Buon San Valentino!

Although Valentine’s Day is not as hyped here in Italy as in other countries (say, the United States), there was still plenty of pink and red to be found today on my morning’s walk along Arezzo’s Corso Italia.  Come join me!


The first thing I noticed were these tiny hearts peering up from under this large plant at the entrance to Graziella Patio Hotel!

Immediately at the intersection of Via Cavour and the Corso, I was greeted by the always friendly windows of Bar Stefano, now decorated in a subtlety sweet San Valentino style.


Even though it is not traditional for Italian children to exchange Valentine cards at school, there was still a stream of Valentine envelopes cascading from the beautiful shop of local Arezzo jewelry designer superstar Giovanni Raspini.


Next, as I continued down the Corso, I wondered whether I was more intrigued by the alluring lingerie behind the window or by the silver stickers on the window representing those delicious chocolate-wrapped hazelnuts, “Baci”  or “kisses.” Like Hershey’s in name only.  The company’s motto is, “Say ‘I love you’ the Italian way.”  Perfect.


Rounding out my stroll, on the opposite side of the Corso, this store proclaimed it has the secret of “TRUE LOVE” inside its doors. ???????????????????????????????

Perhaps, but as I wandered along gazing at the array of specially advertised Valentine’s Day sweets, jewelry and clothing, I happened upon this young couple walking hand in hand.


Without disturbing them, I snapped a photo at the very moment they expressed their love the best way of all –          -from the heart.

Buon San Valentino, tutti!  

No matter what or whether the gifts – I hope you have a loving day.

Til next time,


Copyright 2014 Gina London. All Rights Reserved.


Childhood Connects Us

A Facebook friend messaged me today writing, “It is so fun listening to your Lulu say what kids say. Brings back memories of when my kids were small.”

She hit it right on the head.  I mean, of course, I love my daughter like a mad-woman and want the whole world to know it – so I post mostly about Lulu and the funny things she does and says.

Notice the name “Lulu” under her feet!

But when other parents add comments about their own kids’ adventures or sayings or general eccentricities, it’s even more tremendous. Because we all love our kids and marvel at the world through their eyes.  It’s no wonder our shared experiences of the adorable or crazy or even innocently brutal things they say and do  – ring true among us.

For those of you raising kids — There they are.  Right now. Reminding you what’s important: bugs, and candy, and giggling.  And what isn’t:  uptight business meetings, cell phone calls and texting, and stress.

And for those of you with children already grown–   You nostalgically remember the moments. When they hugged you in public with joyful abandon.  When the world was conquerable with a cardboard sword.  When a skinned knee instantly felt better with a kiss and some “magic dust.”

And for those of you who don’t have kids yet or don’t want them at all– You were once a child yourself.   Remember?

Of course you do.   That’s what connects us all.

P.S. I am so delighted that my book, Because I’m Small Now and You Love Me is in final edit.  I sincerely think it will be a connection. For all of us big kids.

Baci, tutti!


On the Street Where You Live

Is it because we live in Italy now, or is it because (bias alert) I have a cute little girl?  I don’t know.  But yesterday some temporal and mystical elements converged and I was compelled to snap even more photos than I usually do.

On a walk with Lulu through the center of our little Tuscan town, we meandered through some small streets we had never visited before.

An alley near a small hospital splashed with graffiti that somehow seemed artistic and interesting, not just annoying and profane.

A warm caramel colored door with ivy dangling overhead.  We wondered who lived there.  Lulu knocked, but no one answered.

An ancient stone wall with a mysterious chipped green gate dappled by this week’s scorching Tuscan sun.

For me, they were enchanted streets.  Streets we had never before seen and that seemed somehow magical in their makeup.

But for the Italians who were born here in Arezzo and walk on them every day, they’re probably just the streets where they live.   On the other hand, maybe they find them as magical as I do.

“Are there lilac trees in the heart of town?
Can you hear a lark in any other part of town?
Does enchantment pour Out of ev’ry door?
No, it’s just on the street where you live!” – My Fair Lady.

Baci, tutti!

Ciao, Gina

P.S.  Where do you live? Are there lilac trees on your street? Pine trees? Any trees at all?  Where will you find magic today? – On the street where you live!