Sunday, January 3, 2016

Christmas in Florence

The Stoic One and I have been busy these past few weeks. First of all, we were part of a House Hunters International episode, featuring the apartment of our friends Joseph and Paul. It was great fun to be interviewed and see the process of how the show is made. When we lived in the US it was one of our favorite programs to watch. They said the program would be shown in 60 to 90 days, so I will let you know when we know. Joseph and Paul were very generous hosts and tried to include as many people and sights in the town as possible.

We had my sister and her daughter here for a few weeks and have been traveling around to sites near by. Gary's brother, wife, 2 boys and grandpa also made a European trip for Christmas so we had some time with them as well.

All of us decided to go to Florence for Christmas. We stayed at the Hotel Tornabuoni, one of our favorite hotels.

It is conveniently located across from the main Ferragamo shoe store. Red is definitely the color of the season, even in Flroence.

The hotel also has rooms with views of the Arno. Great people watching.

Because it was Christmas, I was unsure where we could eat, especially since there were 9 of us, but I found a great restaurant on top of the Westin Hotel, the Sesto on Arno.

It was a fixed prixe menu, and very French. The service matched the views and the food was good.

Here are the "potato dumplings"aka gnocchi...

We all could have stopped after this dish, but we soldiered on...It was a once in a lifetime thing. Even for us, this was way too much food. Wouldn't do it again. Fun, though to have the family together and the views were fantastic.

Walking around Florence at Christmas is a joy. First there are scrumptious display windows that force you stop and admire the aristry.

Next, there are very few people on the streets. For those of you who visit Florence often, you know how rare this is.

Below is a picture of the duomo, the bell tower and part of the baptistery. It is the first time in ages that we have seen it without scaffolding. They have been working on cleaning the buildings and they have done a superb job. The marble glistens in the sun. A true delight to see. We have been told that they have spent tons of time and money cleaning the city for a visit from the pope next year.

I have always loved Florence at night. The Stoic One took some photos of the lights of Christmas. I hope you enjoy them.

We even had a full moon on Christmas night. The first one on Christmas since 1977. I am so very grateful for the life we are living. I hope each and every one of you have had a wonderful holiday and the best of new years.


  1. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Susan. It's wonderful that no one has to tell you how lucky you are to live where you live - you're already aware! The Duomo is gorgeous. I remember it literally taking my breath away when I first saw it. I have a question for you: Last I was in Spello, I brought back a supply of hand cream from Oro Di Spello. I am now on my last tube and can only find one tube left through Amazon. I am hoping they did not discontinue it. Do you have any plans on going to Spello in the future? If so, can you check to see if they still sell the hand cream? Best stuff on the planet.

    1. Hi Melanie...Happy New Year to you too! Unfortunately, we have not plans to go to Spello any time soon. When we do go, I will check for you and see. Where in Spello did you get it?

    2. I found this link on line, so I guess they are still in business.

  2. Thanks so much. I saw that same link, however, if I order from the US the postage is about three times that from Italy. There is one distributor here in the US (LokVita) but they are the ones who only have one tube left. Granted, the cost of the tube is double that of Italy but the shipping is free. Can't remember the exact spelling of the place we went for the olive oil tasting (something like il frattio ?). No worries, I'll just have to take another trip over the pond - after all, a girl can't go without her favorite hand cream, right? How are you doing with your book sales?