Posted July 9th, 2006 by Sylvia S Tognetti and filed in Living in Post-Normal Times, Trip reports, Tuscanophilia

This time I started drinking coffee earlier in the game – it didn’t keep it from going into penalty kicks but they earned this one. Once I venture out of the house, I’ll try to get some pictures of the madness that is sure to be going on for the next several weeks. Last time Italy won the world cup (1982), I arrived here a few days later….
These last few posts have been somewhat of a digression from environmental science and policy – the main subject of this blog – but not entirely. As a geographer, I am intrigued by places and what makes them special. This is a source of conflict between science and policy because science is fixated on finding generalizations that can be applied anywhere. This also has a lot to do with European reluctance to accept genetically modified organisms, and might just become the subject of another book about Tuscany, but not like anything you might have read or heard about. This one will have to pass the laugh test in Tuscany – a high bar. According to the writer Curzio Malaparte, who wrote a book called “Those Cursed Tuscans,” (1958) Mussolini never could have come to power had he tried to make those speeches from a balcony in Piazza Signoria in Florence rather than from the Palazzo Venezia in Rome because he could not have said those things and kept a straight face before an audience of Florentines (like Oriana Fallaci for example…) What makes this particular place special is a question I have been asking myself since long before I became a geographer. It all started when my father burst into uncontrollable laughter while reading that book. He tried to explain what was so funny but I was only about 7 or 8 years old at the time. He grew up dodging the draft under Mussolini and American bombs at the same time, and then got the hell out of Italy with a scholarship but sent me here to school. I’m not sure if anyone here actually read Under the Tuscan Sun but the film drew guffaws for using outdated stereotypes from other regions of the country.

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