Tag Archives: Firenze

FIRENZE IN ROSA ONLUS: AMBASSADORS AND VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

FIRENZE IN ROSA ONLUS

The 5th Edition of the IBCPC Participatory Dragon Boat Festival is just around the corner

The IBCPC Dragon Boat Festival  is held every four years under the auspices of the International Breast Cancer Paddler’s Commission. The Festival is an international non-competitive participatory event targeting Breast Cancer Survivors teams who engage in Dragon Boat activities as post-operative rehabilitation.
For the first time since its institution in 2005, the IBCPC FESTIVAL will take place in Europe: in FLORENCE, ITALY!

AMBASSADORS AND VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

Imagine Florence bathed in pink!

Come one, Come all  Let’s hold hands and join together to support the International Breast Cancer Festival, July 3 – 8, 2018.

FIRENZE IN ROSA Onlus, the Organizing Committee of the 2018 IBCPC Dragon Boat Florence Festival, will welcome 4,000 to 5,000 people with 120 teams of breast cancer survivors from across the globe.

www.florencebcs2018.org

www.facebook.com/florenceBCSfestival2018/

In order to support FIRENZE IN ROSA Onlus and make this event successful, we need your help!

AMBASSADORS: 120 ambassadors, who will be the point-person for each visiting team. The visiting teams come from Singapore, Germany, France, Brazil, Argentina and many from English-speaking countries, and they’ll need help with translation. The ambassador will contact the captain of the team before the event and welcome the teams when they arrive.

VOLUNTEERS: We need lots of hands to help stuff Swag-Bags, sell T-Shirts, direct people to various locations, and coordinate booths.

PLEASE COME TO THE FIRST ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING TO LEARN MORE. THERE IS NO OBLIGATION.

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR ALL THOSE WOMEN WHO HAVE SURVIVED BREAST CANCER AND WHO PADDLE AS A SIGN OF HOPE.

The Meeting,  organised by AILO Florence,  will be held at the :

British Institute
Sala Ferragamo
Lungarno Guicciardini, 9
50125 Florence
 
Monday, 23 October
Time 17.00 – 18.00

Family-Friendly Dining in Florence

Prior to becoming a mother – when the hours outside of my workday were blissfully free of responsibility – exploring the local restaurant scene was one of my favorite ways to experience Florence. There was never any shortage of places, both old and new, where I could connect with friends on the weekend or unwind with my partner on nights when we were unmotivated to cook.

Unsurprisingly, with the arrival of my son in November 2015, I largely said goodbye to hours-long Sunday trattoria lunches and leisurely evenings of aperitivos turned multi-course dinners. But with each month that passed after his birth, as I became more confident in my ability to handle whatever diaper explosion or ‘hangry’ meltdown my son might throw my way, I began to dip my toe into the – occasionally harrowing – experience of dining out with a young child.

No matter what the age or how well behaved, having babies, toddlers and young children as restaurant companions will never be the same as enjoying a meal out with other adults or older kids. Often – at least in my mind – the temptation to say “let’s just skip it” is great. At home, it doesn’t matter if unwanted food is flung to the floor or if my toddler is so caked in tomato sauce at the end of the meal that I need to transfer him directly from high chair to bathtub. However, I’m still the person who enjoys a good pizza napoletana and birra artigianale as much as I did pre-child, and who also wants to share that experience with my partner and child. So what to do?

Enter the “family friendly” dining establishment. In my experience, Italian restaurants generally do an excellent job of accommodating families. Most staff and fellow patrons don’t bat an eye at the sight (or sound, ahem…) of a small child in their midst, and many go out of their way to make you feel welcome and comfortable. Still, having a list of spots in my back pocket where I know I can find a highchair, maybe a changing table in the bathroom and – now that my son is fully mobile – a place where he can blow off some steam while we wait for our food to arrive, is often the incentive I need to get out the door. And hey, even if the night doesn’t go as planned, at least I won’t come home to a sink full of dishes! Unless they are still there from the night before…but I digress…

Here is a list, in no particular order, of places that I and other members of the Firenze Moms4Moms community enjoy taking our kids.

Fuoco Matto Pizza & Grill Restaurant
Via Ventisette Aprile 16 (Zona center – Piazza Indipendenza)
The ‘family friendly’ gold standard: highchairs, a changing table in the bathroom and a small play area with a couple of toys. Ample space in the dining room, excellent a/c to escape the Florence summer heat, and great food to boot – especially the pizza!
Telephone: +39 055 495140
E-mail: info@fuocomatto.it
Website: http://www.fuocomatto.it/
Open 7 days a week, 12 – 2:30pm and 7 – 11:30 pm; Closed on Saturdays for lunch

Pantarei
Via Vittorio Emanuele II 21r (Zona just outside of center – Ponte Rosso)
While Pantarei does not have a changing table or play area, they have several comfy highchairs and boast a strategic location about half a block from the lovely Giardino d’Orticoltura, which has one of my favorite playgrounds in Florence. Most importantly, the staff at Pantarei is incredibly welcoming and have treated us like family from our very first visit. The menu is fish focused, but they also have an extensive pizza menu and a few non-fish antipasti, primi and secondo.
Telephone: 055474191 – 3808634762
E-mail: ristorante@pantareifirenze.it
Website: http://www.pantareifirenze.it
Open Tuesday – Sunday, 7pm – Midnight; Open for lunch on weekends

Mama’s Bakery
Via della Chiesa 34r (Zona center – Oltrarno/Santo Spirito)
A favorite among expats and locals alike. This informal café is decidedly kid-friendly, with highchairs, a changing table and a ‘kids’ corner’ with games, books, paper and colored pencils for drawing. Food includes faithful reproductions of classic American bakery treats, bagels, American style sandwiches, quiche, yogurt and granola and American coffee.
Telephone: 055.219214
E-mail: info@mamasbakery.it
Website: www.mamasbakery.it
Open Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm; Saturday and Sunday 9am – 3pm

Coquinarius Ristorante Enoteca
Via delle Oche, 11R, 50122 Firenze (Zona center – Duomo)
Great food and an extensive wine list. Highchairs available, as well as changing tables in both the men and women’s bathrooms. Welcoming staff. Extremely central location. What more do you need? Reservations recommended (it’s possible to reserve online through their website).
Telephone: 055 230 2153
Email: coquinarius@gmail.com
Website: www.coquinarius.it
Open 7 days a week, 12:30 – 3pm; 6:30 – 10:30pm

PappaGioia
Via del Ponte Rosso 57r (Zona just outside of center – Ponte Rosso/Piazza Libertà)
This vegan café is a relatively new entry to the Florentine dining scene – and a welcome one at that! I’m not vegan, but everything I’ve eaten here has been delicious. They have a full Italian style coffee bar with non-dairy milks, smoothies and cold pressed juices, a divine selection of vegan cakes and sweets that my son loves for breakfast or ‘merenda’, beers and wine for the aperitivo hour, and a buffet style lunch and dinner service. Highchairs are available and there is a lovely garden area in the back. Staff are very friendly and welcoming.
Telephone: 055 0736316
Email: info@pappagioia-vegan.it
Website: www.pappagioia-vegan.it
Open Monday – Saturday, 8am – 10pm (summer hours)
Lunch buffet served from 12 – 2:30 pm, dinner buffet from 7 – 9:30 pm

Buonerìa/Fosso Bandito
Corner Viale F.lli Rosselli & Via del Fosso Macinante (Zona just outside of center – Porta a Prato/Ponte alla Vittoria)
Fosso Bandito, at the entrance to the large Cascine Park, has long been a favorite with Florentine families. This is a particularly nice spot to visit when the weather is warm, as there is a large outdoor playground on the premises, along with several small internal “piazzas” for open air dining. Fosso Bandito has hosted Buonerìa Restaurant since early March 2017. Excellent pizza napoletana prepared in four outdoor wood-burning ovens and a beer garden with several craft beers on tap. Highchairs and changing tables available.
Telephone: 055 365500
Email: info@buoneria.com
Website: www.buoneria.com
Open 7 days a week; Restaurant/Pizzeria open 12:30 – 3 pm, 7:30 pm – midnight; Bar open 8 am – midnight.

The Diner
Via dell’Acqua, 2 (Zona center – Santa Croce/Piazza San Firenze)
Another favorite among U.S. expats craving a taste of home. True to its name, The Diner serves classic and tasty diner fare. For families, it doesn’t get much better than this – highchairs, a changing table, a play area and a kids’ menu. Extremely central location.
Email: infoflorencediner@gmail.com
Website: www.thedinerfirenze.com (reservations available through website)
Open 7 days a week, 9 am – 11 pm.

Edi House Restaurant and Pizzeria
Piazza Fra’ Girolamo Savonarola, 8-9 R (Zona just outside of center – Piazza Savonarola)
An ample, reasonably priced menu, a large veranda for outdoor dining, highchairs and a kid-friendly atmosphere make Edi House an excellent choice for families. A good option in an area of town that is largely residential and lacking in an extensive selection of cafés/restaurants.
Telephone: 055 588886
Email: info@edihousefirenze.com
Website: www.edihousefirenze.com
Open 7 days a week, 12 – 3 pm, 7 pm – 12:30 am

RED Feltrinelli
Piazza della Repubblica n. 26/27/28/29 (Zona center – Piazza della Repubblica)
A good, conveniently located spot for a quick, casual bite. This cafè is located within the large RED Feltrinelli bookstore, which has an excellent children’s reading section with small tables and chairs. Just outside the bookstore there is a lovely carousel, and it doesn’t get much more central than Piazza della Repubblica. Open all day from breakfast to lunch, aperitivo to dinner, with a brunch menu on Sundays. Highchairs and changing table available.
Telephone: 199.151.173
Email: www.lafeltrinelli.it
Open 7 days a week, 9am – 11pm

La Cucina del Garga
Via San Zanobi 33r (Zona center – Mercato Centrale)
A vibrant, art filled interior and an interesting menu with many kid-friendly choices. Kids are given markers and encouraged to color on the white tablecloths – allowing parents to enjoy at least a few sips of wine “con calma” while you wait for your meal. Relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere.
Telephone: 055 475 286
Email: info@lacucinadelgarga.it
Website: www.garga.it

Trattoria Le Cave di Maiano – Fattoria di Maiano
Via Cave di Maiano, 16 – Fiesole (Outside of Florence)
A country oasis within a stone’s throw of downtown Florence. Trattoria Le Cave di Maiano has an outdoor playground next to the dining area, making it a top spot for children. A family-friendly and rustic atmosphere with traditional Florentine fare and beautiful views of the hills surrounding Florence.
Telephone: 055 59133

Fattoria di Maiano – Ristorante Lo Spaccio
Via Benedetto da Maiano, 11 – Fiesole (Outside of Florence)
Down the road from Trattoria Le Cave di Maiano is the lovely Fattoria di Maiano. Bring a picnic to enjoy on the grass next to the playground, or dine at their Ristorante Lo Spaccio. It is also possible to reserve an educational tour of the farm, which is home to many animals including geese, ducks, ostriches, goats, donkeys and cows.
Telephone: 055 599600
Email: maiano@contemiarifulcis.it
Website: www.fattoriadimaiano.com
Open year round

Casa del Popolo di Fiesole
Via Giacomo Matteotti, 25/27 – Fiesole (Outside of Florence)
As part of the “bambini in circolo” initiative, Fiesole’s Casa del Popolo has agreed to make this local branch of Italy’s extensive Circolo Arci network child-friendly. This location includes highchairs, a changing table and a children’s play area. The Circolo features a full menu with extremely competitive prices and has a beautiful terrace overlooking the Mugello hills. The circolo is easily reachable with public transport from downtown Florence – take the number 7 bus from Piazza San Marco and get off at the last stop. The club is a 10 minute walk from there through Fiesole’s charming center. The restaurant/pizzeria is run by volunteers and thus open only at certain times of the year. Call before going to make sure they are serving!
Telephone: 055 597002

Dominique Coindre: Working Mom Stories

Dominique Coindre, a French Canadian with many degrees, chose to change careers so she could start a family by adopting her beautiful daughter. She wanted to explore the world and travel, giving her now 10-year-old daughter opportunities she could cherish. Being a translator and a single mom has given her the bases to pursue this dream of travel.  At times, it can be tough being a single mom in a new country, but she takes this with determination and passion. She continues to show her daughter that you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it. Dominique’s story is an inspiration to many single moms out there who are trying to live their dream of building a life in Italy.

At the age of 44, Dominique became a single mom when she adopted her “snow girl”, from Kazakhstan, in 2009. Her life with her daughter is made of the usual child raising difficulties, as for all mothers out there, but “Seeing her smile, seeing her becoming her own person, how she is starting to think on her own with the right values, makes me proud of her, and what I have accomplished so far with her.” Dominique had always envisioned “”to share” the world with her daughter, and living in Italy became of the plan”. They arrived in Italy, with their two cats and entire household, two years ago, when her daughter was 8 years old.

Dominique states, “It is not easy to be a single mom, because the burden lies on just one pair of shoulders, being in Italy does not change that reality”.  She has no break from parenting and no network to help in raising her child, as many others have with parents and close family members.  “Between work and being a mother, there is not much space for being a woman. I sometimes long to have more time to nurture old interests and develop new ones, but at the same time, I know this is our only time together and is short-lived. Soon enough, perhaps even too soon, she will go off on her own path”.  It is a constant struggle to balance being a single mom, but there is a positive aspect: nothing gets in the way of Dominique’s own version of how to raise her daughter.

When Dominique moved here, she did not have the Italian husband or family to help with settling into life here. She recounts, “I was psychologically prepared for the bureaucratic hurdles, but still found it all very daunting. The language barrier, of course, did not help, though I had some proficiency with Italian prior to moving. Simple things such as transferring the phone line, water supply, electricity, gas, to my name, getting the Internet, became protracted exercises in patience (and in  frustration…)”  The astounding amount of paperwork to get permission for her and her daughter to stay in Italy was confounding.  She recalls, “It was very tiring, if not exhausting” and this tortuous bureaucracy might well be a major factor in her future decision on whether to stay or leave Italy.

However, because of the Italians’ love of children, Dominique and her daughter found it relatively easy to adapt to the way of life here in Italy. Her daughter goes to the International School of Florence, where her main schooling is in English, and learns Italian as a second language. However, the school does not really provide for a social network, and not being able to rely on one certainly would make it harder to adapt. She says this is because of the fact she works from home and lives outside of Florence and therefore it restricts their ability to make closer friends. However, this is well satisfied, by the pleasures of living in the Tuscan hills, among the olive trees, and enjoying that oh so priceless cool breeze in the summer!  No matter what, both mother and daughter are so very happy to discover the country and to learn about the “Italian way of life”.  “That is why we do these things: to learn other ways, see how other people live and think, and this way we broaden our experience and understanding of the world we live in.”

In order to succeed in being a single mom and provide an income, Dominique changed her career from tax lawyer to translator, this way gaining flexibility with her working hours for raising her daughter. She acquired a University degree in translation and slowly started to build her practice. She was fully self-employed by the time she adopted her daughter. “I am bilingual in French and English. I had always done some translation work at various work places, so it sort of fell into place. I started with technical and creative writing, and then naturally moved to translating, which proved to be the more practical way of earning a decent living. This is what I did, and still do, which allows me to have the lifestyle I want (that is, working from anywhere in the world).”

Dominique’s practice, which is still in Canada, is her main source of income while living here in Italy. She first got her clients through networking. “I leverage my previous training and experience, that is being a tax lawyer, and therefore specialize in financial, legal, tax, etc. translation. I research the market, finding potential clients both in Canada and internationally, by sending my CV, sometimes having an introduction, most of the times not. There is fortunately a lot of work out there for good translators. Especially in Canada, where French and English are both official languages.” In the near future, Dominique plans to develop her European clientele, enabling her to earn Euros instead of Canadian dollars.  This would help sustain the cost of living here. “I am not sure if it is the living in Italy as much as the living in Tuscany/Florence which makes it harder, financially. It might be easier in other parts of Italy, where the cost of living is not so high.”

Because of Dominique’s schedule being flexible, she is able to participate more in her daughter’s life. She is able to go to school meetings, pick her up and drop her off at school, go to afterschool events, medical visits etc. In order to do so, she has to work longer hours at night, which does limit the time she can interact with other adults.  Because of the conversion from Canadian dollars to Euros, she has to work harder and longer hours to obtain the financial support needed to stay in Italy.  At times, this has “led to overworking, lack of sleep and having very little time to devote to my daughter.  Achieving the opposite effect of my desired outcome. It is at those times that I reconsider this whole decision of self-employment: getting a “regular” job, with stable hours, medical insurance and a retirement fund would have its pluses!”

I asked if she plans to stay here in Italy. She responded, “I don’t think we will stay here for as long as I had initially thought. I wanted to stay here for the rest of my daughter’s primary and secondary schooling but I do not think this will happen. We are going to stay one more year for sure, until she gets to middle school. Then, we shall see. I do like it here, and consider ourselves very lucky indeed to be here. I am not prepared to leave yet. Work opportunities will likely dictate our next move, but I am not there yet. I am not done with Italy. Will I ever leave? Is one really ever ready to leave?”

Working Moms Stories: Danielle Jennings

Danielle Jennings is an interior designer from Toronto, Canada and the mother of a six-year-old girl. She first came to Florence seventeen years ago with a study abroad program when, she met her husband.

“How did you meet your husband?”

“I met him in Piazza Santa Croce on a Saturday night in August.” she answers smiling. “I was out having drinks and dinner with my roommate, when a group of locals came over. Among them was my husband. We dated for the rest of my stay here.”

After that encounter, Danielle went back to Toronto to finish her Design studies. They visited one another until December of 2001, when Danielle officially moved to Florence.

“My husband owns his own IT company.  He has a web agency and develops on-line software for the hotel industry. This would have made it very difficult for him to move to Canada” explains Danielle her decision to move to Florence.

“Did you encounter any cultural differences that you had to overcome?”

“I am Italian descent so the differences weren’t so obvious for me. My mother is Italian from Bari.” Danielle replies. “Maybe one of the differences was the approach of people and how to go about making friendships. I found relationships to be more open here. At the beginning, it seemed very odd for me that girls were friends with guys. I was also struck by the different way to celebrate the festivities. In Canada the festivities felt so much more alive whereas in Italy they are more modern. It wasn’t what I was expecting.”

The first few years, Danielle worked in Design, but her job didn’t meet her needs to be creative. After building a career in fashion, she recently became a self-employed interior designer.

“I was working in the showroom of an Italian company, doing projects and reaching out to clients. But I felt like I was working in sales and that didn’t meet my needs. In 2003 I had an opportunity to work in fashion. I started off as an assistant in the buying office. I was working for American firms selling stock and also private label development. Later I started working with leather goods and leather development. In 2009 I started working for Jimmy Choo. I started my career there. I moved my way up in the company, the back office to private development and leather development. Two years ago, I started working in Design again. Now I am a self-employed interior designer.  I went back to my first passion and I am doing what I always wanted to do.”

Danielle has a six-year-old daughter and she gave birth at the Careggi Hospital. She describes her experience as an at least interesting one.

“The obstetricians were great, but as a metaphor I felt primitive. When my daughter was born, it was a really hot month of May. They kept the windows open and there were no bug screens, the lights were always on. We had to stay for four days in the hospital. I didn’t have enough milk so my daughter wasn’t recuperating her weight loss fast enough.   My experience there was extremely impersonal. I understand that nurses and doctors are just doing their jobs. What they didn’t understand, was that she was our first child and we didn’t know what to do very well. The health system in Canada is different in terms of aesthetics and sanitation. As for the cost it was exceptional and everything was well organized.”

When asked if she is comfortable with the Italian way of raising children, Danielle smiles, nodding in approval.

“I love it. I think the Italian way of raising children is more towards the needs of the child and more open. When we started the weaning process, we went for a visit in Canada. I would make the broth from scratch the way my pediatrician explained to me. My friends and family members were surprised that I am not using homogenized foods. I also found helpful the fact that you have your own personal pediatrician whom you can call and can help you. Everything is more industrialized in Canada. It makes it easier for the parents, but health wise the Italian way is better.

“On the other hand there are a lot of opinionated people here. It was hard at the beginning until I gained enough self-confidence. Everyone was trying to tell me what to do and I became frustrated.

“I was also pleased with the daycare system here. My daughter didn’t go to public school because we were among the last on the waiting list. I ended up opting for the private. I think that extra money we had to pay was worth it because I felt she was well taken care off where she is. This year she will start school and we chose a private school. We want her to have access to excellent development in English. The school she will be going to has an English section, Italian and bilingual sections. It was one of the reasons we chose it.”

As an expat mom, Danielle felt it was hard to make friends with other moms. Being a working mom, made interacting with other parents difficult. The only other moms she knew were work colleagues. Now, as a self-employed mom, she feels she has to juggle even more than before.

“I couldn’t wait to be self-employed and then when it happened it was different than I imagined. You think you know what the worries are going to be. You have to do everything. You are no longer a working mom. You have to be a mom and you also have to be a businesswoman every day. To juggle that in 24 hours is quite a challenge. Before when I had that 9 to 6 job and I could have weekends off and the paycheck was still coming in. However, when you are a self-employed mom everything happens seven days a week, nonstop. After I got my Partita Iva, I had bills coming in after the first three weeks.

There are also advantages of course. If I need to take a day off, if I need to be creative or if I have to do research, I get to decide what to do and when.”

Danielle believes that one of the biggest advantages of living in Italy is the quality of life and food. On the other side, she thinks that not having grocery stores or pharmacies opened 24 hours a day is a minus.

“It’s the small, everyday things that bother me; like going to the postal office or pay bills. But Italy has changed a lot in the past 15 years, Florence in particular.”

She never excluded the possibility of moving back to Canada.

“For now Florence is the right size. If I were to move to Canada it would be for my daughter and her future. Her living her childhood in Italy is great. I think she would profit better from Canadian schooling in the future though. Here a lot of people depend on what is passed to them. They don’t teach children the responsibility of being self-sustainable. They don’t teach them about the value of money and earning everything. That is not as valued here. I think kids need to learn the way the world works and the responsibilities that come with that. I feel that the system here for teaching life values is chaotic and without any structure.” states Danielle.

Towards the end of our talk, Danielle offers some advice for other expats who plan on moving here and start a family.

“You need to be able to communicate with your partner very well, because it takes a while to make friends. You need a good support system at the beginning. Also don’t to give up when it gets hard, because there are some days when you want to go back home. Italy has a lot to offer, you just have to find your space and it’s possible, especially in Florence.”

You can follow Danielle at www.dnj.design.

Author and journalist Ela Vasilescu

I want to share my story:  Click here to submit to be interviewed.

 

Summer Camp registrations end the beginning of May for most places

Take a look at the summer camps I just posted on the Facebook page.

Many of the camps deadline for registration is the beginning of May. I hope you have already been looking.

If you know of other camps for the summer that I didn’t post please comment on the page under this post. Thanks. https://www.facebook.com/FMs4Ms/

Expat Working Moms: we are looking to interview you

Hi Moms,

I am looking for expat moms that are working here in Firenze.  FMs4Ms Network would like to interview you. This topic is an important topic for many moms that move here and are looking for jobs or need to make some income.  We want to know your story.

If you are interested in sharing your story, just fill out the form and one of our editors will contact you soon.

Please Help Support the FMs4Ms Network

As renewal time comes for all the Network essentials for keeping moms connected with other moms and giving out information for living an expatriate life in Italy, I am forced to realize how much financial obligation out of my personal account this Network entails. I feel this Network is an asset for the many moms and their families moving here to live in Firenze and the surrounding areas. Which is why I am asking for your help to keep all this alive. A small donation could go a long way.  Here is the GoFundMe link that will take you to the page of where you can donate. Thank you in advance for your help.

https://www.gofundme.com/FMs4Ms-Network

 

 

The hidden dangers of fine hairs in the gardens and parks

There are two major warnings that I want to warn you about for your child playing in the parks and gardens here in Firenze and Italy.  Located in these places are a plant and insect with problematic hairs on them. These are a major do not go near or touch for your child.

The first is Ortica (stinging nettle).  It is a plant that if touched will burn like a jellyfish.  I had totally forgot to remind my nephew not to touch them and at one point, he comes over crying because he was burning from touching this plant.  I feel bad because he is a child that loves to touch nature, plants, bugs, trees etc.

The burn does go away after a while but it will take some time.  The entire area can have a bloated look with inflammation surrounded by a red halo.  The itching, burning, pain, and irritation can be quite intense but can vary from person to person.  This is one plant. If your child rolls in a bunch of it or walks in it with shorts, he/she will be in horrible pain. Now, I know you can eat this but you need to collect it with gloves and cook it before using in foods.

If your child does touch Ortica, try not to touch or rub the affected area for 10 minutes. Immediately pour cold water on the skin without rubbing it with your fingers. Best is to keep any bare skin away from the area to prevent spreading and irritating the area more. Although the pain can be intense in the first few minutes, do not touch or rub to prevent painful sensations that can cause trouble for days. Then wash with soap and water to remove the chemicals released from the plant that is causing the pain, swelling, redness, and itching. In many cases, once the area has been washed, the pain should go away completely or at least reduced a lot. Use a clean cloth, if you do not have water and soap on hand, and gently remove dirt and debris from the area. You can also apply adhesive tape (not sure this will work on little children); this is to pluck the little hairs off the infected area of the skin.

The Lapazio (Dock) plant, which usually grows in the same area as Ortica, is stated as quick balm to put on the infected area caused by Ortica. Lapazio plant has leaves are very large, oval and with rounded tips.  The leaf of Lapazio has a wave-shaped edge with the lower leaf having a reddish color at the stem section. If you see this plant nearby and know it is Lapazio, you should grind some leaves and apply to the affected area. If your child has plant allergies, I would not use this on them.

The next is the Pine Processionary Caterpillar (processionarie) seen around March to June. This caterpillar reminds me of the tent caterpillar from my home in NJ that I used to collect in a jar and wait until it hatched into a moth. Unfortunately, though they are in the same species, they are not the same when it comes to collecting caterpillars. This particular tent caterpillar will line up when walking in a long row.  They look harmless but they are anything but and those little hairs on them will generate a big rash and eye irritations if touched. These hairs can be found also off the caterpillar in the leaves and grass around where they walk.   If your child is allergic to them, they will have an allergic response of cough, difficulty breathing, and bubble blisters on arms and/or hands. If your child touches one of these, you should apply the same steps as above with Ortica except the Dock. Wash with soap and water and do not touch the area with bare hands.   Then call your doctor to get any further treatments.  If your child has symptoms of an allergic reaction, take them to the emergency room immediately.

It is best when your child is young to show pictures or even the real live thing mentioning very strongly to not touch them that they will feel pain. It worked really well with my children. They recognized it immediately and mentioned it to you when they see them.

****On a side note: these are also a big problem for animals so keep an eye on your cat and dogs.

 

Recent News article on children in Hospital Meyer because of the Processionary caterpillar

Ortica photo:
http://www.actaplantarum.org/floraitaliae/viewtopic.php?t=14088

Processionary Caterpillars photo:
http://www.lost-in-france.com/living-in-france/pets/805-processionary-caterpillars
http://facultyweb.cortland.edu/fitzgerald/PineProcessionary.html

Dock photo:
http://erenovable.com/9-malas-hierbas-en-el-jardin-que-son-comestibles/rumex-crispus-lengua-de-vaca/

The Florentine is doing a Kid’s issue for February

This Thursday either get your free hard copy or check it out online. The Florentine is doing a Kid’s issue for their February edition.

Where to get your FREE copy in Florence: theflr.net/pickup
Subscribe (print and digital subscriptions available worldwide: theflr.net/subscribe

From Vancouver, Canada to Florence, Italy

View More: http://nataliareardonphotography.pass.us/elenaphotos

Gina Mazza currently lives in Florence with her beautiful 7 month old daughter and her husband Alessio. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Gina wanted to share with us the story of her coming here and how she overcame some of the cultural differences she encountered when settling in.

Read more her story…...From Vancouver, Canada to Florence, Italy

By Ela Vasilescu – Writer/Journalist

 

****This is one of the many stories from our Expat Stories Series  If you are interested in sharing your story fill out the form on this post.  We Would Like to Read Your Expat Story