Author Archives: Robyn

About Robyn

Butterfly mind, I move from interest to interest with the true nature of the Renaissance woman. The black hole of information technology has sucked me into its endless, bottomless depths. It also provides me with an income. Italy had become my destination of choice and the focus of my current passion. The language is challenging me, hence the dual language posts. Renaissance art and architecture keeps me endlessly fascinated and the medieval villages and towns keep my camera busy when I visit for my holidays every year. I am owned by a cat named Meg. Saper vedere. (to know how to see) - da Vinci

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

Categories: Firenze, Museums, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Musei in Firenze – un elenco (Museums in Florence – a list)

Amongst the many Twitter feeds that I subscribe to is one generated by The Florentine Weekly, an English language newspaper which alerts visitors and expats to the current goings on in la bella citta. Usually I read the first few pages which have stories about what is going on. I drool for a short time and then move on to my next task. Continue reading

Categories: Firenze, Museums, Sighteeing | Tags: , | 3 Comments

The Great Beauty

Last year I made one of my now rare visits to the cinema to see an Italian film entitled The Great Beauty. This film won an Academy award for Best Foreign Language Film, which is about the highest award it could achieve, given the academy regards any film not in ‘American English’ as foreign language. Continue reading

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Museo Nove Cento Musings

Ready to give anything a go, once.

I’m not sure that I’m happy that the invention of the camera gave free reign to Modern Art.

I need a little help here.

Continue reading

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Random thoughts

  • Note to self – if the conditions for free entry say that you should have photo ID then make sure you have it. Continue reading
Categories: Oltrarno, Sighteeing | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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