Arrivederci Magnifico Italia


Italy’s Mountains of  Gelato  Heaven

Oct 10, 2016

May I first say – my heart felt  thoughts and prayers go out to the citizens of Italy after the devastating  earthquake today and in the past months.   Wishing all that were affected a speedy recovery to a normal life, a resilient  rebuilding of your homeland  and a peaceful earth beneath your feet in the future.

All good things must come to an end, including my  enjoyable visit  to Milan, Pisa and Florence, Italy.

My closing thoughts…


Regarding Italian Gelato – clearly there is no  competition .


Regarding the architecture –  the adornments on  Italian buildings never cease to fill me with awe – this  Lion’s expression almost chased  me across the street!


Regarding the churches –  every church I entered  was filled with beauty,  history, amazement and wonder.

Blindly I walked into the Church of  Orsanmichele  in Florence with no prior knowledge or  suggestion from people, guide books or Google, yet, I  walked  in and stood  before this  intricately  built tabernacle  and painting and was stunned by it’s beauty.  It’s story is also amazing.    In the 13th century, the building that stood here  was a straw market.  During this time,  the first “Madonna of the Graces” was painted on a pillar in that market and soon followed by miraculous events.  The building  and  painting was  destroyed by a fire in 1304.  Rebuilt in 1337, still as a  straw market.  In 1347  Bernardo Daddi’s “Madonna and Child with Angels” was commissioned to replace the original “Madonna of the Grace”. While  it remained a commercial site,  pilgrims inspired by  the miraculous events and sightings of the Madonna there, came in increasing numbers, especially  after the Black Plague struck in 1348.  As the legend grew  the tabernacle was built  in 1359  by Andrea Orcagna  to protect  the new  “Madonna of the Graces” ( the one in this photo).  Eventually the  building was dedicated as a small chapel and oratory in 1380.  The stained glass windows  were added  and are  some of the oldest in Florence, and illustrate the miracles of the “Madonna” of Orsanmichele.


Regarding the crowds – lots of people were  everywhere  in Florence (and at all of the famous attractions in Italy) –  even as the rain continued all day long.   Bless the people  that were standing on every corner selling $5.00 umbrellas and ponchos.   What more can I say except that everyone loves Italy ?


My pokka-dotted umbrella adds a little extra  pizzazz to the Duome, don’t you think?    There were many more photos like this with the pokka- dots edited out.


Lastly, regarding Pinocchio –  I really need  to include Pinocchio in this last posting  of Italy,  as he is a much loved character in Italy and can be seen everywhere in many different  forms –  ornaments, books, stuffed dolls, puppets,   key chains, etc.   Pinocchio  was the creation of the Florence- born  Carlo Lorenzini, a political author.  Under the pen name of  Carlo Collodi ,  he wrote the story of Pinocchio.   Collodi died 7 years later, in 1890,  so he didn’t   live long enough  to see the spectacular success of  Pinocchio’s story.  It has now been translated in over 100 languages and is one of the world’s best sellers.

Pinocchio Park opened in 1956 in the hilly Tuscany village of Collodi, where Carlo Lorenzini’s mother  was born.   The village was Collodi’s  inspiration for the setting of the book – thus it is  also Pinocchio’s “home town”.

Parting sayings?

” A lie keeps growing and growing until it’s as plain as the nose on your face.”   ( Pinocchio)……  or…

” A thousand  woodpeckers flew in through the window and settled themselves on Pinocchio’s nose”    (Carlo Collodi)

Most fitting  me thinks since we are  days away from electing a new president in the  United States.

Thanks for reading and please vote responsibility.




My favorite Italian meal – Alottagelato –  with pizza on the side.

October 5, 2016


Delizioso !  A piece of heaven in Italy.

I am now  back to  home, sweet home,  but I  still want to share with you my adventures in Italy.  My home base was Milan with its wealth of attractions  and an easy to navigate Metro system  to provide inexpensive transportation.


Milan is  best known for it’s fashion…..


and it’s economic capital of Italy.


Method of  personal common transportation – tiny cars ( this one was parked on the sidewalk)  and..


hundreds of these  “motociclo”  buzzing in, out and between  traffic  like annoying  bees.


Food is  a very popular part of Italy — – -no simple chocolate chip cookie to be found here.


Italian food is so popular, they make and sell magnets to show off their famous brands


Typical Milan building facades and  adornments are quite impressive.





Space is at a premium , and this  church, makes the most of it’s corner lot.


Many street artists can be found at the local  ” piazza”  but  I found this “art” to be especially  unique.


Lastly, the bird of the day, is the Hooded Crow, a common bird  found all over Europe.

“To awaken  in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.”

– Freya Stark

Thanks for reading!




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