Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lucca Summer Outdoor Cinema

I am a dreamer and romantic by nature and love the movies, but modern multi screens have rather removed the magic from a night at the flicks. I partly blame the swirly carpets. Here in Lucca the cinemas are rather old and for the beauty of the buildings we certainly suffer on the high tech stakes. However in the summer cinema going returns to its heyday with the outdoor screen. The setting, in the wonderful gardens of Villa Bottini, reminds me of the scenes of Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey in The Wedding Planner.  

On a hot summer evening what a perfect way to practice your Italian (all the movies are dubbed) or steal a kiss in the back row and its even eco saving on all that air conditioning!

Every evening until 4th September, Villa Bottini Lucca at 21.30 tickets 5 Euros concessions 4 Euros.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gaga Dance Hits Lucca - Dance Italia Summer School Lucca

Lucca can sometimes appear to be a bit reactionary but in August the city has seen a group of young American and European dancers extend the limits of the  dance scene here.Stephanie Nelson chose to run her three-week intensive international contemporary dance summer school here, bringing together students and young professional from America and Europe.

It always amazes me the number of dance schools we have in this small city so it seemed a wonderful opportunity for the dance scene to become more international, when Stephanie Nelson of the “Stephanie Nelson Dance Group” based in New York City brought over a group of young American dances both students and professional to work intensively mainly in the area of contemporary dance. Other students arrived from Europe and a few from Italy. My daughter joined the classes for a week and was bowled over by the injection of enthusiasm, free spirit and the ability to interpret both intellectually and through movement. Stephanie’s wonderful mantra “It is what it is” gave any student with inhibitions the courage to experiment without fear of judgement, giving the dancers the chance to extend their boundaries in a totally holistic fashion. The course had an impressive line up of teachers. I was particularly

intrigued by the GAGA technique and persuaded my very classically trained daughter to go and try it. I envisaged that they would all be draped in Florentine steaks or pasta but in fact this dance form has nothing to do with Lady Gaga but hails from Israel. Shaked Dagan from the Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv, which is headed by Ohad Naharin, the founder of the method, steered the class through the idea of imaginary guided movement. The appeal of Gaga dance for me is that fact that anyone can do it from these young dancers to small children and the general adult population of. For a week the dancers where supported by a physiotherapist from London, Mark Archer and shiatsu and pilates expert Dominique both who have a wealth of experience with dancers .

The dancers at the end of the course gave an impromptu performance in the piazza using San Michele as a prop accompanied by Stephanie’s small son on his violin, a wonderful New York moment in Lucca. I can't wait to welcome them all back next year.

useful links

http://www.danceitalia.com/  for next years course dates

http://www.sndancegroup.org/   Stephanie Nelson's dance company (New York)

http://www.batsheva.co.il/en/ Gaga dance (Tel Aviv)

ttp://www.archerphysio.com/   Mark Archer physiotherapist (London)

http://livingpilates.co/index.php  pilates and shiatsu (London)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Designer Clothes Market, Forte dei Marmi, Tuscany

Forte di Marmi is known as a ritzy resort. The bagni on the beaches look like hotel lobbies in the sand and the clientele are the rich and celebs. Forte di Marmi claims amongst its residents, Giorgio Armani, Andrea Bocelli and Roberto Benigni even the Italian prince Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia has been spotted cycling around the resort. Here the souvenir shops are Prada, Armani and Gucci and Ferraris and Porsches outnumber Cinquecentos.

On a Wednesday morning however mere mortals not trying to catch a glimpse of their favourite celeb converge on the place because it is market day. Forte di Marmi being a designer sort of a place has a huge designer market. Here you don’t just find cheap tat but cashmere and D&G. It takes a little adjustment to see prices of 100 of euros plus in a market but I am assured by devotees of this market that great bargains can be found. Personally I am the kind of girl who likes to rummage in the 5 Euro pile to discover my designer bargain, but my teenage daughter and I had a fun morning. The Neapolitan husband was kept distracted by taking photos! Just remember that if you sit-down for a coffee in one of the bars you will pay designer prices!

Good hunting!

Mercato del Forte:
Every Wednesday also Sunday from Easter to 30th September

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Il Cameron Tuscan Dream

Tuscan scene  by baked beans on flickr

Oh Buoy! What a storm in a cappuccino cup we have had this week. It seems poor David Cameron has been under fire from the world’s press over a trip to a bar during his Tuscan sojourn. Not that I am a supporter of any politician but really give the guy a break. He goes to the bar, orders a couples of cappuccini and a cafĂ© without noticing or not being able to distinguish punters from hanger-ons. He asks the barmaid to bring his order to the table. Seems to me normal holiday behaviour. I mean to say he wasn’t asking for a Jack Daniels at 11 o’clock but then the poor barmaid, overcome by the crowd and too busy to look her client in the eye, asked if he can carry it himself. Being a decent kind of a chap he pays and goes to his table, happy to smile for the paparazzi.  But oh no, a British spy noted he paid the exact amount, no tip. Shock horror, the guy is tight. Look British press don’t show your ignorance. Here in Tuscany you don’t tip at the bar. He carried the cups. He paid the correct amount for a coffee at the bar. If had had been served at the table the bar have the right to charge higher prices and the client usually leaves a tip. So Mr Cameron you deserve an apology, you got it right. In Naples yes, you would tip at the counter but here NO.

Photo by la  Repubblica Firenze

The Italian press however couldn’t be left out and berated the bad manners of the barmaid Francesca Ariani for not serving her illustrious client. She therefore has created a special dessert in the way of an apology. “Il Cameron Tuscan dream”, layers of Caffè, the famous local fortified wine Vin Santo, delicious Tuscan Cantuccini biscuits.

Photo by la  Repubblica Firenze

Cameron did his bit too and returned to the bar, to be served and guess what, he also left a whopping tip. The waitress and the politician were seen hugging for the cameras too.
So now that the diplomatic incident has been righted with a smile and the Tuscan tourist industry saved. Cameron however has now had to return to London to sort out more serious problems.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sunset on the beach at Viareggio

I like my beach to be perfectly ironed please!

Fish and chips Viareggio style

Just Divine, Buon Appetito!