Dine in Florence Like a Local: l’Brindellone, Perseus, da Damasco.

Where to Eat a Fiorentina Steak in Florence and be like a Local

Fiorentina, a name, a brand, and a dish which carries a number of images correlated to it. It reminds Italians of epic meals, foodie tours and stops on the highway for a meat-based break like those of cavemen. But Fiorentina is not something only locals can enjoy, tourists can taste this divine cut as well, but as the dish brings back beautiful memories for locals, it’s also cause of incredible scams for foreigners, so some care must be taken in order to choose the best Fiorentina while knowing what you’re paying for.


Eat like a local in Florence – Source

This myth hides misunderstandings and tricks for whoever isn’t knowledgeable on Fiorentina.

For example: fiorentina isn’t a steak obtained from animals bred on Fiesole’s hills, who relish in the sight of Brunelleschi’s dome, but it’s a cut obtained from a variety of bovines, some from Piedmont, others from Spain. Common to all, however, is the 20-day dry aging period, the 2-inch thickness and the fact that is made with the tenderloin and the sirloin. Then, the mythical chianina, the meat traditionally associated with this steak, is more suited for slow cooking dishes, like stews and braised meat.

Whichever cut is chosen, fiorentina strictly requires a preparation on embers (with a mix of woods chosen to obtain more aromatic fragrances) with temperatures that can raise real religious conflicts, while for what concerns the weight of the cut, to those who say “if it’s under the 1.5 kg (3 lbs), it’s not fiorentina” we should remind that since it’s the cut connecting a bovine’s spine, only Mother Nature has a say on that. If you want to know about traditional butchering in Tuscany you can check here.

Let’s dive into the subject with two warnings:
– Here we’ll only talk about restaurants and establishments on the territory of the city of Florence, without mentioning the famous trattorie (typical Italian restaurants, usually family owned) outside the city, like Trattoria Tullio in Fiesole, Padellina, the Ballini, the Cecchini, Sanesi in Lastra a Signa, where the taste of the meat is worth a stop.
– Never ask for a fiorentina well-done. Unless you want to be kicked out of the city with sneering laughter.

Let’s explore the best places in Firenze where to eat a true Fiorentina like a local!

Trattoria da Damasco

The perfect place to have a true 2-inch thick fiorentina with an excellent quality-price ratio. Convenient is also the location, close to Cascine, that can be reached by car and has a parking lot. 


Everyone knows about this establishment, and is one of the best places where to eat a fiorentina. The steak is well worth it, and it’s cut right at the table by the waiters.


Family owned establishment in this restaurant loved by locals, who truly feel like they’re home in here. Perhaps it’s because of the restaurant’s own special type of wine, the rustic atmosphere, or maybe it’s because of the typical dishes on the menu, or for the excellent prices, but l’Brindellone is a sure hit.


Things to Remember: a good Fiorentina steak goes well with Chianti wine or a good Brunello di Montalcino wine. Florence can be explored on foot with a licensed guide and it is not all about the museums but Florence can be about shopping too!

Truffle Hunts around Florence and Siena

Cristiano Savini will be the guide of this special report. 

Truffle hunter and his dog

Truffle hunts in Tuscany

Today’s mission is the research of truffles in Tuscany. To be more precise, we are in the province of Pisa, in a green area that stretches from the inland of Tuscany to the hills of Chianti. It’s called Boscone di Forcoli, it’s an enchanting and silent wood where you won’t find many tourists.
Get on your boots and a pair of comfortable trousers, and you will be ready to enter this magic place with Cristiano, Luca, an expert truffle seller and Giotto, the uncontested four-legged star of the company.

The Job of the Truffle Hunter.

To better know Cristiano Savini and his job, first of all he tells us that he knows this wood by heart, and that in 2007 he found exactly here, a white truffle that incredibly weighted 1.450 Kg.
When he doesn’t travel by reason of work, he wakes up at 3 at night, as well as the 650 truffle sellers who have joined his family-run business, well known all over the world.

He goes on saying that the first one who understood the value of this special but underestimated tuber was his grandfather Zelindo, in the 60s. He used to wander on a Vespa, which their grandchildren still treasure, looking for the truffles-diggers of his town but soon he started to travel in the direction of Milan and the Piemonte region with his beloved tubers and the commerce of truffles finally becomes his own job.
Savini tells us that the White truffle, Bianco is typical of winter; then in March we find the so called Bianchetto (or marzuolo) and finally we have the Black one, called Nero Liscio and the Scorzone. It clearly means that we can find fresh truffles all the year and that, by reservation, we can try an amazing truffle experience like this one.
In fact, while we move forward, many treasures of the wood, if we can call the truffles like that, comes out with their inebriating fragrances that changes according to the type of ground where they’re hidden.
The fragrances are very strong and intense and they have the power of transporting you through space and time.

As we said before, Giotto is the protagonist of this research of truffles and it’s a crossbred, but Cristiano explains us that the perfect breed for this job is the Lagotto Romagnolo. However, what’s really important is to personally train and educate the dog, so every dog with short paws, great musculature and a pronounced nose will be perfect.
Furthermore, it’s essential to remember that for them it’s not a job but just a game!

Once we’re back we discover that seven companies are there to spend a day of sharing; and they’re not there by chance; they are seven producers, precisely Forcoli, Ursini, Biscottificio MatteiDeseo, Pasta Mancini, Il Borgo del Balsamico, La Via del Tè, La Nicchia di Pantelleria who, together with Salvini Tartufi, have created a group of Unique friends producers who have two main targets in common: the high quality of the products and the novelty of the image.

Truffle hunting Experiences in Italy For you too.

Experiences like this makes you understand that we’re blessed to be in Italy. If you are looking for a truffle hunting experience in Italy you can also have a look at this page. Contact us if you would like to arrange a truffle hunting experience during your stay in Florence or Sienna.

Explore Florence with Valentina (Food Tasting Included!)

Florence is a breathtaking city and the epicenter for Italian culture, cuisine, and history. From world class art museums to ancient architecture, explore the wonders of Florence with the lovely Valentina. As an experienced and certified tour guide, she specializes in exquisite tours of Florence with a touch of class. Whether you love sampling Italian delicacies or the world renowned Chianti and Brunello wines of the region, this amazing tour will simply leave you in awe. As the city of romance, Florence is also blanketed by countless outdoor cafes, lavish restaurants, and elegant scenery at every turn. If planning a family or corporate vacation this summer, Florence welcomes you and yours with open arms!


Let Valentina be your local guide.


The Tour

The exciting walking tour commences from Piazza San Marco. For your convenience, the tour can also start at the hotel or venue you are staying at. The first stop is the famous statue of David located at the Museum of the Acaddemia. The world renowned gallery showcases the timeless and priceless sculptures and art of Michelangeglo and several Renaissance period artists. The gallery is also home to literary and artistic works from Russian painters and artisans. The next stop on the tour is the famous Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, which is the highlight of the religious center in Florence. Your walking tour includes plenty of sidewalk food and wine stands, along with presentations and historical facts by Valentina.

Tour Highlights and End

The walking tour continues with a visit to the Piazza dell Repubblica, which is a must see for art enthusiasts and historians. The City of Florentia is also home to the ancient roman forum, the Church of Orsanmichele, and the popular leather market at Porcellino. Tour highlights also include the political center of the city at Piazza della Signoria, which features the incredible Palazzo Vecchio. The tour ends at Ponte Vecchio and the Bridge of the Goldsmiths. If you have always wanted to experience the wonders of Florence, now is the perfect time to book your tours with Valentina.

Food and Wine Tasting

No tour of Florence is ever complete without sampling the local favorites and fine wines. Upon request, Valentina can easily organize food and wine tasting tours in Florence, which feature world class cheeses and several other mouth watering entrees and specialties. Also you can come to Bologna and try our best selling food tour in Italy.

Tour Of Florence’s Most Elegant Balcony, Fiesole.

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


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.



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.


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.


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


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.

We also have other tours around Florence or you can decide to take a day trip from there and explore Tuscany and Liguria by taking a day tour to Cinque Terre from Florence.

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.

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.

view from San Miniato Florence

Florence from Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte


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.

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. If you are looking for a tourist guide in Siena also check this page.

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.


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.


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!


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 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.