Eclectic Clet – Street artist of Florence

Street signs

Street artist Clet  has been transforming street signs and making them his artwork. As you wander  Florence an ‘Angel’ may point the way or an ‘Egyptian’ help you cross the road!

For the past few years Clet Abraham has been altering traffic signs with easily removable stickers, in the dead of night, and repositioning his fibreglass statue of the Common Man on the bridge across the Arno – Ponte alle Grazie.Statue Common ManClet steet artist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clet  is a gorgeous French artist from the Bretagne region, who’s been living in Florence for the past 20 years or more. He has a little studio across the Arno on the corner of Via dell’Olmo 8r and a very strong following amongst locals. As can be imagined he has been fined more than once for his street art and his Common Man was even confiscated for a while by the local Council. It has now reappeared on the bridge and thankfully looks like it is here to stay.

His street signs are clever; a mix of fun and tongue in cheek, political and topical. And they take you quite by surprise as you turn a corner or drive past. They appear in other Italian and European cities as Clet travels around, although more rife in his hometown. Artist sign  street sign Florence artistClet heart

Clet carpenter

 

 

 

 

Clet was touched when locals, being so fond of the Common Man, organised a petition to bring it back and a collection to cover his fine. And likewise he is very fond of his adopted city, Florence, and his art respectful, as it does not damage or appear overly intrusive, yet leaves you thinking, or having a chuckle. Clet street sign

Abraham Clet

Abraham Clet artist

Clet Florence artist

 

 

Clet street sign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Man 2

 

 

“The Common Man” he said “ represents the exact moment all of us face before making a decision”….. which path to take?

 

Clet

 

 

Find out more about this “before, during and after Artist” and let his adorable accent captivate you in  An interview with Clet by LDMnews.it

 

Clet

At Clet studio

“Oh God! Another f—ing writer!

 

 

The street signs are not the only work he does, as can be seen in his studio, but  are what has made him notorious.Clet studio

 

Clet Coffee pots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To see more, follow him on facebook and next time you’re in Florence, keep an eye on the signs as you just never know when Clet has been out!Streetsigns

 

 

 

 

Clet signsupporting the king

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ps Sadly Clet’s Common Man was damaged by vandals on Saturday and badly bent and his arm broken. He has been taken away to the Florence police station.             Such a mindless action!Staue damaged

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Attach to a button

Italian sayings“Attaccare un bottone”, attach to a button, that’s what the Italian expression is, and such a quaint one.  Who would guess it means to join in on a public conversation with people you have never met before. Some use it to refer to a strategy plan for picking up a girl or guy. Others a reminder of how someone can butt in when not wanted or even turn into the biggest bore out. Still it seems easy enough for  Italians to ‘attach to a button’ as they spend most of their time talking loudly, making sure they can be overheard, waving their arms wildly, often seemingly arguing when in fact they are the best of friends and namely wanting to attract attention. Born actors!

Funny that such a performance is linked to a button, a simple button that has taken on an all new importance, I wonder why? As far as I know buttons in Italy have no particular significance or any more so than in any other country. Changing fashion has made them bigger, flashier, exotic, cartoonlike or done away with them altogether as materials stretch over our bodies or a hidden zip helps us ease into that slinky little black number. Yet I am sure you can still “attach to a button” even if you’re no longer wearing one!

Image courtesy of kittkun Atsawintarangku/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of kittkun Atsawintarangku/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So here I am all dressed and ready to go, in my new dress bought from that ever so cute shop in Cefalù, their own creations with a certain ‘70’s air.  The dress is easy to wear, floppy but not too floppy so you can still see my figure and the bright pinky purple flowers bounce off the black. Two deep pockets each side with the same flower covered buttons give me a laidback feel as I plunge both hands inside them.. I’m feeling pretty cute, almost like a teenager again and step into the bar to greet Catie. It’s girls night out and she is raring to go, which is more than encouraging as I have just separated and need some reassuring and a good laugh together.

 

“Wow what a great dress, you look terrific. Love the colours, suit you. Do you want a spritz?

Thanks. Yes Please.

Quick grab that stool”

I make a dive for the stool only to see my little button spin on the floor….oh no. The stool or the button?  I lean down and our eyes meet “Is this yours?”

Catie is already in a prime spot at the counter, legs swinging from another stool as she orders two Spritzes and looks around wondering what I am doing. I come back with the stool looking flustered and she laughs at me.  “Was he trying to attach to your button?’”

Italian button

The real lost button!

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This was written for Sara Haynes Button jar project see www.buttonjar.co.uk  My button is the first in the jar, and there are some very cute pieces and poems under each button. I particularly liked “Jumble” under a small square acqua-blue button, but hey, go check them out for yourselves. More Italian sayings to come.

 

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Take time to smell the roses in the Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre roses

Come smell the roses!

Slow food, slow travel, slow holidaying is what it’s all about. What’s the rush? You’re on holidays! I have met so many tourists in the Cinque Terre doing the trails from Riomaggiore to Monterosso in a day, as if there is no tomorrow. They are missing half the beauty of the place, with no time to smell the roses or in reality the wildflowers and cactus upon cactus that pop up in the most unsuspecting places.

cactus flower

 

Ginestra

 

 

Wild sweet peas

 

 

 

 

Rock plant- Manarola

 

Cactus flowers

 

 

 

 

 

by Ambro

Image courtesy of Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

With so much of the Blue trail being closed this year, holiday makers have been forced to explore the high trails or take the train. And the high trails offer some spectacular views; lush vineyard terraces and tranquil shade in the woods give a well-earned break before descending on the next village. Many are put off by the distance (2 – 3 hour trails taken leisurely) some steep ascents and descents with endless steps, so it’s not for the faint hearted or the unfit. Best to be equipped with water bottles, hiking shoes even walking poles for that extra support and stability and an enthusiasm for Nature. Put that together with a desire to have thighs of steel, toned and fatless, a firm butt with no additional gym fees and you’re on your way to winning the bikini test later in the day.

San Bernardino

Looking down on San Bernardino

 

I did the high trail from my little village of San Bernardino, via Volastra down to Manarola last week on a warm but cloudy day and was still bowled over by the views that I have seen so many times before. Truly awesome!Corniglia - Cinque Terre

 

 

 

Corniglia looks like a sleepy little village in the distance, securely placed well above the reach of any pirates or other unwelcome guests.Trail San Bernardino- Volastra

 

 

 

Sue Jane

A cool breeze starts the morning hike  along a mossed path in the woods. That clears on a little borgo of houses where there is time to smell the roses and more,  in their private garden.

Villas VolastraGarden- view to Monterosso

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetable garden - view Monterosso

 

I move on past their flourishing vegie garden with a stunning view, a location  I am sure the vegies just lap up! Another bend or two and the pretty church of Volastra appears.

Volastra church

 

Geraniums

 

 

 

Path - Volastra

 

 

 

 

 

Then lush vineyards, terrace after terrace splayed across trellises soaking up the sun.It’s easy to be thinking of a cool dry white wine overlooking the harbour, after the hike.

Vineyards - Corniglia

Vineyards and Corniglia

Manarola vineyards

vineyards and Manarola

 

Every bend and twist holds a new picture postcard, and the camera hardly has time to rest. Nothing of this scenery can be missed, it’s a total immersion in Nature, a time to reflect on the thousands who must have trodden this path before, the hard working mules carrying their loads, the assiduous toil of farmers capturing this land, clearing it and making it theirs. A haven of wine and olives and  essential foods.

Trail signposts

Manarola - Cinque Terre

Manarola beckons me to come on down and my footsteps take on a newer lighter tone as the hike is coming to an end.Farmers hut

 

 

 

Manarola

 

 

 

View Manarola

 

 

What can I say?

Take time to do the high trails in the Cinque Terre, you will be well rewarded for your pains in every sense.

Manarola Marina

 

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