A day in Florence

Florence is the heart of renaissance, an open air museum that you can easily walk.

Florence

florence -mercato centraleWe always recommend our guests and friends a tour of the Mercato Centrale, the food market where Florentine go to shop. It is a lovely experience and it’s a great place to take very nice pictures and buy great food.

prosciuttoWe have many guests that have been to Florence various time and we like to suggest them a different view of the city with  a “gastronomic tour” followed by a cooking class or private visit to Vasari Corridor or other places that are less accessible to tourists.

But we know that even if you just decide to walk around you’ll have a wonderful day full of memories as fantastic Art and great Food can be founded on each corner of this enchanting city.

Duomo

Piazza del Duomo with the imposing Duomo, is the symbol of Florence, a daring and majestic structure from the top of which you will get a wonderful panoramic view of the city, and also of the interior of the Cathedral. Beside the façade stands another giant, Giotto’s campanile (bell tower), slender and many-coloured, also affording a fine view of the city.

florence - signoriaWalking through Via dei Calzaiuoli you’ll reach the enchanting Piazza della Signoria dominated by the fourteenth century Palazzo Vecchio with its high tower, it is surrounded by other important buildings: the Loggia della Signoria and the Palazzo degli Uffizi on the south side, the sixteenth century Palazzo degli Uguccioni on the north side and the Palazzo del Tribunale di Mercanzia (about 1359) on the east side.

Pass next to the Uffizi Gallery to reach the Arno and take some nice shots of Ponte Vecchio. A walk on the bridge is a must to see the beautiful antique jewels shops.

ponte vecchio

At this time you must be tired and hungry, our suggestion is to stop for a quick-lunch at Ristoro Dei Perditempo (our favorite for informal meal) sit by the window that overlook the Arno and Ponte Vecchio and enjoy some delicious food.

DSCN0010DSCN0015

DSCN0001_3There are various option for the afternoon, perhaps you just want to go back and do some shopping or you can climb up to Piazzale Michelangelo to enjoy a beautiful view of Florence or get lost in the Boboli Garden.

View from sitting room

View from sitting room

If you wish to stay in Florence and enjoy the beauty of this city for more than one day we highly recommend our beautiful apartment Duomo to have your private room with a view…

For info an booking contact Tuscan Views. 

Off the beaten path: Sarteano

White Tuscany 9

Sarteano is a lovely medieval village located in southern Tuscany near the Umbrian border, just 6 km from the exit of the A1 (the highway that goes from Milan to Naples) half way between Rome and Florence. Both cities can be reached in 1,5 hours by car and by train from the main railway station in Chiusi (10 km from Sarteano).

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Dinner in the upper square

Jazz & Blues

Jazz & Blues

Life here is quiet and peaceful but there are also various festivities and activities organized all year around: Giostra del Saracino, Tempo dell’Olio (olive oil market), Jazz and Blues Festival, Christmas with the Elf, Carnival (this year Las Vegas Carnival) and much  more.

Santa Claus in Sarteano

Santa Claus in Sarteano

carnevale-sarteano

Las Vegas Carnival logo

Your ideal day in Sarteano starts with a cappuccino and cornetto at Bar Central (in the upper square) you can then walk through the narrow streets of the medieval section, exploring the Etruscan Museum, and climb up to the Castle but don’t miss a stop to the San Martino Church to view the beautiful “Annunciazione” by Domenico Beccafumi.

After all you deserve a typical Tuscan lunch and our suggestion is Osteria da Gagliano in the upper square.

CENA-08-0019The Castle dominates the medieval section and the country surrounding Sarteano. The castle was built before the 1038 but was completely destroyed and rebuilt between 1467 and 1474. There are guided tours from May to October. Various activities during the summer and a magnificent medieval dinner organised by the Giostra del Saracino around the 10th of August each year.

The Theatre was built on 1734 has been completely restored recently. The Compagnia degli Arrischianti performs from May until September. Today the theatre is also used as a venue for civil weddings.

Beccafumi_AnnunciazioneSan Martino church inside the medieval walls, contains wonderful treasures of the 1300, 1400 and 1500 such as the “Annunciazione” by Domenico Beccafumi.

San Lorenzo church: beautiful paintings by Girolomo del Pacchia, a wooden choir gift of Pope Pio II and a marvellous tabernacle by Marrina. Situated at the end of the “corso” can be reached by an old stone staircase from the main parking.

The Archaeological Museum. Located in one of the most beautiful and old building of the village hosts all the finds of the Etruscan Necropolises of Sarteano. One of the rooms hosts and exhibition of the finds of the “Pianacce” Necropolis where the most beautiful and important discovery of the Etruscan world has been made: La Tomba della Quadriga Infernale”

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Tomba della Quadriga Infernale  

Dating second half of the IV century BC situated on the Pianacce Necropolis this is an extraordinary discovery, one of the image represented on the walls is unique of its kind in all Etruria: a figure of a demon in a moving cart drawn by two lions and two griffons. To visit this exceptional findings you  must book at the Archaeological Civic Museum of Sarteano

a_maggioIf you would like to spend a wonderful holiday in Sarteano villa Il Maggio is our guests favorite villa.

Olympic athlete Iwan Thomas chose Il Maggio to prepare for the London Marathon.

Maggio_jacuzzi5Private but not isolated, Il Maggio is within walking distance from the main square.

For info and bookings contact Tuscan Views

Rolling barrels…

Bravio delle Botti – Montepulciano

On the last Sunday of August Montepulciano becomes the place where barrels roll up to the narrow streets until they reach the Piazza Grande.

It is just a game, of course, a challenge between the eight Contradas (divisions) of Montepulciano who compete for a painted cloth banner by rolling barrels of 80 kilos in an uphill race lasting around 1800 metres along the main street of the town.

The barrels are rolled by two athletes called “spingitori” whilst the course of the race winds through the streets of the towns historical centre until it reaches the churchyard of the Duomo in Piazza Grande.

The whole week prior to the main event is filled with important appointments and events: official trials of the “spingitori” for each of the Contrada; each evening the Contrade will open ready to welcome you with celebrations, dinners, games, music and… wine.

A special thanks to Nico Palazzi for sharing the beautiful images of the Bravio.

Experience of a lifetime: Osteria tour

Our aim is to let our guests discover the real and authentic Tuscan lifestyle organising tours and activities with the best local suppliers.

One of our guests favourite tour is the Siena’s Osteria tour to eat like locals do.
The tour starts with the “Colazione”  in a local “bottega” with traditional Tuscan specialities Cinta Senese ham, salsicce e capocollo, fresh Pecorino cheese… Locals love to start here the day with a panino and “gottino” ( small glass of red wine).
After the “Colazione” you’ll take a relaxing stroll through the narrow streets of Siena to discover ancient corners with incredible views !
Lunch time at a local Osteria  a real traditional treat. Old recipes such as Ribollita, Zuppa di Fagioli e Farro, lasagne,crostini, salumi di cinta senese, polpette di carne, sformato di verdure fresche, fresh and aged pecorino cheese, acciughe sotto pesto…..all served with red house wine and the chance to make new friends and meet the locals.

The day ends with some gelato or typical Tuscan sweets.
Voted the tour of the year by our guests!
Book through Tuscan Views
Prices vary according to the number of guests.
Length: 4 hours – From Monday to Saturday.

Food and the city…

Florence is not just about art and history. Florence is also about food. Great food.

I always suggest our guests to start a day in Florence by touring the Mercato Centrale,  a two-story warehouse just off the Piazza San Lorenzo.

If you just stay for a day tour is a great place to take beautiful pictures and an ideal stop to lunch as many Florentine workers do, if you stay longer is the best place to buy great food and enjoy cooking them in your own kitchen.

From cheese to sausages, from meat to vegetables, everything is there waiting for you, even the famous “trippa”. Meat is an important part of traditional Tuscan and Florentine cousine and as per tradition every part of the animal is precious for cook great dishes.

The “Trippa alla Fiorentina” is one of my favourite

While touring around the specialties that the Mercato Centrale has to offer you, there’s an experience you can’t miss: eat a Lampredotto.

Lampredotto is, like the more familiar trippa, part of the cow’s stomach. It is boiled in a broth of vegetables and herbs, then sliced and served inside a “panino”. This is typical street food.

No matter if you go for lampredotto or trippa, you must  enjoy them with a gottino di vino (small shot of red wine)

The Mercato Centrale is the place where Florentines go for shopping and if you look at the photos you’ll understand why.

Via dell’Ariento – Firenze. Open every morning from 7am to 2pm. Closed on Sunday and public holidays.

Check out Duomo and Signoria our amazing apartments in the heart of Florence.

Private Brunello Tours

A ruby colour, a typical scent, a dry, lightly tannic taste stand as its major, successful features. Long regarded as the finest expression of Italian oenology Brunello di Montalcino is produced exclusively from Sangiovese grapes (named “Brunello” in Montalcino). Made according to the standards of a severe discipline that, as well as fixing limits on yields per hectare, the period of obligatory ageing and the characteristics of the product, also establishes that before the wine can be sold it must be subjected to examination by an appropriate commission. The regular Brunello ages 5 years, the Riserva 6 years.

A driver will pick you up at your villa around 9.30 AM and drive you through scenic roads toward the southern country and admire spectacular views of rolling clay hills.

You will reach the wine area of Montalcino crossing a panoramic road through vineyards and olive groves to the first boutique winery.

The owner will welcome you and proudly show you the estate and the cellars and tell more about this old wine making art that belongs to the family since generations. You’ll have the opportunity to taste their outstanding Rosso and Brunello di Montalcino, served with delicious Pecorino cheese and local ham.

You will continue the tour reaching the charming village of Montalcino, take a relaxing stroll and admire wonderful views of the countryside around!  A terrific lunch will be served in a typical and family run trattoria, you will enjoy several kind of “antipasti” and then a vegetable soup or hand made pasta, according to the season, all prepared with extra virgin olive oil and served with a nice local wine.
After lunch you will visit the second  winery  enjoy the visit of the estate and vineyards and then a private tasting of Rosso, Brunello and Supertuscan wines.
The return to your villa will be in the afternoon.
Rates all inclusive:
From € 220 per person. Prices vary according to the number of guests.

Contact us to book this tour. To find your villa in Tuscany check out our portfolio of villas.