Tag Archive: italy

Buon San Valentino!

Just up the long winding street from my villa in Firenze towards Fiesole is this wonderful work of art… Every time I pass by, it takes my breath away – amongst all the grey stones and greenery, is this bright red message of amore. It’s simple, yet just as moving and meaningful to me as any painting by Botticelli, Michelangelo or Da Vinci that I encountered at the Uffizi Gallery. It appeared on this wall a couple of years ago, and apparently, the man comes back every so often to make sure it doesn’t fade and remains fresh and bright…

with the soul
with the heart
I love you
my only

Buon San Valentino 🙂



A Walk about Fiesole

One of my favorite things to do here in Italy is to just walk and see where it takes me. Step outside the villa where I’m living, and in any direction is rich beauty, history, nature, soulfulness, and wonderful characters… everything and everyone a fascinating romantic story in itself. If you keep striding up the steep hillside, about 40 minutes up, you’ll arrive in the small ancient town of Fiesole, where there are remains from civilizations dating back to 8th century BC. There is a Roman-era amphitheatre where they hold classical and jazz music concerts in the summer, a temple, thermal baths, and relics showcased in a museum on site. There was only one other person walking around the ruins when I walked around this day, and she quickly left. The beauty, the quiet, the overwhelming history of this place took over, and the afternoon was magical! I absolutely loved walking on the stones and on the proscenium of the stage and along the baths walls – it’s all open for you to enjoy, contemplate, and frolick around.

One of my absolute favorite things here on the Tuscan hillside is all of the Olive trees! They are everywhere, and this particular tree (shown above) was right next to the amphitheatre (shown below) and with the breeze and sun behind it, it was just stunning.



Lots of walking up and walking down, on narrow cobbled streets with stone walls overgrown with moss and vines… all for the benefit of the spectacular views of Florence and the Tuscan countryside… as well as working off that pizza!



You don’t run into many people in and around Fiesole in February – a few ladies heading to early evening mass, a motorcyclist or two, a local nun, a few shop owners… Most of the mazes of streets are quiet and have high stone walls with an amusing dichotomy of either enormous estates behind gated entries or a teeny tiny door in the wall where a family lives – I love that!


Thank goodness my neighborhood is so beautiful, walkable and fascinating! Otherwise that daily salami and cheese habit would be the ruin of me 🙂

thanks for taking a walk with me!



A Villa in Firenze

With less than 24 hours before my big move from Los Angeles to Italy earlier this month, I still did not have an Italian home, hotel, hostel or any sort of accommodations booked. I was the only person in my life not deeply concerned about this. I had booked my flight, sold most of my stuff, suspended my iphone account and packed all I need in life into two bags. I just knew deep in my soul that everything was going to click. And boy did it ever. I went online the night before my flight to do a search. When I clicked on the listing for this Villa – I felt in my gut This was it.

Every moment since arriving at the Villa has confirmed that this beautiful home in the Florence hills is everything I wanted and more. I craved restoration after an overbooked year and wanted to dive into pleasure.  The villa is such a special place, and after only one week here, I feel at home, relaxed, centered, feminine, creative, sexy and inspired.

The Villa is filled with beauty, character, history and art. I picked up my camera yesterday afternoon totally inspired and enjoyed capturing what I love about the villa. But my number one favorite thing about this place you won’t see a picture of: the owners/hosts, Frederica and her family, who have given me such warmth and generous hospitality. She’s responsible for the villa being in the beautiful state that it’s in, and so much more importantly, she makes this space feel like home. My dad used to say, “The people make the place.” And I am eternally grateful to Frederica and the other wonderful guests here for making this place the truly amazing and memorable experience that it is.

So allow me to show you around!… This is the view from my bedroom window… phenomenal, right?!

The villa is brimming with beauty both inside and out, and the building is full of art – you seriously can feel it in the air and in the stones.  This is the front patio and side garden. And that’s the dresser in my bedroom.  I love having this painting in my daily view.


The foundation of the villa dates back to 1400. I love the unique location – so close to the city, yet a complete quiet oasis. We are situated on a huge hillside, just below the famous Fiesole hills in Florence, about a ten minute walk down a beautiful stone-walled street to where you can easily walk, bike or bus into the city center.


There are hundreds of paintings within the Villa, and an original fresco dating back to the early 1400’s! These breathtaking panels were painted by Frederica’s grandfather.


I’m in love with this green natural patina (and the Chianti candle).


The villa consists of 3 independent apartments. On the right, one of many gates and doors that I enter through to get into my home. I think my villa key ring has 5 front gate/door keys. I kinda like that. There seems to be hundreds of doors in the Villa, and I am always amazed when I discover that what I thought was a painting or a closet is an actual doorway leading into an entirely new area of the villa.


The rooms are authentically furnished, simple, gorgeous, and totally soothing.


The pic above is the view outside my bedroom window to the southwest. I feel incredibly blessed daily to live fully amongst such beautiful surroundings and the fact that this was Michelangelo’s and Leonardo daVinci’s stomping ground is just a fun bonus.

In addition to mother nature’s finest work on the surrounding Tuscan hillside, I’m sure the villa’s long artistic and literary history have a lot to do with the inspiring energy of this place. Quick history lesson before I run off to have my third lunch today: there’s a plaque on the villa’s wall dedicated to famous author and resident from 1889-1935, Violet Paget. Known by her male pseudonym Vernon Lee, Violet received visits from literary greats: Henry James, Aldous Huxley, Edith Wharton, among others, and part of the plaque reads:

“she loved Italy… and spent her long life in the passionate search for beauty…”

I can relate soul sister.