You have only a day – what a pity! We mustn’t waste anytime! This is a walk that will take us to the very heart of religious and political power in Florence:
Florence is a concentration of unique wonders we have seen hundreds of times in documentaries and newstories. But there are precious aspects of the city that will disclose themselves only to those who explore it at a more relaxed pace. I would like to offer you a different experience, one steeped in history and anecdotes of daily life in the bygone days. An itinerary off the beaten path that will allow you to discover frescoed refectories as well as « buchette » (small windows through which wine was sold from the palaces of upper-class families), wayside shrines as well as chapels of fraternal orders and less-known churches and piazzas. Local craftspeople with their shops are an important part of this itinerary, as they have always defined the city of Florence. The finishing touch on the tour will be an ancient and prestigious pharmacy.
Everyone knows that Tuscan dishes, especially those specific to Florence, are the pride of Italian cuisine. This is a well-known fact throughout Tuscany. But if you are not from this region, you probably don’t know what the authentic Florentine dishes actually are. When speaking of Italy from a culinary point of view, we must in fact bear in mind that not only each region, but even each city and sometimes each town and village have their own, jealously-fostered traditions. Rivalry between towns is very strong and is one of the greatest assets of these lands, especially when it comes to food. Indoor farmer’s markets in Italy aren’t only picturesque because of the colors of the fruit and vegetables displayed but more importantly because they are the natural showcase of the highest-quality local foods. And, if you think Italian cuisine is only about pasta, pizza and Spritz, this delectable incursion will surely make you change your mind!
Florence is home to 53 museums, and given its high quality cultural heritage it is quite a challenge to address this aspect of the city here. For this reason you will find a concise description of those I have chosen. You should however keep in mind that the museum options are many and varied and that in order to visit them we must book well in advance. Their worldwide fame of some of Florence’s museums inevitably attracts large crowds and the lines to enter are long and unnerving. You can find here below a selection of museums gathered according to the themes of the artwork displayed.
Florence is a Roman city but, just seven kilometres for the city centre, is the Etruscan Fiesole of the fifth to fourth centuries B.C. standing on a hill with panoramic views. A visit to Fiesole is a leap into Tuscany and Italy’s distant past. With its traces of the ancient, the medieval and the Renaissance, our walk will show us a wonderful civilisation and the development of a whole area that was heavily populated over the centuries. The numerous Renaissance villas and Queen Victoria’s beloved belvedere also testify to that.
Vinci is not only the great Leonardo’s surname but the name of the little village on top of an enchanting hill, 44 kilometres from Florence, where he was born in 1452. The area where he lived as a child stretches over the slopes of Mount Albano and provides glimpses of the fertile, varied countryside with olive trees, cypresses and vineyards.
Going in search of the genius Leonardo is a good excuse for going on a trip to one of the most enchanting parts of the Tuscan countryside.
Chianti – a word that evokes history, wine and good food, all at the same time. This fine wine, famous throughout the world, was already well known in the 15th century and was even exported to foreign courts. But what is Chianti exactly? Certainly we don’t drink the wine of a thousand years ago. Its history is also the history of a region, the whole region of Tuscany. There are different kinds of Chianti: the Ruffino, the Montalbano… but the Gallo Nero (black cock) is the object of this outing. The most famous Chianti vineyards in the world stretch out on the slopes of the lower Apennines south of Florence, as do olive groves, on land that is completely uncontaminated, with wonderful panoramic views in every season. Everyone who spends a day in Chianti falls in love with this generous and naturally beautiful area.
Building villas began at the same time as the first stirrings of humanism, the discovery of classical writers and the study of Greek and Roman ruins. More than any other kind of building, it is the daughter of humanism, renewed faith in mankind and nature and the discovery of the classical origins of Italian culture. The gardens beside the new residences were transformed into microcosms where nature was recreated and man dominated and reduced it to known forms. The renewed interest in alchemy, the botanical novelties imported from the New World, the debate on the man/nature role are only some of the sources of inspiration for the new landscapes created by ars topiaria. These sculptures became a pretext for cultured citations of divinity.