Buongiorno! I've just come back from 10 days in Italy! Yes, I was able to sneak away, leave the kids, and tag along on a business trip with my husband. I love Italy (really who doesn't) and just soaked it all in. I am NOT a coffee drinker, but I am hooked like a crack addict on Italian cappucinos. I love standing in a little caffe and sipping my cappucino while watching the world go by. A little break in the rapid pace of the day, to sip and watch – a moment of repose.
We began in Portofino. A very picturesque seaside spot on the Mediterrean. It was hard to motivate to do anything. I just wanted to soak up the view. We caught the full moon here and on the clear night that it shown bright and sparkled on the sea…magic was afoot.
The little seaside fishing village of Camogli featured this beautiful maddonna and child asking for protection and safe journey for the fishermen. A lovely shell adorned alter.
While in Camogli we caught a little bit of a wedding. As our little ferry approached, a bride was getting into a little wooden row boat to be rowed across the very small marina to the steps of the church…guests waiting to greet her. I'm thinking in a fishing village, it's good luck for the bride to arrive by sea. This stunning little baroque church had all the chandeliers lit up for the occasion. So Italian!
This stunning church was in Lucca…a little walled city that I would love to explore again. And again.
Our hotel in Fiesole looked out to Florence, one of my favorite cities in the whole world.
I was part of an afternoon "team building" pasta cooking lesson at a fattoria (farm) on the outskirts of Florence. We all crowded in to make pasta – followed by a lovely lunch in the villa. La Dolce Vita for sure.
My husband's company has a strong community service ethic and so we had a "giving back" morning at an orphanage for teenage boys. Twelve of them live in a very beautiful, old villa. It was not the Dickensian picture I had in my mind of an orphanage. Lovely and spacious, the boys that live there are very lucky. The orphanage helps the boys with education and housing and they can live there past 18, until they are gainfully employed and have a place to live. We all brought items with us on their wish list and we also outfitted them with a media room – replete with great lounge chairs (that we helped them build), a flat screen TV and a hot air popcorn machine.
A little cool to us at first - they dropped their universal teenage cool when the flat screen came out. They instantly took the remote and had it programmed in 10 seconds flat. Handsome teenagers…happy with their new electronics, just like teenagers everywhere.
The soccer balls were inflated immediately and a pick up game ensued. They were very sweet and appreciative.
I never, ever tire of the ancient architecture in Europe. I certainly could just trip along over my feet for hours looking up and up at the glorious decorative details.
The people watching is superb at the San Ambrogio market. A little off the beaten path, I felt like I was a regular part of a Florentine morning.
This street artist blew me away with her refined chalk artistry.
And I will always stop for a maddona…this one at the San Martino church in Portofino.
I leave you with a quote from Gino, our host, at the the Castello Verrazzano winery…
"Eat, Drink Wine, Love Strong, Don't Be Afraid To Die"
The Italians have a beautiful way of summing it all up…