It was time to take a little train trip to the country.  A friend lives in Empoli, 20 minutes outside of Firenze and invited Zoe and I to visit for the day.  Our train ride was €7 ($7.25) round trip. Can’t beat that.

The main square in Empoli is beautiful and very clean. It was about 11:00 and the square was empty.  I felt like we were on a movie set.  

Our first stop The Museum of Collegiate Church of Sant’Andrea. One of the oldest ecclesiastical museums in the Empoli area and retains some of the masterpieces of the ages between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries.

“A true gallery of primitives” (old masters), such as “to arouse the envy of much larger cities”: as written by one of the most important art historians of about a century needle, it concentrates in a few rooms notable examples of the Tuscan school of painting, and especially, the Florentine one, for a period running from the 1300’s to the earliest years of the 1600’s.

I was very impressed with the quality of stores in Empoli. This store in Piazza Farinata was one of my favorites.

Paolettoni Fiori is exactly the type of store I would sell to if it had been in California. A combination full service florist and home accessories store.

I love how they hung these amaryllis bulbs from the ceiling wrapped in heavy gauge wire. I wish I could see them all in bloom.

Is pink the latest in home accessories? Gorgeous accent with everyone’s favorite grey. 

They do such a nice job with their displays.

Such a sweet little terrarium.

Next stop was Montelupo to visit the ceramic museum,  Museo della Ceramica. The museum contains ceramic items from one of the mist important production centers of the Renaissance, not only in Italy, but also in the entire Mediterranean basin. In 1973 a large water well was discovered by chance, built around 1000 AD, abandoned for centuries and filled with an enormous amount of majolica kiln discards that are now on display in the museum after meticulous restoration. 

We are in the Tuscan countryside and ancient walls and a darling neighborhood to explore.

I bet you can guess what this cats body language is expressing.  “I see a dog”

My first iris sighting, and what a beauty.

If you find yourself in Empoli I recommend Ritrovino, not just because it’s my friend Riccardo’s son and daughters restaurant.  I love places with long tables and everyone sits together, get their own placemat and utensils and help clean the table when your done. It was very busy with locals enjoying the really good food.

Across the street is this very cool contemporary house. I was very curious about it and googled it when I got home. It was designed by Ettore Sottsass. He was an Italian architect and designer of the late 20th century. His body of designs included furniture, jewellery, glass, lighting and office machine design.

In 1956, Ettore Sottsass began working as a design consultant for Olivetti, designing office equipment, typewriters, and furniture. There Sottsass made his name as a designer who, through colour, form and styling, managed to bring office equipment into the realm of popular culture.

Back to the country and a nice visit to Riccardo’s house to see is beautiful just planted garden.  Zoe was very happy running and exploring.

This was a really nice day filled with so many fun things.  I want to thank Riccardo for being my guide and introducing me to his family.