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Italy

Florence Dome

Florence: Climbing ancient architecture

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Climbing the dome in Florence is one of the things every tourist does. But maybe it is not necessarily something people do, once they are on a business trip. So even if you are only in the city for a limited time, you have to make sure, you climb the stairs inside the dome to see the masterpiece of cupola and enjoy the amazing view from above.

It is challenging. Especially, since inside the cupola it gets really narrow and might feel frightening to some people. So once you are inside, take you time and calm down, to make sure you do not panic. Climbing the tower on the other side of the dome completes the fitness program of the day and will make you feel refreshed, energized and for sure – proud!

AquaFlor 3

AquaFlor: A trip to sensory land in Florence

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By chance I saw the beautiful entrance of the parfumery, Aquaflor, in Florence, Italy. Based in an historic palazzo, master perfumer Sileno Cheloni creates exquisite scents from the finest raw ingredients. It feels like a trip to ancient times as much as a trip to a beautiful sensory – the smell.

Whether you are looking for a personal scent or a very special experience, this is a place I highly recommend discovering. Personally, I am not fond of mass scents, which always makes it special to find a scent, which I fell comfortable with.

Aquaflor, Via Borgo Santa Croce 6, 50122 Florence, +39 055 234 3471

The Palio Race

Palio di Siena – spectacular, antique & harmful

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Palio di Siena is one of the most dangerous horse races in the world. Twice a year 10 out of 17 “contrades” (districts of Siena) compete against each other on the Piazza del Campo in Siena, Italy. 10 jockeys race bareback in the traditional dresses three laps on the sand covered ground of the piazza.

The night before, people are eating and drinking together in their districts on the streets. The next morning, the horses are blessed in the churches and the contrade’s people walk through the streets of their districts to the piazza. After various celebrations it took around 45 min just to start the horses, since the jockeys were playing back and forth with their competitors’ and their horses’ nerves.

The winner will be the contrade, whose horse is first, after 3 laps. It doesn’t matter, if the jockey is still on the horse’s back or not. You will see in the movie, that two horses lost their jockey

 

Villa il Castagno

Agritourism Villa il Castagno: Living and loving Tuscan life

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Friends of mine stayed at agritourism places in Sardinia, tasting Italy’s best food and wine every day. They were overwhelmed, when they came back. Ever since, I was looking far a vacation like that. Finally my boyfriend came up with the idea, to travel Tuscany, Italy, just for a few days and stay in a agritourism place. We found Villa il Castagno – just a 10 min car-ride outside Siena – on the internet and enjoyed every single minute at the place. Ana, the renter is a lovely and caring person, organizing anything we would ask for.

In the mornings we went running through the vineyards and Tuscan villages, in the afternoon I stayed at the pool for hours reading books, which I had not done for too long. Around me fields, flowers and a blue cloudless sky. In the evenings we enjoyed the chef’s lovely food and very tasty Chianti vine.

If you ever need a “time-out” and really need to relax for a couple of days, I felt this was one of the best energizers I could think of.

Masterpiece of Eggs, Venice

Biennale Venice 2011: Masterpiece of eggs in Venice

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San Fantin, the church opposite the La Fenice opera house in  Venice was closed for years and only opened for this immense piece of art during the Venice Biennial in 2011.

In fact it is only a small part of Oksana Mas’ artwork of 92 x 134 meters.The Ukraine artist, built this masterpiece of 3,5 million „krashenki“, traditional wooden Ukraine Easter eggs.

They were painted by prisoners, artists, farmers and students from 42 different countries. From a distance you can see Jan van Eycks Genter Altar, if you step closer you realize that each egg is painted individually.

Looking at “Post-vs-Proto-Renaissance”, as this artwork is called, I was amazed how different each individual egg looked, compared to the picture itself from a distance. It reminded me of my own life, where everyday a new colourful egg is added. Right now I might only look at each single egg. Each moment, each challenge, each unsolved thought.

Looking backwards, like my grandma who turns 99 tomorrow, can understand much better, what all these different eggs brought to our live and how they all fit together to a big masterpiece in the end. Every single individual moment, challenge and decision form our individual lives.