My Second Year of Living In Italy, Part 3

January 29, 2019

After my time in Certaldo with Judy Witts Francini and her husband Andrea, I travelled only a few train stops to Florence, the City that stole my heart 45 years ago.

The Arno River divides the city. The reflections at the right time of day, with the right light create amazing photo opportunities.

And I can never get enough of just wandering the city,

I always feel as though I am just a minor character in a stunning work of art, just a smudge on the painting of exquisite architectural beauty,

Replete with fountains, sculptures,

amazing locations and unique characters.

Usually, I can wander for hours. This time wandering was a bit more of a challenge. For months I had been noticing that my left foot, the foot, I broke in 2017, was causing me intermittent pain. It seemed to increase in the summer while I was in Washington State with my girls. I thought of seeing a doctor, but I decided to be a strong person like my daughter and just keep going. The pain receded and then returned many times. It continued after I returned home to Italy in October. But I hadn’t made it to the doctor yet.

The more I walked, the more it hurt. By the time I arrived in Florence, It was difficult to ignore. I looked forward to arriving at my friend Patti’s house at the edge of Centro Storico.  She was out of town, but her friend Sandy was house-sitting and Patti would be home soon.

Sandy and I had spoken on line. It is always fun to meet Facebook friends and Sandy was no exception.  I think we would have really hit it off immediately if I had not had the worst asthma attack of my life when I arrived. For some reason, breathing seemed optional. I used my inhaler and did my best to stay away from the two beautiful kitties. Sandy and I left almost immediately and went out to dinner to a place where I could eat a gluten free pizza. She was a great help.

The next morning my friends Arianna Cini and Alessio of Km Zero Tours, picked me up and we headed for the Chianti Hills above the city.

Unfortunately, I lost the rest of our photos the next morning. I woke up and spilled an entire glass of water on my computer. Poof, gone. Sandy and I did everything we could to save my computer. Unfortunately, It was nearly a total loss.  E` la vita, That’s life. There will be more photos with them soon. But for now, remember their name. And see older blogs covering experiences with them.

After Patti returned home and rested a bit, we went out for dinner and closed out the night at a bar with a band playing. Patti knew everyone—she is a guitarist/songwriter/vocalist who performs extensively in Florence. She talked me into joining the band for one song. It was the first time I sang with a group in several years. What fun!

The next day I returned home to Chiavari. The next weekend my friends and I visited a Christmas Festival in Celle Ligure, a new discovery for me along the sea in Liguria. It was a lovely day filled with farinata, a Ligurian specialty made with chick-pea flour, shopping and a parade.

If you are looking for a place off the beaten path, I would highly recommend Celle Ligure.  Let me know if you would like more information on this gorgeous seaside town.

After being in Italy only about 8 weeks, after killing my camera, stressing my foot, breaking my Lavatrice, washing machine (did I forget to mention that?) and getting it replaced, it was time to head back to the States for a few weeks over the holidays. But first, I spent my birthday in Pisa and Viarreggio with friends.

We visited the church of Santa Maria Carmine in Pisa and walked to the river.

We had intended to experience a chocolate festival in Viareggio. However, it was cancelled at the last minute and we did not receive notice until we arrived in Viareggio. We made the best of it.

The following day I headed south to Rome for a two-night visit. My friend, Mary Roma, of Rome Cab Transfer, arranged a night drive around Rome.

I wanted to feel the holiday spirit that the Eternal City does so well.

We drove for hours. It was a treat.

I began the year in Rome with Mary Roma and Rome Cab Transfer. Now, after they dropped me off at the airport, I ended my time in Italy for the year and headed to see my girls for the holidays.

By this time, and after all that walking, my foot was failing. So, the week after Christmas, I finally saw two doctors, had two ex-rays, and two ultra-sounds. I have a torn ligament beneath my foot that is severely inflamed. The doctor believes it has been there for a year or more. He cut out a couple foot inserts so my foot could fit better into my shoes and told me to avoid walking. HA!

The top of my foot is about the same. So, the universe is telling me to stay home more, kick up my heels and elevate that foot. I do need to see a doctor in Italy now.

During my second year in Italy, I broke my Nikon camera, my washing machine, my computer, my phone died, and my foot may take years to recover. However, I spent months with my girls, I traveled many new places with and without friends, I visited favorite spots, my relatives gave me a birthday party and it was all worth it.

When you decide to make the choice of traveling in Italy, let me know. I can help you on your adventure and, hopefully, your feet will be fine. Contact me at

Until then,

A dopo!

Ciao for now!

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