SJ: Earlier this week, a local historian and graduate student who was born in Castiglion Fiorentino came to give our group a tour of the churches and scenery in the city. During the tour we saw many churches built so long ago in addition to many of the gardens that frame local houses. Nearly every building in Castiglion Fiorentino is built on a steep grade because Castiglion Fiorentino is perched on the top of a steep hill. The rows of buildings and houses are separated by narrow cobblestone streets and alleyways. Although most of the ground surface is covered in stone, the locals still manage to grow gardens around their houses. Window boxes are full of brightly colored flowers and herbs. Vines and climbing roses tangle their way through stair railings and window sills and dangle down from roof overhangs. The rest of the porch space is often covered in potted plants. Many of these potted plants somehow produce some of the largest and most beautiful roses I have ever seen. Poppies, which grow here like our Texas wildflowers, grow between the cobblestones and along the sides of the road. Even the cracks in the stone walls seem fertile and spout many of the flowering plants and vines that naturally decorate the walls across the town.