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A day exploring the colors & tastes of Florence with Conquibus

November 24, 2015 by Lourdes Flores

Walk across Ponte Vecchio to enter into the Oltrarno area of Florence

On a recent Friday morning, I had the opportunity to join in on a tour by Conquibus that takes you across Florence to discover artisan shops, traditional food markets and shops and then get your hands busy making a Tuscan meal.

On this morning, the day starts off in the Oltrarno since that is where Stacie, my travel companion this day, is staying. We meet up with Claudia and Leonardo, our hosts for the day, who delineate what the day ahead looks like: breakfast to start, then a visit to the workshop of a local artisan before we proceed to the food market to get what we need to prepare our meal at Claudia’s cooking class.

Breakfast at Caffe degli Artigiani

We head to nearby Caffe degli Artigiani on Piazza della Passera for a delicious slice of cake and cappuccino. You can, of course, skip the cake, but I wouldn’t recommend it. See how yummy it looks? It was delicious! Ricotta and apple. Don’t be fooled by how tiny the cafe shop looks from the outside, as it has a small dining area in the back. Enjoy the delicious start to the day!

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Pope Francis visiting Florence and Prato on November 10

November 7, 2015 by Cristina Romeo


November 10, 2015 will be a date to remember for Florence: 30 years after the last visit of a Pope, the city will welcome Pope Francis!

The Pope will be in Florence to officially participate in the National Ecclesiastical Congress, but he will also celebrate the Mass in the Artemio Franchi Stadium, which will host more than 50 thousand faithful.

Tuesday will be therefore a very busy, intense day: Pope Bergoglio arrives before 8 am in Prato, where he will visit the Cathedral and the Chapel of the Holy Girdle, then head to Florence where he probably will arrive around 9:45 am.
The Pontiff will visit the Baptistery of San Giovanni and then moved to the Cathedral where he will participate in the National Ecclesial Congress. Around noon, he will be in Santissima Annunziata to pray together with a small group of faithful.
After a quick meal at the table of Charity of St. Francis the Poor in Piazza SS. Annunziata, Pope Francis will head to to the Artemio Franchi stadium to celebrate Mass at 3:30 pm.
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The Divine in Modern Art

October 28, 2015 by Lourdes Flores

Vincent Van Gogh, The Pietà (after Delacroix), c. 1890, Vatican Musuems.

At first glance, it might seem that Florence is stuck in the past, with its masterpieces of the Renaissance in its museums, churches and streets. Florence’s main museums are full of religious artworks, commissioned by large families for their churches and chapels, which today are recognized as some of the most magnificent works of art, so precious and amazing that they form the large majority of museum collections.


Arturo Marini, Prodigal Son, 1927.

It would be too easy to forget that Florence has continued to inspire artists in their own art through the ages, providing the example of the masters of the past as inspiration as well as something to aspire to test their mastery. So while we all might know of Van Gogh’s Starry Night or Sunflowers paintings or Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, can we really be surprised to find that they also painted Crucifixions or Resurrections? It might not be what you expect from our “modern” artists, so a visit to Palazzo Strozzi is in order while you are in Florence.

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Jeff Koons ‘In Florence’

October 27, 2015 by Lourdes Flores


Anyone who arrives in Florence right now and visits Piazza della Signoria will get the chance to admire a very particular – and bright and shiny – sculpture standing right in front of Palazzo Vecchio: it is Jeff Koons’s Pluto and Proserpina.

Sitting in between the copies of Michelangelo’s David and Donatello’s Judith and Holofernes, the statue catches your attention with its bright yellow, mirror polished stainless steel and its height of over 3 meters. Since it appeared in the piazza on September 25th (and where it will continue to sit until the 28th of December), the statue has stirred much debate among locals as well as visitors.

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The big day of the new Museum of the Opera del Duomo in Florence has arrived

October 26, 2015 by Cristina Romeo

View from the Belvedere del Paradiso

Last Wednesday we took part in the exciting presentation of the new Museum of the Opera del Duomo in Florence, which will reopen to the public on Thursday, October 29.

After 3 years of resting behind closed doors, both the general public and the “insiders” are nursing high expectations for the reopening of the museum and since we were present at the preview, we can confirm that this long wait will be amply rewarded.

Thanks to a substantial economic investment by the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, the Cathedral Museum has been completely renovated, offering visitors an absolutely new and spectacular experience.

The floor surface of the museum has been almost doubled with the acquisition of property adjacent to the old museum and is now about 6,000 square meters, with 25 rooms arranged on three floors. The Cathedral Museum has the largest concentration of monumental sculptures in the world and the new layout has provided ample space for showing several hundred restored pieces of art works, many of which have come from storage.

As explained during the press conference by Timothy Verdon, director and author of the museum project together with Franco Lucchesi, president of the Opera di Santa Maria del Flower and Adolfo Natalini, head of the architectural design and construction of the museum, special attention was paid the to the spatiality of this new set-up. The interior of the old museum and the new properties were adapted to the works which allows the viewer to appreciate the sculptures and art just as they were intended by the artists (respecting hieghts and distances of the original location in the church.)
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When the World Answered

October 20, 2015 by Donna Scharnagl


World Premier Showing in Florence

A must see for those visiting Florence on Tuesday the 20th of October, a short film documentary in the historic Palazzo dello Strozzino located close to Piazza Republica.  A one time showing at 6:30 pm of a 30 minute film that documents the historic flood of 1966 which covered the city of art in mud and washed away thousands of pieces of artwork and over a hundred lives.

Ponte Santa Trinità e Ponte Acciauoli

The Odeon Theater opens its doors to present the follow up to the Emmy-winning documentary Invisible Women.  It is a revealing film about the flood that devastated Florence in 1966 and the women who responded to the call for help in the aftermath; it is entitled WHEN THE WORLD ANSWERED | Florence, Women Artists and the 1966 Flood.   The film starts with prime footage of the waters that invaded the city carrying away lives, homes and precious artwork and evolves to show not just the trauma in the city but also the innovation in the realm of artwork restoration and the solidarity in the art world after such a dramatic event.

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Verso: Moving Towards Contemporary Art in Siena

October 9, 2015 by Donna Scharnagl

Logo Siena 2015

Siena is dedicating the month of October to the contemporary expression of art, music and dance with a long list of international participants who will invade the urban spaces of Siena and fill them with interpretations of their vision for a movement towards the future.

It is an immense challenge to transform a stage like that of Siena, which is so steeped in history, and show that it can be a setting for the inspiration and expression of today’s artistic community. Yet #SienaContemporanea with over 50 events planned throughout the city, will use its historical monuments and urban spaces to diffuse sculptures, performance, concerts and more in an effort to share this “movement” with the community.

Clet Abrahams, one of the featured artists in Siena Contemporanea, has been sending messages to the community for years about “moving forward”. It may have started as “fun” to encourage the onlooker to re-interpret their surroundings yet, he told Discover Tuscany his message is very clear: “Italy – even Europe – and their cities of art need to start moving towards a more contemporary use of their space and urban areas.”

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The Question: What’s Prato Italy?

September 30, 2015 by Donna Scharnagl


With the normal cynical approach one develops towards government run programs (free ones at that!), this is not the type of tour that I would have normally ventured upon. However, my friends and family will confirm, I am an eternal optimist. So I ventured forth.

That’s Prato” has earned its place as a well run, efficient and entertaining exception to the above stated cynicism. From the first email for a reservation to the final goodbye from our very personable tour guide, the day played out exactly as they said it would and I “discovered a Prato that I did not expect.”

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Who’s Behind Our Fabulous Photos of Florence?

September 29, 2015 by Lourdes Flores


To answer the question above: YOU!

If you follow us on our Instagram accounts for Florence and Tuscany, then you get to see a lot of awesome views from all over our beloved city of the Renaissance (and of Tuscany)! If you don’t follow us yet, make sure to start following us at @visit_florence and @discovertuscany! 😉 While we share our own pictures of Florence and Tuscany, we also reshare photos everyone shares and tagged with #visitflorence and #discovertuscany.

This Saturday, October 3, the Instagram community will have a worldwide “Instameet” (the 12th, to explain the hashtag a bit better): a chance to actually go out and meet others who post and share photos on the popular social photo platform.

Saturday, October 3, 3pm
Piazza Santa Maria Novella, Florence‬

Because we love Florence and taking photos of the city, we will also be there! If you’re in Florence on this first Saturday of October, come and join us! You’ll meet our team as well as other locals who share their love of Florence with the rest of the world through their photos.

Since we’re pushing the “social” side of this meetup, we’re using the tag #todayImet to seek out other wonderful people we might only know virtually up to now and make new friends. Then we’ll set off together to explore and discover new corners of the city. There are definitely many waiting to be explored.

So where? Meet us at 3pm in Piazza Santa Maria Novella on October 3 for the #wwim12firenze! No sign-ups, no registrations needed – just show up!

Theater in Florence: The History of Florence in 60 Minutes

September 25, 2015 by Donna Scharnagl


Silly, surprising and entertaining best sums up this rendition of 60 minutes of history. Not that you could even seriously begin to tell the story of Florence in one hour. And yet. The History of Florence in 60 Minutes has created a memorable comedy / musical / sometime serious play, giving the more important highlights of last 2000 years in this part of the Italian peninsula a breath of fresh air.

The show starts with sassy professoressa Celeste Bueno bursting into the theater, a room carved out of a genuine “palazzo” from the 1500’s.  She begins with a no nonsense presentation which makes you question if you really did sign up for a course of three months.  The humour begins subtly as you watch her deal with several obstacles – which turn out to be just all part of the ‘Italian’ experience. With a creative mix of fact, culture and laughter, she grudgingly makes use of her unplanned assistants (Roberto Andrioli and Fabrizio Checcacci) and proceeds to present Dante, Lorenzo, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci using an odd assortment of props and … a bit of song and dance.

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