My son Creed will be in the south of France for two years, as an Air Force instructor for French pilots. I guess he deserves this cushy assignment after several hazardous deployments in Afghanistan. As soon as he announced his new destination, my husband booked flights and said, “Yahoo, now we have an excuse to go to Europe!”
Creed was scheduled to be there February 1. Due to an Air Force glitch, he didn’t arrive in France until a few days before we landed on May 1. He and his wife were overwhelmed trying to find a place to live, being sent off to French aircraft training, and drowning in an all-French language environment. They were hardly in a position to play host.
Bottom line, we only saw Creed and his wife one delightful day. Not to worry, we decided to scoot on over to Italy to explore Tuscany. We will save the South of France for next year.
Tuscany, as many of you have experienced, was divine. While I had previously been to Italy, I had never spent time in the Tuscan hill towns and vineyards, nor hiked from village to village in Cinque Terre. It was truly heaven. The people, the scenery, and the food all exceeded my expectations.
While we made this primarily a countryside excursion, we did go into Florence for a day. Thank goodness for a fashion digression – Museo Gucci! The Gucci museum especially appealed to me because it was not a heavy, tedious museum experience. Opened in 2011, and housed in a 14th-century building in the Piazza della Signoria, the museum is fun and educational.
As a teenager, Guccio Gucci worked as a lift boy at the Savoy Hotel in London where he was fascinated by the elegance of the upper class guests. In1902 he returned to his hometown of Florence with an international vision and opened a workshop specializing in travel ware and accessories. In time Gucci products became a global fashion symbol for “Made in Italy.” It was fun to see Gucci suitcases and trunks with signature red and green stripes from the 1930s, Gucci picnic hampers, golf clubs, and a customized Gucci Cadillac for midcentury jet setters.
Today the Gucci brand encompasses the ultimate in style, including red-carpet dresses and elegant gowns such as the ones on exhibit at the museum. For example, an ostrich-feather number worn at the Academy Awards by Hilary Swank just oozes Gucci glam.
Gucci was a pioneer in brand recognition, creating the GG symbol, the forerunner of the logo world we live in today. I recommend the museum to any Florence visitors – or just visit www.guccimuseo.com for an overview.