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Olive oil tasting and room with a view

tuscan olive oilAn Exiciting Morning at the Villa FRESH SQUEEZED OLIVE OIL TASTING & TOUR AT THE VILLA DI MAIANO.
You visit: the exclusive and private Renaissance “Villa di Maiano”, where James Ivory shot several scenes of A Room with a View; the olive-mill, while we’re producing the new extra virgin olive oil.
After the tour you’ll enjoy the extra virgin olive oil just squeezed and a Tuscan products selection (salami, olives, bruschetta and a house dessert) on the Villa’s estate. Superb views of Florence and of the Tuscan landscape. Bring your Camera!
Meets: every Thursday in November - Fattoria di Maiano, via B. da Maiano n. 11 – loc. Maiano, Fiesole (FI) Time: 11,00
Cost: special price for November, 27 euro per person
The tour is subject to booking. Booking and info: Lucia Nistri Mon/Fri 9am -5pm
tel. 055 599600 fax +39 055 599640 e-mail maiano2@contemiarifulcis.it

BUS LINE N. 7 – bus stop P.ZZA EDISON + LINE SF (H 9,20) bus stop in front of the FATTORIA DI MAIANO BUS LINE 7 – bus stop REGRESSO
BY CAR - GPS: N° - E° Google map
TAXI: 15 minutes from the city centre


What's on in Florence and Tuscany : november 2008

1st of November: Liza Minelli in concert. At TEATRO COMUNALE Corso Italia, 16 - Firenze Info: 055/2779350. Prices: galleries from 120 to 150 euros; stalls 300 euros.

From 14th to 16th of november 2008 (from 11.00 am to 8.00 pm), there will be the Japan Festival: stands, exhibitions, games, tasting. Everything from Japan: sushi, judo, handwriting, origami and other stuff. Free entrance. At Villa Limonaia di Villa Strozzi, via Pisana, close to Polimoda Institute.
The XXV edition of the Florence Marathon next November 30 will celebrate its 25th anniversary. Florence Italy running november 2008. The classic Florentine race: 42 kilometers and 195 meters to be run without stops, fascinated by the magic of streets, squares and timeless monuments together with thousands athletes coming from all over the world.

San Miniato will host it’s 38th annual White Truffle Festival and Market during the third, fourth and fifth weekends in November. On Saturday, November 23rd there will be a sausage tasting at 11a.m. and a truffle tasting at 5p.m. in Piazza del Duomo. San Miniato is close to Pisa.
Le Crete Senesi is to hold a festival and market to celebrate the white truffle season as well. From the 9 through the 16th of November, one can sample cheeses, oils, honeys and meats from the region. Main events will include a truffle-hunting competition for dogs and a cooking contest for people. Crete Senesi are in the South of Siena.

Women in power: Caterina and Maria de' Medici. The return to Florence of two Queens of France at Palazzo Strozzi

Women in power: Caterina and Maria de' Medici. The return to Florence of two Queens of France Florence, Palazzo Strozzi
The event is a tribute to Caterina and Maria de’ Medici, queens of France yet both imbued with a fresh and innovative cultural approach. They were energetic regents: two women in power, both controversial, both emblematic, and both of whom left their mark on a century of European history.
exhibition in Florence ot Caterina and Maria de MediciThe 15 spectacular tapestries (see here the 5th room of 8), all close to 5 meters in height and devoted to the legendary Queen Artemisia, bear witness to the way in which two Medici queens of France used powerful images to legitimize their claims to rule over warring families and factions.
To glorify Caterina, the legend of two very different Artemisias from antiquity was appropriated: the warrior queen who fought at the battle of Salamis, and the widowed queen of Rhodes celebrated as the builder of the Mausoleum dedicated to the memory of her husband. This exhibition is quite small: just 8 rooms. You can visit it in about 1 hour.

Women in power: Caterina and Maria de'Medici. The return to Florence of two Queens of France
Florence, Palazzo Strozzi
October 24, 2008 – February 8, 2009

Opening times
Daily 9.00 - 20.00
Thursday 9.00 - 23.00
Visitors are admitted up to one hour before closing time
Full price 10 euros
Children under 6: free entrance


Lebanese resturant in Florence

Lebanese resturant in Florence, Valle dei Cedri

I knew about this restaurant but I never had the chance to go until yesterday night when a friend invited me to try.
The dining room is not so big and the lights could be softer but on the whole is nice. The owner seems a character of an old movie, very gentle and friendly. The menu offers different kind of Lebanese specialties but we opted for an appetizer mix with pieces of Lebanese bread together with different kind of sauces: Hommos (spectacular), eggplants, tuna fish, sesame (amazing).
Then we had falafel, Fatyer, Rikakat, Sambusec, kebbehcon, meatballs.
The appetizer is more than enough but we tried also the good Kebbeh, a kind of meat pie with yogurt and rice. But I liked a lot a spice that I found in the salad. The owner told me that he does not know the name in Italian but if you go to Piazzale Michelangelo you can see the tree, which is called summak. For the wine we chose a good Lebanese wine, a Chateau Ksarà Reserve du Couvent 2005.
For prices and menu you can give a look to the well done web site www.valledeicedri.com

Ristorante Valle dei Cedri
b.go santa Croce 11 r 40100 Firenze
tel.055 2346340


Christmas markets and winter events in Florence

What's on in Florence for Christmastime?
Markets, ice skating rink in Florence (at Parterre), classic concerts in the churches, luminous decorations in the streets, the huge tree in Piazza Repubblica...

Weihnachtsmarkt, Heidelberg's Christmas Market
In Piazza Santa Croce (Santa Croce Square) the Weihnachtsmarkt, the Christmas Market of Heidelberg: the classic market with small wooden stands offering wonderful, traditional German goods, food and treats, but there are also many other stands of typical products from all over Northern Europe. The Heidelberg market will finish on the 16th of December. Later in December still in Piazza Santa Croce, a more typical Italian Christmas Market will take over, (despite a very English fish and chips stand). And in Piazza Santa Croce many interesting and funny initiatives for children will take place in “La Casetta delle Storie” (=“The Little House of Tales”) starting from 4 P.M. (free admittance).

Florence Noel
The Stazione Leopolda will house the annual Florence Noel market, open from November 29th through December 8th from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday and on Monday, December 8th. Food, crafts and gifts of predominantly Tuscan origins will fill the merchants’ displays, but the main attraction is sure to be a visit to the house of Santa Claus. Tickets cost 7 euro.

Xmas markets around Florence
The markets are another initiative for the little neighbourhood town of Bagno a Ripoli (10 minutes drive from Florence), and the initiative of “A Tutto Natale” (=“All of Chritsmas”) with a special edition of the weekly market on December 21st called “A Christmas with You”.
December: Piazza Umberto I, Calcit Market (charity market in which all should partake)
January 6: The March of the Magi Kings in the Piazza Tegolaia, for italian celebration of "befana".
December: Christmas Market (charity market)
Bagno a Ripoli
December, the 21. From 10am until 7pm: “Natale con i Tuoi” = “Christmas with the ones you love;” beginning at 11 am: a market with the stands of the local Charitable Associations; at the end of the night, via Roma (the main street) will be alive with simple toys which adapt to intelligence for the big and the small; live music; Santa Clause will cheer up the festival with his pony and small gifts at 3pm. The Festival of the Nativity with a living Christmas scene in the piazza in Via delle Arti and 5pm. There will be a prize given to the 3best letters to Santa Clause at 5:30 pm, and there will also be a prize given to the most beautiful shop window; a parade will take place.

On December don't miss Ponte Vecchio Golf Challenge played from the ancient bridge onto greens on the Arno.
And very soon on this blog Florence new year's eve events, so you can decide how to spend new year's party in Florence.
See the post of last year: Florence noel and Xmas markets in Florence


The Creativity Festival in Florence

We finally arrived at the Creativity festival which takes place in Florence at Fortezza da Basso from October 26th to October 29th (free entrance). Today there is a little preview with “The Galileo’s finger” at the Pergola Theater but the biggest events are during the week end.
I already said something in my previous posts about some of them, but here below I just want to talk about others that I find particular interesting:
- PKN (Pecha Kucha Night): a Japanese event, famous also in Europe that offers to creative people such as architects, screen players, painters, graphic designers, writers the opportunity to present in 6 minutes and 40 seconds themselves and their works in a very relaxing atmosphere among friends and if fact the japanese word pecha kucha literarily means, chatting
- LOG607, a game of composing and breaking up words
- MIMOS round table with the Brain computer interface: with a special helmet you can pilot informatics application as a mental mouse.
And lastly the Technology Inside competition: competitors should go to the Avanada stands during the festival and sign up for the competition, between 10am and 5pm. Competitors need to prove that they are technology insider to present themselves to the job world. They need to tell how they used technology in the past or in the present and what they have done with it. The last day of the festival, the jury will name the winner who will have an I-Pod nano and a job proposal with AVENADE, the second and the third winner will have an IPOD shuffle.


ECCOCI, the Tuscan tapas bar

cheap places to eatLast Friday I was at lunch with some friends and, as usual, I had to choose the place. Sigh!
I remember about, Joe, my hairdresser who once told me about this place in Piazza Ghiberti, near the Sant’Ambrogio market.
The interior of the restaurant is nice, modern and essential all in red and white. The peculiarity of this place is that you can have a sort of tapas but in Tuscan sauce: little miniature that costs few Euros (from € 2 on) and you can take them as appetizers or as a full dish. Of course, in their menu you can find complete dishes as well, such as meat, salad and pasta but always with an ethnic touch.
I had little miniature with mini-crostone with mushrooms and brie and a plate with meat and salad with a very strange name: picanha. They explained me that the meat is very similar of the T-bone Florentine steak, but with a different cut and above all without the bone. One of my friends had the same and he appreciated as well.
The others had a cacciucco, a typical livornese fish soup with an addition: fried anchovies and artichokes in miniature, as well!
The quality is in between the average quality that you can find in Florence even if I have to be honest: if you are going there for lunch the service is a little slow.
I know that on Thursday evening they have also the aperi-dinner.

Piazza Ghiberti, 5/R -
50122 Firenze - Tel. 055 2638223


What's going on in October in Tuscany

The sun shines high in the sky for this week end and I would like to underlines few open air events for people with children, too…
I have seen the website of the tourist railways and they organize a cho cho train along the amazing Val D’Orcia. Each Sunday of October, two in November and December; every Sunday with a different t theme. Trains leave form Siena at 8,30am, a nice walking in the wood and then lunch in a restaurant. This coming Sunday the theme is the porcino mushroom. The price (without lunch) is € 16, 00 for adults, children travel for free.
A great thank you to the association that once again want to bring back to our memory the revival of the smallest Tuscan rail line Colle Val d’Elsa-Poggibonsi (closed in 1987) with typical 1800 rails and the curve with the tightest manual gauge of Italy. In November the theme is truffle and the train leaves from Siena and goes to Grosseto. Instead for the Immaculate Conception break (December 8th), the theme is olive oil and the train leaves form Florence

If you want to go to North, instead of South, in the Mugello area there a series of festivals dedicated to chestnuts in Palazzuolo, Vicchio, Firenzuola and Marradi, the homeland of chestnut s; This coming Sunday a cho cho train leaves from Florence to Marradi.

In Pisa, there is instead an event dedicated to chocolate at Leopolda Station. Then in Montecarlo (Lucca) they have also their own Chocolate festival.
In Volterra: Dolcegusto and Wine. Stands in the narrow streets of this tufa hilltop town.
In Impruneta, there is the San Luke fair.
In Castelmuzio, Trequanda (Siena province) opens a new shop “Dal podere al palato” (From the farmhouse to the palate): to buy olive oil, pecorino cheese, wine, honey, meat and cut meats directly from producers. The opening of this new space is introduced in “The Olio nuovo di Podere”, fair from Friday, October 17th to Sunday, October 19th 2008, dedicated to Extra virgin olive oil.
In Florence, there is Florence wine and fashion.
From October 16th to 19th 2008: the Florentine artisans open their ateliers to the public during the European days of arts and jobs to enhance the old arts. Four days completely dedicated to cultural initiatives, meetings, workshops for families and for children in the Horne Museum
And very soon…the Halloween parties in Florence. Stay tuned.


Restaurant of Four Season hotel, Florence

After the sicilian restaurant, here is another review by Sabino, the restaurant il Palagio of theFour season hotel
The Four Season hotel opened in Florence last June and I red various reviews of the inside restaurant in some gastronomic blogs. I decided to try during one of my unusual long lunch break. I passed the sumptuous atrium of the hotel and I arrived in the restaurant, elegantly interior designed which is in communication with the wine bar area where from 7pm they serve the aperitif with finger food.
I have lunch in the garden as it is still warm in town: the scenario of the garden is fantastic if you think that we are in the middle of the historical city centre of Florence. I try the tasting menu’ at € 50, 00. As a first dish they serve an octopus with gazpacho sauce in a big iced bawl. Even if I don’t like gazpacho, the presentation was fantastic and at the end I liked it.
Then you can choose between a first course and a second, they were all fine, (meat of fish) but the dessert was the top.
A caramel sphere with violet, tasting as a violet, and then in addition I had also a tasting of a chocolate mousse with a very good pastry.
A spectacular place where the service is excellent and the waiters are careful. For dinner, prices are higher: it is very worthy for a very special occasion.

Here more info:

Osteria da Melo, sicilian food in Florence

I received a reviwe from Sabino about this sicilian restaurant in Florence: Osteria da Melo.

sicilian restaurant in FlorenceThanks to an event organized by Slow Food, I had the possibility to try a good restaurant not only for the food it proposes but for the good value for money. The Osteria da Melo is a Sicilian restaurant and Carmelo, the chef, opened it just few years ago.
The dinner had a pre-set menu with the intent of showing some of the presided over by Slow food in Sicily.
We started with a very nice aperitif in the restaurant yard followed by appetizers with different kind of cut-meats: capocollo, salami and sausages from the Nebrodi black pigs accompanied by black bread from Castelvetrano.
Then we had fresh handmade fusilli pasta with Ercino pesto with red garlic of Nubia; an excellent equilibrated dish. As a second dish, very appreciated by all the guests was a Tortiera, a kind of quiche with anchovies and wild fennel with Pantelleria capers and small olives and after this they offered us also a tasting of local Sicilian cheese: Ragusano DOP, Blu di capra Girgentana (a kind of goat cheese) and a Vastedda del Belice.
For dessert: a cake with Ribera oranges and Bronte pistachio then a taste of special aromatic fried biscuits with zibibbo…
While we ate we tasted also the wine of the wine farm called I Gulfi: Valcanziria (white), then Rossoibleo e Neroibleo (red).
We paid 40 euro and half of it went to the Slow Food foundation: what can we add more?
We left the restaurant all very happy and excited of this culinary experience.
Osteria DA MELO Via di Rosano, 198
50012 Bagno a Ripoli (Firenze)
Tel/Fax: 055/6519000
E-mail: info@osteriadamelo.com


Events in October in Florence, Italy

On the 25-26 of October enjoy the white and black truffle festival in Barberino del Mugello (very close to the outlet). In the same weekend, in Florence there's a little market at Ciompi's square (not far from Santa Croce): the Florence's large monthly antiques fair.

From the 16th of October until the end of the month in Orsanmichele Church there's the 8th edition of Wine&FashionFlorence: fashion shows, exhibitions of jewels. wine tasting, and made in Italy products.

In Marradi, a small town 1 hour away from Florence, there's the chestnut festival. Food, events and ancient locomotives and steam trains you can get on.

Don't forget the event is taking place tomorrow at Rifrullo restaurant: Vernaccia wine tasting with a tuscan dinner.

And be prepared to Halloween! It's coming full of surprises and mysteries... Trick-or-treat?


Events in Florence, October 2008

Few events in Florence and the immediate surroundings.
Thanks to the opening exhibition of the painter, Alessandro Ferraro, each Wednesday and Thursday the Osteria Melo will open interesting bottles of wine combining them with food. Thursday October 9th, Pinot blanc Kellerei Bozen, Chianti Rufina Montesodi 2004 and Goldenmuskateller (yellow Moscato form Trentino). Instead on Thursday October 16th, they will propose a combination with beer and typical Sicilian food, such as the famous arancini. For info: info@osteriadamelo.com

Then from Thursday October 9th at the circolo SMS in Rifredi, Via Vittorio Emanuele II 303, there will be the Thursdays of the café of the science: meetings, symposium about technology, science, medicine, DNA, cancer and other interesting and important subjects.

The lastly, I just want to mark thanks to one of my reader a very unique concert of Matthew Herbert, a talented jazz man that his music combine avant jazz and electronic music. Friday October 10th at 9pm at the Theatre pergola 30/32, Florence to listen to some of his music you can to his web site www.matthewHerbert.com/music.php


Festival of creativity – Anticipation

In two weeks Florence will host the event of the year, “the Creativity Festival”. The dates are from October 23rd to October 26th. Even if the event is close, we don’t know anything about the project rather than the themes and some slogans (vision, journeys and discoveries).
I received, however, a press release from a network composed by artists, designers and creative people who propose performance with an environment subject.

Do it yourself: a funny and entertainment not only for adults but for children too. They will distribute one hundreds of whales in a A4 paper format where everyone can color giving the impression of a real school of whales, all done in hemp paper from an Italian factory, ECOLABEL http://whaleless.blogspot.com

Less clear is BREATHE
Breathe is and object that transports oxygen and it is a portable respirator connected to a glass sphere containing water and water plants; inside they developed the chlorophyll photosynthesis. http://artforartshake.com

I am a little bit skeptics on this: iFshines
This is an interactive installation done with water, sounds and lights. A map face done with micro cells of water crossed with lights and sounds that comes from a tube where people can blow in it making the installation moved, than an off screen voice pronounces these words: WHAT IF WATER IS ME, IF YOU ARE WATER WHAT AM I. It is a little bit complicated maybe once seen becomes more understandable.

A nice thing to see and easier to understand is the little plants inside some unusual places such as: plastic bags, a trumpet case, a magician hat all by Leone Cantini.

The entrance is free. Fortezza da basso from October 23-26
Thursday, from 3pm to 3am.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday
from 10 am to 3am


Wine and food tasting in a tuscan restaurant

Every wednesday there's a wine or food tasting dinner at the tuscan restaurant Rifrullo.
Next wednesday, the 15th of October, there will be a special dinner with tuscan wine tasting.
Wednesday, 15ht October, at 8,30 pm at tuscan restaurant Rifrullo there will be a special dinner for appreciating wine tasting.
Wine tasting with the winery “CESANI” : with our sommelier you will discover some of the best tuscan wines.

MENU' of the dinner

APPETIZERS: Assorted croutons
FIRST COURSE: Courgette and saffron lasagne

SECOND COURSE: Thin-sliced beef “straccetti” with green pepper sauce
Roast potatoes and grilled vegetables

DESSERT: Coffee bavarese

26,00 € / person
Price includes food, wine, dessert, coffe, service. Everything!
make your reservation at info@ilrifrullo.com

Mediterranean massage at Urban Spa in Florence

Following a very stressful moment, I decided to try for a relaxing massage at Fonbliu’.
This urban spa is in Porta Romana, one of the nicest areas of Florence surrounded by the gentle hills of Florence. This small urban spa is one of the gifts that Florence, sometimes, offers to its inhabitants.
The environment is a very calm, clean, essential one. The girls who work there are extremely kind and they have a sort of relaxing attitude: “good for them”, I thought!
Once you enter they offer you a soft and perfumed white bath robe with a pair of flip flop: you enter in the cloakroom and then you exit beside the swimming pool forgetting about the chaos and the traffic just a few steps away from you.
I chose a massage called: Light of Morocco, a relaxing massage that helps untied tension not only physical but also emotional ones. This massage evokes the manual gestures done in the hammam and more than using argan oil (antioxidant) enriched with a patchouli fragrance, the girl used a mhakka: a little terracotta disc that activate circulation and it works as a peeling as well.

Now, I don’t know if she was good, if I needed to relax, if it was the terracotta disc, but I felt particular sensations: I was in peace with the whole world! My legs, my entire body was in complete relax when I left the spa and next time I think I will try the so called Nausica treatments, a special soft bed where you will be surrounded by steam, vaporized water, essentials oils, and at the end they offer you a massage as well…to try!
Last two things to say: men are going to have massage as well as women (I asked it for curiosity) and if you are lodged at Villa la Vedetta a splendid 5 stars hotel at Piazzale Michelangelo, they have a shuttle bus for the spa.

Fonbliù, Urban spa Piazzale di Porta Romana 10r
Tel. +39 055 23 35 385
Email: info@fonbliu.com


Florence Italy events october 2008

Santa Croce international market has finished... but don't worry! the little woody stand will come back at the end of November for the Xmas Market (the Heidelberg Christmas Market is one of the events in Florence for Noel). In the meanwhile what's going on in Florence?
We all are waiting for the 23/26 of October, for the big Festival of Creativity. 4 days of events, exhibitions, workshop, performances. (Free entrance). At Fortezza da Basso.
On this thursday (9, october) Rock Contest competition will start again at OMI. Discover new tuscan bands like Clevergroup , tenthousandnames or Neuromantik.. OMI music club Via Tevere 100, Sesto Fiorentino (Fi) 055308462
Musica dei Popoli at Flog Auditorium (via Michele Mercati, 24/b) 8 live concerts with 8 female singers. On saturday, the 11th, ANA MOURA from Portugal. More info here>>


Urban Spa in Florence

I have just received this press release:

Wellness leading company Gts gets to Florence at the renewed premises of prestigious Urban Spa Fonbliù.
GTS Group has been leading the Italian professional beauty and wellness industry for over 30 years, with more than 4,500 customers. GTS now gets to Tuscany at the renewed premised of Fonbliù, the only Urban SPA in Florence now improving its facilities through a further partnership with Villa La Vedetta, a 5-starred Relais&Chateuax already operating as a Urban Resort which attention and extreme customer care match perfectly with the SPA objectives.
FisioSphere treatment offer is constituted by genuine beauty and wellness treatment able to fulfil one’s senses and feelings in order to take care of oneself in a customised, global way achieving both effective results and unique pleasure moments experiencing a new sensory world.
Fonbliù improve their offer through a partnership with this Relais, the first Urban Resort in Florence, which main feature is represented by a quiet, sought-after ambience that makes a perfect match with Fonbliù concept in searching care for oneself, beauty and harmony.

I will go soon to this urban spa, to try some of their gorgeous massages...


100 little paper boats on the Arno river

A very particular event takes place in Florence tomorrow, Thursday, October 2nd at 5.00pm.
The artist Nicoletta Boris‘s one hundreds little paper boats will float on the Arno river between Ponte Vecchio and Ponte alla Carraia.
The Florentine performer will free the boats, one meter long and she will let them go along the river flow. The shape of the boats is very simple as she used the technique of the traditional folding of the paper. Then as soon as they arrive at Ponte alla Carraia they will be taken, let them dry and displayed for a charity auction.
The used paper is 100% biodegradable and plasticised with corn starch (mater-Bi). This material is given by the sponsor of the show, the Italian consortium for the recycling of paper and paper boxes.

What's on this weekend and the next...

Here some events of Tuscany on the weekends of October

10th edition of Boccaccesca: Certaldo food and craft festival, with lots of stalls and restaurants. Tasting and cooking lessons held by famous chefs, taste itineraries set up in the courtyards, gardens and streets of the old village.

Markets in Florence:

Farmers' market in Piazza del Carmine (4, october)

Pottery fair in Piazza Santissima Annunziata (4.5 October)

Crafts and flea market in Piazza Santo Spirito (12, october)

International market in Santa Croce (2 - 5, october)

Antiques fair: in the gardens around Fortezza da Basso, viale Strozzi (18, 19 october)

Chestnut Festival in several cities of Mugello: in Marradi (5,12,19,26 October), in Vicchio (12,19 October), in Lucolena near Greve in Chianti (19, october) in Vinci (26 October).

"Schiacciata con l'uva" festival. The schiacciata con l'uva is a typical tuscan cake made with bread and grapefruit.

Discover the Valdorcia and Siena province by using ancient locomotives and steam trains: get off at romantique stations, follow paths that lead to churches villages and castles, to taste local food and wines in typical farms. (5, 12, 19, 26 October). Leaving from Siena main station at 9.45/10.10 am and come back at 6.05 pm.

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