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This topic is for those attending the upcoming CERAMICS IN TUSCANY IV trip. A place to get to know your fellow attendees/roomies. 

 

This is also a place for past Ceramics in Tuscany attendees to say a few words and advice. 

 

I am looking forward to meeting everyone on May 25. 

Denny Holmes likes this

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For those coming along, just wanted to say I look forward to meeting every one. Our hotel is very convenient to the train station and the market. There are many good restaurants in the area. My favorite is La Lampara, on via Nacional, just down the street and to the right from the hotel. Doesn't look very big, but once you pass the wood oven in the entry, it goes way back and there is a nice quiet garden with a live turtle (a symbol of Florence). Great wood-fired pizza plus traditional Florentine cuisine. Reasonably priced.

If you are wandering around the market one restaurant, Tza Tza's, visited several times by our group two years ago, is a very nice large place with good food. Explore Florence if you arrive early before our meeting on Sunday! try to pack light...it is much easier to travel that way.Some hotels do not have elevators.Try to get a pop-up map of Florence for your explorations.Free internet at the Strozzi Palace Cafe..nice atmosphere

Museum recommendations

Check to see where we are scheduled to tour and skip those.

Palazzo Davonzatti- a Renaissance palace

San Marcos monastery ( just as it was in the 15th century)

Santa Croce (see who' who tombs from of the Florence renaissance)

Brancacci's Chapel in Santa Carmine ..they now offer an audio tour

The Bargello, great decorative arts.

and Manga! The food is great!

 

Ciao!

Marcia

Carolyn Dorr likes this

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for those flying into the Florence airport, it is easy and very inexpensive to take the bus into Florence.

On the map leave the bus terminal and turn left towards the train station. To avoid steps into the underground crosswalks, cross the street towards the train station and walk across the front. Turn left and walk to the cross walk light cross the street to the right ..there are local buses there and it is very busy. Keep walking in the same direction until the first street Via B Cenniini. Turn right on that and continue 2 streets to Via Faenza. Right again and the hotel is on the left. Bring ear plugs as the trash collection is at 5 am. If you get a street side, it is noisy. This is the least hassle way to get there. Via Nacionale is very busy. You can go underground but I think the steps on that side. The escalator

is on the other side of the train station and the ramp comes up at the Piazza dell’ Unita Italia.Have a good trip and see you soon.

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Here is my second blog from "As the Wheel Turns."  I hope it is helpful to those planning to attend this year and future travelers. Ciao Tutti e tanti aguri! (best wishes)https://klaybykate.squarespapost-63385-0-72926400-1398952775_thumb.jpgce.com/blogasthewheelturns/


This time last year I was busily preparing for a trip to Italy with the Potter's Council. I diligently practiced my Italian with the help of Italianpod101.com and eagerly checked for the word of the day which popped up on my cell phone and in my e-mail. Hard to believe that almost a year has passed!


My advice to future attendees--or any travelers--is as follows:


1. Pack light. You will thank yourself and me when you are actually in Italy. You're welcome in advance. Walking up and down narrow staircases and getting on and off trains and buses will be easier!  You will be seduced by the many ceramics at the bottegas you visit and the textiles and other treasures you find in open markets, museums and places of business along your path. Not to worry if your bags are still bulging.....you can always ship your booty home or ask Claudia Bruhin of La Meridiana to help you with this task.  When you arrive home, you will have a wonderful package from Italy to look forward to opening.


2. Pack allergy medication if you are prone to allergies and even if you are not. You will encounter blooming beauties especially in the Tuscan countryside. I have not had allergies for years, yet my downfall was riding on the second tier of a hop on hop off bus in Ravenna. We wanted to make the most of our day visit by seeing as much of the city as we could, including the water and thought this would be the best way.  It was and gave us the opportunity to hop off, at the places we decided to visit. It was beautiful, fantastic, wonderful at the moment to ride atop the second story bus and take in the city, the water, the rolling hills and countryside outside of the city......until the evening when I began sneezing uncontrollably. Others had the same problem and we shared allergy medications (over the counter medications!)! 


3. Be prepared for puntura di insetto or better known as mosquito/bug bites. We all shared mosquito ointment, too.  In Certaldo, our hostess Chiara, told us to keep the windows closed at night because the mountain mosquitoes were large and their bites were unpleasant. This is true! Not to worry, you will be so caught up in the wonder of all you are doing and seeing you will hardly notice the itching and swelling! If you do forget the ointment, stop by the nearest Farmacia where you will find a cure!


4. Study some Italian! Although not necessary, it is so much fun to be able to say something to the locals. They appreciate the effort although, Giovanna, the owner of the Italian cooking school in Certaldo Alto, asked me to please speak in English!!! I was trying to purchase her cookbook at the end of the day on the last day of our visit and all my carefully practiced words were no where to be found! I did have a lovely conversation with an elderly woman in Faenze who pointed out all the streets I needed to visit and what to look for.  She saw me photographing doorways, mosaics on the sides of the walls and windows, etc. and told me about avenues I should check out. These moments are very satisfying. In some cases you will want to practice your Italian as you ask for directions and Italians will want to practice their English.  Very fun! And... you can say things like, Ciao tutti! Hi everyone! or Piacere, pleased to meet you; Va bene, It's all good; Allora, Oh well then; Brava, for a job well done...you get the picture.


5. Be prepared to enjoy yourself thoroughly! Marcia and Carolyn are the perfect guides and both possess the patience of Job.  Marcia Selsor, Professor Emerita of Montana State University-Billings, has done numerous residencies all over the globe and is the quintessential teacher.  Carolyn Stockdale Dorr, "El Jefe," of Potter's Council, is a no nonsense, salt of the earth, good person, and very organized. My middle daughter, Maria accompanied me as a non-potter which made the trip extra special. So, wether you are traveling alone or with a friend/spouse/adult child, wonders await you!  If you get a chance read La Bella Lingua, My Love Affair With Italian, The World's Most Enchanting Language by Dianne Hales because it is informative, funny and divertente! 


I am excited for you! Non vedo l'ora ( I can hardly wait)!  You will see mind blowing art, and..... you get to play with clay!!!!! What could be better? Until my next post, Ciao tutti!


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Carolyn Dorr likes this

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Just a reminder to contact your credit card company and let them know you'll be in Italy and give the dates. Some companies block the use of the card when overseas charges appear without warning.

 

See you soon.

 

Marcia

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Excellent site! Thanks for posting the link. I looked up several sites in Florence. San Marcos with all the Fra Angelicos has a video.

I recommend see San Marcos. It is where Lorenzo d'Medici went to meditate. It is a serene place not usually crowded. It seems untouched since the 15th century.

Marcia

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Reminder to everyone to talk with your personal cell service provider about service in Italy.  They are the best at helping you make a decision on what is best for you.

 

There is wi-fi available throughout the trip, but remember it is not always reliable nor super fast, but you can stay in contact with home. 

 

As we get closer, I recommend that you look at the weather forceast before packing. Being prepared saves you stress and money! 

 

Looking foward to seeing all of you soon!

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Hello Everyone,

 

I am really looking forward to the trip and meeting everyone.

 

I am wondering how easily we will be able to access laundry services? I am trying to pack light and if there are laundry services readily available that will make it soooo much easier.

 

I am also trying to decide if it would be better to bring a suitcase with wheels or a knapsack.  My husband Jack, who is also coming on the trip, read somewhere that rolling suitcases are not very helpful because of the cobblestone streets.  Any advice?

 

Can't wait!  Marsha Hoggan

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My suitcase has two big wheels about 4". Spinners can have a problem on cobble stones. I hand wash daily or so.. There may be something for laundry in the lower part of Certaldo. I haven't stayed in the Castillo hotel where we will be this year for the second week. They may have a laundry service, but I really don't know.

Marcia

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BTW my suitcase is a 22" carry-on. I put my purse in a tote and carry that on as well.

That is it. Easy to get around, on and off trains. No lost bags to deal with. I recommend that you are able to lift your bag into the overhead on the train.

 

Marcia

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Wow, seriously a 22" carry on?  I wasn't thinking of packing quite that light but maybe I will have to rethink it.  Can we arrange shipping for the pots we make?  I know we are only making a couple of small ones but I want to make sure I can get them home.

 

I took a naked raku workshop a while ago and they were very insistent that we had to have long sleeves and pants and closed toes shoe for the firing.  It that necessary with the firing you are doing?  I wan't planning on taking closed toed shoes.

 

Marsha

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You won't be doing the pulling. Pietro does that. Don't worry about clothing for firing. I recommend sandals because no socks. Watch the weather. Currently 72 in Florence for the high. Pack light as possible.

You'll be glad you did. The tote bag can be used for purchases or pots. You can expand and check the bag on the return.I bring a 3.2 oz bottle of liquid laundry soap and a AAA sucker clothes line.I will be gone for 32 days.

Marcia

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Hi Marcia,  Do you mean we don't throw any pots for the firing?  Sorry maybe I misunderstood the write up in the course description. I thought it said we make a small pot or two for the Obvara firing. 

 

Thanks for all the tips.

 

Marsha

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we'll be hand building pots for raku and obvara. The shop gets set up for one or the other.The 'raku dolce' process is very particular to pull the pots at the temperature when the orange terra sig vitrifies. Pietro uses a heat reading gun for following the drop in temp. We do this for about 2 x per person's pots. That is about 44 pieces. Then we Obvara fire. If you want to bring one or 2 thrown pieces for obvara, please keep them in the 4-5" max dimension. Burnish with terra sig and bisque to 09 or 08. You will be able to make pieces for the obvara firing in Italy as well. The description of the schedule is make pieces on Sunday, this is for both raku and obvara. Monday fire raku. Wed. fire obvara. Pietro will also do some demos and discuss tools, mediterranean traditions, etc.

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Wow, seriously a 22" carry on?  I wasn't thinking of packing quite that light but maybe I will have to rethink it.  Can we arrange shipping for the pots we make?  I know we are only making a couple of small ones but I want to make sure I can get them home.

 

I took a naked raku workshop a while ago and they were very insistent that we had to have long sleeves and pants and closed toes shoe for the firing.  It that necessary with the firing you are doing?  I wan't planning on taking closed toed shoes.

 

Marsha

We are taking small overnight needs to Faenza. You can send a larger bag from Florence to Certaldo with Claudia. I don't know if there is an elevator in the Certaldo hotel. We take a small train from Florence to Faenza. Luggage can not block the aisles so it needs to go overhead or under seats.Coming in from the airport by bus is no problem for larger bags because the bus has storage.

Marcia

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Hello Fellow Travelers,

My wife, Sharyn, and I are finalizing our packing and looking forward me meeting everyone.  We will be touring a few days in advance so maybe we will be seasoned Italian tourists by the time we meet.  

 

My ceramic work can be seen on Facebook---'Denny Holmes Pottery'.  My resume is attached.   

 

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Welcome Denny.

Here is my suitcase from a trip last fall for a month on the road in Europe. I roll the clothes and use a rubber band to keep them compressed. Wear a sweater or light jacket on the plane.Carry pots on the tote. Yes you can ship from La Meridiana but it is expensive. See you soon. One week from Sunday.

Marcia

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***IMPORTANT***

FYI

For those who have not travelled in Italy before, remember when boarding a train, you need to punch the time clock on the platform. "Validating" the ticket is required by law and not doing it can result in a fine.

Just watch others on the platform and follow their suit.

 

Marcia

Carolyn Dorr likes this

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