Rough Seas in Amalfi

November 1st arrived this year with maltempo, or bad weather, all across Italy. We woke up the morning of the first to a strong, warm scirocco wind blowing from the southeast. The wind brought with it a sudden spike in temperature and a very rough sea in Amalfi. The waves were crashing on the Marina Grande beach and against the rocks along the town’s three piers that define the port. We had parked the car in Amalfi’s main parking area behind the largest port, and on the way back to the car we made a last minute decision to stop for lunch at the Ristorante Lido delle Sirene behind the port. The waves were making quite the display, sometimes crashing as high as the restaurant, which you can see on the right in the photo below.

From their glassed in terrace we had lunch with a spectacular view of the waves crashing against the rocky beach. The sound and power of the sea was tremendous! Here are some shots I took during lunch while we enjoyed paccheri con gamberetti. It felt like the waves were coming right at us!




After some delightful and sunny November days last weekend, the bad weather has returned again this week. The seas are rough and the winds intense. But that’s just November on the Amalfi Coast! Head over and check out my recent post on the Amalfi Coast Local Flavor Blog for NileGuide to see more photos of the maltempo and huge waves crashing on the rocks in Amalfi!

Tempting Tuesday: Church of Santa Trinita in Florence

Anyone who knows me knows that I can’t walk past a church here in Italy without stopping. And if it’s open, I just have to pop my head inside. In big cities and small towns alike, so many of Italy’s artistic treasures tucked away inside churches. Even if you’re not usually one to stop at religious sights while traveling, you’ll miss out a lot of Italy’s great works of art and architecture if you don’t. When I went to Florence earlier this year, I spent an entire day doing what I dubbed my “Church Tour.” This week Katie Greenaway from Olio di Olive e Sogni di Vino has stopped by to share about one of the churches in Florence that I missed during my short visit. All the more reason to return to Florence again soon!

Welcome, Katie!!


The Church of Santa Trínita was once the church for the wealthy families of Florence, and not only the Medicis. Located outside the original city walls, it was founded by the Vallombrosan Order of monks in the 11th century.  Located in Piazza Santa Trinita off of the famous Via Tornabuoni, the nearby bridge Ponte Santa Trinita is named after this church as well.  


The Italian word for “trinity” is trinità, with an accent indicating stress on the last vowel, the Florentine pronunciation puts the stress on the first vowel. So the name is written without an accent; sometimes it is accented as Trìnita to indicate the unusual pronunciation.

Photo courtesy the_blue_lotus on Flickr

The facade was done by Buontalenti in an elegant late Renaissance decor. I visited this church when I was student and was enthralled with the interior of it. There is quite a difference to the interior compared to the exterior. As you enter the church, turn around to face the door and you’ll notice Romanesque stonework that was found at the turn of the century. During that same time, the floor from the 11th century and a crypt was revealed. The floor mosaics from the 11th century floor are on display at the Bargello. If you want to visit the crypt, you will need to book an appointment.  

Photo courtesy David Bramhall on Flickr

The most famous work of art is located in the Sassetti Chapel inside Santa Trìnita. Francesco Sassetti, a merchant banker for the Medici family, commissioned Domenico Ghirlandaio to produce such a wonder for your eyes to look upon. Originally the fresco cyle depicting The Life of St. Francis was used to commemorate the death of the one of Sassetti’s sons and the birth of another. In scene of Francis Receiving the Order from Pope Honorius depicts the likes of Lorenzo de’Medici, Antonio Pucci, the Francesco Sassetti himself with his son Federico on the right. Ghirlandaio used real people in those times and painted them into the scenes of The Life of St. Francis. I could stare at this chapel for hours. The people come to life for me. Ghirlandaio positioned some of the figures so they could be looking out at you. You can really feel yourself in the fresco.

Ghirlandaio depicted some of the key architectural sights of Florence in these frescoes as well. In the background of the scene showing The Approval of the Rule of Saint Francis by Pope Onorio III, you can see the Palazzo Vecchio and Orcagna’s Loggia. When Saint Francis receives the Stigmata you can see a view of the Santuario della Verna, an abbey in the hills between Florence and Arezzo. Francesco Sassetti and his wife, Nera Corsi, were buried in the tombs in the Sassetti Chapel and are also shown kneeling facing the altar in the frescoes.

Santa Trinita is free to enter and is open Monday-Sunday 8am-12pm, 4pm-6pm, Sunday and Holidays 4pm-6pm.  

Chiesa di Santa Trinita – Firenze

Piazza S. Trinita – Tel. 055 216912



Katie Greenaway is a freelance travel writer and is the Local Expert of Florence for Nile Guide where she also provides the secrets of Florence on her blog.  She writes about her life in Florence on her personal blog Olio di Oliva e Sogni di Vino and contributes to MNUI Travel Insurance with travel articles.

Photo Friday: Autumn on the Amalfi Coast

Autumn has started to arrive on the Amalfi Coast, and everywhere you turn there are pretty signs like this vine climbing up a wall. I snapped this photo while out taking a walk last week in Scala. I loved the contrast between the strong reds, the blue sky and the mountain peaks in the distance. A dramatic shot for the dramatic fall colors!

Has autumn arrived where you live?

Cookbook Review: My Calabria by Rosetta Costantino

It is my pleasure this week to welcome fellow southern Italy expat blogger Cherrye Moore to share about a new cookbook. Cherrye writes often at her blog My Bella Vita about the beautiful region of Calabria where she lives, and this week she is here to tell us about a new cookbook called My Calabria: Rustic Family Cooking from Italy’s Undiscovered South. I’ve heard so much about the wonderful cooking of Calabria, and I know this is one cookbook that will soon be in my library!

Welcome, Cherrye!


One of the most rewarding things about being an expat blogger in Italy is getting the chance to virtually meet other Italophiles around the world. Whether, like Laura, they are a fellow expat in southern Italy or whether they are an Italian American/ Canadian/ Australian / fill-in-the-blank-based abroad, it is a surprisingly small community and we have our own six-degree thing going on that would surely make Mr. Bacon a proud man.

In a far-flung region like Calabria, my adopted home for the past 4+ years, this community is even smaller and not only have I gotten to meet other Calabriaphiles like myself, but I get to share in their excitement when they’ve reached our collective goal in positively promoting Calabria.

Next week-November 8, 2010, to be exact, Rosetta Costantino, a Calabria-born chef living in California will release her first cookbook, My Calabria. I was sent a review copy of the cookbook and Mamma Mia … che bello!

Image courtesy

In addition to the vibrant photos and mouthwatering recipes, there is a good deal of history, facts and FYI on the region. One thing I’ve noticed about myself over the last few years is that I’m not particularly interested in reading books about living in Italy-or visiting Calabria-you know, since it’s not much of an “escape” to read about your own backyard, but I was enthralled with this book. In fact, I spent more time on the introductions and background information than I did with the recipes and I found myself grinning when Rosetta referred to her mamma and her down-home cooking.

It was fun to compare Rosetta’s recipes, which hail mostly from the province of Cosenza, to those we make here in Catanzaro and my husband even found a few of his mom’s old favorites sprinkled throughout the book.

If you are in the market for a new Italian cookbook and want to try something new and authentic, then pick up a copy of My Calabria. But I must warn you … don’t read it on an empty stomach. You might not make it through the first 20 pages if you do.

Norton Publishing is offering three My Bella Vita readers a chance to win My Calabria: Rustic Family Cooking from Italy’s Undiscovered South before they can buy it! Head over to My Bella Vita for all the details before November 5th!


Cherrye Moore is an American freelance writer and Calabria tour consultant living in southern Italy. She writes about travel for MNUI Travel Insurance and about traveling in Calabria on her sites, My Bella Vita, and Il Cedro Bed and Breakfast, the website for her B&B in Catanzaro.

Photo Friday: Doo be doo bee doo in Amalfi


My mom spotted this funny table at a restaurant in Amalfi last week, and I couldn’t resist taking a photo. I thought a silly Photo Friday was in order this week. Usually covered with a white tablecloth and elegent table setting, I’ll always smile when I walk by knowing what’s really underneath. Wishing everyone a Doo be doo bee doo weekend!