Throwback Thursday Travel #3: Rome, Italy

Rome iphoneI can never ever forget how Rome made me feel. It is the very first city of Europe that I went to…

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Murano & Burano: Color Overload

48 hours in venice, burano island, colorful houses, confused dasher, italyAs promised, here is the post about the excessively colorful Murano and Burano I have been gushing with you about.

Murano and Burano are two islands linked by the bridges in the Venetian Lagoon with the first being known for the arts of glass-making and the latter being known for its laces and colored houses. Both of them are easily accessible by vaporetto (water bus) from Venice.

There is a recurring question I have seen on many forums whether it is doable to visit Murano, Burano and Torcello in a day. It certainly is, from my personal experience. (After careful soul-searching, we decided not to go to Torcello based on what it offers and our inclination to get a little bit more intimate with Venice before we had to say goodbye.) We spent half of the day on the two islands with the vast majority of time in Burano because to be perfectly honest (and with no offense), Murano is a tad boring. The products are beautiful albeit morbidly expensive.

On the other hand, I found Burano quite charming not only because it was my first time ever seeing such playful and vibrant architecture but also because local people actually live there and thus there is this authentic vibe despite it being a tourist magnet. Fret not because Burano receives way fewer tourists than Venice does, so you can stroll around and soak it all in without being sandwiched by fellow tourists.

However, I learned from my friends Pablo and Yamila (remember them?) that those colorful blocks are not unique. If you ever find yourself in Argentina (or maybe Chile. Apologies, my memory is getting blurry. And the reason for that is I found two freaky grey hairs yesterday. I’m aging) or Turkey, you will see something similar. Such a bummer, huh?

If you have been to Burano before, were you overwhelmed like I was? Or you just found it nice but not impressive like Pablo did? I want to hear yours. 48 hours in venice, murano island, glassmaking business, confused dasher, italy48 hours in venice, burano colorful houses, murano island, glassmaking business, confused dasher, italy48 hours in venice, burano colorful houses, murano island, glassmaking business, confused dasher, italy48 hours in venice, burano colorful houses, murano island, glassmaking business, confused dasher, italy48 hours in venice, burano colorful houses, murano island, glassmaking business, confused dasher, italy [Read more…]

“Before Sunrise” in Venice

venice, italy, Dorsoduro sestiereBefore I continue the Venice travelogue, I just want to quickly thank my dearest readers for your kind words. I’m not a writer; in fact, English is my second language. I’m not a photographer; in fact, I took up photography only about a year ago. I’m not a seasoned traveler; in fact, I luck out if I get to visit more than three countries per year. When I shared my travel stories on my blog and some other travel forums and received encouraging words and comments, I’m just incredibly grateful. I like making people laugh, but have only done it verbally with the people I’m close to in my mother tongue so I have been really, really pleasantly surprised hearing that my cheeky, conversational writing is “entertaining” and “enjoyable”. That means more to me than you will ever know. Thank you all, again!

Two of my most favorite movies of all time are Before Sunrise and its sequence, Before Sunset. (Don’t judge me, OK? I need some love stories every now and then to spice up my bleak life. Though if you insist on them being nothing more than cheesy rom-com, I could go all psychotically argumentative on your ass about how deep and uplifting they are :P)

I love them because I’m quite intrigued about how easy it is for two human beings with different backgrounds and experience to connect emotionally and ahem…physically. Part of it, I believe, stems from the very act of traveling itself. Never in a million years would I think something similar would happen to me on my very first Europe trip. Minus all the gazing in the eyes, lip-locking, sexing on the grass in a moonlit night and all that juicy good stuff. Sorry if you’re disappointed. I pray day and night for my life to come to that interesting place. HAHA.

Here is the story: My sister and me were walking back to my least favorite hotel of our time from dinner when I saw a recurring thunderstorm on the horizon. I had been dying to photograph a majestic natural occurrence like that ever since I started learning about photography and thus couldn’t pass on the perfect opportunity for all the world especially with both my camera and tripod in hands on that particular night. Uninterested, my sister called it a night and retreated to the hotel.

I was on the bridge (the one near Venezia S. Lucia station) setting up the tripod and began taking pictures, surrounded by many others with the same tools and purpose. Being a complete novice myself when it comes to complex photography, I wasn’t able to capture the thunderstorm even after 20 photos or so. Maybe utter frustrations must have been written all over my face or the photos on the camera’s screen must have been so f-ugly and therefore done the spectacular thunderstorm in Venice such a disservice that a guy along with his fiancé whom I later learned hail from Argentina showed me his beautiful photos and started giving me a few tricks up his sleeves.

If you’re familiar with taking photos in low-light conditions and using slow-shutter (essentially means opening your camera sensor for much longer than normal), you’d know that it takes a while to get a picture you’re satisfied with (or worse, you might never get it at all). Pablo (his name and Yamila, her name) must be the most patient instructor in the entire world because they both insisted on waiting until I attained a satisfactory shot. Needless to say, they had to wait for quite a while before I accomplished the below, which has knocked every photo that I have taken during the past year out of the park. I still remember vividly how jumping-back-and-forth over the moon I was after getting this on the camera screen and even on the way home (okay, even now to be perfectly honest).

Though this is my photos taken on my camera by me, I will never claim full credit for it because without Pablo, I would never have been able to do it by myself. Judging by their facial expressions then, I could tell they were really excited for me as well. I chatted with Pablo and Yamila for a bit and learned that they were approaching the finish line of their 1.5 month Europe expedition. I also got to see a few of his photos of Venice, all of which were of postcard quality. The most surprising thing was he isn’t a professional photographer. He simply loves it and learns everything by himself. Inspiring, huh? I thanked them repeatedly, and we parted way. Having ownership of this special photo, I had a sound sleep that night despite the hotel. venice, 48 hours in venice, venice thunderstorm, venice s lucia station, slow shutter photography, confused dasher

When we said goodbyes, I could say with 200% certainty that both parties didn’t expect to run into each other again. Isn’t common sense always teaching us to have no expectation about such fleeting encounters? At the same time, would life be crazy dull if everything common sense preaches stands correct? I, for one, love getting surprises from time to time.

And I did when I ran into Pablo and Yamila the next morning on the same boat ride to Murano and Burano. (A post about them is coming your way real soon. Get ready to be blinded by colors.) It was only fitting that we explored them together. In fact, we spent the next 20 hours together wandering aimlessly around Venice and exchanging travel stories, sharing parts of ourselves and making jokes. Pablo and Yamila are in their 30s, but their young, adventurous and energetic spirit made it extremely easy for me to connect on a more personal level.

These photos were taken in different neighborhoods of Venice, from Cannaregio, Castello, Dorsoduro to Santa Croce. Just don’t ask me the exact location of each because I’m directionally challenged and the fact that Venice is like a tangled spider web just greatly exacerbated the problem. venice, italy, Castello sestierevenice, italy, Castello sestierevenice, italy, Castello sestiere

This freaking bird because it shitted its white shits on my BLACK bag.venice, italy, Castello sestiere

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Venice without inhabitants?

Dorsoduro , photography of venice architectureThe morning when we were scheduled to depart Florence for Venice started out in a torrential downpour. On one hand, I took it as a sign that Florence loved us too much that it just had to turn on the waterworks seeing us off. LOL. On the other, I was quite worried because hauling 4 giant-ass suitcases plus 2 heavy-ass backpacks on our shoulders from the hotel to Santa Maria Novella station in the rain wasn’t the exact kind of getting wet I was looking for. (LOL. Please don’t judge me. I learned the packing lessons the hard way.)

Fortunately, the rain stopped 45 minutes before we had to leave our hotel and then the sun came out, which gave ample time for most puddles on the streets to dry up and us to arrive at the train station safe and sound. Throughout the trip, I was so consumed with the thought that lugging around our suitcases across so many airports and train stations was so conducive to the unwelcoming appearances of bedbugs, which you would know if you have been to New York before during the summer petrify every single human being. It was beyond scary.

The train from Florence to Venice was prompt and uneventful. As I was dragging my suitcases out of the station’s main entrance and about to climb down the stairs, the top handle of one broke. Before I had time to register in my mind what was actually happening, 46 pounds worth of clothes nicely packed in a big black suitcase rolled uncontrollably down the stairs and then on the street. (I know you’re feeling bad for judging me :P) As you can imagine, the rest of the walk to the hotel and the act of carrying them upstairs on foot were extremely painful.

The hotel we stayed at was Hotel Adua, which I will have to say upfront was hands-down the worst hotel during our entire trip. The room itself was enclosed and suffocating. The bathroom wasn’t clean. And the surrounding area was crowded and noisy and touristy and not to my liking even one bit. I was conscious of it being a budget-friendly hotel and left all my expectations in my fatherland, but it didn’t even come close to the two budget-friendly places we were at in Rome and Florence despite charging almost similar prices.

Venice is notorious for being prohibitively expensive, but so are Rome and Florence, I believe. Thus, though I didn’t have any negative personal experience with the hotel, I wouldn’t stay there again. Luckily, we only had 48 hours in Venice and the only time we were physically in the room was from midnight to early morning the next day. (But it’s worth mentioning that whenever I was in the room, I felt very uneasy.)

Now, let’s talk about Venice. Oh Venice! Is there anything that hasn’t been said about you? You’re the legend, the one and only, the ultimate dream of every couple and the prominent bullet point on the bucket list of every traveler. Indeed, you were mine too. As a matter of fact, you were the most asked question when I returned because apparently most third-world denizens only associate Italy with Venice. However, I have to admit that I couldn’t get you during the first two hours inside of you. (my dearest readers, I know where your mind is going. Let it go, now :P) Blame it on me being overly cranky after above-mentioned incidents or you being crammed with tourists 24/7, but the sad truth is I was majorly let down in the beginning. 

But then, I soon figured out what was going wrong. As with every other city, I prepared an incredibly exhaustive (and exhausting) itinerary of what to do and what to see and what to eat in Venice. What I omitted when I put it together was the simple but most important fact that there were only 48 hours in Venice, meaning we would barely scratch the surface of what it had to offer. Taking into account all the nuisances like open hours, tickets, lines and all that jazz, I questioned in my mind how in the world it would be possible to unearth just a fraction of what Venice is about. So, I did what most rational tourists wouldn’t do, which were to throw away the itinerary and just walk and walk and walk until our legs broke down on us.

If you asked me whether I saw the spectacular interior of St Mark’s Basilica, the answer would be a big NO because I didn’t set foot inside the church. If you asked me where Ponte dell’Accademia is, I wouldn’t be able to answer with certainty. If you asked me whether I visited any museum in Venice, the answer would simply be NO. The list goes on and on.

What we managed during the short 48 hours were walking every sisteria (suburb) of Venice and a half-day trip to Murano and Burano (but that is another post itself) and a series of photos that attempt to capture the lines, patterns, shapes and textures of Venice. I hope you enjoy Venice’s quieter side as much as I do. Because that was how I started falling in love with Venice…

Cannaregio, Photography of VenicePhotography of Venice, Cannaregio, windowsCannaregio, photography of venice architecture [Read more…]

Day 4: We’ll get there fast and then we’ll take it slow, Firenze…

Piazzale Michelangelo, florence, beautiful sunsetIn case you miss it, take a gander HERE and check out my suggestions and tips when in Rome and Florence.

After getting back from a full-day trip to Tuscany, I looked thoroughly at my self-made itinerary and was happy that we had been able to see quite a bit and everything was going swimmingly. The weather had been beyond fantastic thus allowed us to enjoy Florence, Cinque Terre, and Tuscany to the fullest.

However, there were several other high-priority places that had to be visited such as Uffizi Gallery, Galleria dell’Accademia, Piazzale Michelangelo, and Garden of Boboli. Who would want to leave Florence without seeing the real David statue in the flesh? Or catch the most glorious sunset that Florence has to offer? We surely didn’t want to miss out on those, so were quite determined to make them happen at whatever costs on our last day in town.

Uffizi Gallery is open at 8:15AM everyday. The inner tourist in me figured that not a lot of tourists would wake up really early to line up especially on Sunday, which in hindsight was such a naive and silly miscalculation. We woke up early and took our time to prepare and have breakfast. The day started off chilly and gloomily, which made me a tad anxious whether we would be able to do everything we had planned to do since some required weather’s cooperation.

It began drizzling when we were making our way to the Uffizi, so I thought “This is just perfect. We can hide in the museum until it stops raining.” Upon arrival, we were completely floored at how obscenely long the line was and even more so after learning from the guard that it’d take at least 1.5 hours to get in. I almost blurted out: “That’s a freaking joke, right? We won’t get in until 11, so when can we finish? We’re leaving Florence tomorrow and there’s a long-ass list of places we have yet to see.” Being a civilized person that I am, I stopped myself short of course and silently cursed myself why I didn’t reserve tickets at one of the most crowed places in the world.

We waited for approximately 10 minutes before impatience got the better of me.

I told my sister to wait in line as I made my way to the ticket counter and asked. Among a few pearls of wisdom that I have attained during the past 24 years of existence, one that has proved to work like a charm every single time is that every problem is solvable if you ask the right person. After a 2-minute conversation, the queue-up issue was fixed.

Here is how it works: For those who forget to reserve tickets online before you visit, there is this option of making ticket reservations on the spot for a specific time slot on the day assigned by the museum. There are different time slots throughout the day, each of which is 15 (or 20) minutes apart. You pay an additional $4 reservation fee on top of the ticket itself, which I believe you will have to pay anyway when you book your ticket online. You arrive at the chosen time and are able to get in right away without having to line up. 

We booked ours at 1PM so that we could have a proper lunch to get mentally and physically ready for the otherworldly arts inside the Uffizi. Afterwards, we quickly headed to Galleria dell’Accademia and did the same thing. With reservations at both places in hands, we felt very assured and spent the rest of the morning either wandering around aimlessly or hiding somewhere when it drizzled steadily and watching the world go by. Which was immensely pleasant. florence, italy, Uffizi Gallery, yellow cars charming florence, italy, windowscolorful bikes, florence, italycolorful bikes, florence, italy [Read more…]

Under the Tuscan Sun: San Gimignano & Pisa

Pisa at dusk, The Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout FlorenceTo follow up on Part One of my Tuscany day trip, below are my futile attempts at capturing the sensational beauty of the Tuscan countryside. It’s 100 times more breath-taking in real life. After such a heavy consumption of carbs and wine, most people, including us, slept as babies on the way to San Gimignano, though. enchanting hilltop town of San Gimignano, The Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence, The tiny towers on the horizon is San Gimignano. enchanting hilltop town of San Gimignano, The Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence,

San Gimignano is a small walled medieval hill town, renowned for its medieval architecture such as the towers in the picture above. My first impression was San Gimignano is such a tourist hub. When we arrived, throngs of tourists and tour groups were already there, and more started pouring in. The main street is lined with souvenir shops selling everything under the sun, all of which apparently were targeted at tourists. There were not a whole lot of local “actions” as in local people out and about minding their own businesses.

Or we just didn’t know where to find them.

However, it doesn’t make the town lose any of its quirks and charms. Still very well worth a visit if you ask me.

I have said it a thousand times before, and y’all are most likely sick of hearing about it but I’ll say it once again that the weather we had in Florence and all other cities was pure perfection. It wasn’t necessarily sunny and breezy all the times, but cloud and rain came at opportune times. By the time we got to San Gimignano, the sun was no longer as harsh as it had been earlier in the day. Shortly afterwards, the sky turned on its overcast and foreboding mode lending the town a more poignant medieval kind of vibe. Or was that just my overactive imagination?enchanting hilltop town of San Gimignano, The Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence,

enchanting hilltop town of San Gimignano, The Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence, enchanting hilltop town of San Gimignano, The Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florenceenchanting hilltop town of San Gimignano, The Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florenceenchanting hilltop town of San Gimignano, The Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence [Read more…]

Under the Tuscan Sun: Siena & Chianti Vineyard

The Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence, SienaBefore I left for Italy, I booked two tours with Walkabout Florence, The Best of Tuscany tour and Cinque Terre Trek.

Now, I would be lying if I said I didn’t worry if they would measure up to the unanimously glowing reviews on every travel site. You know, high expectations often lead to disappointment, which is the last thing I would want from traveling. Happiness, sadness, frustration, loneliness and surprises are all part of the package. But disappointment is something I never want to sign up for.

My experience with Walkabout Florence started with Cinque Terre. After it was over, I was positively sure that I would enjoy Tuscany. And I really, really did. For the sake of brevity, I’ll try to keep this short and sweet and let you enjoy the photo uninterrupted 🙂

First of all, click HERE for a detailed itinerary of what this full-day tour covers. Besides the Mediterranean ocean, Tuscany with its picturesque, desktop background-quality landscapes had been on my bucket list for as long as I could remember. It wasn’t exaggerated to say I could barely contain my excitement before it all began.

Our tour guide for the day was Michelle, who hails from Canada but fell in love with Florence when she was an exchange student and decided that she would call it home one day. And it’s been her home for the past 10 years or so. (Maybe slightly under 10 or over 10, I can’t remember with certainty. But it really doesn’t matter, anyway.) She is very passionate about Florence and incredibly funny and knows Florence and the Tuscany region like the back of her hand.

Our first stop of the day was Siena, which is an hour drive away from Florence. Siena and Florence used to be bitter rivals centuries ago, but I’m glad that they have made peace. The last thing I wanted was being trapped in a war-zone and die in a foreign country. LOL. It became more understandable why after we arrived in Siena. The town is strikingly similar to Florence in layout and architecture.

However, the main color of Siena seems to be terracotta, which I have an affinity for. I was very smitten with the way the terracotta architecture, the yellow sunlight and the blue sky complement each other. They make for beautiful color combinations. As for the exhaustive history of Siena, I’ll spare you because it’s available with just a few google clicks away. Below are some photos of Siena’s architecture and cityscape.

The Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence, SienaThe Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence, SienaThe Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence, SienaThe Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence, SienaThe Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence, SienaThe Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence, SienaThe Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence, Siena [Read more…]

Cinque Terre: I found true paradise (Part Two)

Don’t miss PART ONE of the paradise 🙂

When I said Vernazza was the most physically demanding part of the tour, I really meant it. After Vernazza, everything was a breeze.

The next village was Monterosso, just 5 minutes away by train. The town was heavily damaged by the flood in 2011, but it seems to have restored to normal. We were allocated about an hour here, so we mainly strolled along the beach, savored gelato and popped in some gift shops on the main street. Beware though because most are tourist traps.

Monterosso, Cinque Terre Trek. A hiking day trip along the Italian Riviera! Walkabout FlorenceMonterosso, Cinque Terre Trek. A hiking day trip along the Italian Riviera! Walkabout FlorenceMonterosso, Cinque Terre Trek. A hiking day trip along the Italian Riviera! Walkabout Florence [Read more…]

Cinque Terre: I found true paradise (Part One)

Cinque Terre Trek, A hiking day trip along the Italian Riviera, Walkabout florence tour, vernazzaI’m falling severely behind on the posts about my recent trip to Italy and France, so I’d better move fast before memories get all blurry.

I have two rules when it comes to traveling. The first mentioned in my previous posts is rain and museums/churches go hand in hand. It simply means when it rains, I will hide in the churches or museums. Pretty self-explanatory, huh? Trust me, if you stay in a city for more than 3 days, at least one of them will act out.

The second is if I can’t pronounce the name of the place I’m heading to properly, I will join a tour group because I always have this nagging inkling that something crazy would happen. For instance, I practiced saying Cinque Terre until my tongue got twisted to no avail. What came out of my mouth was a messy mix of Italian, English, Vietnamese and maybe Spanish (?) that I didn’t even understand what I had just said. It was extremely absurd, so as rules have it, I booked a tour.

HAHAHA, I got you!

No 24 years old and 16 years old who have the guts to travel almost half way around the world on their own for a few weeks much to their parents’ dismay will make up an excuse that silly to join a tour group. The truth is Cinque Terre or the Mediterranean sea for that matter has always been on my bucket list.

Before I embarked on the trip, I googled until my eyes bled about how to best explore Cinque Terre. As with anything and everything online, the opinions go both ways. Some say “on your own, without a doubt” while others suggest the tour they participated in.

Being a young semi-adventurous 20-something, I have never been a huge fan of guided tours. I used to think that they are boring, cookies-cutter and strictly catered to either the elderly or lazy tourists. For the purpose of full disclosure, I still think that way on rainy days. LOL.

However, my experience with tours usually has proved otherwise. Last summer, I went to Cambodia on a tour and had some of the most interesting encounters ever. I still touch base with some of them occasionally, which is pretty uncharacteristic of me given the short span of the friendships. I thought to myself: “why not this time? We will have been in Italy on our own for almost a week by then. Let’s do something different.” One tour that consistently came up during my due diligence stage was Cinque Terre Trek by Walkabout Florence company. (Note: I have absolutely no tie with the company whatsoever. This is not a PR post, sponsored content and what have you. I’m simply recounting my experience as a traveler who was on the tour. So…don’t worry :))

In my opinion, there are a handful of places on planet Earth where words become redundant and pictures don’t do their beauty justice. Cinque Terre is unquestionably one of those. For that reason, I’ll keep this post short and sweet and let the photos do most of the talking. I’m sure y’all like it better that way too.

Still, if you’re not exactly familiar with what all the fuss about Cinque Terre is, please let it briefly introduce itself HERE. Then if you want to know what the Cinque Terre Trek tour covers, THIS is your friend.

We were able to bank on our youth and paid discounted prices for the tour. That is you aren’t considered adult unless you’re over 27. Two things about the tour that I was very fond of are punctuality and professionalism. Our guides were Julian and his younger brother Alex. They are American Italian, have been living in Florence for a number of years thus quite enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the area. The itinerary gave ample time to explore and get a good feel of each of the five towns.

Manarola was the first stop and gave us a glimpse into what would be expected the rest of the day: stunning ocean views, colorful nooks and crannies and an array of quaint shops and boutiques.

manarola, Cinque Terre Trek, A hiking day trip along the Italian Riviera, Walkabout florence tour, manarola, Cinque Terre Trek, A hiking day trip along the Italian Riviera, Walkabout florence tour, It was a short train ride from Manarola to Corniglia. I myself don’t like trains a lot, but seriously with window views like this, I think I can train my life away. Cinque Terre Trek, A hiking day trip along the Italian Riviera, Walkabout florence tour [Read more…]

Day 2: Bella Firenze (Part Two)

ponte santa trinita at sunset, ponte vecchio at sunsetBefore you proceed further, have a look at Part One and see what options you have on a bright morning in Florence.

In addition to arts, architecture and cuisine, Florence is also internationally renowned for its quality hand craftsmanship in leather goods and jewelry. It’s the birthplace of the house of Gucci (founded in 1921). Salvatore Ferragamo also moved back from America (the reason being American labour wasn’t capable of making the shoes he wanted) and opened his shoes shop in Florence (1927). Even now, a lot of big league designer houses all over the world have factories in and outside Florence. (I have something about the house of Salvatore Ferragamo to share with you in an upcoming post, so stay tuned.)

I guess before many of you visit Florence, Lonely Planet, TripAdvisor and myriad other travel blogs and websites direct you to many charming jewelry shops around Ponte Vecchio. I personally found them nice but not as great as they’re cracked up to be, and certainly don’t dissuade you from visiting those shops. The more, the better, right?

If you have some time to spare and are just more curious about the traditional craftsmanship of Florence than the average person, then I wholeheartedly suggest you to visit Giuliano Ricci’ craft workshop, which is located in Piazza San Spirito (Oltrarno neighborhood). His metal studio is on the first floor of a residential building just across San Spirito Church. The exact address is Piazza Santo Spirito 12.

I don’t have an accurate recollection of where I learned about his workshop. Most likely, I was just lurking around some random blogs or websites during my due diligence. However, I remember when I read about his items being stocked at places like Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales and his work with Christian Dior, I promised myself that I would visit him at all costs.

Well, I did and am very content to say that it was one of the brightest spots of my time in Florence. When we arrived at the building and were wondering which buzz to ring, a man came back from somewhere with his bike and asked if he could be of any help. You can imagine my initial reactions when he introduced himself as the man I was looking for, Giuliano Ricci.

He then invited us to his workshop and inquired how we got to know about him. I’m not sure if it was because we were the only two visitors he had at that time or he was really appreciative of the fact that we trekked all the way from Vietnam to Florence and then to his place or he is just inherently hospitable and gracious like that.

Instead of only showcasing to us the final products in the showroom, Giuliano gave us one amazing individualized tour of the basement and every room on the back where he wields his magic artistic gift everyday and turn chunky, lifeless objects into intricately beautiful pieces of jewelry. From the space, the machines, the molds to the tools that he uses, everything reeks of traditions and history. We were simple awestruck!

The truth is Giuliano speaks very limited English while I speak a total of 3 words in Italian (including “ciao”, “grazie”, and “perfetto” in case you’re curious). However, arts and beauty must be a universal language and whatnot because the whole time he explained everything to me in Italian, I felt like I understood him perfectly. LOL. It was definitely not a classic case of language barrier. Or maybe it is the modern type which involves no verbal struggle or awkward nod. But whatever, that is linguists’ job. HAHA.

Can anyone translate this piece of press into English for me? My hunch is it has something to do with his work for Dior.

Florence, Italy Giuliano Ricchi's Metal Studio visit, neiman marcus, diorThis photo probably speaks 10,000 words.
Florence, Italy Giuliano Ricchi's Metal Studio visit, neiman marcus, diorFlorence, Italy Giuliano Ricchi's Metal Studio visit, neiman marcus, diorFlorence, Italy Giuliano Ricchi's Metal Studio visit, neiman marcus, diorFlorence, Italy Giuliano Ricchi's Metal Studio visit, neiman marcus, dior [Read more…]