You may not know this about me, but…

I have always been afraid to drive in Italy!!  Not because, as is generally known, Italians ignore rules and regulations; not because the signs measure kilometers and not miles; not because I don’t the directions to where I’m going….but because I have never been sure I could find my way out of and then back in to the city!  Whether the city be Roma or Firenze or wherever.

I could always picture myself going around and around some round-about, not being able to get off; or, driving wrong way both up and down one way streets in the historic center.

So, it is not with a little pride that I share with you that I not only rented a car myself last weekend, an adorable Fiat Cinquecento, as seen below:

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But I successfully drove it out of Florence, through Tuscany, to the area around Val d’Orcia in the south of the region, then back through Tuscany and into Florence!!  Woo hoo!  I got the car back to the rental agency in the center of Florence, with nary a scratch or bump!  I am a very proud driver!

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I think you can see my pride above. Ad below.

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And, not for nothing, this winding road, the most iconic in Italy, is one of the places I drove on Saturday!

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I will happily share with you that part of my confidence came from the fact that I had an Italian friend with me.  My friend made sure I made it out of and back in to Florence in one piece.  Next time, I’ll do it myself!  Face your fears, people!

 

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Let there be light! Sia la luce!

Look at this beautiful Florentine store, filled from floor to rafters with elegant lighting choices!

 

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I happened upon the store while wandering around the Oltrarno oggi.  I had planned to pay a visit to Chiesa Santo Spirito, only to discover the church is closed on Wednesdays.  Who knew!?

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Not to worry, when in Florence, there is always something new to see.

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I have adored these lamps with half shades all of my life.  Eventually I will have to purchase one!  Haven’t found the right one yet, but I’m still looking.

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The chandelier above was hung just inside the workroom doorway and was hung at body level and is bigger than I am.

 

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La tavola/il tavolo

“The role of the table in Italian life is relentlessly emphasized in advertising of all kinds and even reflected in the grammar of the language.

Il tavolo is the word for the physical object, whereas la tavola— the same word but in the feminine— is untranslatable into English.

Its connotations encompass the meal and its preparation, quality, consumption and— most important— enjoyment.

Il tavolo is a piece of furniture on which to rest plates and cutlery.

La tavola signifies an experience in which china and glass, knives and forks play only a very small and functional part. When, for example, Italians want to describe the joys of good eating and drinking, they talk of i piaceri della tavola.

Hooper, John. The Italians (pp. 96-97). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

My daily walk to school

I never, ever tire of my walk to school.  At this time of day, the city is waking up, coming to life, and I have the streets more or less to myself, along with all the workers and trucks delivering goods to the stores.  It will be a completely different story on my walk home after school.  The hordes of tourists will have descended, like a plague of locusts.
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I have the distinct privilege of walking past the revered Orsan Michele on a daily basis.  I get so accustomed to the delights of Florentine architecture that I often don’t even notice this storied church/granary.  That’s a shame!

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Today I stopped and enjoyed the facade, against the bright blue sky.  It’s a beauty!

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Further down the Por Santa Maria, I encountered this straight up and down cherry picker.  Apparently some work will be done along the cornice or roof of this palazzo.

 

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You can get dizzy taking pictures like these!

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And then I get to school and enjoy (usually) class, and at the break (pausa), while everyone else is running to a local bar for a cappucino or something, I wander the halls of my school’s palazzo.  There are fun views from many places.

For example, there is this striking view of il Duomo!

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And il duomo is like, hey! look at me!  I’m big and I’m here!

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And my school’s palazzo is old and full of crazy little spaces.  Today I found a new bathroom, and this was the view I was confronted with!  Another day, another delight!

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