Monthly Archives: December 2017

New Murder Mystery Series Set in Florence and Tuscany

Florence, Tuscany and murder: It’s a combination that gave birth to a new series of mysteries that brings together Florentine history, locations and cuisine with murder and mayhem in the Renaissance City.

A love of reading murder mysteries and thrillers coupled with a fascination for the museums, markets and trattorias, historic palaces, and the less-traveled alleys of Florence inspired Ann Reavis to write about the exploits of Inspector Caterina Falcone.

The first book Death at the Duomo begins with an explosion during the historical pageantry of the Scoppio del Carro. Inspector Falcone, who works with a special Florentine police unit that focuses on crimes involving foreign visitors and residents (as the criminal perpetrators or crime victims) in Florence and Tuscany, is directly involved in the investigation of the horrific event that resulted in the deaths and injuries to so many spectators.

In Secret of La Specola  Caterina  believes that her young nephew Cosimino is going to show her the secret of the museum known as La Specola. Their Sunday morning outing, however, reveals that the museum guards more than one mystery when they meet an American woman in the zoological exhibits.

Melissa Kincaid is in Florence enjoying a much-needed break from her uneventful existence in Dallas. She hopes for romance and adventure in Italy. What she discovers at Museo Zoologico La Specola changes the course of her life. Melissa’s meddling becomes Inspector Falcone’s biggest challenge as she tries to solve the case of murder in the museum.

Secret of La Specola throws Caterina and Melissa into the hunt for a heartless killer, while also introducing the reader to a little-known museum that contains not only 18th century zoological specimens, but also the finest exhibit of anatomical waxes in the world. The novel also explores the museum of the Palazzo Vecchio with its secret passages, tapestry workshop and battlement murder holes as it races toward the resolution of the crimes.

Both books are set, in part, in the family’s osteria operated by Caterina’s father and brother as well as other restaurants and the food markets of Florence. What would a tale set in Tuscany be without the fabulous Florentine cuisine?

The eBook of Secret of La Specola will be discounted on Amazon.com from December 15 – 22, 2017. The paperback editions of both Death at the Doumo and Secret of La Specola are available at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and Amazon.it.

 

Wine Portals – Buchette del Vino – Revisited

Ten years ago, a post on Tuscan Traveler celebrated the “wine portals” of Florence, known in Italian as buchette del vino or “wine holes.” On December 13, 2017, official recognition is being given to these ancient architectural artifacts with the placement of a plaque at the buchetta del vino of the Palazzo Antinori.

Wine Portal Palazzo Antinori (Photo: washyourlanguage.com)

The noblest families of Florence, having a palazzo, in the center of Florence would also have agricultural property outside of the city walls or further out in the countryside. These Florentinepalaces would store their foodstuffs, including wine and oil, in the basement or cantina. To facilitate the sale of wine tiny doors allowed access to the cantina without disturbing the palazzo residents. From the 15th century, until about 100 years ago, the wine holes allowed direct sale to the public; the transaction happened right on the street, through one of these portals.

In 2015, an association dedicated solely to buchette del vinoAssociazione ‘Buchette del Vino’ – was started. It’s president Matteo Faglia reports that the association has documented 167 wine holes in Florence (they are protected from removal by the city’s agency for the preservation of historical arts and architecture). Not all are in pristine condition, but the Association has documented them in a fascinating photo gallery (with addresses) on its website. Fewer portals have been saved throughout Tuscany (about 70 in 28 locations).

Wine Portal with hours of operation in Piazza Viviana (Photo: teladoiofirenze.it)

Next time you are in Florence, try to locate at least those deemed the favorites by Tuscan Traveler, especially the one at Palazzo Antinori and the other in Palazzo Viviani.