I got back from Italy on Thursday to major jet lag and a bit of a cold. I’m just now getting back into the groove of things and have caught up email, grocery shopping, and work stuff. It was a great business trip and I had a blast with my colleagues. I left a piece of my heart in Italy. Our Florence office (located near the Ponte Vecchio) had recently closed and had consolidated with our Prato office. Prato is most known for production of textiles and is more of industrial city. We had most of our meetings over the weekend but I did get a little time to go into Florence and explore the city. After studying interior design at FIDM and learning the history of architecture, I was struck by the beauty of this Firenze. It’s hard to imagine this city was built in a time with no modern technology. I tried to envision life back then and how they created these amazing sculptures and churches. I walked the entire city by foot so I could get a feel for the city. Since my time was limited and tourism was high, I decided not to visit the museums and churches but to get to know the city. On my next visit, I will make a list of the specific places I want to visit. I was so busy taking pictures of the architecture that now when I sit down to blog, I’m like I can’t believe I didn’t photograph the shops. Funny, I was photographing from a tourist perspective not from a bloggers. Here’s some photos and things that captured my heart will in Florence and Prato!
We were on our way to lunch when my boss was explaining he was considering buying this property. I was in love with the color of this door and asked if he would stop so I could take a photo.
You have to walk down these stairs into an open aired restaurant overlooking the hills. A natural spring runs through it with vines growing all over the walls.
The view from our chair in the restaurant.
The sites of Florence. The famous Vespa.
The city view from a colleagues house. He lives in a 14th Century apartment, which has the most breathtaking views of Firenze. Can you imagine having your coffee every morning with this as your view? Unfortunately, that dam crane ruined my photo.
Another view from his patio. The man that lived here passed away and had no family and left this beautiful home to Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. The green vines along the side of the tower is actually a spiral staircase.
Antonella who lives in the house we were visiting had some incredible antique pieces. I was quite smitten with this wooden crown and wanted to take it home with me.
Many of the door ways and buildings have various motifs above them, people, or religious pictures.
Each day artists would be drawing something different. Done with chalk on the streets in Florence.
I know your thinking “what are you taking a picture of a trash can for?” If you look above the trash can there is a statue, it just so happens that the statue is holding it’s nose and the trash can is just below. Pretty funny. Scroll down for the close up of the statue!
This guy was making funny faces at me as I took photos.
As I was walking the city, I wanted to see the dome up close. I had seen it from the balcony (see pictures above) from the other side of the city but wanted to see it up close. I was unprepared for the scale and it’s massive structure. It completely overwhelmed me. The color combination of pink, green and various shades of marble was more prominent when standing face to face. From a distance you can’t fully comprehend the magnitude of its size until you are up close.
Views along the water across the bridge.
You will find pictures, wooden sculptures, and various items with Pinocchio on it throughout Florence. Pinocchio is native to Italy as a fictional character that first appeared in The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi in 1883. He was carved from a piece of pine wood by Geppetto in a small Italian village. He was created as a wooden puppet but dreamt of becoming a real boy. The name Pinocchio is a Tuscan word meaning “pine nut”. (Source Wikipedia)
I fell in love with this store. I was walking down a tiny street and stumbled upon this store in the middle of what looked like an alley street. The inside was the size of a walk in closet. She had beautiful olive oil boards, balsamic vinegar, fresh produce and flowers, wine, etc. Everything was hanging off the building. I was like does she hang this stuff up everyday? Isn’t it just the cutest!
The only place that I did not make it to was the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. It is considered one of the most beautiful stores in Florence. It’s an ancient herbal pharmacy dating back to the 12th century, containing world-renowned products considered to the be the best in the world and the famous Acqua di Santa Maria Novella. This will be my first stop on my next trip.
SANTA MARIA NOVELLA FLORENCE
Via della Scala, 16
I only purchased a few things since my time was limited. I bought a tan handbag in leather that looks similar to the Hermes bag. They had them all over the markets in gorgeous colors and various types of leather, etc. I loved this one because the stitching and hardware was so beautiful and it’s hard to capture in a photo how beautiful it is in person. The inside is all leather as well and it has gold hardware on the bottom as well.
I bought some 100% silk wraps in Italy. I bought a pink one, tan and various colored one (see above and below) and a grey one. I could kick myself for not buying more. The had beautiful cotton ones, linen ones, etc. I am always dressing up my jackets, tees, etc. with a scarf or wrap. Here’s some of the patterns I bought.
The pink one is two sided – as you can see one side is lighter and the other is darker. They are so soft.
The pictures doesn’t do this one justice. It looks incredible on!
I think one of the best things about Italy was the paper and art work. If your like me and collect stationary, art work, leather books, etc. you will fall in love with the paper stores in Italy. I bought these pictures (some in a store) and some on the streets, all cost me about Euro 1.90 to Euro 3.00 per picture, which is less than $5.00. The paper quality far exceeds anything you would find in the U.S. I bought these blue architectural prints as well as these women (I wish I bought two more for a set) and some other ones. I could have bought the entire store. The two little ones are of the Dome and the Ponte Vecchio were hand created by a street vendor. I could have spent hours in the paper stores in Italy. They were amazing. I cannot wait to frame these.
It was a fabulous trip and I cannot wait to go back. I’m already plotting my next trip. If you have ever been to Florence and have a favorite place you like to go be sure to post it in the comments section. I would love to hear from readers any great suggestions that I can check it out the next time I am there!
Until my next post, Ciao'!
Photo Credits: All photo’s except the Santa Maria ones are taken by me. If you would like to use these photo’s kindly reference Peggy & Fritz.