Halloween Party!!!

Screen shot 2014-09-25 at 9.35.18 AMYou must be registered with the network to attend the party. 

Hi Ladies and Richard!  We will need a lot of volunteers this year as I will be out of action for the party.  I know some of you already showed some interest in helping out…but here are the committees

A. Set up
B. Games
C. Arts and Crafts
D. Buffet table and trunk or treat organizer
E. Clean up

Let me know ASAP so we can get started!

Ruralia at the Cascine

Originally posted on Natural Italy Blog:

Programma-Catalogo-2014_web1This weekend is the Fall edition of Ruralia, a farm festival held annually at the Cascine park in Florence.  There will be pony rides, animal exhibitions, food demonstrations, tree climbing, and many opportunities to purchase farm fresh organic products from the entire Italian peninsula.  The event starts September the 18th and ends on the 21st of September.  Entrance is free.  Don’t forget to check out the presentation of the new booklet ‘Guidelines for Tree Pruning in Urban Areas’ —a booklet written to better Florentine parks…especially the care and maintenance of its trees.  The book will be presented from 10 am-11am on the 21st of September at the Ordine dei Dottori Agronomi stand near the Agronomy faculty at the Cascine.  Your presence will support the city’s need to better its green areas.  See you there!


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A Delicious Tuscan Cake!

Originally posted on Natural Italy Blog:

This is a cake you will find in just about every Tuscan pastry shop.  It is made with a butter crust, a cream of wheat filling and chocolate shell…need I say more? Recipe is translated and adjusted by me from Giallo Zafferano’s site.

THE Recipe!


125 grams or 1 cup sifted Flour

75 grams or 5.2 tbsp butter

A pinch of salt

3 egg yokes

100 grams or 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Chocolate spread

200 gr.  or 700 oz dark chocolate

200ml or 6.7 fl oz. fresh cream

For the filling

125 grams cream of wheat or semolino

500 ml or 17  fl. oz.  milk

350 gr. or 12.25 oz. Ricotta

200 grams or 7/8 cup powdered sugar


Torta di semolino al cioccolato

Begin by mixing the powdered sugar and flower together.  Add salt and then the butter at room temperature.  Soften the butter with your hands while mixing it with the flower…

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SOS Playgroup

Calling all Moms!  The Firenze moms 4 moms playgroup is at high risk this year.  After the Innocenti and then the Methodist church closed their doors we no longer have a place for playgroup.

Even though my son is now in materna, playgroup has been a great treasure for my son and I.  I had lived in Florence almost 6 years when a friend and I stumbled across a clothing exchange in the late fall.  This is where I met Kimberly Dopke-Vanzi for the first time.  As an overwhelmed expat mom, who was also very lonely, she advised me to start going to the playgroups twice a week.  There I found other moms just like me.  I quickly found friendship and looked forward to the different playgroups twice a week.  We exchanged baby advice, we talked about schools, problems, sometimes we even went to lunch afterwards!  When birthdays rolled around, they were always filled with our English speaking friends. Florence, for the first time since I got pregnant, became bearable.  I had found my niche!  This is why it saddens me greatly that we cannot find a place this year to host playgroup.

We need your ideas and input so we can make playgroup happen this year.  If you have any ideas please let us know.  Help us save playgroup!

We need:

A. A place or a rotation of places

B. Someone or a couple of people to be in charge, to get the word out each week.

C. Materials, toys etc.  ( I have some toys that I collected from the Methodist church in the hopes of finding a new home for playgroup)

D. Comment below on what playgroup has meant to you!

Rificolona, 100% Florentine holiday!


Ona ona ona ma che bella rificolona

Florence is home to a load of festivals and holidays, some more exciting than others.  One of the more exciting and more unique festivals is the Rificolona or lantern festival.  Here is a little outline of the festival!

Origin: Now nothing more than a children’s holiday, the festival originates from the countryside around Florence.  Once a year the country folk, in particular farmers, would make pilgrimages during the beginning of September to the church of Santissma Annunziata for the estimated birthday of the Virgin Mary.   Hordes would come from the countryside the night before…as daytime was prime farming time…you can’t waste sunlight…and they would do so with colorful lanterns.  The procession would come from lands faraway…like the Casentino!  Well, when you don’t have a car…that is far!  During the night they would sleep underneath the porches in Piazza Santissma Annunziata, much like the homeless people today…  After their religious site seeing was over, they would set up market stalls in the Piazza and along the via dei Servi.  This was another reason they would come the day before…as they wanted to get a prime spot to set up their booths.  They would sell cheeses, mushrooms, fabrics, and other traditional products from the countryside.  At dusk all would gather round and sing hymns to the virgin Mary!

The Holiday today:  Every 7th of September after 8:00pm the procession with start along via dei Servi to the Annunziata. Children will have colorful lanterns, many times home made in various shapes and sizes.  Some will have candles inside…other a battery operated light.  To my annoyance, most children will also have tubes where they spit out wads of clay which will bust, and often catch the other lanterns on fire.    There is also a market out in front of the church.  Many childrens’ organizations will have workshops so children may construct their own lantern.

Events this year for the holiday:

3-4-5 September 4pm 7pm Scuola Elementare Diaz in Via  Madonna delle Grazie 172

4-5-6 September 4pm-7pm Circolo via Nuove Viale Gianotti 13 and then their is a party the 7 September starting at 7:00 pm with food stands, and a band starting after 9:00 pm.

6 September  in Le Cure area at dusk- –Piazza le Cure and surrounding streets!

7 September: Official celebration in Piazza Santissma Annunziata 8:00pm-at 9:30 pm they will have a small ceremony and will give prices to the best home made lanterns.

7 September- At the Giardino il Lastrico del Popolo di Legnaia in via Pisana around 8:30pm they will have a small party in the street with lanterns.

8 September- They will have a small parade of boats in the Arno river.  The boats will be lit.   Time unknown

Renting an apartment in Italy short or long term.



For all of you new moms to the group, or moms looking for friends to stay, check it out!

Originally posted on Natural Italy Blog:

Those of you who are staying in Italy for a long stay or maybe want to get a native experience living in an apartment should know the laws and rights of living in an apartment in Italy.  I worked for an apartment rental agency in Florence.    Since I was dealing with the customers, and ran the company most of July and August by myself while the owners were on vacation, I wanted to share my knowledge about what I learned from the agency and tenants themselves.

1. A large majority of apartment agencies are run illegally.  Apartments can legally be rented by the owner or a certified real estate agent.   If you get an e-mail asking you to bring ‘cash’ it means that they most likely don’t want to pay taxes on the apartment and it is an illegal renting.  They may try and get you to sign a…

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Halloween is around the corner…Volunteers?

As many of you know our annual Halloween party is coming up in about 2 months…I know..you think 2 months is a long time but really it isn’t.  We will have it again at the church from last year, and we will try to get late afternoon slot.  The exact date and time will be announced mid September.  We will also need a lot of volunteers, that way each person will have to do less.  This year I was also thinking about having 45 minute shifts so there is still time to enjoy the party with your kids…. Also we are looking for a reliable teenager to help take money at the door.

Here are some of the committees

1.Food Table—We had a great volunteer last year…

2. Decorations-this would have to be someone that could come before and help set up

3. Clean up-someone that can stay after the party is over to clean up and mop

4. Activities- We also had a fantastic volunteer last year for this, if any of you would like to volunteer to advertise your party business this would be a great opportunity.

I will also be posting about our Christmas party in the next month or so for this year.  Stay Tuned… Jill Romanelli