Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Milan Fashion Show

Jeannie and I hopped on a train to Milano last Thursday, September 20, to attend the Spring/Summer 2013 AntePrima Fashion Showheld at the beautiful Castello Sforzesco.  AntePrima was only one of several designers in town during Milan's famous Fashion Week.

Buyers, photographers, and their special guests were invited to attend; so we were very lucky to get an invitation from a friend of Donna's son, Chris.  Daniel, who helped to organize the evening's AntePrima event, lives in New York City.  Here's Daniel with Donna:

A big part of the fun was spending time "backstage" (thanks, Daniel!) to see the models arrive in their street clothes, then be transformed by hairdressers and makeup artists.  It was fascinating to see how young, tall, and extremely thin they were up close.  Each model had a very unique and beautiful face.  They looked amazing on the runway!  We loved the music, the glitter, and the overall party atmosphere.  Great fun!

We've included a few of our own photos here. Should you wish to see all of the models and ensembles from last Thursday night, you can find them by clicking here.  

Take a look below and enjoy.

Buon sera!

Waiting at the train station in Lucca

Castello Sforzesco 

Entry into the show

Back stage with the models

And the fashion show begins!

Bright runway lights made this photograph difficult

Post show celebration!

And finally, saving the best for last...--->


Arrivederci and a presto!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Lucca Italian School, Santa Croce Festival, and Life in Lucca

After only four weeks, we already feel right at home here in Lucca.  We are getting to know a few more people, as we are becoming "regulars" at various caffes, ristoranti, and negozi (shops).  

We have now completed two weeks of language classes with Cristina of the Lucca Italian School, and are able to handle some very basic conversations. Due cappuccini da portare via, per favore!  (Two cappuccinos to go, please!)  However, we can't yet comprehend an Italian pre-school book that we picked up at a local book shop, LOL!  Long way to go... but it has been so much fun.  Six more weeks to practice.  The school also sponsored a "Make a Pizza" evening, where everyone got to roll out and top our own pizzas to share, along with vino.  :)

We happily stumbled into Lucca's annual Luminaria de Santa Croce (Festival of the Cross with luminaries) on September 12.  The colorful medieval parade lasted for hours, followed by spectacular midnight fireworks which we were able to enjoy from our balcony.  Hope you'll enjoy some of our photos, below.

Finally, I've included some photos of a local wine tasting, as well as some of Lucca's gorgeous churches.

Keeping all of you in my thoughts!

Buon Giorno!

Love, Donna

Italian Lessons in our "Casa"

Cristina being very patient with a "beginner student"!

Lessons completed - off to Caffe de Mercato for vino!

Making Pizza at the Lucca Italian School

On the left is Eva, our pizza instructor, with Daniella, the school director

Yaaayyyy!  My pizza done!

Lighting candles all over town for the festival!

and..........the Festival!

Festival Fireworks

Still enjoying Lucca.......

Loving Luccesan wine!

The front door of our apartment building - 228 via Fillungo

Baristo "Marco" at Caffe Puccini........

Helping Italy's economy (shopping anyone?)

One of Lucca's many towers

San Michele Church in San Michele Piazza

San Frediano Church

Cattedrale di San Martino:  Lucca's Duomo

The famous "Holy Face of Lucca"

and finally, in the Basilica Di San Giovanni...

......where we heard a vocal soprano and tenor perform excerpts from some of Puccini's great operas

Monday, September 10, 2012

My First Two Weeks in Lucca

The purpose of this blog is to share with family and friends experiences, thoughts and special photos of my time in Lucca, Tuscany, Italy 2012.

This blog is for a ten-week adventure in Italy.  My best friend, Jeannie Walsh and I arrived in Lucca, Italy after an uneventful flight into the Pisa airport.  We were pleasantly greeted by a delightful gentleman named Giuseppe who drove us into Lucca.  We checked into our charming 3rd floor apartment on via Fillungo, inside the walls of the old city.  The first picture below is the lovely view from our balcony.

We have had a wonderful first two weeks.  Our main activity has been semi-private Italian language lessons with "Cristina" from The Lucca Italian School.  She comes to our apartment ten hours a week and it has been very challenging but loads of fun! We are getting to know our neighborhood pretty well (including some great shopping)!  We typically go to the same cafe each morning to get our cappuccino - Cafe Puccini. We have become regulars and the baristas (Marco and Maximilliano) know us by name!

On September 7th, we celebrated Jeannie's birthday at one of the many outdoor cafes. Pretty special to have a birthday in Italy!!  On Sunday, September 9, we went to a concert  honoring Giacomo Puccini at the Chiesa di San Giovanni (Church of San Giovanni).  This is the church where Puccini was baptized and spent many years. This concert is held everyday of the year at 7pm year round and is known as the only "permanent" festival in the world.

I hope that you will enjoy reviewing these photos and experiences as much I will enjoy sharing them!  


View from our balcony

Afternoon wine on the balcony

Our kitchen

Our living room 

Our street

Jeannie in Lucca

San Michele Church

One of the most beautiful cafes in Lucca:

Caffe della Mura

Inside Caffe delle Mura

The next 3 pictures are of the Old Renaissance Wall around the old city. There is a 3 mile loop above the city around the "ramparts" that Jeannie and I have been walking.  We're trying hard to walk off the vino and pasta!!

Close up of the the walking/running trail.  No excuse not to exercise!