In the last month, I’ve been to Verona, London twice and New York. London is so beautiful at Christmas and I felt really privileged to be there at this time to admire the Christmas lights. My travels have not finished yet as next week I have to go to Amsterdam for a conference. Travel has always been a part of my job but now that I’m the mother of almost 15 month old Matteo, it brings many new emotions. Luckily for me and especially Matteo, last week while I was in London he had a little holiday with my sister and his cousins, Annabella and Joseph so I did not feel so guilty about leaving him again. I must say that I do love coming home and have enjoyed a very cosy weekend with my family in our beautiful city Florence. The temperatures have dropped and the not-so-distant mountains have a picturesque sprinkling of snow. It actually snowed in Florence last Friday morning but not enough to stick and even though it does look so beautiful, Florence is not the most practical city when it comes to coping with snow!
We have been enjoying our delicious new Olive Oil / Olio Nuovo fresh from the Olive harvest a few weeks ago. Emiliano’s Nonna gave us a five litre bottle of oil along with two pigeons, one rabbit, a large chunk of parmesan cheese and some fresh honey. She loves loading us up with food when we visit and we certainly do not object!
I also love this time of year for the Porcini mushrooms, ‘Vino Nuovo’ and of course, Castagnaccio, the chestnut slice made simply with chestnut flour, water, pine-nuts, olive oil and rosemary.
Since I last wrote, Florence has been very busy with many events, exhibitions and food markets. At the moment the annual German Christmas market is on in Piazza Santa Croce. Here you can buy lots of delicious food, crafts and Christmas decorations. A few weeks ago the same Piazza was transformed for the Cultural and Environmental Heritage week, Florens 2012 and tonnes of marble were brought in for an art installation by Mimmo Paladino. Huge blocks of marble made up an enormous cross and the whole ground surface was covered in marble pebbles.
Piazza Duomo was also transformed and surrounded by olive trees. The new greenery really did make the piazza look even more beautiful and I think it would be lovely if they could have been permanent.
The Florence Marathon was held on the 25th November with nearly 10,000 runners. We were fortunate to have the race wind along the river past our house but even more fortunate that we didn’t have to go anywhere that day as the surrounding streets were closed for the race for the whole morning.
We are still undecided as to what we will do for Christmas but it will be a time for catching up with our families and we are excited about seeing what Matteo thinks of Christmas morning, the tree and of course, his presents! Who knows, if this weather continues, we may even have a white Christmas!
Below are some photos taken today of some of the Christmas lights in Centro plus a mix from over the last month or so. (excuse the quality – all taken with the phone and not my lovely Canon!) 🙁