September 25, 2008


Living in Florence often feels like living in Disneyland
without free bathrooms!

I actually LIVED downtown Florence for 24 years,
just moving full time to my place in the countryside this May.

Living in Florence often feels like living in Disneyland, with over 500,000 tourists
a day coming into town, often really running through.
Been there done that sort of attitude, if it's Tuesday,must be Florence.
Cruise ships, drop clients off in Livorno and they spend 1 1/2 hours coming into town and the same leaving, so they arrive around 10am and leave at 4pm.
In a country where the 3 hour lunch still exists, this cramps ones style.

This week I met some lovely tourists from the south who said that they had not had good Italian food - LIKE AT HOME- here in Italy.


I understand that, I hated Italian food in America and love it here.

I am really a city girl, love being able to wake up and walk outside
without having to drive to get an expresso or the paper.

Now I live in the middle of olive groves and vineyards
and sometimes don't leave for days.

Life is different now.
Thank God for internet ( even slow dialup!)
There is hope though news on a new service for my area, private router with WIFI too!

Yesterday, headed out to Prato to search out some places to eat while there
next week as a base for my Master Chocolate Program
for Ecole Chocolat.
Prato is a 12 minute train ride from the Rifredi train station,
where we changed trains instead of going all the way down to the Santa Maria Novella station,
but that would have only added on 4 or 5 minutes.

So close yet so far away.

Italy has only been united since the late 1800's
and animosity between the different towns is still alive.

In Florence they say:
" Meglio un morto in casa che un Pisano sull'uscio"
Better a dead person in the house that someone from Pisa on your doorstep. All because Pisa put a tax on salt!

I have never heard any sayings about people from Prato,
but saying someone was from Prato was said in a way
to let you know they were not Florentines.

So I have never spent much time in Prato, like Torino, famous for industry.

Yesterday I discovered a lovely town totally worth visiting for tourists.
Much like Lucca, Prato is a walled in city, which gives you the feel of
peace and quiet and a real town.

EVERYONE was on bikes or walking.

Sitting down to eat did not cost a fortune.

There are several churches with amazing fresco's.

detail of side of Prato's Cathedral

A wonderful textile museum, Prato has been famous since medieval times for fabrics.
On the edge of town is also a modern art musuem, Luigi Pecci.

Another reason to come to Prato is the lovely
Mattei Pastry shop.
This is the original store for Biscotti di Prato, often called Cantucci here.
They are celebrating their 150th anniversary on Monday;
and we wil be there!
WEAR SOMETHING BLUE, like their famous bags.

The Party starts at 6pm o Monday.
See you there.

True Biscotti have no butter.
Does that mean we can eat more?

Funny porta-potties for workers!


  1. janie5:40 PM

    Yes-it does mean you can eat more biscotti!

  2. hello.
    just found your blog on blogroll and love it!
    we are planning a trip to Firenze and Bologna, and will stay outside of town, too crowded!
    Thanks for the tips!

  3. Love all the pics!

  4. I love your blog and am adding it to my blogroll!
    So happy that I found you!
    Stacey Snacks

  5. "Meglio un morto in casa che un Pisano sull'uscio."

    That was one of my favorite sayings when I lived in Florence! Oh you're bringing back memories.

    I've just found your blog and now I am going to look around. It's pretty darn impressive so far!

  6. Yes biscotti (and ALL Italian sweets for that matter) are calorie free, didn't you know ;)

  7. such a wonderful life, Alfredo!