Amalfi Coast | Umbria | Bolonga | Alassio | Langhe | Firenze | Roma



Firenze, is like walking and living in an art museum. There is just so much to see. This year, one of the sights I got to see was the inside of the Stipula fountain pen factory - part of my fountain pen factory tour of 2007!.

It is hard to write up a summary of Florence/Firenze. Ask someone about a trip to Italy and Florence is one of the top cities mentioned. Julius Caesar established the city in 59 BC with the name Florentia (Flourishing) and he had the city built in the style of an army camp. The main streets joining at what today is the Piazza della Repubblica. Florentia was situation on what was called the Via Cassia, the main route between Rome and the North.

Duomo FirenzeIt draws you like a magnet. The architectural jewel of Florence for many is the the domed cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore - simply referred to as The Duomo. (Duomo is a generic latin work for cathedral church.) The magnificent dome was built by Filippo Brunelleschi. The nearby Campanile tower and the Baptistery make up the dramatic setting. The building of the church spanned 170 years.

Duomo FirenzeThe green white stone work today, is not what was there are the beginning as the original façade of the church was only completed for the lower portion. It was taken down in 1587-1588 by the Court of Medici. There was later a competition and in 1880-87 the current exterior was built.

When inside, the Gothic interior is large and has an almost empty impression. A good number of the decorations that used to be in the interior of the church have been lost in the course of time or removed and are now in museums such as the Museum Opera del Duomo.

FirenzeAt the heart of the city in Piazza della Signoria and Bartolomeo Ammanati's Fountain of Neptune, considered a masterpiece of marble sculpture at the end of a still functioning Roman aqueduct. It has had a rough time over the many years. And out our last visit to the city it was just after the August event when three vandals climbed the fountain and damaged one of the hands and the trident of Neptune. The statue was restored by 2007.

Firenze Firenze


Ponte VecchioThe The Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) is one of the must-see locations. When you see the crowds of tourists it may make you feel like a place to avoid, but this is the only remaining of the original bridges of Florence you have to walk across it for the feel of Florence. There are shops built upon its sides with gold gold gold. The bridge also has an corridor, elevated, that linked the Uffizi to the Medici residence (Palazzo Pitti).

The Uffizi Gallery is one of the art galleries of the world located on the corner of Piazza della Signoria - the original location of Michelangelo's David. A reproduction stands there with the original in the Accademia dell'Arte del Disegno).

Yes the Piazza della Signoria is the centre of Florence and we were able to stay at the Residenza d'Epoca - In Piazza Della Signoria which is located right on the piazza. Great location. Driving in was a bit of a challenge but after three tries, and assistance from some workers to stop traffic and allow us to back down a street, we made it.

Residenza d'Epoca - In Piaza Della SignoriaAlessandro and Sonia turned their home into a refined bed and breakfast in the heart of Florence. The residenza has had so many good reviews, it is was pleasure to be able to stay here.



StipulaIt was a number of years ago that Marco, at Novelli in Rome showed me the Stipula Etruria fountain pen. It is a pen I enjoy writing with and regularly receive positve comments on its look. It quickly became one of my Pens of Note. The tour of the Stipula factory was very interesting because it is a very small company.

Having toured the OMAS factory in Bologna, Stipula, with its ten employees, is a example of a small pen company making a good quality pen, one by one.