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Interior Designer, Cambridge, Boston, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  


Filtering by Tag: Italy

Il Duomo

Emily Pinney

As we approach summer I can't help but start to think and plan our next vacation. (It's a fun thing to do on a gloomy Saturday morning). Thinking back to our time in Italy makes me want to go back again! (and we might repeat it this year - it's on the table). Although we're thinking about a Northern Italy, Austria and Switzerland mountain combo. If I'm in Italy at all, I have to go to Florence - even if it's just for the day. That city draws me in like no other. 

Inevitably when I think of Florence I picture the skyline in my mind and see the Duomo with Fiesole hills in the background. Il Duomo is the most recognized building in Florence and it is an amazing architectural feat. 

florence italy pinney

I really love seeing how buildings are put together. I mean - really love it. It's what got me into design in the first place. Running through my father's residential construction sites as a young child and seeing / knowing how it all goes together is truly amazing. It's not often you can see how these old buildings are constructed or even dreamt up, since most of these buildings were the first of their kind. When they started construction on the Duomo they had no idea how they were going to finish the actual dome! It was the largest building of it's kind when built. Half way through the process they basically held a competition to see who had the best idea. And although they didn't fully understand Brunelleschi's idea of the Herringbone brick pattern being able to support the weight and size of the dome - it was the most radical and they went for it. CRAZY. 



On our last trip to Florence we lined up early to be some of the first ones up inside the dome. Which I recommend if A.) You don't like small spaces B.) Don't like crowding and C.) You don't like heights. Since I hit all of the above being first in line was key! The view makes it all worth it so I highly recommend it. While ascending to the top of the dome you walk through the two layers of the dome it's self. It's pretty amazing. On one side is the ceiling of the interior and on the other is the roof of the dome. Truly incredible. All the while being able to see the herringbone brick work of the men over 500 years ago. 

View of the bell town from the top of the Duomo

View of the bell town from the top of the Duomo

I highly recommend the book Brunelleschi's Dome about the history of the building. I also recommend the NOVA episode about the construction of the Duomo. 

The view is really worth the climb! 

Fiat 500

Emily Pinney

I LOVE snow but we're in the middle of a blizzard in Cambridge right now. I have a few friends who are on warm islands all over the globe and seem to be continuously posting to instagram. This is making me dream about my recent trip to Italy instead of the shoveling, which SHOULD be next on my list this morning. 

I thought I would share a little more of our trip with you (here is my previous post about the trip). It didn't take much convincing to get B on board to go on the Fiat 500 tour. This was so much fun! I recommended it for anyone who can drive a stick and loves all things vintage (including wine).

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On this tour, you get to drive a vintage Fiat 500 around the hills of Tuscany.

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The tour ended at a vineyard where we could take part in a wine tasting. The tasting was hosted in the wine cellar of the Villa Paggio Bello which dates back to the 1400s. The villa was the home of the ancient Florentine Acciaioli family -- and is now a Bed & Breakfast. I am looking forward to spending a few nights here the next time we visit Florence. 

wine tasting

The wine was fantastic but I have to admit I was admiring the villa just as much as the wine.... Look at the thickness of those marble counters with matching marble on the kitchen table! LOVE.  I wasn't supposed to be in the room so you'll have to excuse my quick snap... but I think you get the idea of how lovely this kitchen was. 

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I loved seeing this old fresco they unearthed during renovations.  There are a few of these throughout the villa. So pretty! 

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 What's not to love?!   

Poggio Villa

Florence, Italy

Emily Pinney

In October I went traveling through Italy with B. I haven't been back to Italy since studying abroad in Florence at the University de Lorenzo de Medici in 2004. So as I am sure you can imagine returning brought back some nostalgic moments for me. Florence is full of design and architectural inspiration that I was anxious to absorb after a 10 year absence from the city.  

View of Florence from Piazza Michelangelo 

San Miniato al Monte

San Miniato al Monte

After the 10 hours of traveling, I was too excited to let my lack of sleep get in the way of seeing Florence. Once we checked into the hotel I had things I needed to see. Our hotel was a perfect walking distance up to Piazzale Michelangelo, a natural first stop and a good way to stretch our legs. The view of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo is one of the best; of course the perfect weather didn't hurt...

After watching the sun set and visiting the San Miniato al Monte we went to my favorite restaurant for dinner Aqua al 2. If you ever visit, I highly recommend the Pasta Sampler and the house wine. You don't have to travel all the way to Florence to try Aqua al 2 since they now have locations in Washington DC and San Diego. 

After dinner on that first night we strolled around the old city center to soak in the night-time sights. The Piazza della Repubblica was one of my favorite sites back in 2004. There are always a lot of people, both locals and tourists, enjoying the square after dark. Unfortunately there was conference or something going on that required some ugly staging which obstructed some of the beauty of the piazza. Fortunately, the Duomo was immaculate and capped our stroll around Florence. What an amazing site! 

Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, a.k.a The Duomo

Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, a.k.a The Duomo