il porcellino, bronze pig fountain, Florence Italy

The Bronze Pig of Florence

Il Porcellino, as the Italians call him, means “the little pig”. However the bronze porker fountain sitting at the side of the New Market, or Mercato Nuovo, is really a wild boar, or a cinghiale in Italian. He supposedly brings good luck when visitors rub his snout and put a coin in his mouth.

Always something happening in Florence

Saturday was the traditional wine harvest ceremony in Florence and I watched the preparations at the Duomo.  Two white cows were unloaded, washed and decorated with red tassels.  Then a cart carrying a pyramid of about 1500 bottles of wine was, very carefully, eased off of the back of a truck and hooked up to…

Does Wine Loosen the Tongue?

We start each day with two hours of grammar. This is a fast moving class, as we learn a new grammatical concept almost every day. While the Italian grammar is complicated we all seem to grasp it, at least in theory. Putting it into practice is another story. This takes much longer. After the grammar…

A Boost of Confidence

When I saw the crowd gathered in front of the building I suspected that I was in the right place. Had it been in England, there would have been a nice straight queue (that’s a line in American English), but this was Italy and queuing isn’t a concept that has caught on here. Just to…

Angelic Discussion – If this ceiling could talk…

When we walked in we immediately loved it. It is a quirky little Florentine apartment that was once part of a larger one. The many generations which have passed through it have worn the terracotta tiles, changed rooms and doorways, and added the charm that we love. But the real star of the apartment is…

Communication Challenges

I would love to have a video of our class, it must be hilarious.  We are one step above absolute beginner level with a very limited Italian vocabulary. When the teacher asks one of us a question, we start to answer, the mouth opens then we realise that we just don’t have the words.  There…