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Solo La Gentilezza

Galleria degli Uffizi, Firenze, Italia  March, 2013

Galleria degli Uffizi, Firenze, Italia  March, 2013

da Vinci
...The Masters of Italian Art
so many under one magnificent roof

...and these two native Italian men
dwarfed by colossal doors, windows, arches
the older gesticulating to the younger--
Humans contemplating life

[If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we're all ok
And not to worry 'cause worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these]

I was the last visitor to leave
The Uffizi that night
the grand cortile loomed dark and empty
save for these two gentlemen
and me
along with the ancients
in their niches along the portico
eternal gestures frozen in stone

[I won't be made useless
I won't be idle with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear]

As I strode the long corridor towards the two men
I was struck by the motion of their hands
the way they talked to one another with their bodies--
the earliest form of language?

One of my tiniest patients in the NICU...the day she discovered her thumb!

One of my tiniest patients in the NICU...the day she discovered her thumb!


[My hands are small, I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken]

The heels of my boots alerted the men to my approach
Both men paused and turned in my direction
I bid them both a cheerful Buonasera
...SOMETHING made me STOP.

[Poverty stole your golden shoes
It didn't steal your laughter
And heartache came to visit me
But I knew it wasn't ever after]

I extended my hand
First, to the older gentleman
He didn't simply shake it,
He held my hand in both of his
Wise, deep brown eyes pierced me 
and he spoke
"Bella e forte!  Molto belle mani!"

I understood.

But, how did he know?

"Strong and beautiful woman! Very beautiful hands!"

Time stopped:

solo la gentilezza

[My hands are small, I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
I am never broken]

Our interaction was so brief
yet timeless
my favorite moment
of my time in Florence
One of the most soulful compliments 
I've ever received
right there, in front of the Uffizi

Sacred.  Art.
Painters, sculptors, architects...the work of the artist's hands ...the history...
the feeling of being so small in the presence of things so grand so eloquent...so ancient


Each. Our Own.

[We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's mind
God's heart.--*lyrics by Jewel]

...In the end, ONLY kindness matters. 

solo la gentilezza

Dreaming of Venice: Begin at the beginning.

"...Una meraviglia--   a wonder--in the only city that makes you wish, while closing your eyes, to relive each moment just as it has appeared."  --Patrizia Gucci in   Dream of Venice 

"...Una meraviglia--a wonder--in the only city that makes you wish, while closing your eyes, to relive each moment just as it has appeared."  --Patrizia Gucci in Dream of Venice 

In late October 2014, just a couple of weeks before our planned excursion to Italy--Florence, Ravenna, and my beloved La Serenissima, I decided it was finally time to listen to our daughter and give Twitter a try.  
I typed a number of different names in the "Search" bar when I first signed on--many, if not all, having to do with Venice...or mosaics...
One of the very first books I purchased to teach myself the art of mosaics was a book written by JoAnn Locktov: Mosaic Art and Style--Designs for Living Environments.   


SO...I typed the name "JoAnn Locktov"  into the Twitter search bar and BOOM!  There she was! Again.  I learned that she, too, would be leaving for Venice in a couple of weeks.  I also learned that she was set to release another amazing book...this time, not about mosaics; rather, a book about VENICE! 
That very day, I went to Amazon and pre-ordered Dream of Venice.  The book was scheduled to be released on December 5, 2014--I thought: "what a perfect Christmas present to myself!"  
I continued to follow JoAnn on Twitter and reveled in the excitement as the book's release drew near. 
What happened in between is nothing short of miraculous!
Because of JoAnn's love of mosaics and her first book, I looked for her on Twitter.  
Because of Twitter, I was led back to JoAnn and her upcoming book about Venice.
Because of JoAnn, her books, and Twitter, with a magical trip to Italy smack in the middle of it all, I was led to a whole new Twitter world filled with Italophiles from around the globe that have truly INSPIRED me to follow my dreams and never, ever stop Dreaming of Venice (or Italy!).  
And so it is that I BEGIN AT THE BEGINNING of this New Year by sharing this story of how technology expanded my universe and brought a whole host of incredible, beautiful souls into my world--the kindest, most generous, beautiful Italophiles ever!  
And it all began with JoAnn and Dream of Venice.
Incidentally, even if you have never been to Venice, or if you dream of going there or you would just like to learn more about this magical city, PLEASE consider purchasing this absolutely stunning book--it is truly a WORK OF ART!  


Here's what Amazon has to say about Dream of Venice: 

Dream of Venice captures the mysterious allure of the ancient floating city with the evocative photography of Charles Christopher and the beguiling words of a diverse group of contemporary Venetophiles. With a captivating foreword by bestselling author Frances Mayes, Dream of Venice will inspire you to listen to the silence of the canals and lose yourself in the ethereal mist of Piazza San Marco. The luminous photographs compliment the intimate thoughts, memories, poems and stories of notable contributors from the worlds of art, literature, design, cuisine, music, and filmmaking. You ll find anecdotes from actors and directors who have worked on location in Venice, including Woody Allen (Everybody Says I Love You), Linus Roache (The Wings of the Dove), and Julie Christie (Don t Look Now). A portion of the proceeds from each book will be donated to Save Venice, Inc. to support vital art and architecture restorations in La Serenissima.

I look forward to coming to this page on my website often: a space devoted to my love for BELLA ITALIA!   I've taken thousands of photos while exploring Italy and I would love to share the stories of them here.  
As to the Beginning of this new year:  I AM, indeed, Dreaming of Venice.  Still. 
I cannot wait to return again and again...
Until I can be there physically again,
I have my Dreams...
A VERY Beautiful Book: 

 DREAM OF VENICE by JoAnn Locktov  Photography by Charles Christopher and foreward by Frances Mayes.  
 Grazie, cara JoAnn!