Our new program video is here!

We look forward to it every year. We get together (with lots of tissues) and we cull through the endless footage from the summer (and all the summers before). There’s laughter. There’s crying. There’s the ooh and the awww and then finally, there’s the perfect expression of how much the trip means to so many wonderful and amazing women. Its all the feels all the time. Enjoy.
 

 

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Italian Cities in Review: Torino (Turin)

San Lorenzo Turin

I


n an attempt to spread our travel net ever further afield, we grabbed our camera and boarded a three-hour train to Torino, the first capital of unified Italy and home to its once Royal family, the House of Savoy. This city has been given two strikingly dissimilar mottos: “the Detroit of Italy” and “little Paris.” While car manufacture is one of its most important industries, I think you’ll agree from the photos below that the French influence dominates in this mini Paris on the Po.
 
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Art in Florence: Top Twenty Artworks to See Before You Leave

ART_IN_FLORENCEAs adamant fans of the art in Florence, it often breaks our hearts to hear that travelers to this fair city miss out on some of Florence’s renowned works. Of course there are many reasons to visit this multi-faceted town, but one of the main motivations has always been to see Florence’s breathtaking painting, sculpture, and architecture. According to UNESCO (although it may be a somewhat Western centric view), 60% of the world’s most important works of art are located in Italy and approximately half of these are in Florence.
 
Art_of_florenceEveryday we see tourists herded into the Uffizi and Accademia as if they are the only two museums in Florence and countless more make the mistake of thinking that because there is no line outside the many other museums and churches, that there is nothing to see inside. On the contrary, there are many places in Florence that are full of masterpieces and (relatively speaking) empty of tourists. In response to this trend, we’ve made this list of the art in Florence that (we believe) everyone should see before they leave (in truth, the list is WAY longer than this. We had to narrow it down. And then narrow again); some works will be familiar, while others, I guarantee, will be completely new.
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Novità: The Bardini Museum

All things new.
They may not be new to Florence, but they’re news to me.
bardini_museumIt can be increasingly difficult to see and do new things in Florence when you’re constantly taking visiting friends and family to the same ten places that they “can’t miss” and, unsurprisingly, feeling less inclined to play the tourist by yourself once they’ve left. There are so many things I still haven’t seen. It’s as if every time I’m motivated, another friend is passing through and I’m visiting the same old haunts again*. In an effort to never say, “I still haven’t seen that” again, I made a list of places in Florence that, pitifully, would all still warrant the above response and I made a promise to start seeing them. That is how I finally made my way to a lesser-known (but wonderfully charming) museum known as the Bardini. I hope with this post I can motivate others – veterans and newbies alike – who, like me, may have not found the time or felt the inclination to add the Museo Bardini to their lists.
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Photo of the Week: New Room No.35

Photo of the Week: New Room No.35

Red.
The dramatic new color of the walls in Room No.35 of the Uffizi Museum in Florence. This room is one of the first to get a facelift after the gorgeous renovation of the famous Tribune and, hopefully, not the last. Walking through the many other spaces of the museum with their (now by comparison) drab walls is, admittedly, not quite the same since this room got its upgrade.
 
So what’s so special about Room No. 35? Well, it just happens to be home to one of the Uffizi’s most important works: the only finished panel painting by Michelangelo, known as the Doni Tondo (seen at the back of the room in the above photo). Keeping company with this stunning work is the eye-catching Roman sculpture of Ariadne that only recently made its way into the Uffizi collection (technically, a permanent loan from the Archaeological Museum). In its original 16th century form, the Uffizi was known as the home to endless sculptures more so than painting. Today, however, we associate this world-famous museum almost exclusively with painted works. With the addition of the Ariadne, 35 is one of the few rooms that now combines sculpture and painting in one space. Hence, the new display style more closely reflects the museum’s original concept: a place where artists flocked to study the works of ancient sculpture to carve copies or, often, to use the unique poses and gestures in their paintings.
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