If you’re driving this way (though I’d recommend a train for the full experience – missed and late connections are great to catch up on reading), Florence is inevitable. Vanni will show you around dungeons and the underground scenes, and include some contemporary takes on Dante and Ariosto. Alessandro may also be in the area, Karma willing. After that, though, head a smidge north on the bus, to Fiesole, for Dacia and her incredible life of stories; you can then keep going northwest along the hills, and grab a fantastical reading from Francesca if you can; her tarots are like no one else’s. Roll into the piana for some old-school puppets in Collodi (Carlo chose the name for a reason). When you get to the coast, drop south by Alberto and his hybridised language workers for a laugh and some hard truths – he’s been all over the UK too. If you can, keep following the coast south towards Orbetello and Teresa’s spiky writing. An acquired taste, perhaps, but, boy, does she know how to land a punch.
If I can meet you for a coffee, I’ll be back north, just outside of Florence. We have poets too, and a river …
By Alex Valente
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