Monthly Archives: September 2014

HOW MANY EUROS?!

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Wow!  I feel like I’ve had a whirlwind summer and FINALLY the temps here have dipped to the 70’s!!  (Ok, just at night…) Although I had booked our trip to Italy for the End of August/Beginning of September to avoid the Texas heat, Italy was much hotter than I anticipated.  And a word to my sewing friends out there–major fabric retailers in Italy disappear in August.  They simply close their doors, post a sign, and go on Holiday.  While I did visit a few old school, super classy shops in Florence and Venice, I was not so lucky in Rome.  But without further ado, here are pics of Italy–a scenic dream!

COLOSSEUM

COLOSSEUM

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Next stop, the Roman Forum.  Somehow I felt it needed to appear in black and white…

ROMAN FORUM

ROMAN FORUM

A side trip to Naples and Pompeii.  I had no idea that Naples was the third largest city in Italy and densely populated.  Home to Sophia Loren and birthplace of pizza, but also home to organized crime.

Naples City View

Naples City View

Pompeii with Mt. Vesuvius

Pompeii with Mt. Vesuvius

Chained Slave at the time of the volcanic eruption.

Chained Slave at the time of the volcanic eruption.

Florence, I do believe, was my favorite city.  Everywhere you look, there are artists, cathedrals, cafes, and beauty.  Speaking of beauty, nowhere have I seen such picturesque towns as the five little villages of Cinque Terre.  Perched on the seaside cliffs, overlooking the cobalt and aquamarine waves, these villages are accessible only by foot, ferry, or train.  Our tour combined all of these to see each and every village in its glory–colorful homes, quaint shops, and lovely people.  Here is a taste of Cinque Terre:

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Vernazza

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Riomaggiore

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Riomaggiore

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Of course we couldn’t visit Tuscany without a peek at Pisa and Lucca, with its intact medieval wall.

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Seriously, when is the last time you were in a bookstore built with true ancient columns and skylights?

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And, our last stop, Venice…

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The Grand Canal

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A lady showing me how to make lace in Burano.

It is said the colorful homes served as a beacon to the sailors returning home from their fishing expeditions.

Colorful homes of Burano.

Colorful homes of Burano.

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St. Mark’s Basilica

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Navigating the narrow streets.

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In our gondola…

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We pass under one of Venice’s 417 bridges.

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Dusk view from the gondola.

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Venetian traffic jam. 🙂

I mentioned visiting a few fabric shops.  At Casa Dei Tessuti in Florence I purchased an exquisite half meter of sage green velvet.  Hopefully you will see a future delicate evening bag or two?  It didn’t take long to realize that I was in over my head euro-wise.  (Thus the small purchase.)  It should have been a clue, even before I checked prices, since there were several framed articles and pictures of personnel with the Royal Family!  Even so, I managed to sneak a few pics of my own.  Notice the fabulous antiques!

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Oh, yes, and I purchased a few elegant tassels in Venice at Mario Bevilacqua!  This small but opulent fabric store had the most lush items you can imagine.  Plush fabric, beads, tassels everywhere!

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Can you believe this place?!  I was in heaven!  I consider myself very fortunate to have afforded those two tassels.  Why?  Well, let’s put it this way.  The most gorgeous, golden, textured fabric I had ever seen beckoned me from the corner.

Hand on the roll, I ask timidly, “Do you sell this by the meter?”  (Thinking I could pull my half-meter trick as in Florence.)

“Yes,” answers the nicely dressed gentleman.

“And how many Euros, please, would that be?”

“2500, Signore.”

Okay–I guess the look on my face encouraged him to explain.  “You see, the fabric is hand-woven on family looms from centuries ago.”

I back away and approach the tassels, choosing a ruby red beaded and a golden beaded, which were only nine euros each.  I pay for my purchase, and as I slink out the door, what do I notice but another one of those darned, framed, Royal Family articles and pics!  Of course!  Hmm…a few more trips to Italy and I’ll have this down!  But not in August, right?!

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