Monthly Archive: January 2008

Dalton Robertson 1927-2008

Dalton Sinclair Robertson died this week. He was 80. I first met Dalton in 1967 when I was toiling in “the trades,” as the Maclean-Hunter business publication division was known. I was a lowly assistant editor on Modern Purchasing magazine and Dalton was executive editor of The Financial Post but was a “secret” contributor. Each month his commentary on the economy ran in the front of the magazine – with no byline – and it was my job to edit his column, a task that consisted of putting paragraph marks on his stellar copy and sending it to the plant...

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Book ends

Today we received two copies of our book, Fantasy in Florence, bound in finely tooled leather, the work of our friend Paolo Bruscoli. (That’s him at the top left of the blog with Sandy.) Paolo has purchased several boxes of our book and proudly displays the book in his shop window at Via Montebello 58R. You can visit his website here. Both of these handworked volumes have gold engraved lettering and tooling with the title and our names along with beautiful Renaissance patterning in the background. Paolo, the fourth generation to run his firm, and his wife Silvia, became caring...

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David and the new Goliath

Of all the ideas put forth to save Florence from itself, the plan announced this week by Mayor Leonardo Domenici to move Michelangelo’s David from the historic centre of the city to the suburbs in order to ease crowding has to be the most foolish. David’s current home in the Accademia Gallery, next door to the art school, the Academy of Fine Arts, is perfect. There is easy access for tourists by foot; most hotels are a mere fifteen-minute walk away. No fewer than ten city bus lines stop in nearby San Marco, a one-minute walk. I often saw the...

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Too soon, too soon

Every once in a while I receive an accolade by email that makes writing books worthwhile. Such praise arrived recently from British Columbia and I want to share it with other readers. “This is a very small thank you for a wonderful travel book. For a few days, while on the ferry to Victoria and before bed, I was there with you and Sandy savouring the sights, sounds, and smells of Florence and environs. Although I have not been to Italy, my husband and I shall go there one day. In preparation, I will reread the lively, informative and often...

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A shelf with a view

There are several excellent bookstores in Florence that carry English-language books, but the one we haunted most was Edison in Piazza della Repubblica. In addition to the usual guides, art books and novels, Edison also carried such popular travel writers as Paul Therault, Bill Bryson, Frances Mayes, and the nonno of them all, Peter Mayle. Every travel writer pines for the same exalted category as Mayle’s best-seller, A Year in Provence, first published in 1989. I don’t expect to reach similar stratospheric success, but I wouldn’t mind rubbing shoulders with Mayle and the others, by placing copies of Fantasy in...

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Love in the time of Epiphany

This day, January 6, produced one of my favorite moments during our stay. Epiphany in Florence features a pageant with hundreds of individuals in medieval costumes representing nobility, the military, and the city’s major industries. The official party, seated on the chairs on the Duomo steps, included church officials, local dignitaries, and representatives of regional organizations. Pride of place went to three Roman Catholic priests, all in black cassocks, with colorful hats signifying their status. Ennio Cardinal Antonelli wore red, the bishop violet, and the monsignor black. The officials presided over an hour-long parade as couple after enrobed couple strolled...

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La vera storia d’amore

If there’s one thing an author enjoys (beyond giving readers pleasure), it’s hearing that an interview went well and the published description aptly captures the subject. Such was the news in an email I recently received from Sandra Cemulini who runs an exclusive travel agency you can read about at http://luxury-services.net/default.aspx Ms. Cemulini knows Stefano Bemer, the custom shoe maker who I spent some time with in Florence watching him work and seeing his passion for the leathers, skins, hides and other items he uses for his creations. Stefano is such a pleasure to be with that Daniel Day-Lewis, who...

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