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The Holiday Season is Here!

November 30, 2011 by Lourdes Flores

Christmas German Market in Santa Croce

If you’ve walked anywhere in downtown Florence over the last few days, you’ve seen the Christmas lights appearing all over the city while shop displays have put up their Christmas decorations a few weeks ago. Tomorrow is December 1st: the holiday season is definitely here! If you’re looking for a special gift to take back home with you or just take in the holiday atmosphere, head to one of the following events dedicated to the holiday season.

Christmas Market – Piazza Santa Croce

November 30 – December 18 Every day, 10am-8pm Starting today, head to Piazza Santa Croce to travel to the traditional German/European Christmas markets – lots of ideas of gifts as well as warm wine and cider, bratwurts, crepes and more to snack on. The market continues until the 18th of the month.

Fierucola dell’Immacolota and di Natale – Piazza Santo Spirito

December 8 and 18 All day Every month on the 3rd Sunday of the month, you’ll find the Fierucola in Piazza Santo Spirito. All of the participating merchants are small family businesses that are dedicated to seeing high quality products: you’ll find organic produce, sauces, honeys, handmade items and much more. In December, aside from the Christmas one that falls on December 18th, you’ll also find a special edition dedicated to Virgin on December 8th but in Piazza della SS Annunziata, not in Piazza Santo Spirito.

Christmas in Town – Via delle Cascine

December 7-11 Every day, 10am-10pm December 11: 10am-9pm Market with lots of Christmas items and toys, a Santa Claus with his elves, a play area for children and lots of places where you’ll be able to eat local dishes and products as well as local “fast food”. There will be a lottery and shows where children can participate – fun for the family!

Ice Skating in Florence – Parterre, Piazza della Libertà

November 26 – January 8, 2012 Every day, 10am-11.30pm Fridays-Sundays open until 1am This week the ice skating rink at the Parterre opened up to allow all of us in Florence to enjoy some fun on the ice! The large central area is made into a large rink to hold up to 200 skaters. If you don’t have ice skates, don’t worry, you can rent them for € 6. If you’re looking for something to do on New Year’s Eve, a special party will be organized to welcome 2012! We hope you have a great December in Florence!

Traveling Italy through Food

November 25, 2011 by Lourdes Flores

For Thanksgiving this year we decided to try something different; nothing is like my mother’s turkey so I wasn’t even going to try. So we decided to not only try something different but completely new. It was a wonderful opportunity to just go out to dinner and celebrate that way.

I had read about the restaurant Omero up in Pian dei Giullari/Arcetri right above Florence behind Piazzale Michelangelo organizing an evening with a Piedmont menu, giving you a chance to taste the regional cuisine as well as regional wines, such as the Barolo and Moscato d’Asti. I’d heard of Omero before but had never gone so this was the perfect chance to try it out.
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Strikes this Season

November 16, 2011 by Lourdes Flores

We saw this information circulating around on strikes that have been announced over the next month and thought it would be useful information to share with our readers traveling to and within Italy before the holiday season (strikes are are not allowed during the holiday season so they have to take place before a certain date).

Here is what you need to know:

November 17, 2011
sector: Transportation, General Strike for Transportation
when: AIR – 24 hours, Trains – 24 hours: starting from 9pm on 11/16 to 9pm 11/17, TPL – 24 hours, Marittime 24 hours, from 8am on 11/17 to 8am on 11/18 (connections to minor islands 24 hours).

November 26, 2011
sector: Railways: Personnel that drive emergency trains for Trenitalia and Trenord
when: 24 hours, from 9pm on 11/26 to 9pm 11/27

December 2, 2011
sector: Air: Flight Assistants for ALITALIA-CAI and Personnel for Enav Acc Padova
when: 4 hours, from 10am to 2pm

December 16, 2011
sector: Local public transportation
when: 24 hours, each area will follow their own schedules

Source: http://www.mit.gov.it/mit/site.php?p=scioperi

Truffle Season is here!

November 11, 2011 by Lourdes Flores

White truffle season is from October through December and simply grow wild, attached to the roots of oak, hazel, poplar and beech trees. They’ve tried to cultivate them, it can’t be done! It is a highly sought after flavoring by foodies worldwide that this autumn will be hard to find, even in Tuscany’s San Miniato, the white-truffle capital of the region. About a quarter of all Italian white truffles originate from the San Miniato area but there are truffles to be found all over various areas of Tuscany. Lower than average rainfall has made for truffles a real “treasure hunt” for apasionados!

The hunt for the “white treasure”, if not in the woods, can be at San Miniato’s Truffle Festival/Market this weekend and on the following two weekends (19/20 and 26/27) this November.

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The Treasure Rooms: the Marvels of Collectors in Florence’s Museums

October 11, 2011 by Lourdes Flores

From September 29, 2011 to April 15, 2012
Palazzo Medici Riccardi – Museo Stibbert – Museo Bardini – Museo Horne – Museo Salvatore Romano – Palazzo Davanzati – Fondazione Salvatore Romano – Museo Bandini – Museo Casa Rodolfo Siviero

Florence’s network of “Small Great Museums” has set a pretty spectacular offer for visitors to Florence over the next 6 months that will give visitors the chance to see a great deal of treasures off the beaten path for most visitors to Florence. Each museum has its special collection, many of them the personal collections of antiques collectors from the 19th century, the treasures they decided to keep instead of selling or auctioning around the world. These collections now are part of small, separate museums such as the Horne, Bardini and Stibbert – all named after the collectors themselves.

From now until April 15, the museums are showing off their collections with a special focus on the Florentine artistic craftsmanship and the golden era of when private antiques collectors in Florence were very active.

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Grapes and Wine, the Protagonists of September

September 22, 2011 by Cristina Romeo

Grapes and wine are the stars of many events planned these last few days of September in Tuscany.
The grape harvest is almost complete throughout the region, so it now the moment to celebrate the end of the harvest and taste the new, good wine from this harvest, but not only.

The Bacco Artigiano and the Carro Matto

In the village of Rufina, just 20km from Florence, the traditional Bacco Artigiano, an event dedicated to wine and local crafts, will be taking place from today Sept. 22 through Sunday the 25th. There will be music, wine tastings and local food products.

On Saturday 24 the “Carro Matto” (literally Crazy Cart) leaves from Rufina to reach Florence. At 3pm, accompanied by a historical procession, the cart will start from Piazza Duomo and arrive in Piazza della Signoria. Here, with a symbolic cerimony, the new wine will be presented to the government of Palazzo Vecchio.
The cart, pulled by 2 powerful oxen, carries an original pyramid built with over 1500 stacked flasks of wine.

Look at some nice pictures of the carro matto !

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Just a bit Easier (and Cheaper) to Visit Monuments in Piazza Duomo

September 1, 2011 by Lourdes Flores

The Opera del Duomo, the body that owns and manages the religious buildings in Piazza del Duomo, including the cathedral, the climb up the bell tower and the cupola, entrance into the Baptistery, the crypt under the cathedral and the beautiful Opera del Duomo Museum introduced a few weeks ago a various combination tickets to make it just a bit easier to visit these monuments.

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Monteriggioni, the Siege

August 29, 2011 by Lourdes Flores

We have lots of pictures to share with all of our readers – from Monteriggioni to Filetto to Montepulciano!

Here is the first set: the Monteriggioni Medieval festival that takes place over two long weekends in July. The festival is perfect for families since there is entertainment and games for children as well as chance to dress up as knights or ladies. Then there are jugglers, puppet shows, minstrels, music, small farm animals which can be petted and more!

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The Medieval Market of Filetto

August 8, 2011 by Stefano

Filetto Main Street

If you also find yourself in Lunigiana between the 11th and 15th of August, make
your way to the Medieval fair in Filetto!

The area of Lunigiana has so much to offer, as we had ourselves discovered a year ago when we
first started exploring this area staying a few days in the countryside near Aulla.

At that time we visited the small charming village of Filetto, easy to reach near Villafranca in
Lunigiana. We discovered only afterward that a medieval fair is held every year in the small
medieval center, the “first and largest in Lunigiana”… and anyone who has read our past posts,
we particularly love to attend these events.

Checking out the program on the official website www.mercatomedievalefiletto.it we
are excited to see that there are many attractions and entertainment planned… so the fair looks
very promising!

In particular, everyday at 20.30 you can enjoy a special dinner with medieval dishes prepared for the festival. The dinner is a fixed menu at 38 euros per person, you have to reserve ahead by phone by calling either 320.020.8059 or 347.076.4935. The menu looks very interesting, definitely merits to be tried out!

We contacted the fair organizers to request a few more details and they’ve underlined the wish
to have all participants dressed in medieval clothes. We see that as an excellent sign of passion
toward the organization of the event. It is not strictly required, but we will try our best to fit in as well in our medieval clothes – we’ll let’ you know how it turns out!

Hope to see you there! :-)

Main Square in Filetto

Filetto in Lunigiana

Calici di Stelle Tuscany 2011

August 4, 2011 by Elena

Calici di Stelle Tuscany 2011

If you love wine and would like to pass a beautiful summer evening next week, remember that Wednesday, August 10, 2011 is generally known as the day of falling stars, which falls on the day of San Lorenzo. For this special night, many towns across Tuscany have dedicated a special night called “Calici di Stelle” to celebrate the region’s great wines!

Organized by the Wine Tourism Movement, Calici di Stelle offers many extraordinary events in many piazzas across Italy, from Sicily to Piedmont. This year Calici di Stelle is in fact dedicated to the anniversary of the 150 years anniversary of the Unification of Italy.

Tuscany has a record number of towns and villages participating in the manifestation, with over 30 municipalities organizing tastings of wine and other typical products, meetings, art exhibitions, shows, historical parades, concerts, and fireworks.

Amongst the many Tuscan cities participating in the event is Castellina in Chianti, Castiglione d’Orcia, Colle di Val d’Elsa, Gaiole in Chianti, Greve in Chianti, Montepulciano, San Gimignano, Siena, and Vinci, all renowned for their fine wine production.

Wine will be the absolute protagonist in one of the most suggestive and evocative nights of the year, when you will have the possibility to admire San Lorenzo’s falling stars, the “tears” of the saint according to the legend, in the good company of exquisite wine.

A magic summer night when all your dreams will come true!

The complete list of all the Tuscan and Italian cities participating in the event is available on the official website of the National Association “Città del Vino”.