A Mysterious, Moonlit Temple

From London to Longoio (and Lucca and beyond) Part One

I’d seen a picture of it somewhere before – a mysterious, autumn-red-brick ionic-style temple deep in the Tuscan countryside south of the Arno – and it captivated me. When would I be able to get to see it?

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In March 2006 I was teaching young people at IPSIA in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. IPSIA stands for “Istituto Professionale dell’Industria e del Artigianato” (professional institute for industry and crafts). I suppose the English equivalent would be some form of technical college and, like the archetypal “tech”, the intake was not particularly drawn to high academic achievement. Most of the students believed they were second-best to those who got into the more prestigious Liceo and part of my job in teaching English, I felt, was to convince them that they were not failures but were also able to achieve.

To help me in this task (nowhere as difficult, I should say, as that…

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