Strawberry Nutella Coconut Milkshake

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!

IMG_0952.jpg

Buon Ferragosto!

Also known as the day where everything is closed and I feel slightly trapped. Hmmm the gelato place is closed so I’ll just run to the store and pick up some…oh wait, all the grocery stores are closed. Ok, well maybe I’ll go browse some shops, oh wait, all closed. I’ll go walk around in the center for a bit…nope, hardly any buses running today to get to the center. Even if I could find a bus, all the places I could buy a ticket are closed. Ok, so I’ll walk to the gym to work out and enjoy some air conditioning. Ah, closed. So, I hunker down and eat whatever food is in the house, try to stay cool. Actually we’ve come to a bit of a cool spell, today only has a high of 90°F. I’ll take it!

I actually planned ahead this year and went grocery shopping last night. I got fruit and veggies for lunch and dinner today, but why didn’t I get better snackies? But then I remembered that I have a good stash of gelato in the freezer, and made me think of this delectable milkshake I made a few weeks ago.

So with all this time on my hands, I shall be milkshaking and sharing this milkshake with you! What’s so great about this milkshake?

It’s a Strawberry Nutella Coconut Milkshake. That’s such a long name, and kinda going against my own rule of not listing every ingredient in the title, but otherwise I didn’t quite know how to get the dream across, ya know?

How about this: Strawnutelloco Milkshake. Stranucoco Milkshake. Conuterry. Strawconutella. Regardless, this milkshake tastes like a chocolate covered strawberry rolled in coconut with a hint of hazelnut.

I have a confession to make. I originally made this milkshake to try and hide this not-awesome gelato I bought. There was a sale on a brand I had never tried before at the grocery store, and they had coconut and I love coconut but it just did not end well. Icy and so much coconut it was chewy. I didn’t want to waste it, but I also didn’t necessarily want to force myself to eat gelato?

Enter the milkshake idea. I had strawberries, Nutella, and milk, and this beautiful combo was born. The copious amounts of coconut from the gelato still rendered my milkshake a bit chewy, but if you have a GOOD brand of coconut ice cream, or even vanilla ice cream with a bit of flaked coconut and maybe a drop of coconut extract or two thrown in, you’ve got yourself the perfect summer day’s treat.

So thank you, gelato brand that shall remain unnamed, for the not delicious gelato that prompted me to create a delicious milkshake.


Strawberry Nutella Coconut Milkshake

Serves 2

IMG_0947.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups coconut ice cream, slightly softened

  • 1/2 cup milk, any variety

  • 1/2 cup hulled strawberries, fresh or frozen

  • 2 heaping Tbsp Nutella

  • Dash of vanilla extract, optional

  • Whipped cream, optional

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients except whipped cream to a blender and blend until smooth. Check consistency and add more milk if desired.

  2. Spoon into 2 glasses and top with whipped cream. Serve immediately.


Jenny’s Notes:

  • Don’t have coconut ice cream but still want that coconut taste? Substitute chocolate or vanilla ice cream and add a bit of flaked coconut and a drop or two of coconut extract.

  • For creamier shakes, use whole milk.

  • For thinner shakes you can sip, add more milk. For thicker, spoonable shakes, add less milk. Some blenders don’t blend thicker shakes well, so if yours is having problems, either wait a minute or two for the ice cream to soften a bit more before continuing to blend, or add a touch more milk.

  • To make fresh whipped cream, whip about 1/4 cup / 60g heavy whipping cream with 1 Tbsp / 14g sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, or with a handheld mixer. This makes about 1/2 cup fresh whipped cream. Store in fridge, best if used within a few days.

milkshake, milk, strawberry, Nutella, coconut, ice cream, vanilla, fresh whipped cream, dessert, summer
Dessert, Beverage
American
Yield: 2 Servings
Author:

Strawberry Nutella Coconut Milkshake

Thick and creamy milkshake with coconut ice cream, Nutella, strawberries and whipped cream on top.
prep time: 5 Mcook time: total time: 5 M

ingredients:

  • 2 cups coconut ice cream, slightly softened
  • 1/2 cup milk, any variety
  • 1/2 cup hulled strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 heaping Tbsp Nutella
  • Dash of vanilla extract, optional
  • Whipped cream, optional

instructions:

How to cook Strawberry Nutella Coconut Milkshake

  1. Add all ingredients except whipped cream to a blender and blend until smooth. Check consistency and add more milk if desired.
  2. Spoon into 2 glasses and top with whipped cream. Serve immediately.

NOTES:

Don’t have coconut ice cream but still want that coconut taste? Substitute chocolate or vanilla ice cream and add a bit of flaked coconut and a drop or two of coconut extract. For creamier shakes, use whole milk. For thinner shakes you can sip, add more milk. For thicker, spoonable shakes, add less milk. Some blenders don’t blend thicker shakes well, so if yours is having problems, either wait a minute or two for the ice cream to soften a bit more before continuing to blend, or add a touch more milk. To make fresh whipped cream, whip about 1/4 cup / 60g heavy whipping cream with 1 Tbsp / 14g sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, or with a handheld mixer. This makes about 1/2 cup fresh whipped cream. Store in fridge, best if used within a few days.

Calories

440.85

Fat (grams)

23.21

Sat. Fat (grams)

19.31

Carbs (grams)

54.51

Fiber (grams)

3.87

Net carbs

50.64

Sugar (grams)

40.58

Protein (grams)

6.95

Sodium (milligrams)

49.23

Cholesterol (grams)

9.42
Nutritional information is approximate and based on 2 servings and includes whipped cream.
Created using The Recipes Generator
IMG_0943.jpg

Food in Florence: A Complete Guide to the Best Gelato

Gelato at Festival.JPG

This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!

March is coming to a close, the weather has taken a turn for the warmer, the sun is making a regular appearance and so are the tourists, and most importantly, the gelato shops have reawakened from their winter slumber. I ate my first gelato of the season/2019 a couple weeks ago, and it was…good. I mean, it was amazing to eat gelato again, but it only ranked “good” because the actual gelato was a bit on the icy side. I’ve had gelato from that shop before and it was really good, we’ll just say they were having an off day. It’s possible my tongue is out of practice of eating gelato, I mean, you don’t become a sommelier by drinking wine “occasionally.” In the few weeks that have passed since that first gelato, I think it’s safe to say my tongue is back in practice.

In celebration of gelato and sunshine, I have compiled a list of some of the best gelaterie (gelato shops) in and around the Florence city center. The list is quite extensive but includes all of the gelato shops worth eating at. I’ll name some of my favorites, as well as favorites from various expat friends and locals, which will be noted with an asterisk (*). As you will see, taste in gelato can vary and very few people will nominate the same gelato shop as “Best in Florence,” hence the inclusive list with pointers to help you locate gelato that sounds interesting to you, whether it’s your first gelato ever or you are just looking to expand your gelato resumé! If you’ve had great gelato in Florence and think it should be on this list, let me know in the comments below!

Nota Bene: Anytime you see mountains of colorful gelato in the display case it is TO BE AVOIDED. At all costs. These places are meant to fool poor, unsuspecting tourists and line their owners’ pockets with money when they are essentially selling you sugary, artificially colored ice, lies, and sadness. You will find them grouped mainly around main attraction points; in Florence there are many near the Duomo, Palazzo Vecchio, Ponte Vecchio and in between. This bears repeating because these shops are still open, which means people are buying their “gelato,” and this makes me very sad. Also to avoid is the overpriced gelato, again, usually found near tourist areas. Even if the gelato is decent, I wouldn’t pay more than 3ish euro for the smallest size, no matter the city. At that point they are just capitalizing on your naiveté. The only gelato above 3euro on this list is Venchi, starting at 3.20, but they are a well known chocolatier and can get away with it I guess. Good gelato is often, but not always, in metal tubs with lids so that you can’t see any of the flavors, just the little signs placed by each lid. I say not all because just less than half of the gelaterie listed below keep their gelato in these tubs.

First Things First

Cup or cone? Small or extra large? Milkshake? All good things to have decided before hand so you can walk in and focus on what flavors you would like. A standard small cup or cone will get you 2 flavors, and sometimes you can choose up to 5 for extra large sizes! You can ask to try the flavors, if you are feeling absolutely stumped. I almost always go for a cone, and I will tell you why, besides being delicious. There is nothing to throw away at the end except for a napkin, therefore being more economically-friendly. You save using a cup and the little plastic spoon, although some places will stick a spoon in your cone, too. You could always tell them a spoon isn’t necessary, if you catch them in time. Bonus: If you sample a flavor, keep your spoon to use with your cone or cup! Also, if you don’t eat gluten, ask about the cones as some places use gluten-free cones. At the bottom you can find a glossary for gelato shop lingo and common flavors.

The best gelato in Florence in no particular order:

Gelato.jpg
  1. Gelateria dei Neri*

    One of my all time favorites, if you’ve read about any gelato in any guidebooks or blogs, you’ve probably seen Gelateria dei Neri pop up. And for good reason, it’s one of the best! They have a wide variety of flavors and also granita. There can be a line out the door at busy times, but no worries, it moves fast.

    Price: Starting at 1.80 for cup or cone

    Location: Via dei Neri 9, - City center, very close to the Church of Santa Croce

    Flavor to Try: Cremino alla nocciola (Think vanilla gelato with copious amounts of Nutella swirled in, a very rich flavor), Cremino al Pistacchio (similar to the Cremino alla Nocciola, but with a pistachio cream), Limone (lemon), or Burro di Caramello Salato (salted caramel).

  2. MySugar*

    Winner of the Gelato Festival in Florence in 2016, this is the new kid on the block, only open since 2015 and quickly winning over hearts. This is also one of my favorites and the favorite of my friend Madeline. I would say that they have the absolute best consistency of all gelato I have tried in Florence. Their assortment of flavors is somewhat modest, but what they do, they do with excellence.

    Price: Starting at 2.00 for a cup, 2.50 for a cone

    Location: Via de’ Ginori 49r, - City center, around the corner from the Mercato Centrale

    Flavor to try: Arachidi (peanut) or Limone

  3. La Carraia*

    I was introduced to this gelateria by my language partner as one of her favorites, and it quickly became one of mine as well. They have a great assortment of flavors.

    Price: Starting at 1.00 for a “taste” cone, standard cup or cone from 1.80

    Locations: Piazza Nazario Sauro 25r, at the end of the Carraia bridge, and Via de’ Benci 24r, very close to the Church of Santa Croce.

  4. Sangelato*

    This is the gelateria I go to most because it’s in my neighborhood! Still a 30 minute walk there, but that way you earn it, right? They have a selection of vegan flavors. Also to try are the crepes or Sicilian brioche stuffed with gelato! They have a great stracciatella (chocolate chip) and pistacchio!!

    Price: Starting at 1.90 for cup or cone

    Location: Via Marco Minghetti 17r, a bit out of the way on the east side of the city center, about a 15 minute bus ride from the center. Take the number 14A or 14B bus. This is very convenient if you have an airbnb on this side of town or staying at the Firenze Camping in Town, it’s on the way!

  5. Perché No*

    All-natural gelato and to boot they have several mousse flavors. Need I say more? This was the gelato shop of choice for my friend Hannah and I during our 2015 trip.

    Price: Starting at 2.50 for cup or cone

    Location: Via dei Tavolini 19r, between Palazzo Vecchio and the Duomo, right by the church of Orsanmichele.

  6. Grom

    By now Grom has become a recognizable international gelateria with locations well beyond its origin of Italy, including the USA, France, Japan, China, and more. I prefer to support small businesses when I can, not to mention the extra touch of love and care when the founder of a small business is present, but hey, Grom is delicious!

    Price: Starting at 2.60 for cup or cone

    Location: Via del Campanile 2, two steps away from the Duomo

  7. Cantina del Gelato

    This is the only gelateria where I have found a successful pumpkin flavor. A seasonal flavor to be sure, but their other flavors are often creative and delicious as well!

    Price: Starting at 1.00 for a one-flavor kiddy cone, 2.00 for standard cup or cone

    Location: There are two locations, one in Via de’ Bardi 31 on the south side of the Arno river very close to Ponte Vecchio, and the other near Piazza Beccaria in Borgo La Croce 30r on the east side of the city center.

  8. La Strega Nocciola

    I wasn’t originally a fan of this gelateria because their name means the hazelnut witch and their prices are on the more expensive end of gelato, 2.80 for a small. But good gelato is good gelato, and La Strega Nocciola has very good gelato, not to mention some unusual flavors: lavendar, white chocolate and cinnamon, etc.

    Price: Starting at 2.80 for cup or cone

    Location: There are 4 locations, the first in Via Ricasoli 16r, near the Duomo, the second in Via de’ Bardi 51r, on the south side of the Arno river very near to Ponte Vecchio, the third in Via dell’Olivuzzo 118, southwest of the city center near the Isolotto neighborhood, and the fourth in Piazza Giuseppe di Vittorio 3, even further southwest in Scandicci.

  9. Il Gelato di Filo*

    This gelateria will always hold a dear spot in my memory. It is conveniently located at the bottom of Piazzale Michelangelo, ya know, one of the most beautiful piazzas in Florence with its stunning vista of the city and also a sweat-inducing hike up to it? Yes. That one. This became the favorite gelato of my family and I when we visited in 2014, frequenting the shop multiple times in our 6 day tenure in Florence. We even had nicknames for the brother and sister who worked there. (We don’t actually know if they were related, but hey, it is part of our working theory.) We recommend either getting a gelato as an energy boost before you go up, or as a reward when you make it back down. Or, both before and after, because even that view will take it out of you. They also have some of the cheapest cones in Florence!

    Price: Starting at 1.50 for a cone, 2.00 for a cup.

    Location: Via San Miniato 5r, at the bottom of the side stairs (not the zig zag way up the front) up to Piazzale Michelangelo and San Miniato.

  10. Badiani*

    Badiani won the title in 2015 for the best gelato in Europe, and a year after opened a shop in London. Favorite shop of my friends the Pethtels, and lucky them, they live nearby! For the location being outside the city center I’d say they are a bit expensive, but they have a larger shop and indoor/outdoor seating, which is always a bonus.

    Price: Starting at 2.00 for a cup, 3.00 for a cone

    Location: Viale dei Mille 20r, outside the city center in the Campo di Marte neighborhood; about a 5 minute walk from the stadium or 10 minutes from the Campo di Marte train station.

  11. Venchi

    One of the best known Italian chocolate stores in Florence also has really yummy gelato! Their stores are generally a bit hectic, but busy because they are known and conveniently located. Their gelato is expensive, but worth the splurge for special occasions.

    Price: Starting at 3.20 for cup or cone. Prices may vary by location.

    Location: There are three locations, one at Piazza della Stazione 1 in the Santa Maria Novella train station, the second in Via Calzaiuoli 65r near the Duomo, and the third in Via Calimaruzza 18 near to Piazza della Signoria.

  12. Gelateria de’ Medici

    This gelateria has a wide selection of flavors and is open late, until midnight or 12:30am on Friday and Saturday.

    Price: Starting at 2.00 for a cone, 3.00 for a cup

    Location: There are two locations, one in Piazza Cesare Beccaria 7r on the eastern outskirts of the city center, and the second in Via dello Statuto 3/5r northwest of the city center.

  13. Il Procopio*

    This place is best suited to those who like “fantastic” flavors; those with lots of condiments such as chocolate and sauces and chunks of cake/cookies, etc. They have very few “pure” flavors, but I always see people walking around with the mango flavor, so it must be good! One of the favorites of the American blogger GirlinFlorence.

    Price: Starting from 2.20 for cup or cone

    Location: Via Pietrapiana 60/62r, not too far from the Church of Santa Croce; across from the Loggia del Pesce.

  14. Il Gelato di Cristian Beduschi

    On the first floor of the Mercato Centrale there is a wonderful gelato. They don’t have the widest selection of flavors, but you can also get chocolates, other desserts like tiramisù, and hot chocolate.

    Price: Starting at 2.80 for cup or cone

    Location: First floor ( aka second floor for Americans) of the Mercato Centrale on the same side as the pizza and pasta booths.

  15. Edoardo*

    Famous for their homemade cones and the scent that drifts well beyond their doors, Edoardo is the favorite gelateria of my friend Rachel. They are on the expensive side, but their gelato is organic and they have a good selection of vegan gelato and sorbet. Most of their flavors are beyond delicious, even if sometimes their menu can seem simple, but they have on occasion missed the mark with flavors and iciness. Beware, they often have a line, and in recent days they have implemented a number system. If you forget or don’t know to take a number, as was my experience, they may refuse to serve you. I waited 10 minutes in line and then they told me they can’t serve me unless I have a number, I wanted to make a humiliated beeline to the exit but my husband stood up for me and the customer whose turn it was graciously let me order anyway. I heard from other people after this incident that they still didn’t know about taking a number, so it very well may depend on if there’s a line and who’s working that day if they decide to implement the number system. Which is very…Italian. Anyway, you can find the numbers outside the door.

    Price: Starting from 2.80 for a cup, 3.50 for a cone, cash only

    Location: Piazza del Duomo 45r, two steps from the Duomo

    Flavor to try: Zabaione

  16. Vivoli

    Heralded as a historic gelateria and one of the most famous in Florence, Vivoli delivers delicious gelato and a cute locale. However, because of their fame they tend to have lines and are on the expensive side, not to mention no cones.

    Price: Starting at 2.00 for cup

    Location: Via Isole delle Stinche 7r, near to the Church of Santa Croce

  17. Sottozero

    Gelato places like these won’t usually find themselves in guidebooks or on blog reviews because they are not in the city center and don’t get the foot traffic of tourists. This one is popular with students because it’s very near the university and dorm housing, and should be with you too if you have an airbnb nearby!

    Price: Starting from 1.80 for cup or cone

    Location: Via Anton Francesco Doni 47r, west of the city center in the neighborhood of Novoli

    Flavor to try: Yogurt (sweetened with stevia!)

  18. Rivareno

    Gelato sourced from all-natural ingredients with interesting flavor combos.

    Price: Starting at 2.30 for cup or cone

    Location: Via Borgo degli Albizi 46r, not to far from the Duomo.

  19. Carapina

    This used to be one of my regular locations when I lived nearby, alas, no more.

    Price: Starting at 2.00 for a cone with one flavor, 2.50 for cup or cone with two flavors

    Location: Piazza Oberdan 2r, just east of the city center, but in the summer they also have a food truck down by the Arno!

  20. La Gelateria Il Sorriso

    Generous portions and lots of flavors, I believe this is also one of the few places that lets you put 3 flavors even in the smallest size cone or cup! Win.

    Price: Starting at 2.20 for cup or cone

    Location: Via Erbosa 70, a bit out of the way in the neighborhood of Gavinana southeast of the city center, but if you are staying in the area or just want to experience an Italian neighborhood with zero tourists, head on down there. Take the bus numbers 8, 23, 31, or 32 to get there from Piazza San Marco, about 20 minutes.

  21. La Caminia

    This gelateria really surprised me with their gelato. I walk by every once in awhile but had never gone in due to the generally bright color themes that usually denote a tourist trap. Then they made a special flavor in honor of the 200th(?) anniversary of the US consulate mission to Florence and I had to go try it. In doing so I discovered a wonderful new gelato stop with many flavors to choose from with even the simplest bursting with creamy flavor.

    Price: Starting at around 2.00 for cup or cone (I need to double check this)

    Location: Like Gelateria Il Sorriso above, La Caminia is found in the Gavinana neighborhood not far from the large Coop supermarket.

  22. Gelateria Santa Trinita

    Due to its location and overall appearance this place can sometimes be mistaken for “tourist” gelato. Fret not, not only is it uber-creamy, but it is decently priced with generous portions!

    Price: Starting at 2.20 for cup or cone

    Location: Piazza dei Frescobaldi, 8r, at the end of the Ponte Santa Trinita; one bridge over from Ponte Vecchio.

    Flavor to Try: They are known for their Sesamo Nero (Black Sesame), it’s subtle and nutty and mysterious.

  23. Gelateria della Passera

    Recommended especially for those who love fruit flavors!

    Price: Starting at 2.00 for two-flavor cup or cone

    Location: Via Toscanella 15r, on the south side of the Arno in the Santo Spirito neighborhood; very close to the Palazzo Pitti.

  24. Donamalina Cure Cioccolateria - Gelateria

    Another place a bit outside of the city center, but we have to cover all bases, don’t we? They have chocolate and confections, too!

    Price: Starting at 2.00 for cup or cone

    Location: Via Antonio Pacinotti 30r, bit north of the city center in the neighborhood of Le Cure.

  25. Le Botteghe di Leonardo*

    Natural gelato with a good selection of dairy-free, but their milk-based flavors are pretty great! Some even use latte di bufala, that is, water buffalo milk, and it’s extra creamy. Favorite of my friend, Brianna!

    Price: Starting at 2.60 for cup or cone

    Location: Via de’ Ginori 21r, very close to the Mercato Centrale.

    Flavor to try: Kabana (kiwi and banana), stracciatella

Gelato Lingo

sangelato.jpg

Alright, here is a simple formula for you if you’re feeling adventerous. First, pick what you would like, the size, and then decide which flavors you want. Most people working in gelato shops speak English, so if you have further questions feel free to ask! In fact, you might order in Italian but they will often reply back in English.

“I would like a…” “vorrei un/a…”

Cono = cone Coppetta = cup Frappé = milkshake Granita = type of slushy

Piccolo/a = small Medio/a = medium Grande = large

“With…and…” “Con…e…”

Cioccolato = chocolate Fondente = dark chocolate Stracciatella = chocolate chip

Nocciola = hazelnut Pistacchio = pistachio Arachidi = peanut

Gianduja = chocolate/hazelnut Crema = cream with eggs, similar to a custard

Fior di Latte = A creamy gelato base, the equivalent of vanilla in America, except it’s no vanilla

Zabaione = custard with wine, usually sweet marsala

Caffé = coffee Cocco = coconut Cocomero = watermelon Fragola = strawberry Limone = lemon

Arancia = orange Lampone = raspberry Melone = melon Mora = blackberry Pesca = peach

Pera = pear Pompelmo = grapefruit Amarena = sour cherry Frutti di Bosco = mixed berry

Example: “Buongiorno! Vorrei un cono piccolo con nocciola e pistacchio, grazie.” (Good morning/afternoon! I would like a small cone with hazelnut and pistachio, thank you.)

Or, “Buonasera, vorrei una coppetta media con limone e fragola.” (Good evening, I would like a medium cup with lemon and strawberry.)

Happy Gelato-ing!!!

One Month until Italy!

That's right.  Actually less, 29 days until takeoff and 30 until I land on Italian soil!  Say whaaaaaa.  It still really hasn't sunk in as I've been busy soaking up the remaining time with my students, and next week, theater week!  The culmination of all the hard work, students and teachers alike, in a long but oh so rewarding week of rehearsals and 9? shows.  Something like that, but it's a blast.  If you live in the Traverse City area, you should come see a show!  It's a fun time had by all. 

Last week Global Outreach sent out my first official newsletter, woohoo!  If you didn't get one and would like to, be sure to sign up on the Give page and I'll be sure to add you to the list for future.  The newsletters will be sent out monthly and sum up the month's happenings, prayer requests, praises, gelato count, etc.  Totally kidding about that last one.  Actually when I was in Florence in the fall for three months my gelato consumption was sadly lackluster.  Did I mention that the newsletter will also be much more to the point and less wandering than some of these blog posts?  Yes, you're welcome.  

For the past several months we have been looking for a new gallery space.  When Gallery 4 first started in Italy almost 2 years ago, the gallery was above the Porcellino.  If you've been to Florence (or seen Silence of the Lambs) the Porcellino is the covered pillar structure with the famous warthog whose nose you rub for good luck.  Or something like that, I didn't fancy touching its nose because...germs.  The gallery was in the roof of the Porcellino which from a glance (or even staring intently at it) doesn't seem like anything would be up there.  Even the spiral staircase was in one of the pillars.  A cool location, but not exactly easy to find nor very inviting.  Last summer Gallery 4 was unexpectedly told they couldn't be up there anymore, the building was too old to be dancing and jumping around up there.  Disappointing, but overall for the best, as we hope the gallery can be somewhere easy to find and access.  Temporary locations have been used since then to host gallery openings, (one of which was a palace, not complaining!) but we've been hunting for a space suitable for both an art gallery and a dance studio.  By we I mean Paul, Melinda, and Rachel.  I'm still in America,  but they do a good job of keeping me updated until I land in June.  Paul and Melinda are honing in on a couple locations, so that is very exciting!  It's been a long haul looking online, making appointments with realtors and viewing spaces, but it's difficult finding something that works for both a gallery and dance studio, is in a good location, and is within the budget.  Not to mention moving in the very laid back "Italian" time.  They're late for everything.  As we get close to deciding on a space, would you help us pray for the Lord's guidance and provision to choose the one best for His plan in continuing the gallery?

Fun Fact: The Porcellino is also one location where JohnPaul of Practical filmed us dancing Jesus Paid It All (Gesu Ha Pagato Tutto)

Fun Fact: The Porcellino is also one location where JohnPaul of Practical filmed us dancing Jesus Paid It All (Gesu Ha Pagato Tutto)

Madeline, left, and Rachel, Right

Madeline, left, and Rachel, Right

The Gallery 4 team is also in the midst of transition.  Madeline Groenendaal, friend and dancer with Gallery 4, had to return to the States earlier this year due to medical complications.  It's been a long and slow healing process for her, and although she would like to return to Florence with Gallery 4 at some point, it's hard to project when that might be.  You can learn more about Madeline and how to pray for her on her blog.

Rachel Harris, my other friend and dancer with Gallery 4, will also be moving back to the States this summer.  She has been with the gallery for 2 years since its beginning and feels it is the right time to move back home.  

These girls are gems.  Their walk with Christ, love for God and others and the people of Italy, and pursuing excellence in dance to the glory of God our Father has encouraged me so much.  I am going to miss them so, so much, but am excited to see how the Lord continues to use them in each new situation He places them in. 

That's the sad news of the day.  On a brighter note, I will get to live with two other sisters in Christ, Silvia and Vanessa.  They are also super great.  They are both art students at the Russian Academy of Art, where the Gallery 4 team gets their student visas through and also where I take ballet classes to stay in shape.  Where will we live?  We're not sure yet.  I will have Iacopo Nardi (Madeline and Rachel's affectionately named apartment and where I stayed in the fall for 3 months) for a part of the summer.  When I return in October after Jeffrey and Rachel's wedding I will move in with Silvia and Vanessa, wherever that may be.  You can help us pray we find the perfect location and apartment, that fits all our needs including being able to get easily to the Russian Art Academy's locations and the future Gallery space.  I will miss Iacopo Nardi's bathtub and terrace.  (You could also pray for those commodities for our apartment, but that's on the lower end of importance, haha.) 

View from the terrace of Iacopo Nardi. Ahhhhhh

View from the terrace of Iacopo Nardi. Ahhhhhh

With the culture and government of Italy there are always changes and unexpected curve balls thrown our way, but we are learning to be flexible and to keep our hearts seeking the Lord's plans for the Gallery, not our own.  Thank you so, so much for your prayers and support, my love to you all!