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Tourist Tax Coming Soon to Florence

June 8, 2011 by Elena

If you’re traveling to Florence this summer, you may find it useful to know that the city will soon start applying a tax on your stay within the city. Starting July 1, 2011, visitors sleeping in Florence will start paying a tourist tax per person per night. The tax will involve Florence hotels, residences, bed and breakfasts, guesthouses and hostels as well as campsites. (Btw, if you are looking for an accommodation in Florence take a look here at our dedicated guide).

The cost will vary, from 1-5 euros in hotels based upon the hotel’s star rating and generally from 1-3 euro for all other types of accommodation. The maximum daily tax is fixed at 5 euro per person and will be applied up to a maximum of 5 nights spent in the Renaissance city.

The money collected from the tax will be used to improve a number of tourism services including maintenance works, support to properties, public services and so on.
The city council in Palazzo Vecchio is still defining the details so we’ll keep you updated as soon as the details are defined and set!


UPDATE 28/06/2011: The city council has finally approved and confirmed the new tourist tax which will become effective starting July 1st, although its terms are still not very clear. Be prepared to find it on your bill if you are staying in Florence!
On the other hand, a new service that the city will be offering and which the extra tax should go to cover in the future includes free water. A special fountain has been set up in and just inaugurated in Piazza della Signoria that offers the choice between still or sparkling water! Hooray for better services to thirsty visitors in Florence! :)

Artisans at Work

May 13, 2011 by Lourdes Flores

What: Artigianato e Palazzo
When: Starting today until Sunday: May 13 – 14 – 15 from 10am to 8:30pm
Where: Giardino Corsini, Via della Scala 115, Florence
Tickets: Full price is 8,00 euro, get them for 6 euro if you buy online at

This is a very special event in its 17th year that allows you to see the crafts that made and continue to make Florence a great artisan city. Approximately 100 small local craftsmen are selected to set up stands in the centuries old Corsini garden off Via della Scala to showcase and to show you what their work entails.

Nowadays, we all take for granted that everything gets made in a machine most likely in China. Not true! In Florence and Tuscany, the centuries-old tradition of artisan work and craftsmanship still continues today even if it gets difficult to pass on the passion and dedication to new generations. The artisans will share the techniques passed down through the centuries in making bronze, wood, glass, iron, paper and marble objects. Gold leafing, jewel making, printing, pottery, scent making, hat making, restoration of marble and stone inlaid furniture and much much more.

We highly recommend making your way to Artigianato e Palazzo as it shows firsthand the unique crafts that make Florentine and Tuscan products unique in the world.

Have the remains of Mona Lisa been found?

May 12, 2011 by Lourdes Flores

Who was the woman whose enigmatic smile was captured by Leonardo da Vinci in the most famous painting in the world? It has long been said that Mona Lisa, a painting called La Gioconda in Italian, is the portrait of Lisa Gherardini who was married to a Florentine cloth and silk merchant by the name of Francesco di Bartolomeo di Zanobi del Giocondo. In 2005, Lisa was definitely identified as the model for the Mona Lisa after a citation was found in a book.

It is known that during Lisa’s life she established a personal relationship with the convent of Sant’Orsola in Florence where one of her daughters became a nun. It was believed that in when Lisa fell ill in 1538, her daughter took her to the convent of Sant’Orsola where she died about four years later. In 2007, this was also confirmed when a scholar found a death register at San Lorenzo that stated “Lisa di Francesco Del Giocondo died on 15 July 1542 and was buried in Sant’Orsola.”

It was then deemed “important to find Lisa’s remains” since modern technologies can reconstruct facial features, and thus be able to see if her face matches that portrayed by Leonardo. The search was on!

For the past few weeks, researchers have been shifting through the dirt below the old pavement of the Convent of Sant’Orsola in search of Mona Lisa’s remains. Yesterday, the dig moved into two internal chapels and two bone fragments and several nails were unearthed. Could it be the remains of a coffin? Could it be the Mona Lisa? The bone fragments will be analyzed and DNA can be compared to descendants of the family. Researchers hope to find the skull as well to reconstruct facial features. Maybe only then will the researchers rest easy with scientific proof in hand that Lisa Gherardini was indeed the model for Leonardo’s famous painting.

Me? I’m satisfied with continuing to admire the enigmatic smile of the woman and wondering what she was thinking! :)

photo by Claudio Giovannini

Florence Museums at Night 2011

May 12, 2011 by Cristina Romeo

Saturday May 14, 2011 will be the “Night of the Museums”, a special European initiative for which many museums in the various European countries will be open at night offering guided tours and events.

The event is sponsored by the UNESCO and the Council of Europe.

Florence joins this special initiative with the special openings to late night (and free entrance) of these museums:

Uffizi Gallery – from 7pm to 1am
Accademia Gallery – from 7pm to 1am
Museum of Opificio delle Pietre Dure – from 6pm to 12am
Palazzo Davanzati Museum – from 7pm to 1am
San Marco Museum – from 7pm to 1am
The Bargello Museum – from 7pm to 1am
The Medicean Villa in Poggio a Caiano – from 7pm to 1am

The Museum of Natural History and Palazzo Vecchio will also offer interesting special events and guided tours.

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Florence, a night in Blue

May 6, 2011 by Cristina Romeo

Did you participate in the recent White Night in Florence? It was a really special night for the city, full of events and performances that accompanied both Florentines and tourists until late into the early hours of the morning.

This weekend Florence is going to dress in a new color: it’s time for BLUE! On May 7 and 8, in fact, Florence is preparing to live a “Blue Night”, 27 hours of events and exhibitions starting from the afternoon of Saturday 7th.

Piazza della Repubblica, in the historical city center, will host some of the most interesting events. Saturday starting at 4pm, the square will be the setting for a set of different short concerts that should have something for all tastes. From the tango music of the Alma Migrante group at 4pm to the rock music of Dinamo at 9pm to the pop-swing of the female trio of The Sixters at late night.

Saturday starting at 5pm up to 6:30pm at the Old Bridge and in the surrounding area you’ll find a curious performance of street theater on bicycle.

Saturday starting at 5:30pm, you can enter with free entrance at the Alinari National Museum of Photography, which will remain open until 11pm.

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Florence Notte Bianca 2011

April 27, 2011 by Cristina Romeo


The night between April 30 and May 1, 2011 in Florence will be a fun “notte bianca”, a “white” all-night arts festival all around the city.
This year, the city of Michelangelo’s David will live a long sleepless night with special opening of several museums until midnight and entertaining events lasting until the early hours of the morning.

Palazzo Vecchio will be open all night until 6am with guided visits to the walkway of the Tower of Arnolfo available.

The Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Strozzi (where the exhibition dedicated to Picasso, Mirò and Dalì is currently taking place), the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, the Marino Marini Museum, the Castle of Acciaioli in Scandicci (with an ongoing exhibition to the Ghirlandaio artistic family) and many other art sites will be open until midnight with free admission.

See a map of all the Florence museums and sites with special opening: Open museums – Map

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Events for Easter and Easter Monday in Tuscany

April 21, 2011 by Cristina Romeo

Just a few days to Easter and Easter celebrations throughout Tuscany start tomorrow, Holy Friday.

Friday 22 and Saturday, April 23

According to Christian tradition, the Friday before Easter, called Holy Friday, commemorates the Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. For the occasion, many Tuscan cities organize processions and small religious celebrations.
In Castiglion Fiorentino (Arezzo), tomorrow night (Friday), more than one hundred people will recreate the main scenes of the last days of Christ until his crucifixion. On the following day, a statue of Jesus will be rushed in a procession to the Collegiata Church for the midnight mass.
In San Gimignano, Chianciano Terme, Seravezza, Grassina and Montespertoli – just to mention some of main events – the streets will be the backdrop to the religious processions and celebrations organized by the inhabitants.

In Florence, in the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, on Friday at 5.30pm the Passion of Christ and Adoration of the Cross will be commemorated. On Saturday at 10.30pm there will be a vigil of the holy night for Easter.

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Where in the world is the David?

April 16, 2011 by Lourdes Flores


We’re talking of Michelangelo’s David here: how many of them are spread out throughout the world?

It seems that as the most famous statue in the world, the likeness of the marble David appears not only in small plaster statues, but as lamps, aprons and even in the Simpsons! Of course there are also official copies in marble and bronze in Florence and in other countries given as gifts by the city but we’re talking of any David seen in a store, a t-shirt, a souvenir taken home from a visit to Florence.

The project was just launched yesterday by the city of Florence to see how many Davids can be found across the globe. The project is calling for everyone to take a picture of any semblance of the David they find and to share it on Your pictures will be shared with everyone on the website and eventually a selection will be made to be part of an exhibition at Le Murate in Florence.

Take part in this unique project: Find it, take a picture and share it!

Culture Week 2011

April 1, 2011 by Fabrizio

The upcoming 13th edition of European Culture Week looks very promising thanks in large part to the success of previous editions with the public.

From the 9th to the 17th of April 2011, Europe will be the protagonist of important cultural events, and so will Italy and Tuscany.

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Tuesdays in Art is back for 2011

March 29, 2011 by Lourdes Flores

A very successful project last fall, the series of “Tuesdays in Art” is back across Italy for all of 2011!

Today and every last Tuesday of the month, you can visit the following museums from 7pm and 11pm with free entry.

If you’re in Florence tonight, take advantage and visit one of the following:

– Uffizi Gallery
– Accademia Gallery
– Medici Chapels
– Gallery of Modern Art and the Palatine Gallery in Palazzo Pitti
– Bargello Museum
– San Marco Museum
– Davanzati Palace