Monday, July 16, 2012


Glove shops are sprinkled all over the place in Florence. I like nothing better than looking snappy during the winter, but even more than that, I love being warm. I get cold faster than anyone else I know, so no hoodies for me -- I have to wear two at a time to keep warm in my house. When going outside, I wear either a lambswool or Swedish wool sweater with a colorful scarf, black wool trench coat, and a black cloche or magenta fedora. So when I noticed the glove shops all over, I knew I had to find some.

Since I'll be here for a month, I took my time and checked out the prices of several shops before deciding where to buy. Today, I went to Martelli's Glove Factory and bought a pair of navy blue leather gloves with silk lining.

I wanted to get magenta or a bright blue to match the fedora, but the shop lady said that one should either wear a bright hat and understated gloves, or an understated hat and bright gloves. She recommended the navy color, which I bought -- though I may still return to get a bright pair, too. This is what they looked like when I first bought them, and here's a photo after a year of use:


Some people come to Florence and buy jewelry on the Ponte Vecchio, maybe even more come for the designer shoes, but my favorite souvenir is a smart pair of gloves.

Update: I did go back for a bright purple pair:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I have been in Florence for just over a week now and live with four roommates in the tourist-y area of Via de Guicciardini. We have an apartment on the second floor with tile flooring, wood-framed windows, lace curtains, no air conditioning, and a small washing machine and refrigerator. 

For the first few days, doing everything was an adventure. We knocked on our neighbors’ doors to ask how to use the washing machine, but nobody answered. One of my clever roomies figured it out by Youtubing it. The first grocery store we went to was very expensive and about the size of a 7-11 in the states, but since then we found a bigger store – about ½ the size of a Stater Brothers. There’s also a market across town where they have a good selection of produce – but we don’t go over that way too often. Also had to learn how to reheat food without a microwave.

So far, we’ve only had media workshop classes – a CSUF professor is teaching us basic photography skills and showing us how to use iPhoto, GarageBand, and Final Cut on the school MacBooks. I’m not great at this sort of thing, but am slowly picking it up.

During the week, we walk fifteen minutes to get to school, which is about halfway between Piazza Signori and the Santa Croce church. This is my favorite part of the day. We go over the Ponte Vecchio bridge, dodging crowds of tourists and walking over cobblestones that are who knows how old, cobblestones that Dante and Michelangelo could have walked on a few of these stones! The streets are narrow between the high brick buildings. Laundry hangs out on the balconies just like in the movies.

A few days ago we went to the Accademia and saw Michelangelo’s David; this weekend we spent five hours in Venice, walking around St. Mark's Square & Basilica, eating, and riding gondolas and the water bus. Today we saw the Pitti Palace, which housed the rulers of Florence (including the Medici family) for hundreds of years. There is so much Renaissance and Modern art in there, you wouldn’t believe it. I’m definitely going back to spend more time there; we had a three-hour guided tour, but even that wasn’t enough time.

Tomorrow is the Uffizi Gallery and Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus”!

"Corner of the Ponte Vecchio bridge at dusk," photo by CCM.

"View From Our Door in the Early Morning, Before It Gets Busy," by CCM.

Photo of Michelangelo's "David," by

Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus," photo not mine - unknown photographer.