Florence illustrations

Brunelleschi Dome

I saw the Florence illustrations mady bay Studio G’Art 44 on instagram and find it amazing.

So I decided to meet Giuseppe and Nicole, the artist!

Brunelleschi Dome

The project

Nicole is a professional florentine illustrator and her husband Giuseppe is a professional photographer.

The passion that Nicole has for illustration and draft started at school and you can find this passion and technique in all her works.

She can always find the perfet interpretation for any subject.

During the first lockdown, Nicole and Giuseppe started to think about the empty streets and square of Florence.

Something unbelivable for a town that is always full of tourists.

And they find a way to transform something very sad in a very romantic interpretation of Florence.

Nicole makes draft streets, churches, monuments of Florence, and Giuseppe transforms the illustration into interior design objects, prints, postcards.

Florence illustration…and much more

They show this works to some friends and everibody find it super.

And a lot of new ideas came out: notebooks cover, foulards, painting of different sizes.

They print on crushed paper an ecological kind of paper made by Favini Graphic Specialities.

Crushed paper is an eco-friendly paper that includes by-products from coffee, almonds, kiwi fruits, and other natural raws.

By using this kind of paper, Nicole and Giuseppe are doing an amazing work.

They were asked to do some “on request” work, as for example the portrait of Frida Kahlo, which I find super!

Frida Kalho

I really think that their works are really nice and suggest you have a look at their website, here is the link to Studio G’Art 44.

They have reserved to my followers a special 10% discount ( on purchase over 50 Euro, excluding shipping cost).

Enjoy Made in Italy!!

Balsamic Vinegar of Modena

Balsamic vinegar
Balsamic vinegar of Modena

The Balsamic Vinegar is one of the most famous products of my born town: Modena.

Even if I work in Florence and love this town, I love to say everybody that I was born in Modena, a small town full of traditions.

The Black Gold ( that’s another way to call it) is one of this!

That’ s why I insert this amazing product in the category of the best Made In Italy.

The real Balsamic Vinegar

Of course, I mean the real one!

In the market you can find many Balsamic Vinegar, very different prices.

And not all of them have hight quality.

You have to know that there is a Disciplinare di Produzione ( production specifications) that all the producers must follow if they want to use the name Aceto Balsamico di Modena.

Balsamic Vinegar Barrel

The Balsamic Vinegar is made of few ingredients, but it needs a long period of aging.

In Modena, many families have their own little production and during the last century, a little barrel of balsamic vinegar ( good to start a new production) was the present for a couple who was getting married.

So you can imagine that many producers have a very samll production and really take care of it.

L’Originale Balsamic Vinegar

L’Originale is made of passionate people of Modena who decided to promote the Balsamic Vinegar of Modena and go in the territory to look for the best Balsamic Vinegar, produced only with high-quality raw material, following all the old traditions.

L'Originale aceto Balsamico

In their blog, they explain everything about the Black Gold of Modena and I find it very interesting.

It is possible to buy The Original Balsamic Vinegar from their web site and they offer a 10% discount to all my friends.

Here is the wb site https://l-originale.com/en/why.html.

To get the 10% discount insert the code L-O20FIRENZE.

Enjoy the real Made in Italy!!!

COOKING WITH CARLOTTA

Cooking with Carlotta is the best way to learn how to make the real italian food!

Carlotta

Carlotta is an Italian lady who was born in Emilia Romagna, a region famous for Parmesan, lasagne, Parma ham.

She grow up looking at her grandmother cooking, and of course, she also learned how to cook amazing dishes.

She could see her grandmother cooking passionately, with love.

Organizing every day good dishes for her family, eating together after a working day, or to celebrate the weekend with some traditional food.

Cooking is a nice way to carry on the family.

And Carlotta knows it well.

EMILIA ROMAGNA

I know… Emilia Romagna is not so famous as Tuscany.

But it is the reagion of fresh home-made pasta, area of gastronomic excellence.

Making fresh home-made pasta in Emilia Romagna is a must.

In any town you can find many fresh pasta shops and restaurants where you see ladies rolling the pasta with their hands.

And you can believe me if I say that THIS IS ART!

The first book about cooking was written after that Italy was unified in 1861 by Pellegrino Artusi a man who was born in Romagna and moved to Florence.

CARLOTTA

And as Pellegrino did many years ago, even Carlotta moved to Tuscany with all her cooking secrets….

In her stone house typical of the hills around Florence, she organizes cooking classes where guests can enjoy the real Italian atmosphere.

You will see how easy is to make pasta and will prepare it together with Carlotta.

Italy is a small country and in any region you can find some typical dishes and fresh products.

During her lessons, Carlotta teaches about special dishes of several regions, how to make pasta, but even the right pasta sauce, risotto, vegetarian dishes.

And of corse you will learn also how to make special dolce, whic is the perfect end of any meal.

A cooking lesson is a special experience about italian life.

You find here the web site of Carlotta and…..enjoy the real italian food!!

Florence tours in August 2020

Here are my Florence tours in August 2020.

I am Ilenia, a licensed and official Florence local guide and I have organized some tour in fixed day and time so that you can easily organize your time.

In this article you can find my “Florence tours in August 2020.

The same tours (but even more, for example, the tours inside museums) can be organized for privates ( from 1 person to groups). Have a look at the tours page and contact me for all the details and also at the experiences page for some nice activities as cooking class.

August Florence tours: Old Bridge
August Florence tours: Old Bridge

PIZZA AND ART ALWAYS TOGETHER

I am a pizza lover and decided to offer to may guest a discount in the best Pizzeria of Florence :

Ti Do Una Pizza.

In this pizzeria you can taste the best pizza!

Domenico is a great pizzaiolo and also teaches in other pizzeria how to make pizza.

You can taste one of the pizza gourmet and also a special pizza dough.

It is also available the gluten free dough.

If you join one of my tours you will have a 10% discount on a full meal at Ti Do Una Pizza.

(Discount is valid for a full meal and can nob be cumulated with other propmotions)

FLORENCE TOURS IN AUGUST 2020

All this are walking tours and no entrance er included.

WELCOME TO FLORENCE WITH A WALKING TOUR

With this tour I will show you the highlights of Florence, the most important buildings as Cathedral, Baptistery, Palazzo Vecchio and I will explain to you the history of the town connected with the buildings and the life of many important artists.

THE MEDICI FAMILY

You can not visit Florence without hearing about them: The Medici. They were originally bankers but in the XVI century, they got the title of Duke and managed the power in town for about 350 years! In this tour, we well walk nearby the places that were part of the life of the Medici and I will tell you also how they supported many artists and made the Renaissance starts in Florence.

MEDIEVAL FLORENCE

In this tour, we will walk through the medieval area of Florence, the one that was not renovated when Florence became the capital of Italy. In this area of the town we will recognize typical medieval buildings and I will tell you about the life of Florentine citizens in the Middle Ages.

PRICES AND RULES

All partecipants must follow the post-covid rules:

  • wear a mask
  • mantain at least 1 meter social distance
  • use personal earphones

COST PER PERSON INCLUDING 10% DISCOUNT AT TI DO UNA PIZZA

Adult: euro 12

Under 12 years old: euro 8

RESERVATION

Reservation is required and you can book your tour as follow:

tel/whatsApp +39 3334018995

Mail : info@yourfirenze.com

CALENDAR

Sunday 9 at 06:00 pm : WELCOME WALKING TOUR

Tuesday 12 at 06:00 am: THE MEDICI FAMILY

Wednesday 13 at 09:30 am: WELCOME WALKING TOUR

Fridat 14 at 09:30 am: MEDIEVAL FLORENCE

Saturday 15 at 09:30 am: WELCOME WALKING TOUR

Sunday 16 at 09:30 am: THE MEDICI FAMILY

Monday 17 at 06:00 pm: MEDIEVAL FLORENCE

Tuesday 18 at 06:00 pm: WELCOME WALKING TOUR

Wednesday 19 at 09:30 am: THE MEDICI FAMILY

Thursday 20 at 06:00 pm: MEDIEVAL FLORENCE

Saturday 22 at 09:30 am: WELCOME WAKING TOUR

Sunday 23 at 09:30 am: THE MEDICI FAMILY

Monday 24 at 06:00 pm: MEDIEVAL FLORENCE

Tuesday 25 at 06:00 pm: WELCOME WALKING TOUR

Wednesday 26 at 09:30 am: THE MEDICI FAMILY

Thursday 27 at 06:00 pm: MEDIEVAL FLORENCE

Friday 28 at 09:30 am: WELCOME WALKING TOUR

Monday 31 at 06:00 pm: THE MEDICI FAMILY

And if you want to visit museums or organize other kind of tours, please have a look at my website where you will find some other proposals.

LOOKING FORWARD TO WELCOME YOU IN FLORENCE

Cosimo the Elder

Cosimo the Elder

Cosimo the Elder is an importamt member of the Medici family of Florence.

I already wrote an article about Giovanni di Bicci, his father.

Cosimo has a brother, Lorenzo. And for both of them we have the appellation “the elder”. Later in the history of the Medici we will meet other Cosimo and Lorenzo with different appellations.

Cosimo The Elder and the Criptomonarchia

When Giovanni di Bicci died in 1429, Cosimo took the responsability of the family business..

During that time Florence was a Republic. No family had officially the power.

But several families made alliances in order to have more influence in the Republic decisions.

And there were 2 factions: the aristocrats was tha alliance made by familes Albizi and Strozzi; commoners was the alliance of Medici and Pitti.

Niccolo da Uzzano was the governator and found the way to keep the balance between the 2 factions. But has he died the Albizi accused Cosimo of conspiration against the Republic.

Consequently Cosimo was imprisoned in a cell inside the Signoria Palace Tower, called Alberghetto and than exile to Venice.

Meanwhile in Florence the Albizi loosed their power and the Republic called back Cosimo that was welcomed as a big hero.

From this moment Cosimo started to be very powerfull. Albizi and Strozzi were exile by the Republic and The Medici were the most important bankers of the town. And not only ….

But Cosimo was also very prudent and intelligent: he knew that he could not behave like a King!

Florence was a Republic where all the poople should had same power and position.

So he started to manage everything in a very “hidden” way: that’s what we call Criptomonarchia ( CRIPTO comes from greek and means hidden, MONARCHIA means monarchy).

Cosimo the elder: business and policy

The keywords of Cosimo are : corruption, alliances, balance and diplomacy. This are all the features that allowed Cosimo to have the control of Florence.

He diced to build a new palace for his family and he choose a simple one made by Michelozzo. Not too showy, not too big and with the main entrance in a secondary street not in the main street of the towN. This to avoid give his enemies more reason to fight for.

Moreover he put the main entrance of his palace in a secondary street of Florence and not in the most important one.

He was becoming a very powerful person, but also Florence was getting more iportant in the international political life.

In 1439 Cosimo found the way to move the Chucrh Council from Ferrara to Florence.

To do this he corrupt the Pope….anyway this was a very important international happening. Many important people came to Florence: Giuseppe Patriarch of Costantinopoli, Giovanni Paleologo of the Bizantine Empire, people coming from different countries. And of course any person took presents from his Country. New jewelery, fabrics that became part of the habbits of the reach people.

Cosimo was able also to create new alliances with Milano, which did not have the same business interest of Florence as the old alliate Venice had.

The power of the Medici grow up a lot with Cosimo.

But also the power and importance of Florence.

The father of the country

When Cosimo died in 1464 the Republic gave him the title of PATER PATRIA , The Father of the Country and this gives you the idea of how important has been this man for Florence.

He wanted to be burried inside the San Lorenzo Basilica, the favourite of the Family.

And his tumb is there, in the cripta together with the tumb of his friend Donatello.

Inside the Balisilca, on the floor in front of the altar, there is a big tombstone dedicated to Cosimo and made by Verrochhio.

This is the history of one of the most important man of the Medici family of Florence.

Ilenia

New Year in Florence

Announciation

New Year in Florence on the 25th of March ? Really?

Yes! I am not joking!!

But let’s start to make order.

NEW YEAR IN FLORENCE: THE HISTORY

Since the 7th century there is an ancient tradition for which in Florence people celebrate the new year on the 25th of March.

This date is a very important religiuos day.

Indeed the 25th of March is the Announciation day, the day in which the Archangel Gabriel announces to the Virgin that she will be the mother of Jesus, son of God.

Actually this is exactly 9 months before the 25th of December the birth day of Jesus.

This calendar was called Giulian Calendar because of Giulio Cesare, who was the one to decided thi particoular calculation for the years day. So originally there was no religious meaning.

WHAT ABOUT THE 31ST DECEMBER?

In 1582 the Pope Gregorio XIII decided to recalculate the years daysand they changed to the Gregorain Calendar, for which the year starts the 1 January.

Naturally…. people pf Florence did not care.

For them the New Year was the 25th of March and they keept on celebratig on that day.

The Grand Duke Ferdinando III of the Lorena who decided to move to the Gregorian calendar.
Ferdianando III of the Lorena

Maybe it was also for the faith of the town to the Vergin Mary, and maybe because of the indiopendence feelings of Florence.

Finally in 1749 the Grand Duke Feridnando the III of Florence decide to move the New Years to the 1st January as it was already in many States.

Under the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence there is a board that reminds about this happening.

NEW YEAR…NOW

In our day there are still celebrations on the 25th of March, inside the Santissima Annunziata church that even by the name, reminds to the religious happening of the 25th of March, the Announciation.

But the big party for the New Year we do it on the 1st of January.

The big celebrations are during the last evening in which we make fire games, concerts in the squares, big dinner and we throw from the window all the old dishes and habits!

Ciao

Ilenia

How to move in Tuscany

Macchina su colline

How to move Tuscany and in all its cities?

Good question.

First of all it depends on what you want to see.

How to move to visit the cities

If you are planning to visit the cities of Tuscany ( Florence, Prato, Pisa, Pistoia, Lucca, Livorno, Massa Carrara, Grosseto, Siena, Arezzo) you do not really need a car.

This cities are very small and once you are inside you can easily walk everywhere and visit churches and museums.

To move between the cities you can use public transportations ( as train or buses).

You could rent a car.

But remember that the cities centers are pedestrian areas and you can not drive there. Moreover, even if your hotel is inside the citiy center and have a special permission for you to reach the hotel, streets are very narrow ( we are talking about towns that in many cases are still as they were in the Middle Ages).

So it is not really comfortable to drive inside the city center.

Another option is to rent a car with driver that usually has all the permissions to enter the cities, knows very well the area and you do not have to think about driving.

How to move to visit the country side

If you are planning to visit the country side of Tuscany ( I just remind you some of the most beautifull areas: Chianti, Val d’Orcia, Valdichiana) and all the little medieval towns based on the hills of this areas ( as for example San Gimignani, Cortona, Montalcino) …..well if you want to visit this places you need a car!

First of all because the small towns on top of hills in many cases are not reached by trains. And even if you can take public transportantion, sometimes it could take a long time to arrive ( public buses have usually to make many stops) and maybe you do not have so many days to spend there.

Second point: if you have a car you can decide day by day which place to visit and ( specially) change the program!!!

This areas are full of small towns which are very nice and really seems to jump back in the Middle Ages. Moreover while you reach one of the famous towns as ( for example) San Gimignano, you could find some other small towns not so famous bu even very nice, stop in a winery or tipical restaurat!

Your holiday can be really full of surprises!!

Of course you can do the same if you rent a car with a driver, that for sure will suggest you wich places to visit.

So …..what to do?

Definetly it depends on what you want to do.

Basically I could resume saying: if you want to visit the cities center better tu use public transportation; if you want to visit the country side better to have a car.

Car with driver is a good option for both cases.

Hope the article can help you to organize your holiday.

Ciaoo

Ilenia

Medici: the best book

The Medici book

The best book about The Medici, the most important family of Florence .

I want to suggest you this book that has been very helpfull for me while I was studying to become a local guide.

But let me tell you something about this family.

THE MEDICI

The Medici had power in Florence for about 300 years.

But the way they managed the town changed in the history.

In the 15th century they started to be bankers and became very reach.

They started to manage power in town using olso bad method?.as corruption.

However some of them did it in a ?clever? way and they were loved by the common people.

But at the end of the 15th century they were exiles from the town by the Republic of Florence.

In the 16th century they got the title of Dukes that means they started to be the only one to control the town.

Later they became also Grand Duke.

I organize some tours in Florence about The Medici, you can find the description in my website 🙂

MEDICI: THE BEST BOOK

The book title is : Medici: Story of a European Dynasty

It is written by Franco Cesati an italian publisher and journalist who wrote several books about Florence.

This one has a very good introduction to The Medici but tell you also something about the different kind of Government that the town had before The Medici.

I read this book before starting my school to get the license as local guide, to be introduced to the great family.

But it was also helpful during the school because there is a section related to each member of the family and is very well organized and written.

I suggest to read this book before coming to Florence to better understand any tour that is possible to do here: because anything in this town is somehow related to The Medici.

And the book is easy to be read: paragraphs are not to long and there are also little mentions to art related to any member of the Medici.

You can find the book on this link.

GET THE BOK

Enjoy the history of The Medici!!!

Ciao

Ilenia

The Chianti area

The Chianti Area

Today I want to tell you about another important place: the Chianti area.

I leave you a vide, in case today you don’t feel like reading!

WHAT IS THE CHIANTI AREA?

Vineyard of Chianti, tipical landascape of this area which is famous for wine and olive oil.
Vineyard of Chianti

First of all the pronouciation: in Italy when we have a letter C follow by the letter H we pronounce it as a K. So it should sound as Kianti.

View of the Chianti hill, the beautifull area situated between the provinces of Siena and Florence
View of the Chianti hill

Chianti is an area based between the cities of Florence and Siena.

Florence and Siena are government areas, same as Tuscany.

Chianti is simply a geographic area and it is also very famous for the production of wine.

About this a suggest you to visit the page of the web site in which you will find nice experiences that you can do here, also wine tasting!

THE SIMBOL OF THE CHIANTI AREA ? WINE

Wine is a very important product of Tuscany.

In any part of the region you can find good wines.

In this area we have a wine called Chianti, same as the area.

Chianti means also a certification because producers have to follow all the rules of the certification, if they want to make a Chianti wine

Which are the rules? There are many. I’ll tell you some of them.

Chianti red grape: the one that must be used to produce the Chianti wine.
Red grape in Chianti

First of all they must use minimum 70% of Sangiovese grape, which is a grape that grow up in Tuscany. Sangiovese is a red grape and the name comes from the Blod of Jupiter.

But this Sangiovese grape must come from the Chianti. Indeed another rule is that Chianti must be produced within the area of Chianti.

Then they can mix with some other grapes that grow up in the Chianti, for example Cannaiolo, Merlot, etc.

Then there are rules about aging, how many months the wine must stay in barrels nad then in bottle before to be sold. And this depends also on the type of Chianti (I will make another article about the different kinds of Chianti).

RED OR WHITE

Chianti is red or white wine?

It is a red wine. There is no white Chianti.

If somebody try to sell you a white wine and tell you that it is Chianti, you can say: “Hey , you are a lier, because I know. Chianti is red!” . And that is true.

But in the area of Chianti is possible to produce some white wines, simply they have another name and can not be called Chianti.

A very famous wine of this area is the Vernaccia, wich is produced in the medieval town of San Gimignano, based inside the Chianti area.

VISIT CHIANTI

If you come to Tuscany for your holiday you must visit the Chianti.

The best way is to rent a car, or a car with a driver and move through the beautifull hills of this area.

Greve in Chianti
Greve in Chianti

You can discover many little medieval town as San Gimignano, Clle di Val d’Elsa, Greve in Chianti.
And on the way you can stop for a wine tasting in a tipical winery.
You can find big winery but also small ones owned by families.

I am sure you will ejoy this amazing area!!!

In another article I will explain you more about the different kind of Chianti wine that is possible to taste here.

Ciao

The Medici: Giovanni di Bicci

Today I want to tell you about the most important family of Florence and the man who started their most important business: to be bankers..

Let’s talk about the Medici: Giovanni di Bicci.

THE MEDICI

The Medici is the most important family who lived in town, because they had the control of Florence for about 300 years.

But let’s start from the beginning.

WHERE THE MEDICI COME FROM

They originally from the Mugello, an are on th mountain near Florence.

In our day this area is famous for the Moto gp, if you like motorbike maybe you already heard about this area.

Medici came to Florence at the end of the XIII century because in that period the town was really reach.

There were many business people and also the Medici , who were already a rich family, wanted to get something more from this good period.

THE MEDICI: GIOVANNI DI BICCI

Giovanni di Bicci of the Medici family, the one who started to be banker and opened branches in all Europe.

Giovanni di Bicci of the Medici family is the first one that really started to get money.

If you saw the Tv serial about the Medici family, the actor who was playing Giovanni is Dustin Hoffman !!

In this kind of old names “di Bicci” means “son of Bicci”. Usually men were called with a kind of nick name that comes from the father name.

So if you read a name of a persona of that epoca, which end with “di NAME”…. you know what it means.

In our day there are many italian surnames that end like this ( for ex: Di Martino) and they could have ancient origin. But it does not have connection with the name of the father as it was in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

MEDICI AND THE BUSINESS

But let’s get back to Giovanni.

He is a business man, specially a banker. He opens branches in France, England,Germany and he is very popular in between important people.

Giovanni takes care about his business but also takes part to the political life of Florencce.

Indeed in 1402, 1408 and 1411 he becomes Prior which is an important role inside the Republic of Florence.

He is a good man and spend some of his money for renovation of the town( for example for the renovation of the San Lorenzo Basilica and the Santissima Annunziata church) and also to help people during the plague of 1417.

PICCARDA BUERI WIFE OF GIOVANNI

Piccarda Bueri, wife of Giovanni di Bicci of the Medici family. An important lady who was taking care also of the family business

Giovanni is married with Piccarda Bueri a beautifull lady coming from Verona and which is part of a good family.

Piccarda has a good education also about business and when Giovanni is far from Florence she takes care about the family .

They have 2 kids: Cosimo The Elder and Lorenzo the Elder from which we have the 2 branches of the family.

But this is another part of the history and I will tell about them in another article.

To learn more about The Medici , I suggest you this book that I also used to be introduced to The Medici when I was studying to become a local guide.

Hope you enjoy the article.

Ciaoo