Tag Archives: Shopping

Guess who’s going to Florence? (Part One)

24 Feb

And has returned!!!!

Way back at the beginning of this blog when we were in the planning phase, our very dear friends were going to make the trip with us. Unfortunately, this didn’t turn out to be the case as other commitments, etc. came up and the timing was just not working. And that was fine. But now for the rest of the story….

Come to find out, quite by accident they went to Florence in December! Ouch! No, not really. They have or  (had) a family member in school in Florence and other family members decided they needed to visit him so they did. But we were in a puzzle as to why they didn’t mention it to us. Well shut my mouth, and I probably should have, but on evening when we were visiting, my friend mentioned the possibility of going after all. I innocently and in a funning manner said, Oh ho,  I’ll have to break your legs if you do! Much to my surprise and chagrin there was uncertainty as to whether they were in bodily danger or not on their part. OMG! Just shows to go ya that one must be ever so mindful of what comes out of ones mouth, whether in jest as was my case, without follow-up to make sure what we say is taken in the vein it was meant.

However, as with hubby buying Italian shoes before me, (see previous blog posted October 20th) it would have behooved them to let us know and help with travel and packing. But let me explain:

1) My girlfriend decided to fly in comfortable clothes. She wore cotton Capri’s, tennis shoe mules with no back and no socks of any kind. They flew into London Heathrow airport where of course it was freezing cold.

2) Their connecting flight to Florence had been cancelled, but only after being told about 20 times not to worry, it was just delayed.

3) Hours later they were bused to the other airport – London Gatwick airport and flown to Bologna. Then they had to take a train to Florence. But first you must understand that her husband very understandably was freaking out at one point before they got on the flight and she had to take him aside and explain that he needed to calm down, that he looked very anxious (which he was) and looked like he was a terrorist and probably had a bomb strapped to him (which he most certainly did not) and to please take some deep breaths and calm down. You had to be there when they told it, it was simply hysterical and we laughed and laughed)! (He is the most gentle, kind man imaginable!)

They finally arrived, found their hotel and fell into bed. Guess what the first thing she bought the next day? Okay, coffee of course, but after that? Italian boots! Fantastico!

They of course had a marvelous time, spent great quality time with family and saw many sights not previously seen. However, our previously anxiety ridden friend also seemed to have made quite a hit with the local gypsy’s. No one else in the group seemed to have this problem, so it was decided that while in Florence, do as the Florentine’s – have a make over. Perfection! He embraced it and is quite the European handsomer man, from hair to clothing.

Their return flight wasn’t much better.

The good news is that they shared some quite wonderful pictures – mostly of food which I am going to share with you! However there are also a number of quite lovely scenic pictures, Christmasy, foggy, etc. So here we go:



More Spices

More Tasty Treats:

Do it yourself sandwich





Now I did say December didn’t I? Well, let’s see a little holiday festivity:

Even the rain couldn’t keep people off the streets for a some gaiety and last minute shopping.


I thought the above picture was innovative and interesting. That’s just me.


I thought this was a lovely shot but am hesitate to see what is in the shop! I’ve learned my lesson!

Even the restaurants get into the swing of things. This is one of all our favorite restaurants. When my hubby and I went last October, it was our “big splurge, the big night out!” Unfortunately shortly after we had our appetizer – Oh! anti pasta (how quickly one forgets!), ordered wine and were happily sipping it, ordered our entrée that I became …..obnoxiously uncomfortable and ill! So we had to wrap up our dinners and take them home. It was the oddest thing as I never got violently ill, and it passed in a couple of hours. Weird. Maybe just too tired from tramping around all day (and we did have the loveliest of weather – oops – sorry!) but the leftovers were fabulous! I know it wasn’t the food and the service was rival to none. We ended up going back for souvenirs and had the paper placemats laminated for our friends. That was fun! They gave us all kinds of goodies and were so good to us.

So the moral of this story (Part One) is stay tuned for Part Two. Tons more pictures – lots of food, haute couture, scenery in Winter, etc. And of course my version of their trip- Lol!
And of course the moral of Part Two!

So then……

10 Feb

Where to start, where to start…okay how about this. Thank you to all the people and bloggers that read my last post “Driving & Driving”. It was my second most read post and for this rookie I am ecstatic! A little concerned perhaps that the subject matter was so popular, but reassured that the first most read was food. Obliviously an audience of fabulous taste. My kind of people for sure!
So this is a shorter blog with some bits and pieces of some varied pictures. I have found that since returning from our trip it takes me longer to organize, categorize, and optimize the photos we took. We both work full-time and other commitments that take up a lot of our time. It’s also the reason that I’ve probably confused you with when the next post will come out.
I plead rookie-izm and hope you’ll bear with me. (Was that a word? Let’s roll with it, okay?)

Upward and onward. When you buy bottled water how do you know it is truly purified, filtered, clean, etc? Well, Germany (at least at the airport – when we were leaving) had a fool-proof way of reassuring us. Behold!

This water is OK!

Whew was that ever a relief!

Wudy - A different kind of hot dog?

How could we cut off the price? And it’s 40% off! And why didn’t we buy some! Oh my! Sheesh! I guess we were laughing too hard! This is a hot dog with a vein of cheese inserted in the middle, I guess like a pig in a blanket? It is a snack. Why is that not in Italian? Okay, I am SO no going there. What?

Balsamic Tasting

She is so gorgeous we both forgot to get her name. I think we got her card, somewhere. Probably hubby is hiding it. Can you blame him? She does balsamic tastings at the open market (see previous posts).  The stall was the kind that even if she wasn’t there you would just spend thousands….and I mean Euros, American, whatever. Good grief they were good!
As an aside my sister wanted to know how I could possibly gain five pounds when I was walking 10 + miles a day. Then I met a co-worker who had a friend who went to Tuscany for 6 weeks and gained 28 pounds. I felt so much better, yet cheated. Next time 6 weeks for sure!!! You Have To Vote On This!!!!! Go to comments, come on!!!!

More soon! Originally written in November! Life got in the way!

Could it be a Sign?

5 Nov

Sorry I’ve been absent but that little bug that hubby adopted early on in our trip decided to jump ship and landed on me. At first he was quite polite but by the time we started home he gleefully jumped into fully swing and has led me on a lively dance. The little brat!

We left off with the Duomo which was pretty amazing to me. I may have gotten a little heavy handed with the pictures but they were so gorgeous and incredible I got a little carried away. Today I think we’ll go back to the lighter side – some pictures that tickled our fancy or just cracked us up. A bit frivolous today if you don’t mind. A few at the end are not, just interesting don’t you think? Here we go……..

Street sign by Clet Abraham in "Via della Venezia"

My husband started taking a few pictures of these street signs. We had no idea what they were, or meant, but enjoyed the humor of the artist. I have since found out through Google and other bloggers that this is the work of Clet Abraham. One blog was “Livorno Daily Photo” and the other was “Tuscany Arts” which has an interview with the French Artist. Be sure to check them out. There are quite a few that we missed, but here are 3 more (and I suspect that others have added to them).

Now you’re probably wondering why I’m posting the next picture. Well, with the increased use of cell phones, public phones are on the decline. We thought it was brilliant to find one in Italy (where they are also on the decline) and the method of payment is credit card! Very handy. I especially like the “OK” button!

Public Phone

The next picture I believe is a pet store. And the one below is a close up of collars and toys. We almost bought a little dress for our friends dog, but the prices were a little to rich for us. Very cute though.

Pet Store

Pet Store Display

The next two pictures “Frey Wille” and “Geronico” in our minds were plays on a whale movie and a Native American, which is course not the case but they made us smile. I was definitely not laughing when I Googled them and discovered what they really were. I could have quite happily spent some time and money in those establishments! Jewelry and leather goods? How on earth did my shopping nose let me down? Sheesh!

Frey Wille Jewelry


I have saved my two favorites for the last. I’m not even sure of the name of the store as we were so taken with the display. The first is a full shot and just look at the gorgeous crystals on either side of the mannequin. They are also scattered artistically throughout the display and many at her feet. But the close up of her face in the last picture is stunning (I think!) with her eyebrows done in crystals.

And for the piece we couldn’t resist:

Crystal Brows

Oh and by the way, the jacket was only 9600 Euro! (Hubby got me two – Not!)

We’ll have much more coming, hang in there with us. And hubby is doing some pretty incredible videos. You won’t want to miss those!

Ciao, DJ*

The Pitti Palace

27 Oct

Coming out on the other side of the Ponte Vecchio is the Pitti Palace. At first glance it seemed a little dismal but the interior more than made up for it. Alas, again photos are not permitted.

Outside of the Pitti Palace

This picture is a little misleading as to the gentle incline leading up to the entrance. Yes, it’s just a tad steeper but by this time we had left the City Centre, visited the Piazza, wandered through the Ponte Vecchio and my feet were toast. And yet another beautiful building to explore. I figured I could have comfortable feet at home so I was going for it! Yep, we’re a couple of rebels! (Hubby’s feet were unhappy as well). So upward and onward and into the Palace.

This next picture is scanned out of “The Official Guide of the Pitti Palace”. We bought them at the Uffizi Museo, and the Accademia. It will make you lick your lips…..mmmmmmm.


I could scan forever out of this book (now that I have access to one) but I’m not going to spoil you – it really needs to be seen up close and personal.
The next picture is of a table top. I wonder how long it took to complete? The workmanship is amazing. Unfortunately there wasn’t a description of it in the guide book.

Ornate table top in the Pitti Palace

Another thing that disappointed me in the guide book was the lack of pictures and information on the “Costume Gallery”. Yes, ladies, they had clothing from the 18th and early 19th centuries. Even some as late as the 1970’s but the 1950′ and 1960’s were so Jackie O. Scrumptious! And the shoes! Very ornate and some looked more comfortable and the styles we wear today!

Now since you gentlemen have been so patient with me writing about clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc. I am going to break my rule (isn’t that what they’re for?) and scan in a few shots for you car fanatics. Hey what do you think NASCAR would think of these beauties?

Yellow Carriage

Pretty wild, huh? I’m sure the next one is a ladies carriage, and it came with an interior shot! Any woman who has read a regency novel would love to see the inside. I know I was pretty intrigued.


Good grief. And I’m pretty sure they didn’t have sunglasses! But wait, there’s more….


No leather heated seats, but not too bad. Of course these carriages are for Royalty.

Even their ceilings are outrageous – and not just here. Every building that was an attraction had crazy art work on the ceilings – but that a whole separate post. Here’s just one example:

Pitti Palace ceiling - one of many

Now it’s time for some exterior shots:

Room with a view - inside looking out towards the gardens

The above picture was from inside looking out toward the Boboli Gardens. Look at that huge courtyard! Below is outside at the gardens – similar shot but a little clearer I think.

Outside at the gardens

I know I told you I could have happy feet at home, but after all this in one day it broke our hearts not to be able to hike up to the Boboli Gardens. But I have a sneaking suspicion we just may be back for more!

More tomorrow, but for now –

Ciao – DJ*

Now where were we?

26 Oct

Ah yes, about to explore the delights of Ponte Vecchio. How could I forget?

Ponte Vecchio

After the delightful Piazza, how could we be prepared for the infusion of energy, light, humanity, and ouch! The glare of the sun staring us in the eyes! Ah well, such are the sacrifices we must endure and thank heavens for sun glasses! We needed those for the displays of the shops. I have never seen so much sparkly jewelry in one stretch of real estate before. It was gorgeous. I found a particularly fetching ruby and diamond set of earrings with matching pendant, however hubby and our bank accounts screamed out in protest like a well practiced duet so I gave up with good humor. The look on his face was worth the price of even mentioning it. He can be so easy sometimes.

Jewelry Display on the Ponte Vecchio

But to be fair, I can relate Euros to Monopoly money. The above pictures is just one of many store shops displaying fantastic pieces. If you think it’s a little out of focus, it’s probably for your own good. Oddly enough it was the only picture of jewelry I could get. Go figure!

We continue wandering across the Ponte Vecchio and here are some shots just for flavor. Before I get too far ahead of myself, this is at the beginning looking back at the Uffizi Museo.

Looking back at the Uffizi

And this shot is also looking from the Ponte Vecchio and I just thought it looked like a dreamy shot from years gone by.

Dreamy view from the beginning of the Ponte Vecchio

Now back on track..looking at these pictures again, after seeing them close up and personal, don’t you think that even though, or maybe because they are so old, they look so cheerful? They still give me that “dewy afterglow”! Is that too personal?

Shot from Ponte Vecchio

Ah, now to the nitty gritty! Serious shoppers!

Serious Shoppers!

And last but not least…..

The Locks of Ponte Vecchio

Legend has it that if you and your loved one attach a padlock to any surface of the famous bridge and then throw away the key into the Arno River below, your love will last forever. Millions of couples have come to the Ponte Vecchio for expressly this reason, to lock in their love and throw away the key for eternity.
Today, there is a hefty penalty to all who are caught locking or attaching anything to the Ponte Vecchio. These days, lovers simply come to the famous bridge and simply touch the remaining padlocks that have not been removed. Luck has kept them there, locked to the bridge, perhaps some luck will rub off on the hopeful couple as well, and keep their love alive for eternity.

You can find out more – like I did – by visiting http://www.firenzealbergo.it/EN/Experience-Florence/romantic-getaway/pages/leggende-amore-ponte-vecchio.aspx

We had been told about the locks and had planned on doing it, but with time constraints, etc. we never quite got around to it. Good thing! Very bad manners and a hefty fine. And I don’t think that would be Monopoly money!

More tomorrow – Pitti Palace time!

Ciao! DJ*

The Accademia Gallery

21 Oct

Today we sashayed into the Accademia Gallery. I just love the Uffuzi card – waiting in line is no way to spend your vacation. This is a much smaller showing of incredible art but no less spectacular. Of course the main course is David, so awe inspiring, imposing, and majestic. Once again no photos are allowed. Once again everyone was snapping away with their phones. Urged on by two friendly tourists who sound like they might be from the UK we braved the wrath of the staff and took a few pictures. We didn’t want to be greedy, but how can you resist a handsome man in all his glory and fame?

Notice the lighting on his face. This comes from a window. Truly a breathtaking work of art. Unfortunately the universe once again and stepped in and made it impossible for me to manipulate the few other pictures we clandestinely took.  There was another David outside in the garden and guess what? He had been “colorized”! Honest! Just like the “Wizard of Oz”. I wish I could post it, but it was one of the few that bit me in the butt. I’m hoping that when hubby wakes up he will have superior knowledge of how to correct this challenge.

In the meantime….today is Sunday. If you are family or friends please sit down before reading further. I got up at 6am! I watched the sun come up with it’s delicious fall coloring and the hush of the neighborhood. Hubby (being the brilliant man that he is) was able to capture the church bells. I think it’s only fitting that I upload them for you as they are gorgeous. This was taken from our terrace.

Church Bells – Duomo      (Right click for PC)

Hurrah! Hubby is up and rarin’ to go – but not without solving the impossible. See? I told you so! Let’s start with the colorized David:

You didn’t believe me did you? I swear I did not alter this in anyway – he’s in a different location. Oh, and once again my brilliant husband has pointed out that he took a picture of the plaque for this statue:

I’m not sure how well you can read it but the artist is Hans-Peter Feldmann.

After enjoying the Accademia we headed for the San Lorenzo Piazza and came across an amazing musician. Did you see the movie “August Rush”? It was about a small boy who played the guitar in an unusual way. Well there is more to the movie than that, and it’s very good – we recommend it! Anyway, this musician is named Mose Oliviero (and Zoe – his little dog). We hung out and listened to him for quite a while and ended up buying some CD’s. What a sweetheart, a very kind, gentle man with an abundance of talent. We got to talking with him and he has a channel on YouTube. “MrRemaggiore”. Of course we took his picture for you and also the CD sleeve.

Little Zoe is sitting next to him in his guitar case. She was adorable as well. Here’s his CD:

We continued strolling around the plaza, so many amazing shops with a plethora of goods. Lots of leather – shoes, jackets, handbags and wallets, all in every color and design you could wish for. Then we finished up with dinner at ZaZa, which was quite lovely and the service “fantastico”! The streets of Florence in the evening are so charming, gaily lit, people mingling, or rushing to some important appointment.

We are so blessed to be here and have so many varied experiences. And guess what? We’re off to have even more!

More later, Ciao! DJ*

The Perils of Paul(ine)

20 Oct

Let me tell you a little story…..what do you suppose happens when your husband tells you he’s going out for a little stroll in the evening by himself? Sounds innocent enough don’t you think? Until he comes home with a pair of Italian shoes! Does this man not know that the wife gets shoes first? I mean, really? Well, here comes the universe to explain. He gets sick! Really sick. And I did feel sorry for him. How awful to be on vacation and be miserable. But it did introduce us to a new experience.

Si! Si! The Farmacia! And it’s pretty amazing what you can get there!

Hubby wanted cough syrup and Vitamin C. We thought the pharmacist would think we were nut is we tried to explain about “Vicks VapoRub” but you can see for yourself, normale! Johnson & Johnson no less. Who would of thought? And here’s is a brilliant thing – on the side of the cough syrup we noticed raised bumps. Turns out there are directions in Braille!  What an absolutely great idea! After a few days of down time he felt better (it was a bronchial cold – how I haven’t gotten it is beyond me) so we hit the town in grand style. However, before I go into that I have to reveal the charismatic gentleman who enticed my hubby:

So of course how could Hubby resist such and excellent salesperson? I have to tell you that this picture does not do him justice – he is VERY handsome. He’s one of the nicest, helpful and knowledgeable merchants I’ve met. So far he’s number one on the list. When hubby went without me he (hubby) gave him a piece of Sedona sandstone with a write-up on it and a postcard of Sedona. When we returned he told us he put the post card in his travel diary and the stone in a special pouch. I think I’m in amore (platonic of course) but my sister in law has already put dibs on him and we’re supposed to bring him back in our suitcase. (The extra one I wanted to bring but nooooo, that was nixed. We’ll have to think of something else. Maybe we can lure him over with a promise of a tour of OUR leather factory. Lol!  Oh and if you’re ever in the neighborhood, here’s his shop:

So Stefano of “Sabatini’s” won our hearts. And I plan on giving him a small token as well. And yes! I made a gorgeous purchase of buttery Italian boots at a fabulous price. (Don’t tell Stefano that!) There’s another pair I have my eye on.  The address of his shop is: Borgo degli Albizi, 75r, 50122 Firenze, Italia. And just to make you jealous, we have his cell number and his email! Can’t give that out without his permission.

Okay, on to bigger and I do mean bigger things! The Uffizi Museo. We decided to get the family pass to become member and the upside is it get’s you into almost everything – the Accadamia Gallery, Pitti Palace, Boboli Gardens just to mention a few (of the things I want to see)!

We head to the Uffizi Museo. Sounds harmless enough, right? Do you have any idea how many intriguing shops are along the way? It’s almost criminal. And it almost was….hubby was on a mission to get there and his patience was waning with me goggling at this that and everything. But happily we made it. Now the adventure is trying to buy the pass and get in. There is door #1, door #2, and door #3. I felt like Monty Hall. Hey, let’s make a deal! Let us find the right one first and we’ll behave. But no, we traversed every single one and still were confused. Oh, you crazy Americanos! We finally made it to the entrance and voila, were able to bypass the queques (Yay!). You have to go through security as there are strict rules, such as no food or water, you can take in a camera but are not allowed to take pictures (damage to the paintings) and backpacks of a certain size must be checked. We had to take off jackets, etc and when I went through the sensor my watch sounded the alarm. The guard had been watching us bobble, juggle, and generally look totally goofy. He finally rolled his eyes and waved us through. We rented the audio tour so we could share the information which was really nice.  Then we noticed the four flights of stairs yet to climb. Oy! Half way up you’ll be happy to know we noticed a sign down below that said “lift” which of course is the elevator we neglected to see before THE TREK. Good thing we are exercise fanatics and are not the least overweight or have desk jobs. Not. Pant, pant. But it was worth every step. And steps there were. Oh, but the art. Starting with the 13th century, the paintings were breathtaking. I wish we had pictures to show but of course that is forbidden. However I did see quite a number of people taking them anyway with their phones. Now I don’t know if that is allowed or not, but it seemed like cheating. Most of them were young people so I am going to think that they are serious art students and forgive them. So on and on we wandered through the various rooms, each century incredible in it’s own glory. I must say that after awhile some of them melted into each other and I was a little bleary eyed. There is so much to see and so much information, it was a little overwhelming. And the detail in each painting was so captivating you can’t just whiz by. Some of the pictures took 5 years plus to paint. Amazing. Half way through (this place is huge) we hit the wall, leg and feet cramps, thirst, hunger, took it’s toll so we decided to explore the second half another day. So now it’s picture time. :  )

Oh! The first two are what we thought at first were art work – but they were humans in costume! They were perfectly still, but if you put a coin in the ornate box at their feet they came to life and interacted with you and let you have your picture taken with them.

He was so sweet and gentle. It took us awhile before we saw him move – we didn’t realize he was alive!

This lady was quite charming, and I dropped coins in her pot. She came to life and handed me an ornate headpiece to put on and hubby took our picture. I was very happy, but you won’t see that shot here! Can you imagine holding that pose for any length of time? Not I!

Next come sculptures. They are everywhere and then some. In walls, on buildings, stand alone, etc. Here are some of our favorites.

This is “David” outside the Uffizi. We will visit the original in the Accademia Gallery

This picture really doesn’t do justice to the statue. The gladiator\warrior looks very innocent in the face and my first impression was that if he could speak, he’d say “You talkin’ to me?” I truly mean no disrespect, it just tickled me. The detail and artistry in these pieces is almost unbelievable.

Here’s a happy shot. I can’t remember at the moment the title so you’ll have to look it up. One thing I did notice on most of the statues is that the feet are quite large. I will stop there. :  )

So I hope this will hold you for a bit. We have to get out and about again, so many things to do, sights to see, and people to charm and\or bewilder!

Ciao for now!

%d bloggers like this: