Our House Hunters Episode is Online (We Think)

We always know when reruns of our House Hunters International episode air because we wake up to the nicest messages in our inbox from people seeing it for the first time. If you're new to our blog and found us via the show...welcome!

Since the episode originally aired last year, we've had lots of people ask us if the video is available online. From what we can tell, it was recently added to HGTV.com. Since we're located in Italy, we can't watch the video, but from the thumbnail on the site it looked legit. If you have trouble watching the embedded version above, try accessing it from the HHI page on HGTV.com.

Living in Italy: Pensione Annalena & The City of Florence

R.W.B Lewis's book, The City of Florence, is a great read for anyone that loves Florence, Italy -- whether you live here or not. He wrote the book in the early 1960's while he was living here with his wife and family. The book is full of great bits of history and descriptions of spots in Florence that simply have not changed.

One description that caught my eye was of Pensione Annalena, which is right down the street from our apartment. So, I thought I'd go down and shoot some video, narrarate with Lewis's words and share it with you all. Hope you enjoy.

A Day in Venezia

I'm guilty of occasionally calling Venice "Disneyland for Adults." All it takes is one visit during tourist season when you hear more English than Italian and get charged $10 for a cup of coffee to sour your opinion of the city. But, visit Venice during the off season and you really do experience something totally different. A visit I made in February 2005 was fun, uncrowded and inspiring. I think that true spirit of Venice is captured in this video above, which Rob found on Open Culture.

video blog: 60-second florence, italy travel tips

We visited Boboli Gardens over the weekend. It's one of our favorite spots in the city. Despite the popularity of the giardino, you can find secluded parts that tourists never explore.

It was an overcast day with a perpetual chance of rain and, as such, the giardino was empty. We laid out a blanket under a tree and hung out for about 45 minutes. It felt like we owned the place! On an overcast day, fight the urge to stay inside and instead visit the parks and gardens. Not only are they less crowded, but the natural light on an overcast day often makes for really flattering, soft photos.

our trip to the florence wine festival was anything but ordinary

Yesterday afternoon we decided to walk down to Palazzo Pitti for yet another amazing festival: The Florence Wine Event. Much like the gelato festival the philosophy behind this festival was simple: buy a card and go from tent to tent sampling the different varieties of amazingness.

When we walked out of our apartment we noted that the sky looked a little gray, but summer storms are the norm here and we packed umbrellas. Certainly a little rain wouldn't deter us on our mission at the wine festival.

Well, my friends, things got a little crazy only minutes after our first glass was poured. And by crazy I mean: absolutely freakin' ridiculous.

First the rain started, lightly in the beginning and then a little harder. We decided to move under the overhang at the Cormon's Vineyard tent (whose Pinot grigio spumante I was tasting and would continue to taste for the next two hours). Then, things got a little crazy.

And by crazy, I mean: gumball size hail pounding down from the sky.

Listen. Rob is from the Midwest, the epicenter of crazy ass weather -- blizzards, droughts, tornados, etc. I'm from Pennsylvania, so I've seen my share of snow/hail. Honestly, neither of us have ever seen something like this. The hail didn't let up for an hour.

It got so bad the festival-goers huddled into the booths, closed the plastic "curtains" behind us and didn't move for upwards of two hours (even once the hail was done, the rain was in downpour mode). Here's a quick video to let you know just how loud the hail was (btw, I have no idea why Rob looks like he is going to pee his pants in every video):

Suffice to say, we drank A LOT of wine. We mostly drank the delicious whites from Corman's Vineyard, but through from stall to stall bartering by vineyard owners, were able to procure tastes of a delicious Chianti Classico from San Pancrazio. We met a nice couple visiting from Estonia along with a variety of vineyard owners from around Italy.

Eventually the rain let up and we walked home. Winston was happy to see us...I'm sure all of the noise, sirens, etc. scared him a bit. A little water had trickled in our back door, but nothing too serious. All in all, a day I will never, ever forget.

Us, soaked, but jovial...all in all, a wine festival ain't a bad place to be stranded for two hours.