Nicole Sharp

Writer, Wanderer and Coffee Lover living "la dolce vita"

Tag: italy

To Quote…again

Today, I just want to have one breathing moment of powerful, lovely, happiness in one place. I am in the need of beauty. Beautiful words, beautiful images, beautiful ideas.

Joy is its own kind of rebellion. – Chuck Wendig

Monteriggioni Italy

“You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.”

– Maya Angelou

Continue reading

No place like home



View of Boise from the Depot

I forget the gem of a state I have here in my little corner of the world. And I’m thankful for my trips this summer that have reminded me why I’ve made this place my home.

Rumi said “It may be that the satisfaction I need depends on my going away, so that when I’ve gone and come back, I’ll find it at home.

My idol, Madeline L’Engle said “Maybe that’s the best part of going away for a vacation – coming home again.”

And sure that’s what I’m feeling.

Continue reading

Art of Florence…

20160625_111411I had an agenda when I went to Florence a month ago. There were cappuccino’s to purchase and drink. There were sights to be seen. There were words to be written.

IMG_1672I wanted to stand at the feet of my old friend the Duomo and wonder up at her majesty. I wanted to really take my time and feel my feet on the cobblestones in the heart of Firenze. I wanted to see where the day took me. I wanted to sit in my favorite spot and write. I wanted to eat at meal at 4 Lione (Quattro Lione), this pasta that melts in your mouth. A pasta that is so delicious it’s easy to become emotionally attached to it. I wanted to take enough notes and pictures of daily life in Florence that I had more fodder for the web site I do freelance writing for, Trip101. But one of the things I was looking forward to was finding a particular type of work from an artist in an open air market that I failed to purchase for myself the last time I was in Florence. Continue reading


tuscan countryside

View from the walls of Monteriggioni

I’ve returned back home. My adventures over the past few weeks to California to visit my folks and some old friends, to Italy to see my sister…it’s tightened a belt on the distance between myself and the rest of the world. Made it more accessible, smaller, more manageable.

I’m exhausted and finally came down with the cold I’ve been fighting, but that’s okay. It’s a small price to pay for the amount of rejuvenation I was given. Friends who reinforced my me-ness. Family who reinforced my wholeness. A culture that reinforced my love for learning and language and art. Views that reinforced the beauty of this world we live. I’ll pay one stupid cold any day for such great returns.

I’m sure I’ll have more in-depth thoughts later on my travels, but for now, let’s be honest about what we all want: to see some pretty pictures.

Okay my friends, here you go.


Piazzale Michelangelo

View of Florence

P. Michaelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo

Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio


Santa Maria del Fiore

View from a wall

Tuscan Countryside


Gelateria La Carraia

OMG a pink vespa

Pink Vespa on the streets of Florence


Scratchers Italian style


Florence Street art by Clet

local gypsy woman

Orsanmichele Florence

Florence Cemetery

Cemetery of Porte Sante

walls of florence

Original walls of Florence


Base of lamp post along the Arno River


Small Italian market

S. M. Novella

Detail in Santa Maria Novella


Tuscan charm


Detail on the streets of Florence


Parking near Santa Croce


Florence, more musings…

IMG_1681Renaissance. The rebirth and revival of classical art and literature and architecture. I walked past a woman who was holding a small book eye level and I didn’t think much of it, until I glanced over her shoulder. I was stuck by the sketch she was doing of the Piazza Repubblica. Just pencil on a small little sketch book. She had done the arch way that framed a statue that stands in the middle of the piazza. I tripped over my feet and stopped. I wanted more than anything to turn and go back and strike up a conversation and watch her create, but this moment she was caught up in was her moment of inspiration.

Continue reading

More Tuscan Musings…


Writing in The Italian kicthen


Ok, so I’m not going to sleep on this trip…fine by me. I’ve just doubled up on the air borne, washing my hands and thank the good Lord for my niece, as she is the reason I stop every afternoon and take a breather while she naps.

First things first: Florence in June.

I’m not going to lie to you. It’s hot. High of 98 degrees for the past few days and it’s also muggy. Bring on the humidity. Those who live in the South East of the States can appreciate this kind of heat. Also because Florence is on a river and it’s humid….you guessed it. There are mosquitoes galore. So it’s hot and I’ve got bug bites and I’m not sleeping because I’m too excited.

And I don’t give one good damn.

Continue reading

Patio Musings



I have officially moved outside for the season.

I have loved the backyard patio for as long as I can remember.

For that matter, I’ve loved said patios best in the early morning hours.

I’ve sat and contemplated life all over the world on various patios, and none of them have disappointed.  The only problem I’ve ever come across with my patio musings is that the morning is over all too soon.

Continue reading

The Cafe

CYMERA_20140213_113952 - CopyShall we keep on the topic of coffee and the Italian bar?

The muses took over as I slowly breathed in the Florentine landscape around me that moved and whirled in a drowsy rainy spring.  I sat in so many bars and cafe’s and pasticcerias while I was visiting Florence, writing, waxing poetically about everything I saw.

I wonder if Hemingway preferred the bars he wrote in because it was the thing to do in his day or if it was the mix of tourists…now that I write that, I think perhaps there were not tourists in his day as there are today when you come to Europe.Hemingway-in-Paris_zps43d437ec

Perhaps he loved the rhythm of the day that can be found at European bars and cafés.  A quick caffe (shot of espresso) in the morning, folks on their way to work, waking up to each other’s smiles, complaints and gossip, the work crowd quickly dissolving with the slowing sounds of cups and saucers and spoons being stacked over and over again.  The older crowd shuffles in for their long winded gossip turns or the politics of the day – voicing the kind of opinion that comes from age and time to ponder such provocative thoughts.  After farewells, it’s lunch time.  A speedy group, even if the Italians are known for their long, late lunches.  The bar is for quick panini’s.  A late afternoon pick me up espresso crowd followed blends into an aperitivo crowd.  And finally the bar is put to bed with boisterous sentiments of the evening drinkers.

If life revolves around the kitchen table, “The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.” – Joy Harjo.  Then perhaps the gossip of life, the daily speeds of life can be found in the cafe.  Maybe Hemingway was drawn to this changeling called a café when he was in Paris in the 20s.

I take my turn to write and muse as life swirls around me and breath it all in.

Good Morning Florence

Good Morning FlorenceIMG_0538

The Italian café, from about 8 to 10 in the morning, is a thing of pure beauty.  A well-oiled machine that just begs the foreigner to stand back in awe.

People crowd around the pastry case first, no well-formed line, just a general understanding of who might take their turn next.  Neighbors greet each other at their friendly neighborhood café on their way to work.  In the daily life of the Italian, they have a pastry and a coffee for breakfast; a large lunch and finally a demure dinner.  There is no snacking in between, the only seemly execption to this rule is a quick apertivo on the way home from work. Locals might stop at the same bar on their way home. The café has been transformed into a bar. A spread of mini sandwiches, cheeses, olives, pappa al pomodoro (a tomato bread soup) are all offered for perhaps a tiny taste. To drink, a nice red wine or perhaps a shot of espresso with a shot of liquor in it.

I could talk about each individual moment of the day at an Italian café: how certain coffee drinks are had at certain times of the day, but for now, oh for now, let’s do talk about morning coffee.

I am visiting my sister.  She lives in Florence these past 9 years, and while she goes to work, I walk the city streets and indulge. This trip is different from all my tourist trips I’ve taken before.  This trip I speak the language. I’ve been studying for two years. I also have the luxury of time to take it all in.

20This morning I walk to the nearby i dolci di Massimo pasticceria, the neighborhood café of my sister. It’s just around the corner of her apartment.

Work starts about 10am here, and it’s only 9, so the place is hopping.  I gather into the crowd by the pastry case and it’s good there is time for me to make a decision. The temptations are glorious.

There are pastries stuffed with Chantilly cream that divine heaven in your mouth; croissants filled with apples; brioche as far as the eye can see; and delicate, inviting fruit tarts.

DSC_0015DSC_0016An older blonde woman, with what can only be described as a modern, updated version of a Roman face, stands behind the counter, handing out “la pasta” the pastry.  Today I order “tre paste per portare via.”  Three pastries to take home.  I can’t abide settling for one. I’ll save some for later.

The morning crowd quickly munch away at their pastry as they move from the pastry case to the unorganized group in front of the most coveted area of the bar: the espresso machine.16

With a crowd that would normally take a Starbucks staff of four and a decent amount of time to fill orders; here, one lone barista handles the lovely dance of morning orders without breaking a sweat.

In between calls of ‘ciao’ and ‘come stai’ to each other; once the locals have made their way to the front of the counter,  they call out their order to the barista, “due cappuccini” “un caffe”… and without giving any acknowledgement to the one who ordered, within seconds said drink is placed before the customer.

The sound of clinking cups and saucers and spoons, become a magical morning symphony to accompany the rising sun.

“Vorrei un cappuccino”, I call, I would like a cappuccino. IMG_0536My own cup is placed on a saucer with spoon.  I stand at the bar the way the locals do. Coffee is for a quick visit, not for lingering. I add a little sugar, give a swirl and then…then comes that fine moment when the world stands still and I drink the perfect cappuccino – perfect foam, perfect espresso, perfect size (maybe 6oz) that perfectly tempered mixture rushes down to my stomach and I sigh.  Good morning Italy.

I have been spoiled by the Italian Cappuccino.  When I return to my little corner of the world I call home, I will find no pomp and circumstance to surround a cappuccino of the perfect size, served in a cup with saucer and spoon.  It’s all tall, grande, venti’s with additives, but that’s American. It’s who we are on our busy mornings. This however, this is not about an American morning.  Right now this is about the Italian morning.

Here, on this cloudy, cool morning, I revel in this moment that I can be a part of.  I finish my drink in several sips, the way the locals do, then I step away from the bar so another can take my place.  I pay and make my way back into the rainy streets towards my sister’s apartment. How many more mornings will I have to repeat this ritual?  Not nearly enough.

© 2019 Nicole Sharp

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑