A Spin Around the Block

When a friend in Sydney suggested that I have been spending a bit too much time doing indoor things like visiting museums and galleries I decided that maybe I should take a bit of a walk around the block today. It took me 5 hours and I covered just on 7 kilometres. In that 7 kilometres, I found many things to engage my interest. Continue reading

Categories: Archeology, Museums, Roma, Sighteeing | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment


I am wandering up Via Cavour. It is 2:30 in the afternoon and the only thing on my mind is where I should go to get something to eat for lunch. It could be said that it is somewhat late to be thinking about lunch but I did get up from my comfortable warm bed at an embarrassingly late hour. Here I keep my room very dark for expressly the purpose of sleeping late. Continue reading

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Murphy messes with money

IMG_6427For the fortunate few who have never come across Murphy’s Law, it goes:-

Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

Having had an anxious few days in a country where my bank is not, I thought that I might offer a few thoughts on managing your travel funds and avoiding messing with Murphy. Continue reading

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Museum Surprises

About 6 months ago I wrote a post which lists many of the museums and galleries in Firenze. I divided it into two parts, those I had visited and those I still have to see. My plan was to just strike through the plan-to-see places and add them to the bin-there, done-that list as I visited. The current spell of wet weather has been ideal for spending time indoors and I have managed three strike-throughs so far. My original idea was not to comment any further above maintaining the list, however, in the words of Robbie Burns “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry“. Continue reading

Categories: Archeology, Firenze, History, Museums | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Un pezzo di pizza

What is your favourite type of pizza?

There are lots to choose from. Pizza Margherita in the Italian colours of green (basil), red (tomato paste) and white (mozzarella) and named after the Italian queen for whom it was especially created. Napoletana with the anchovies of the fishing port it is named for.  Some heathens even have Hawaiian pizza, although never here in Italy where the notion of putting pineapple on a pizza is an anathema. Continue reading

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A confection by any other name …

Potremmo andare a prenderci un gelato
We could take a drive, get some ice-cream.

I looked up the word gelato on my handy smart phone translation software and this is the first example it gives. Although gelato is a word every English speaker will understand, it seems that is just means ice-cream. Continue reading

Categories: Food and drink, Language | Tags: , | 1 Comment


I will be the first to admit that my progress with acquiring a respectable grasp of Italian is sporadic at best. I can get the gist of a piece of simple written text by reading very slowly. The more complicated requires a dictionary. If someone speaks to me … slowly … I get the general meaning of the words. Once they get into the full flow though … forget it. I might as well be listening to Russian. I don’t have enough vocabulary to say more than the usual tourist needs without elaborate preparation but what conversation is prepared beforehand. That is a speech not a conversation. Continue reading

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Stop and Smell the Cake

The very best stories capture the reader by involving all of the senses. The ones that I have read about the 1966 flood in Florence focus quite a lot on the smells of the ancient mud, dragged up from the river bottom; on the smell of heating oil released into the water and the smell of decaying animals swept down the river. When I write about my travel adventures, I tend to focus on the visual but very rarely on the what a place smells like and this could be letting myself loose some interesting memories. Continue reading

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Children can surprise you

Today I planned to visit the Palazzo Strozzi which is hosting an exhibition of late 19th and early 20th centuries  ‘religious’ art under the title Divine Beauty from Van Gogh to Chagall and Fontana. Two things come as a surprise in that first sentence. Firstly that I had made a plan of any sort this early in my holiday and secondly, that I chose to look at art work that was not medieval or Renaissance this early as well. These are things that usually happen when I have run out of time and energy. At the same time as I climbed the grand staircase to the Strozzi’s exhibition space, herd of school children can running up the stairs behind me with their teachers and minders. Given that they were RUNNING up the stairs I was getting ready to have my enjoyment spoiled and composing in my head the piece I would write about how children are all the same. Ah, but fair reader … read on! Continue reading

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Operazione Strada Sicura

When ever family and friends in Sydney ask me about feeling safe in Italy, my response is always that I feel as at ease here as I do at home. Of course, I take the usual precautions that I do when I am at home. I make sure that I know where are the unsafe areas, which all communities of people have regardless of the hype. I don’t walk alone in dark places at night. I am friendly and smile at people but I don’t let myself get taken in by anyone. Continue reading

Categories: Firenze | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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