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Archive for the ‘Tuscan food’ Category

The Hills of Tuscany

 

We are very pleased to announce a substantial reduction in the price for photography workshop participants. After renegotiating with vendors in Italy, and with Private Italy’s Italian support team, we are now offering this exceptional workshop for $2950.00 per person, land only. This is a nearly $1000.00 per participant reduction from our prior announced price and in no way affects the quality or itinerary of the workshop.

If you book before January 31, 2013, there is an additional $100.00 per person discount applied to the workshop price.

JOIN US!

There are few words on earth that evoke a sense of place more than “Tuscany.”

Visions of villas gold flecked in long afternoon light, hillsides of patterned olive trees, vines bearing luscious Sangiovese grape and hilltop villages whose towers pierce cerulean blue skies are all yours to capture during this photography workshop.

Our first few days are spent within, or close to, the Renaissance city of Florence. The workshop venues balance the well-known with some surprising corners of a city whose narrow lanes and quiet corners offer keen insights into Italy’s elusive beauty.

During the second part of this workshop, we move to a quiet retreat in the hills of central Tuscany. Villas, medieval abbeys, the pattern of cobble-stoned streets and the glory of Italy’s elusive, special luminance await your discerning and creative vision.

Classic Italia – Florence

This is a limited opportunity to join a group of like-minded, passionate, photographers who will learn from world-renowned photographer and teacher, David Simchock. With time for expert critique both during and after days of work ‘in the field’, this workshop will inspire you and expand your creative comfort zone. The texture of earth, the subtle play of light on stucco and stone, luxuriant gardens and the natural palette of one of the most beautiful places on earth are waiting for you.

For full details about this rewarding workshop, including our itinerary and pricing, visit 2013 Photography Workshop in Florence & Tuscany

We look forward to your joining us in bella Italia!

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View of Fiesole
Above Florence

Atop a hill to the north of the city of Florence, largely ignored by most visitors to the city, is the Convent of San Francesco. Below that gorgeous renaissance building is the heart of Fiesole, a little known jewel and the birthplace of modern day Florence.

The village was founded by the Etruscans. When the Roman’s conquered the village in the third century BC, they named it Faesulae, hence its modern name. The earliest inhabitants of Florentia, modern day Florence, came from Fiesole.

What most visitors don’t realize is that within a few minutes bus ride from the center of Florence is one of the best archaeological sites in Tuscany.

The Archaeological site includes remains of the Roman temple (built on the foundations of the Etruscan’s temple), a well restored Roman bath complex and an amphitheater capable of holding up to 2000 spectators.

Amphitheater Fiesloe

Beyond the relics in the Etruscan Museum, located on the grounds of the archaeological site, is the Museo Bandini, which offers an amazing collection of 14th to 14th Century works by artists like Taddeo gaddi and Lorenzeo Monaco. The ticket for the archaeological site includes admission to this museum.

There are not many walks in the are of Florence that offer more spectacular views of the city than the Via San Francesco, which leads from the main town square UP the hill to the convent of the same name. If the timing is right, stop by the Erta del Mangia, a lovely restaurant on your right as you climb above the town. The restaurant offers a quiet garden and fairly priced meals.

Courtyard Fiesole
Monastery of Saint Frances

The chapel at the Monastery of San Francesco, sited on what once was the Acropolis of the Etruscans, contains a spectacular early Renaissance altarpiece. The quiet inner courtyard offers a sense of the peaceful seclusion found by the monks who once inhabited the buildings.

Fiesole is truly a little-known jewel above the city. Include a visit when you are in the area and you will not be disappointed.

Some additional details and restaurant recommendations are listed below.

IF YOU GO:

The Number 21 bus leaves from Santa Maria Novella Station on a regular basis. Fares run Euro 3.50 each way for the trip to the main piazza in Fiesole. Easy access to all the sites mentioned in this post from this bus stop.

Tickets for the Archaeological Area and the Museo Bandini are available at the entrance to the site. The entrance is located a few steps from the main square in the village.Cost: Euro 10.00 per person. No discount for children unless EU citizens. Group rate available for groups larger than ten visitors. (Euro 6.00 per person)

Archaeological Site: Via Portigiani, 1 – Fiesole
Open: 9,30am- 7pm (summer) and 9.30am-5pm (winter). Closed on Tuesdays only during the winter.

Museo Bandini: Via Dupré, 1 – Fiesole
Open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays – in March, 10am-6pm, in April 10-7pm
Call 055.596.1293 to verify opening times

Monastery of Saint Francis: May-Sep 10am-12 noon and 3pm-6pm; Sat, Sun and holidays 3pm-6pm; rest of the year 10am-12 noon and 3pm-5pm; Sat, Sun and hols 3pm-5pm. Closed on Mondays.

Restaurants:

Perseus: On the square in the village. Excellent Tuscan menu, authentic preparations. Beefsteak Florentine? This place is famous for its preparation. Italian’s eat here. Not much more to say.

Hotels:

Hotel Villa Aurora: The entrance to this unassuming three stay hotel is directly off the main square in the village. They offer lovely clean rooms for a fraction of Florence’s costs – the views from the rooms facing west are unforgettable. There is a large terrace for drinks and meals – owned by another business, yet directly next to the hotel. Good value.

Piazza Mino, 39 – 50014 Fiesole (FI)
Tel. 05559363 –

Web Site: Hotel Villa Aurora

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Okay. I admit it. I’m addicted to Ristorante Cafaggi where, for over twenty years, I have enjoyed flavorful, truly Tuscan meals. I was introduced to this well respected restaurant in the late 1980’s by a friend whose family owns a nearby hotel.

Find “truly Tuscan” in Florence?

A recent experience underscores the challenge of finding family owned and operated restaurants in this historic and beautiful city. After a busy morning doing research at the Biblioteca Riccardiana located in the Palazzo Medici-Ricardi, I entered a small nearby cafe for lunch. The woman behind the counter was from a distant land and did not speak either Italian or English . . . nor did anyone else in the place. As extreme as this  may seem, it is unfortunately repeated in many eateries across the city.

Cafaggi Ristorante Florence

Cafaggi, Florence

Cafaggi, in an increasingly world-confused culture, is a reliable retreat for lovingly prepared traditional Tuscan meals.

The family Cafaggi established their restaurant many years ago. Since then, generations have enthusiastically prepared the very best of Tuscan cuisine for locals and visitors alike. Dining room and kitchen have little changed since opening, save for repairs made after five feet of Arno River waters flooded the space in November 1966.

As street noise abated by the minute. staff lingered at tables to describe the day’s specials or to discuss

Tagliatelle con porcini

topics of the day. Dinner this evening included Bruschetta, Tagliatelle with Porcini mushrooms and a succulent breast of chicken accompanied by fresh asparagus. Price? Less than $30.00 including wine and tip. In Florence, an incredibly fair price. By the time I left, all but a few diners remained. Satiated, as always, by luscious food, I returned to my hotel.

The Ristorante is located on the Via Guelfa, not far from the Accademia di Belle Arti and the Piazza San Marco.

I cannot recommend this restaurant highly enough.

In future posts, I will share information for travelers about where to find other fairly priced, traditional Tuscan kitchens in bella Firenze. Join me!

IF YOU GO:

Ristorante Cafaggi

Via Guelfa, 35r

Florence, Italy

TEL: +39 055 294989

Other resources:

Ristorante Cafaggi

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Welcome to the world of Private Italy Tours LTD

The goal of our journeys is to expose travelers to the exceptional heart of this stunning country. Clients have time to explore and relax on their own; in Florence and the hill towns of Tuscany, afloat on the canals and lagoons in Venice, along the narrow streets of villages in Umbria, amidst the Roman ruins in and around Rome, while driving along the spectacular Amalfi Coast, or exploring the beautiful remains of Greek and Roman civilizations in Sicily.

Most importantly you will meet the people of Italy – the true heart of the country. We bring Italy to YOU!

We know you love Italy; come see it through our eyes.

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