I am very excited to see these new bags Fabio has made! Green is a favorite of mine, and this spring green is big. The bag pictured above has python trim and handle and is made of gorgeous leather. All of these bags have a longer shoulder strap included.
Merry Christmas from Chia! We are spending the holidays in Seattle with family and helping Santa with a few pieces of jewelry for our clients. The Nudo rings and earrings are particular favorites.
I have a pair of gold and mother of pearl earrings under the Christmas tree!
Wishing you all a beautiful holiday season, and hope to see you in Florence soon!
The weather was perfect right up until the day we were to leave when a huge storm hit. A big tree branch fell on our rental car, breaking the windshield! The polizia came and filled out a report, so we were not held liable. But things got worse, and the ferry we were to leave on was cancelled. Not just once, but three times! We finally got aboard the ferry, and were resting in our little cabin when the fire alarm went off. No, not a drill! Everyone was told to bring his paperwork and any medicines necessary, and to go to the lifeboats.
The ferry was full of Italian army troops, and since we were not too far from shore, I didn’t panic! The light on my life jacket did not work, so a series of helpful young men tried to fix it. No luck. But the ship’s engineer, Simone, told us that the light was activated in water, so not to worry.
The little fire was extinguished, and all was fine. Rough crossing to Civitavecchia, and we did not arrive until 2am. No taxi at the port, but it didn’t matter because there were no trains until the morning any way! Pouring rain and wind, we trudged 20 minutes to the nearest hotel. Chia was a champ trotting along in 4 inches of water. We arrived at the hotel drenched, and saw the sign NO DOGS ALLOWED….I begged the hotel desk clerk to take pity on us, and he did thankfully. Our rooms were pretty bleak, but clean at least, and we got the train to Florence the next morning. Whew!
A memorable trip, and one I would like to take again, but not so late into the fall!
Everywhere here in Florence I see beautiful shoes, boots and booties. If I get one more pair, I will need an additional apartment!
When traveling to Italy, everyone wants to know some basic information to make the trip pleasant. Where is a good hotel, what forms of payment are accepted in shops, how to mail packages and postcards, etc.
I find TripAdvisor very helpful with hotels in towns I have not visited before. If any of you would like my recommendations for hotels in Italy, just ask.
As far as money goes, cash is king. If you pay for purchases in cash, most places will give you the VAT (Value Added Tax) on the spot without any paperwork. Sometimes a little extra discount is added also. The ATMs are plentiful, but be aware that some bank ATMs may not accept your credit card. I always advise people to bring several. Checking with your bank at home before you arrive, you may find that they partner with an Italian bank, and you will not have to pay a foreign transaction fee. Some credit cards do not charge a foreign transaction fee at all.
All of the stores will accept major credit cards, but they prefer not to use American Express if possible.
As of September 1, you will need to show your passport in the stores to obtain the VAT refund. If you reside outside the EU, you are entitled to this refund which is around 12% of the purchase price. Taking a clear photo of your passport on your smart phone will work also.
When you have had a major shopping spree, you may want to ship purchases back home. Shipping packages from Italy is expensive. Sometimes a store will offer to ship for free, but not often. For example, a handbag costs about 45 euro to ship from Italy to the USA through FedEx insured. If you intend to ship via the post office, always ask for la recivuta di ritorno e per confermare. I shipped once without this and the package disappeared!
Postcards abound here and there are lots of beautiful ones. But trying to buy the stamps is a big headache! I just purchased a few postcard stamps and it took me 45 minutes at the post office. If you are coming to Italy and want to send postcards home, contact me and I will send some to you before you leave. There are way more fun things to do here than sit in the post office!