Sunday, October 16, 2011

An Icon Revisited

This past weekend a wonderful and amazing thing happend while visiting Toronto with my husband, but first, let me start at the beginning. While visiting the beautiful city of Florence, one of the most popular and famous of all places to experience, is the pastry shop called Gilli, located in the Piazza della Repubblica.

Everything about is sheer class. The marble counters, gleaming cutlery, silver napkin holders and quiet elegance felt the minute you walk through the doors.

This lovely putti vase holding fresh flowers on a hand made doily was just one of the little details too delicious to miss!

The Piazza della Repubblica is one of the most glorious piazzas in Florence, it is where one goes to see and be seen!!

In the early evening,  the people of Florence embrace the daily ritual of the evening stroll with style and much aplomb. Wearing the lastest fashions, and walking arm in arm, the outside cafe at Gilli has been a must destination for locals as well as tourists for years.

The pastries look like little jewels, perfect in their execution as well as presentation.

Yummm or more aptly buonissimo!!!

Getting ready for the evening rush.

The gelatos are the best in Florence.

....and now for the rest of the story.....

Many of you may be familiar with the famous photo American Girl in Italy taken in 1951 by Ruth Orkin.

The lovely girl's monumental frame drew the Italian men's attention, and her downcast eyes would denote her as a stranger. This photo became one of the most famous photographs of all time, and was taken at the corner of the historic cafe Gilli in the Piazza della Repubblica.

But what is really amazing is that while I was shopping yesterday in Toronto, I picked up a copy of Panoram, a wonderful, new magazine dedicated to preserving Italian culture and traditions, and it is here, from the enlightening article by Anja Karisik that the story resonated with me.Why now??  Why right after coming home from Italy??? from Florence?????  Ninalee Craig, the beautiful American girl in Florence, in the photo is alive and well and living in Toronto!!!!

Miss Craig is now 83 years old, still as poised and lovely as she was then, a patron of the arts, and a wonderful source of inspiration for me, more than she will ever know. Who would think that after my frequent visits to Gilli while in Florence, the rest of the story would unfold for me right here at home.
I try to come away with an experience, a feeling, a wish , an inner lesson learned whenever I travel. This trip to Italy is still unfolding its treasures to me.
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