"Where are all the black folk in Tuscany and Venice, Italy?" Italy Adventure Part I

June 2, 2010. Breeze at the beach Ca' Savio outside of Venice. Mediterranean Sea.

I traveled to Italy for 2.5 weeks and just got back into Munich a few days ago. It was my first time. I had the pleasure of spending my birthday week in Tuscany and in Venice.  I guess I was most surprised that I hardly saw any black folk in Florence and Venice, two cities that get millions of tourists each year throughout the world. I got lots of stares from little kids and a few adults and found it kind of funny. I kept on asking my husband, “Where are all the black folk? Weird since we’re in major tourist cities.” It was pretty easy to be vegan in the places I traveled, despite it being a culture heavily saturated in foods that come from pig and cows. We had access to legumes, whole meal bread, fresh fruits and veggies, arugula and a lot of wonderful olive oil. I have to admit that I was saddened by the plethora of wild boar and pig shoppes. Many of the shoppes displayed stuffed pigs and boar. In Greve, Italy, I found it particularly saddening that a shoppe stuffed several baby boars and then set them up at a table and posed them in a way that looked like they were eating sausage. Why would a pig want to eat a pig? I imagined how enraged I’d be if Sun were killed and stuffed and set up to eat human animals (or any other animals). (sigh)

We drove from Munich Germany to Lago di Garda on May 17, 2010. For the first time in my life, I drove ridiculously fast using stick shift through the Alps. I kept on saying, “What’s the point of seatbelts and airbags? If you hit anyone or any thing at this speed you just blow up!” I guess I wasn’t used to the BMWs, Audis, and Mercedes pissed off at me for not driving mach 5, so they just tailgated me until I moved out of the way. We got into Lago di Garda at around 2 in the afternoon and it was breath taking.

Sun and Breeze: First arriving at Lago di Garda in Italy.

We ended up dining in Lago di Garda and Sun and I had our first vegan pizza in Italy.

That evening, Sun and I had our first vegan pizza in Italy on Lago di Garda
Our first gelato without milk. It was at Lago di Garda. Papaya and Mango.

After a few days at Lago di Garda, my family and I headed to Tuscany and checked into Camping Girasole. The first night we dined at the campgrounds restaurant, but the next day we ended up dining in Radda in Chianti at the best pizza place we had gone to, by far.

We were in Radda in Chianti and Sun ate the best vegan pizza thus far.
There's always room for strawberry sorbetto!
A man delivering strawberries gave one to Sun to try. And he loved it.
Italian locally grown strawberries rock!
Breeze at Sugame organic vineyard and olive oil farm carrying 3 liters of cold pressed young olive oil
Eating Vegan Focaccia Bread in Crete Senesi , Italy
34th Birthday Celebration Meal at a Restaurant on St. Michele Mountain

After my meal, my husband and I went on a 3.5 hour hike to Lamole. I loved the purple flowers and asked that he take a picture of me.

Lamole trail on my 34th Birthday, May 30, 2010

15 thoughts on “"Where are all the black folk in Tuscany and Venice, Italy?" Italy Adventure Part I

  1. Why would you expect to find black folks there? I understand Venice, but the more rural areas? C’mon, Breeze. You know better.

    1. Hi Silvia. I’m referring to the huge tourist towns of Venice, Florence, Siena, and an area around Lago di Garda that get millions of tourists per year. Saw a lot of Chinese, Japanese, and Indian tourists, but really was surprised not to see very many black folk tourists in such immensely popular tourist cities, yet I saw other diverse groups of people. I’m wondering what makes the places I visited less “attractive” to folk who look like me. I’m not upset or angry, just thought it was an interesting observation since I’m always thinking about race and ethnic experience.

  2. Breeze, these pics are amazing! You and Sun look so beautiful surrounded by that incredible countryside.
    And the food sounds wonderful. Well, except for the boar!

  3. I wonder if the economy has hit us harder. It certainly has for me. Like they say, “America catches a cold, Black folks catch the flu”. In other words, the problems always seem to be magnified for us.

  4. That’s so great you got to go to Italy! I visited Florence and Milan 2 1/2 years ago and I loved it! Real, authentic Italian food is at the top of my list!! I can’t live without olive oil now! I’m so glad you’re able to expose your son to the culture, delicious food, and atmosphere! I had like 6 cups of gelato when I was there. While at a restaurant in Milan, I was able to convince them to make a special vegan pizza for me with tomato and eggplant. I didn’t see any black folk in Florence either :(, however, in Milan, I had a brief conversation with two Black women from England. They were excited about meeting a Black American. It was cool for me because I’d never met any Black English folk. It gives you that feeling that we touch so many parts of the globe. Happy B-lated birthday and enjoy your travels!!

  5. Sounds like a wonderful trip. Great that you found vegan pizza for the fun of it.
    I always have to travel with a vegan baseline (a little braggs, org oatmeal, some dehydrated fruit, hemp seeds and nuts, etc.) Then a bit of shopping for fresh fruits and veggies to supplement my meals makes all the difference. Surprisingly, I found in some of my travels abroad that all food is not cooked in meat. some is traditionally cooked and flavored with veggies and herbs. When that happens I feel very lucky.

    1. Evelyn, I took my raw hemp protein powder, spirulina, chlorella, vegan dha, and hempseed oil with me. Overall, it was a really enjoyable experience, but I did miss not having access to kale everyday, and California avocados. We’re back in Berkeley now and I’m loving my California hass avocados.

  6. I LOVE YOUR PICS, sent with your son’s (little soildier) sorry i did not acknowledge you earlier i had so many issues domestic and financial issues that has kept me away from doing basic things like replying to blogs like yours , having a blog or indeed a website.
    However i am trully honoured to get your pictures posted to me and indeed the one on the bank of the beach , i do understand and i know you are married so don’t worry , i did figure that out in the picure by way of your ring.
    Your pics are nice and i hope you can speak italian , i like to learn a European language , i can see you are having a great time i wish you the best and have a lovely time , you and your little Angel.I hope you receive this and we can communicate more from time to time, by the way , i am a chef so i understand and i’m red as in British by birth.
    Stay blessed and i hope to hear from you again or soon who knows.

    1. Hi Sister Vegan I ‘m sorry about the reply I wrote the last time , My English and vocabulary was particular woeful and thus I can understand your disgust , if you have any,however you did not indicate any dissatisfaction, and I am deeply humbled by that , especially with your academic Background and success in life , again I am deeply honored and humbled and will just like to say thanks for posting and being a friend .
      Please say hello to your family thanks.
      O.Akinola

  7. What a lovely vacation! I’m going to Italy next month and look forward to having some of the same pizzas and beautiful bread you had a chance to enjoy. When can we expect to see your second post up?

  8. hey Breezy, luvz the pix, I’m heading to venice in 2 weeks, any recommendations for good food and fun ^_^

  9. Beautiful pics, I am not surprise you did not see any blacks in those locations, when I watch travel shows the only blacks I see are Mary and baby Jesus in the historical churches.

  10. Hi, Italy does not have a large number of Black people that live or visit there, maybe they just do not want to go there. As for the hog and pig, that is how they eat, and seafood, if your in a port city it is all seafood. The Italians have eaten like this for centuries. If your vegan, and uoset about the way Italians eat, you have a choice. I am Italian and took offense of your writing, we are all different.

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