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Tag Archives: Florence

Beyond Art: Other Attractions to Experience in Florence

Whenever travel to Italy is mentioned, it is almost inevitable to include the city of Florence in the discussion. Declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982, and ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Florence is the capital of the lush region of Tuscany and is considered as the birthplace of the Renaissance. It was also a center of trade during medieval times, and to this day, it remains a major economic center. As one can expect from a city that is steeped in culture and history, almost every street and every corner boasts a historical building or a work of art (because even the door knockers here are sights to behold). However, other than your usual tour of galleries and museums, there are still a myriad other interesting places to see and things to do in beautiful Firenze. Here is [...]

Enchanted by Florence’s Museums

Ever since I watched the lush and romantic film version of E. M Forster ‘s classic tale of Italian adventure and young love, I, like the chaperoned heroine Lucy Honeychurch “longed to wake up in Florence and fling wide the windows and lean out into the sunshine”. I have been lucky enough to visit the splendid city of Florence and succumb to its so aptly described “pernicious charms” a number of times over the years since I first was enamoured with those beautiful words. Young ladies are no longer chaperoned by maiden aunts and Baedekers have been discarded for smart phone apps and Kindle e-guides, but Florence is a city that still enchants the modern traveler with age-old charms. My favorite place to start is in the Loggia in the stately Piazza della Signoria. The sculptures that sit underneath curved arches cover centuries of artistic history from the Roman to [...]

The Art Enthusiast’s Guide to Touring Italy

It’s pretty common knowledge that Italy is one of the world’s top travel destinations from an art appreciation perspective. This entire country is virtually an open air art museum: ancient ruins, natural beauty, stunning architecture and icons of Christendom pop up everywhere you look. If you’re looking to soak up history, culture and art all in one place, look no further than this amazing Southern European nation. Italy is never lacking in artistic attractions. In fact, the Vatican museums alone have enough treasures to literally keep you occupied for months if you take the time to look at the pieces for just a minute each. If you add in all the historical sites, churches, galleries and buildings in other Italian cities, you can stay in the country for years and still not see everything its artists have to offer. Of course, the key to getting a fulfilling art appreciation experience [...]

The Traveler’s Guide to Touring Italy by Train

Whenever the name Italy is mentioned, most people would automatically think of Rome and the sovereign Vatican City within it. To a certain degree, it can’t be helped. The Eternal City and the Holy See are some of the world’s greatest travel destinations. However, Italy has a lot of other great locales that you shouldn’t miss when you’re there for a Vacation. Places like Florence, Venice, Tuscany and Milan all have their unique charms, culture, food and art that are distinct from the rest of Italy.

Festa di San Giovanni Battista in Florence

On the 24th of June the city  celebrates it’s patron saint, San Giovanni Battista, who english speakers know as St. John the Baptist, with the Festa di San Giovanni Battista in Florence.  This saint has long been connected with the city of Florence and has been celebrated since the 13th century. The entire day is filled with festivities, beginning with an early morning mass in the Baptistery of the main cathedral – Duomo, The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. Next is a procession that begins at the Palazzo Vecchio, made up of the cities political leaders and representatives from each of the cities historic districts and members of the Society of Saint John the Baptist, carrying silk flags, to The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore.   When the procession reaches the Duomo, votive offerings are made to the holy relic of Saint John the Baptist which is brought through [...]

How to Tour Italy on a Budget

Even with the Euro crisis, the European currency is strong against the U.S. Dollar.  Here are some of Tour Italy Now’s best tips on how to tour Italy on a budget. Eating and drinking Picnics are a great way to practice some Italian, eat like the locals and relax in a pretty, green space. Find a local market, or alimentari – grocery store and stock up on cold meats and cheese sliced to order and fresh bread and local fruits and head to a park for your foraged feast. Pizza and gelato are both delicious and inexpensive.  A pizza is rarely more than 10 euros a person and even the smallest scoop of gelato is a pretty generous serving size.  During the day look for pizza a taglia, pizza by the slice or tramazzini filled triangle shaped sandwiches. At restaurants, look for the Menu de Giorno.  This is often a [...]

Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

  The Maggio Musicale Fiorentino is an annual opera and arts festival held in Florence at two exciting venues; The historic Teatro Communale and the brand new Teatro dell’Opera di Firenze.  This year the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino festival will take place from the 2nd of May to the 25th of June. The first Maggio Musicale Fiorentino was held in 1933 and was created by conductor Vittorio Gui.   Gui wished to revive little known and neglected operas and present them to public in a visually dramatic way. The very first performance was of Guiseppe Verdi’s now iconic opera, Nabucco.  The first festival was a huge success and with little interruption has now become an highly anticipated annual event. It has expanded to now include not just opera but classical musical performances and ballet. Always attracting some of the most well known names and personalities the 2013 festival is no different.  [...]

American Girl in Italy, 60 Years Later

This stunning photograph by Ruth Orkin, of a tall American woman walking down a street in Florence in the early 1950s, is one of the better known photographs of the 20th century. If you’ve never seen it before, you have to agree it’s a work of art, one that generated controversy for the obscene gesture of the man on the left. The photographer, an American named Ruth Orkin, shot the photograph of this American, one Ninalee Craig, one fine day in Florence. The two met each other when they were traveling, separately and on their own, an unusual thing for young women to do at that time. Orkin thought it would be fine to spend the day shooting pictures of the statuaesque Craig. In addition to the street corner moment, she took pictures of Craig in cafes and in a sports car. (See below.) Some people wondered if the American [...]

The Jersey Shore Does Florence, We Hope You Do Too…

So the Jersey Shore does Florence! We thought we’d let the Jersey Shore Season Four get off the ground before commenting on what it’s like seeing this group on the ultimate Italy vacation. As it turns out, last week’s season debut got the highest ratings ever. We know part of the reason is that the show was shot in Florence, one of the most beautiful cities in the most beautiful country in the world! If you missed the season premiere, here’s an Episode One recap from Rolling Stone Magazine. We note that the group got lost in Florence, something that would not happen if they were on an escorted tour with Tour Italy Now, tee hee! If you’re watching the show, you won’t get to see all that much of Florence, it’s a backdrop to be sure, but remember last spring the mayor of Florence banned Jersey Shore from taping [...]

The New Hotel “Bed” Tax: Yes in Florence, Not Yet in Venice

We wanted to update Tour Italy Now readers with the latest on the so-called bed tax that goes into effect in Florence on July 1. The tax is pegged to a hotel’s star rating, one euro per star. The math is simple enough. Two nights in a four-star hotel in Florence will include a tax of eight euro per person. (2 nights X 4 starts X 2 people = 16 euros! And we must point out that it’s more a guest tax than a bed tax!) But pray tell just how will the bed tax in Florence work? Confusion abounds on that point! As Tour Italy Now understands it, the tax will be collected either at check-in or check-out in cash. Yes, cash. We also understand that the tax will be levied on travelers who paid in advance for their hotels, but that point is not perfectly clear. Bottom line: [...]