Monday, 27 September 2010

Giardino Bardini

The less-visited but equally beautiful Bardini Gardens are behind the Boboli.
The Bardini Gardens offer wonderful views of Florence from its 4 hectares of parkland between the left bank of the Arno, Montecuccoli Hill and the mediaeval wall.

view of Bardini Gardens taken from Lungarno General Diaz e Via de Benci

Forte di Belvedere

The garden is full of unexpected and wonderful surprises, like the Baroque flight of steps, hidden statues, fountains, grottoes, a small amphitheatre and breathtaking views. Dating from medieval times, it was originally two gardens, one belonging to the Mozzi family, whose property stretched between Costa San Giorgio, Piazza de’Mozzi and Via San Niccolò, while the other half was attached to 17th century Villa Manadora, built on Costa San Giorgio by Gherardo Silvani.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Corri La Vita

A 12km mini-marathon and a non-competitive 6km walkathon fundraiser benefiting research on breast cancer.

The walk wound through the historic center of Florence and crosses over the river to the Oltrarno, stopping along the way to visit gardens, churches, palaces and museums that was opened especially for this occasion.

This year's itinerary included many interesting places to visit like the church and crypt of Santo Stefano al Ponte, the Tribune of Galileo's in the Museum of the Specola, the Museum of Natural History, The palace "Non Finito" and then through the Boboli Gardens entering from Rondo of Bacchus, passing the amphitheatre, the steps of the Meridiana, the Botanical Gardens, the fountain on the island and the lawn of the Columns.

The official T-shirt is generously sponsored and designed by the Florentine fashion house of Salvatore Ferragamo.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Piazza Tunisi

For five days, Piazza della Repubblica transformed itself into a Tunisian market with Tunisian artisans exhibiting and selling traditional, hand-made objects ranging from rugs to ceramics, jewellery to clothing in this unique and beautiful event.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Calcio Storico of Florence

Piazza della Repubblica
Opening Ceremony of Piazza Tunisi performed by the Calcio Storico of Florence.

Calcio Storico Fiorentino or traditional football played in costume dates back to the 15th century.

Woven with Italian brain, brawn and passion, the Calcio Storico was played in front of the Basilica of Santa Croce and in the areas of Via Il Prato, Piazza della Signoria or Piazza Santa Maria Novella in celebration of the Feast of St. John on June 24th. every year for over 500 years

Clad in medieval garters and pantaloons, players seem more preoccupied with attacking each other than putting the ball anywhere. Though the rules of the game are fairly complex, the aim is to seize the ball and put it in the net (which runs the entire width of the pitch) by whatever means available.

The game itself is said to originate from an ancient Roman ball sport, which became the sport of princes and noblemen in the golden age of the Tuscan capital. Today it is fiercely fought between the four Florentine quarters: San Giovanni, Santa Maria Novella, Santo Spirito and Santa Croce.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Piazza del Campo

Siena's Piazza del Campo, with its unique shell-shaped and slanting design, is one of Italy's most famous piazze, mostly because of "Il Palio", a horse race that dates back to the Middle Ages and that still takes place on the piazza every year.

Palazzo Pubblico (City Hall)

At the top of the piazza, there's a beautiful fountain called Fonte Gaia (Fountain of Happiness).
The fountain's rectangular marble basin was once decorated by panels carved by Jacopo della Quercia, but these were replaced by slightly altered copies during the 19th century (the originals can still be seen at the Santa Maria della Scala museum).

Monday, 20 September 2010

Sienese Pastries

Le Pasticerrie Nannini

Sienese pastries and sweetmeats derive from the East.
In mediaeval times, Siena was famous for its many delicacies.

World-famous Sienese panforte is a generic name for four or five varieties of heavy, dense fruit cakes in the form of large wheels.
The name literally means ‘strong bread’.
It is made with a mixture of honey and crushed candied fruits like figs, grapes, plums, and various types of nuts like almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts and spices like pepper, cinnamon and whatever else was available, all slowly baked together but not enough to dry out or burn the topping. During the hot seasons the topping turned sour, or ‘forte’ to yield ‘pane forte’.
The top of the ‘wheel’ may be covered in dark chocolate, powdered sugar or white marzipan, whilst the underside is always covered with a white, paper-thin water-and-flour biscuit layer.
There is also a ‘white’ or lighter coloured variety called Panforte Margherita. It is named after Queen Margherita, wife of King Umberto I.
All types are intensely fruity, nutty, flavourful and very rich, very filling best served with a cup of coffee.

A cioccolato –– masculine, not to be confused with feminine cioccolata, chocolate –– is a flat, rectangular, dark-brown, compact sweetmeat, that tastes of chocolate and almonds.
A traditional delicacy, still made in time-honoured ways from local raw materials (save for the chocolate).
Made with sugar, chopped candied oranges and citrons, chopped almonds, hazel nuts and honey and covered with melted dark chocolate.

Ricciarelli are white, soft, spongy-moist, extremely sweet boat- or spindle-shaped almond pastries covered with white confectioner’s sugar, rough in surface and inner texture. Some are covered with dark chocolate called ‘rough’ or ‘rude’: ricciarelli rozzi.