Category Archives: Italy

An Affair With Italy

an affair with italy carla coulson julie adams

Carla Coulson by Julie Adams at An Affair With Italy

So honoured and thrilled to be interviewed today on An Affair With Italy about my journey to photography and Italy. It’s been a long road and having a chat with Emma brought up things I had long forgotten about.

This is one of the most heartfelt interviews I remember having in all these years, thanks to the brilliance of writer Emma Scott.

And what a treat to be photographed by the talented Julie Adams, with whom I share so many similarities, photographer school in Florence and a deep and profound love of Naples.

You can read the full interview here.

Deep love, respect and thanks to the girls..

“Italy, and the spring and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy.” Bertrand Russell


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How I Photographed The Emotions Of Naples

Carla Coulson Lisa Clifford Naples A Way Of Love0006

Shooting a book from scratch of a city you love is a wonderful project especially when it is as rich photographically as Naples.

Naples is Italy on steriods, everything is on surround sound, emotions are strong as is the driving! Life is rich, markets overflow on the streets and the Neapolitans inhabit their emotions (all of them) like a comfortable shirt.

I wanted Naples A Way Of Love to reflect this richness of emotions.

Carla Coulson Lisa Clifford Naples A Way Of Love0013

Fab author Lisa Clifford and I discussed and researched Naples for months before shooting.

Lisa the true pro that she is got on the batphone straight to the Italian Cultural Association who gave us access to photograph so many special places out of hours and normally out of bounds.

Carla Coulson Lisa Clifford Naples A Way Of Love0002

But for me what I really wanted to capture was the heart and soul of this great town and it’s people.

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On previous trips to Naples during a 12 year period I was astounded by the passion and verve with which the Neapolitans live life.

Carla Coulson Lisa Clifford Naples A Way Of Love0007

They literally throw their bodies into a discussion on the simplest subject, live their lives on the streets for all to see, worry just about enjoying today as tomorrow is another day and revel in spontaneity.

I adored the body language of this guy!

Carla Coulson Lisa Clifford Naples A Way Of Love0005

To capture this as a photographer you need to be part of life. Lisa and I walked the streets of Naples most days from daylight to dusk talking with the locals, drinking coffee with them, entering kitchens and pizzeria’s and watching life unfurl before our eyes.

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I am always looking at body language, trying to capture movement, being as discreet as possible in some moments and let life play out as naturally as possible in others and then provocative when I need to be so the image is full of life.

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I am always looking at life like choreographed music and what it is saying to me? A linked arm, a tender moment, fun, body language and when the moment it is right and all the legs and planets have aligned I snap!

This was the first time I have shot Italy since Italian Joy with total freedom and no agenda. Naples A Way Of Love and it’s photos were taken from the heart, in awe and wonder of this great town and for the pure joy of taking great photos.

Where can you get it?

All good books stores in Australia and New Zealand and if you can’t make it into one you can order it online here




“The crisis is not financial: the crisis is in people’s hearts. We need more love and happiness not money.”  Anna Matuozzo from Naples A Way Of Love 

Florence – Winter Address Book

Florence Address book Carla Coulson

Fountain of Neptune in Piazza Della Signoria Florence

My Italian adventure and my new life started in Piazza Della Signoria 13 years ago and this week the 30th October will be special for 3 reasons.

I will have been married to Francesco for 3 years (woohoo), I will be drawing the winners of the Naples A Way Of Love book giveaway and I can apply for an ITALIAN PASSPORT!! Did you hear the scream all the way to Oz??

The adventure feels like it has lasted 3 lifetimes. So many wonderful people I have met along the way, the good days and the scary days, the places, the happiness and joy, the learning, the listening, the dancing and the photography have been more than I could have ever asked for or dreamed of partaking in.


Yes, Carla’s long and winding road has been AMAZING and is now leading directly to the Ambascita Italiana in Paris and an eventual (hope) Italian passport.  I will be shouting from the windows, rooftops and to anyone who cares to hear to listen, the day that little baby (aka passport) is delivered. Talk about excited!

Florence Carla Coulson

I was bewitched by Florence the first time I visited and when I moved back to study Italian and eventually photography it felt like ‘home’ after so many years living in a big city and thanks to the magnificent Popi Florence became my second home.

Popi Carla Coulson

Popi took care of me, fed me, offered me friendship and love and became my darling friend and confidante. She gave me a safe place, a happy place and made it easy for me to stay.


And Florence did the rest! And as they say the rest is history…

My favourite season in Florence is winter. I love winter because out comes the glam winter wardrobe of the Florentines, up go the beautiful lights in the streets and when the dark descends there is atmosphere ‘a go go’  like in no other season.

Collezioni Sposa Night running Carla Coulson

You want to wrap yourself around someone you love, sip hot chocolate at Rivoire and sit around a big solid wooden table with good friends and hearty Tuscan soups and a glass of chianti.

So today in preparation for ‘International Carla Starts Her Italian Passport Application Day‘ on the 30th October I want to share some of my favourite things to do in Florence in the winter.



Piazza della Signoria


Best hot chocolate in Florence and delicious pastries. Costs a couple of euros if you drink and eat at the bar in one of Florence’s exquisite historical caffes otherwise grab your loved one and sit at one of the little tables inside and enjoy the view.

Gilli Caffe

Via Roma 1/R,

50123 Florence

Some of the best pastries and sweets in Florence. My darling dreams of the Sfoglia alla Crema and I try to bring one back to Paris each time I visit..Hard to resist it on the plane. Great coffee at the bar..Sitting down will cost you a fortune. In winter the inside room is one of the prettiest historical rooms in a cafe in Florence. Romantic!


Piazza della Repubblica


Another of  one of my favourite cafes and I always have a coffee and brioche in the morning for 2.50 euro.. The pastries are baked on the premises and the barista’s are some of the best in Florence.

Hotel Gallery Art

Vicolo dell ‘Oro, 5,

50123 Florence, Italy

The Ferragamo family own this stylish hotel with a fabulous art gallery in the foyer. There is a wonderful Aperitivo hour of delish picks that stretch the length of the bar. Buy a drink and help yourself! And ever so cosy in winter.

Atrium Bar

Four Seasons Hotel Florence

Borgo Pinti, 99

50121 Florence, Italy

Possible Florence’s most beautiful hotel! Palazzo Gheradesca once the home of the Florentine noble family of the same name is now a spectacular hotel with many of the original features. The atrium bar is a super chic destination for a drink with a loved one.



Buca dell’Orafo

Volta dei Girolami 28,

Florence, Italy

Hidden underneath one of the arches near the Ponte Vecchio the Buca dell’ Orafo serves good Tuscan food. If you want to avoid the tourists go for the second sitting..


Fiaschetteria Nuvoli

Piazza del’Olio


Great for a glass of wine around 7pm with the locals in a quiet piazza just behind the duomo. You can venture downstairs for a typical Tuscan lunch that won’t cost much.


Via Porcellana, 25/r


Old school trattoria serving classic Tuscan cuisine. Men in grey jackets, no email, no website. Old school in every sense. I have always eaten well here and found the staff delightful.

13 Gobbi

Via del Porcellana,

9R  Florence, Italy

13 Gobbi is a typical Tuscan trattoria with generous servings and a great mix of locals and tourists alike. I was introduced to this trattoria by my shoe designer friend Sarah.

Colle Bereto

Piazza Strozzi, 5

Firenze, IT

I love Colle Bereto for a couple of reasons, divine aperitivo hour. A huge choice of wonderful snacks to have alongside of your fab drink and the location is in the heart of Florence in front of Palazzo Strozzi. People watching central. In winter they crank up the heating in the bar outside.

Trattoria 4 Leone

Via dei Vellutini, 1r


Located in the small piazza della passera in Oltrarno Quattro Leone is a good solid trattoria where we have had many a great night. I love the fiocchetti with pear and cream and in winter the atmosphere inside is typical Tuscan.

Da Rocco

In Mercato Sant’Ambrogio,

Florence, Italy

Amongst the bustle of market day in Mercato Sant’Ambrogio Da Rocco is a local canteen that serves good basic Tuscan cuisine. Rocco is super friendly and has a limited daily menu. Francesco and I spent many a winter’s lunch at Da Rocco eating bean soups and falling in love. Ha ha..

If you are lucky enough to be in Florence this winter I hope you check out some of these addresses.

“Traveling is the ruin of all happiness! There’s no looking at a building after seeing Italy.” Fanny Burney


Please Share.. x

A Readers Journey to a New Life

Venice Copyright Carla Coulson Chasing A Dream

To My Darling Readers,

I have just had my fill of dear, darling, chaotic, beautiful, noisy Italy. I have arrived back to the calm of Paris and thought I would share with you a wonderful story that a reader left in my messages last year.

The message below is full of joy, inspiration and happiness and although I posted it last year I thought some of you may have missed this divine story.

I have received many messages, letters, emails throughout the years. Many of these letters arrived on days when I felt like life was too big for me and I felt like throwing in the ‘camera’. Your words always give me sustenance and the courage to carry on.

Though I have kept most letters private I thought many of you out there would enjoy the story of this courageous reader and she has generously given me permission to share her story!

Cesarina Copyright Carla Coulson Italian Joy

A readers journey in her words.

Dear Carla

I just want to thank you, grazie mille Bella Carla soooo very much for your inspiration! You saved my life, literally!!!!!

I had been married for 30 years, married at 20, doing the corporate thing, following someone else’s, including parents, societies expectations, conditioning and indoctrination. Having my daugher in 2001 at 42 was a miracle and she continues to be my joy and inspiration!

Your book literally, changed my life, I left my husband in 2008, opened a Vintage Shop, ran motivational workshops for women, telling one and all to watch “Under the Tuscan Sun” and read “Italian Joy”, take a risk, take a chance, face the fear, follow your heart! Always asking the question, what makes your heart sing?!!!

Step by step, whatever it may be, it is unique and individual for every being. Whatever that course you have been wanting to do, job you have wanted to leave, relationship you have wanted to change or end, places you have wanted to travel, stop procrastinating, just do it NOW, we only have NOW!

Venice Copyright Carla Coulson Chasing A Dream

Bella Italia resonated, I travelled to Europe, 5 countries on the train in 2009 with my daughter, faced a big fear, what an amazing experience, so freeing, so empowering. My daughter and I felt like Eagles soaring, little girls being free and having fun! No Agenda, no one to rain on our parade, tell us how to be, really being in the moment and experiencing the passion, beauty and joy only Italy can bring on every level.

Naples Copyright Carla Coulson Italian Joy

You reinvent yourself, your life, in Italy, You don’t just look you see through different eyes, it touches you on every level, body, mind and soul. All of it, the people, the architecture, the history, the passion, the art, the cobble stones, the naked statues, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Primavera, the lighting, the sunrise, the sunsets, the music, the dancing, the food, the EVERYTHING! The Italians open their hearts and homes. They live in the moment, they are out in the piazzas, all generations, talking, laughing, sharing, whether it be coffee, a vino, pasta or gelato.

I celebrated my 50th in Positano in 2009!!!! A dream come true! My daughter and I returned to Italy in 2010 and travelled on the train again for 2 months, we experienced a 10 day Retreat in Tuscany, 15 mins from Siena, a place called “Ebbio” Yoga, Meditation, Life Art Drawing and Passionate Italian Organic Cooking” Purrrrfecto!!!

I met the man of my dreams in April this year, he walked into my shop! I had given your book away to a friend. My man, knew that I loved bella Italia of course so for my birthday he surprised me with your book, not knowing just how much it meant to me, he knew I loved Italy, that was it, soul mates, so connected for him to choose your book from all the books of Italy available! 

Francesco Greece Copyright Carla Coulson Chasing A Dream

My daughter also saved up her money and I received another copy of your book on my birthday as well, I couldn’t stop crying, your book came back to me twice this year on the 1st of May, from my beautiful man and my gorgeous daughter! So now I keep one in the shop for customers and friends to look at and be inspired, and one copy at home.

Always be true to yourself, follow your heart and everything else will follow. Believe! Trust! Let go! and hang on for the ride! Miracles happen!

Love to you and Francesco, and thank you for changing my life! J x

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Maria Robinson

Around The World In 24 Hours

Image Copyright Millie Brown 

I loved giving over my blog to some gorgeous bloggers around the world for my series on 24 Hours in… and I would like to share a collective hug to all of them for introducing us to places special in their hearts and sharing with us the things that give them pleasure in their chosen city/village. So chuffed you all were happy to participate and share your lives

So for those of you who may have missed any of my lovely blog friends and their posts here is a round up of the last couple of months so travel vicariously at your leisure! This popular series may return later in the year until then lets travel the world through the eyes and hearts of these special women…..Take it away Gals!

Photographer Millie Brown from the blog Travel Notecards took us on a trip to The French Riviera’s Golden Triangle and delighted us with her colourful pics and tantalised us with a taste of Mediteranean heaven. See more of Millie’s beautiful work at 


Image Copyright Millie Brown

It was a pleasure to have travel photographer Sivan Askayo give us her 24 hour tips on the exciting city of  New YorkSivan’s blog with the bi line ‘because travel is a state of mind’ documents her stunning  photography from her worldly travels, she is certainly living her dream! Make sure you drop by her website and view more of her amazing pics..

Image Copyright Sivan Askayo

24 Hours in Menton on the French Riveria with the ever so lovely and talented blogger Jilly Bennett was a popular post! Jilly has a swag of blogs to her credit and constantly amazes me with her creativity and ability to juggle them all to perfection…. when I seem to be swamped with one!! I need some serious tips JB. From Flamenco to African food Menton seems a buzz with culture.

Image Copyright Jilly Bennett 

From the French Riveria to the charming Italian village of Ragusa Ibla in Sicily where Jann Huizenga enthralls us with her writing and photographs of her life in this small Sicilian village that cast it’s spell on her  in 2007 and which she now calls home for several months of the year. Sounds fabulous doesn’t it? Another destination to add to the ever growing list!

Image Copyright of Jann Huizenga

Asian delights in Saigon with Jeanne Henriques from the continually evolving blog Collage of Life Jeanne is living an expat life and has only recently moved to Vietnam! Choosing the bustling city of Saigon to indulge our senses for 24 hours in one of Asia’s most beautiful countries.  Jeanne also created a travel tips post of this fascinating city so if you are planning a trip you may need to take a peek!

Created by Irene Hoff

Natasha Calhoun loves to take photographs and if you visit her exquisite blog Beautifully Suddenly you will see she is extremely good at it! Natasha took us to Brugge in Belgium for her 24 hour tour having recently returned from a European holiday this was her pick to share with us all…….we are so glad she did.

Image Copyright Natasha Calhoun

The final in our series was the  ’cycling city’ of Europe, 24 hours in Copenhagen home to another longtime blogging friend Anya and her popular blog Anya Adores. Having never been to Copenhagen it was so great to get Anya’s local tips and addresses for shopping, eats, flea markets and all the cool local things to do so you can dive straight in when you arrive!

Image Copyright Anya Adores

I hope you have enjoyed this series and discovered  new blogs to follow, it was such a pleasure to have seven talented and inspiring women feature on my blog and travel with them around the world and I thank them all for their time putting together and sharing their  posts with us all!

“I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” 
― Mary Anne Radmacher

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