New Year's Eve in Florence

If you are in town for New Year's Eve and you are looking for a nice party you can check this website, they suggest interesting events and tips to enjoy such a unique day of the year in the most charming town of the world :)

Happy Holiday!

Dear All,

I wish to thank you for reading me, even just to look at the pictures, and I wish to say to you Merry Christmas, enjoy this holiday with your family, in health and happiness, that you can realize all of your dreams and if possible be a better human being, more that you already are

Florence under the snow last week was caotic but beautiful, and this is a photo of the day after, when sun was shining and the poor "Winter" statue was eventually freezing for real snow flakes


"Winter" statue by Francavilla, Santa Trinita bridge - Florence


Honeymoon in Florence

Florence is a lovely city where you can spend and enjoy an unforgettable honeymoon. Small and vibrant, charming and full of art and history, great food and better wine, shopping also is a must.

That is valid also for Florentines, who normally travel around the world ignoring the most part of the hidden and not-so-hidden treasures of my beautiful city. Most likely they go to the Louvre in Paris, but never stepped inside the Uffizi Gallery - appreciate the Guggenheim, but never saw the real David of Michelangelo inside the Accademia.

Therefore, I had the chance to guide a very nice young couple, both authentic Florentines, in their honeymoon, which was based for 3 days in Florence. They invited also some of their family members, who wanted to enjoy a guided visit to the sights and museums.
It was awesome!
For her, Ilaria, I have studied a special itinerary, including of course the main sights of Florence, but also extraordinary openings and visit of places that neither I have been.
It was really interesting and funny, seeing how Florentines show a huge passion for their city, and how their eyes sparkling hearing what was going on centuries ago.

Here's the itinerary:

Day 1 - Half day - exploring the Oltrarno area, walking around the beautiful district across the river, who retained a magic atmosphere, where actually a lot of artisans and workers still live, full of little "botteghe", antique and small groucery shops.
Palazzo Pitti - Palatine Gallery, the big "quadreria" by the Medici Family: Raphael, Titian, Giorgione, Andrea del Sarto, Rembrandt....just to mention few names.

Day 2 - Full day - the medieval Florence, and how it grows from the roman origin through the dark ages, and finally the golden years of Renaissance
Palazzo Davanzati, the museum of the typical Florentine Renaissance house, with the special opening of the second and third floors, with the beautiful kitchen, old tools and original house objects.
Orsanmichele, on Monday you can climb up to the third floor, where you enjoy an amazing and unusual view of the town

Lunch in a typical place, suggested by me

Baptistry - special visit of the "Matroneo", the upper floors used in the past by women only, who didn't have authorization to stand where men attended the service in the main floor - you can almost touch the mosaics, was really touching even for me!
Cathedral, and climb of the 463 steps of the Brunelleschi's Dome, where the view of the city is the best!

Day 3 - Full day - church and museum of Santa Croce - visit to the adjoining historical Scuola del Cuoio, the Leather school where artisan masters show you how they work, and where you can buy the best leather in Florence
Walk in the vibrant areas of Santa Croce and Bargello

After a great lunch, special and extraodinary visit of Palazzo Vecchio, the Old Palace - we could visit by ourselves the magic jem of Studiolo and Tesoretto, two hidden and rare place full of history and art - visit to the capriate roof, the timber roof, you are actually above the magnificent ceiling of 500 Room! - walk on the upper floor of the building, where in the past the soldiers were walking by to defense and check for the palace - the view here is also beautiful

So, if you are on honeymoon, or if you just wish to do part or the entire itinerary just write me!

From third floor of Orsanmichele

Magic walk into the Matroneo of Baptistry

About to touch the mosaics
On the way up to the Dome

Jump from the Dome

View from the Palazzo Vecchio top


Pandemonio - che buono!

I just love this place. If you want a real tuscan flavour night, this is your place.

The restaurant is located in the beautiful district of Oltrarno, which retained the traditional atmosphere of artisans workers district.
You step in a first room, which is often empty, cause the "heart" is the second room and the inner garden, passing right next to the kitchen.

You will be welcomed by Mamma, which is the great owner of the restaurant, and a real Mum; she will take care of you from the beginning to the end of your meal, preparing and presenting delicious dishes all home made.
The cuisine is the typical toscan one: crostini, cold cuts, home made pasta, great meat, and also some fish.
We ordered the Mamma Antipasto, a huge and various appetizers to taste a bit of all the starters: ham, crostini with tuscan chicken liver paté , Panzanella with cous cous, spelt with sausages, zucchini pie, peppers in oil, the best Bruschetta ever had, sweet and sour onions.... we could have dine even just with the appetizers!
As first course we got: Pappa al pomodoro (typical tomato and bread soup), pasta with Mamma ragout, Fagottini with zucchini, zucchini flowers and Pecorino cheese
As second course we got Ossobuco with peas. We saw a raw Bistecca pass by, and we were about to order it, but we were already way to full to handle it!
As dessert we got a fantastic cheese cake and a Tiramisù
She not pressing you to leave the table, as a bunch of places in town do, and you can also smoke a little sigarette in the little garden, if you feel like.
Prices are in the Florence range, let's say around 50 Euro per person, then depends a lot from the wine you chose, obviously.
Via del Leone 50 red
0039 055 224002
Closed on Sundays
Delicious Bruschetta
This is what I got from the huge Mamma's Antipasto!
mmmm... it looked good!
Fagottini with zucchini and Pecorino cheese
Pappa al Pomodoro
Ossobuco with peas
Io & Mamma


A nice flat for your Tuscan days

I know what you imagine when you think about Tuscany: sweet hills, line of cipress, farmhouse well restored, wineyards, and especially calm...

And that's exactly what you will get if you choose to stay in this cute flat which is available for renting and it's located on the south hills of Florence.

I know the owners, they are a very frienldy couple, huge and experts travellers, that knows exactly the meaning of "confort" and wanted to extend that to their apartment.

Check out the homelidays website....


Santa Maria del Fiore

Santa Maria del Fiore is our main Cathedral in town, religious and economic centre since the Middle Age. It has been consacrated to the St. Mary of the Flower, for many reasons, for example cause the white lily is symbol of Florence, or because of the shape, but mainly cause she was the mum of Jesus.

An ancient church, Santa Reparata, was already there since the IV century a.c. but it was replaced by a new gigantic Cathedral, which was started on September 8th 1296 by the knowledgeable architect Arnolfo di Cambio, who actually at the same time was working on Palazzo Vecchio, Santa Croce and the city wall, so refreshing the style all over Florence!

It took more than 150 years to accomplish this beautiful church - in 1436 Brunelleschi just finished the famous Dome, the largest and biggest dome ever built after the roman Pantheon one.

It took actually even more to finish the Cathedral, if you consider that the façade was made only at the end of 19th century!!!

The Duomo is the 3rd larger church in the world, after St. Peter in Rome and St. Paul in London. Inside, it possible to stand up to 40,000 people!

While the decoration of the outside is super rich, the inside is very plain and great inspiration for prayers - you feel so "small" inside, compared to the bigness of this church.

Entrance is free of charge.

the Beautiful Cupola

Amazing façade, finished at the end of 19th century!

Huge and plain interior

Frescoed Cupola by Giorgio Vasari

Representation of Divine Commedy of Dante

Arnolfo di Cambio - the architect who restyled Florence


Brancacci Chapel

On the right side of the transept of Santa Maria del Carmine church you can find a jewel of first Renaissance painting: Brancacci Chapel, painted by a young Masaccio,his older master/collegue Masolino da Panicale, and some 50 years later additions by Filippino Lippi.
Brancaccis were an important florentine family, connected to the Medici family - Felice Brancacci commissionated the cycle based on Saint Peter, because of his ancestor named Pietro and mostly because at those times depicting St. Peter, being the first Pope of Catholic Church, meant basically being connected, very well connected, to the Papacy.
Two main painters worked on this chapel: Masolino da Panicale, and a 23 years old Masaccio, much younger than Masolino, and recently considered as collegue instead of pupil, because of his outstanding and innovate artistic talent, so different from Masolino.

Brancacci Chapel is the perfect place to understand and appreciate the changing from late Gothic Style to the early Renaissance, that introduce a new body study, basing on classic measures, and a new emotion of the faces, plus a considering skill to represent tridimension and perspective.

Check how differently Adam and Eve are represented. Amazing.

Left side: Masolino right side Masaccio (photo source voxnova)

This chapel miraculously survived to a tragic fire that in 1771 destroyed all the Church. Frescos were all blacken by smoke and soot - it was not possible to see how the real colours were... until behind an altar they discovered an undamaged piece of fresco, and that helped to restore and give new life and brilliance to this incredible masterpiece.

If you have the bad idea to visit by yourself instead that with me :) just kidding of course, then I suggest you to see the dvd that is shown before entering in the Chapel, interesting and impressive, seeing closer the frescos with music in the background.

Brancacci Chapel

Masaccio's Adam and Eve

Two stylish Florentine - by Masolino

My favourite: this body seems so real


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