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

Pecorino di Pienza – tour the jewel of the Val D’Orcia

The Val D’Orcia (Valley of Orcia) South of Sienna is the absolute epitome of what we all expect Tuscany to look like … a landscape of green valleys surrounded by rolling hills and a horizon punctuated by rows of lonely cypress trees. You really should take the time to visit this beautiful area of Tuscany and get to experience some of its’ wonderful artisan foods and wines at their source. The area is best known for the wonderful Pecorino di Pienza, made exclusively in and around the town of Pienza which is situated close to the wine producing towns of Montalcino and Montepulciano, home to the Tuscan classic wines.

valorcia

Val D’Orcia in Tuscany

What is Pecorino di Pienza Cheese?

Pecorino, famous all over the world, is named for the milk used to create it…Pecora is Italian for a ewe, and this cheese is made exclusively from whole, raw ewe’s milk. Pecorino is made all over Italy, but the Pecorino from Pienza is unique and special; the sheep who supply the milk are a tough breed, mostly the Sarda, originally from Sardinia, and are well adapted to the terrain of the area which is not suitable for crop farming, but wonderful for sheep! They feed exclusively on the indigenous vegetation of the area, a mixture of grasses and wild herbs including wormwood, meadow salsify, broom, juniper and burnet and it is this diet which makes the cheese special, as traces of herb can be detected in the cheese. It is a seasonal cheese, made only during the Summer when the milk quality is at its’ best, so you will only find young Pecorino in Summer; the mature cheese can, however, be enjoyed all year around.

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Pecorino making in Tuscany – province of Siena – source

To a certain extent the cheese has become mass-produced; demand has exceeded supply and has led to milk from other areas being “imported”, resulting in a change of the original character of the cheese. However, there are still at least two family-run Pecorino makers near Pienza where the cheese is still produced organically in the age-old way, and these are the two you should try and visit: Podere Il Casale and Cugisi.

Pecorino di Pienza Cheese tour at the local dairy.

The raw milk is mixed with rennet  to curdle it. The curds sink to the bottom of the container and are scooped out to dry before being placed in a  salt solution. The set cheese is then formed into “heads” or rounds. These are then wrapped in walnut leaves and placed in a cool humid cellar to mature. The rinds are periodically dampened with olive oil (Tuscan, of course!) and then grease and wax. At the moment there is no discipline in the production nor there is a PDO in place so production might vary from producer to producer. The only traditional pecorino is the one aged in wooden barriques.

pecorino

Visit a pecorino dairy in Italy – Source

Eating Pecorino di Pienza.

Pecorino is eaten either as a soft cheese after about 40 – 60 days’ maturation, or left in the cellar for up to 15 months (5 – 12 months is the average). When young,(Pecorino Fresco), you can expect the cheese to be soft and creamy, with a spicy undertone and the herby diet of the sheep really comes to the fore. The rind will be a creamy colour.

A more mature Pecorino will have a darker rind, generally red or black, and the texture is soft and crumbly on the palate with a slightly tannic after-taste; at this point the spicy tones are no longer evident. It is generally believed that Pecorino does improve with ageing, as it acquires more character and structure.

In Tuscany, the cheese is not often used in combination with other foods or used for cooking, but rather enjoyed in its’ own right. The Fresco (young Pecorino) is eaten with a light touch of great Tuscan olive oil or a little of the regions’ chestnut honey. It is sometimes served with sliced pears or raw fava beans and prosciutto as a lovely simply anti-pasti. The matured cheese, (Stagionato) is great to grate! Serve it over a wonderful pasta or risotto, or in thin slices with Proscuitto and other cured meats..

Of course, you need a really lovely wine from the region to complete the feast; the Rosso di Montalcino is just the perfect match. This is a young, unmatured Sangiovese, (only up to a year in the cask) and “baby brother” to the famous Brunello di Montecino, for which the region is famous. Another good wine from the region to try with the cheese is Rosso di Montepulciano; this is also a young, fresh tasting wine comprised of mainly Sangiovese grapes. If you love dessert wines try the Moscadello di Montalcino, a fine late-harvested Muscat which makes the most perfect simple ending to a great Tuscan meal; serve it with fresh seasonal fruit, local honey and some Pecorino Fresco. A perfect way to savoir the essence of the Val D’Orcia!

Emilia Delizia food tours in Tuscany.

If you are set to discover Italian foods, our company would be delighted to organise a cheese tour departing from Siena or Florence and go the Val D’Orcia to experience the production of Pecorino and Tuscan wines.

 

Tuscany Cooking – A Time When Poverty Has Become The Great Culinary Invention

Tuscany food has always been considered as ‘cucina povera’ or ‘cuisine of the poor’ closely interconnected with peasant traditions. The poor roots of this cuisine though caused by the poverty of the people of this region in the past, today has become the land of superb food and wine.

 The Art of Cucina Povera – The poor man cookery style.

If you ask me to give few attributes to cucina Toscana than two will be the best to describe it, simplicity and ingenuity. As many other regional cuisines, the Tuscan was and continues to be attached to rural traditions using a range of excellent natural ingredients.
It’s not a secret that other Italians still call Tuscans ‘mangiafagioli’ (bean eaters) – an unjust label, but refer to the region’s simple ingredients. Not all the food in Tuscany has humble roots.

Fresh borlotti beans

The Borlotti beans are a Tuscan classic and part of the Italian agricultural heritage. Image source

Florentines will tell you proudly that they invented many of the great dishes of French cuisine. Of course this is attributed to Medici family, more precisely to Catherine de’ Medici after her marriage (1534) to Henry de Valois, the future king Henri II of France. As an excellent connoisseur of Florence food she had transferred some typical Florence dishes at the France court.
Thanks to Catherine some Florentine dishes were assimilated by France court such as ‘papero alla melarancio’ (duck in orange sauce) which became ‘canard à l’orange’ or ‘zuppa di cipolle’ (onion soup), in France become ‘soupe d’oignons’. Beside these dishes Catherine also introduced to French court how to use two essentials of the modern table – the fork and the napkin.

Tuscan style cookery in the modern times.

Today’s Tuscan food contains plenty of sophisticated dishes that that wouldn’t dishonour to tables of restaurants in London, Paris or New York. Most of this food is seasonal and locally produced, and it only appears at the time of the year it is grown.
To give you an idea of Tuscan food delights, we can start from breakfast that consists of simply coffee and croissant (brioche). The lunch and dinner begin with starters or antipasti like bruschetta or Florence crostini (slice of toasted Tuscan salt less bread) topped with olive paste, chicken liver pate and a variety of hams, cheese and salamis.

The ample use of beans, lentils and legumes.

As the first course in Tuscany, pasta is less used than in other parts of Italy, instead soups are more popular as minestrone (vegetable soups), zuppa di fagioli (beans soup) or famous ribollita (reboiled) white beans and cabbage soup, papa al pomodoro (bread and tomatoes soup).

Among classic pasta meals we must mention ‘pappardelle alla lepre’ based on home-made pasta with a hare sauce. The game meat has very important role in Tuscan cuisine, particularly wild boar and hare. This list wouldn’t be complete without uncontested king of Florentine main courses, ‘bistecca alla florentina ‘ (T-bone steak).

Bistecca alla fiorentina

The Tuscan sweets.

When we come to desserts than the winner is gelato (ice-cream). Gelato means ‘frozen‘in Italian, so it embraces the various kinds of ice cream made in Italy. It’s not a secret that the best gelato you can taste in Florence. There is also a Firenze Gelato Festival from in May from 23rd to 27th, important event to taste the best artisan ice cream. It’s worth mentioning some of the many regional specialities like ‘panforte di Siena’ a rich cake made of cocoa, walnuts and crystallized fruit dating from 13th century.

While eating well in Tuscany you can also drink well whatever the time of day and whatever the season. Good coffee is must have in almost every bar and café, from the breakfast cappuccino or café latte to the after dinner espresso. Don’t miss fresh squeezed orange, lemon or grapefruit juice (spremuta). Closer to sundown you may want one of the classic aperitif such as Campari or Negroni, during Happy Hour.

The Tuscan wines are the kings of the dining table.

While eating you will probably ask for a bottle of good Tuscan wine, like Chianti, Tuscany’s most famous red wine or some “super Tuscans’ reds. Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are the big names that perfectly match all Tuscan dishes. After dinner you will need one of the Italian digestives as Grappa, a spirit distillated from grapes, Amaro ‘bitter’ made of herbs and ‘secret ingredients’. Emilia Delizia offers Chianti wine tours from Florence  via our sister site.

After all these food and drink offers we hope you are convinced that eating is a passion for Tuscany that visitor can easily share. We are sure it will be experience as memorable as visits to the best museums and galleries.

Elena&Pero
Easy Florence Travel Guide

http://www.easyflorence.com/

 

Gourmet food tour from Florence

Emilia Delizia famous food tour can be taken from Florence, below you will find a guide about departing from Florence and participate at the 3 gourmet food tour.

gourmet food tour from Florence

Cheese food tour from Firenze

While Tuscany produces wonderful wines, cheese and hams, a lot of people are attracted by Bologna, Modena and Parma because of the Parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar, Parma ham and Lambrusco wines. In this brief guide we explain how to tour the 3 foods with us while your made your base in Florence.

Timing of production of the Parmesan cheese.

Because of its nature the cheese is only made once a day in the morning, therefore participants need to get to the dairy early enough. Roughly we will depart from Bologna at 7.15/7.30 and from Modena at 8.20 am. Of course we can organise a tour for a later time however you might need to book a private tour and the cost might considerably higher for small parties.

How to get to Bologna or Modena by car.

If you are coming to Bologna or Modena by car, you can easily take the autostrada that connects Firenze to Bologna. Since you are driving your won vehicle, our guide will meet you directly at the cheese dair. Please plan ahead and keep in mind that to reach Modena it will take you 2 hours. Plan for traffic and toilet breaks. A GPS is a fundamental tool for self drive tours as our locations are mostly in the country side. Emilia Delizia does not take responsibility for not being able to locate the meeting point on time.

How to get to Bologna or Modena by train.

From Florence Bologna is served by frequent high speed trains at any time of the day till late at night. For more information about the train time table you can consult this page.
However in the morning the only option would be the Freccia Rossa 9500 that arrives in Bologna at 7.37. Rather than attempting this mad dash on the same morning, we always suggest to take a late train the evening before (even after a nice dinner in Florence) and stay at one of the the high quality hotels right in front of Bologna station. Namely the La UNA HOTEL, STAR EXCELSIOR, and MERCURE HOTEL. The following morning you will be ready to go to the Parmesan tour FRESH AND RELAXED.

frecciarossa

Organising a private food tour from Florence.

A private tour is the perfect solution if you want a customised tour four family, friends or company activity. You can decide the timing, and other details of the day that suit the most. We can organise a car or minibus that comes to your hotel directly in Florence. The departure time in this case it is around 6.30 and the return time is around 5 pm. The tour from Florence can be substantially more expensive than starting from Bologna, however it would be recommended for larger groups as the cost of the transport can be shared between the participants.

ageing Parmesan cheese

Parmesan cheese tour from Florence

A culinary tour of Florence gastronomic tradition – Bistecca alla Fiorentina

How to cook the Italian t-bone steak Bistecca alla Fiorentina to perfection.

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Bistecca alla Fiorentina – Emilia Delizia Food tours

Italian cuisine is not just about carbs such as bread, pizza and pasta but we have aslo good meat dishes. In Particular in Tuscany we find the Bistecca alla Fiorentina a meat dish from Florence, a massive t-bone steak that should be at least 4 cm tick and one kilo of weight. The perfect Fiorentina steak comes from cows of the Chianina breed. A native cattle of Tuscany which is reared outdoor and fed with grasses according to a strict discipline. The diet of the animals will confer high nutritional values to the beef. When buying the meet from the local butcher in Tuscany you should make sure that the cut has enough fillet, as they tend to cut it out and sell it apart, however the best Fiorentina steak must have plenty of fillet attached.

How to cook bistecca fiorentina.

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How to cook bistecca alla fiorentina

The cooking of the steak is rather simply but you should follow the traditional steps if you want to obtain the perfect results. First of all it should be grilled on noble woods such as ash or oak which will confer the best flavours. When the coals start to ash the fire is hot enough. Spread them with a tool in order not to have an open flame or the meat will burn. Then position the stainless steal grill on the coal and use it only when is very hot.

To cook bistecca alla Fiorentina you will not need neither salt, nor oil, of course you can add a little seasoning at the end of the the cooking.

Once your “Griglia” is very hot, place the steak on each side for 3/5 minutes until nicely browned and a crust start to form. The following step is to cook the inside of the meat with the passive heat from the coal fire. So place the steak upright, sitting on the bone for 15/20 minutes. The traditional way wants a steak that is raw inside, but if you do not like your meat that way you can continue cooking it on the sides until it stops bleeding.

How to serve bistecca alla Fiorentina.

Once it is done, you can carve it on a wooden board and serve thin slices of the steak to each guest. A kilo portion will feed 3/4 people easily. Do not forget to get your best salads out and nice home made bread to go with. Of course you should serve Chianti Classico wine with the Italian T-bone Steak.

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a tour into Florence culinary traditions

A tour in the hearth of the culinary tradition of Tuscany

by Gabriele Monti December 3rd, 2012

The gastronomic heart of Tuscany is found on the Tuscan hill: the Apennines with the flavours of the mountains, and certainly by Tyrrhenian Sea with seafood. Tuscany is mainly a hilly land and with lots of vineyard and olive trees, sunflowers, fruit orchards, woodland and pasture. A lot of elevated ground of various kind distributed over a vast territory. It is mostly cultivated and full of small scattered villages such as the Chianti area. This land is covered in lush green raging from chestnut trees to the blonde cereals in Garfagnana, then it is sometimes barren and mostly made of clay such as the Maremma which is also wild and fascinating.

It is equally varied in its basket of agricultural products that benefits from a benevolent climate influenced by the sea and by a widespread environmental integrity. Wine and oil are the main typical Tuscan food: the former with labels that will make you dream, such as Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino, the latter with a production that has no equal for culinary tradition. Then we should talk about the cattle breeding. Both traditional breeds of cattle, Chianina and Maremma, provide meat for the grill and the classic cooking in clay. Also pork is important, namely Cinta Senese. Breeders are there to restore an antique flavour of meats to be used fresh or cured as prosciutto and finocchiona. As for the cheese it is worth to mention the local productions of Marzolino of Chianti.

Other agricultural products are also worth to mention as they are really outstanding For example the beans of Sorana and Pratomagno, are so important for traditional Tuscan cooking, and they are fundamental for the pasta e fagioli.
There is also the Garfagnana spelt. A wheat with an ancient history, it used for soups and it is worshipped by the health-conscious. Going along we should also mention the the saffron of San Gimignano, which was a source of great wealth in medieval times, and today it is used to rediscover of ancient recipes.

The food and wine tour begins in Florence, which provides a complete overview of the regional cuisine ranging from ribollita, Florentine steak, pappa al pomodoro to pappardelle with hare and the devilled chicke. There is also a great tradition of grilled dishes such as truffled pasticcio pie and the use of offal deriving from the medieval cuisine. There is so much choice in a region that has a very long vocation for tourism and gastronomy. Along the sea we find Prato with its Medici villas and the Carmignano wine, and the cantucci biscuits. Then It is followed by Pistoia and Lucca, famous for the olive oil production, and the traditional cuisine from Versilia and Garfagnana.

By the shore of the Tyrrhenian Sea lays Massa-Carrara, on a double gastronomic border, with accents of the Liguria and the Lunigiana cuisine. Walking down the Via Aurelia through the scenarios of the Maremma you will touch Pisa, Livorno and Grosseto with a cuisine between the sea and the inner land. The standard fare is the famous fish soup and wild boar based dished, in its various preparations. If we move inland, near the territory of Siena, it lies the southern portion of the Chianti hills, with all that follows in terms of wine and oil. Further south there are undulated, barren and clay perfumed hills. Here you will find the most popular sheep in the region of the Mount Amiata, where the woods come to the border with Umbria. From there you can start investigating Arezzo and its province including Val di Chiana which is the home of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and the mountains of the Casentino. Here the cooking is done mostly with meat, mushrooms and game.

Rustic Italian food