• Boboli Gardens - Tuscan Countryside - Florence, Italy

  • Piazzele Michelangelo - Sunset Through the Storm - Florence, Italy-2

  • cropped-Ponte-Vecchio-at-Night-Florence-Italy.jpg

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This event is another summer favorite! Youth orchestras from all over the world come to Florence to play in free concerts. My favorites are the ones in Piazza della Signoria. What could be a better venue on a summer night? You can find the schedule each year at this website.
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This year Florence hosted the 16th edition from July 3 until August 1. Most concerts are held in the piazza with a few in Santo Spirito and Santo Stefano al Ponte. There are also concerts in surrounding villages like Prato, San Giminagno, and Regello.
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Big crowds turn out for this. It is standing only unless you arrive early and get a seat on the bench around the loggia.

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It’s hard to maintain the momentum of “fabulousness” for a day that starts in a wonderful natural thermal cascade at sunrise, but we managed! The Andrea Bocelli concert in the Teatro del Silenzio located in his hometown of Lajactico was simply unbelievable.
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I have to admit it was a bit stressful getting to this small town from the South, and of course we wanted to see the sea, and had lunched in Cecina on the seashore. It started to rain and traffic became horrible as the weekend shore traffic returned home. We had to pick up our tickets, find the agriturismo, change clothes and return to the parking area to take a shuttle to the top of the hill where the theater was located. It was a full schedule, in the rain, for a concert outdoors! Yikes!

Suffice it to say that everything went fine. We got our tickets, made our way to the agriturismo (which was not easy to find and required a few phone calls to the owners), changed and back at the parking lot and on the shuttle in a heartbeat. It was a bit of a walk still to the venue where at the top of the hill, the Tuscan countryside was laid out below. Simply breathtaking.
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We were a little worried when rain began to patter down lightly, but a rainbow appeared directly over the stage and stretched full across the sky! The rain stopped! Che meraviglia!
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The first part of the concert was an opera called Pathos and of course Andrea had a lead role. The second part included opera favorites from Puccini and Verdi. Intermittently there were dance routines and a duet with Placido Domingo and Maria Katzarava. The concert lasted about 2 ½ hours, plus a 20 minute intermission.
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I have to give credit to the security and organization of the team for this event. Everyone was departing at the same time and there were delays, but not what you would expect for 10,000 people exiting at the same time down a hill on tiny roads! This is an event worth planning a trip around. We bought the least expensive tickets at 96 euro each, which were fine. They were bleacher seats with backs on them, and no numbering, so first come first serve. There are several large screens for closer viewing and the sound was magnificent.
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While researching the Hot Springs in Tuscany on line, I stumbled upon the Villa Garden located in Saturnia Terme, just minutes away from the Cascata di Molino. Villa Garden located in Saturnia Terme, just minutes away from the Cascata di Molino. I found it on www.bookings.com, where I find many great deals for hotels throughout Europe.
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The cost was 80 euro for the night, and we had a very nice, large room, bathroom with a tub, and a balcony which overlooked the valley.
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Breakfast was included and it was not your normal croissant and coffee! There was a large spread with cheese, meats, sandwiches, bruschetta, cereal, yogurt and fruit! Your selection of beverage and many types of juices!
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This property is located just off the road that goes directly to the town of Saturnia, and very convenient to the Springs. The owner was fabulous and friendly, attending to all our needs. The gardens and spaces for relaxation are lovely and I only wish we could have stayed longer. One thing I know…..I will be back! I am anxious to try the hot springs in cooler temperatures!
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