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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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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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As you would expect with any and every celebration in Italy, la festa di san martino or feast day of san martino is mired within local legends that celebrate the humility and generosity of saint along with traditionally warm autumnal weather. In fact, it’s far more likely that you’ve heard “l’estate di San Martino” which refers to an Indian summer, or a blissful time when you are still able to wear short sleeves (during the day) before the true wrath of winter’s cold hits. So far in Florence, this has/was definitely been the case. Sure, we’ve had our fair amount of rain showers towards the end of October peppered with predictable gloomy weather to mark the beginning of November; but lately we’ve enjoyed gorgeous, sunny days this past week and finally the changing of the leaves in Boboli’s expansive park and the wide avenues heading up to San Miniato al Monte and Piazzale Michelangelo. Today of course there isn’t a drop of sun to be found, but I’m still grateful for yesterday’s bountiful infusion of vitamin d as we visited one of the city’s most beautiful gardens.    But what of this saint San Martino and why do Italians celebrate on November 11th? The […]
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For a variety of different reasons, I’d like to forget about the month of September (ok not all of it, after all it is harvest month), although reading articles like this help greatly. I’ll explain more later in a post when the time is right but let’s just say that bring on October and its blissfully cool mornings and sunnier afternoons. It’s the start of the season that I crave like chocolate, this month is the chicken soup for my soul and I intend on enjoying it. It’s also been a really busy time at work, in terms of writing about my favorite artisan designers for Italy Magazine or simply catching up on the many, many blog posts you guys will finally get to read if you so wish in the near future. Mamma has been busy and you can blame my coffee machine for all of this newfound productivity. Link love for the month of October  An interesting story by The New York Times on San Marco’s Dominican Friar community crisis in Florence and what holds for the future of this special place. “What do you want me to say?” she said with a sigh, closing her eyes and […]
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