The history of this room is a few years short of nine centuries. (That’s the long story).
The story we account for is only a few months, and hopefully it has just started.
Few months ago, I was doing one of my favorite things: being an “accidental tourist” in my own home.
And don’t most great discoveries happen by accident? (ask Cristoforo Colombo, he’ll tell you).
This one is no exception.
I was looking for something, maybe a basket..(?) My cousin (who owns all the ground floor of the villa and from whom I rent all of the Accidental Tourist headquarters) told me to help myself in his mess room.
(Because in this home you can be sure to find ANYTHING, you just never know quite where).
So I got to venture into the old carpentry/olive press room, now a big heap of old furniture and knick-knacks. (see photos).
Later, re-reading our grandfather’s war diary (titled “A War Fought Without Weapons”) I realized that that space had been one of the rooms where strangers found shelter during WW2.
That did it.
In a few hours I agreed with my cousin to include that big messy room in the Accidental Tourist space, and we started emptying and cleaning.
We decided to call it the “Emergency Room” as a tribute to its history, and make it available to anyone who needed a place to stay due to unforeseeable circumstances, like a missed train ride, a cancelled flight, an overbooked hotel reservation. A marital fight. Whatever.
Little did we know what kind of unforeseeable circumstances were about to hit.
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Through Airbnb, our Emergency Room is now available to healthcare professionals, relief workers and first responders who are supporting the fight against COVID-19.
And, if you know of anyone who is in a bind, stranded in Florence, please let them know they have a place to stay here.
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In this time of continuous coexistence, on occasion a family member enjoys a night in the Emergency Room, right below it but 4 floors away from our home. As a preventative measure. ..It seems to work.