The (most elaborate?) wine window in Florence

I’ve posted before about the uniquely Florentine custom of  wine windows found in some of the city’s palazzi.  They are found, here and there, all around the city.  This is the most elaborate one I’ve ever noticed.





The marble plaque above informs customers that the window “It is open from November 1st to April from 10 am to 3 pm pm and in the evening from 5 to 9, from May 1st to the end of October From 10 am to 3 pm E La Sera From 7 to 10.”

The wine windows have their own association in Florence.  Here is the website:

You can read more about the windows here:

Or watch videos here:

Procacci, Florence

Right in the heart of Florence, on its famed Via Tornabuoni, sits Procacci, one of the city’s oldest delicatessens and a lovely meeting place.  The decor maintains its vintatge appeal. Procacci was founded in 1885, and quickly became acclaimed among Florentines, especially for its culinary specialties with truffles and its famous sandwiches.

It’s a heavenly little spot for a prosecco of an afternoon, with a truffle sandwich on specially made, fluffy buns.  What a treat!




Patrizia, one of my favorite Florentines!

The Roman fashion house of the Sorelle Fontana

The Sorelle Fontana fashion house was founded in Rome in 1943 by three sisters and Italian designers: Zoe Fontana (1911-1979), Micol Fontana (1913-2015) and Giovanna Fontana (1915-2004).  I recently posted about their designs for Rita Hayworth in The Barefoot Contessa (1954).

There’s a fair amount of information available in the public sphere online, including on Youtube.




The actual atelier is featured in  Luciano Emmer’s film Le ragazze di Piazza di Spagna. The film was shot in the Sorelle Fontana’s atelier near Piazza di Spagna in Rome.

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Above: Lucia Bosè and Zoe Fontana in Le ragazze di Piazza di Spagna. 



Below: Anita Ekberg, testimonial of first perfume “Glory by Fontana” with Zoe Fontana.

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Below: Raquel Welch, female costar in Eduardo De Filippo’s movie Spara forte più forte, wears Sorelle Fontana designs.

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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.









The church of Santi Michele e Gaetano, Florence

So many churches, so little time.  You really have to manage your real life if you want to find time to see everything!

At least, that is my excuse as to why, before now, I have never before been in this famous Florentine church.  Plus the fact that when I pass it, I am usually in a hurry to go somewhere else nearby.  Like, for example, lunch or a glass of wine at the Cantinetta Antinori, one of my favorite places in this amazing city.

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But, I did stop in and have a gander at the church recently and wow, I was blown away. First of all, it was twilight in beautiful Florence at that moment, and the streets nearby were filled with shoppers and tourists and the whole atmosphere was electric. The city felt alive.

Usually, when I happen to be in front of this church, it is closed.  Just bad timing, because of course the church is open everyday, but at specific hours.

Because it was open and I had time, I entered.  I felt the richness of the interior immediately. And I was sorry it took me so long to visit.

Unlike so many Italian churches, this interior was well lit and the contrast of the dark building materials with the colored marbles and gold highlights lit the place up like a Christmas tree.  The effect was quite something.

The church was also full of people, unlike so many Italian churches. The church interior felt alive and it was kind of a magical moment to me.  I thought of how happy the founders would have been to know that in 2019, their church was an active part of the city’s life.  What more could an architect or patron hope for?






I wonder why it is that I am always, always most attracted to sculptures holding up the vases of holy water in these churches?


The two matching marble holy water fonts at the entrance were sculpted in the form of shells supported by angels by Domenico Pieratti.




The pictures below aren’t great, but smack dab in the middle of the ceiling over the transept, was the Medici shield.  Never subtle, always evident.  I love the Medici family!





Let’s have a quick look at what Wikipedia tells us about the church:

San Gaetano, also known as Santi Michele e Gaetano, is a Baroque church in Florence, located on the Piazza Antinori.

A Romanesque church, dedicated solely to Saint Michael the Archangel, had been located at the site for centuries prior to its Baroque reconstruction. Patronized by the Theatine order, the new church was dedicated to Saint Cajetan, one of the founders of the order, though the church could not formally be named after him until his canonisation in 1671.

Funding for this reconstruction was obtained from the noble families in Florence, including the Medicis. Cardinal Carlo de’ Medici was particularly concerned with the work, and his name is inscribed on the façade.

Building took place between 1604 and 1648. The original designs were by Bernardo Buontalenti but a number of architects had a hand in building it, each of whom changed the design. The most important architects were Matteo Nigetti and Gherardo Silvani.

In 2008, the church was entrusted to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, a traditional institute of clerical life which exclusively offers Mass in Latin according to the pre-Vatican II Roman Rite.

The façade has three portals: the center portal has a triangular tympanum surmounted by reclining marble statues representing Faith and Charity, sculpted by the Flemish artist, Baldassarre Delmosel. In the center above the door is the heraldic shield of the Theatine order; higher above is the shield of Cardinal Giovanni Carlo de Medici, a prominent patron. Above the side doors are a statue of St Cajetan (right, by the same Delmosel) and St Andrew Avellino (left, by Francesco Andreozzi).

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The interior is richly decorated as is customary in Baroque churches (uh, hello…the interior is like a jewel box!)

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Along the cornice are 14 statues depicting apostles and evangelist, sculpted by Novelli, Caccini, Baratta, Foggini, Piamontini, Pettirossi, Fortini, and Cateni. With each of these statues is a bas-relief depicting an event in the life of each saints.