Great Time to Travel in Europe Now!

With very few tourists, now is a great time to travel in Europe! The planes and trains are nearly empty, and the hotel rates are very low. Chia and I have taken advantage of this and been touring. Verona, Lake Garda, Venice, Burano, Lucerne and Montreux with lovely sunny skies and easy train travel.

Love the brightly colored houses in Burano. We had a fabulous lunch at a ristorante that Stanley Tucci (CNN Searching for Italy) recommended.

My first shopping tour since the Covid pandemic will be next week. I am excited to get back to the shops here in Florence. Many are closed still, but I have a good relationship with the shop owners. Some are opening just for us!

Lucerne, Switzerland lived up to all the hype. Such a charming town!

A train trip up into the alps was gorgeous.

Shopping for Gold Jewelry

This week Chia and I walked to the Ponte Vecchio and then to the goldsmith’s workshop. The Ponte Vecchio shops are mostly closed, and very few tourists are there. What a surprise to see this:

On to the best place to buy gold jewelry! Up flights of stairs, but worth the effort. I was hoping to Zoom shop, but with clients all in different time zones, it became too confusing for me! So I made several short videos of the jewelry.

Tomorrow I am going to the Gucci outlet which is about 45 minutes outside of Florence. One of my clients has hired me for the trip. If you want to FaceTime with me 7am Pacific time, let me know!

Italy Travel Allowed for Americans as of May 16!

The wait is over to seek la dolce vita—leisure travelers from the United States can now travel to Italy. Starting on May 16, Delta Air Lines is making its quarantine-free flights to Rome and Milan available to all customers who submit to the COVID-19 testing requirements.

Hope to see you soon here in Florence!

Verona and Lovely Lake Garda

Chia and I went to Verona for an overnight trip. Only an hour and a half by train! It was rainy, but we went to Juliet’s home to see the balcony. This is the place that inspired Shakespeare to write Romeo and Juliet.

The bridges and castle in Verona are beautiful even in the rain.

I had no intention of traveling farther, but when I realized that Lake Garda is only 20 minutes from Verona, I had to go! Lake Garda is the largest Italian lake, and surrounded by charming little towns. We took a boat tour around the lake, and then drove around the lake the next day.

We stayed in Desenzano at a great hotel on the lake.

Lunch in Salo – wonderful fresh Branzino.

The shopping wasn’t great as most of the shops were closed, but window shopping was still good. I am seeing long pleated skirts, and blouses with ruffles on the shoulders. High waisted pants with wide legs, and shoes/sandals with chunky heels are everywhere. The stores are set to open tomorrow, so let the shopping begin!

A Week of Wine Tastings in Tuscany

It is gorgeous weather here in Tuscany – sunny and a nice cool breeze. Chia and I have been touring with our friend, Sophie. We started in Populonia, a tiny town to see the castello. It has a medieval tower and fortress on the site of an Etruscan city dating around the middle of the 12th century.. The view from the top was beautiful, but the stairs up were treacherous!

There are only a handful of shops in Populonia and many were closed, but I managed to make a purchase! I fell in love with this delicate shell lamp, which now resides in my apartment.

From Populonia we went to Bolgheri for lunch and then to Guado al Melo winery for a tour of the grounds and a wine tasting.

After a night at home, my trusty driver, Beki, took Chia and me to San Gimignano for a quick visit. It was deserted! />

Then we went on to Tenuta Torciano, an incredible family owned winery and event venue. Lillo presented me with eight wines to taste, and a fabulous meal. This is just the antipasto!

Tomorrow, Chia and I are going to Verona for a couple days. La dolce vita! I am dedicating my spring here to finding new and wonderful places to recommend to my clients. Hopefully by summer everyone will be able to travel here.

Quiet Little Town

We are used to seeing Florence as a busy town full of tourists and bustling business. It is a very different place now with so many stores and restaurants closed. Tuscany is moving from the orange to the yellow zone on April 26, so hopefully things will start to open again.

The pandemic has kick started many shops to go online. Ricardo’s scarf shop, Sam’s leather store, virtual wine tastings, etc. It is the only way that they might survive. I got a sneak peek at a new handbag from Il Perseo that comes in many colors: gray, brown, black, taupe, fuchsia, red, light gray, white and lavender. Nice soft leather in a new modern weave. The price, including shipping is 179 euro.

If you are in the mood for a new spring scarf, you can see the collection at If you use the code: maren2021, you will receive a 10% discount, and free shipping over 150 euro.

My friends and I wanted to celebrate the less strict Covid regulations at our favorite restaurant, but indoor dining is still not allowed, and it is supposed to rain all week!
Chia says: Get out my raincoat and let’s go!

We have enjoyed the beautiful warm weather here for the last few days. Everything is blooming and beautiful!

Your personal shopper in Florence, Italy