Friday, December 31, 2010


Ok, after bitching about the graffiti I have an admission to make: I too am a terrible scofflaw.
It used to be that you could take photos (without flash) in most of the churches and museums here in Florence- but with the advance of digital cameras (where everyone can get reasonable images even with a $100 camera) many places have outlawed cameras, even without flash.
The theory among us common folk is that the museums and churches closed to photography once they saw their gift shop sales diminishing and realized that tourists wouldn't buy books if they were able to take somewhat reasonable pictures themselves. So, instead of "no flash" symbols there are now "no Camera" symbols.
but sometimes you just can't help but take a risk.........
:-) M
(Breakin the Law, Breakin the Law!)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Florence: choked with grafitti

My husband is from Florence and we have spent a lot of time here- living full time from 97-2000 and since then we return about once a year. We live in the central historic part of Florence- near Brunaleschi's  Santo Spirito and around the corner from Piazza del Carmine. It's a real florentine neighborhood- a bit off the big tourist track, and filled with colorful characters and dramas.

Around 2006 when I came for a visit I noticed something- the city was starting to be touched with graffiti- I took this image then because it was so unusual to see spray painted graffiti in the historic center...
How was I to know, it was the shape of things to come?

Since then, we've returned a few times, and each visit I see more and more tagging and disrespect for this city's cultural masterpieces. Two summers ago when we were here the big news was that they found some exchange student (not American, thankfully) who was spray painting the Duomo. Having been caught, he was sent back to his home country's justice system- I'm hoping he got his due.

Here are some images from Easter 2009- 

on the doorway of Santo Spirito

down a side street (OK, I admit, I actually kind of like this one...)
coca cola assasina

and this year, I'm noticing even more graffiti- (these images were taken tonight on via Maggio- a main street on the Pitti palace "Oltrarno" side of town-where a celebrated Medici mistress resided )

in fact, the streets that were being painted over 2 years ago have now stopped re-painting- it looks as though they've given up hope- I can only hope that the money that had been spent on re-painting is now being spent on youth programs that can help channel this creative/destructive energy into meaningful skills- I doubt it, but, I hope, nevertheless...

whoa! clip clop clip clop......
*getting down off my high horse*

Sorry, I just get so bothered by the inaction here- this city is so important culturally, but life here isn't all "Room with a View". I think this issue needs a bit of attention, or the world risks losing a real Italian Gem.
- from Florence-

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Surreal Christmas

We went out to eat with some friends last night here in Florence-they are Another multi-national couple- he is Florentine (and a long time friend of Guido- since preschool) and she is Brazilian. So, for something different- we made plans to eat a a new Brazilian restaurant just on the outskirts of the city....
thankfully, our car was bigger than this cutie that is parked on the street across from our apartment

Well, driving in Italy can be hairy- thankfully Roberto was quite cautious- but we ended up getting hopelessly lost- to the point where we had to ask directions (thankfully the man we asked ended up having us follow him- which was really sweet) and we arrived at the center where the restaurant was located, found a tiny parking space that we barely squeezed into- and we headed up to the place.

OK- here's where I start sounding like a crabby old fogey.

The restaurant was an exercise in the absurd- a house band at full volume, playing like their life depended on it- a woman shaking and shimmying at the band (you know, like the drunk girls do at a whitesnake concert) Television monitors broadcasting some Brazilian music show (unrelated to the band) and - here's the topper- an Italian Kid Rock impersonator bartender, playing the COWBELL like it was going out of style. (MORE COWBELL!)

yeah. um.....ok- we ended up staying there because we knew that was our only chance at finding a place open on Christmas night...and I have to say, the food was not bad- the beer definitely was essential...and I picked up a few skanky dance moves.

But let me tell you- if you happen to be in Florence, and someone offers to take you to a Brazilian restaurant outside of the city- bring your earplugs, a taste for fried bananas -not bad- and a sense of the absurd.

as for me? I'll be at my local trattoria enjoying my pasta and vino

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas night Campanilismo

it's Christmas eve and the bells are ringing
their tones echoing off the wet cobblestone pavement
accompanied by the roar of the
river Arno- it's banks 
swollen from months of heavy rains.

is the love of neighborhood church bell.
For traditional Italians
it trumps the ringing of the cell phone.
is the sound of Home
and warms the soul
fresh cooked pasta
paired with a nice Chianti
(hold the Fava beans, please)

Merry Christmas 
from Florence

Friday, December 24, 2010


was named after this guy- Cosimo di Medici. this piece is located in the Piazza Signoria of Florence Italy. I've always loved this sculpture- the patina on it is fantastic! Plus- look at how gorgeous the horse is- I'm such a sucker for equine beauty

Thursday, December 23, 2010


oh yeah, after 33 hours in turns out that they lost Cosmo's suitcase.
So now he's re-wearing the same outfit that I hand wash nightly- that, and this goofy Italian sweatsuit that I bought him in our neighborhood children's clothing shop. I think he looks like an Italian gymnast- pretty cute! We are hoping to find his suitcase today, when we go wade through the "ocean of suitcases" we've been told is at the Florence airport. until then...Cosmo's working on his floor routine

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Well, we made it to Florence- after a grueling 33 hours of travel! It usually takes at most 20 hours to get here from Tucson- but yesterday- or was it the day before?- we flew into Frankfurt right when they were getting hit with another snow/freezing rain storm.
Needless to say, the airport was in chaos- it had already shut down a few days before from another epic storm, and they were still scrambling to get passengers on planes since that shutdown...
In fact, we met one family of 4 that had flown in from San Francisco 3 days previous- and they were scheduled to return to Frankfurt in 2 days (after what should have been 5 days in Florence). It's a trip they will always remember- and hopefully they are able to have some good memories too.
Porta San Niccolo' from the banks of the Arno. December 2006

So- We are here now, in our funky Apartment in Florence- it's in a bit of chaos from now being lived in, so we've got some work to do- but I'm sure it'll be in better condition in a few weeks...Our tenant was a bit of a pack rat, so there's lots of stuff to sift through.
I've also discovered that my USB plug is on the fritz so I can't download any images today. I'm going to buy a new one hopefully tomorrow- and then I'll post some of the images I took on our walk tonight.
(Florence is all decorated with Christmas lights, and it is raining, so there are lots of beautiful reflections framed by Renaissance architecture)
OK- I'm off to go eat pasta-
arrivederci- Maureen

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Santo Spirito, Florence Italy 
Please note: I will be closing my etsy shop from Dec 16 to Jan 12 for winter vacation. I've lined up our house sitter / dog sitter and I'm packing my bags- heading for "the old country" to spend some time with my Italian friends and family- bringing Cosmo to visit some of the museums and sights in the Florence area while I'm there, plus visiting jewelry studios where I used to study and work...
(I will be blogging about places we go during our visit here on my blog- hope to give you a unique view of Florentine life and holidays )
I look forward to re-opening with some new designs and innovations for my jewelry line in January!
(I'm pretty excited about this new thing- will be working on it's organization during the break as well)
Wishing you safe and Joyous Holidays-
ciao= Maureen


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