Christmas in Florence!

The Christmas atmosphere in Florence, as in many Italian cities, starts in early December. The pastry shops begin to smell like childhood, the window displays seem detached from fairytales and the narrow streets of the city are decorated with the traditional Christmas lights. On December 8th a large Christmas tree is set up in the magnificent setting of Piazza del Duomo along with the Nativity scene, located to the front and left of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Nativity scenes, also known as ‘presepe’ are displayed in many churches and piazzas and crafting these ornate works of art by hand remains an artisanal tradition in many parts of the country. Bagpipes are the most common Italian Christmas sound. The zampognari, the shepherds who play the bagpipes, come down from their mountain homes at Christmas time and perform in the market squares.

La Compagnia di Babbo Natale

The Compagnia di Babbo Natale returns with many charitable initiatives and a portfolio of direct donations for children and families in need and partially in favor of the entities that support young people in need. The Compagnia di Babbo Natale, founded in 2007 by Roberto Giacinti, grows in memberships that have exceeded the one hundred and thirty units. They are friends that each year tax themselves and commit themselves to raise funds for those who are in need, uniting “solidarity with play time”. Each year the Company promotes fund raising by publishing a collection volume; “Christmas lunch and the recipes of Christmas Eve” is the title for Christmas 2015. It’s not just a recipe book, in fact, the book reminds us of the flavors from the homes of the Santa Clauses who wrote the recipes with their hearts in the memory of the flavors and fragrances that go beyond the taste buds and always stay in our mind; times when mothers wouldn’t dedicate only their spare time to the kitchen.

Siena Contemporanea

“The key words of the program of Siena, Italian Capital of Culture, have been participation, innovation and sharing. The many initiatives, in fact, were produced by a path of confrontation and mutual stimulation between Institutions and citizens who have voluntarily decided to engage”. These are the words of the mayor of Siena, Bruno Valentini, about the shared vision that recently led to the realization of the program of the Week of Contemporary in Siena. Meetings, workshops and exhibitions of artists from Siena at the Santa Maria della Scala, but also installations of international artists and performances (music, dance and theater) in other places in the city.

Certaldo, home of Boccaccio

Certaldo is a small town in the province of Florence, located in the middle of Valdelsa. The city is divided into an upper and a lower part, tied together by a funicular railway that operates every 15 minutes. While the lower part of the town, Certaldo Basso is a modern, functional city, the upper part, Certaldo Alto is a glimpse into a perfectly preserved medieval world. The red brick walls, narrow streets, and vintage shops allure tourists to explore, to get lost into its beauty and charm.

Florence Winter Park

Starting on October 28, and continuing all the way to March 6, the Florence Winter Park returns to Obi Hall. A perennial favorite, the 4th edition brings ice-skating, tubing, and skiing to the banks of the Arno. One can lace up their skates at the newly designed ice-skating rink which has been divided into two areas. There is a small rink specifically designed for beginners or kids, and a primary larger rink – enabling both amateurs, and ex-NHL hockey players laid up in Tuscany to share the same space. The small rink also plays host to the fantastically crazy sport of Broomball (hockey without skates), and families can also book it for birthdays or holidays, ensuring your entire kids’ party is on the verge of falling down at any moment. Also returning is the popular snow-tube track, where one can plummet down a snow-filled ramp on an inner-tube, reaching speeds fast enough to take out the kid who pushed you in the hall at school.

Piazza della Passera The Florentine little Montmartre

“I would like to have an ice cream, not because I am hungry, rather it is more a whim, exactly what I should avoid given that I am on a diet” “Stop with this diet Marti! If I were a man, I would lose my mind for you! I’ll take you to one of my places where you can find the best ice cream in Florence” So I ended up in Piazza della Passera, in that corner of the city of Santo Spirito neighbourhood. We had passed Ponte Vecchio and the more we moved away the more I had the feeling that the splendour of Florence, that purely tourist and prêt-à-porter, turned into something more intimate, into a Florentine beauty, little noisy and celebrated, we ended up in that Piazza that my friend Sofia considered one of her places.

Great excitement for Bite Into Florence

The initiative BITE INTO FLORENCE organized by Florence’s Chamber of Commerce, successfully continues with the promotion of typical DOP and IGP products among the foreign students that frequent the universities for foreigners in Florence. There are five schools that already accepted the proposal of the Chamber, realized in collaboration with the Consortium for the protection of wines Chianti and Chianti Classico and Extra Virgin Olive Oil Toscano IGP. The tasting sessions realized in the last few months led by professional olive oil tasters and sommeliers, have enabled students of Richmond University, New York University, Florida State University, James Madison University and Scuola Leonardo da Vinci, to learn more about two local products of the Florentine territory, the oil and the wine. During the tastings, and with the help of slides and films, practical information were given to the foreign students on how to distinguish the positive and the negative characteristics of the products, in order to understand the information on the labels, what they mean, for example, the name “reserve” or “bottled at the source”; more than that the students are also given flyers with more information about the cultivation of the product and its varieties. So, a series of “instructions” are given out in order to allow the student to appreciate these products without abuse, particularly when it comes to alcohol products.

In this issue Florence is … Novembre - Decembre 2015

Exactly two year have passed since the first issue of Florence is You! published in its printed form on December 2013, and how much it has changed since then... Browsing the printed issues that have followed, with my dear friend and our patient graphic designer Manuela, we smile when we are surprised to use the same expression, which, referring to the newspaper, basically seems to say “it has changed so much”. And it is true, because Florence is You! was brought up lovingly by our hands, our ideas, our will, and is the result of the devotions of so many people: our writers and collaborators who do their best to accomplish all that is needed to make the newspaper more and more rich in content and new proposals; readers and friends that have contacted us to receive Florence is You! and it is thanks to their precious suggestions that we are now distributing it in more than 400 places; our partners, some of whom have been with us on this adventure since the beginning and that have immediately shown great faith sustaining what has become “our newspaper” and deciding to tell their stories through its pages.

The “Giardino delle Rose” A fragment of urban heaven

There is a place in the splendid Florence wrapped by an atmosphere of strange magic, a sort of enchanted garden, located under Piazzale Michelangelo. The simple chance made me discover this urban heaven. It had been a boring day. I decided to end it walking until Piazzale Michelangelo. I never reached the goal I had set, at halfway I stopped near a terrace. There were some little benches very pleasant. On one of these a bronze man was sat, work of Jean-Michel Folon. On the right side, exactly in front of Folon man, there was a frame which enclosed a part of the Florentine panorama.

The beauty of San Gimignano

San Gimignano is a small, medieval town in the province of Siena, Tuscany. Driving from Florence, the thousand-year old towers of the city, wink from behind the hills, sending out an invitation to step into a perfectly preserved medieval world. The foundation of San Gimignano dates back to ancient times, the first historical document mentioning the name of the town dating from August 929

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