Il Canovaccio: The art of Venetian masquerade

My favourite mask of the evening, a more elaborate Colombina mask with blue feathers and veil.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro-Nilsson 2008

Mention Venice and what comes to mind are masquerade balls and since 1979, the annual Il Carnevale di Venezia.

The Venetian carnival however, had its origins from the 11th century as a celebration of the passing of Lent, reflecting the etymology of the word carnival, from the Latin carne + vale meaning farewell to meat. Michael Tieuli lends a brief overview of the history of the Venetian Carnival, where he mentioned that the carnival was thought to be an annual celebration of Doge (Chief Magistrate) Vitale Michieli II’s victory over Ulrich II of Treven (the Patriarch of Aquileia) in 1162. Ulric was taken prisoner and his release was conditional, in that he had to pay an annual tribute to Venice in the form of twelve loaves of bread, twelve pigs and a bull. It was during this time that a tradition began of butchering a bull (representing Ulric) and twelve pigs in the Piazza di San Marco to commemorate the victory.

Continue reading Il Canovaccio: The art of Venetian masquerade”

Discovering ‘Bistecca alla Fiorentina’, at Trattoria Quatro Leoni, Florence 2008

Our first decision in Florence was that we should go out to explore the city by foot. A good friend set out to book a table at her favorite place and after some time walking in and around the old streets of central Florence, we ended up at Trattoria Quatro Leoni at Via Dei Vellutini 1/R at Piazza Della Passera.

Our waiter and sommelier recommended us a Brancaia 2005 as well suited for our purpose and budget. It’s a full flavored red Tuscan wine of decent quality. In 2007 it received quite positive reviews in the Swedish newspaper, GP.

Quatro Leone or The Four Lions is a mind-bogglingly old restaurant. Having originally opened in 1550, both Dante Alighieri, members of the Medici family as well as Michelangelo himself could well have sat on these chairs before us. Well, maybe not. The chairs were probably replaced in the mid 1990s when the restaurant was renovated, restoring some of its old charm while removing centuries of kitsch.

The restaurant is central but still difficult to find, and it has a large proportion of locals in the eating crowd, both being good signs

For those unfamiliar with Florence in Tuscany, the region is famous for its true concern of the quality of the food ingredients, and traditionally alter as little as possible when cooking. Green and fruity olive oil, garlic, unsalted bread, parma ham and parmaggio cheese plus generous helpings of black pepper are expected staples of many Tuscan dishes.
Continue reading “Discovering ‘Bistecca alla Fiorentina’, at Trattoria Quatro Leoni, Florence 2008″

San Lorenzo, Florence, Italy

Florence, Italy. Street.

Beautiful façade.
San Lorenzo, Florence, Italy

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro-Nilsson 2008

San Lorenzo in Florence has a charm of its own quite different from other cities of Italy that I’ve visited. A main marketing district, it’s historical buildings, its winding streets that interconnect that seem to make all things of interest within walking distance to each other really grounds your perspective as to how this place might have functioned hundreds of years ago.

San Lorenzo Florence Italy

The Church of San Lorenzo.

And, I love marketing.

It doesn’t matter which country I visit, it’s the sights, sounds and aromas of the local markets that draw me to their heart. Piazza del Mercato Centrale is no exception and I found myself walking end to end under the roof of the main market, curious at what they had to offer.
Continue reading “San Lorenzo, Florence, Italy”

The Mall at Leccio, Florence, Italy

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Florence, Italy 2008

At The Mall, Leccio, Italy.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro-Nilsson 2008

Italy is really everything that has ever been written and described about in its designs and designers. In a world of ever increasing low priced and sloppily made consumer goods, the attention to design detail and craftsmanship in Italy is a breath of fresh air. Perhaps it is something with the stubborn and highly individualistic Italian mind-set that just can’t take orders and insists on doing things their own way – down to the local village cheese preparation – that feels just right applied to the making of clothes and accessories.


“The Mall” is located just 30 minutes along the A1 motorway from Florence. A Gucci mecca of sorts, The Mall at Leccio, hosts several luxury brands.

In combination of urban and country, with its soft rolling hills in the region and beautiful vineyards, I’ve found Florence also to be a shopping haven for things well-designed. An ill protected secret is the availability of numerous factory outlets who away from city centers, sell the real deal at discounted prices. And if you are prepared to venture outside the extreme first class locations in the city centers, such as right outside the Palazzo Veccio in Florence, your efforts will be richly rewarded with hefty discounts on luxury items. True shopping gems, if you find them.
Continue reading “The Mall at Leccio, Florence, Italy”

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

florens18aug2008 291a 598

View of the tower of Palazzo Vecchio from the riverside.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro-Nilsson 2008

The scene was crowded at Ponte Vecchio and it seemed that many – mostly tourists – were awed by this old bridge that has more than once been swept asunder and rebuilt, perhaps testament to a strength that never wanes. I was personally struck by how merchants and shops perched on the bridge in hues of terracotta and yellow. It was a different kind of architecture from what I was used to, and I thought this was quite beautiful. Continue reading “Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy”

Palazzo Ducale, Venice

Palazzo Ducale, Cheryl Marie Cordeiro-Nilsson

In Piazza San Marco, near to the Ponte dei Sospiri, you’ll find the Palazzo Ducale.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro-Nilsson 2008

It is difficult to navigate the streets of Venice at peak season which is the summer months, and I can more than understand the disdain and even hostility of the Venetians towards visitors who leave more than their fair share of markings on the ground as visitors. More than a million individuals walked the grounds of the Palazzo Ducale alone at about the time of this visit in 2008. Continue reading “Palazzo Ducale, Venice”