barely wider than the narrow road, and I asked a man if he could direct us to the villa. After glancing at my printed instructions, he exclaimed: “Oh no, you’re in the WRONG Torciglione! The Torciglione you’re looking for is on the OTHER SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN.”

I didn’t dare look over at Stefano.

Stefano turned the car around (managing somehow not to dive off the cliff), and we went slowly back down the mountain, retracing our steps to Lucca.

I tried to restrain myself, I really did, honest!, but it was no use. It began as a stifled giggle. Then guffaws. Finally tears began streaming down my face. Stefano kept driving, looking fierce, the “don’t talk to me or I’ll bite your head off and spit it out the car window” type of fierce.

Finally I managed to sputter: “Well, if we ever need to return to Torciglione no. 1, at lllllleast…at least now we know THE FFFF….FFFFASTEST RRRROUUUUUTTTTTEEEEE…” And then I let it all out. I just howled with laughter, all doubled over, clutching my sides. Stefano ended up laughing, too.

How odd, though, to find TWO towns with the SAME name in the SAME area…a mere 20-25 minute drive from each other. Yep, verrrry odd.

Anyway, we finally got to the right Torciglione…and the right villa. After hugging and kissing (and being introduced to various family members), Ben, Stefano and I headed up to the salt-water swimming pool, located on the top of a hill covered by a gorgeous olive grove…surrounded by lovely views of the Apennines (my photo doesn’t do justice to the view, but I was too distracted and didn’t even think about taking more decent photos). Stunning, absolutely stunning. We jumped into the pool, ahhhh blissssss!, and stayed there until it was time for us to leave, catching up and chatting non-stop.  

An absolutely spectacular day…


  1. Men…and those directions!! 🙂 I’m glad you had a good attitude about it! “I told ya so’s” don’t usually work out very well, although very tempting! 🙂

    PS-What a stunning view of the countryside! You have a lovely country indeed!

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