Make Italy Yours

A blog of Italian Culture and Nature

Tag: Prayers and Piazzas blog

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.

View original post 17 more words

How to fall in love with Verona in one easy step

Prayers & Piazzas

If the universe had commissioned Walt Disney to create Italy, what he would have crafted, in my opinion, would have looked like today’s Verona. Verona is that exquisite, and magical.

File:20110720 Verona 3078.jpg

Verona Image Credit

Apparently I’m not the only one who feels this way. The entire city of Verona has been named one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. Often, a UNESCO site is something more specific, such as the church in Milan which houses Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, or the ancient dwellings known as trulli in Puglia’s Alberobello. Many Italian cities, such as Florence, Siena and Naples, do find themselves on the heritage list, but it is specifically for their historic city centers (i centri storici). In Verona, the UNESCO powers that be found the city’s urban structure and architecture so captivating, that they honored the entire city with World Heritage status.

Falling in…

View original post 753 more words

Reasons I love Italy and why I learn Italian

Prayers & Piazzas

Falling in love with the Italian language has been one of the more beautiful surprises of my life.

Growing up in an Italian-American family, with a grandfather who, as a teenager, emigrated from Puglia in southern Italy to America, Italy was no big deal to me. I never intended to learn Italian, and I especially never expected to love every moment of it…read more on Studentessa Matta (honored to be featured there!)


View original post

A Tiny Tuscan Church

Prayers & Piazzas

Nestled in the perfectly preserved walled town of Monteriggioni in Tuscany is the Church of Santa Maria Assunta.


Despite my love affair with Brunelleschi’s famous dome in Florence, it’s this little unassuming church which is my favorite chiesa of all which I’ve seen in Italy thus far.

Built over an ancient church, Santa Maria Assunta was consecrated in the early 1200s following a peace treaty between the notoriously warring Siena and Florence.

Small and peaceful, this tiny stone church doesn’t boast murals from any of Italy’s rock stars from art history. But it’s exactly that simplicity to which I’m drawn.  europe2010-288

Monteriggioni is not far from Florence and is a fantastic stop to include if you are visiting the more popular Tuscan towns of Siena and San Gimignano. If you’re traveling with kids, Monteriggioni is highly recommended!

View original post

Of Masterpieces and Mysticism

Prayers & Piazzas

In the Presence of The Last Supper

Traffic was still light on this Friday summer morning in Milan, and after just a few quick turns our taxi came to a stop on lively Corso Magenta.

Questa è la chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie? Con Il Cenacolo?” (Is this the Santa Maria delle Grazie church? With The Last Supper?) I asked the driver slowly, trying hard to form a complete and error-free question. Perhaps my Italian wasn’t clear the first time I told him our destination. But here he was, stopped on the street, waiting to collect his Euro and wondering why we were still in the car.

I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting. Perhaps a little more fanfare? A big sign and spotlights? At the very least, I thought there would be a crowd of humanity and jumble of street vendors hawking merchandise printed with reproductions…

View original post 1,260 more words

Alla Stazione: Helpful Italian words for train travelers

Prayers & Piazzas

Italy2012 094

Roma Termini

“Roma Termini (in Italian, Stazione Termini) is the main railway station of Rome, Italy. It is named after the district of the same name, which in turn took its name from the ancient Baths of Diocletian (in Latin, thermae) which lie across the street from the main entrance.”


Train stations in Italy can be very intimidating. From my memory, the orario (timetable) like the one above, is updated not too long before departure. So if you are an anxious American traveler like me, who arrives at the station with a reasonable amount of time prior to her train departure (say, 30 minutes), said traveler will not find her train listed on the orario. But stai tranquilla (keep calm, a phrase I’ve heard several times in Italy), it will eventually appear.

In locating one’s train, it is imperative to know the binaro (platform) from which the…

View original post 327 more words

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…

View original post 1,053 more words

%d bloggers like this: