Mmmmm, how delicious is the Bistecca alla Fiorentina of Sostanza... It's the second of my list, after the one of Buca Lapi . It's a super simple place, you actually share the big marble table with the other customers, but it's fun and most important good.

On the walls plenty of old postcards, vintage and new photos of celebrities that had dinner here. It's a very warm place, it feels like you go to somebody's house.

The menu it's very short, and it's based on the Tuscan tradition - what you eat here it's similar to what you'd have every day in a tuscan family house: vegetable soup, pasta with meat sauce, butter or tomato sauce, an unforgettable artichokes pie, fried or butter chicken (excellent!), veal, bollito (mixed boiled meat served with parsley sauce) and obviously T-Bone Steak.

This steak has to be eaten almost raw, actually bloody, but you can ask for a medium cooking, as I did. It will be still kind of pinkish, but definitely super good, tasty and soft, feels like butter in your mouth. Yummi!

They don't have a lot of desserts, they don't serve coffee or liquors after that, only Vin Santo and Cantuccini, which is our specialty: almond biscuits that you soak in a sweet wine.

Service is pretty fast but friendly and helpful. It remains a very casual Trattoria, which is good sometimes, you'll have a more real flavour of Florence cuisine.

Prices are similar to a regular Trattoria in Florence, it means so not super cheap, we are talking about 35-40 Euro per person, if you don't get Bistecca.

Very important: they do not accept credit cards! Only cash. And during the dinner they have two turns: 7,30 and 09,00 pm. Reservation is definitely recommended.

They close Saturdays and Sundays. During high season they do stay open on Saturdays night.

Trattoria Sostanza
Via del Porcellana, 25
+ 39 055 212691
Open Lunch and Dinner
No credit cards

Vintage postcards

Tuscan Crostini - with liver patè - typical and yummi

Artichokes Pie

Bistecca for 1 person!

Bistecca for 2!

Firenze com'era Museum - Florence "as it looked"

It isn't one of the most popular museum in town, but it is the best one to visit for those who are lucky to know the city very well and want to go deepier in our amazing history to find out the roman foundation, the etruscan past, to understand better how the city has grown in the century.
It's very usefull for "beginners" also, and definitely enchanting to admire the "Pianta della Catena", Chain Map, a beautiful wood panel painted in the 1470 with the frame carved as a chain - it's a photo of the city in the Renaissance time.
The lunettes of Justus Ustens, a flamish painter, describe how the opulent Medici Villas were before all the changing they have been through.It is located in the wonderful Loggia of the Oblate nuns ex-convent, in Via dell'Oriuolo 24.

Update: the museum Firenze Com'era is temporary closed, waiting to be restaured and probably moved to a different location

Plastic model of Firenze Romana

One of the lunettes by Justus Utens

I love that: the original keys of the door of the city wall!

The Chain Map - Renaissance Fiorenza

Under snow

Florence is such a beautiful city... in every season... imagine how magic it looked during the 3-days snow we got last week...

Photos Source: Fiorentina.it

More pictures, taken by myself , of the Vecchio and Santa Trinita bridges


Dinner @ Buca Lapi

Buca Lapi is considered one of the best Trattoria in Florence - in my opinion is definitely THE best Trattoria! It's simply excellent.
It is a traditional Trattoria, with casual attire and atmosphere, with careful service and refined cuisine. The menu includes all the best of the Tuscan tradition, using excellent products, light ingredients and giving you big portion!

As the name says, Buca, means "hole", the restaurant is located in the cellar in the basement of the 16th century palace of the Antinori Family, a very famous noble family involved in wine business since centuries.
As soon as you turn the corner you will smell the "bistecca flavour". You step down and you will be welcomed by Luciano, the great owner. The kitchen is full screen visible to the guests.

Among the rich tuscan menu, I had the pleasure to taste:
*Antipasti - Starter*

We skipped those, because we wanted to arrived prepared to the second course...

*First course*

- Ravioli stuffed with spinach and ricotta with sage and butter cream
- Maltagliati (hand made pasta squared cut) with veal meat sauce
- Pici (hand made pasta similar to spaghetti but thicker and made by cheese) with meat-sausage-fennel sauce

*Second course*

- Cinta senese fillet (little pig from Siena area)
- Beautiful, amazing, tasty, unforgettable, the best of the best BISTECCA alla Fiorentina


- Creme Caramel
- Chocolate Cake, an original and unique (and secret!) recipe

Prices are pretty high to be a trattoria, but considering the quality of food is denitively well worthed. We might talk about 60-70 Euros per person for a regular dinner.

Via del Trebbio 1/r
+39 055 213768
Open only for dinner. Closed on Sundays

Cucina open space

First course

...mmm... bistecca is coming!

Creme Caramel

Secret chocolate cake


Vasari Corridor

An incredible and unique place in Florence: the Vasari Corridor.

Built in only 5 months by Giorgio Vasari, the favourite architect of Grand Duke Cosimo I dé Medici, who commissionated it in honour of his first son Francesco's wedding with Johanna from Austria.

I'ts an aeral walkway that connects the Old Palace (the power head office) with the Pitti Palace (the new residence of the Medici family), almost 1 km long, passing above the Old Bridge, getting through houses, tower houses, a church (Santa Felicita church, where the Medici had a private balcony just stepping outside the Corridor, giving them the chance to assist to the Mass without having to mix with the crowds).

At the south end of the Old Bridge, the Corridor has a deep deviation, having to skip the Mannelli Tower House, a very powerfull family who didn't want to have the corridor passing through their house, and Cosimo had to agree with them...
Symbol of power, cause connecting house and "office", and also because they were walking above the people, Medici used the Corridor not only to show off, but also to walk around the town safely and well protected.
Plus, opening the little oval windows they could hear city rumors, knowing in advance bad or good news.

Second-born of Cosimo, Ferdinand, decided to move away the smelly butchers and fishvendors by the Old Bridge, replacing them with precious gold and silver shops.
Now, Vasari Corridor hosts the most important selfportraits in the world - more than 2,000 paintings, from Titian to Chagall, from Giorgio Vasari himself to Antonio Canova, from Bernini to Jacques-Louise David, passing through centuries of art.

Mostly closed to the public, I am able to organize for you an unforgettable and private visit to this splendid sight of Florence.
The corridor
Spectacular views from the little "oculo" windows

Santa Felicita inside and Medici private stage

Cute balcony on the Ponte Vecchio


Bel San Giovanni

Bel San Giovanni - the Beautiful St. John . This is how Dante used to describe in the Divine Commedy our Baptistry consacrated to St. John the Baptist. One of the oldest building in town and the best example of romanesque art in the old downtown.

Here millions of florentines have been baptized, even Dante!

Since Sunday October 25th 2009 Baptistry and Duomo can get back to breath, cause our new mayor, Matteo Renzi, decided to close the entire square to the traffic - no more buses, cars, taxis, scooters... nothing! Just bikes and people walking around.
Could you believe that before that date 2100 buses passed by every day... 2100.

In terms of art, Baptistry is a real gem - outside incredible marble inlaid, inside spectacular gild mosaiques. A visit is a must. Not mentionning the outstanding doors casted by Ghiberti, well known all around the world.

Amazing mosaiques

Representation of Hell

Paradise Doors, casted by Ghiberti

Who belongs these heads?....


Dinner @ BSJ

As written in the main description, I'm not only a guide, first of all I'm a Fiorentina that lives her city, and just LOVES to go out for dinner... So, give you some tips for your restaurant choice is my goal now.

BSJ - most known as just J- is a beautiful restaurant located in the south side of the river, exactly in Borgo San Jacopo, from where it takes the name. It is overlooking the river,with an amazing huge window. There are just a couple of tables right close to it, and you have to fight for them. In the summer there is also a private balcony, where only 2 tables are, and max only 8 lucky people are allowed.

In terms of atmosphere, is one of my favourite in town - not too casual, not too pretentious and elegant, hip enough for Florence, in 2 words relaxing and romantic.

The service is oustanding, very attentive and carefull, but not too much as in other places.

The food is a good mix between traditional and inventive cuisine, portions are fine, not too big like easy Trattorias neither invisible like Nouvelle Cuisine spots. Wine cellar is pretty impressive, if you wish to choose - if not, I highly suggest you to let the Sommelier, Salvatore, take you by hands and suggest you the best options for your food. He's the best.
Ah, the chef is a lady, a real lady, Beatrice Segoni, she's a great chef, plus so much fun!

I was there many times, but last one was to celebrate my anniversary - a nice table was set for up, and a nice surprise at the end...
I don't eat fish, but there is a nice choice of fish food if you like. My choice was:
- Cristaiate (like Maltagliati, an hand made pasta squared cut) with hare meat sauce and Taggiasche olives

- Beaf fillet with mushrooms

My boyfriend had:

- Catalane style lobster
- Tortelli stuffed with sea bass

- Stracotto (stew) with fried cabbage

As starters, they served us a mini Polenta with meat sauce.

As dessert, a nice cake with lots of fruits on, with heart-shape! So cute.

You can see the photos, the food was excellent.

And it's not too expensive, I cannot tell you the exact price cause I didn't pay, but the a 3-course dinner is about 50-60 Euro, than depends on your wine obviously.

It's one of my favourite place in town, I definitely suggest you!

Borgo San Jacopo 62/r
055 281661
Open only for dinner - closed on Tuesdays


Classic Walking Tour

Florence could be visited in so many ways... it all depends how much time you can spend in town, if you are interested in any particular museums, if you are a guide book person or not...

However, having a private Guide gives you a completely different flavour to your trip, add a new dimension to things, and really makes you understand and appreciate the city.

One of the way, and one of the most popular tour that I do, is the Classic City Walking Tour; we will walk around the city center, skipping the big and famous streets that you can easily explore by yourself, and entering into the deep heart of Florence.

Trying to keep a chronologically way, I'll explain you the Roman origin of Florence, how the city was considered the Tuscan Manhattan during the Middle Age, and finally talking about the Renaissance, visiting the tipical nobleman house, seeing how incredibly Brunelleschi builded the Cupola, surely mentionning the Medici and their relationship with Florence.

Tour lasts 3 hours normally, but it can be surely longer, including some entrances into churches/museums.


San Miniato al Monte

San Miniato al Monte is definitely one of my favourite spot in town: a beautiful church rich of history and a breathtaking view of Florence. And also a super romantic place!

The history is quite interesting: it is dedicated to San Miniato, an armen merchant who got killed during roman persecutions against christians in the 3 century a.d. Exactly he was beheaded in the Roman Amphitheatre, which was in the Santa Croce area, but the legend says that he didn’t die right away, but took his head and walked up on the hill where he used to pray, and where he decided to rest forever. And that’s exactly where the church was build starting from 1018.

Is a magnific example of romanic art, one of the best preserved in Florence: the characteristic façade with geometrical and fantastic designs obtained with white and green inlaid marbles, the calm and solemn interior where the inlaid marbles continue, and there are beautiful examples of various art styles: the gilded mosaic in the apse, very similar to the one on the façade, showing us the medieval way to represent religious figures as static icons; the Crucifix Chapel, by Michelozzo, that used to protect a miraculous crucifix; the Chapel of Portuguese Cardinal Jacopo of Lusitania, a Renaissance pearl that mix painting, sculpture and architecture; the Sacristy, hosting one of the first cycle of life stories of San Benedetto, all frescoed by Spinello Aretino, a later Giottesco.

Everywhere you will see eagles with spread wings holding a torsello, which is a bale of wool cloth: it’s the symbol of Calimala Guild, the cloth merchants guild, one of the most powerful, who had the control and financed the construction and the art decoration of the church.
In the past financing civil and religious architecture, as well as protecting artists, by the Guilds or by private merchants or rich people, was similar to our current marketing:it was a way to advertise and to show everybody powerfulness and richness.

Once finished the inside visit, and after have taken million of picture of the panorama (if you sit on approx the third bench of the right nave and the main door is open it will be a GREAT pic)have a look on the monumental cemetery, where a lot of famous Italian and Florentine people are buried: Mario Cecchi Gori, Spadolini, Collodi which is the writer name of Pinocchio, and many more.

Walking down the stairs and turning right you will reach in 5 minutes Piazzale Michelangelo, another amazing panoramic point of the city. Build at the end of 19 century, together with the beautiful Viale dei Colli, the promenade for rich people carriages, today is attacked by tourists masses. Fortunately is big enough to hold everybody, and Firenze is beautiful any time of the day, so you might find a little spot on the muretto to take a picture and breath the town.
The quite questionable monument in the centre is a pastiche, mixed materials (bronze and marble)that represents copies of wellknown Michelangelo’s sculptures: the worldwide famous David, and the 4 statues of Medici tumbs that you can admire in the New Sacristy of San Lorenzo (Dawn, Dusk, Day, Night).
It would be nice if you have time and energies to walk down through the steps in the wood of Rampe, and you end up in San Niccolò district, a very local and authentic one.
The beautiful inlaid façade
Fantastic marble inlad
Even a zodiac is represented
Where San Miniato rest
Statues that hold the Gospel support
Lots of eagles, symbol of Calimala
San Benedetto frescoed cycle
Four evangelists' symbols
Breathtaking panorama!


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