• Boboli Gardens - Tuscan Countryside - Florence, Italy

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

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


If you come to Florence, be sure to look for the wine doors on the sides of the palazzos. They are tiny arched shaped windows that look like the large doors and windows on the buildings. Many have been sealed up, but you will still see some of them in their original form throughout the city.

The aristocratic, wealthy families of Florence who lived in these grand palazzos owned large areas of land and vineyards outside the city walls and were responsible for the production of wine, primarily for their private use. Excess wine was sold to the public through these small portals.

At the corner of Via delle Belle Donne at the corner of Via della Spada you will see a fine example of these wine doors complete with the original signage noting the sales hours from November 1 until all of April from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. and from 5 till 8 p.m……”

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This new exhibit located in Santo Stefano al Ponte, near the Ponte Vecchio, started on February 16th and runs until April 12th. It is opened 10-7:30 Monday through Thursday, 10-11 Friday and Saturday, and on Sunday 10-9. It costs 12 euro per person.
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I love Van Gogh (I named my cat, Vincent) and this exhibit was different and spectacular. You enter through the side door and go into the basement of the church. Here you will find photographs and didactics of Vincent as a child and young adult, as well as information about some of his most famous works of art.
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Going up some stairs into the church, the multimedia show begins with over 40 projections on the walls and floor of a variety of Vincent’s work. The slide show is on a loop, so be sure and stay to see it from the beginning. We were fortunate in that shortly after we entered the loop begin. The show takes you through the history of Vincent’s works with quotes from him about his thoughts. The thoughts are about his work, his life, and a variety of things that put the paintings into context. All of this is set to classical music that you will recognize. The music surrounds you, as do the paintings and it is easy to lose yourself in the exhibit. Seeing the photos of the paintings in chronological order really helps you understand his path and emotional state at the time.
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There are places to sit, which makes viewing easy. I love modern art and especially Van Gogh. I think this would be a lovely way to break up a day of sightseeing. In a few weeks, I will be seeing another exhibit of Van Gogh paintings in Milan. Vincent Van Gogh lived only 37 years and only painted for 10 years. He managed to paint over 2000 works during his brief and tragic life. This year is the 125th anniversary of his death and his life is being celebrated throughout Europe with a variety of different types of exhibits.
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I’ve said for many years now that Lo Scudo is my favorite pizza place, but it’s always good to go back and confirm that. This is the place where I often went in 2007 after my Italian language school which was located in the area. I would sit for hours, eating, drinking wine, and doing my homework.
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Located near the Duomo at via dell Oriuolo, 53, you might never think you could get food this good at these prices in this location. I usually eat pizza here, but have eaten other things off of their menu and have been extremely happy. They have a large seafood selection as well as grilled meats. It has a little more selection than the typical Tuscan fare, and they don’t close during the day, making it easy to eat here when you are keeping those odd touristy hours.

I like the pizza because the crust is thin and the toppings are fresh and plentiful. If you like the Neapolitan style pizza, this probably won’t be your favorite, but with the thin crust and lots of veggies toppings, it is a lot lighter than it could be.
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It was cold and rainy when we entered on this night, and the restaurant was bright and warm, with friendly and efficient service. We chose red wine (house variety) a pizza Atomica containing onion, mushrooms, capers and hot peppers, and an onion and tuna pizza with arugula on top. We also split a Greek salad. This cost less than 35 euro.
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In the summer, the long windows to the front are open, making sitting there almost like being on a terrace. You can see one of the brothers who own the place in the front grilling meats and vegetables on an open fire. They are opened from 11-11 every day, so give it a try!
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