Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving On Saturday we had a fun Thanksgiving party at our house. It was potluck-style (everyone brought a few dishes), the amazing turkey was ordered from a local rosticceria, and lots of vino was consumed. It was an fantastic, no-stress day.

I've been thinking a lot about these littles families that we expats create for ourselves abroad. When I looked at the group of 15 people we had the pleasure of sharing our Thanksgiving with, I saw a table full of people that were either very far from home or the loving partners of people very far from home. It's a lot of work no matter which category you fall into and I feel fortunate to be surrounded by people that make the distance from "home" a little easier.

This year hasn't been the easiest, but as I sat at that table full of great people I was reminded just how lucky we are to call each and every one of these people our friends. They have and continue to enrich our lives in wonderful ways.

This year, I am thankful for my Florence family. 

 

What to do in Florence in December

Florence in November Seriously folks, can we talk about it's almost December? OK, so technically we're only in mid-November, but we're already planning for an expat Thanksgiving bash, my 30th and a potential 2nd Christmas-time in Paris. It will be 2014 before we know it!

We were blessed with an insanely wonderful fall. We've had Octobers here in Italy of nothing but rain. This year, it just seems like the weather stayed a bit more mild -- heck, it was even downright warm on some days. Sure, there are gray days, but it feels like a treat.

We've received a few emails from folks asking about what to do in Florence during December. It's a beautiful month to be in Florence. There are white lights hanging everywhere, a Christmas tree near the Duomo and a typical market set up in Santa Croce. For those looking for more specific recommendations we suggest checking out:

As always, be sure to confirm opening times, reservations and any other important details for different activities that you choose. It's Italy, folks, and sometimes people change their minds about when they will be open during the holidays.

 

Reasons to Love Florence: Piazzale Michelangelo

piazzale-michelangelo Perched high above the city is Piazzale Michelangelo, an amazing lookout point over Florence. If you are looking to get that perfect shot of Florence I highly suggest hopping on the 12 or 13 bus (or one of those big city tour buses) and checking it out. At sunrise or sunset the sky is gorgeous. The morning can be particularly beautiful before the groups of tourists arrive.

This is where our talented friend Mollie took our maternity photos over a year ago -- time flies!

Family date at the Bargello

bargello-1 bargello-2 bargello-3 This past weekend we took a family date to the Bargello. The big open courtyard on the first floor is a great spot to let Livia run around and explore. She would occasionally stop and stare up at the sculptures in awe (some of them are massive) and then turn around and run in the other direction. We got just enough energy out in the courtyard that she was quiet as we explored some of the other rooms. She *loved* the pottery room and was mesmerized as she looked through the glass at everything -- although all I could think was, "I feel so bad for the person that needs to clean the glass tonight." Fingerprints galore!

In my opinion, the Bargello is a great museum to visit with kids because there are a lot of spaces for them to roam, catch a breath and reset. It's also typically not very crowded so you don't have to worry about your kid getting too overwhelmed by crowds or, even worse, lost in the crowd. Plus, I think sculpture more so than painting is a bit more interesting to really young kids because it seems a bit more lifelike.

Sweet Treats in Florence - La Milkeria

lamilkeria-1 lamilkeria-2 lamilkeria-4 lamilkeria-3 One of the very first nights we spent in our new neighborhood we ventured out in search of gelato.  You don't have to look very far in Florence for a gelato shop, but you do need to look closely to find good gelato. We stumbled upon La Milkeria at Borgo degli Albizi 87R, which we learned had just opened about a week before. We've been back a few times since (most recently a few nights ago) and it never disappoints.

What the shop lacks in a wide selection of gelato flavors, it makes up for in quality and the selection of other sweet treats available. From waffles to crepes to milkshakes and cookies, this place is a must-visit for anyone with a serious sweet tooth. They had a flavor this summer that tasted like creamsicle -- a little slice of home!

One thing I love about La Milkeria is that it's clear a lot of thought went into everything -- the food, the decor, the experience. I adore all of the traditional shops in Florence, but after our trip to Amsterdam earlier in the year I found myself longing for more concept shops and eateries here in Florence. La Milkeria definitely fits the bill!

P.S. Sorry the photos are a little dark -- I snapped them at night time!