Florence

Florence, 30 minutes away (entrance of Florence A1 motorway from Montecatini Terme A1 toll entrance, calculate a further 10 minutes to get from the villa to the motorway toll of Montecatini Terme)

60209303Florence, the spectacular capital of the region of Tuscany, is located on Italy’s northwest coast. Even the geographic locations of Tuscany and Florence, in the middle of the Italian peninsula, seem premeditated to make it easy for visitors to travel here from all parts of Italy with relative ease. It is a stunning medieval city divided in two parts by the River Arno that flows from the Apennines through Florence and Pisa and on to the Ligurian Sea. Florence is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world with its overflow of palaces, churches and museums filled with masterful paintings and sculptures. Cradle of Renaissance, a splendid city of art, Florence is recognised by UNESCO as a world heritage site for the wealth and beauty of its monuments. According to statistics produced by UNESCO, 60% of the world’s most important works of art are located in Italy and approximately half of these are in FlorenceThe city was founded in 59.B.C by Julio Caesar, and named “Florentia”, for its flourishing beauty. Florence experienced its time of greatness in the 14th century when the powerful Medici family made its entry onto the world scene, eventually becoming bankers to the papacy. Ponte-Vecchio-brid_2375645b

Florence, from the time of Dante (the celebrated poet of the Divine Comedy, 1265- 1321), was already a bustling economy with its seven Arti Maggiori (the trade unions of the Middle Ages), that oversaw the production and trade of textiles, medicine, wool, silk, leather and spices, and kept checks on notaries and lawyers. With the rise to power of the Medici family, whose roots were deep in trade and finance, Florence was transformed into the city of art and culture it is famous for today. The entrepreneurial and hard working spirit of the city can still be seen in the intense concentration of leather producers and artisans, including historic brands now synonyms with luxury, such as Gucci and Ferragamoferragamo_42_thumb1

There is an equally lively production of textiles, and other various manufacturing in and around the nearby town of Prato. Perhaps the most visible surviving reminder of this past is a secluded world of small artisans and shops, which inherited ancient traditions passed down from generation to generation. You can find wrought iron, ceramics, crystal, and woodwork all over the city, but above all in the Oltrarno district. The various markets around the city also deserve mention, from the fruit, vegetable and food markets of San Lorenzo and Sant’Ambrogio, to those that specialize in antiquities, like in piazza dei Ciompi or in Santo Spirito on Sunday mornings. Exploring these daily and weekly rituals, you will come to see how tradition and history are in no way lacking in the Florentine modernity.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Part of the city’s success is also due to the Tuscan land that Florence is situated in, one that naturally lends itself to producing high quality wine (Chianti Classico), extra-virgin olive oil, specialty cheeses, and delicacies like truffles and mushrooms (porcini and ovulo, otherwise known as Caesar’s mushroom), considered to be some of the best in the world. 

Over the years Florence has developed a thriving restaurant scene, known both in Italy and abroad, for the quality of their chefs and for the use of high quality products. Good service and good food, above all at the renowned Enoteca Pinchiorri, can be found in spectacular locations from prestigious palaces to tiny, hidden piazzas. Every palazzo, church, monument and city-street contributes to this atmosphere, and walking around the centre is like visiting an open air museum.

But Florence is not only Past and History, it is also  Present, Avantgarde and Innovation. A Mecca for Art and Culture, the city hosts important national Fairs and Congresses, such as Pitty Uomo – a yearly national Fashion Fair. 

The beauty of Florence begins with its geographical position. The surrounding rolling green hills and the River Arno, flowing right through the city, give Florence a warm and romantic touch. Apart from the overwhelming art and cultural treasures, the city offers one of Italy’s most atmospheric and pleasant places to visit. The streets of Florence radiate the charm of Italian culture. Florence2

The city also makes for great shopping – here you find designer wear as well as wonderful flea markets.  Florence is also an active center of modern art and culture –  in the summer music, cinema, dance and theatre invade the streets and the squares. It has a wonderful countryside, featuring picturesque villages and vineyards, making for a perfect day excursion.

Markets

Monday

Mercato delle piante: Loggiati di Via Pellicceria – flowers and plants. 10:00-19:00.
Mercato del Porcellino: Logge Mercato Nuovo – porcelain items. 09:00-19:30.
Mercato delle Pulci: Piazza dei Ciompi – flea market. Open all day.
Mercato Di Piazza Dei Ciompi: Piazza Dei Ciompi – general market. 08:00–19:00.
Mercato San Lorenzo: Via del canto de Nelli, Via dell Ariento and Via Sant Antonino around San Lorenzo church – general market. 07:30-19:30.
Sant’Ambrogio: Piazza Ghiberti – antiques market. 07:30-14:00.

Tuesday

Mercatone delle Cascine: Viale Lincoln – covered market. 08:00-14:00.
Mercato delle piante: Loggiati di Via Pellicceria – flowers and plants. 10:00-19:00.
Mercato del Porcellino: Logge Mercato Nuovo – porcelain items. 09:00-19:30.
Mercato delle Pulci: Piazza dei Ciompi – flea market. Open all day.
Mercato Di Piazza Dei Ciompi: Piazza Dei Ciompi – general market. 08.00–19.00.
Mercato San Lorenzo: Via del canto de Nelli, Via dell Ariento and Via Sant Antonino around San Lorenzo Church – general market. 07:30-19:30.
Sant’Ambrogio: Piazza Ghiberti – antiques market. 07:30-14:00.

Wednesday

Mercato delle piante: Loggiati di Via Pellicceria – flowers and plants. 10:00-19:00.
Mercato del Porcellino Logge Mercato Nuovo – porcelain. 09:00-19:30.
Mercato delle Pulci: Piazza dei Ciompi – flea market. Open all day.
Mercato Di Piazza Dei Ciompi: Piazza Dei Ciompi – general market. 08:00–19:00.
Mercato San Lorenzo: Via del canto de Nelli, Via dell Ariento and Via Sant Antonino around the San Lorenzo church – general market. 07:30-19:30.
Sant’Ambrogio: Piazza Ghiberti – antiques market. 07:30-14:00.

Thursday

Mercato delle piante: Loggiati di Via Pellicceria – flowers and plants. 10:00-19:00.
Mercato del Porcellino: Logge Mercato Nuovo – porcelain. 09:00-19:30.
Mercato delle Pulci: Piazza dei Ciompi – flea market. Open all day.
Mercato Di Piazza Dei Ciompi: Piazza Dei Ciompi – general market. 08.00–19.00
Mercato San Lorenzo: Via del canto de Nelli, Via dell Ariento and Via Sant Antonino around the San Lorenzo church – general market. 07:30-19:30.
Sant’Ambrogio: Piazza Ghiberti – general market. 07:30-14:00.

Friday

Mercato delle piante: Loggiati di Via Pellicceria – flowers and plants. 10:00-19:00.
Mercato del Porcellino: Logge Mercato Nuovo – porcelain. 09:00-19:30.
Mercato delle Pulci: Piazza dei Ciompi – flea market. Open all day.
Mercato Di Piazza Dei Ciompi: Piazza Dei Ciompi – general market. 08:00–19:00.
Mercato San Lorenzo: Via del canto de Nelli, Via dell Ariento and Via Sant Antonino around the San Lorenzo church – general market. 07:30-19:30.
Sant’Ambrogio: Piazza Ghiberti – antiques market. 07:30-14:00.

Saturday

Fortezza Antiquaria: Giardino della Fortezza de Basso – antiques and bric à brac. Tel: 055 270 5233.
Mercato delle piante: Loggiati di Via Pellicceria. 10:00-19:00.
Mercato del Porcellino Logge Mercato Nuovo – porcelain items. 09:00-19:30.
Mercato San Lorenzo: Via del canto de Nelli, Via dell Ariento and Via Sant Antonino around the San Lorenzo church – general market. 07:30-19:30.
Sant’Ambrogio: Piazza Ghiberti – antiques. 07:30-14:00.

Sunday

Cortile Del Cillezionista: Via dell’Agnolo – collectors’ market. All day every last Sunday of the month.
Fortezza Antiquaria: Giardino della Fortezza da Basso – antiques. Every third Sunday of the month.
Fortezza Antiquaria: Giardino della Fortezza de Basso – Antiques and bric à brac.
Mercatino Dell’Arigianato e Del Piccolo Antiquariato: Piazza Santo Spirito – small antique and second-hand market. Every second Sunday of the month, except in August.
Mercato del Porcellino Logge Mercato Nuovo – porcelain. 09:00-19:30.
Mercato San Lorenzo: Via del canto de Nelli, Via dell Ariento and Via Sant Antonino around the San Lorenzo church – general market. 07:30-19:30.
Sant’Ambrogio: Piazza Ghiberti – antiques market. 07:30-14:00.

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