Masks and Marionettes ~ Florence, Italy

Florentine Masks and Pinocchio Marionettes

Masks and Marionettes

Feathered and sequinned Florentine masks.

Feathers and glitter.

Pink and gold Florentine mask.

Florentine masks.

Masks and marionettes…

In the street stalls and in the shops: elaborately sequinned and feathered masks of all sizes and shapes, and Pinocchio marionettes, pencils, pictures and paraphernalia.

Small wooden Pinocchio marionette.

Pinocchio marionettes and Florentine masks.

Small wooden Pinocchio marionettes

Pinocchios on strings.

Apparently, Florence was the birth- and resting-place of Carlo Lorenzini (1826 – 1890), who (as Carlo Collodi) wrote the original stories of the woodcarver Geppetto and the marionette he crafted and named Pinocchio.

This is one of the many facts about Florence or Firenze that I didn’t know before visiting that fabled city last week.

My daughter and I were taking advantage of a cheap deal: one of those last-minute-specials that are available in Europe if you are willing to weekend with no more than you can carry in one small bag. Whatever I learned about the birthplace of the Renaissance in art history I had long-since forgotten, and my knowledge of the Medici family and the religious and political struggles in Italy is negligible.

So, before going, I looked Florence up on the web, and found a Top 10 Things to Do list, which I scanned and emailed to my daughter. But, we’ve been busy. By the time I was on the plane, I couldn’t remember anything about the art and the museums; all I could remember was the instruction to eat two scoops of gelato a day. I can do that!

My daughter wanted to see David, who (for reasons of modesty?) declined to be photographed. So, we had three days and two tasks: David and gelato. Lots and lots of gelato.

Mounds of colourful gelato in a case.

Fresh fruit, chocolate and coconut ~ all in gelato form.

Fruit gelatos in a window.

Colourful gelatos are an integral part of the Florentine streets.

It didn’t take long, walking through the streets and markets, to realise that while Florence is the home of masks (which I had thought of as Venetian) and marionettes (which I hadn’t thought about at all), it is also home to all kinds of beauty, in leather, glass, ceramics, paper and jewels.

Colourful ladies

The street markets are full of colourful leather coats, bags and gloves.

A reflective glass window into a shoe shop.

Shops sport shoes and boots in gelato shades.

Stained Glass Angels

The magnificent churches aren’t the only place to find stained glass in all forms and styles.

Colourful inlaid ceramic vases, jugs and containers.

Ceramics are everywhere: from ornately gilded and painted vases, jugs and containers ~

Ceramic figurines in Italian costume.

~ to Renaissance figurines ~

Colourful pottery table-ware.

~ and “Tuscan” glazed pottery.

Paper-making tray, paints and papers.

Beautiful paper-products are hand-made on site.

Dark shop with walls of wine.

Deep, dark shops sell life’s staples: wines and cold-cuts.

Shop window with scenes from Breakfast at Tiffany

Breakfast at Tiffany’s?

The beauty of Florence is in its streets; in its world-renowned architecture.

Florentine rooftops.

Florentine rooftops.

Sidewalk chalk art: Mona Lisa

Beauty on the pavements: A chalk Mona Lisa.

Horse on a carousel ride

Cheerful carousels.

Florentine marble statue: three people.

Violent struggles.

Florentine bronze statue: man with head of a slain person.


The Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence

The magnificent Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral (Duomo) is a work of art in and of itself.

View of the Ponte Vecchio over the Arno River.

The Ponte Vecchio, now home to expensive jewellery shops, is a glorious reminder of Florence’s equally decadent past.

Of course, people-watching is much more fun than architecture, and Italy is always a treat.

Italian Family

The modern Italian family – dressed for a special occasion.

Street musician seated with guitar.

A street musician, with his adoring fan, plays chill music.

Bride and groom on a bicycle.

And as a Florentine finale: newlyweds on a bicycle – what could be more Italian?

Text: Bon Appétit

The city was bathed in heat and light – a wonderful change from the rain and overcast I’d been enduring for the previous five weeks in England, Ireland and Wales. I fully understand why people love the city – I’d go back any day, and not just for the gelato.

But, I’d be sure to have my two scoops a day!

Bon appétit!

Photos: 10-13July2012

  • Anna :o] - July 21, 2012 - 4:55 pm

    Oh Ursula – I am so jealous! Florence looks so beautiful!


    (Stamp, stamp, stamp!!!)

    Anna :o]ReplyCancel

    • Ursula - July 21, 2012 - 5:32 pm

      Oh Anna!
      Those of you who live in England can go ANYWHERE, as my daughter (who has been agency-nursing in London this year) is discovering. The
      Groupon specials turned out to be a great deal.
      But, next time, we can go together. 😀ReplyCancel

  • Signe - July 22, 2012 - 12:46 am

    I agree with Anna, what a magical place I wanna go too!!!!!!!ReplyCancel

    • Ursula - July 22, 2012 - 5:49 am

      For you, Signe, it’s only three flights and a bus away! 😉ReplyCancel

  • dietmut - July 24, 2012 - 6:27 pm

    A very beautiful and colorful series Ursula. The ice will you have tasted. My granddaughters are also crazy of Italian ice. They are at the moment in Italy. Greetings DietmutReplyCancel

    • Ursula - July 25, 2012 - 4:00 pm

      Hi Dietmut,
      I’ve no doubt your g’daughters are having a wonderful time – Italy is such a pleasure!
      Thanks for the visit. 🙂ReplyCancel

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