Tuscan Dreams

You get a Honeymoon, and you get a Honeymoon, and here’s one for you…

Waking up in our flat in Florence for the past few days, I’ve had wild, detailed dreams. We came to Florence after parting with Kim and Michael.  I am not sure if my wild dreams are from the noise of partyers on the street seeping into my subconscious, detoxing from no wine after day after day of indulgent dinners, or the darkness of the room bringing my body into deeper rest.

FullSizeRender-4Many friends tell us Florence is their favorite city in Italy. Florence is in Tuscany, and yet I don’t feel this is “Tuscany.”  I’ve come to associate Tuscany with a living dream of a farmhouse in the countryside. But first: how we got to Florence.

Taking Time Alone with our Sweethearts During the Couples Trip

Kim and Michael went to Florence for a few days while Thomas and I wrapped up our stay in Venice.  We stayed with them in Florida last year and have a tradition now, since we live so far apart, of coming to stay with each other. Michael brought his great-grandmother’s ring (they were married 50 years) to Italy. He polished it up after it had been locked away for a generation in a safety deposit box. He presented the ring to Kim on the rooftop balcony of their Florence flat the day before we all met in the countryside of Tuscany. He wanted to start the next chapter of life, have babies together and spend his life with her. They shared tears, committed in their love and are now engaged to marry each other!

The four of us had planned to travel together before Thomas and I called this our honeymoon. This being a month-plus of travel post-wedding, Thomas and I decided this is our honeymoon. We are doing work and visiting friends so it’s a honeymoon-like vacation, but it’s become a funny joke that Kim and Michael say they “crashed” our honeymoon. In that spirit, Thomas and I are standing by to book our tickets for theirs.

While Kim and Michael committed in love to each other in Florence, Thomas and I lingered for our last few days in Venice enjoying our time together. We met with the arts residency friends to explore the Basilica di San Marco, as well as a few other amazing cathedrals. A few stand out moments were the horses and the views from the San Marco balcony.  No one knows who made these gilded copper statues. Replicas overlook the square from the balcony, but these originals live upstairs inside the basilica.

We took an opportunity to enjoy photos from the top of the basilica. I’ve always wanted to be in 2 places at once, and Thomas found a way to make that happen overlooking the Piazza San Marco via the magic of iPhone photography!


With the throngs of people below, we were ready to go to the countryside for some nature and quiet!


Across the square we found the Correr Museum.

I can’t load the video of Thomas and my ballroom dance together, but imagine it: us lilting across the floor while Thomas hums a waltz and I’m laughing. An amazing place to move!  Here’s my ballet move, for example.

The old Correr home has rooms furnished in period style from the 1600s. Each has a different feel, and art and old coins from the many doges ruling Venice.

The old world style is alive in Venice!

Lucca, My Love

The four of us, two couples, met up together to go to Lucca. We rented a farmhouse outside Lucca, gratefully without internet on our laptops. The universe wanted us to soak in the countryside before returning to the city rather than do work!

This home was founded abandoned by a worldly and artistic family. The mother is writer and daughter of nationally renowned novelist, Rosetta Loy. The husband, Nicola, is a painter and Buddhist. They renovated these homes over many years, and have created a Tuscan paradise.

We enjoyed our time, two couples celebrating love in Tuscany!  Kim, Michael, Thomas and I dined on the patio looking at the countryside, and I meditated with the buzzing bees nosing into the blossoms surrounding me.

The farmhouse is perfect for stepping back and seeping into nature.The home had a fireplace which warmed us in the cool evenings. The family greeted us and let us enjoy the rich olive oil that comes from the property. Thomas and I plan to return, perhaps for a novel-writing adventure on this auspicious property. The piece of land surrounded by farms is a Tuscan dream, and we’ve been thoroughly spoiled for the rest of Italy!

Lucca, the nearby town, is a walled city  and the only one to not have been invaded in the region.  We all had our first tandem bike experience coursing the walls overlooking the city and countryside and enjoyed checking out the Pisa town.

On a day when Kim and Michael went to explore Cinque Terre for a day, Thomas and I did yoga in the grass with the birds chirping, ate a leisurely lunch and took a hot bath in the pristine water .

FullSizeRender-3We wandered at sunset through the olive groves and found a path carved into the hill called “Percorso della Beata.” The sign had the image of a saint on it, and the path was lined with lights. We saw a footbridge and a spring coming from the hillside. We touched the water flowing from the hill into a basin, and held hands as we walked the path. I felt we truly were walking the path of the blessed, calling in the nature and healing from the country to our minds and bodies.

I have been reading and writing about receiving energy and guidance, and have experienced many beautiful coincidences and moments confirming intuition. Coming upon this path appears to be another lovely and sweet gesture from the universe gracing us with the love and beauty of the natural world.


Writing now from our Firenze flat


“Firenze” is “Florence” in Italian. Now that we are here, Thomas and I have been enjoying time to decompress. We’ve been in Florence for nearly 3 days and have only gone to the grocery store and the Galileo Museum. Between phone calls for work, time to sleep eat and write, we talk and read. On our first day, the rain streamed outside our window.

IMG_4365The Galileo Museum provided quite a look into the deeper connection between mathematics and art. Part of me felt like one of the fourth graders wandering the exhibit lost in the idea that mathematic calculations could be mapped onto a moving, gold instrument carved with images of constellations and ships.

A person who crafts a tool like that has an eye to reflect reality in images and lines. The ship and images are well-drawn. And further, the time-space-energy relationship between stars, moons, planets and rotation of the earth must be seen so clearly in the mind for a globe, or astrolabe, to show your thinking. Such a person was Galileo.


IMG_4370Thomas has a mind for this. He loves math, and sometimes calculates thoughts according to equations and natural law, in scientific, astronomical and mathematic terms. We were absorbed in both the profound understanding Galileo had of the world around him to create instrument after instrument measuring properties of the galaxy that many of us haven’t ever had a single thought about. The globe to the left shows the complexity of many axes and planes working at once to reveal a celestial globe, meant to measure the movement, timing and spatial relationships between planets and stars.

What’s wild to me is Galileo was busting up the comfortable ideas of our place in the world through his quest for knowledge. He invented new theories about how the stars, planets and earth related. He was  I had the beautiful song by the Indigo Girls, “Galileo” in my head:

Galileo’s head was on the block

The crime was looking up the truth…

Galileo was found by the Catholic church to be a heretic for the work, inventions and discoveries he brought to humanity. He was arrested and locked in his home until he died.  The lyrics of the song seem to understand that he was a visionary, calling on the “resting soul” of Galileo, the “king of insight” to “reach that kind of light.”

Reaching the Light

Today as we go out to venture in Florence, we eat again at home. Here’s what happens when you’ve overdone it with the rich cheese, wine and pasta of Italy day after day (note that Thomas’ salami and our cheese still appears in order to pair with green olives and Marcona almonds):


Published by jchmcpherson

Arts, Education and Writing

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