Italian Fix paparazzi, cookies at Gucci Cafe and delectable cheeses

Bianca working it, another round of pasta *yes please and a perfect peach, I guess that will do!

gelato, herbs, old cars and a dear man who graciously posed after I complimented his beard & shoes (worked like a charm!)
Bianca, luscious cherries and that iconic Duomo
Ladelle,  the view from San Miniato . . . both bella!

Patricia, an apprentice at Alessandro Dari's Jewelry Atelier
homemade gnocchi never hurt disappoints

In May of this year, I had the privilege of participating in a MAGIC TRIP TO ITALY with my partner in crime, Bianca of ITALIAN FIX. I was to teach a group of tenacious women about photographing food, interiors, architecture, people and travel imagery in FLORENCE. People, have you visited Florence? It's beyond living in a painting, it's another planet of beauty, spectacle, elegance, time warp and style. The scene couldn't have been sweeter, and the workshop/trip, well I've never learned more myself . . . grasshopper, student, teacher, bud, confidante, mentor, friend -- each of the ladies on this remarkable trip gracefully danced betwixt and between all of these descriptors.

The first few days we focused on photographing food and people. Our food lesson was held on the 16th century loggia of our former-palace (you read that right!!) hotel, Palzzo Guadagni. The produce, flowers, cheese and breads were all gathered at the market in our neighborhood square, Santo Spirito. I fell in love with this Italian student hang out zone/fountain/church steps with each passing day. It became "home" rather quickly, the girl photo posse a comfortable second family by our first dinner together . . .

Next we moved to photographing people on the steps of San Miniato Church. With unbelievable views of the city and nary another tourist, we had this stunning location to ourselves for hours. My favorite church served as the quiet, stoic and elegant backdrop to one of the funniest mornings of my life. Gone were those abashed, shy feelings of being photographed and approaching strangers to sit for a portrait. The ladies were positively emboldened by the lesson's end (heck, after 30 minutes they were roaring like tigers a la Austin Powers) to get brave and document visitors, each other and Italian locals alike. After a riot of laughter and several high 5s, we leisurely walked down the hill into town, stopping for studio tour of Alessandro Dari, a Florentine jeweler. Insert OOHS and AAHS here. It was a party of sparkles and clicking cameras! Really special vibes in this place.

Between photo lessons and scheduled activities, we had a few hours of free time each day but really couldn't bear to be apart so wound up eating lunch, daydreaming, sipping cocktails and window-shopping as a group.

I haven't had this much fun in YEARS.


  1. Bella Leela,

    So many awesome memories we shared in Italy together. Grazie mille!

    You are such a fun + spirited + caring teacher and have inspired us all to see the world through our lenses. It's like speaking another language and that learning has added richness to all of our lives.

    I can't wait till our next trip!


    Bianca @ Italian Fix

  2. The photo of Patricia in the jewelry workshop slays me - it looks like an old master's oil painting, and her expression is so arresting. I just found your blog via Justina Blakeny, and I'm immediately adding it to my reader.


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