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

Gelato quest

Vivoli – via dell’Isola delle Stinche
The locals will tell you that this is the best gelato in Firenze but I don’t agree. It is a bar as way where you can get a coffee and pastry. The gelato is pretty good and there is a variety to select from. The price is competitive. Make your own assessment to see if you agree with the locals.

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Parlo italiano!

I have gone past the half way point of my stay in Italy and my thoughts have turned to finding small gifts to take home to my family to assure them that I really have thought about them while I was enjoying my “Me” time. The upshot of this is that I have to sometime go into shops that are not on my usual round. Continue reading

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More than just seeing

To be enjoyed with all of the senses.

To be enjoyed with all of the senses.

For someone like me who is primarily a visual learner, there is a danger that the experience of being any where, let alone somewhere out of the everyday can be only partly experienced. I often worry that I am missing out on a big part of what there is around me because I spend so much of my energy concentrating on the things that I see. Continue reading

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Picasso e la Moderita Spagnola

It seems that modern art has coined more “…isms” than any other era before it. I wrote this list as I toured the exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi today and I think that I will be working it all out for a good long time to come.  Continue reading

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The little things

Unlike the people who write some of my favourite blogs about Firenze who live here for six months or more each year, I have four short weeks to observe and enjoy all of the things that this city has to offer. The big picture things are the ones that continually capture my eyes and my imagination, things like the art in the Uffizi, the Academia and Palazzo Strozzi, or the architecture of the Duomo and the Palazzo Vecchio. There is always something that I haven’t observed carefully on a previous visit which clammers for brain space. Continue reading

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Sono tornato in Italia.

I have returned to Italy!

Ho cinque brevi settimane per raccogliere nuovi ricordi da assaporare per il anno prossimo.

Vieni con me sulle mie avventure.

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The people make the place

When I first thought about using my very childlike Italian in Italy I thought that I would embarrass myself and the people that I was trying to communicate with. What I did not take into the account was the Italian people.

Although I have now visited Italy many times my Italian is still very tentative but I am no longer afraid to experiment with language. Almost every Italian I have tried to talk to has been very patient and the conversation often turns into a language lesson. I have even made friends through these ad hoc language lessons.

During the course of my usual five weeks in Florence a couple of years ago, I have my breakfast in the same cafe every morning and found that I often went there for lunch or dinner as well. I started to know the names of the staff at Caffe Maioli, across from the southern end of the Ponte Vecchio and they started to remember my particular favourites for food and drink. I tried really hard to speak in Italian and to understand what they were saying to me. If I would make mistake one of them would correct me in the most gentle and friendly manner.

I learned the names of my favourite pastries very quickly because I could not have it unless I asked in Italian. I particularly enjoy a ciambella which is an Italian version of the donut but much, much nicer. There is a recipe for making this sweet treat on this web site but I think it’s better to have someone else make it for you.

I recommend that you go and visit Caffe Maioli for a coffee and a treat. Smile and be nice to the barrister and leave a tip because they do work very long days to keep us feed. Remember that it is the norm in Italy to pay more to eat at a table than it does to take your coffee at the bar. You are also in the thick of the tourist area so expect prices to be higher.

Tell them Roberta from Australia sent you.

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Hidden treasures


Brancacci Chapel fresco

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Are you up for a challenge?

Florentine Street Food

Florentine Street Food

 Italians take food and eating very seriously. They are very rarely seen rushing about the streets with food in their hands. Food is something that should be focused on. Street food outlets are not common but in Florence, especially near the markets at Sant’Ambriogio and San Lorenzo there are mobile food outlets catering to the workers. These vendors, called lampredottai, appear to only sell one or two items but they are very popular with the locals who wait patiently for their turn at the window. Having made their purchases, the customers don’t wander off with their food. They will stand around together, enjoying their lunch. Continue reading

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Geocaching a Firenze (caccia al tesoro!)


Cache containing the log book

Durante un vacanza a Firenze a 2010 ho cominciato un passatempo nuovo e ho scoperto un metodo nuovo trovare le zone interessante della città alla stesso tempo. Ho scoperto Geocaching.

During a holiday in Florence in 2010 I began a new hobby and found a new way of seeing interesting parts of the city at the same time. I discovered Geocaching.

Geocaching è una caccia al tesoro gioco che usa GPS per trovare i recipienti piccole che altri giocatori hanno nascosto. è le storie interessante che l’altri giocatore raccontano del nascondigli che sono divertente. Firenze ha tanti posti nascosto interessante che i touristi vedono mai.

Geocaching is treasuring hunting using GPS to find small containers placed by other players. The real treasure isn’t the trinkets left in the container. It is the interesting stories that the players tell about the hiding places that they chose. Florence has dozens of interesting, hidden places that the usual tourist never sees.

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