In the Santo Spirito area is the apartment of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning at Piazza San Felice, 8. The palazzo was built in the 15th century. The Browning’s lived in this apartment starting in 1847, just shortly after they were married, and they lived there for 14 years.

The apartment consists of 8 rooms, and they have been restored to reflect how they looked when the Brownings lived there. There are some of their works there, and Elizabeth wrote some of her most famous works in this apartment. Entrance is free, and donations are requested. Casa Guidi is open to visitors Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., 1 April through 30 November. Information about letting the rooms may be obtained by contacting:

The Landmark Trust
Shottesbrooke
Maidenhead
Berkshire SL6 3SW
Tel: 01628 825925

These are cheap and delicious. You will usually see them on a menu here in Italy as a primi piatti. I like to cook them at home for my main meal with a loaf of crusty bread to soak up the broth and a side salad.
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1/4 cup onion, minced
• 3/4 cup dry white wine
• 3 pounds mussels, cleaned and debearded
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
• ground black pepper to taste
Sauté the onion in the butter until the onion is translucent. Add the white wine and bring to a boil. Put the mussels in the liquid and cover. Cook the mussels for about 5 minutes or until the shells have opened. Pour all into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the parsley and pepper.


Fiesole is a short ride from Florence on bus No. 7. The town is small and quaint and there is an archeological museum there, that is worth a visit. The museum is located at via Portigiani, 1. When you get off the bus, cross the large piazza and go to the street behind the terraced restaurants, and you will find the entrance to the museum. The hours in the summer are 9:30-7 and they close at 5 in the winter. They are closed on Tuesdays, which makes this a nice option for Monday if you are visiting Florence, because many of the state museums are closed.

The Etruscan site dates back to the 7th century B.C. and the first documentation of its history was when the Romans conquered it in the 2nd century B.C. Fiesole was important and a key location because there was dry land there high above the marshy area of the Arno, and you could see enemies approaching from miles around. The gorgeous views add a lot to the incredible site. There are the remains of Roman baths and spas, and a fairly well preserved amphitheater where concerts are held in the summer.

There is a small museum on the grounds, Antiquarium Constantini holding over 150 pieces of ceramics of ancient Greece and Etruria. There is also a bar and cafe where you can enjoy a drink from the terrace outside.

After visiting the site, head up the hill past the Duomo to the monastery of San Francesco, for even more incredible views.