As 2018 gets into full swing, I have to admit that lady luck has been shining down on my blogging projects.  I would like to think that it is a result of planning and hard work, but a bit of luck never hurts in having things fall into place.  In January, I added travel writing to my freelance writing portfolio and became a contributor for The Matador Network and my photo series on the colorful Florence holiday light festival won first prize in the European Union Cultural Heritage contest.    

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Promotion of culture, history, and arts is an attribute of European governments that I have always admired.  As a student in France, I remember taking advantage of free festivals such as the all-night summer concerts during Fete de la Musique.  One of my favorite memories in Italy so far was attending a concert at Trajan’s market overlooking the ancient imperial forum during Rome museum nights.

Dolce & Masala Wins European Union Cultural Heritage Photo Competition

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The European Union (EU) has declared 2018 the European Year of Cultural Heritage.  The slogan is “Our heritage: where the past meets the future.”  To kick off the festivities, the EU ran a photography contest challenging participants to capture European holiday traditions and #CulturalHeritage during the winter festive season.  The top winners showcased holiday customs ranging from traditional dances to ward off evil spirits to holiday sweet treats.

Florence Light (F-Light) Festival

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For my contest entry, I decided to submit photography from the F-Light Festival in Florence.  The Tuscan city was the last stop on what is becoming an annual tradition of exploring European Christmas markets.  Although I love the Belgian Christmas markets best because of my love of chocolates, the best part of being in Italy over the holidays is that the festive season extends all the way to January 6 (Epiphany day) providing an extra week to indulge in the holiday spirit.  Cities big and small compete to put on spectacular shows – with Florence being my favorite.

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Florence is one of the most photogenic cities in a county filled with historic cultural wonders.  Each year the F-light festival starts on December 8 (Feast of the Immaculate Conception) to Epiphany Day with video-mapping, projections, light installations and other cultural activities to celebrate the holiday season. This 2017-18 holiday theme was developed in partnership with the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) on the very timely topic of migration.

Dolce & Masala Wins European Union Cultural Heritage Photo Competition

In my opinion, the best show in town was the video illumination at the iconic Ponte Vecchio.  I always enjoy photographing the medieval “old bridge” whenever I am in Florence.  The River Arno captured my imagination when I first ready descriptive passages in Dante’s Divine Comedy.

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In addition to Florence, the projections featured popular global cities.

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