New Year's Eve in Florence and Tuscany

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Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Florence & Tuscany

December 27, 2011 by Lourdes Flores

Will you be welcoming 2012 in Tuscany? Many restaurants, discos and pubs organize special dinners or events (at fixed prices, where you need to reserve ahead of time) but there are also events planned for spending New Year’s Eve at the opera, watching a play or listening to music in the the main squares of the main Tuscan cities!

To help you plan exactly where you’ll be on the stroke of midnight December 31st, here are some ideas:

In Florence

If you prefer to join the crowds outdoors, the city of Florence selects five squares across the city to stage 5 different types of musical concerts. You can head to Piazza della Stazione in front of the Santa Maria Novella train station for rock/pop music which turns out into the main New Year’s Eve event in Florence. This year, starting at 9pm, dance to the Street Clerks then enjoy Pippo and his Polar Penguins and then dance to the beat of the Brunori Sas. At midnight, Italian rapper and big bill Caparezza takes the stage to make the city dance!

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What to do Christmas Weekend in Florence

December 19, 2011 by Lourdes Flores

Many of you will be celebrating Christmas in Florence and seeing your questions on our forum, we know you want to know what to do – and what you can do – particularly on December 25 when all museums will be closed. Did you know that December 26 is also a national Italian holiday?

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F-Light comes to Firenze!

December 7, 2011 by Lourdes Flores

The next few days will see Florence under some very special lighting! The Firenze Light Festival, or F-LIGHT for short, will run from December 8-11 and will see the monuments in Piazza Signoria, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza Pitti, Ponte Santa Trinita’, the Santa Maria Novella Piazza and Piazza della Repubblica all lit up in various ways. From highlighting their geometric shapes to artistic installations, make sure to walk around after dark and take the city in a whole different light! We’ll try to go out and take some pictures to share with you in the next few days :)

Additionally, tomorrow December 8 the Christmas tree in Piazza Duomo will be officially lit up by Florence’s major, Matteo Renzi. It will be a magical night to walk around the city and enjoy your holiday shopping or just the season! :)


Christmas Markets in Tuscany 2011

December 5, 2011 by Lourdes Flores

Christmas markets are everywhere in Tuscany! Continuing after our post from last week about Christmas in Florence, we’d like to point out a few markets in the region.

From December 1, you’ll find a Christmas village and skating rink at La Lizza gardens.

Starting December 8, you’ll find the Christmas market in Piazza Mazzini with lots of fun activities for the kids and for the family. Runs through December 26.

On December 11 and 18, live the holiday cheer in the historical center of Marradi, high in the Appenines betwene Florence and Bologna. Handmade items perfect for gifts and Christmas decorations and more, music and shows for the little ones make these Sundays before Christmas special.

On December 8, 11 and 18 Palazzuolo celebrates Advent Magic, a market in the small mountain town to celebrate the holiday season. Beautifully decorated streets with many gift ideas, you’ll follow each street surrounded with Christmas songs while admiring the various Crepe/Nativity scenes. Santa Clause will be present for the little ones. Taste traditional winter dishes and enjoy the street entertainment and lights.

On Tuesday and Wednesday December 13 and 14, the medieval cloister of the Badia Fiesolona within the European Union Institute in San Domenico di Fiesole opens up its doors to showcase Christmas items, from handmade Christmas decorations to many gift ideas and jewelry. Many stands will showcase the craftsmanship of artisans from across Tuscany. A Christmas concert will take place Tuesday afternoon.  From 3-9pm Tuesday, and 10am-6pm on Wednesday at Via dei Roccettini, 9 – Fiesole.

Another two Christmas markets to point out in Florence, whose proceeds will go to charity:

AILO Christmas Bazaar: In the Pagliere near Porta Romana, the American-International League organizes a bazaar and lottery with all funds going to local non-profit organizations. Gifts, toys, house items, baked homemade cookies and other treats, books, Christmas decorations and so much more will be available. From 10am to 5pm.

Mercatino di Natale di Chicco: From December 8-11, the Caricentro organizes this market where you’ll find clothes, toys, books, house items, Christmas decorations and much more. Saturday afternoon entertainment will be available for the little ones. All proceeds go to the A.Ma.R.T.I. ONLUS (association dedicated to helping children with liver disease in Tuscany). At the Caricentro, Lungarno Generale dalla Chiesa, 13

Hope you find all your Christmas gifts soon!! :)

Photo credit: ComunicaTI

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


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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