Tour Of Florence’s Most Elegant Balcony, Fiesole.

A Walking tour around Florence to discover Italy like a local. 

fiesole

Discover Fiesole – source

 

Total distance covered Km: 10
Escursion time : 5 hours
Meeting time: 9 am Fiesole main square

This is an itinerary that will show you all the beauty of Florence from its most elegant and
prestigious balcony: Fiesole.
Beginning from the heart of the Etruscan town, the walk winds through charming alleys, ancient churches, Etruscan tombs, olive groves and woods, villas, and stunning city views. Soon you leave the asphalt to enter the Park Monte Ceceri a path used for centuries by generations of stonemasons to reach the quarries of sandstone -

Michelangelo himself came here to learn his art – and with which most of palaces and castles in the surroundings are built with the stone mined here. Along the
walk memories of Renaissance artists like, Leonardo, Rossellino, Da Maiano, that lived and worked here. The way ends in the lovely hamlet of Settignano where the writer D’annunzio, Eleonora Duse,  Lord Acton, lived last century.

On request, I may organize a group lunch in a trattoria al fresco.
* Language: Italian / English
Tour lead by Angelica Turi

 

 

 

Villa Holidays In the Heart of Tuscany

Amazing Tuscan Villa Stay with wine and food experience.

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The Soleado holidays home is situated on a beautiful hill resort in Pillo, in the municipality of Gambassi Terme. The Pillo village was founded thanks to the Old Via Francigena that crossed it and which even today numerous pilgrims still follow its historic route on foot. It is a pretty village set among the hills of the Chianti region from where you can easily reach the art cities and medieval villages.

Therefore, Soleado is located in the heart of Tuscany, a few kilometers from the most important historic-cultural city as Florence, Pisa, Siena and San Gimignano; set among hills and the most important historical tracks, it offers the opportunity to enjoy pleasant days between history and nature at the same time.

Soleado is not only that!

The enogastronomic experience that awaits you will be unique! You really have to try flavors and smells of the Tuscan tradition through itineraries in old cellars and real winemakers ready to accompany you in this unforgettable experience. Nearby the Villa you can find “Villa Pillo”, a traditional Tuscan Farm located in the heart of the Chianti area. Because of a strong focus on quality in both the vineyard and winery, Villa Pillo is fast becoming a point of reference in the Tuscan wine world.
Furthermore, they will be right the owners of the villa that on your arrival will recommend places where you can taste traditional Tuscan food or just where you can buy excellent fresh bread every day.

Why stay here?

The Soleado holiday home is thus the ideal place to spend your vacation in perfect harmony between relaxation and the desire to discover Tuscany’s artistic, landscape and food and wine attractions.

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Food Lovers Tour in Florence

Florence does not only offers art, culture and architecture but as in any other Italian city it offers a vast array of foods and wines. This tour offers a possibly to explore gelato, espresso, chanti wine, and a visit to the central food market in the city. Not to be missed by any food lover!

Tour Guide: Juliane

I am German, 49 years old, deeply in love with Italy. I lived in Florence for 30 years and I am an Art History major, with 24 years experience as guide and tour manager.

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Florence market food and wine tour – source

 Customized private tour, not more than 8 participants.

Central Food Market Hall of Florence, visit and tastings:
Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Truffles, Tuscan Specialities.
Walking tour along all the most important monuments: Duomo, Signoria Square, Ponte Vecchio. Stops for more tastings: gelato, lesson on Italian Coffee, Wine, Prosecco or Grappa, street food such as tripe and good Italian Panini.

Possibility to include the David of Michelangelo.

Duration: about 4 hrs

Meeting point: Pick up in your hotel, or at the Bell Tower of the Duomo.
Entrance fee for the Accademia Museum (David): 16,00 E. per person

Florence Art Guided Tours With a Licensed Guide

Itinerary proposed: Duomo -Piazza Signoria-Pontevecchio-Santa Croce

Firenze

Guided art tour of Florence with a licensed guide – source

 

This guided tour of Florence is offered by Giuliana.

Giuliana holds official guides liscenses for the cities of Florence and Lucca. Her basic training is in Art history and she has a degree in Art history from the University of Pisa. She published her thesis in on Sacred Art in 1986 , specifically on the ancient goldsmiths and the translucid enamels of the old Luccan Dioceses. She obtained her Florentine guide’s liscence in 1992 and since then she has been active not only as a guide but as a writer and collaborator on projects designed to promote and preserve Florence’s cultural heritage. She was a regular contributor to a Florentine magazine where she had a column focusing on the art of the city. In 1997 she contributed an article to the book ‘The Renaissance Chapels of Florence’ . In recent years she collaborated with the provincial authorities on a project to promote the Park of Pratolino, known to many as the park of Villa Demidoff, and was involved in the publishing of a brief but complete guide to the park. She has also taught a course for the British Institute of Florence, on Giotto and his followers. Giuliana Grillotti is an appraiser of the Florentine Court House. Owner since 2003 NCC licence and minivan for tours into the real Tuscany

Holiday Shopping Spree Designer Outlets in Florence

Shopping in Italy has always been a tempting pastime for tourists and locals, with Florence being one of the most alluring destinations. For Gucci, Prada and other prestigious fashion brands’ hunters who cannot afford shopping for latest designs in the new collections, driving 30 to 90 minutes away from the city for discounted voguish garments could be the ultimate solution. Outlets on the outskirts of Florence and all around Tuscany are long acknowledged for their versatility of affordable upmarket goods and haute couture brands.
Details on location, brands and overall information on most of the trendy destinations can be found below:

The Mall (Designer Outlet Mall in Tuscany)

Prada outlet in Florence – source

Factory Outlet Shopping Malls

PRADA –also known as Space Outlet, it is located within 60 minutes car drive south of Florence at Strada Statale 69, Levanella Spacceo Montevarchi. Though finding the place might be challenging for first-time visitors, the trip is definitely worth it: being one of the most popular factory outlets, it is a perfect destination for Prada fans. Last years’ collections of clothing, shoes and accessories include items by various store lines such as Miu Miu, Jill Sander, Church. Prices may drop up to 75% during sales and special promotion times.

THE MALL – with 30 minutes’ drive from Florence by car through A1 freeway (Via Europa 8, Leccio – Reggello), thus far, this place has been one of the most famous and visited Factory outlets. Multiple stores include Italian top-selling brands such as Gucci, Dior, Amrani, Valentino, as well as international ones like Burberry, Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and more. Discounts vary from 30% and up depending on the season and the item on sale.

DOLCE E GABBANA – situated in close proximity to the Mall outlet on Via S.Maria Maddalena, 49 Incisa in Val d’Arno, the two-story building contains earlier collections and sales remains of the brand footwear, clothes and lingerie. Special promotions of items previously sold in boutiques and designer stores are available as well.

Outlet Villages and Designer Malls



BARBERINO – the relatively new designer outlet can be reached within 40 minute car drive off the A1 highway heading up north Florence, in the “Sieve” Valley. With over 100 boutiques, the open-air shopping center planning was influenced by the Renaissance architecture, its layout being a combination of fashion and historic culture. A wide array of branded goods can be found, including Calvin Klein, Prada, Lacoste, Polo Ralph Laurent, Coccinelle and many more.

VALDICHIANA – for those pursuing an extensive shopping experience, the Valdichiana outlet village, which is an hour’s car drive from Florence, should be the right place to go. A spacious complex with paved walkways, children’s playgrounds and over 130 stores combine a wide assortment of high fashion brands of domestic and international origin. Discounts on numerous goods labelled Baldanini, Gaudi, Timberland, Guess, Swatch etc. are valid all year round.

Premium Brands’ Outlets

FENDI The luxurious outlet is dedicated entirely to Fendi product lines from eyewear to shoes, posh bags and clothing. Bargain prices on last years’ collections are reduced by 30% and some items are being sold at 60% discounts in the sales season.

ROBERTO CAVALLI The outlet is featuring authentic fashion items by the world leading from previous collections. Glamorous outfit, small accessories and other wearables are available at astounding prices saving up to 75% of the original cost. Located north-east of Florence on Via Volturno 3, close to the IKEA building, it takes only 20 minutes of car driving from Florence.

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The winter and the summer sales seasons occur twice a year – from mid-January till mid-March and from mid-July till mid-September, respectively. It is recommended to arrive at the opening hours to avoid the hassle of waiting in lines. Besides driving by car, there are always options for ordering shuttles, booking guided tours or using a combination of taxi and public transportation.

Shopping tour from Florence.

Our company would be delighted to organise a shopping outlet tour from Florence for you party. We can pick you from your hotel in Florence brand new air-conditioned mini van. The fashion tours are fully customisable according your schedule and requirements.

Florence to Cinque Terre: an Easy Day Tour by Car

Tourists who visit Florence often use the chance to stop by proximate towns and villages renowned for their cultural value. Day tripping from Florence to Cinque Terre, which is located high on the Italian Riviera, is a popular route for those wishing to appreciate the scenery, exclusive architecture and historic background of the Five Lands.
The journey from the capital of Tuscany to Cinque Terre should take about three hours if made by train. On the way, it is possible to stop by two other locations: San Miniato – a notable commune in the Pisa province and Siena – an ancient Tuscan city rich with art and cultural traditions.

The Cinque Terre – five lands on top of the Italian Riviera

The five Mediterranean villages – Manarola, Corniglia, Monterosso, Vernazza and Riomaggiore – rest on a pebbly coastline characterized by steep ground. Unique views of the stone-wall network – an admirable result of concentrated human work, alongside with the surrounding natural abundance make the main attraction of the area. Aspired for its splendor setting, Cinque Terre presents a rare combination of wildlife and antique buildings with grape terraces. Sloppy terrain, fishermen boats, local wine and salted anchovies all contribute to the memorable atmosphere. Each village has its special point of interest – Maranola, for example, being the oldest of the five villages, is distinctive with the biggest lighted nativity in the world activated during the months of December and January.

San Miniato: between Pisa and Florence

Located in the Arno River valley San Miniato is famous for its ancient fortresses and cathedrals as well as modern cultural entertainments. One of the most prominent events is the annual White Truffle Festival taking part in late October and November during the season of these exquisite delicacies. For gourmet fans, wine-tasting and truffle-hunting guided tours followed by meals are excellent opportunities to enjoy real-time experience and acquire knowledge about the local traditional cuisine.
Besides culinary attractions, social venues and cultural heritage can be found around the city as well. For example, Prato del Duomo is an upraised square enclosed by impressive buildings, such as the Bishop’s palace or Palazzo dei Vicari and the Cathedral. Bordering the Cathedral is the Diocesan Museum which offers a collection of artworks demonstrated in chronological order and accompanied by annotations. The famous Tower of Frederick II named after the Emperor is another worthy location offering an outstanding bird’s-eye view from its top, which covers the entire Arno River Valley and its surroundings.

Vista de Florencia desde San Miniato al Monte

Stunning view of San Miniato – source

 

Siena – the medieval city of Tuscany

Valued for its historical center, the capital city of the province of Siena is abundant with prestigious buildings dating back to the Middle Ages. Piazza del Campo – the shell-shaped main town square, recognized for its exquisite beauty comprises two main constructions: the Mangia Tower and the Palazzo Pubblico. To get a sense of Siena air, visitors can explore both buildings with an all-inclusive ticket which permits access to the Civic Museum and the Mangia Tower with its stunning panoramic scenery.
For those seeking family-friendly outdoor attractions combined with dining, the Orto de ‘Pecci restaurant would be a favorable choice. Encircled by vast greenery and speckled by fruit trees, completed by an orchard and a small animal farm, this nature site makes a perfect setting for a peaceful lunch break.
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Visitors arrive in Maranola, which is the first of the five Terre, may later continue to the other villages by foot, car or train. For tourists without a vehicle and those who do not wish to use public transportation private chauffeured tours can be organised by Emilia Delizia.

6 Amazing Excursions around Florence

Are you searching for a day trip from Florence? In that case, there are a lot of available destinations. Florence is well situated, allowing you quick access to the countryside or to destinations replete with a rich history. Below we’ve listed some of our favorite day trips easily reachable from Florence with minimal hassle.

Piazza del Campo, Siena

Siena is just amazing – source

 

Wine and cheese tours from Florence.

Chianti

The Chianti wine region is a must see destination for any wine fan! Beautiful landscapes, sophisticated tasting events, and much to see are available at only half an hour’s drive to the south of the city. Although more crowded than other wine regions in the area, there is a reason for this: the vineyards in villages like Panzano and San Casciano are incredible!

Orcia Valley

Of course, if you want to skip the touristy sections of Chianti and the crowds, then you cannot do much better than visiting the Orcia Valley, or Val d’Orcia. This region is considered one of the most beautiful countrysides in the world, and is part of the UNESCO’s World Cultural Landscapes. The different villages, vineyards, and farms in this region provide an unforgettable experience. Some of the best food in the world is concentrated in this beautiful valley, with cheeses, wines, and meat that are unrivaled. Unfortunately, getting to Orcia Valley from Florence is quite a bit more difficult than a day trip to Chianti. While Chianti is at a mere 30-minute drive, the Orcia Valley is two hours away and unreachable by train. A great option in this case may be to hire a driver, with many packages available for interested connoisseurs.

Montepulciano and Montalcino

These two beautiful towns are essential viewing for wine lovers. Montalcino is home of Brunello di Montalcino, considered by many as the best wine this country has to offer. Montepulciano produces Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, a wine that has been produced since Medieval times. The scenery and sampling of local cheeses and wines is an unforgettable experience.

Tours to historical towns.

Lucca

The architectural wonders are not limited to Florence itself. Only an hour west of Florence you will find beautiful Lucca. This city, replete with palaces, old roads, churches, and forts, provides a wonderful experience for walking or even biking. Fans of the opera will also want to visit Lucca since it is the birthplace of Puccini!

Pisa

No visit to the region would be complete without a visit to the Leaning Tower of Pisa (you will definitely want to get a photo of this spectacular attraction, which is unbelievable when seen up close and in person. However, once you see the Leaning Tower, there is still plenty to see in Pisa. The city is replete with beautiful Renaissance and Medieval art. There are also wonderful palaces and the Baptistery of Pisa, all of which are well worth the visit. You can usually include a visit to Lucca along with a day trip to Pisa, which is reachable through the high speed train. It’s usually a good idea to visit Pisa in the evening, to avoid the crowds (just check the closing times for the different attractions in this city.)

Siena

Siena has one of the most beautiful churches in Europe, with art by masters like Bernini, Donatello, and Michelangelo. The frescoes in the library are also absolutely stunning. The Siena piazza has an impressive tower from the fourteenth century. There is also plenty to see, from incredible frescoes and religious iconography to the head of St. Catherine, on display at her birthplace! You can usually see the most important sights in Siena in three to four hours with the help of a guide. Thanks to its location, it is possible to visit Siena and the Chianti wine region in the same day.

Who is Dario Cecchini? The Butcher of Panzano in Chianti

Are you visiting Tuscany any time soon? If yes, watching a butcher at work may not be at the top of your itinerary but we recommend that you take the chance anyway. Dario Cecchini is not just the most famous butcher in Tuscany. He has been referred to as the world’s greatest butcher and it’s easy to see why when you watch him at work with his various knives and cleavers. He practically transforms the act of butchering into an art. He has been known to attract such personalities as Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen and other such greats. People travel from near and far to watch him in small shop. With only 2 rooms in his shop, you will be lucky to get a spot.

Oh Dario!

Dario the Butcher seem to be very popular – source

His butchery is typical of any Italian butcher only better. All around, on counters, there are different cuts of meat that have been prepared in different ways depending on how they are supposed to be cooked. You will see seasoned meatballs, stuffed pork loin and many more. Dario doesn’t stop there. He ensures that every visitor who goes to see him gets a taste of some meat and some red wine. As you watch him preparing different meats, his small staff walks around handing everyone something to eat and drink.

Dario didn’t get started as a butcher. It runs in his family, with 6 generations before him making a living from this humble trade. He intended to become a vet and even went to veterinarian school to learn the skills of the trade. Life had other plans for him though and they were to transform his life forever. His father, who was a butcher, died suddenly and Dario had to step in and take over the business so as to be able to continue to provide his family with a livelihood. He did prove that he had a knack dealing with meat but vet studies didn’t go to waste. To this day, he ensures humane treatment of animals before they are killed and butchered.

So what makes him so different from other butchers? This famous butcher from Panzano in Chianti sets himself apart through his personality. He is open and welcoming and don’t be surprised if you walk into his shop and he stops what he is doing, cleans himself up and comes out from behind the counter to envelop you in a giant hug. At the same time, he can sometimes be heard reciting lines from Dante’s Inferno as he works. He enriches the lives of those around him with some kind of happy magic that comes from within.

Business has been good. From the 2 room butcher shop, he was able to open an art gallery next door, a Solociccia restaurant across the street. He has also utilized the top and the back of his shop to open 2 restaurants in one. During the day, you can enjoy a juicy MacDArio and if you come back in the night you will find Officina della Bistecca which can only be described as a carnivore’s haven and before each night starts, you will hear Dario shout a poignant question: to beef or not to beef? That is the question.

The Chianti area is also renowned for its wine, you can easily tour wineries with your own car or by a chauffeured mini van if you are travelling with your family or a group.

 

Going to Florence? Eat Bistecca alla Fiorentina

If you will be travelling to Florence anytime soon, you should prepare your palate for the delight that is Bistecca alla Fiorentina. What makes this meat dish so special is that it is made from only one ingredient; meat alone. It is a T-bone steak that’s at least 3 fingers thick. The meat isn’t from just any cow; it comes from Chianina cows which are found in Tuscany. Because the diet of the cows affects the taste of the meat, they are fed on very specific grasses that grow in the region and nothing else. The cows are left to wander free where only these grasses grow. They are usually slaughtered at the age of 2 years which means that the meat is very tender.

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Bistecca alla fiorentina – source

Bistecca alla Fiorentina stems from a centuries old tradition. It came about during celebrations to honor one of the Medici family which ruled for 200 years since the 13th century, Lorenzo de Medici. During the festivities, crowds would gather in the streets around fires and roast large chunks of meat. The tradition was easy to pass down because there were no additional ingredients to confuse people. Today, the meat is in the form of a T-bone steak that is prepared carefully over hot coals.

The quality of a Bistecca alla Fiorentina is determined by the quality of meat. It has to be very tender and it has to be ringed with a little fat. If you decide to prepare this little treat yourself, make sure that the T-bone steak that you choose has a lot of fillet – some butchers trim off fillet to make an extra buck. The best grilling results are achieved with woods such as ash and oak which add a special flavor and aromas to the meat. You don’t need to add salt or oil during the grilling process but once the steak is served, it can be sprinkled with a little olive oil and seasoning. This doesn’t mean that the meat needs any help – it is delicious just without olive oil or seasoning.

Grilling a Bistecca alla Fiorentina is a two step process. First, when the grill has become very hot the meat is placed on it for between 3 and 5 minutes. This is to harden the surface so that it can hold the juices in. After a crust forms, reduce the coals so that you have less heat for passive cooking. The meat is placed on the grill bone first and then roasted slowly. Traditionally, it is eaten rare but there is no reason why you cannot cook it until it is well done if that’s how you like your meat. It is usually served with baked potatoes and red wine.

If you plan to eat Bistecca alla Fiorrentina in a restaurant, you are better off getting recommendations from locals. Although many serve it, there are some that have distinguished themselves for serving excellent quality cuts. In some restaurants, you will even be able to choose a cut yourself and then have it roasted. If you choose this option, make sure you have a lot of time to wait for your Bistecca alla Fiorentina to roast. And if you are cooking it by yourself you can check our guide how to cook bistecca alla Fiorentina.

Day Trips ideas from Florence

According to the Guardian, Florence remains the epicenter for true Italian culture and heritage. There are, however, a number of quiet towns and restaurants that blanket this popular and inspiring city. Florence also has a backdrop with breathtaking scenery, including stunning mountains, wineries and monasteries that rejuvenate both body and soul. These venues are located within a few hours of the city and truly make for great day trips. If planning to visit this historic city, there are a number of destinations that simply cannot be missed.

The Magic of Barga

If you want to avoid museums and crowds, Barga is truly the place to be. This medieval hilltop town features twisting lanes, cobbled streets, and spectacular floral arrangements. The town is primarily made up of artisans that effectively capture the allure and essence of Italian culture. From ceramic shops to small art galleries, Barga has everything you need to refresh the soul. Visitors can easily reach the town via train or car. There are also convenient and affordable guest houses for tourists and locals alike. Whether it is Villa Moorings or the Apuan Alps, Barga offers serenity at its finest with a touch of class.

Enjoy Certaldo Alta

Certaldo Alta is just a stone’s throw from Florence. Known for its quiet old town bars and restaurants, this picturesque town is a haven for tourists and visitors. With mouthwatering cuisine and even cooking classes, you will truly enjoy the culinary excellence this amazing town offers. Certaldo Alta also showcases a summer arts and music festival. Whether you love jazz or modern hits, the old church offers tantalizing tunes that easily blend in with its scenic environment. If planning to stay the night, the Fattoria Bassetto will easily facilitate your needs and that of your loved ones. This former Benedictine convent is the best budget hotel and hostel in the area. If you want to experience a great Italian day trip, Certaldo Alta will meet all your needs within time and budget.

Certaldo Alto

Certaldo Alta – source

 

Experience San Gimignano

Located in the Tuscany region, San Gimignano is known for its captivating vineyards and olive groves. Surrounded by green hills and pastures, the town is a haven for fine wine enthusiasts and connoisseurs. Just an hour by road from Florence, San Gimignano is blanketed by ancient farm buildings, tranquil gardens, and aesthetically pleasing backdrops. Whether it is capturing the sunset or a quiet picnic for two, this lavish and elegant town offers true romance at its finest. The area is also perfect for hiking, biking, and especially nature walks. If you need a break from the daily grind, San Gimignano truly offers a day trip experience like no other.

You Will Love Lucca

Lucca is also the perfect getaway for those seeking true solace. As the birthplace of Puccini, this traditional yet vibrant town remains a true gem. From scrumptious food at Trattoria Buralli to its signature bricked tower at Guinigi, the town simply offers something for everyone. While vacations to Florence are still great, daytrips to neighboring towns seem to be soaring in global popularity. For more information on the best day trips to Florence, speak to your travel agent or simply check the web.

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Tower in Lucca