Buone Feste, Happy Festive season

With something of a sigh of relief we have almost come to the end of this traumatic year Christmasand it’s time to wish you all a Happy Festive Season!

Hoping that wherever you may be in the world you are able to celebrate it in good company amongst family and friends. I am dreaming of spending the Summer in Oz  but will have to sit out the winter here in Italy amongst Florence Christmas lights.  

May the New Year bring you all health, happiness and serenity.

Thank you for following my blogposts.          Till Next Year,

Buone Feste and Stay safe!       SueHappy Festive season Florence


Merry Christmas

Christmas lights ponte Vecchio FlorenceIt’s that time of year again, how soon it comes around. I hope you have all had a lovely year and wish you a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year to come full of joy and laughter, new ventures and old, delightful surprises and a healthy and safe one for us all.

For a change from Florence, and since I was working at the antique market in Arezzo, I have included Arezzo’s Council Christmas videos championing its local heroes – Petrarca, Michelangelo, Massaccio, Vasari among others and highlighting the city’s fame as the ‘City of Gold’ since the 14th Century, as well as the delicate ‘Nativity scene’ on the façade of the Cathedral.


Thank you all for following my blog and all the best for 2020Xmas David….Tanti Auguri Sue


Happy Festive Season

Christmas lights FlorenceHow time flies, it’s almost Christmas again!

May this festive season sparkle and shine, may your wishes come true, and may the joy of it all continue throughout 2019. Merry Christmas from Florence …..which has been sparkling already for the past few weeks and delighting us as we wander amongst the Christmas lights and festive shop windows.

I think Via Tornabuoni, filled with designer shops takes the cake for its Xmas lights; long delicate strands interlaced with baubles creating a fairly like scene which the photos hardly do justice.


And while I dislike the cold, a freezing -4 degrees this morning….brrrr, I love the Christmas atmosphere, time for hot chocolates, Xmas bootspanettone or my favorite – pandoro, lightly dusted with icing sugar.

And who could go past these Xmas boots?!

Or refuse an aperitif immersed inside this Xmas lit café?Florence Xmas lights




I will be back in Oz for the Summer, catching up with family and friends, and  finding some good Aussie stories to blog about next year.

Xmas David

So thank you all for following my blog and enjoy yourselves!

Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo!






Happy Festive season


Florence nativity scene

Nativity scene in front of Florence Cathedral

It’s that time of year again and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Wonderful 2016 ahead, full of happiness, good health and new ventures!

I hope it has been a good 2015 for you with lots of travels, stories and good memories to share.

Florence Cathedral


Florence is even more beautiful at this time of year and the English magazine ‘The Florentine’ has some interesting Christmas stories and events to tempt  you in case you are in the area.

Florence Baptistery




Christmas reindeer




Florence Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio – Florence







Christmas Il Rinascente

Il Rinascente Department store






Christmas Tree Florence


Baptistery Christmas









I am off to Oz for a month so will catch up with you all again in February……Ponte Vecchio








….and leave you with a little Leunig wisdom!

Michael Leunig Christmas

Reproduced with the kind permission of Michael Leunig


Time to Remember at Christmas – Vernazza

Cinque Terre trailJust before Christmas I made the most of the pale winter sunshine to take the trail down from my little village of San Bernardino to Vernazza. Only one or two stray tourists doing the same.

I must have done this trail in the Cinque Terre a thousand times yet it still holds the magic of the first time, and I feel like I know every little nook and cranny, and every step I need to climb.Vernazza Cinque Terre Undoubtedly easier on the downhill run!



There was a holiday atmosphere and Christmas songs wafted from the window of a house at Prevo which left me humming along as I headed downtown.

Snow would have made the area even more picturesque and so much more Christmassy, but I was quite happy to saunter in a T shirt.

Vernazza new beach

The new beach was deserted and the sea was doing a good job of taking it back as the waves lapped over the rocks and drew the sandy pebbles back out. Since the flood the sea had also churned up many bits and pieces of the 140 cars that had been washed out and the local Artists group made up a somewhat novel Christmas tree as a tribute to the 3 lives lost and the tragic event suffered by all. It was time to remember them at Christmas.Christmas tree



The plaque on the tree read “This tree was made from recycled material from the New beach of Vernazza created unfortunately with the flood of 25 Oct 2011. We of “Pio Parlanti” group together with the Vernazza council wish you a happy Christmas.”

I’m not sure that tourists understood the significance of this unusual tree made with rusty car jacks, turbines, hub caps, iron bars and cord, and 3 painted faces. Nonetheless locals stopped affectionately for a quiet moment in homage.to perhaps a friend or relative no longer with them.



Yet life goes on as usualWashing, the washing is out and the scaffolding up to do the necessary repair work or facelift before the next season.

Scaffolding 2




Nativity scene
Nativity scene





A narrow alleyway boasts an unusual Nativity scene ,over  the doorway.






and the local gelateria is offering hot chocolates alongside its local gelati specialities – Crema Cinque Terre Yum!

Cinque Terre Gelati shop


Vernazza main street
 Cinque Terre Fishing boats









It’s quiet this morning and hardly a soul about, even down on the waterfront. but it’s not always the case.

A number of concerts – jazz and popular music – had been organized leading up to Christmas and the church was far too small to accommodate everyone so they spilled out onto the piazza to enjoy the music all the same.

jazz concertSanta Margherita church




Vernazza Christmas lightsNight photos by Ruth Manfredi



And as a started my hike back up to home with a fig and ricotta cone in hand, an ape whizzed with a Christmas tree on board!  Wow it’s Xmas Eve and he is running late!Xmas tree








Felice Anno Nuovo – Happy New Year to you all!



Christmas lights in the Cinque Terre

Nativity scene Cinque TerreIt’s Christmas time again and the cities are boasting their Christmas lights to the delight of kids and even the big kids like me! I thought this Christmas I would take you to the Cinque Terre to enjoy the fantastic luminous Nativity scene that adorns the hillside above Manarola.



Mario Andreoli has been creating this masterpiece for the past 50 years, adding and changing figures each year to the now 300 or more characters. A retired railway worker, he is super industrious and passionate about his creations, forever designing new scenes and improving on the old ones. Mario Andreoli

Fireworks Manarola

Photos from Ruth Manfredi – Save Vernazza

Cinque terre fireworks

This years light up ceremony

He is well loved by the community as posters and paintings in the village proudly broadcast his merits and the excitement mounts for the ceremonial ‘light up’ on the 8th December. Something like Obama turning on the Xmas tree lights!








Mario Andreoli portrait



All the life size figures are made from recycled materials, lit by thousands of light bulbs and in this you tube video you can see Mario at work. Although advanced in years he works diligently on various projects which include the Stations of the cross and the Resurrection at Easter and a special scene made in 2011 for the 150 year anniversary of the Unification of Italy. The Alpine Club volunteers help him with the heavier work and to mount the characters.

During the year I have hiked past some of the figures which are mounted permanently, a reminder of what to look forward to at Christmas.Hiking ManarolaHiking Cinque Terre




As you will see from the photos and video it’s not just an ordinary Nativity scene and having it seen it for real I can say it is truly spectacular, in a stunning setting, amongst the vineyards overlooking the sea.

Manarola Cinque Terre

Manarola – Cinque Terre

This beautiful artistic creation is eco-sustainable not only because of the materials used but also as it is now powered by solar energy.

A masterpiece by an incredibly humble local artist. The Nativity Scene remains lit until the end January just in case any of you are over this way!



Wishing you all a Merry Xmas and a Happy, Healthy and Wonderful 2015!

I’m off to Tunisia on an 8 day Trekking holiday ( not all trekking)……and where will you all be celebrating? Drop me a line here.


Merry Xmas and Happy New Year !

Merry XmasWishing you all a





It’s time to take a break, and I’m off to Australia for Xmas to catch up with family and old friends and soak up some sun. From there, on a fascinating trip to Myanmar for a couple of weeks, which I may even squeeze in as a blog as I am sure the photos will be amazing. Then back to some snow here in Italy at the end of January.

So all of you have a lovely Festive Season and a Happy and Healthy 2014!

Baci Sue xx

Ps Despite the economic crisis Florence still put up her Christmas lights and I did a wander and took these photos for you.Christmas lights






Christmas lights (3)


Cathedral Christmasvia Por S Maria









Xmas lights (2)




Street decorations

Xmas lights








Christmas lights



Florence Xmas

Florence Street










Christmas timeOverview Florence


Santa Croce and Duomo