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

Florence or Tuscany?

Are you planning an holiday and yuu have to decide : Florence or Tuscany?

First of all welcome to my blog!

I am a Florence and Tuscany official Local Guide and like giving informations to tourists because I would like that everybody loves Tuscany and Florence as I do 🙂

I always work with foreigners tourisits and I realized that many time they have a big doubt: Florence or Tuscany?

Therefore I decided to write an article about this differences.

FLORENCE OR TUSCANY : VIDEO OR ARTICLE

I also did a video in which I explain about this.

You can have a look at the video otherwise you can keep reading the article.

Florence and Tuscany

WHAT IS TUSCANY

Italy is devided in 20 regions and Tuscany is one of them.

Some other regions are: Lombardy, Lazio, Puglia, Emilia Romagna, etc.

Sicily and Sardegna are the 2 biggest islands of Italy and are also 2 regions.

In any region we have several towns and also a capital.

Rome is the capital of Italy but also the capital of the region called Lazio, because it is based in Lazio.

Inside Italy we also have 2 countries with their own government.

They are The Vatican which is inside Rome and San Marino which is based between the italians regions of Emilia Romagna and Marche.

WHAT IS FLORENCE

Florence is one of the towns of Tuscany and it is also the capital of the region.

I know it is easy to be confused: many pictures of Tuscany represents hills and sunflowers fields. And that’s true!

Indeed about 80% of Tuscany is made of hills, fields of flowers and country side.

But in Tuscany there are also towns : Florence, Siena , Lucca, Pisa, Prato, Grosseto, Arezzo, Massa Carrara, Livorno, Pistoia.

And the towns of Tuscany are all very nice because they are very well conserved and keeps the original medieval features.

So if you come to visit Tuscany you can spend time visiting very ancient towns but also an amazing coutry side.

See you in Florence and Tuscany!

Ciaoo

Ilenia