3. Italian Retreats

Italian street leading to Vallombrosa
Walking from Saltino to Vallombrosa.

The first section of “Three Italian Pictures” is entitled “July in Vallombrosa,” which she drafted in July-August of 1914 while on vacation with Mable Dodge, Frances Stevens, and Carl Van Vechten. F.T. Marinetti would visit her that summer. Vallombrosa is in the Reggellow municipality, 30 kilometers from Florence in the Appennines, and became the first national forest in Europe in the 1867, renown especially for its old-growth firs and beeches. The poem opens with a view of an “Old lady sitting stilll / Pine trees standing quite still”. Loy resided in the Albergo Paradisino inn, in a former Benedictine monastery.  The monastery still stands amidst the forests and its grounds are open. Loy also spent summers in Saltino, a mountain town nestled against Vallombrosa, and rented a cottage at the beginning of World War I, where she stayed with Frances Stevens and her children Giles and Joella. She would return to Florence, to a rental at 27 Via dei Bardi, that fall, but leave the children in the mountain cottage with a nursemaid during the opening months of the war.

Other retreats from Florence, in the mountains or at the seashore:

  • Bagna di Lucca (mountain resort; birthplace of Joella) (where did she stay?) (no photo)
  • Forte dei Marmi, vacation place (where did she stay?) (no photo)
    • January, 1913: convalescent period (Burke 141)