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Don’t Miss these Upcoming Wine and Ceramics Festivals

May 24, 2016 by Cristina Romeo

Visiting the villages spread out across Tuscany is always a pleasure, and it is even more so now when both summer and the great outdoors are calling us to head outdoors to explore.

In the coming weeks, there are two additional, very good reasons to head out and explore the ​​Chianti area and, in particular, the towns of Montespertoli and Montelupo Fiorentino, which are going to host respectively the “Mostra del Chianti” dedicated to Chianti wine and “Cèramica“, a ceramics arts festival.

montespertoli chianti

The Mostra del Chianti di Montespertoli is a traditional event, now in its 59th edition, promoting one of Tuscany’s products of excellence: WINE! From Saturday, May 28 to Sunday, June 5, Montespertoli will host some of the biggest local Chianti wine producers and their best wines, all of which can be tasted on the spot at many of the stands. It will also be an occasion to savor other local food specialties, including bread produced with the ancient grains of the territory of Montespertoli.

mostra chianti

There are many free activities and entertainment events planned: literary aperitifs, historical parades, theatrical and musical performances as well as sporting events. Saturday, May 28 the town will host the “Marcia dei Poderi”: a walk / ride of either 5 km or 11 km to discover the landscapes, flavors and fragrances of Chianti. Reservations required by writing an email to Cost: 5 €/person.

ceramics painting

At the end of the week, and starting on an Italian national holiday, the center of Montelupo Fiorentino welcomes Cèramica 2016, the international festival of ceramics from Thursday, June 2 through Sunday June 5. The event is part of the initiative “Buongiorno Ceramica”, a national artistic promotional event sponsored by the Italian Association of the Cities of Ceramics.

Not only will Montelupo will present 32 select exhibitors with their products but the producers of the Strada della Ceramica will demonstrate the various steps leading up to and including the creation of ceramic.
On this occasion, there will also be the inauguration of some site-specific works that have been designed in collaboration with the ceramists of Montelupo and which will become part of a permanent exhibition in the city, while Piazza della Libertà and Corso Garibaldi will host an exhibition en plein air by the artist Paolo Staccioli.

ceramics making

In the square of the European Union, you can see a ceramics factory, the Fanciullacci workshop from Montelupo, which will recreate in every detail all the steps of making ceramics.

They are also planning pottery workshops for children and adults, so that everyone can rediscover “ceramics” not only as a product of local tradition, but also show how its vitality still lives on.

Enjoy heading out into Chianti and exploring these two traditional, centuries-long crafts of Tuscany!

European Night at the Museum: Where to go in Florence and Tuscany

May 19, 2016 by Lourdes Flores


This Saturday, May 21st is the European-wide initiative of “Night at the Museum”. In Florence, this means that many museums will be taking part, thus remaining open for longer hours and allowing entrance either for free or for a symbolic 1 euro!

For the Uffizi and Accademia, this means special longer opening hours this Saturday: both will remain open until 10pm.

At the Bargello, the museum will close at 5pm only to reopen later in the evening, from 8pm to 11pm. For the occasion, the museum will be hosting an “Instagram Night” and invites visitors to share their photos of the museum on the social app.

In Florence and in other parts of Tuscany, some of the museums part of the Polo Museale Toscano will also have special openings as well as host special concerts, guided visits and conferences. For example, the San Marco Museum will be open from 8 to 11pm and also offer a concert by the students of the Cherubini Conservatory. Outside of Florence, the Medici villa at Poggio a Caiano will be open until 10pm and offer organ concerts, as will the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Palazzo Mansi in Lucca (at 7.30pm).

For a full list of locations and events across Florence and Tuscany, take a look at the page on the special initiative on the official Polo Museale Toscano site.


Giro d’Italia is coming to Chianti

May 10, 2016 by Lourdes Flores


This weekend the Giro d’Italia is making its way first into Tuscany, arriving first in Arezzo and then heading into Chianti. If you’re around, don’t miss it! Also prepare for closed roads ;-).

The Giro d’Italia, professional cycling’s second most prestigious stage race after the Tour de France, kicked off in the decidedly un-Italian setting of Apeldoorn in the Netherlands last Friday and entered Italian soil ahead of stage four today, May 10.

The 2016 route will be passing through the beautiful regions of Campania, Abruzzo and Tuscany before arriving in the high mountains of the north.

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Florence is ready for the First Night of Summer with many Free events

April 27, 2016 by Cristina Romeo


This Saturday, April 30th, Florence will stay up late (but not too late) for the “First Night of Summer” (called the “White Night” until last year), which kicks off the summer-long program “Estate Fiorentina 2016” (Florentine Summer 2016) which will be six months of concerts, shows and events of various kinds taking place across the city.

The “First Night of Summer” will be dedicated to culture and will not be just an opportunity to just be merry around town, as underlined by Florence mayor, Dario Nardella. The first night is an opportunity to take part in quality events offering literature, art and entertainment. All the events will end by 2am and the sale of alcohol is prohibited beyond the time normally allowed.

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Museums in Florence: Openings between April 25th and May 2nd

April 19, 2016 by Lourdes Flores

Jan Fabre – Man Measuring Clouds – Piazza della Signoria

We have two long holiday weekends coming up and you might be wondering what will be open or closed in Florence.
Most restaurants and shops do remain open, seeing as they are the perfect time when lots of people travel and sight-see it wouldn’t make sense to do otherwise. But sometimes, places of culture such as museums are another matter for which you have to plan.

April 25th and May 1st

Monday, April 25th is Liberation Day for Italy. It isn’t celebrated with grand fanfare but it is a national holiday. Expect banks, public offices and schools to be closed. Most museums maintain their normal hours for April 25th, depending on the day of the week it falls on.

May 1st is International Labor Day and, as such, it is a holiday for all workers. Of course, not everyone can really take the day off, essential services have to continue and eating is considered quite essential. You should be able to find places to eat: but if you’re really looking forward to eating at any one particular place, to call ahead and make reservations. Lots of people will be out and about and unless you book or get there early, you might arrive at a place and find no space available.

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New Etruscan Discoveries in Tuscany

April 15, 2016 by Donna Scharnagl

An exciting moment in Tuscany, as new discoveries converge with ongoing exhibitions exploring the written word of the ancient population of Etruscans. These people who lived, prayed and ruled 7 centuries before Christ were years ahead of others in metal crafting, equal rights and culture.

Huge Etruscan News

These ancient markings, not finding roots in any the oldest languages known to man, have remained a mystery to researchers. So when digs, like those of the Mugello Valley Archaeological Project (MVAP) at Poggio Colla, made a 2500 kilo discovery – let’s just say it has the capacity to potentially revolutionize our understanding of this highly egalitarian society.

Etruscan discoveries and exhibitions in Tuscany

The inability to decipher the Etruscan writing is essentially due to the the scarcity of long “stories” and an abundance of short text with a very limited range of subjects, words and concepts: short funerary inscriptions with names and titles, commercial information and juridical terms.

There is simply no base for comparison. Imagine the excitement of finding a “document” of sorts with over 70 characters (a mix of legible letters and punctuation marks), one of the longest examples of Etruscan writing known in the modern world!

Just think, half the length of a Twitter message – and yet it is causing ripples of excitement in the academic echelons of ancient history. Weighing in at over 500 pounds and more than four feet tall, this stele is truly an exciting find. Read the rest of this entry »

A Dream in Tuscany at Borgo Scopeto

April 8, 2016 by Lourdes Flores

As we made our way down to Siena and then out into the Chianti countryside covered with vineyards, I was thinking of how driving in Tuscany makes you seem as if you’ve stepped into a movie. We likely have, as the setting we drive through has been caught on screen many times before.

If the landscape in late March, not yet fully awake from its winter sleep, is this gorgeous already, we can only imagine how stupendous it will be once everything is in bloom and the vineyards ripe with fruit. For now, we enjoyed the light sprinkle that created a double rainbow!

We were making our way to spend this year’s Easter weekend at Borgo Scopeto Relais, a medieval hamlet set atop a hill enjoying a great view of Siena in the distance. The view of the estate itself as you draw near is magical as you follow a long cypress lined road to enter the property. The hamlet has been restored and renovated into a four star luxury hotel. As such, service was impeccable from the moment we arrived and we’re welcomed at the reception desk to the warmth with which we were greeted with each time we arrived to enjoy the superb meals at the estate’s restaurant. Borgo Scopeto Relais is, in fact, part of JDB Fine Hotels & Resorts and won the Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence for 2016.

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Sunday Brunch at the Hard RockCafe in Florence

April 7, 2016 by Lourdes Flores

For a limited time only, the Hard Rock Cafe in Florence is offering a very special Sunday brunch menu in April. As part of the pilot program that includes important European cities such as London, Paris, Rome and Florence, you can take advantage of the “Easy Like Sunday Morning” menu every Sunday this month of April (April 3, 10, 17 and 24, 2016). What makes the brunch extra special is that you have a live band playing during your morning meal!

We went this first Sunday to try out the special brunch and came away quite happy: a full belly and with a smile for having enjoyed good live music provided by the great band “Last Minute Dirty Band“, who specializes in classic from the ’60s.

Keep reading for more details! Read the rest of this entry »

Easter 2016: Special Openings Across Tuscany

March 23, 2016 by Lourdes Flores

For the upcoming Easter festivities, the Regional Polo Museale of Tuscany has shared the openings for all of the museums it oversees for Easter Sunday and Angel Monday, March 27th and 28th.

In some cases, these are museums usually open on these days, in others they are special openings once there was an agreement reached with union representatives.

In particular, note that the Museum of San Marco in Florence will have a special opening on EASTER MONDAY, with the extra special possibility of visiting the Greek Hall, normally closed to the public. Here, codexes not on display in the Michelozzo Library are conserved as well as collections of ancient maiolica. The hall has a splendid 15th century  ceiling. To see which other museums are open in Florence for Easter, read this post.


Museum of Popular Crafts and Traditions from the High Valtiberina (Palazzo Taglieschi)
EASTER 10,00-19,00


Basilica of San Francesco, Legend of the True Cross by Piero della Francesca
(visit need to be booked: info 0575 352727 – –
EASTER 13,00-18,00
EASTER MONDAY 9,00-18,00

Museum of Casa Vasari
EASTER 8,30-13,30
EASTER MONDAY 8,30-13,30

National Museum of Medieval and Modern Art
EASTER 14,00-19,30 (with guided visits)
EASTER MONDAY 14,00-19,30 (** SPECIAL OPENING ** with guided visits from 4 to 6pm)

Archaeological National Museum G. C. Mecenate
EASTER MONDAY 13,30-19,30


Abbey of Soffena
EASTER 10,00-12,00/16,00-18,00 (in partnership with Comune di Castelfranco-Piandiscò, with booking by phone 055/9147721 from 07,30-13,00, up until Friday March 25)


Medici Villa at Cerreto Guidi and Museum of Hunt and Territory
EASTER 10,00-19,00
EASTER MONDAY 10,00-19,00

FLORENCE – complete list of all museums here

Museum of San Marco
Easter 8,15am-5pm
Easter Monday 8,15am – 1,50pm ** SPECIAL OPENING ** (Greek Hall open)

National Archaeological Museum
Easter 8,30am-2pm
Easter Monday 8,30am-2pm

Medici Villa of La Petraia
Easter 8,15am-6,30pm
Easter Monday 8,15am-6,30pm

Last Supper at San Salvi by Andrea del Sarto
Easter 8,15am-1,50pm
Easter Monday 8,15am-1,50pm ** SPECIAL OPENING **

Chiostro dello Scalzo
Easter 8,15am-1,50pm
Easter Monday 8,15am-1,50pm

Last Supper at Sant’Apollonia
Easter 8,15am-1,50pm
Easter Monday CLOSED

Garden of Villa il Ventaglio
Easter 8,15am-6,30pm
Easter Monday CLOSED


National Museum of Villa Guinigi

National Pinacoteca and Museum at Palazzo Mansi


Museum of Casa Giusti
EASTER 8,00-18,00
EASTER MONDAY 8,00-18,00


Hermitage of San Leonardo al Lago
EASTER 10,00-16,00 ** SPECIAL OPENING **


National Museum of San Matteo
EASTER 8,30-13,30 (with special guided visits)


Monumental Certosa di Calci
EASTER 8,30-12,30
EASTER MONDAY 8,30-12,30


Fortress of Santa Barbara
EASTER 8,15-13,30

ex Church of Tau
EASTER MONDAY 8,15-13,30

Oratory of San Desiderio
EASTER MONDAY 8,15-13,30


Medici Villa of Poggio a Caiano and the Museum of Still Life
EASTER: 8,30 – 16,30 (monumental apartments and Still Life Museum)
8,30-18,30 (Park and Gardens)
EASTER MONDAY: 8,30 – 16,30 (monumental apartments and Still Life Museum)
8,30-18,30 (Park and Gardens)


National Museum of Napoleonic Residencea
Palazzina dei Mulini and Villa di San Martino
EASTER 8,30-13,30
EASTER MONDAY 8,30-13,30


The National Pinacoteca
EASTER 9,00-13,00
EASTER MONDAY 9,00-13,00

In addition, these two state collections housed within city buildings will also be open over the Easter holiday.


National Archaeological Museum of Siena
(within the Santa Maria della Scala complex – Comune di Siena)
EASTER 10,30-18,30
EASTER MONDAY 10,30-18,30


National Archaeological Museum of Castiglioncello
(Comune of Rosignano Marittima)
EASTER 10,30-18230
EASTER MONDAY 10,30-12,30


Special Openings for Easter Sunday and Monday in Florence 2016

March 18, 2016 by Lourdes Flores

Here’s the latest news we have as far as special openings for museums in Florence go for March 27th and 28th, this year’s Easter Sunday and Easter Monday/Angel Monday (known as Pasquetta in Italian).

For more information on Easter in Florence, take a look at this article on the Scoppio del Carro and this one for what else to do over Easter in Florence. For more ideas on what to do over Easter in Tuscany, take a look at this article.

Here are the special openings:

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