Wednesday, July 6, 2016


 Three young tenors aged between 21 and 23, and from 3 different Regions of Italia (Sicilia, Emilia Romagna, Abruzzo), Il Volo, performed a Tribute Concert in Piazza Santa Croce, Firenze on July 1, 2016.

The first photo shows a much younger group, early in their career.

Second photo, Il Volo with Placido Domingo.

Third photo, the day's free insert into local newspapers.

Fourth, grazie mille Patrizia.  What a wonderful farewell evening!

Fifth, arriving at our platea seats after a very hot day in Firenze, but a glorious warm evening to enjoy the music.  The last one, around 11.30pm.

The backing orchestra from Teatro Massimo di Palermo, conducted by Placido Domingo.

sindaco mayor in Italy

 The sindaco in Italy (mayor of the town/ city/ province) is powerful and important in the everyday life and political life of their area.

At left in white is the Sindaco of Roma, Virginia Raggi.  Below her is the Sindaco of Cascina, Susanna Ceccardi.

The Sindaco is often seen at public events with an official  red white and green sash over his/her shoulder and across the chest.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

gondola ride in traffic

 These 5 fotos were taken within minutes of each other, late June.  If you are considering a quiet, relaxing or romantic ride in a gondola, choose your  time and place for getting into the gondola carefully. This looked like peak hour.  How skilled the gondoliers are, never touching each other's gondola, passing and waiting for one to turn into the canal.

Even the motor boats have a little difficulty passing each other in some of the narrow canals.

Think carefully too before you take a ride in a gondola  on the Grand Canal.  Can often be very busy: other gondolas are not the problem... think of the ferries!

Florian Venice

 One of Italy's oldest caffe establishments, Florian has been operating since 1720 in the heart of Venezia at Piazza San Marco .  In summer it's best in the morning or evening as the full sun is a killer , not to mention the tourists, in Piazza S Marco.

An orchestra plays at most hours. On the occassion of our visit in late June we had a pianist, a cellist, a violinist and a man playing the piano accordion.

There's Florian's Tea Rooms, Florian's Bar, and a good section of the piazza also.  A great spot to stop for a drink or snack.  You could get a coca cola for Euro11, a cappuccino for Euro 12.50, a gelato for Euro19.50, or an aperitivo rosso florian for Euro 12.50.  And many other treats on offer of course also. A bottle of Bollinger would set you back Euro300.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Harry's Bar, Harry's Dolci: Cipriani in Venezia

On my final day in Venezia we decided to take a trip to Giudecca, the long thin island not far from San Marco square in central Venice. A short trip on public transport (ferry) Linea number 2 took us to stop Planca Giudecca at around 1.30 pm,
peak time for a light lunch.  The temperature was 30 degrees plus, so somewhere in the shade on the lagoon's edge was  the place to go.  Not wanting to go into the nearest restaurant we strolled along to Fondamenta San Biagio and a restaurant that took our eyes, an all in white terrace with a floating white canopy right on the water's edge.  It wasn't until I read the
menu (with prices) that I realised we had inadvertently landed at Harry's Dolci, a less formal side of one of the Cipriani family's upmarket eateries. Service was courteous, food was simple and well presented, table cloth and serviettes were of white linen,  acqua frizzante was cold,  the waves of the lagoon almost lapped at our feet and the busy movements of hundreds of various boating vehicles kept us entertained and relaxed: postal service, tour groups in private boats, wooden taxis, builders carrying heavy equipment, ferries with trucks on board, even a "Red Bus" (in this case a red boat) for tourists' views of the city by boat.
kept us entertained and relaxed.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania Sicilia Italy

Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania.  on the night of Friday June 10, a magnificent performance of Spartacus - Balletto Classico.
Inside Ceiling
This narrow "street" on the left side of the theatre building is now named after Maria Callas... Bellini's famous opera Norma was one of her favourites, which she sang here at Teatro Massimo Bellini.
Inside the reception foyer... never-ending mirrors.
The sophisticated chandelier in the foyer / reception room
Vincenzo Bellini
Bellini's statue in the foyer

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Corri la Vita: combating breast cancer in Florence

through the Boboli Grdens, along the Arno River

You'd be forgiven for  thinking that Firenze / Florence was welcoming Ciao Bella Tours to the city. Hot pink everywhere.Thousands of people (and dogs) turned out on September 27 2015 for the 12th version of the walk or run through the city of Firenze , with the focus on combating breast cancer. Salvatore Ferragamo is the major sponsor.

The shorter walk of 4.6 km commenced at the Piazza del Duomo,  and the route took us along the Arno, across two bridges ( Carraia, and alle Grazie), past the Pitti Paace, through the Boboli Gardens, up to the Forte Belvedere, and finally to  Piazza Signoria.  Men, women, children of all ages, babies in prams or rucksack type carriers on the back of Mamma or Babo, dogs on leaches (many wearing the pink tshirt), all wearing the hot pink tshirts with a number attached..  We spotted  a number in the 40,000s

Afterwards, back to friends' home for a huge Sunday lunch with the family