Istituto degli Innocenti, Florence, restored


One of Florence’s most precious pearls has been returned. Yesterday, February 2nd 2017, after four years of hard and committed work the Istituto, located in the Ospedale degli Innocenti, Hospital of the Innocents, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, was restored to the town.


One of the highlights is the Museum, revived with a new exhibition and 22 works of art completely restored.  Inaugurated on June 24th 2016, today the Museum finally has its magnificent façade and monumental cloisters returned to it.  12 million Euros were invested for this massive operation, nearly half of which from private donations.


Much dedication has been given to both the historical and artistic aspect of this remarkable building and its contents. There have been the additions of a hall dedicated to the twentieth century and a new exhibition within the gallery dedicated to the Andrea della Robbia’s baby reliefs as well as one to devotional art. In six months the Museum has received over 53,000 visitors.

B03 Bernardino Poccetti

The Bernardino Poccetti’s frecoes, decorating the central span of the outside arcade, have been carefully restored to former glory. So have the two internal cloisters, one for males, designed by Brunelleschi, and the other for females.


La Bottega dei Ragazzi, the Children’s’ Workshop, has been enlarged and is now accessible directly from the Museum’s Bookshop. Approximately 500 square metres restored between three rooms; one dedicated to children’s’ labs and activities for both families and students, a multifunctional hall dominated by Bernardino Poccetti’s fresco and a reception room.


First Open Day in the Children’s Workshop this Sunday, February 5th, from 11 am to 4 pm.


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Salvador Dalí – Tra Sogno e Realtà, Pietrasanta

Woman Aflame, Salvador Sali

On show in Pietrasanta on the Versilia Coast until February 5th 2017 the Salvador Dalí Exhibition, Tra Sogno e Realtà, Between Dream and Reality. The bronze works are scattered between the main square, Piazza Duomo with the magnificent white-marble Cathedral, and the Romanesque former-church and the cloister of Sant’Agostino, today popular sites for cultural events.

Space Elephant, Salvador Dali

This selection of incredible sculptures, amongst the most famous and mystical with which Dali revised his painting themes, there is the gigantic “Space Elephant”, over seven metres high, the 4.88 m “Surrealistic Piano”, the colossal 4-metre “Rhinoceros Cosmique”, the three and a half metre “Space Venus” and “Woman Aflame” (3.40 m).

Salvador Dalí, Tra Sogno e Realtà

The exhibition also includes other medium-sized and smaller works such as the famous melting watch, “Dance of Time I” and the long-necked “Femme Giraffe”. Here one can find the figures, symbols and fears that recurred throughout his infinite artistic production and were applied by him in all the areas of visual art.

Montre Molle, Salvador Dali, © Daum

Also on display is part of the exclusive collection of crystal ware created for the Daum crystal studio of Nancy, France, as well as numerous graphic drawings.


Previously on show in Paris, London, Singapore, Shanghai and Bejing, today Pietrasanta, renowned worldwide as la Piccola Atene, the “Little Athens”, hosts this incredible collection of works of art. Following the Salvador Dalí Exhibition held in Palazzo Blu, Pisa, this show represents the three-dimensionality of the Catalan artist.


Open from Tuesday to Friday from 4 pm to 7 pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 1 pm and from 4 pm to 7 pm. Free admission.


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Christmas Events in Tuscany


Christmas is still a couple of months away but events are starting to kick off all the same. From November 5th to December 26th, for example, the spa town of Chianciano Terme (Siena) turns into the village of Father Christmas. Elves will be receiving visitors, who will also be able to enjoy an ice-skating rink, a Ferris wheel and a Christmas market.


Another Santa Claus Village in the province of Siena is in Montepulciano. Open from November 19th to January 8th, here the stalls at the Christmas market will be seventy!


In Arezzo, the main square Piazza Grande will be turned into a Tyrolese village from November 25th to December 26th. On sale Christmas decorations and handicrafts directly from Tyrol.


Florence and surroundings host many Christmas markets, however, a special mention must go to the Firenze Winter Park, a Christmas-themed amusement park in the south of town. Here visitors can even ski or ice-skate as well as enjoy a typical mountain meal at the restaurant. Open from October 26th to February 26th.


The province and town of Grosseto too have many Christmas events on the agenda. A very particular one is held in Montorsaio in Maremma. Here during the Christmas holidays every corner of the village is invaded by Christmas cribs, which bestow a very magical atmosphere.


Pisa too boasts a Christmas village. Here visitors can see the presents being wrapped, the Xmas post office, the elves’ village and the reindeer’s stable. While the kiddies have fun discovering, the grown-ups will enjoy the handicrafts market and the food and wine stalls.


Christmas is certainly in the air.


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The White Truffle Season

01-tartufesta-04Autumn is not only the mushroom and chestnut season over here in Tuscany. It also means white truffles, the “diamonds of the kitchen”.  Since the Tuscan hilly countryside, especially around San Miniato, is abundant with these pungent smelling tubers, the season is plentiful with Truffle Festivals.


The first to kick off is Volterra with its White Truffle Fair to be held within the event Volterragusto. On October 22nd and 23rd, and again from October 29th to November 1st, the event will be promoting the excellencies of Tuscan food and wine products, e.g. olive oil, cheese, cold meats, chocolate and wine, just to name a few.  At the loggia of Palazzo Pretorio, instead, the sole protagonist will be the precious white truffle, typical of the hills of Volterra.


On October 23rd, 29th and 30th it will be the turn of Montaione, in the heart of Tuscany. Here again the white truffle reigns over the TartuFesta. Local producers will offer tastings, whilst cooking art shows, musicians and artists will animate the town centre. Further away, in the woods adults can go hiking or horse riding while the children are involved in an entertaining truffle hunt.


Back in the province of Pisa, San Miniato is hosting its traditional White Truffle National Fair on November 12-13th, 19-20th and 26-27th. Here over 150 exhibitors will be present with their truffles, wine, olive oil, cold meat, cheese, cakes and many more delicious specialities. On programme also meetings and exhibitions.


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Boccaccesca Food and Wine Festival 2016


The narrow medieval streets of Certaldo Alto, in the province of Florence, will be hosting its traditional food and wine festival from October 7th to 9th. There will be stalls everywhere offering the best of Tuscan specialities.


From full bodied Chianti Classico wines to Brunello di Montalcino, from Tuscan salt-less bread to heavenly almond cakes, from the prosciutto and salami to the tasty pecorino cheese, everywhere visitors will be tempted whilst roaming the streets.


There will also be typical Tuscan dishes to taste and warm you in case the Autumn day is to cool: from the mouth-watering ribollita soup to the savoury porchetta pork roast, from venison such as wild boar, hare or deer to the more homely Florentine steak, from pizzas to plates of pici pasta, and much more tempting dishes.


In programme also musical events, book shows, street art, vintage and handicraft markets and obviously cooking classes, shows and prizes such as the Premio Chichibio. So if you’re in the Valdelsa area this weekend pop over to Certaldo and come thrill your taste buds.


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