Florence at Christmastime with Penny Howard

Florence by Penny Howard

Christmas lights in Florence. Photo by Penny Howard

I met Penny Howard last September at The Art of Writing, a writer’s workshop taught by author Lisa Clifford.  Penny was the machine behind the operation.  She organized our registration, wire transfers, and had the workshop running with the utmost efficiency.  Not always an easy task when located in remote Bed and Breakfast in Casentino, Italy.  A small mountain town about an hour outside of Florence.

Upon meeting her, you can’t help but instantly like Penny.  Always smiling, she instills an instant comfort.  We share a love for all things Italian, especially the city of Florence.  Penny first fell in love with city while studying art on a school trip in the early 70’s.   She returned on a three-month sabbatical to study Italian at Centro Fiorenza and can now communicate quite impressively.  In 2008, she set up her own company, Beyond the Yalla Dog, providing advice and support on Italian things to do in the Uk and in Florence.  Penny resides in the UK and spends time every month at her flat in Florence.

Penny and classmates at The Art of Writing, September '14.

Penny and classmates at The Art of Writing, September ’14.

When Penny posted the picture of the Christmas lights hanging in the streets of Florence, my heart ached to be there.  It has been something I have always wanted to see in person.  I had to find out more.

E: What is your favorite part of Christmastime in Italy?
P:  When the decorations go up all over the city.

E:  What is your favorite traditional Christmas dish?
P: A Capon – they seem more tasty than Turkeys.
(Capon? I must look in to this)

E:  What do you miss most from home during Christmas?
P:  I have only once stayed in Florence over Christmas and apart from the usual family meal, I have to admit to missing decent UK TV!

Penny’s website Beyond the Yalla Dog can be found at:

2 thoughts on “Florence at Christmastime with Penny Howard

  1. Thanks so much for this Christine – most kind of you and hope that it generates more visitors to Florence too. I look forward to meeting up when you return to Italy next year and hope we can stretch your Expresso into a shared Prosecco to celebrate your return to your home away from home!
    PS A Capon is a castrated Cockerel ( I think the job is done whilst he is too small to notice but I would rather not think about how! ) They still like to strut their stuff so they have lots of breast and tasty legs and are one of the Traditional Florentine Christmas meals.

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