Figueira Rubaiyat, Sao Paolo, Brazil

 Photo Credit:  Figueira Rubaiyat
Photo Credit: Figueira Rubaiyat

In Sao Paolo, Brazil  there is a restaurant called Figueira Rubaiyat, which means “fig tree” in Portuguese.  The front of the restaurant has outdoor seating for 60 people.  In the middle there is  a fig tree that was 150 years old. 

It is as tall as any oak tree in your neighborhood and three times the width of any tree you’ve ever witnessed.  Underneath the tree is a fine net which catches the figs before they hit you in the head.  They are known for their steaks. 

 

Falabella’s, Argentina

 Photo by  Agustín Lautaro
Photo by Agustín Lautaro

Falabella’s are those wonderful tiny little horses of Argentina. They are like the American Morgan horses but the Falabella’s bodies and heads are in total proportion where as The Morgan’s heads are large and their bodies are smaller in proportion. 

My childhood friend married an Argentine named Alejandro who has a ranch and raises them. When I visited he had 300 head.  At the ranch I saw a 25 foot long conference table and I knew this is where he did all the negotiating.  I then asked him two questions. 

The first was;  who were the smartest negotiators and without missing a beat, he said “The Dutch.” and  I agreed, knowing they were the worlds original bankers. Then I said; who gave you the hardest time.  Alejandro’s face twisted and said; “The Japanese”. I said why?  He said, every month two different set of people came to look over the horses for two (2) years.. When they arrived they were always expressionless and  hardly spoke a word.  Finally after two (2) years of this going on every month  I said “Alright already, take the damn horses already!  I just wanted them off my ranch….

 

Piazza San Marco & The Bridge of Sighs

 Photo Credit:  A. Isenring , borrowed from the restaurant’s  Google Review
Photo Credit: A. Isenring , borrowed from the restaurant’s Google Review

There is no better perch to view The Grand Canal and The Island of Murano where they make the famous colorful blown glass than sitting at the top of The Hotel Danielli Restaurant in Venice. 

The Hotel Danieli is located right next to Piazza San Marco aka St Mark’s Square and the Bridge of Sighs. If you like music, St Marks Square has small orchestras outside of their restaurants and  in the evening they respectively play beautiful music while the nearby orchestras take a break. You’ll see the crowds of people following the wonderful melodies & classics going from one restaurant to another within the Square.  If you dare, one can waltz, fox trot or swing dance with your partner. 

However, the Bridge of Sighs which is about 100 feet high off the water connects the court building to the dungeon and this is the last time a prisoner gets to look out the window to see their beautiful Venice before they are taken down to their cell. 

 

Master Painter Leonardo da Vinci

 Photo by  Mateus Campos Felipe
Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe

Yes, The Louvre has The Mona Lisa painting with 10’s of 1,000’s of artifacts in one of Paris’s greatest museum, however if you want to see The Last Supper painting by the same master painter Leonardo da Vinci, you need to take a short cab ride from the center of Milan to a simple neighborhood church called Santa Maria delle Grazie (Holy Mary of Grace) which  houses only this one painting.

Once there, you will go through several humidity free rooms before you come face to face to one of the greatest paintings in the world.  The room where the mural painting hangs for public viewing is as large both in width, length and height as a NBA basketball court. The paintings size is 15 feet by 29 feet.  Approximately 10 people at a time can go in at once and you must buy tickets weeks in advance on-line if you want to be one of the lucky persons to get this semi-private viewing.

 

 

 

 

The Ferragamo’s and my Family

 Photo by  Jonathan Körner
Photo by Jonathan Körner

 

I was in Florence last year and heard Leonardo Ferragamo the CEO of Ferragamo Shoes give a speech which included the history of his family. Florence is his hometown which he was very proud of.  The Ferragamo Museum was one block away storing all their historical artifacts. He started telling the audience how his family was celebrating their 100th Anniversary where his father Salvatore moved to America 100 years ago. He went on to say that Salvatore landed at Ellis Island in New York’s harbor and then he found his way to Los Angeles where he became famous making shoes for his Hollywood clientele.  After his speech I approached him and said we have allot in common since my family was also celebrating their 100th anniversary arriving from Italy.  Excitingly we starting exchanging dates and business cards. He said, my family arrived April 7th 1915 and I said, I think mine was sometime in March. I left off that I would check the Ellis Island the records on my return to New York. 

Well one week later I emailed him a photo of my families boat called the “Re d’ Italia” which means King of Italy and the ships registery.  It appeared from the ships records my family arrived the same day as his on April 7th 1915. Ten minutes later he e-mail me a photo of his boat called La Stampela.  It was confirmed our families did arrived at Elis Island on the very same day but in two different boats. 

Here is what I believed happened 100 years ago:   La Stampela left Naples and Re d’ Italia left Sicily during the same period and they traveled across the Atlantic Ocean together.  Knowing my history, I knew WWI was already was ongoing for about a year and  Italy entered the war against the Germans later that year in August.  When Leonardo’s families boat left Naples they sailed to Sicily meeting mine  and together they escaped the terrors of World War I.  During this time the German U2 submarines were sinking cruise liners if they thought they were carrying munitions. Our ships traveled together in case one was attacked and was sinking.