EASTER IN FLORENCE.
The most awaited event of Easter in Florence is undoubtedly the impressive “Explosion of the Cart” which takes place on Easter Sunday starting at about 10am in Piazza del Duomo, near the cathedral. A tradition born over 300 years ago. This cart is called the “Brindellone”, and stands over 9 meters tall on wheels which is then pulled by a pair of white oxen from the nearby town of Prato. Around 11am, as part of the Easter Mass being celebrated in the Cathedral, the Archbishop of Florence at the altar lights the “Colombina”, a rocket shaped like a dove which symbolizes the Holy Spirit. This rocket is attached to the cart by a cable and when it hits it, the fireworks mounted on top are set off – a spectacular display not to be missed
If you are planning to spend just a couple of days in Florence, you likely will not want to lose the opportunity to see and enjoy its artistic beauty. Usually on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, the most popular museums in Florence remain open to the public (museums such as the Uffizi and Accademia Gallery are generally closed on Monday so they will have special openings).
Those who prefer to enjoy Florence beyond the museums and their exhibitions will likely opt to spend more time outdoors. In this case, we highly recommend enjoying walks under the early Spring sun in Fiesole, Settignano or the surrounding hills of Florence where you can enjoy great views over the city. We highly recommend visiting one of the many beautiful gardens and monumental parks in the city, the most famous being the Boboli Gardens and Gardens of Villa Bardini where you can admire the panoramic view from the Rose Garden located just below Piazzale Michelangelo or enjoy a relaxing picnic in the Garden of Horticulture near Piazza della Libertà..
Enjoy a day trip outside of the city either to the wine region of Chianti or perhaps a visit to the seaside, to Versilia or the Etruscan coast, It is worth visiting Siena, Lucca, Pisa and Arezzo, which are about an hour’s journey from Florence. For more tips on the most beautiful day trips to do in Tuscany from Florence, read our tips.
To really know a country or a city, you have to get in touch with its culinary traditions, Other than the foods and flavors that can be found throughout the year in Florence, there are several dishes and sweets you can find in restaurants in Tuscany only in the Easter period. For example delicious roast lamb, specially painted eggs that are normally blessed when the locals go to Easter mass and you can expect to find children taking their chocolate eggs to be blessed too. Among desserts is the Colomba, a leavened cake shaped like a dove with candied fruit inside and covered with almonds and icing.. During the period of Lent (Quaresima), pastry shops and bakeries all over Tuscany make “pan di ramerino”, a sweet bun with raisins and rosemary. And cookies called “Quaresimali”, made with cocoa and in the form of letters, probably the sweets most appreciated by children.
It has been 40 years since Italy’s world-renowned silk makers were forced to abandon the last spinning mills on Italian soil, becoming victims of an increasingly competitive Chinese market. But now production is returning as the Italian industry made famous by luxury designers such as Gucci and Valentino announces plans to create 1,000 silk worm factories. Around 100 businesses in the northern Veneto region have already begun breeding silk worms over the past year following a rise in demand for home-grown material. The return of raw silk production to Italy, which boasted 40,000 spinning mills during the industry’s 1950s heyday, will please the fashion industry.
In Tuscany, truffles grow plentifully in the countryside, making October and November some of the best months to eat the fungi. The fungi are sniffed out by pigs or dogs and you will get a sense of just how important the truffle is to the locals in the villages of San Giovanni d’Asso, south of Siena and San Miniato near Pisa. There is even a museum devoted to the pungent ingredient. Festivals are held every second and third weekend of November and include tastings and tips on how to bring out the root’s inherent flavor. In Tuscany there is quite a bit of debate on whether black or white truffles are more tasty, but the white version does get more attention and is considered the most valuable of the lot.
4 x 4 CARRARA MARBLE TOUR
We are pleased to offer you a terrific off road 4×4 trip in the stunning scenery of the Carrara marble basins, where some scenes of the James Bond Quantum of Solace film were taken in 2008. With our professional drivers and tour guides, you will experience the thrill of travelling along winding, steep roads (usually inaccessible to most visitors) together with the trucks that, during the working days, transport the marble blocks downhill. A unique, once in a life experience in which you will witness the ongoing battle between man and the majestic mountains that keep this precious material at their inside.
Craft beer has truly seen a renaissance in the last few years in Italy, led in large part by artisans and entrepreneurs of the younger generation. The craft beer trend has bloomed in recent years in Umbria, a region with a long legacy of brewing, dating at least as far back as the 16th century, when Trappist monks in the town of Norcia started making this drink. Today the local industry are turning out 3,000 bottle batches of a Belgian blonde and Strong Ale annually.
It is a thick portion of tender beef that must be cut and prepared in a certain way in order to be called a genuine ‘bistecca fiorentina’, the most famous main course on the Tuscan menu. The beef comes from a steer or heifer types of cattle that are young enough to provide extremely tender meat. Although thought of as a typical Florentine dish, the word bistecca has English origins…. Well, when it comes to food, Italians don’t do anything ‘so-so’ and it’s all meticulously thought out – where the meat comes from, the pre-cooking phase, cooking the steak, how it’s cut and finally served, as a real ‘fiorentina’….
This unique sheep’s milk cheese gets its name from the ancient city of Pienza, located just a few miles from Montepulciano. Pecorino di Pienza is considered the best pecorino produced in the Crete Senesi, a specific area within the province of Siena. Sheep were probably being raised in Tuscany since before the Etruscans and was documented during the Roman Age. Pecorino di Pienza, a favorite of Lorenzo il Magnifico, is a cooked-milk cheese made with whole, raw milk from sheep of the sarda breed . The sheep are raised out in the open and graze exclusively on the local flora. The aromas of rare plants that grow in the clay soil of the Crete Senesi.