Florence in Black & White

They say a black and white portrait can capture a person’s soul.

What about a city’s?

Here, I will share with you some of my favorite black and white photos from my favorite city in Italy. Draining the color from such vibrant subject matter may seem a bit like bleeding a butterfly dry. But, ironically, that’s when I feel its pulse the most. Continue reading

Tattooed Grandmother

To me, Italy is “the old country.” My great-grandparents emigrated from Italy to the United States in the early 1920s. But no matter your heritage, there is no denying that Italy is an old, old country. It’s ancient. And though its soil may not be any older than that found across the ocean, it has both carried empires and consumed them.

Matter is the most ambiguous and resilient thing out there. It cannot be created nor destroyed. Everything that ever was still is in one form or another, and the dust, the soil we live on, is uniquely privileged to taste it all. The weather, and the people, and the legends, and the wars. If the spice of life was more than a metaphor, if it was something to be held, I think it’d have to be the dirt we walk upon. It’s made of life. And when you think of dust that way, not as oblivion, but as everything that ever was and ever will be, then Italian soil is exceptionally flavorful. Continue reading

Eataly: The Basics

“Hey, you’re back! How was Italy?”

“It was incredible! I—”

“How was the food?!”

I totally get it. No need to dance around the juicy stuff. Especially if that juicy stuff is the greatest steak I’ve ever eaten in my entire life from the Ristorante La Spada in Florence. And I’m grateful too, because I honestly don’t know how to begin answering the question “How was Italy?” It’s a bit difficult to summarize except to say it was the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. But even that’s an understatement.

Food, though. I can talk about food. Continue reading

So … this is the Sistine Chapel?

While I was in Rome, I visited the Sistine Chapel. Only, I didn’t know I was in the Sistine Chapel (not for a couple of minutes anyways).

How can that be? The Sistine Chapel is arguably the greatest artistic achievement of the greatest Renaissance artist who ever lived. And yet, there I was, surrounded by Michelangelo’s genius and completely unaware. Seriously, how did that happen? Continue reading

Dirty Train Window

I’m a weirdo who always ate my veggies, even as a child. No ranch or coercion necessary—just knock off the dirt and we’re good. I realize, however, that a lot of children need to learn to like their vegetables. Parents tell kids that veggies will make them grow big and strong and, when all else fails, permit them to play with their food in order to make it more appetizing. Even I would pretend I was a lumberjack and my broccoli were trees ready for the chipper.

My weekend trip to Pompei was a lot like broccoli. Not exactly good, but good for you. And by the end of it all, I learned to really like it. Continue reading