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Medieval Harvest Festival this weekend in San Gimignano!

June 13, 2012 by Sara Turini

The Ferie delle Messi  or Medieval Harvest Festival returns to San Gimignano this weekend! The festival represents an ancient feast that commemorates the cavalier tradition of San Gimignano.

The association of the “Knights of S. Fina” organizes this festival rich in cultural events every June to give visitors the chance to step back in time and to appreciate this lost tradition.

This weekend from June 15th through the 17th throughout the town of San Gimignano you can attend the arts and crafts market, participate in many medieval games, see the parade in Medieval costume, the Grand Procession and the “Giostra dei Bastioni”, the horse race in which the 4 neighborhoods of the town compete against each other to win the precious Gold Sword!

For more information about the festival, read the article: Medieval Harvest Festival!

The Tuscan Sun Festival 2012 this year in Florence!

June 5, 2012 by Sara Turini

This year in its tenth edition the prestigious Tuscan Sun Festival takes place between June 11-18th in Florence. Inaugurated in 2003, it is considered one of the most important cultural summer events in Tuscany. For the first time, it moves out of its original site in Cortona to Florence, the emblem of the Renaissance in the world.

As its creators define it, the Tuscan Sun Festival represents a “lifestyle festival”, or rather a event which celebrates arts in all its expressions, from music to theatre, from ballet to cuisine and oenology.

Enjoy the festival’s series of concerts by international artists of world renown and many various other types of events!

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June in Florence: Time for Calcio Storico Fun!

June 1, 2012 by Lourdes Flores

June is here and the official start of summer is upon us! If you’re going to be in Florence this month, we highly recommend you try to make it to one of the spectacular games of the Calcio Storico Fiorentino!

What is Calcio Storico?

Calcio Fiorentino is a combination of soccer, rugby and big time wrestling originated in 16th century Florence and played today in historical costume. The four teams of the four traditional neighborhoods of the city play against each other in two semi-finals and a final match to determine the winner.

Piazza Santa Croce has always been the home to this sport, known as “giuoco del calcio fiorentino” or more simply just as Calcio (“kick”). The square is once again covered in dirt for the recreation of the game and bleachers set up so that spectators can better enjoy the game.

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Chianti Sculpture Park: Summer Live Concerts Summer 2012

May 31, 2012 by Elias

The park, an outdoor 17 acre sculpture museum space in Pievasciata 8 miles north of Siena, begins its summer music concert series on June 5th which runs through August 28th. The concerts take place in the “sculpture as performance” space amphitheater. Within the seating area are metal sculptures of well-known individuals: imagine watching opera while sitting next to Alfred Hitchcock! A summer concert series like none other in Tuscany, with a mix of styles for all tastes.

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Chianti Classico IS! and much more…

May 25, 2012 by Lourdes Flores

Lots of things to do this weekend in Chianti and Tuscany as a whole!!

First, the “Chianti Classico è” kicks off this weekend and continues for 10 whole days. We’ve highlighted some of the main events you should head to during this weekend and then some of the main ones to look into for the following weekend!

CHIANTI CLASSICO E’ = Chianti Classico IS

May 26-27 – Castellina in Chianti – 3 to 8 pm
Pentecost in Castellina
A weekend of tastings open to the public to sample wines from the southern part of the Chianti territory in the context of “Pentecost in Castellina”. The event is organized by the Castellina Vintners Association in cooperation with the Consorzio Amo Castellina (I Love Castellina Consortium). The vintners will be present for the tastings, for direct contact between wineries and final consumers.
The wine can be sampled only after purchasing a tasting glass from the reception desks at either end of Via delle Volte.
Music and handicraft marts will accompany the tastings.
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Gelato Lovers? Welcome to Paradise!

May 21, 2012 by Sara Turini

From May 23rd to the 27th, Florence hosts the best artisan gelato makers of Italy to delight its public with delicious ice cream and many sweet events!
The “Florence Gelato Festival” is now in its third edition, and considering the success of the last years, this one will start off with high expectations.

In addition to savoring exquisite ice cream while admiring the beautiful city of Florence, you can also attend many events and exhibitions proposed by the festival.
Ice cream lovers can consider themselves in paradise!

Would you like to be a gelato maker for a day? No problem, the Carpigiani Gelato University offers the chance to prepare your first ice cream, and then, of course, eat it! A part of the Square of Santa Maria Novella will turn into a real gelato school!
For the more creative ones, every afternoon the Gelato Show Cooking dedicated to all those who both love to make and eat gelato, the best chefs will teach how to create new recipes to insert into daily meals.

If you are already used to preparing ice cream by yourself, you can also buy the best, selected ingredients to take home and make the flavors you like best!
At the center of the festival are the best Italian and international gelato makers, emerging young ones, local ice cream parlors and Sammontana, the most important industrial gelato maker in Italy.

As last year, you can buy the “Gelato Festival Card” and try out many tastes of ice cream, get a lot of gadgets and attend educational sessions to learn more about the wonderful and ancient art of making Gelato!

Find out all the others events by browsing the official website of the Florence Gelato Festival.

Enjoy your ice cream!

Discovering the caves of the Antro del Corchia

May 18, 2012 by Cristina Romeo

The Antro del Corchia Caves

Some weeks ago a faithful reader of our travel guides very gently “scolded us” for having reserved a nice long article to the Grotte del Vento (Wind Caves) in Garfagnana, forgetting the equally fascinating caves of the Antro del Corchia, also located in the province of Lucca but just a little bit further north.

We really appreciated the advice and passion offered by Arianna Menconi, which has both inspired us to continue making our guide grow to become more complete while also making our curiosity grow about the peculiarities of the Antro del Corchia so much that we deepened our knowledge on the natural system of caves in the Upper Versilia.
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Florence is Dressing in Blue: 27 Hours of Non-stop Events!

May 8, 2012 by Sara Turini

The Blue Night of Florence takes place this upcoming weekend on May 12-13, 2012 and offers a varied program rich in surprises, activities, exhibitions and much more.
The Blue Night is a manifestation which lasts 27 hours of non-stop events, most of them dedicated to games and sports as Florence has been declared European City of Sports for  2012.
Also known as the Feast of Europe, it celebrates the “Schuman Declaration” which ratified the birth of the European Union on May 9, 1950.
For this reason, many of the initiatives are dedicated to the Old World and aim to reinforce the identity, integration and tolerance between people and different cultures in Italy!

In the squares you’ll find music, concerts and shows dedicated to dance and to the theater, exhibitions, meetings, debates, and sports everywhere: at the sport centers, on the streets, at the Cascine Park and in the squares many organized activities will be open to the public to try new sports – a special occasion to try less well-known disciplines.
The public but kids in particular will be entertained by a series of fun games including chess without frontiers, kites at Piazzale Michelangelo, a workshop for kids and parents about ancient sports and many others.
Participate in the Blue Night and celebrate today’s Europe too!

View complete program of the Blue Night

The Tapestry Gallery at the Uffizi

May 3, 2012 by Sara Turini

For the first time after 25 years, 17 masterpieces of tapestries chosen among 8 collections have returned to their place of origin for an exhibition at the Uffizi Gallery.

In 1987, the Uffizi lost a part of its most important collections due to problems with the conservation of the tapestries: the light, dust and tensile stress deteriorate those artworks rapidly and the colors fade day after day. For this reason the collection has been kept for many years in a room appropriate for its conservation, waiting for the opening of dedicated rooms equipped with ideal lighting and air-conditioning systems on the ground floor of the Gallery.

In this temporary exhibition, you can admire a series of works which illustrate and recount, better than any history book, the opulence and magnificence of the European courts during the Renaissance and about the story of the Passion of Christ.
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The Notte Bianca Arrives on April 30th in Florence + May 1st

April 26, 2012 by Lourdes Flores

Every year Florence selects a spring night as a “Notte Bianca“, literally meaning a “white night” when the city organizes cultural programs all through the night. A sleepless night for many in Florence who want to take advantage of all of the free events taking place, including visits to several museums and music concerts throughout the city. This year, the “white night” will be taking place this upcoming Monday, April 30th, with most events starting at 7pm and continuing on until 6am of May 1.

This year participants and events will be dressed in white! From the participating artists to Florence’s mayor, Matteo Renzi, all will dress in white, while the bridges over the Arno will have white paper lanterns which will float down the river at midnight and Piazza della Signoria adorned with hundreds of white balloons. Read the rest of this entry »