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June, the 2nd: anniversary of the Italian Republic

The 2nd of June 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the Italian Republic.
In Italy this is a festivity: the celebration of the National Republic. Established in 1948, after the end of the Second World War, since few years it has become a national holiday: schools and stores are closed, people don't go to work.

ancient building in Florence

In Florence there will be a special appointment: the illumination of an historical building with the colour of the Italian flag: green, white and red.
On the ancient "Palazzo della Borsa", the building that today host the local chamber of commerce, from 9.00 pm there will be some coloured lights to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Repubblica Italiana. The show will last all night long for several days. You can see the palace on this picture.
See on google maps where it is.


Florence electronic music

florence music festivalIn June there will be the MUV festival: the Florence electronic music festival.
As every year: the video competition, special performances and a great live set with the best dj coming from UK, Japan, Germany and Italy.
From 7.00 pm to 2.00 am in a brand new location at Cascine park. (discover where Muv is on Google maps>>).
Here's the detailed daily program of Muv festival>>

Muv festival in Florence, Italy
From the 3rd to the 8th of June, 2008.


Ice cream festival in Chianti area

best italian ice cream in FlorenceFrom Thursday June 3rd to Sunday July 13th, 2008 in Lucignano and San Pancrazio - 2 small villages in the Chianti countryside near Montespertoli (Florence) is starting the Croissant with ice-cream Festival (Sagra delle Brioches col gelato).
A very peculiar gastronomic opportunity to taste the match between ice-cream and croissant.
Montespertoli is not far, to reach it you can take the "Sita" bus from the central Station Firenze Santa Maria Novella or you can rent a car. It will take about 25 minutes by car. The hills are fascinating! Look google maps to discover where Montespertoli is...
For further informations:
Consorzio Turistico Montespertoli - Tourist office
Ph.: +39 0571 657579 info@chianti-farmhouse.com

Thanks to Gelat'amo, italian ice cream shop in Florence (via Doni) for the use of the picture.


Cultural events july 2008 in Florence and Fiesole Summer Festival

What's on in Florence in July 2008?
well apart from the opening of the Forte Belvedere there will be - as every year - the Fiesole summer festival: jazz, classic music, cinema festival and art exhibitions. From the end of June until the second half of July. At the magnificient Roman ancient theatre in Fiesole.
As soos as I will get more info I will publish here, I promise!
If you like musical and dancing don't miss CATS in June and MOMIX in July at Boboli Garden, in Florence, Italy.

wednesday 11st June, Firenze, Giardino di Boboli, at 9.15 pm
thursday 12th June, Firenze, Giardino di Boboli, at 9.15 pm
friday 13th June, Firenze, Giardino di Boboli, at 9.15 pm
saturday 14th June, Firenze, Giardino di Boboli, at 9.15 pm

monday 14th July, Firenze, Giardino di Boboli at 9.15 pm
tuesday 15th July, Firenze, Giardino di Boboli at 9.15 pm

On the 28th of July at Boboli garden, from 9.15 pm, a special orchestra will perform some music from Original Soundtrack of movies by Nicola Piovani, Ennio Morione, Nino Rota, Luis Enríquez Bacalov, Hoagy Carmichael e Mitchell Parish


Boat tour on the Arno river: under the Ponte Vecchio!

It was so exciting, guys!
Last week I reserved the boat tour on the Arno river organized by the Genio Fiorentino. It was fascinating seeing Florence from the river! Passing under the Ponte Vecchio! Katia, a friend of mine, told me it was fantastic and surely it was.

It is a little bit scaring at the beginning because the boat is not stable at all and it is an inch from the water; you stare at the barcaiolo, the boater you start to think "he will fall into the water” instead he drives the long stick, the pertica, and you go…
The Uffizi, underneath the Ponte Vecchio (there’s the echo!) and then under Ponte alla Carraia. You see all the noble Palaces, hotels with lucky tourists leaning out from their room terraces, people sitting on the restaurants along the Arno river…

We did the boat tour with a guide who explained us many things on Florence such as the Capricorn on the Ponte alla Carraia; the Capricorn was the zodiac ascendant of Cosimo de’ Medici
who in this way he felt like the Roman Emperor Augusto, then the ability of Vasari when he built palaces and also the nicknames the Florentines gave to Friars…
Everything was so amazing! They told me that the boat tour will take place also during the Summer and I highly recommend ! This tour is very romantic, too!
This is the website of the "renaioli": a tour for 6 people costs about 12 euros each. For special occations could cost more...

I did also a video, you can watch it on Youtube>>

Right after the tour my friend and I had a nice ice cream at the Gelateria de’ Neri, in via de’ Neri then we strolled around the city centre listening to unauthorized singers, the temperature was so pleasant and so on…
I adore Florence in May.


Cheap places to eat in Florence and other useful info

I've received this email a couple of days ago:

My wife and I were married in December and have been dreaming about a honeymoon for months! We have both been to Florence in the past and have wanted to return. It looks like this might actually happen sometime toward the beginning of September. But we are a bit nervous about the dollars sinking value around the world and are wondering if we can afford a week in Florence. We recently found some great airfare possibilities and a lovely B&B outside of Firenze that might make it feasible. But we are wondering if you could be so kind as to give us some insight into the daily expensesmid-day meal with drinks, museums, bus fares, etc. Can two quiet, non-intrusive Americans enjoy your city without a lot of major expenses? Also what are the best way to buy affordable museum passes? The history, architecture, art will draw most of our attention. And we are looking forward to spending some time among the lovely people of Firenze! If you can help with any of this we would be very grateful. I have just discovered you website and am enjoying that very much too! Regards, Joe

Well, Joe, it's not easy to find cheap good places to eat in Florence but it's not impossible! I will try to help you :)

First rule: if you move away from the center you can find some places that are not so expensive. Near the B&B (I don't know where is your accommodation) probably you can find some supermarkets ("coop" or "esselunga") in those stores you can buy bread and "prosciutto" to make some panini, but you can also buy hot dishes to eat.
Some cheap areas of Florence are Rifredi and Galluzzo. In Rifredi you can have lunch in several bars for less than 10 euro for lunch. There's also a nice pizzeria with lunch special price: "Pit stop" at Via Corridoni. You can reach Piazza Dalmazia with the train from S.M Novella central station and get off at Firenze Rifredi, with your bus ticket!
- bus fares in Florence:
One ticket costs 1,20 euro. It's valid for 1 hour and 10 minutes or for one bus ride. You can also buy the "one day ticket" that costs 5 euro (for 3 days costs 12 euro). But consider that Florence is so small that probably you don't need the bus, you can walk!

- museums:
Uffizi gallery: tickets cost 6.50 euro, but you I strongly recommend you to make a reservation. If you buy tickets of museums online, it will cost more, but you will avoid the long queue (even 2 hours!).
Accademia Gallery: tickets cost 6.50 euro, and it's the same thing of the Uffizi Gallery: if you don't have a reservation you can spend hours waiting outside...
Note that when a special exhibition is held in the Museum, the price of the ticket may be increased. I dont' think it exists any museums pass.
I suggest you to visit also the Garden of Boboli (6 euro) in combination with the Bardini Garden. Lovely place, the typical italian garden. Sometimes there's a free electric bus (with the name "FB") that takes you up to hill where the Bardini Garden and Villa Bardini are.
From there you can walk to Forte Belvedere, the magnificient fortress from where you have a breathless panorama of Florence. If it's open (they close the Forte very often) the access is free!

- cheap food in Florence
You can have a very cheap "dinner" with the italian "aperitivo": florentines are used to eat a lot for the happy hour and you pay only the drink. So you can eat for less than 10 euros!
Here are some cheap places where you eat (good food):
Bar Serafini, via Gioberti. Pasta, vegetables, pizza, finger food... for 5 or 6 euros! If you love quality. It closes at 8 pm.
Kitsch, via Gramsci. Pasta, salades, ham, cheese, fruits... for 7 or 8 euros. If you love quantity. A little bit crowded and noisy.
Negroni, via de' Renai. A little selection of pasta and "crostini". Glamouros place. 7-8 euros.
Rifrullo, via San Niccolò. A good selection of ham and cheese, more some other finger food. 7 euros, if you are still hungry you can eat a normal meal there. Good wine.
At Rifrullo I really recommend you the Sunday brunch: from 12 to 3.30 pm eat as much as you can, get free wi-fi and spend only 20 euros. From breakfast (cappuccino, jam, cornflakes, orange juice) to italian lunch (pasta, beef, vegetables, rice, fish, dessert) only 20 euros! and you can eat in the garden besides the ancient walls by Michelangelo... (see the pictures here)
In front of Rifrullo there's a little place called ZEB: you can eat very cheap food (beef, soups, pappa al pomodoro, lasagne) homely cooked. Try it!
I could spend hours of suggestions... I have to say: Florence is expensive but you can spend a lot less if you pay attention to prices and avoid places in the center. If you want a restaurant go to San Frediano or San Lorenzo, avoid the streets around Piazza Repubblica, Piazza Signoria, Ponte Vecchio.
This is a good restaurant near the station: I' Toscano. Ask of Camilla and tell her that you have read the review on the blog of Nelli. She will make you a little discount, she's one of my readers!

If you have other questions, please do ask..


Vintage Selection in Florence, July, 2008

As every year, the summer appointment for fashion and vintage culture is back.
The 12th edition of the Vintage Selection will take place from 2nd to 5th July 2008 at the Stazione Leopolda in Florence.
Each edition has its own theme: this year the common thread will be "music and dance", from the 20's charleston to the 80's disco-dance. The event is already a must for vintage lovers and stylists, yet this year it's even more precious thanks to the dance floor and the coffee bar in front of the Stazione Leopolda. The coffee bar opens at 9.30 pm and lasts all night long.

As always, Officina Vintage joins the event bringing fashion, elegance and eccentricity; moreover, shortly on the site customers will be able to get reductions and free tickets...
The fair is open from 10 am to 11 pm; the ticket price is 5,00 €.
2-5 July, 2008. Florence, Italy.


The Florence International Theatre Company

The Florence International Theatre Company intends to create a renaissance of theatrical tradition in Florence which reflects the city's international status. Embracing, celebrating and exploring the differences of world cultures as they come together in a theatrical context, FITC will develop projects and productions which bridge cultures and language while connecting the community it serves. Creating works of art, primarily in English, and sharing this work with the Tuscan community, the Florence International Theatre Company strives to build a significant relationship through artistic productions, educational and outreach programs. The Florence International Theatre Company plans to become a center of inter-cultural exchange and communication - a shining light for Florence - through the art of theatre.
Florence International Theatre Company’s "main stage" productions are performed in English with Italian subtitles.

The Florence International Theatre Company Creative Campus

Creative Campus offers young people who live in and visit Florence the opportunity, structure and support to create cultural projects together, with FITC professionals and community members, and to share their creations with the community at large. Working on theatrical, musical, visual and other artistic projects gives students the opportunity to learn about each other's cultures and develop relationships that make them feel a part of the community. This is especially important for US students who are far from home. With the emphasis on evening time projects, Creative Campus offers a positive night-time alternative to pubs and discos. For more information write info@florencetheatre.com.
here the events

Via Ghibellina, 107, 50122 Firenze, Italy - ++39 - info@florencetheatre.com


Enotria, restaurant and wine bar in Florence

Lorenzo (I’vanna) sent me another review. Let’s see what he says…

“Last Friday I went with a bunch of close friends to eat at the Enotria restaurant. We did not want to stay in the chaotic centre of Florence with all its parking troubles, and ZTL so we decided to stay around our area, San Jacopino.
The Enotria restaurant is a very charming, cozy restaurant in via delle Porte Nuove. As soon as you enter this restaurant you will be captured by the so many cheeses and different wines you can be treated and while I was waiting for my friends I browsed also some magazines where I found an interesting interview of my friend Sabino about aperitives!
A very particular thing about this place is that they suggest a glass of wine to try with different food but as we were five we opted for a bottle of Ribolla Gialla from Friuli and a Pinot Gris from Alto Adige, both of them very good. We all had an antipasto: my friends had culatello of Zibello and roman grilled artichokes and Florentine coccoli (you should try!) with salami and pecorino cheese Dop, instead I tried Carpaccio of red salmon. All of these, very tasty!
Then some of us had a first dish such as maltagliati with red mullet and others a second dish, such as a filet of Cinta with prunes of Montalcino. As we did not have enough of all these delicious
meal we also tried some cheeses with different mustards and jam, the parmisan mousse was amazing! The dessert was something that we could not miss: a chocolate cake or a basket with some fruit. Everything was so good but the coffee!
Anyway, we spent € 39,00 each, good value for what we ate. If you are looking for a place away from the crowds of Florence, this is the right one. Highly recommended!

Via delle Porte Nuove - 50144 Firenze - Italy
+ 39 055 354350 info@enotriawine.it


Genio Fiorentino 2008

Last week the event calendar of Genio Fiorentino’s fourth edition was released to the press. This edition, running from 15 to 25 May, opens with an exclusive concert by italian singer Lucio Dalla dedicated to Benvenuto Cellini, the Florentine goldsmith and sculptor. Art shows, performances, meetings and debates will discuss and display Florence’s magnificent history and lands.
The fourth edition of Genio Fiorentino is an opportunity to discover a more unusual Florence, with “genius” visits and nighttime openings at the most striking locations in the historic center. Each night the great monumental churches (Santa Croce, San Miniato, Santa Maria Novella) will be open for visiting, as will the Vasari corridor, and the Arno river with its small boat tours by the “renaioli” and the “cavalcata dei magi” by Benozzo Bozzoli in Palazzo Medici.
Free entrance, but you have to book in advance sending an email to apt@firenzeturismo.it with your telephone number.
You can also make a reservation for a free tour on the Arno river with the "barchetti" of Renaioli (little boats that florentine people used in the past).
Discover the charming Ponte Vecchio from a different point of view!


The art in the streets of Florence

On Saturday, 10 May, in the San Lorenzo quarter of Florence, Scuola Lorenzo de' Medici will hold its second annual "Art is in the Streets" exhibition in conjunction with its Fashion Department's end-of-semester Fashion Show. This joint event serves as a continuing effort to nurture a deep respect for different cultures and nationalities and to firmly root the idea of the sharing of common areas within the city. Last year, LdM inaugurated this art competition that involved its art and design students, local businesses in the San Lorenzo area of various cultures and traditions, as well as Florentine craftsmen.
This year, LdM will again involve business people willing to display student work, from small pieces to those that utilize the full space available. Furthermore, prizes will be awarded to those students who, through their works of art, bring about beauty, unity and cultural enrichment to the city.
The competition consists of an art contest divided into two categories:
1. Painting, Drawings, Sculpture, Ceramics and Printmaking
2. Interior design, Fashion Design, Jewelry, Photography and Graphic Design

Students participating in Art is in the Streets will assume the position of artistic and social promoters, collaborating with the people who live in the San Lorenzo area in the spreading of a solid sense of common citizenship.
Many events will take place in San Lorenzo from the morning until the evening, when a defilèè in front of San Lorenzo Church will finish the event.


Pet shop in Florence

I've just received this email:

I really enjoy your blog, it keeps me up to date with what's going on in Florence..and I share some of your points of view on the city.
An English friend told me about this pet shop in Florence where they speak fluent English and send out a regular newsletter in English too, just like your Blog.
I think people sometimes forget the animals, I've not idea how many people are subscribed to your english newsletter but it might be useful for them to know about them as I was struggling in the city before I found them. Keep up the good work and have a great summer.

Here is the newsletter:

Dearest Friends,
The HILL's special promotion day is makes a welcome return to Zei Cinofilia, Monday 12 May. Clients can expect to find promotions and discounts across the entire Hill's range for dogs and cats. If you can't make it to the shop on the Monday you can call us on 055/2477909 and reserve your Hill's products so you can pickup your order at a more convenient time.
This is a hugely valid offer!

Warmest regards to everyone.
Zei Cinofilia
Via Colletta 30/r
50136 Firenze
tel. e fax +39 055 2477909

Well.. since I do really love cats and dogs I'm glad to give this kind of info.
The picture above was taken on my parents' house. Since our beloved 19-years-old cat Jenny's death last February, seven cats have arrived!!!


Fabbrica Europa at Stazione Leopolda

I've come back from France. Holidays are finished. Provence was delightful even if the lavender fields are on the best moment during the flowering season (we haven't seen the violet lavender flowers!). But I enjoyed the trip. Aix-en-provence is really a lovely city.
Let's see what's on in Florence in these days...
Fabbrica Europa, the great music and art festival at Stazione Leopolda is still running. Here is the complete program of Fabrica Europa.
Tomorrow there will be a performance by the young dutch dance theatre company T.r.a.s.h. The performance is also part of the programme of the 2nd edition of Olandiamo?, festival of Dutch arts and creativity, organized by the Dutch University Institute for Art History in Florence (NIKI) and the Cultural Office of the Netherlands Embassy in Rome, on the occasion of the 50 years of the activity of the Institute.
It's a short performance on a small and sober stage with 4 dancers and a cello player.
Price: € 15 (€ 12 reduced)
The ticket allows to attend also the performance at 10 p.m.

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