Chocolates and Valentines


For a fun history of how chocolate became a Valentine’s treat, see this article: 

And for a terrific history of the paper Valentines, see the New York Times:



What I learned at the Florentine Cavalcada last Saturday

I was riding horses before I could walk.  You may think I am exaggerating, but this is true.  I wasn’t riding solo as a baby and toddler, but I was in the arms of my dad as he sat atop his horses. And, I was riding solo by the time I was 5 or so, and competing in amateur rodeos throughout my childhood and tween years.  Then I developed a voice of my own and stopped riding.

Because of my equestrian background, I believed I had seen it all.  But, not so!




I don’t know if you can see it in these 2 photos, but it is possible to bow to authority on a horse.  I had never seen this before!

During the Cavalada in Florence last Saturday, in honor of the national holiday of Epiphany, a moment arrived in which all the participants in the parade bowed their heads before the religious and civic leaders on the podium.  And to my amazement, the equestrians bowed their heads while leaning as far forward as possible over the back of their horses.  As well, they all held their right arms as far back as they could.  And, they held this pose for several minutes.  There was no mistaking it: these horseback riders were bowing.


Live and learn and Italy is the best place in the world for me to do it!!

One last look at Florence at Christmas

A tree composed of silverware in a design studio.



Last minute gifts:



The main side streets around the Centro:




The northwest corner of the Ponte Vecchio:



Near Ponte Santa Trinita:



Candy store: Mignone:



Piazza del Duomo:




The beautiful tree near the Duomo.  Last year it was adorned with Florentine flour-de-lis ornaments, but not this year.



Il Palazzo Vecchio:



Rinascente department store:



More side streets: