I was married in ITALY………..in 1986.
Five years later I would be living there!
I lived in ITALY for 3 years……….2 months and 8 days!
Do you think I wanted TO LEAVE?
I felt at HOME there in the COUNTRYSIDE of FLORENCE,ITALY.
The only thing that could have made it BETTER was if we owned a CASA COLONICA or an old BARN as our HOUSE!
Three years went by relatively FAST……
Once I understood the BASIC’s!
HOW TO DRIVE!
Washing machine even SMALLER.
NO CLOTHES DRYER AT ALL!
EVERYTHING was IRONED as the water was so HARD the clothes dried STIFF,actually crunchy!
When I say EVERYTHING I mean EVERYTHING!
UNDERWEAR and TOWELS TOO!
One had to DRESS to go FOOD SHOPPING……..wool pants and a silk blouse.
ABSOLUTELY NO JEANS!
The Grocery store ESSELUNGA CLOSED on WEDNESDAY AFTERNOONS!
Closed on SUNDAYS AS WELL.
HARDWARE STORE would NOT sell my ITALIAN a BOX of screws…….only a few!
Clerk:”How many do you need?”
ITALIAN Husband “I don’t know I will take a box”
Clerk:”I can’t sell you a box what if someone else needs them!”
(ITALIAN MENTALITY……………. thinking about THE OTHER GUY!!)
Milk came in a LITER BOX.I bought 6 liters every other day.
It cost MORE than wine.
To Buy wine you drove up to the winery with your big glass bottles in hay set in a basket.You grabbed a hose inside the door…….No one was ever around and you filled up your bottles.Once home you syphon off the wine by a hose into smaller table size wine bottles and topped it off with an oil made for wine to seal the air.
ALL BILLS were paid at THE POST OFFICE!
(Such as phone, electrical and gas.)
IN CASH ONLY.
EASY to rob someone in line as they all had CASH!
Most things were paid in cash.Credit cards weren’t in fashion to pay when we lived there.
If you bought a House the loan could only be for 10 years.Most people paid in CASH and would never take out a LOAN.It just was not DONE.
YOU lived with FAMILY.
I passed an old OXEN DRAWN CART daily on my way up and down the hill.One day I saw a FARMER amongst THE OLIVE TREES.I stopped the car and asked if he would sell me THE CART?
“YES”, without hesitation he said.I than asked HOW MUCH?
ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS was the AMOUNT.
I had to HOLD BACK MY EXCITEMENT!
He even knew where we lived on top of a hill that over looked FLORENCE.
He would DELIVER THAT CART the next day!
I didNOT tell THE ITALIAN as he would have asked TOO many questions!
Next day I am taking my SONS down the hill to school and WHAT DO WE SEE?
The OLD OXEN DRAWN CART being pulled up the hill by a TRACTOR!The wheels are actually spinning on the cart.I told my Oldest SON he would be late for school as we were turning around and following this tractor HOME!If any bits were to fall off the cart which was moving at about 5 miles an hour he was to jump out of the car and fetch them!I think that happened TWICE.
THE CART made it to our front garden!
I than took the BOYS back down the hill to school!
I than got a phone call at Home from The ITALIAN!
“Is there anything I should know about?”
You see he saw the CART being towed up the hill an HOUR earlier when he left for work!
He KNEW EXACTLY where THAT CART was going!!!!!!!!!!
Another GOOD STORY was when I traded olive oil for rusted sconces……..plus money!
Those sconces are mounted on wood on either side of the FIREPLACE NOW.
To some they are JUNK…….NOT TO ME!They held candles and were in a circular form at one time to Light the streets of Florence!
THE MEDICI CREST.
That was the family who ruled FLORENCE for many many years…………
This guy is BIG!
He resides at
Villa Demidoff, A Medici Villa
These chickens belong to another friend who lived in a CASA COLONICA.
They were fascinating people as well…………….too bad I cannot recall their name!
They lived in GRASSINA anyone out there remember?
I found this on one of my drives behind our HOUSE!
OLD ~ OLD ~ OLD!!!!!!
I had seen a dress like this in a magazine and had this one MADE in FLORENCE!
By a woman who made Children’s clothing!
Oh, the ITALIAN was SO LUCKY HE HAD BOYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The MONEY THAT WAS SAVED!
This was either 1992 or 1993……..
Each summer we would stay at THE BEACH for about 6 weeks……
This was an excursion we took with FRIENDS.
A very famous Church that only the sides remain.The name escapes me at the moment!
(Thank you Alexa.xa on instagram)
NOTE:The ITALIAN is standing on his TIPPY TOES!
I loved MY sandals……had them FOR YEARS!!!!!!
There was a big basket hanging off the back side of me!Nothing has changed there either!
I still DRESS THE ITALIAN in COLORS!!!!!
I would be HAPPY to LIVE in this structure!I’m happy to say my ESTHETICS have NEVER CHANGED!
THIS IS BLISS FOR ME!
Can you make out the DOOR between the VITA AMERICANA?
That is what they call this type of IVY!
WE lived outside of FLORENCE…….20 Minutes to downtown .
We did this ONLY ONCE but we took the TRAIN to BOLOGNA.
(BEST FOOD IN ALL OF ITALY!)
to buy our BOYS MCDONALDS!
ME TOO……..as I loved a QUARTER POUNDER with CHEESE and THOSE FRENCH FRIES!
On that TRIP we found a great MARKET with FABULOUS ceramics………..too bad I had the ITALIAN with me!
He gives me THAT EYE ROLL!!!!
However, I did end up with some MAGNIFICENT CUPS!
The POWER OF PUPPY EYES!
My FASCINATION with OLD DOORS has NEVER left ME!
Also, the DOOR KNOCKERS were a BIG DRAW for ME!
I could NEVER be BORED walking around downtown!
The TABLE ARTISAN on the LEFT here and the ENTREPRENEUR SON (food trucks) on the RIGHT!
WITH PAPA IN THE MIDDLE!
These were MY FRIENDS when we lived in ITALY……….
Starting on the LEFT we have GRACE the CANADIAN.Than CINDY an AMERICAN,Katharine an AMERICAN I donot recall the woman with the baby I think she is an ITALIAN………..at the VERY end is ANGELICA a GERMAN.
WE FOUND each other and would do PLAY DATES and meet up at PARKS or at each others HOMES…..
This DAY was a GRACE DAY she had us heading across the RIVER ARNO to this PARK and we had a picnic!
Grace lived in an OLD VILLA that was down the MOST BEAUTIFUL STREET to me called VIA CAROTA.
I would STOP by and have a cup of TEA with her in the afternoon before picking up the BOYS at school.
Grace was usually IRONING!
She has THREE KIDS.
Cindy lived across the PIAZZA from GRACE and she was and is a TOUR GUIDE.
She always had a good story to tell about THE TOURSIT’S quizzing her on her knowledge of ART WORK!
KATHARINE,knew everyone and how to OPERATE most anything.She was from Los Angeles, BRENTWOOD and became my FAST FRIEND!She too ended up with THREE children…….
Angelica,was LIVING MY DREAM LIFE!She owned a CASA COLONICA in the countryside outside a small village called GREVE.Most likely if you have been on a TUSCAN TOUR you went to GREVE!They had GRAPEVINES as well which my family got to participate one year in the VENNDEMIA.The picking of the grapes for the wine harvest!
Her husband was from LEBANON, she was GERMAN and they lived in ITALY therefore spoke ITALIAN and their SON went to the FRENCH SCHOOL!That child spoke all four languages BEAUTIFULLY!What a GIFT they gave their children!
There are MORE FUN STORIES to share like THE FACT, I had to go to DRIVING SCHOOL in ITALIAN and know ALL the PARTS of a MOTOR and their FUNCTION!!!!!!!!!Heck, I did not know them in ENGLISH!Everyone held their breath while I took that TEST!
My ITALIAN was NOT SO GOOD!!!!!
A MIRACLE INDEED!
The Most IMPORTANT lesson I learned right away was NOT to stop for Pedestrians that are in the crosswalk!You are likely to be rear-ended!Actually, driving in ITALIA was MY BIGGEST FEAR of the MOVE and I can honestly say I conquered that FEAR after THREE DAYS!
Or the time I spent $100.00 on a SALMON for Christmas Eve that wouldNOT fit in the DINKY OVEN!I was horrified at the cost………who knew THAT FISH was so expensive in FLORENCE in 1991?Certainly NOT ME!But because the VENDORS KNEW who I was and had known my MOTHER IN LAW I did not have the COURAGE to say NO THANK YOU after they had wrapped it and charged me!
I called THE ITALIAN at WORK IN TEARS!!!!!!!
Than the FISH wouldn’t fit in the oven he was too BIG!So that ITALIAN MADE A BOX of wood covered in FOIL and CURVED THAT FISH TO FIT!
Do you know way back then 27 years ago you had to pay for a plastic bag!You also loaded up your groceries yourself!People were always bringing the plastic bags back to RE-USE!There were garbage cans for GLASS and PLASTIC way back in 1991!
You know those green bottles that seem to have popped up this last decade that are very POPULAR for DECOR that were for wine?SEE PHOTO ABOVE!
Well, I found mine at THE GARBAGE BIN at the base of our HILL……that’s right we had to put the garbage in the trunk of our car and drive it down to be PICKED UP!I always thought the emergency break wouldn’t HOLD while I did that!
When it came time to LEAVE ITALY and return to the STATES I would NOT leave without them!
Nor MY CARRELLO!!!!!!!
The OXEN DRAWN CART!
The last TAX that was paid on this was in 1948…….The metal tag is still on it!
My plan in Florence was to make it a FLOWER VESSEL.
The cart made it to CALIFORNIA only to decompose over the last 25 years……..she sits in the front yard today without her wheels which are in the side yard!Did I tell you SHE was found under the olive trees next to a VILLA where ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING lived?!
HERE I AM sipping an ESPRESSO…….VERY RARE for ME with My newly acquired CARRELLO!
FAVORITE TOOL FOUND was a little hand rake to knock down the olives from the trees!I think I SOLD THAT at my ANTIQUE SHOP years ago!
I bought HORSE MEAT thinking it was BANKSY MEAT!!!!!The SISTER IN LAWS would NOT eat it and I couldn’t understand WHY until the one went NEIGH NEIGH!!!!!!I ANNOUNCED I was NOT eating it either!!!!
THE ITALIAN DID!
He wastes NOTHING!!!!!!
I found one of these little doors in STONE to BUY!!!!
So, I did without HESITATION!I hid it in the BIG CARS TRUNK from MY ITALIAN until Father’s Day came around!You see that is how I introduced the BIG EXPENSIVE STUFF TO HIM!
A GIFT for HIM but really a THRILL FOR ME!
Never mind he took the BIG CAR to work one day…He NEVER drove the BIG CAR TO WORK!And once again on his way he hears BANG~BOOM~ BANG in the trunk and calls me to ASK what is inside!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?
I had to tell him about HIS gift EARLY!
Not this one but a similar one is cemented into a wall in our Home…………
These were found in churches and Homes in Italy.I have been told varying stories about their purpose but lets just say it was used as a little SAFE.
ALL THE PHOTOS HERE ARE MY OLD FASHION PHOTOS WITH A REAL CAMERA FROM SOME VERY SPECIAL BOOKS THAT HOUSED MY MEMORIES OF OUR YEARS ABROAD.
I found a lovely BRITISH WOMAN out in SAN CASCIANO who made HATS!!!!!!!!
A SIGNORA BING, I think was her name!OH, what an OUTING we had!I would round up MY TRIBE and OFF we would GO!She lived in a BEAUTIFUL OLD FARMHOUSE with a GARDEN TO DIE FOR!The one hat I purchased lived on my HEAD and on my FRONT DOOR FOR YEARS!I still have it!!!!!!!!
I found the ONLY THRIFT SHOP out on a hill in SCANDICCI.In fact, a BLOG I READ NOW OUR FRENCH OASIS in FRANCE mentioned it recently…… Emmaus! I gather its a CHAIN!After the thrift shop an antique shop or two were on the road home!I could ALWAYS find a TREASURE!
I READ two BLOGS that take place in FRANCE well MORE but these two I will mention TODAY!
One is OUR FRENCH OASIS which is written by an ENGLISH LADY living THE LIFE of MY DREAMS in an OLD FARMHOUSE with HER CHILDREN and HUSBAND!Click over and SEE what I am talking about!
Another is TASTE OF FRANCE an AMERICAN living overseas in a FRENCH VILLAGE!She shares HER LIFE and recipes and wanderings with US and is ALWAYS SO KIND TO COMMENT ON MY BLOG!
Both of these WOMEN are EXCELLENT WRITERS………….and do a FABULOUS JOB!
If you are a EUROPEAN JUNKIE like ME take a PEEK!
(FANCY NANCY YOU WILL ENJOY THESE SO SUBSCRIBE!)
I could go on and on……….but I will STOP HERE for TODAY!
WE did NOT FLEE TO ITALY as some FAMILIES DO to have an EXPERIENCE.
We were NEEDED to Help with my Husbands FAMILY.
We lost Both his parents.
The reason we were in ITALY was due to the DEATH of MY IN LAWS………they died at different times but left behind a couple of SISTERS to MY HUSBAND that needed a HELPING HAND.They were teenagers………MY ITALIAN is 10 years older than the first daughter.He promised his 53 year old MOTHER that he would MOVE back and CARE for the family in her final days.He flew back to the STATES helped me pack up………we sold all OUR BELONGINGS to friends and strangers and were back in ITALY within 10 DAYS…………………….with our TWO SONS.
I barely spoke the language…………
THIS EXPERIENCE MADE ME WHO I AM TODAY!
I fell in LOVE with this old CITY and being THE AMERICAN did not want to come BACK to the USA!
But that is a story for another day……….and by now you must be ready to Hop over to those other Blogs I mentioned!
SO CIAO CIAO………ARREVADARRCI …….until next Time!
PS.A REAL CONTESSA LIVED DOWN THE HILL FROM US.SHE HAD THE CASA COLONICA AND THE CANADIAN HUSBAND WHO LOOKED LIKE SANTA WITH A TON of DOGS!IT LEFT A BEAUTIFUL IMPRESSION ON ME.I do THINK of her often……………..