March 14th: Waterfall walk

It finally feels like Spring is gearing up. Flowers, birds, sunshine, people are looking less grumpy! I am planning on getting outside this weekend… definitely…. not watching the football… honest.

While I was looking for a good walk I came across this website which has loads of walks and local tips. I think I’m going to follow their High on the Magra walk as a guideline. I have walked around here a lot but have only made it up to these waterfalls once before (and on a bad choice of days- misty followed by rain!). The walk takes you through the village of Pracchiola, through chestnut woods, and “… along the upper reaches of the Magra to a gentle and dramatic waterfall.” The website  says that the walk isn’t too difficult but then they mention rock climbing and not bringing small children with us. Wish me luck!

Monday 3rd March: Massa Carnival

I’m really enjoying carnival and making the most of it especially as we don’t celebrate it at all in the UK (other than a few pancakes!) Massa seems to provide the best celebration around here, filling the squares and outdoor areas of the city with fun particularly aimed at children and young people. I went on Sunday it was great and silly, with lots of music, dancing and costumes; as carnival should be.

Oh, and, as I’m sure you assumed our olive oil didn’t win any prizes in Filattiera! We did meet some proper olive aficionados’ though!

February 12th: “La Preda” Olive oil in Filattiera

I’m really looking forward to the olive oil competition in Filattiera on Sunday. It is an annual competition that anyone (even me with my tiny grove!) can enter. You just have to send in a sample by Saturday!

And while I’m not expecting any gold awards to come my way I’m looking forward to the event; there will be tasters which usually means I won’t be far behind (remember the chocolate festival?!) And the opportunity to buy direct from the producers which always gives me a good feeling; a combination of not contributing to carbon heavy air miles and having an idea of who worked for what is now on my plate.


10th February: Piazza delle Erbe in Carrara

One of the first things people think of when they think of Italy is food. And rightly so, especially around here; olive groves, vineyards, tomatoes, cheese, pesto. Tuscany is the place. The moment where I really come to realise this is at the Herb Market in Carrara. On the first Saturday of the month producers from the local area sell their wares. And because it is direct from the producer they are able to answer any questions you might have about the products. I went on the 1st and an still living off the delicious salami I bought there!

January 29th: Museo del Marmo

A local friend recommended a show at Museo del Marmo in Carrara called Apologia. As January continues to reign I did some research, finding out that Apologia is the last project of the 2013 season for Database Carrara; an organisation which seeks to give artists the opportunity to explore a “dream project” with no consideration given to commerciality. This exhibition is the culmination of three artist’s -Greta Alfaro, Juan Pablo Marcìas and Fabrizio Prevedello- 3 month residency in Carrara. With the local marble quarries in mind each artist interrogates mans relationship to nature through sculpture, film and writings. The show runs until February 15th.

I’ll let you know how it goes…

January 15th: New Year Enthusiasm

My New Year January enthusiasm has got me heading to the Teatro Comunale Ferdinando Quartieri in Bagnone for Eva Contro Eva tonight. The play is based on the book by Mary Orr who inspired the award winning 1950 film All About Eve (which had the first glimpses of the as yet unknown Marilyn Monroe). The theatre has been open since 2005 following a long period of disuse and as it is just down the road I feel as if showing my support is a good use for my enthusiasm. Even if it turns out to not quite be my kettle of fish I can return home, safe in the knowledge that my January energy has only another fortnight to run dry! The show is 2nd of five performances in the Neighbourhoods season running until March 9.

Florence is Clearly too Avant Garde to Just Have Traditional Christmas Lights: 12th December 2013

Not content with just having traditional Christmas lights, Florence has out high-browed itself yet again. Tomorrow is the unveiling of an art installation that will project onto the front of the Basilica.

The installation is comprised of 70 videos lasting 30 seconds each. Each video is made by a different artist, some of them students from the various art schools and some established names, alongside ammeter film making enthusiasts. The short films are shot in different styles but all center on the this years theme of ‘Beyond Borders’.

The films will be projected on to the face of the Basilica every evening from 7pm to 12am from tomorrow till the end of December.

29th November: Feasting in Tuscany

The feast of Tuscany is on November the 30th and with it comes another opportunity to drink a lot of wine and eat too much food.

The feast is originally a celebration of the abolition of the death penalty in 1786. Yep, Tuscany was so advanced it could rid of the death penalty around two hundred years before anywhere else.

This year the theme of the feast is ‘Community: The Thousand Voices of Tuscany’. To celebrate there’s a calendar of events around November the 30th that all center around this theme and the idea of listening to voices that have traditionally not been heard. One of the events looks particularly interesting, entitled ‘Voices in the Dark’, a piece performed by immigrant artists in a disused air raid shelter.

20th November: Preparing for a weekend of chocolate

This weekend I’m going to eat so much chocolate that I’m going to be on a sugar high for half a week afterwards. I do have a legitimate reason for this as the Chocolate and Co trade show is happening in La Spezia, a chocolate festival organised by Confartigianato, so i can merrily eat my own body weight in chocolate and know that I’m doing it all in the name of supporting local businesses… honest I am.

There will be hundreds of different stalls run by independent choclatiers showcasing a huge range of chocolates as well as teaching techniques to incorporate chocolate into savory food. There will also be workshops for children throughout both days and a special ‘Sweet Christmas Village’ market. All this and free samples. Lots of free samples.


8th November: In Which I Prepare For Some Improvised Theater

This week in mad things that my friends make me go along to is ‘Improbook’ an improvised performance by Mirpo at Arci Origami in La Spezia.

Mirpo have a reputation for madcap theatrical adventures, where the audience can often be thrown into the production. ‘Improbook’ is billed as being “a show of improvisational theater where actors will extricate the pages of famous novels, meet, and overwhelm the characters they contain, revolutionizing their lives within the pages written!”

With all this in mind, I am increasingly glad that tonight’s production is taking place in  a bar…