The Christmas season in Florence



It’s here! The city is geared up for Christmas.


The tree was placed, awaiting the lights.  It was lit up on the evening of 8 December.

And, later:






The fancy stores and hotels have lovely decorations:





I feel like the creche scene at San Lorenzo is always a bit sad.





I love the way the statue of justice is reflected on the wall to the left:


I like the simple, natural decorations the best. Below this church uses garlands of evergreens and citrus:




A local charity had a bazaar the other weekend and I spotted this Santa Claus there.  Can you tell that Santa Claus is not a natural part of the Italian holiday of Natale?  I think it is obvious. There were some kids around, but no one wanted to sit on his lap!






The Christmas lights on Via Tornabuoni, Florence

Via Tornabuoni is the Tony street at the center of Florence that goes from Piazza Antinori to the Ponte Santa Trinita. This street is loaded with the major fashion and jewelry boutiques.

Perhaps it is not surprising that this little stretch of roadway would be the first decked out in holiday splendor.  I took these photos on the afternoon of 17 November, and, as you can see, Christmas has seemingly already arrived!

It is interesting to note that none of the other pedestrian thoroughfares in the city have their familiar white lights up yet.  Fashion comes first!








The giant red Christmas bulb sitting on the street is a new addition to the street this year.









Carnevale in Pietrasanta!

Think of Carnevale in Italy and you are sure to think first of Venice.  I know I do!

But the season is alive throughout the peninsula and the small ones have a charm that Venice, for all its glory, lacks.



Yesterday I had my first taste of a smaller, home-grown version of the Carnevale parade in the lovely little artsy town of Pietrasanta.  This small town is part of Versilia on the coast of northern Tuscany, about 20 miles north of Pisa and 15 miles south of Carrara. Only 2 miles from the coast, you can quickly reach the beach of Marina di Pietrasanta and the fashionable Forte dei Marmi.  But those two places are best reserved for a warmer time of year.

The Carnevale in Pietrasanta is composed of locals, young and old, and devoid of pretension.


That’s what I liked most about it!


Of course it didn’t hurt that it was a beautiful, almost spring-like day with cerulean skies and puffy white clouds.


Now, here’s the thing: I don’t know what I was expecting, but the Pietrasanta parade was made up of about 6 major floats with companies of participants associated with each float.  The floats ranged in subject matter from the Moulin Rouge, to Dr. Spock, to Michael Jackson’s Killer.



To me, it felt more like a Halloween parade than a celebration of a religious matter.


But, it was unabashed, and I loved it for that.  It reminded me of my home town, way across the pond in the prairie states of the US.


A fun time was had by all!








The Venice Carnival, opening February 16, 2019

These are my pictures of the carnivale from 2017.  I can hardly believe that I never got around to posting them.  It was a wild, exuberant experience I will never forget.

Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s event:

And now, finally, 2 years late, my photos:



I was in Venice in 2017 for the water parade. Amazing floats skimmed along the Rio di Cannaregio waterways. It was quite a spectacle.  I managed to get a bird’s eye view in the 2nd floor home of a perfect stranger, a delightful Venetian man and his wife!  All of these images were shot from their window.






As I left, I got a couple of shots of the delightful Venetian man who shared his window with me and a woman from Russia who went with me to Venice.




The Russian woman (we were classmates in Italian language school in Florence) wanted to buy an elaborate mask and she did!



The wigs available in Venice at this time of year are astounding.



And the costumes, oh my Lord!




Santa Maria della Salute, possibly the world’s most beautiful church and location.