Tag Archives: Made in Italy

Style-Diet Shot – Andra

“On matters of style, swim with the current. On matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

– Thomas Jefferson

Spending time around and about Rome these days, I’m continually surrounded by architectural, historical, cultural and sartorial beauty. Mamma Mia! I’m so overwhelmed, I hardly know where to start.  I post photos on instagram, I gush continually over the food and yesterday, I ran into charming Andra not too far from the Colloseum.

I told Andra about my blog and asked if I could take her photo.  I wanted to share her style of the day with you all.  Andra layered her greens delightfully: malachite earrings, sparklies in her necklace, the avocado handbag and the muddy forest of her dress. Like me, she strongly feels that clothes should be made without human sufferance. She is passionate about eating fruits and vegetables in season.  When I asked her about where her clothes came from she replied that she “was wearing boots made in Italy, from a roman producer. My handbag is made in Rome, in the small Sirni studio in via della Stelletta. My coat is an Italian brand of a guy in Veneto and it’s called Seventy and made in Italy.”

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The Style-Diet Shot celebrates individuals with unique style, wearing at least one article of clothing acquired via the Stephens’ Sisters Shopping Diet. It must be local, sustainable, second-hand/re-purposed, inherited or ethically produced. If you can’t find clothing fitting that criteria then it must be from a country with stellar human rights records.

Style-Diet Shot – Elena

“On matters of style, swim with the current. On matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

 – Thomas Jefferson

I met Elena in Tuscany, Italy where she lives.  Her clothes are Dixie dixie.it and her shoes are from Raspini http://www.raspini.com/negozi_eng.html.  I called Dixie to find out where their clothes are made.  (Any excuse to pick up the phone and speak Italian!)  Dixie is made in a suburb of Florence called Signa. Raspini is a famous set of shops for the fashionistas of Florence.  Raspini recently added a vintage boutique to boot. Italians as a rule have a passion for fashion.  I understood this when I saw the bus drivers of Florence wearing Prada shoes.  I smelled it in the air.  I could feel it in my bones.  After a few years of living in Italy, we embraced the art of la Bella Figura.  Once you understand what quality is, there’s no turning back.  Like with their beautiful cuisine, the Italians appreciate locally-made, lovingly-made.  Well made. Quality.

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The Style-Diet Shot celebrates individuals with unique style, wearing at least one article of clothing acquired via the Stephens’ Sisters Shopping Diet. It must be local, sustainable, second-hand/re-purposed, inherited or ethically produced. If you can’t find clothing fitting that criteria then it must be from a country with stellar human rights records.

Italian Scissorhands

“It takes about a year to grow the topiary in the form of a cone with the scoops of ice cream”

– Federico Elmi

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Hand-made artesian gelato in Italy is such a labour of love.  We’ve met gelato makers who pick wild blackberries and figs in the morning and add them to their gelato that day.  Others grow tiny strawberries in their gardens to make their fragola gelato truly distinct – heck talk about secret recipe!  These wild strawberries taste unreal, like candy.  Like what candy tries to imitate.  Good gelato is about taking the best of nature and distilling it into pure delight.  It’s done with passion and pride.  When we lived in Italy we ate gelato almost everyday.  While visiting Italy, we aim for twice a day.  For old times sake.

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Elmi Gelateria in Figline Val’darno is a place where the lactose and gluten free can enjoy gelato. Most gelaterie offer dairy-free fruit varieties.  However, only a handful use soy instead of milk. I was excited to find gluten-free vegan cones at this gelateria in addition to several varieties made without dairy and a few with soy milk.

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Federico caught my eye when he was outside trimming the topiary.  We had a bit of a chat, while he was focusing on the hairy bush.  Federico is the third generation, proud of his family business.  He originally studied medicine but felt a pull for tantalizing tastebuds with his family.  Let food be your medicine Hippocrates said.  I think Federico chose well.

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The love Italians infuse into their food makes me want to sing and bounce about.  They get so much right.  Recently three ministries of government in Italy have signed a ban on Genetically modified corn.  They cite “loss of biodiversity” as their main concern.  Diversity is the spice of the life.  But it’s more than the spice.  It’s the modus operandi of our planet.   If anything, in these times where human population has zoomed out of control, we should be making every effort possible to enhance biological differences, not reduce them.

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Federico was proud of the vintage bicycle behind one of the three pots of topiary.  When I commented on his bike, he said that it is from 1959, made in the North of Italy near Milano.  He obtained it from a friend, in exchange for 3 cases of champagne.  He has a lock on it but doesn’t lock it up.  Viva Italia!