American in Italy, culture, events, expat, italy

Sunday Funday..Russian Orthodox Church and Antique Market

A caffe-latte in bed and a book is normally how I like to start off my Sundays. This being not at our apartment but rather T-mans parent’s home since they have somehow psychologically brainwashed into coming over to spend the night one night a week ( normally Saturdays ) . Being that we lived with them for a long time, we rationalize that one-night a week is a pretty easy and fair compromise though I am sure my American friends would react with a “say what?!” Luckily I have a pair of pajamas that his “mamma” lovingly sets aside for me to wear each time we visit and its design pretty much subcontiously expresses how she sees me.

I didn’t get a photo of the sock-like “home-slippers” with ruffles I also received.

Jokes and pink jammies aside, I love his parents and am thankful that they have so graciously accepted me and all of my flaws (lack of ironing skills and/or strength to properly make a bed ). Our Sunday lunches are usually full of jokes, great food and a very busy mamma who reminds me very much of my own ( except mine would have probably thrown holy-water on me the second I crossed the doorway ). This particular Sunday we wolfed down ravioli with artichokes, meat slathered with mushrooms and fresh strawberries. Of course all of this yummy food meant that me and t-man had to get off our food-coma behinds and take a passeggiata to possibly urge our sagging metabolisms. Knowing that today was a multi-cultural day in Florence, we and possibly the entire population of Firenze headed over to the Fortezza di Basso to park and check out the Russian Orthodox church that I have always wanted to visit.

Yes you heard me right, a RUSSIAN orthodox church actually exists in Florence and is strikingly beautiful. The Florentine wrote about the church in 2011 about its plight for restorative funding, link here  ; which by visiting today looks to have somewhat hopefully been resolved as we did see scaffolding around the building. Granted this church is somewhat tucked away from the historical center, it is still a fairly easy walk and believe me, its worth it! Even t-man was blown away with the architecture and vibe of this small but special place. I felt less in Florence and more in St. Peters-burg sneaking a glimpse into the Russian orthodox world.

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons, James Gose)

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, James Gose)

The church was built in the late 1880’s and completed in 1903 to provide a then home to Russian immigrants looking for a place to worship and was designed in the northern Russian style with approval from St. Petersburg.

courtyard surrounding the church

Luckily we must have come at the right time since we were able to go inside and see the interior of the

church which was covered in artifacts, paintings and rugs carpeting the floors. We really want to come back and make an appointment to visit the inside with more light! If you also want to visit this Russian inspired area of Florence ( and you should ) , than the info is below.

Russian Orthodox Church of the Nativity of Christ
viale Giovanni Milton and via Leone X
For mass schedule and visits by appointment, call 055/490148.

Part two of our adventure this Sunday began with us heading back towards the Fortezza di Basso to check out the antique fair held outside in the garden/pond area surrounding the fortress. Called the Fortezza Antiquaria, this interesting fair is held very third Sunday of the month.  This is the first time I have ever been and I really love any antiques so we were really happy to wonder around and see what spoils they had on offer. I saw old record players, antique jewelry, beautiful white birdcages, furniture, knives, creepy dolls and basically anything an avid antique collector would love. Of course I wanted to buy everything ( especially a gorgeous owl ring for only 8 euros ) but I managed to restrain myself somehow.

 

DSCN0884I wasn’t kidding about the creepy dolls ( see above – also includes a basket full of the seven dwarfs and 90’s-era troll dolls ) but I absolutely loved the drawers pictured above, though I was too scared to ask for the price. We also went inside the Fortezza because they had the salone di mobile aka furniture fair going on for those who love innovative interior design. One thing I didn’t like was the overload of white leather couches , seriously that’s just asking for trouble.

There was also a special area of Asian-inspired furniture which was really unique; including a colorful lantern that was begging me “buy me buy me” and hang in my house. The fortezza usually has some really cool fairs and trade shows throughout the year so I will do my best to post the info on my blog since they are usually worth the minimal entrance fee (norm is around 5 euros ).

Another successful passeggiata completed, we headed back to the car before Firenze parcheggi could completely screw us over in hourly parking fees and headed home to sort out my laundry covered house, listen to my obnoxious neighbors blaring tv (he is a staunch fan of Rai 1) and make my lunch for work tomorrow. Sunday Funday completed

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11 Comment

  1. megalagom
    19.03.2012 at 13:25

    How lovely! I do have to giggle at the pajamas although I do understand the weekly family sleep overs, as long as you at least enjoy it a little it is worth it because it probably means the world to his family. That church is beautiful, even more so because it stands out and is unlike anything around it. I LOVE antiques and have always enjoyed going to street sales to find such random things.

    1. ggnitaly84
      19.03.2012 at 13:54

      you know I so agree, sometimes you have to just roll with it even if its out of your cultural norm but they are super sweet and just want to spend time with us which is what sundays are for, perche no? The church really is stunning and I am surprised I never have seen it until now! The most fantastic thing about florence is you never stop discovering things about your city which just inspires me more to keep searching.. The synagogue in Florence is really unique as well. If you love antiques, they usually have an ongoing fair at piazza di ciompi as well as many other various ones around Tuscany , http://www.theflorentine.net/events/events.asp

      1. Pierotucci
        20.03.2012 at 15:14

        The fair in Arezzo the first weekend of the month is truly a special treat. It is found in the city center (which is VERY walkable from the train station) and incorporates the old feel with absolutely delicious architecture. Worth a visit for sure.

        1. ggnitaly84
          20.03.2012 at 15:16

          I have actually never been to Arezzo! I heard that market was way better, I’ll have to make it down there sometime.. thanks for the tip!

          1. Pierotucci
            20.03.2012 at 15:18

            I love Arezzo, its so “un” touristy and historically speaking it is LOADED. If you want a some pointers on where to eat – just let me know.

          2. ggnitaly84
            20.03.2012 at 15:20

            you know how much I LOVE food so yes, I’ll certainly appreciate any tips!

  2. Pierotucci
    20.03.2012 at 15:13

    Your intro so reminded me of when I first starting dating my ex- Sundays have an entirely different meaning to the Italians (especially the males who need to be with Mommy). Not all of them are like that, my guy today is much more laid back about being with Mom, but he is all over let’s have a “real” Sunday meal. P.S. I know exactly what you mean about the bed – I thought I knew how to make a bed, until I was taught the “right” way to do it 🙂

    1. ggnitaly84
      20.03.2012 at 15:19

      Yes sunday funday! My bf I think is at time internally conflicted, sometimes he wants to stay with them for a night or two, and sometimes he comes out with “lets move to America!”. Self identity crises? I dunno. I do stand my ground when it comes to what I am comfortable with and what I am not, for example impromptu visits to our house..not to much but at the same time I love spending time with them, it just makes them so happy and us too. As for making the bed, if I don’t have to rush to work too fast, then it will be made the ‘right’ way. His mom also helped us get a vacuum with esselunga points since ya know, that was very neeeded with tile floors.. lol, makes me giggle

  3. Julie Sheridan
    28.01.2013 at 11:41

    Love this, Georgette. I’m coming to Florence in February with my mum and sister, and my mum, as a former Russian teacher, is fascinated with all things Russian. So will definitely be taking her to this church!

    1. ggnitaly84
      28.01.2013 at 11:46

      awesome! you guys absolutely should check it out, its very unique in it’s design in Florence and I can’t believe I only saw it for the first time last year

  4. Robin
    23.11.2014 at 1:38

    I love all your posts (have been a subscriber for a few months now) but only found this one today. Yay! I plan to move to Florence next summer and be trained TEFL (one of a million, I’m sure) and I attend the Russian Orthodox Church, so I am thrilled to have photos and so much information about it! Thank you!

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