My friend Nancy tries to get to Florence each year. While there she haunts the museums and the churches. When she goes home, does she take fine leather, golden bracelets, and marbleized paper? No, she carries a few tubes of toothpaste, a couple of bars of soap and a bag of Mattei brutti ma buoni.
Why? Because she likes sweets and loves to have everyday products around her that remind her of her trip. Products made in Florence. Little did she know how trendy she was until she ran across an ad for her toothpaste in an international fashion … Read More
Two days after the devastating Florence Flood, November 4, 1966, the twenty-foot torrent that swept through the city was gone, but the piazzas, streets, churches homes, and businesses were buried in mud, naphthalene heating oil, mountains of waste, household goods, wrecked cars and even farm animals that had been swept down the valley. There was no potable water or electricity. Food was in short supply because most of the stores, including the massive Mercato Centrale had been flooded.
The federal government was slow to act, but first the Florentines pulled together in solidarity, neighbor helping neighbor, and then as … Read More
November 4, 2014 will be the 48th anniversary of the Florence Flood of 1966. The memory is still vivid in the minds of most Florentines; either they experienced the flood and/or its aftermath, or they have been told stories of the disaster by their parents or grandparents.
The question in the minds of many who live in the city split by the Arno River is: Can it happen again?
Timeline of the Flood
3 November 1966
In 1966, heavy rains began falling in Tuscany in September. Soon, the earth of the Casentine Forrest, southeast of Florence, was saturated. … Read More
How do you create the perfect Renaissance superhero? Art historian, Elizabeth Lev, narrates the story in her fascinating book, The Tigress of Forlì. The story starts with a baby girl, Caterina Sforza, the illegitimate child of dissolute, but noble Milanese father and a drop-dead gorgeous mother. She is tutored in the classics, learns how to ride a horse and hunt, and masters the management skills of a great household. Then her father arranges for an engagement at age ten (consummated with the fiancée, aged 30) and marriage at age thirteen (blessed by the Pope). She gives birth of … Read More
Tuscan Traveler believes that 2014 is going to be the best year yet in Florence. So now we need to get 2013 to give up the ghost and move on.
Everybody, especially the Chinese and Russians tourists, are coming to visit. As the U.S. economy climbs to the top again, we look forward to Americans giving up their “staycations” and coming back to where the food and views are the best in the world! Florence and Tuscany!
We are ambivalent about snow in Florence, but for a day or two in January it gives us something to talk about. And … Read More
Carbonifera! Baratti! Campiglia!
How many tourists to Italy or even, Italians, know these places? Already the names are evocative. They are all part of Maremma, the seaside region south of Livorno, but north of Grosseto, where the sea is especially beautiful and clean, and the food is as good as it can be – Acquacotta anyone? Pappardelle al cinghiale? – have you ever tried them?
In the summer this area is beautiful, but there are people – often too many – on the beaches (you sometimes can even go naked if your body still allows it).
BUT… now … at … Read More
One sunny autumn day Francesca and I were walking through a narrow medieval street downstream from the Ponte Vecchio.
“Anarchy,” said Francesca, “I like it.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Look up there,” she said, pointing to the top floor of a medieval building in the center of Florence.
“I don’t see anything anarchical.”
“The shutters. They are turquoise.” Francesca pointed at a pair of small shutters on one window on the top floor where a noble family’s servants once lived.
Sure enough they were a light blue-green — different from every other shutter in Florence. This is absolutely illegal … Read More
Tourist are frequently surprised when they first taste traditional Tuscan bread that is always made without salt. Tuscans, especially those from Florence and Prato, would not eat it any other way.
Dante agreed. “Tu proverai si come sa di sale Lo pane altrui, e comè duro calle Lo scendere e il salir per l’altrui scale.” In these lines from the Paradiso of ”The Divine Comedy,” Dante learns of his exile from Florence and is given some idea of the difficulties he will face. ”You shall learn how salty is the taste of another’s bread, and how hard a path the … Read More
Casini Firenze in Piazza Pitti is the Best Destination for Fine Leather Goods
Casini Firenze is my go-to place in Florence for fine Florentine leather goods. When my touring clients ask me why, I simply say: Impeccable Service, Outstanding Quality and Unique Designs. Jennifer Tattanelli, as her father Giorgio before her, creates not only the perfect product, but the perfect shopping experience at the store located across from the Pitti Palace.
Customer service is always top of my list of reasons for recommending any of Florence’s stores, restaurants, or artisans. Florentine business owners, waiters and shop assistants are not known … Read More
A favorite Italian-interest website (and newsletter), Dream of Italy, just named Friend In Florence and yours truly as one of Italy’s Best Local Tour Guides for 2013. A big GRAZIE to both founder Kathy McCabe and contributing editor Rebecca Winke (also of the fabulous Agriturismo Brigolante Guest Apartments in Umbria).
Over ten years ago, Kathy McCabe had the brilliant idea of starting one of the first subscription travel newsletter on the Internet. She was passionate about all things Italy so it became Dream of Italy, The Insider’s Guide to Undiscovered Italy. The newsletter was awarded “Best Consumer … Read More