Witnessing Florence at low tide in Second Life

Florence at Low Tide, February 2020 – click any image for full size

In September 2018, we visited Florence Bay, a homestead region held by Gnaaah Xeltentat and Tomaso Franizzi and landscaped by Minnie Atlass (see A rendezvous with Florence Bay in Second Life). The island was designed as a mix of public / private spaces, with both Gnaaah and Tomaso have their homes located there. It was a charming, eye-catching setting, and we thoroughly enjoyed spending time exploring it – so it was with a sense of anticipation we accepted an invitation from Gnaaah to visit the latest Homestead setting he’s offering to the public as a destination.

Designed and built by Iska (sablina), Florence at Low Tide presents a wholly new design that maintains some of the rugged wildness of Florence Bay whilst moving the setting very much more southwards than that build, placing the region more in keeping with it’s name, as it carries a strong Mediterranean theme.

Florence at Low Tide, February 2020

The land has a distinct north-south orientation, with the southern lowlands offering a shale foreshore cut by stream that tumbles down from the northern uplands and a waterfall that drops from a truncated peak in the north-est corner of the region. With the west side of the region separated from the rest by a narrow channel spanned by two solid bridges, the region offers a Tuscan look with the houses and buildings to be found either side of the bridges.

Chief among the buildings is a large villa with a south-facing aspect, its terraced swimming pool overlooking the receding tide to the south, where the exposed shale is home to a  – temporarily – beached fishing boat and numerous rowing boats that sit on the grey stones or are surrounded by reeds as they manage to keep a measure of water about them. Behind this villa sits a bar with an outdoor music space, it and the small house beyond it separated from the local petrol station by the narrow road that runs around a portion of the setting, offering an easy means of exploration.

Florence at Low Tide, February 2020

That the tide is out is again revealed by the channel splitting the region. The height of the bridges, coupled with the sheer sides of the channel walls suggests that when the tide is in, much of this little gorge sits underwater. Such is the lie of the land to the north-west, it would appear that the lighthouse sitting out on the low headland is in fact cut off from the rest of the island once the tide does come in.

The lighthouse looks across the bay to the high peak that feeds the waterfalls and stream to the east. At the time of our visit, this area was still being worked on by Iska, so aspects may yet change (land capacity allowing). Across the bridge, the road passes a field of sunflowers and the gates to a little chapel perched on a shoulder of the hills, the stream curling and churning down the slopes around it.

Florence at Low Tide, February 2020

From here it is possible to climb the rocks up to the large pool sitting at the foot of the waterfalls, feeding the stream. There are a couple of adjustments to the stream sections that could be made here, but they can easily be ignored in a trek up to the pool and then back down the far bank of the stream.

Below the stream as it turns past the chapel, the road loops around an orchard watched over by a vineyard and a stone-built farmhouse that sits like a centre point within the region, commanding views out over the southern shores and west towards the rest of the little village.

Florence at Low Tide, February 2020

Through all of this, there’s a lot of small details waiting to be found. These range from a trio of little sailing boats fashions from little pieces of wood to boules at the bar, going by way of the local cat community – some of which are taking a very keen interest in the region’s bird population.

Caught under a late afternoon sky, rich with ambient sounds and opportunities to sit in and around the houses (and in some of the rowing and motor boats), Florence at Low Tide makes for another charming visit, rich in opportunities for photography and simple exploration. Our thanks to Gnaaah for the invitation to drop in.

Florence at Low Tide, February 2020

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