Churches open at 8am, and, except on Sunday when mass is held, there will be few other people to disturb your thoughts if you stray into one. Today, very few Tuscans go regularly to church and Sunday is spent visiting friends, watching sport or enjoying
A cheese stall in Florence family lunch. After the burst of activity that marks the beginning of the day, Tuscan towns adopt a more sedate pace. New building is prohibited inside their walls, so that virtually everyone of school or working age travels out, by bus or car, to schools, offices or factories in the suburbs, leaving the old centres to visitors.
Some of the larger towns, particularly Pisa, Lucca, Florence and Siena, have resisted this tide, determined not to become museum cities given over entirely to tourism. They are thriving
The hour for relaxing in Cortona service sectors, testimony to the same Tuscan flair for banking, insurance and accountancy that made the Medici family and the Merchant of Prato (see pl84) some of the richest people in their time. It is-, however, the lucky few who work in such beautiful towns. They practise as lawyers, architects, conservationists or designers and are
often graduates of the renowned local universities: Pisa, Siena and Florence. Forthe great majority of Tuscans, however, the working day is spent in purpose-built suburbs, such as the one linking Prato to the Firenze Nuova (New Florence) suburbs west of the city. The Tuscan economy, however, still remains firmly rooted in craft traditions. Top designers from Milan use the textile factories of Prato and Florence for the execution of their designs. Gold-work-ing is not confined to the Ponte Vecchio workshops in Florence -Arezzo produces jewellery which is sold throughout Europe.