Make Italy Yours

A blog of Italian Culture and Nature

Tag: Florence

A Church with a View

Prayers & Piazzas

Image result for san miniato al monte

Outside, the day was steamy and still, a typical late afternoon July day in Florence. But inside, ahhhh, inside the walls of San Miniato al Monte, which have stood watch over the Florentines since 1018 from one of the city’s highest points, inside was cool and subdued.

We happened to wander in at 17:30, which, on summer weekdays, is the mass featuring Gregorian chants. It was haunting and magical, even for 10-year-old Daughter, who, after three weeks in Italy with her obsessive mamma, had well had her fill of churches.

Here’s Firenze, from San Miniato al Monte’s perspective:


San Miniato al Monte is an easy walk from Piazzale Michelangelo, and I highly recommend you sneak in a visit, even if it’s just a quick one, should you find yourself in Florence.

San Miniato al Monte will be featured in my upcoming post, Churches of Florence: A Love Story.

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Firenze (Florence) Italy

Travel and Food of Europe Blog

We love Firenze! It is a big and beautiful city. It is Italy. It is the capital of art and architecture in Italy. From the duomo to the ponte vecchio to the views this is an interesting city.

Stop at a bar or small restaurant and enjoy life as it passes by you. Have a cafè, panini, gelato or a glass of wine as you observe life.

Come and walk with us in Firenze in our video below and see this wonderful city…

– George

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Treasure hunting on Via Maggio.

Mulberry Ink

Walking down Via Maggio in Oltrarno, your eyes will be feasted on the gorgeous window displays of Florentine art galleries and antique shops. It is a notorious street for treasure hunting, but of course not without a hefty price tag. Most places look way too expensive for me to even consider entering, so most times I just sneakily walk by and peek through the windows to catch a quick glimpse.

There are a couple exceptions of course, and one of them is “& Company.”

You won’t miss the vibrant window display with beautiful handwritten calligraphy covering the glass, inviting you to come in. Upon entering, I felt like I had been transported into a wonderland full of ornate handmade and handwritten paper designs hanging from the ceiling. Whimsical touches were everywhere to be found and beautiful calligraphy was on everything.

The owner, Betti Soldi, is a famous Florentine calligraphy artist…

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Strolling Mona Lisa’s Florence

Prayers & Piazzas

This time last year I found myself waking up in Florence — strange for a Southern California resident — the chimes of the Duomo’s bells drifting through my open window. For me, every morning in Italy feels full of opportunity and ripe with undiscovered memories. But this particular morning promised a once-in-a-lifetime gift. On a whim, I had run away to Florence to walk in the footsteps of Mona Lisa with Dianne Hales, the author who brought the iconic donna (woman) to life for me in the acclaimed book MONA LISA: A Life Discovered.

A gentle rainstorm the day before had washed the city clean, and this jewel of the Renaissance sparkled under the crystal blue sky that October morning. Walking through the cobblestone streets which smell of leather, I am humbled to think about how many other rock stars of history have wandered this same path. Evidence of this is…

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The Last Sun-L’ultimo Sole

The Beauty of Florence and Chianti

Adventures in Wonderland

We spent two days in Florence. We decided to not rush all over trying to cram everything in. Better to see a few things well than a lot of things in a blur. On our first day we gaped at the stunning magnificence of the duomo, but didn’t go inside, went to the Uffizi Gallery, where I melted in front of the Botticellis, walked across the Arno on the Ponte Vecchio, still lined with jewellery shops, and climbed to Piazzale Michaelangelo on a hill above Florence for some wonderful views of the city.

On the way to the Uffizi we met this fellow – who would move for a fee.

And then this one.

And from inside the Uffizi, through double paned windows I took this picture of the Arno River.

Ponte Vecchio – the buildings that are attached to both sides of the bridge house jewellery shops. It was…

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Dante and his secret love for Beatrice

by Mauro Savino

Dante Sculpture by Enrico Pazzi

Dante. Sculpture by Enrico Pazzi in front of the Basilica Santa Croce

The references to Fioretta and Violetta are only a few examples of the importance of women in Dante’s poetry often considered by many scholars a shield to hide his secret love for Beatrice. In his Work Vita Nova, Dante speaks about his love representing her as an angel or a kind of miracle. In fact, her name means beatitudo, that is “she who gives bliss”, an angelic being coming down from Heaven thus it’s difficult to understand whether their relationship is real or divine representing a recurrent question by scholars and common people. Notwithstanding, it’s possible to identify Beatrice. Her name was Bice, she was Folco Portinari’s daughter, a Florentine wealthy banker. Dante made her acquaintance around 1285 and she died five years later.

Dante's Church florence

Dante’s Church – Chiesa di Santa Margherita de’ Cerchi

Did Dante really love Beatrice? He dedicated her Vita Nova, but we are unable to state if it is the story of a physical relationship since Beatrice represented something sacred. Influenced by the Franciscan spirit of his time, Dante considered Beatrice a literary and symbolic figure, a way to reach God representing the role of Christ thus her death is like the Ascension into Heaven. It is relevant to understand if Dante really loved Beatrice only just as an anecdote whilst it is less important to the author’s aims. Our curiosity is not satisfied but it should be evidenced that Dante lived during the Middle Ages and at that time the body itself was considered insignificant. Dante himself considered his love for Beatrice a supreme and unique love and although he loved her only in this way, he certainly loved her a lot.

(English revision by Silvia Maiella)


Letters to Beatrice Dante's Church florence

Letters to Beatrice

Letters to Beatrice Dante's Church florence


Chiesa di Santa Margherita de’ Cerchi (Dante’s Church)

Piazza Santa Croce


Dante's Church florence

Visitors. Dante’s Church – Chiesa di Santa Margherita de’ Cerchi

[Special thanks to Alberto Gherardini, SB]

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