• Le Infiorate di Spello

    For almost three years now (since we moved to Italy), I have had Le Infiorate di Spello on my “must-do” travel list and this year we finally made it!  Le Infiorate is a manifestation/festival that takes place every year on the ninth Sunday after Easter, celebrating the Corpus Domini feast.  Although there are similar demonstrations… [Continue Reading]

    Le Infiorate di Spello
  • Umbrian Race Weekend – Corsa delle Carrette

    Bobby and I planned a weekend trip in Umbria around the Infiorate Festival (stay tuned for the next post!), but we ended up stumbling into another great festival of sorts.  La Corsa delle Carrette, a type of soap-box race for grown-ups, took place in both Narni and Spoleto last weekend.  On Saturday, the qualifying races… [Continue Reading]

    Umbrian Race Weekend – Corsa delle Carrette
  • Southern Italy Road Trip

    Today marks our three month mark from leaving Italy.  I cannot believe it!  Last week, Bobby and I took our final road trip to southern Italy, where we visited Bobby’s sister Eva and caught some rays on the beach.  Okay, to be honest, it was several beaches.    Even though the southern regions of Puglia,… [Continue Reading]

    Southern Italy Road Trip
  • The Croatian Coast

    After Bobby took over duties for the last few blogs, I figured I should get back to my normal blogging routine (although he is a better writer than me)!  Last week, we took a ten day trip down the coast of Croatia, through Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and then back to Italy.  It ended… [Continue Reading]

    The Croatian Coast
  • Sicily – Stepping Back in Time [Part 2]

    Carrie is currently working some other web tasks so I decided to pinch hit for her again.  Now that you’ve officially been warned, let’s talk about Sicily! Our western loop continued with a trip to the Scala dei Turchi (the Turk’s staircase), a stark white rock formation that juts into the Mediterranean.  On our last… [Continue Reading]

    Sicily – Stepping Back in Time [Part 2]
  • Sicily – Stepping Back in Time [Part 1]

    I’ve been a bit slow about blogging lately, so here’s to catching up!  In mid-April, Bobby and I took a nine-day trip to Sicily and it was our second time visiting the island.  On our first trip, we visited some pretty amazing places – Taormina, Siracusa, and Agrigento (to name a view), which are located… [Continue Reading]

    Sicily – Stepping Back in Time [Part 1]
  • Florentine Birthday

    Yesterday marked the beginning of my last year of my twenties.  Yikes!  Luckily, I had some pretty great people to celebrate with.  Our friend Eva, who happened to be in town from Belgium, and our Italian friends Tatiana and Francesco joined Bobby and me for dinner at Piazza del Vino here in Firenze.  It was… [Continue Reading]

    Florentine Birthday
  • Viareggio Carnevale 2014

    This is our third year heading to Viareggio’s Carnevale celebration and each time, the floats and costumes never cease to amaze us.  The parade of Carnevale 2014 presented 15 floats, with some reaching heights as tall as 20 meters (over 65 feet)!  Over 1,000 people in 25 different artisan firms worked an entire year to… [Continue Reading]

    Viareggio Carnevale 2014
  • Skiing the Dolomites

    For the past month or so, the weather in Florence has been very mild.  We’re talking temps in the mid-to-high fifties.  Conditioned by our surroundings, we were skeptical of the snow conditions for our upcoming trip to the Dolomites.  Thankfully, we hit the jackpot.  We had clear skies and near freezing temperatures (great skiing weather!)… [Continue Reading]

    Skiing the Dolomites
  • Cavalcata dei Magi – Epiphany in Florence

    The Feast of Epiphany is celebrated on January 6th.  Epiphany marks the 12th day of Christmas when the three wise men (or magi) arrived at the manger bearing gifts for Baby Jesus and it is traditionally one of the most important holidays in Italy.  In Florence, the day is celebrated with the “Cavalcata dei Magi,”… [Continue Reading]

    Cavalcata dei Magi – Epiphany in Florence

Christmas in the City of Light – Paris, France

The tower boring a hole in the sky

This was our first Christmas without family or friends nearby, but Bobby and I wanted to make the most of it.  After opening up our Christmas gifts a few days early (Santa came to Florence on the 22nd this year!), we set out to spend the holiday in Paris.  Paris is a city that both Bobby and I had always wanted to visit, but never got the chance and we were very excited to see the city for the first time together. [Read more…]

Buon Natale…..errr… Frohe Weihnachten?

Merano - it looks strangely like Innsbruck

This weekend, Bobby and I traveled with our other Olmsted friends Karin and Lou Frketic (from Bologna, Olmsted Class ’10) to Bolzano and Merano, two cities in northeastern Italy.  With their proximity to the Austrian border, both cities have split identities.  Are they Italian cities or German-speaking Austrian cities?  Well, it’s difficult to tell.  They are towns where more often than not, you will hear people chattering in German and saying “Frohe Weihnachten” (Merry Christmas) instead of Buon Natale (the Italian version.)  Menus are split in Italian and German languages.  Most restaurants serve both German and Italian fare and the waiters speak both languages.  [Read more…]

History: New and Old – Assisi & Gubbio, Italy

The entire tree from outside town

The weekend, we set off in search of the largest Christmas tree in the world.  We figured if there is some “new” history in the making, we should check it out.  This tree, which is a gigantic electronic manifestation set on the side of a mountain in Gubbio, Italy, is indeed large and colorful.  However, because the tree is best seen at night (when you can actually see the lights,) we wanted to make the best of our day and decided to visit another Umbrian city, Assisi.  Assisi is a walled settlement dating back to 1000 BC! [Read more…]

Christmas in Florence

Carousel in Piazza della Repubblica

Christmas in Florence is celebrated much like it is in the United States: everyone puts up a Christmas tree (most real, some fake….all without pruning into what we would call an “acceptable” Christmas tree shape) and the little kids all pay a visit to Santa.  However, because Italy is predominately Roman Catholic, they also recognize some other holidays around Christmas as well.  [Read more…]

Journey though Umbria – Deruta & Orvieto

One Always Wins!

Umbria is an Italian region located southeast of Tuscany (the region that Florence and Siena reside in.)  The last time we visited Umbria, we went by train to the chocolate festival in Perugia.  This time, we decided to drive so we could make a leisurely journey through the countryside and we are extremely glad we did!  Our first stop, because we needed to do a little Christmas shopping, was the little (really little!) town of Deruta.  Deruta, if you have seen my previous posts, is known for manufacturing ceramics.  All of the ceramics are hand thrown and painted by artisans in the many workshops dotting the main road in Deruta. [Read more…]