My Calgary friend and wine guru, Geoff Last, is visiting Italy on business.  He’s invited me to join him this evening for a glass of wine at one of Florence’s top ranking restaurants Buca Lapi.  

Geoff and his colleague Steve are knowledgeable Food & Wine writers who have been invited to Italy for a private tour of the distinguished Antinori Wineries here in Tuscany.  Steve possesses the innate ability to charm, and has convinced the restauranteur that they are world famous food & wine critics.  While it’s true that they are in demand for their expertise in cuisine and fine wine, world famous is a bit of a stretch!

The original Siskel & Ebert

My fashionably late arrival finds the two of them being treated like mini-celebrities. Since I’m joining the self appointed Siskel & Ebert of the wine world, Buca Lapi’s owner, Luciano Ghinassi, naturally assumes that I too must be a VIP.  I willingly go along with the charade and allow Luciano to spoil me with his homemade wine (an honour in Italian culture), and the most scrumptious, decadent dessert I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.  The house-made chocolate tortais the only true celebrity at this table.  Not surprisingly it has become my top-ranking VIP.

The velvety smooth layer of exquisite dark chocolate merges with the fruity red wine which in turn triggers a mini-choir of angels to perform a symphony in my mouth… if you think I’m exaggerating, come to Italy and prove me wrong!!

I love my newly acquired celebrity status, and as we leave the restaurant, Luciano gently takes my hand and raises it to his lips, imploring me to return as his guest.  For a moment I contemplate setting the record straight.  Fortunately the inner actress, together with my two infamous sidekicks, convinces me to continue my role as La Diva Shauna.

“Mr DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up” (Gloria Swanson/Sunset Blvd)

Leaving Buca Lapi in search of a nightcap on this quiet January evening we wind our way through the deserted streets of Florence, and discover a little hole-in-the-wall that serves chilled Limoncello in champagne flutes.  It’s an appropriate drink to match my newly acquired notoriety.  The proprietors of this less-than-sophisticated establishment have chosen a freaky little monkey as their design motif.

In keeping with this bazaar theme, it appears that drunken monkeys are hired to clean the bathrooms.  With one quick look inside I reconsider, and return quickly to the table.  Fortunately the Limoncello more than makes up for the catastrophic facilities.  We toast newfound fame

After saying goodnight to my partners in crime, I settle comfortably into the backseat of the taxi, or is it a limo?  I wonder to myself where this little mistaken identity will lead … could that possibly be the paparazzi up ahead?

next weeks post: SIDEWALK CHICKEN

About Italian Living

I'm an interior decorator from Canada. I own a design firm. I have three grown daughters who are confidant women living busy lives. I love my family my friends and my life, however, something is missing. December 3rd, my eyes open at 3:33 a.m. It's time to fulfill my lifelong dream of living in Italy..... I rent my house, pack my bags, say a final farewell to all the people I love most in this world and hop on a plane January 13th.... alone. This is my story...
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  1. Lori says:

    I always knew you were destined for greatness!


    • Ha ha… yes it’s true!! Why am I having such a difficult time convincing the rest of the world? Would you be my manager? I’ll give you half my collection of cinnamon hearts and all my used books!!

      Thanks for reading
      kisses and hugs to all four of you xo


  2. Deborah Cullen says:

    Hi Shauna

    Thank you for providing us with such entertaining reading. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your installments so far and look forward to the next one.



    • Thank you Deborah,
      How are things in your country? Are you under water or holding on for dear life? We have had such a bitter cold winter here. The weather finally warmed up here late yesterday, so I might come out of my cave…
      Shauna xo


  3. Dianne says:

    Shauna, Eddy forwarded this to me because he thought I wouold enjoy it. I don’t know if he really knows what he has done. Oh the possibility! Your amazing personality comes through in your writing, so enjoyable.


  4. Deborah Cullen says:

    Hi Shauna

    Back in Florence, how exciting for you. For me, no floods on the West Coast, only bush fires I am afraid although I am happy and well. Considering a return to Florence as well. How long will you be there for?


    • Hi Deborah.. Florence was amazing. I’m in Spain now visiting a friend I met while in Italy. How are things now in your country? It’s been a difficult time for your people… Canada has had a brutal winter as well.
      What are your plans for the year? Any trips?


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