A welcoming glow

Tucked away in a little side street near Piazza di Santa Croce,  Florence, we found this little shop full of all things Pinocchio. I vaguely knew that the little character was Italian, but it seems that Geppetto the woodcarver created him in a village near Florence.

Doesn’t the shop have a lovely glow?

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Bridges across the Arno

At least seven bridges span the River Arno in Florence, here are some of them,

Beginning with the closest, Ponte Vecchio, the only one not bombed in WW2. Next Ponte St Trinita, Ponte alla Carraia – my favourite, and way off in the distance, the most modern, Ponte Amerigo Vespucci.

I’ve chosen this photo for Paula’s Thursday special, pick a word from five. I chose spanning and the photo was taken through a window in the Uffizi.

A walk in the Oltrarno

On our second full day in Florence we decided to do part of a walk in a guide book.  We weren’t following it exactly because it didn’t make sense. Okay I’ll confess, the first part was too close to our hotel, so we skipped it. In doing so, we emerged on the river bank  further east than the walk, so took a slight diversion. Where’s the fun in exploring a new city without going up some back alleys?

We emerged on Piazza Santa Maria Del Carmine, where the church of the same name had a rather dull exterior, and had a peep inside.

This church of the Carmelite order was built in 1268, but was damaged by fire in 1771 and the interior rebuilt in the Rococo style 11 years later. It was nicer inside than out.

We got our bearings back and headed for the Via Santo Spirito, occasionally getting distracted, wondering what was up there or around that corner.

One of the things we did find from the walk description, was this pretty stone tabernacle from the 14th century. The fresco of the Madonna with Child and the Saints Paolo and Gerolamo) is reputed to be the work of Bicci di Lorenzo. The little figure between the  saints is the person who the commissioned the fresco.

A sharp shower sent us rushing for an espresso and a bit of a sit down.

Then we were off again.

Towards Santa Spirito, the heart of this creative, bohemian area.

Oltrarno is the home of many artisan workshops, including the fabulous shop I showed you last week. Surprises and smiles are around every corner.

 

Close to a nursery school, we came across this moving sculpture, in honour of the Armenian genocide.

Let us not forget.

Back to the streets and we were drifting south to what we thought was a secondary entrance to Boboli gardens.

So we turned tail towards the direction of the river, passing elegant gates leading to secluded mansions.

We didn’t fetch up where we expected even then.

Instead we found the Pitti Palace and lunch in a cafe opposite. I made a mistake in that cafe, ordering something with meat. I was quite upset that I’d mixed a word up, but they kindly changed it for what I’d intended to order. That’ll teach me not to think I’m too clever!

We had a gelato and watched the world go by after lunch,

and of course I loved this sculpture.

We ended this walk, which I’m sharing with Jo, who knows it well, at Ponte Vecchio.

I wonder where she’s walking this week.

Layers of colour

Wandering through the narrow streets of the Altrarno last week, we came across one of many Florentine paper and book binding shops in the city. My friend makes leather notebooks and Coptic stitch journals and I even help sometimes, and of course I have a passion for stationery, as many of you also do. The shop was fabulous! Chatting to the young woman, we learnt that the shop had been there for more than thirty years, started by her grandfather, but the family tradition went back for around a hundred years. Every surface was piled with pre-stitched signatures of paper, and she was binding legal documents, as they’ve probably been done for century’s. Realising how interested we were, she stopped what she was doing and showed us her marbling process instead.
Layers of colours were poured, splashed, and flicked into a tray with mysterious liquids, we watched, entranced.

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We wanted to buy the sheet we watched her making, sadly it wouldn’t be dry for some time.
This is one she made earlier.

Here she is in her beautiful shop, needless to say we bought some nice things from her. If ever you’re in Florence, pay her a visit at Via Sant’Agostino, near the Ponte Santa Trinita, she’s such a charming lady.

This post is for Ben Huberman’s weekly photo challenge, Layered.

Santa Maria Novella . . .

railway station in Florence gets its name from the church just around the corner from it, and it’s where I arrived for a week in that lovely city. I took this early evening photo from my room on the fourth floor of the Rosso 23, looking at the Piazza Santa Maria Novella.

I’ll post more in the next few weeks when I’ve caught up a bit!