Posts Tagged ‘florence’

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21
Jan

A culinary journey through Tuscany – top dishes to try

Everybody loves Italian food – but what if we told you there is no such thing? The truth is, in Italy there is only regional Italian food. Each region offers delicious and unique dishes based on its long history and location using the most fresh and simple ingredients of the season including many legumes, cheeses, vegetables and fruits.

Tuscan food is based on the Italian idea of cucina povera or “poor cooking.” A concept that started very literally, it is about simple meals that are inexpensive and could easily be made in large amounts. Although the food may be simple, it is rich in flavor, very hearty and quite filling. All meals are served accompanied by the regional bread: a white, plain, unsalted loaf. This tradition dates back to the 16th century when there was a tax put on salt, changing the way locals thought about baking bread. This old tradition of unsalted bread has carried on and now marks Tuscan bread apart from other regions in Italy.

Crostini. Photo credit: http://www.emikodavies.com/

Crostini. Photo credit: http://www.emikodavies.com/

The bread is also flavored by using a variety of ingredients for crostini such as crostini di fegatini (liver paté) or the simple and delicious fettunta, a grilled slice of bread with garlic, olive oil and salt. Other appetizers that you will commonly come across are wooden cutting boards covered with cured meats which include prosciutto, lard from “Colonnata” and different types of sausages, all cured for long periods of time creating distinct, rich flavors.

Ribollita. Photo credit: Kent Wang

Ribollita. Photo credit: Kent Wang

Also stemming from history, many Tuscan dishes were invented based on the principle of “waste not” such as ribollita – a Tuscan vegetable and bread soup, pappa al pomodoro – a tomato and bread soup or panzanella – tomatoes and stale bread salad (which is soaked in water). The salad usually has red onion, basil and perhaps cucumber added and is seasoned with olive oil, wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Other first course dishes in Tuscany are simple pastas such as pappardelle alla lepre o al sugo di cinghiale, a fresh, egg noodle pasta with either a hare or wild boar sauce.

Pappa al Pomodoro. Photo credit:  http://babyclub.iper.it/

Pappa al Pomodoro. Photo credit: http://babyclub.iper.it/

One Tuscan specialty to which Florentines are particularly beholden is trippa (tripe, the stomach lining of a cow), most popularly served as trippa alla fiorentina, tripe strips or cubes casseroled with vegetables and topped with tomato sauce and parmigiano.

If you are keen on trying quirky street food, don’t miss lampredotto, which is the fourth stomach of the cow. Queue behind workers, students and tourists and order it in one of the many stands throughout Florence: you’ll have a panino soaked in broth, a generous serving of lampredotto and a good scoop of salsa verde. Add black pepper too.

Lampedrotto. Photo credit: Visit Tuscany

Lampedrotto. Photo credit: Visit Tuscany

Of course, we cannot talk about Tuscan cuisine and forget to mention the famous Florentine T-bone steak (Bistecca alla Fiorentina), which comes from a special cow breed, the Chianina. Thickly cut and very large, served very rare alongside roasted potatoes or Tuscan beans and is often shared between two or more persons.

For dessert lovers, Castagnaccio is the best option. It is a traditional cake made with chestnut flour, very common in the Apennine mountainous area of Tuscany, and it can be eaten all year round!

Il Salviatino highly recommend you to try all these suggestions if you want to experience the essence of Tuscany.

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14
Jan

Beautiful bridges worth visiting in Florence

When in Florence, it’s hard to miss the Arno River. This magnificent river flows from Mount Falterona, down through Florence, Empoli, and finally Pisa, where it flows into the sea.

Several bridges span the Arno in Florence, all of which can be crossed on foot and all but the Ponte Vecchio permit cars to cross. From east to west, the bridges in order are: Ponte San Niccolò, Ponte alle Grazie, Ponte Vecchio, Ponte Santa Trinita, Ponte alla Carraia and Ponte Amerigo Vespucci.

Here’s a bit of information about the three bridges that crosses the Arno in the historic centre of Florence.

Ponte Vecchio

Photo credit 1: http://www.aboutflorence.com/

Photo credit: http://www.aboutflorence.com/

Built very close to the Roman crossing, the Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge, was until 1218 the only bridge across the Arno in Florence. The current bridge was rebuilt after a flood in 1345. During World War II it was the only bridge across the Arno that the fleeing Germans did not destroy. Instead they blocked access by demolishing the medieval buildings on each side. On November 4, 1966, the bridge miraculously withstood the tremendous weight of water and silt when the Arno once again burst its banks.

Ponte Santa Trinita

Photo credit: @chiccaprincipi via Instagram

 

Named for the church of Santa Trinita nearby, this is probably the third oldest bridge in Florence – although it was rebuilt many times. The way we see it now is the way it was reconstructed after nazi bombing. The elliptical form of the arches has been paraleled to the curve of the top of the tombs in the Medici Chapels. At the center of each arch is a white marble cartouche, and at either end of the bridge there are two allegorical statues representing the four seasons from 1608. After the bombing of 1944, the statues were fished out of the Arno, but the head of Spring has never been found.

Ponte alla Carraia

Photo credit: http://fotodispalle.blogspot.it/

Photo credit: http://fotodispalle.blogspot.it/

The first mention of the bridge (then built in wood) dates from 1218. Destroyed by a flood in 1274, it was soon reconstructed, but fell down again in 1304 under the weight of a crowd who had met to watch a spectacle. It was the first bridge in the city rebuilt after the 1333 flood, perhaps under design of Giotto. Again damaged in 1557, it was remade by will of Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici. Enlarged during the 19th century, the bridge was blown up by the retreating German Army during World War II (1944). Apparently, though, when the bridge was re-opened in 1952, citizens criticized its particularly heightened curve, nicknaming it Ponte Gobbo (hunchback).

During your stay at Il Salviatino ask your ambassador about the leisure cruise down the Arno and admire all the bridges and the city from a totally different perspective.

 http://thingstodo.viator.com/

Photo credit: http://thingstodo.viator.com/

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31
Dec

What to do in Florence for New Year’s Eve

Florence is one of the favourite cities in Italy to spend New Year’s Eve, thanks to its varied offer of complimentary entertainment organized in the city center.

Two main squares will be the scenarios of the celebration of New Year’s Eve in Florence: The Piazza Pitti and Piazza della Signoria. For the first time in Florentine history, the Piazza Pitti will host the end-of-year celebrations. The traditional New Year’s Eve big concert will include the performance of Italian main artists such as Irene Grandi, the Streets Clerks and Alessandro Mannarino.

Capodanno 2015 firenze-2Photo credit: www.firenzetoday.it

However, the historical center will offer plenty of other interesting musical events to satisfy the different interests of the crowd. First of all, there will be a gospel concert featured during the evening in Piazza Santissima Annunziata thanks to the Cleveland Gospel Singers.

On the other hand, Piazza San Lorenzo will also offer new events with the participation of the British Singer Sarah Jane Morris and Nico Gori’s Tentet Swing.

In the fabulous location of Piazza della Signoria, under the Loggia dei Lanzi- also a highlight of the celebrations of New Year’s Eve in Florence- will offer instead a classical music concert. This year the Akademic Symphony orchestra of Chernivsti Philharmonic Society, conducted by Giuseppe Lanzetta, will play Viennese waltzes. Don’t miss it!

We take this opportunity to wish you, from all of us at Il Salviatino, a lot of fun for tonight and a fantastic 2016!

 

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23
Dec

Enjoy New Year’s Eve in Florence

Anyone who decides to spend New Year’s Eve in the capital of Tuscany will find themselves living an amazing experience. Florence is a city full of activities for you to enjoy the last day of 2015.

To be part of the ambience surrounding the celebrations of New Year’s Eve you will have to visit the five main squares across the city where different concerts and live performances take place. At midnight you won’t want to miss the official municipal fireworks. The very best views are offered from Ponte Vecchio or anywhere along the banks of the Arno River.

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Another fantastic way to ring in the New Year is to enjoy a great dinner before midnight, and the New Year’s Eve Package that Il Salviatino offers is the perfect plan. It includes its Gala Dinner where you will find an exclusive buffet followed by served dishes in an elegant and relaxed atmosphere. Guests will have the option to choose among a variety of different dishes which include seafood or Rissoto. At midnight Il Salviatino offers a small buffet with typical Italian desserts to start 2015 in the sweetest way!

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17
Dec

Richard Ginori or the art of creating porcelain

The Richard Ginori porcelain manufactory is a worldwide renowned Florentine institution, founded by Marquis Carlo Ginori in 1735 in the town of Doccia, near Florence. The elegant, handcrafted porcelain goods are shown in museums around the world and have graced the tables of the wealthy and famous. The decorations followed the styles of each era: from Romantic  subjects during the 18th century, to modern designs during the direction of Giò Ponti at the beginning of the 20th century, passing by decorations inspired by the Italian Macchiaioli School of painting. Many collections are hand-painted with precious metal decorations and some of the original patterns are still produced today by using the same techniques as in the past.

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2013 was certainly a milestone in the history of the company that, at the time, was struggling due to recession and the general economic situation: in a spirit very similar to the one of the Florentine Maecenas of the Renaissance, the Gucci brand purchased the manufactory and brought it to a new life by appointing Alessandro Michele as artistic director and by creating in the historical Palazzo Ginori, in the city centre of Florence, a flagship store that looks a lot like a luxurious workshop.

If you are thinking of visiting the Manifattura di Doccia museum or doing some shopping in the magnificent Richard Ginori store ask your Service Ambassador at Il Salviatino for hints and directions.

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11
Dec

The Carriage museum, the hidden jewel in the Pitti Palace

If you are visiting Florence this winter you’ll find art in every corner of the city. To prove this key principle we are bringing you today a great example of the aristocratic Firenze society represented in the Carriage museum, housed in the different rooms of the Pitti Palace.

Fine examples of five different carriages used by the Lorraine and Savoy court during the XVIII and XIX century is what you will find when visiting the Carriage Museum.

Ferdinando III of Lorraine's carriage. Source: www.museumsinflorence.com/

Ferdinando III of Lorraine’s carriage. Source: www.museumsinflorence.com

The oldest carriage that can be seen in the museum is a coupé used for drives in the city, with a luxurious decoration. Its original owner is unknown but taking into account the quality of the carriage manufacture it is supposed the owner was a noble and a refined gentlemen.

But the museum’s most important piece is the silver carriage, whose decoration seems to be taken out of a fairytale. During the first years of the XIX century, the silver carriage belonged to the king of Naples, Ferdinand II di Borbone, and was later brought to Florence by the Savoys, who addressed this new acquisition to their own collection.

If you are interested in finding more about this enchanting museum, come to Florence and don’t forget to book a room at Il Salviatino which has a cradle of history in its own.

 

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6
Nov

“Off the beaten paths” activities to do in Florence

Florence is one of the most visited cities in the world thanks to its renaissance masterpieces and impressive architecture. After you have visited the artistic and architectural treasures, you should explore these 6 hidden gems in Florence:

1. Armor collection at the Stibbert Museum

The Stibbert Museum is indeed a beautiful hidden gem containing some of the most extensive collections of historic European, Islamic and Japanese armor in the world. With an impressive display of paintings and art it’s something you have to see to believe.

Source: www.suitecasestories.com

Source: www.suitecasestories.com

2. CLET’s studio

The French artist Clet Abraham has found a way to inject a contemporary sense of irreverence into Florence’s artistic legacy. He is known for transforming the city street signs into works of arts using removable stickers. Visiting his studio in the San Niccolò neighborhood can give you a fresh look of today’s art.

Source: www.bitemytrip.com

Source: www.bitemytrip.com

3. Giardino Bardini

Giardini Bardini is a garden restored by Stefano Bardini in the 1900’s. This garden offers you an intimate alternative to enjoy the beautiful views of the city, with tiny grottos and peaceful spaces it allows you to find quietness in the centre of Florence.

Source: Putneypics @https://www.flickr.com/38983646@N06/

Source: Putneypics @https://www.flickr.com/38983646@N06/

4. Vasari Corridor

Giorgio Vasari built this corridor as a private walkway for the Medicis to walk between the offices and their residence. This long passage contains a collection of self-portraits of many artists of the 20th century. Walking through this corridor is a unique experience; make sure you plan a visit!

 

Source: www.myitaliangetaway.com

Source: www.myitaliangetaway.com

5. Craft shops of the Otrarno

The Vasari Corridor ends in the Oltrarno neighborhood. Walk through the labyrinthine streets around Palazzo Pitti and you will find many artisans’ workshops. You’ll be in the heaven of handmade shoes, leather items, jewels, ceramics, just to name a few.

 

Source: Francesco Guazzelli

Source: Francesco Guazzelli

6. Anatomical wax models at La Specola

La Specola was one of the first museums of science open to the general public. Today you can find a vast collection of taxidermied animals and the world’s largest collection of anatomical waxes. The models are impressive for to their extraordinarily realistic aspect.

 

Source: www.koutrouza.wordpress.com

Source: www.koutrouza.wordpress.com

And, of course, after your time spent discovering the hidden treasure of the city, we’ll be waiting for you at Il Salviatino!

 

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30
Oct

Urban Legend: La Berta

The beautiful city of Florence is famous for its art and history, but beneath the stories of artists, lay tales of spirits and mysteries. Taking advantage of the Halloween mood, today we want to share with you one of the most famous urban legends of our city.

Although Santa Maria Maggiore is one of the oldest churches in the city and it’s full of important works of art, that aren’t the main attraction that it offers. This church, built in pietra forte and with no decoration on the outside, has a peculiarity: there is a marble sculpture of a head in a wall.

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/47850814767208247/

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/47850814767208247/

The legend is that a man accused of witchcraft was being dragged to Piazza Santa Croce to meet his death by being burned alive. As he passed by Santa Maria Maggiore, a friar leaned his head out a small window and advised the soldiers not to give the man a drink as it would prevent him from dying since he had a pact with the Devil. The monk shout “You won’t drink anymore”, to which the enchanted replied “and you won’t take out your head from there anymore”. When he said those words, the monk turned into stone and trapped his head on the side of the church for eternity.

Source: www.florenceconcierge.info

Source: www.florenceconcierge.info

As we are talking about an urban legend, it isn’t certain that it actually happened and there are other theories about the stone head – it could have been even a woman and not a monk-.The head is now known as “La Berta”, it’s about human size and is so high in the wall that you might not notice it unless you look carefully or if someone points you in the right direction.

If you need directions or if you want to know some other urban legends don’t hesitate to ask us at Il Salviatino!

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16
Oct

Magnificence: The Greatness of Art and Humans

If you’re visiting Florence in October, you might be overwhelmed by the number of exhibitions you’ll find in the city. Don’t worry—it’s easy to get lost. But we’re here to help! Make sure you don’t miss Magnificent, a wonderful installation closing this month.

Magnificence

Source: www.magnificentfirenze.it

 

Magnificent will walk you through a charming story, based on real events that happened in Florence centuries ago, but that it’s still relatable today. The exhibition gives you a chance to experience the city’s art in a different way: combining famous paintings and sculptures, with video art. Andrea Bocelli will guide you through this experience, put together by Felice Limosani. The screenings take place every 30 minutes at the incredible scenario that is the Sala D’Arme in the Palazzo Vecchio.

Remember, you’ve only got until the 31st to experience Magnificent! After that, come and tell us what you thought at Il Salviatino.

 

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8
Oct

Modern Art & Religion: Divine Beauty

If you’re in Florence this time of year, you are one lucky pal. You’re avoiding the summer crowds and you’re experiencing just the beginning of autumn, a perfect moment to start crawling into warm closed spaces. Our favorites are bars and museums, and if you prefer the latter, today we bring you one exhibition that you won’t want to miss.

Divine Beauty

Source: http://www.palazzostrozzi.org/

 

Divine Beauty: From Van Gogh to Chagall and Fontana will walk you through religious art reinterpreted by the biggest contemporary artists. The exhibition, held at Palazzo Strozzi, reunites artworks by more than 100 Italian and international artists from the mid-19th to mid-20th century. Van Gogh, Millet, Picasso, Ernst and Matisse’s paintings are included in this amazing collection. Their takes on religion, art and the clash between both will amaze you!

 

Divine Beauty is part of a series of events planned to run alongside the Fifth National Bishops Conference, which will be held in Florence in November and will be attended by Pope Francis. After a day full of art, get a good night sleep at Il Salviatino!

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