Florence. It’s more than just the Gucci Museum.

FullSizeRender 2

It’s a gorgeous late summer day here in sunny southern California. The sky is blue, the ocean has an afternoon sparkle and I just got back in the house from a bit of gardening.  I’ve been “sharpening pencils” so to say, not doing chores.  Instead I’ve been skimming through my photos of my trips to Italy and this one caught my eye.  It looks like a similar bright sunny day, but this one warmed by the Tuscan sun… and this one is in Firenze (Florence).  The photo was taken from the Gucci Museum  and pretty much sums up the feeling that day.  Thanks for taking the time to view and read …. and if you like, you can also follow me on Instagram.

Read more


Michelangelo Plays with Light

Rays of light fill the dome inside  the Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano – St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican in Rome. It is the tallest dome in the world and was built with the explicit instruction that it was to rival Brunelleschi’s dome in Florence. Do you think he accomplished this?

Read more

A Master’s Tools

Decades of tools, handed down from generation to generation outlined on the worktable  of master wood carver Filippo Romagnoli located in Chiantishire near Firenze.  His grandfather’s original frame work hangs in the Louvre.  Over the decades they fashioned furniture, candelabras, chandeliers, etc. to adorn some of the most famous Florentine homes. I visited his workshop in June 2016 and was able to see where the master works,  and learn about the history. His work continues along with corzetti pasta stamps, rolling pins and much more. These are are available to you via his Etsy shop.  His Facebook page has great videos and photos of his work.

Read more

Get Me to the Church On Time.

Why did the wedding cake cross the road?  Deep in Chianti in the town of Panzano, we had lunch at Solociccia a restaurant of Dario Cecchini – the Butcher of Tuscany.  He has several restaurants near his famous butcher shop – Anticia Macelleria Cecchini. and the day we visited they were just bursting to the seams with wedding guests.  I looked out the window from our table and noticed that traffic had stopped – so the cake could cross the road, TO GET TO THE RECEPTION ON TIME. Voila!

Wild strawberries. Simple and sublime.

Strawberries Sostanza Florence bbeeman

Mouth watering wild strawberries in fresh cream.  True Italian style.  This simple and the sublime dish was served up to me at Trattoria Sostanza,  Il Troia as it’s often called,  after I dined on a decadent dish of baked chicken smothered in butter.  The concierge at my hotel assured me this place was easy to find and just around the corner from the hotel, but failed to tell me that if I got there too early a rolling door would hide the restaurant from view. I was early because I did not have a reservation.  I was armed with a verbal note from my knowledgeable Florence tour guide from earlier in the day.  “Just tell them I sent you”, advised Ann Reavis, a  guide arranged by my friend of Judy Witts Francini.  “But get there early.”  So I wandered up and down the tiny street until they flung open the rolling door.  I then had an ah-ha moment.  Upon entering I firmly announced my recommendation from Ann and they grudgingly found me a seat at a communal table. My seatmates were an Italian family celebrating something (never did figure out exactly what they were celebrating) and a young British couple.  The simple decor and brusk mannerisms of the waiters were unimportant. I had my prized seat and mustered up my best Italian to place my order.  Over dinner we discussed American politics and I learned about how my British friends met and later married.  The wild strawberries and cream topped off one of my best evenings on my own in Florence in May of 2012.  As I made my way back to the hotel, I found myself surrounded by a bevy of stylish young Italians mingling outside a nearby restaurant.  “Maybe someday this will be me,”  I dreamed.  Yeah right.  If you would like to read more about Trattoria Sostanza, here is a great post from Elizabeth Minchilli.