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There is something a tad strange about this winter so far. It’s hard to put my finger on it but its been so unseasonably warm and sunny so I know I shouldn’t complain. But remember, last year on March first, it actually snowed in the center of Florence (I was so excited) and now we are nearly hitting 20 degrees celsius on a February afternoon. Not sure what this means for the world or the ever-changing climate but I’m just hoping this doesn’t translate into a boiling hot Florentine summer the likes we haven’t seen for a few years. In regards to the month of March in Florence, allow me to provide you with a brief introduction.  The average temperature for the month typically hovers at highs of 15 degrees (59 Fahrenheit) and lows of 6 degrees (42 Fahrenheit) but if this February was any indicator it will likely be a tad warmer than this. When it comes to packing, layers are your friend, especially waterproof. You won’t need a heavy jacket but pack a scarf, your sunnies and clothes that can last you the entire day. Keep in mind Italians tend to dress up a bit more in their […]
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Just a bit of GirlinFlorence news for you guys on this fine Thursday afternoon. It’s not often that someone consider’s you a “super insider” much less an award-winning publication that has often served as a reference point for your own research. I’m talking about Forbes, yes that Forbes; a magazine I grew up reading with people far more successful than I ever dreamt I could be on the cover and perhaps a few inflated egos. Well, word on the street is they have really pumped up their travel writing in the past year and writer Catherine Sabino recently asked me to provide a lengthy list of tips for visiting the city of Florence and hopefully avoiding the crowds. Normally how it works with (some) journalists is that they sweet talk you into giving them tips or use your work as research but rarely, and I mean rarely do you get a link back to your blog or even solely a mention that what you do was part of their research. I do hope this changes in the future, and to put my money where my mouth is, this is something I strongly believe in regarding the work we do at […]
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When it comes to tours and art and things you can learn here in Florence, what is personally most fascinating to me are the lives of those who came before. More so, the backstory of an artist, an apprentice, a lover, a powerful family dynasty, that to me is far more interesting than solely gazing at the beauty of all that Florence has to offer. I gobble up historical fiction as quickly as an al pastor taco disappears upon any visit to California, books by Sarah Dundt, Catherine Fletcher, Laura Morelli, and anything that seeks to humanize famous historical figures that we mostly see as static on paintings, family plaques and hidden symbology. Recently, I had the chance to revisit a place that you absolutely need to visit during any trip to Florence, the city’s first historical seat of power for over seven centuries, the Palazzo Vecchio with a group of Tuscany bloggers by founded Ksenia Ermakova who fortunately get the chance to explore various historical (and some less so) places in the city with a true expert, Eugenio Giani, the president of the Regional Council of Tuscany. In fact why IS the Palazzo Vecchio so important? Let’s go over the facts..  First historical […]
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Brrr.. that’s exactly how I would describe the day before February begins. I’m currently huddled at home with Ginger, the snoring beagle, as temperatures dropped this week but it’s obviously nowhere near the “polar vortex” I’ve been reading about around the midwest in the USA or well, Siberia, every year. We had snow flurries this morning that naturally ended as soon as I stepped one booted foot outside our apartment building and I was instead splashed by a speeding car. However, a friend did take pity and drive us to Fiesole, the Etruscan hill-top village that you can reach by taking the number 7 bus from Piazza San Marco and we were rewarded with a proper frolic in the snow. February in Florence, Italy is always quite a variable month as the weather can bring rain for days on end, or like this January, plenty of sunny, cooler days that make long walks in the surrounding hills a really enjoyable experience. For those visiting for the first time this time of year, bring your waterproof clothing, a good umbrella and scarf and enjoy what winter in Italy has to offer. Typically less crowds, the excuse to drink multiple cups of […]
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The tickets have been book, your hotel or short-term apartment has been secured, now the hard part comes.. how best to fill your time in Florence? You have no shortage of choices in this Renaissance city the only thing that matters is how to filter in what you actually want to do. This city really does have a lot to offer and not just the usual “see the David, take a photo of the sunset and Ponte Vecchio” kind of way. For example, the contemporary art scene has really stepped up its game (hello Palazzo Strozzi, Museo Novecento, La Murate PAC, Museo Casamonti), as are the foreign film festival options, really interesting local events (storytellers, art battles, open-mic nights) and if you want to shop, do it smarter; help local artisans and boutique owners keep their businesses alive and have a unique piece that you can’t just pick up at an Urban Outfitters/chain store. Here’s a list to help you get started. Personally, my favorite season to be here is late Autumn and early Winter, a time when the weather can put off some but not me, and it is slightly—read the word slightly—less crowded. In order to better help you figure […]
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2019, here you are again, you sly dog.  This post is predictably late after an 11 hour road trip from Nico’s hometown in the southwest of France to our tiny, yet very busy corner of Florence, Italy. My house is freezing, I have nothing in the fridge except some tahini and old butter and the last thing I want to do is a load of laundry and get back to work. Luckily Ginger the beagle is providing much needed warmth (I see why people slept with their animals in the past) and we are slowly but surely getting back to a sort of post-holiday routine. Admittedly, It was a bit of whirlwind this month and the highs and lows that comes with it between loads of projects that needed finishing, a five-day trip to Los Angeles to see one of my closest friends get hitched and driving a day or so after to France for the holidays with my in-laws. We even were able to carve out a few days for a quick trip to OPorto, Portugal to ring in the New Year in one of the prettiest places we’ve discovered, and just as crowded as Florence on a good […]
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December, as you might expect, is chock full of exciting markets, festive cheer, ornate light setups and interesting events (here’s a list for all over Italy). This is why we love it. The weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year’s Eve in the city are quite busy ones for locals looking to stock up on gifts while also celebrating the year with treasured friends and colleagues. I particularly enjoy being here at this time as the streets are sweetly softened with the yellow and white gleam of Christmas lights and there is an excited buzz for the impending downtime in the air. Get your steaming cups of thick, Italian hot chocolate from Rivoire or spiced mulled wine from the Weihnachtsmark in Piazza Santa Croce. It’s also the season where my pants need to be stretchy and when I vow to go to the gym more… but don’t. As for our holiday plans, we will be here until the 13th before heading off to Los Angeles for one of my best friend’s wedding celebrations. It’ll be a quick trip, only five days but albeit intense in a way that being around people you love will do. This year Christmas is going to be in […]
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This is a special guest post by my friend Holly Star who together with her husband’s family, run Michel’Angelo Ristorante in Capri, both of them are incredible people who have most definitely opened my eyes on just how dynamic this island in the glittering bay of Naples can be.  A little background – How did an Australian end up living on the island of Capri? In April 2013, I set off from Australia traveling solo for a 6 week Italian vacation with no itinerary. I’d previously travelled to Italy on a number of occasions but this time I wanted to explore where the wind took me. I could only speak basic travel Italian but armed with Google translate and a couple of language Apps on my phone, I was confident I would get by and I was ready to embrace all of Italy; the culture, history, fashion and food. Starting in Milan, I travelled to Lake Como and Rimini before a spare of the moment decision to jump on a train to Naples on route to the island of Capri. I arrived on the island at aperitivo time and I was definitely not prepared for the glamorous, yet somewhat pretentious, […]
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It’s that time of year again when I try to stop procrastinating and get my holiday shopping done in advance before the stress of the holidays truly kicks in. Our plans this year are to head to Los Angeles for a quick five-day trip to celebrate the marriage of one of my best friends before heading back to Europe to spend Christmas with Nico’s family in France. Truth be told I actually hate shopping, for the most part, because I feel like I should be saving money for silly things like um well, a house or perhaps a baby one day — but it is a necessary evil and the best way to get over parting money is to make that gift count. Less is more in our household, partly from lack of space but also because I am more inclined to gift an experience or a small item from an artisan than just filling our space with stuff I find online. I’ve been doing this roundup of Made-in-Tuscany goodies for a number of years now and it’s a heck of a lot of fun to research, especially in a city that prides itself in maintaining a high level of artisanal […]
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As we inch ever more towards the holiday season (how did that happen) I’m inspired to focus more this week on quality gifts that you can actually own for a lifetime. Ones that help preserve a craft, that give jobs to the community, that actually brings substance to a label instead of solely to be part of the crowd. As my cranky self gets older by the day, I find myself wanting less and seeking a hopefully healthier attitude when it comes to shopping, this means when buying for others and also in regards to my own general consumption as I try and aim for sustainable choices as much as possible. You’ve probably seen my post on the blog for tips on buying true and authentic leather items in the city. 17th century paper marbling brought to life in leather One such brand, Cuoifficine, offers a trademarked line of leather products that celebrate true Italian craftsmanship, utilizing centuries old traditional ways of processing leather with a unique and fresh creative design that has a decidedly Florentine edge. I’m talking about the art of paper marbling and a unique revised leather tattooing technique embossed on bags, wallets and various accessories. To go back […]
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