Fabulous Florence or Firenze la favolosa (il favoloso?)
You know, it’s not that the Italy tour only lasted 2 days, it’s that so much keeps happening, I can’t even keep up with myself, much less yesterday.
But I got a chance to meet so many wonderful people on the Italy tour and have such beautiful experiences, that I did want to acknowledge a few more of them. And tonight’s the night for the next episode! (For those of you arriving mid-season in this series, the beginning of October, I spent ten days in Italy on a book tour at the invitation of the publisher of the Italian translation of THE CHOCOLATE THIEF or Ladra di Cioccolato in Italian. It was AMAZING. You can find out about the start, at the Matera Woman’s Fiction Festival, meeting bloggers in Bari, and eating gelato in Rome, by scrolling back a little through posts.)
Florence! You are entirely welcome to have this playing while you read the rest of this post. I’m playing it while I write it. I was singing it under my breath the whole time I was strolling through rain-drenched Florence, in fact.
Really. Just ask the lovely Giulia, my indefatigably tolerant publicist. It probably grated terribly on her migraine, but she was just too nice to tell.
Florence was, well, I mean…have you seen the Piazza del Duomo?
Even half-covered by restoration work, this is one of the most amazing churches I have ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot. A LOT. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen all the most famous cathedrals in both France and Spain, two countries that do not mess around with penny antes when it comes to the “Who has the greatest cathedral” games.
I just love it. From the outside. Note that we arrived at 4 p.m., did a big chocolate-book-talk with Chocolate Hearts made especially for the book launch, and then caught a 9 a.m. train the next morning. No entry into any actual building besides the Renaissance one we were staying in was possible. (Interesting side note–I’m pretty sure that all the 4-star hotels in Italy are Renaissance. That was my impression. Most of them, therefore, had rather quirky bathrooms and some very labyrinthine layouts, but I am enjoying that, not complaining.)
I wish I was a good photographer. Look at Santa Croce.
Now go find some better photos on the Web, so you can get an inkling of how gorgeous that blue star actually is.
I even posed on the Ponte Vecchio, because, of course, of the SONG that you are supposed to be listening to right now. Here’s Maria Callas’s interpretation. But I look too dorky in the photo, so I’m not posting it.
Instead, here I am at the signing that night.
Also, a little to the back in that photo, do you see the woman with the camera? That’s Cristina, of the blog La Mia Biblioteca Romantica, who so kindly dragged herself out on a rainy night after a hard day’s work to be a friendly face in the audience as I struggled to give my speech and interview IN ITALIAN. (Something that required tremendous patience on the audience’s part.)
THANK YOU, Cristina, for coming out. You can’t know how nice it was to have your friendly support there on the other side of the ocean!
Look what reward Fanucci Leggereditore offered to those who came out in the rain! Hearts of chocolate, specially made by SAID Fabbrica del cioccolato in Rome. If you want to know how delighted I am about special chocolates being made by an artisan chocolatier for one of my signings? THIS DELIGHTED!!!!! Too much fun.
I think this photo kind of sums up how I feel about this evening in Florence and my experience in Italy in general, both the treatment from publicist Giulia Fea and everyone with Fanucci, and the encounters with others there, and, of course, the chance to see some beautiful country.
BUT…lest you think it was all fun and games and author talks and interviews while I was there, next post I’ll get to the real meat of the trip, the exploration of the list of chocolate shops in Florence that the lovely Eloisa James sent me after I learned her husband was from there. (She gave THE CHOCOLATE THIEF this really nice review on NPR, and while other authors might have been wallowing in pride at that, I was lighting on this one little sentence in the review where she referred to her husband’s love of his hometown’s chocolate. I had to email her right away. Not to thank her for the nice review, oh, no. To demand she pass on her husband’s recommendations to me. You’ve got to stay focused on the important things, if you’re me. And no, I didn’t know her before that. Just cut right to the chase.)
So…stay tuned for some glimpses of bonbons. 🙂 As soon as I get a chance!