• Boboli Gardens - Tuscan Countryside - Florence, Italy

  • Piazzele Michelangelo - Sunset Through the Storm - Florence, Italy-2

  • cropped-Ponte-Vecchio-at-Night-Florence-Italy.jpg

This exhibit is stunning and very touching! Located in the Uffizi at the Gallery of San Pier Scherragio, are photographs by Francesco Francaviglia, showing women who fasted against the mafia. The exhibit will be here until November 9 and the gallery is opened from 10-5, Tuesday-Sunday. Entrance is free.
About twenty years ago, when the mafia was perhaps at its most violent and bloody, these brave, strong, and beautiful women staged a fast in the principle piazza of Palermo, Sicily. They put their own lives at risk to make a statement about the effects of this violence on the lives of the citizens there.

Many of these women were directly impacted by the violence through lost of loved ones. Time has passed and the portraits are recent, but the photographer has managed to show the courage and strength that lies in the hearts and souls of each one.

There are testimonies from some of the women about their experiences and there is a video. When I was there the audio of the video was not on, and I hope to go back and see it fully functioning.

Arezzo is about 1 ½ hours away on the train, still in Tuscany, I think it is often underrated! I had been there once before on a tour. We quickly went into the Church of San Francesco to see the marvelous frescoed chapel by Piero della Francesca, and then left Arezzo, on to the next place. This time, I wanted to see the chapel again, and also what else Arezzo had to offer.





Arezzo is one of those places that can charm you pretty quickly. When we got off the train, the tourist office located just outside was closed. (This is typical if its lunch time and it was). There was a map outside and we determined it was a short walk to the Church of San Francesco and we would look for a place to eat along the way.


When we arrived in the piazza, there were several inviting places with terraces outside and the October weather has been magnificent so we selected one. I had a linguine alle limone, which was perfect for warm weather. It had a very light cream sauce with a hint of lemon flavor. My travel companions had orrechietta with rosemary and prosciutto. We all order the “contorno” which was a side dish of all the vegetables you could fit on a small plate off of the buffet. It included artichokes, broccoli, asparagus, cannellini beans, and more! Perfect!

After lunch we walked and enjoyed the lovely, scenic streets, The Church of San Francesco, the Duomo, the Church of Santa Maria di Pieve, the Casa di Vasari, and my favorite thing, the Piazza Grande, which was where a portion of the movie Life is Beautiful, was filmed. Roberto Benini lives in a small town just outside of Arezzo called Castiglion Fiorentino.





Arezzo hosts a large antique market which is traditional held on the first Sunday of every month in the Piazza Grande. I can’t wait to go back and see that! When visiting Tuscany, keep Arezzo in mind as a possible day trip!





San Carlo Cafe located at Borgo Ognissanti, 34, is a great place for aperitivo. For 8 euro you get the drink of your choice (call brands 1 euro more, and the second drink 5 euro) and as much as you can eat of their wonderful buffet. They continue to fill the buffet as the night goes on with fried vegetables, olives, sundried tomatoes, sandwiches, pizza, pickled onions, raw vegetables, and more.


This bar is located just down the street from me so is always a great meeting spot with friends or just for a night out when it’s too hot to cook or we want to eat light. I have also been here a couple of times for lunch and found great dishes on their daily menu for not a lot of money. It’s off the beaten path from the usual city center destinations, but sometimes those are the best, right?