Art history in Florence: The Church of San Pier Maggiore | Senza categoria

Art history in Florence: The Church of San Pier Maggiore

Actually, there is no church anymore. What we see going through the homonymus square is just an arch, the only thing that remains of the old building.

Once there was a womans’ Benedictine monastry, in which the abbess had the institutional duty to welcome the new bishop, when he was in visit to Florence. That’s why the Florentines, with their famous profanity, used to call her the bishop’s bride. The ancient romanic church, which had many changes and modifications during the years, can be seen in the Ghirlandaio’s San Zanobi’s miracle, set today at the Accademia museum.

The church was destroyed in 1783 because of its precary conditions; it all begun with the fell of a column, but the truth is that the duke Leopold II didn’t want to have too many religious istitution in the city of Florence. After the church, that area became a poor zone and lost its magnificence. What we can see now, it’s just three arches of the church’s ancient façade. Two of them are now part of private houses.

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Art history in Florence: The Church of San Pier Maggiore | Senza categoria

Italian recipes: Rolled pepper delights

Make your aperitivo more than good, but delicious! This recipe is good also ad appetizer, before a light meal. Here you are the “Rolled bell pepper delights”!


  • 6 red or yellow bell peppers (or a mix), cut into 1 inch wide strips (along the longest length, in order to have long strips)
  • 1 lb. ground meat
  • ¼ lb. mortadella
  • ¼ lb. cooked ham
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • toothpicks
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).To make cutting the bell peppers into strips easier, you can first soften them by placing 2-3 at a time inside a small plastic bag and heating them up in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. The vapor that forms makes them soft and easier to cut and clean.
  2. Prepare the meat filling by processing the mortadella and ham in a mixer or blender. Add to the ground meat in large bowl, then add the bread crumbs and egg. Mix well. Add salt and pepper.
  3. Take some meat and spread it on the bell pepper strips with the back of a spoon. Take one end of the strip and roll up onto itself until you have a small roll. Fasten closed with one or two toothpicks.
  4. Pour enough olive oil into a long tray to cover bottom. Place the rolled up bell peppers flat on one layer, close to each other (you should see the meat filling from the top and rolled up peppers). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until tops of rolls are slightly browned. Remove and let cool 10 minutes before serving. Also tasty served slightly warm. (source: tuscan recipes)

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Art history in Florence: The Church of San Pier Maggiore | Senza categoria

Events in Florence: San Giovanni celebrations

At first, the patron of Florence was the God Marte, whose statue was located at the noth entrance of Ponte Vecchio. It was destroyed in 1333 by an Arno fleeding. Nowadays, the patron of Florence is San Giovanni Battista, celebrated every June 24th, who became patron after the total transformation of the town to Christianity. The selection of San Giovanni is due for his clear pedagogy and strong and courageous personality.

Thanks to these celebrations the San Giovanni Baptistery and the Duomo Square became the city heart of the Religious and Political life of Florence. In fact,it is in front of the Baptistery that the festivities of June 24 end. History narrates that an ancient tradition asked to the Noble people of Florence to donate their big candles richly ornamented which had then to be burned in front of the Baptistery. Originally, the festivisty ended with a large candle that was transported in a wagon from Piazza Signoria to the front of the Baptistery. That same wagon named Carro di San Giovanni (San Giovanni’s Wagon) gave birth to the Scoppio del Carro festivity (Wagon’s Outburst); however, at a second stage, this festivity was devoted only to Easter ceremonies instead to the Patron.

During June 24th, several festivities take palce in Florence throughout the day such as parades, the Rowing Club competition along the Arno river, fireworks, etc.
The final game of the Calcio in Costume (football soccer in costumes) was played on this same day.

Along with the Historic Florentine Football, another sporting event is celebarted on this day. The Notturna di San Giovanni (night run marathon), it’s one of the oldest marathons in Italian history.

FIn order to salute the Saint Patron, at around 9:00pm, you can admire a firework show in Florence. The best spot to see them it’s in Ponte Santa Trinita (Santa Trinita Bridge). From there you can see Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge), and behind it the beautiful fireworks reflecting in the Arno river. The bridge and its surrounding streets gets jammed of people, so it is recommended that Florentine people having houses with view towards Piazzale Michelangelo open their doors to their friends and relatives, so you can enjoy the show in company of your loved ones.

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Again, during the same weekend it is usually organized another funny event, concerning just one side of the city: Nottarno, la notte bianca in Oltrarno (Nottarno, the White Night in the Oltrarno zone). Various and different events will be organized and dislocated along the streets and squares of the city district, and have been already inserted in the program of the night: music, exhibitions and various kinds of entertainment. On the occasion, shops, pubs and restaurants of the Oltrarno district stay open all night long and arrange tables on the streets of the centre.

Source: about florence

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Art history in Florence: The Church of San Pier Maggiore | Senza categoria

italian recipes: Eggplants parmesan

This is a typical delicious dish from Italy. You can find the recipe with pictures clicking here


  • 2 lbs (about 2 large) eggplants
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 lbs of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 cup grated high quality Parmesan cheese
  • 1 packed cup fresh basil leaves


1 Cut eggplants lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices. Arrange one layer in the bottom of a large colander and sprinkle evenly with salt. Repeat with remaining eggplant, salting, until all eggplant is in the colander. Weigh down the slices with a couple of plates and let drain for 2 hours. The purpose of this step is to have the eggplant release some of its moisture before cooking.

2 While the eggplant is draining, prepare tomato sauce. Combine tomatoes, garlic and 1/3 cup olive oil in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper to tasted and set aside.

3 When eggplant has drained, press down on it to remove excess water, wipe off the excess salt, and lay the slices out on paper towels to remove all the moisture. In a wide, shallow bowl, combine flour and breadcrumbs. Mix well. Pour beaten eggs into another wide shallow bowl. Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat, and pour in a a half inch of olive oil. When oil is shimmering, dredge the eggplant slices first in the flour mixture, then in the beaten egg. Working in batches, slide coated eggplant into hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Drain on paper towels.

4 Preheat the oven to 350°F. In the bottom of a 10×15 inch glass baking dish, spread 1 cup of tomato sauce. Top with one third of the eggplant slices. Top eggplant with half of the mozzarella slices. Sprinkle with one third of the Parmesan and half of the basil leaves.

5 Make a second layer of eggplant slices, topped by 1 cup of sauce, remaining mozzarella, half the remaining Parmesan, and all of the remaining basil. Add remaining eggplant, and top with the remaining tomato sauce and Parmesan.

6 Bake until cheese has melted and the top is slightly brown, about 30 minutes. Allow to rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 8.

Art history in Florence: The Church of San Pier Maggiore | Senza categoria

Italian tradition: June 2nd – Repubblica day

Festa della Repubblica (literally Festival of the Republic) is celebrated in Italy on the second of June each year.

The day commemorates the institutional referendum held by universal suffrage in 1946, in which the Italian people were called to the polls to decide on the form of government, following the Second World War and the fall of Fascism. With 12,717,923 votes for a republic and 10,719,284 for the monarchy, the male descendants of the House of Savoy were sent into exile.

To commemorate it, a grand military parade is held in central Rome, presided by the President of the Republic in the role of Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. The Prime Minister and other authorities attend too. Prior to the foundation of the Republic, the Italian national day was the first Sunday in June, anniversary of the granting of the Statuto Albertino.

(source: Wikipedia)

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Art history in Florence: The Church of San Pier Maggiore | Senza categoria

Excursions in Tuscany: Sovana & Pitigliano

Sovana and Pitigliano are two small villages located in the province of Grosseto; they’re not too far from Florence, and of course really worth the visit.

Sovana, the smaller of the two, is a really typical place of Etrusc origins, where many ancients tombs can be seen. The houses keep the characteristic atmosphere of an old center, with their red-orange bricks.

Pitigliano stands on an abrupt tuff butte high above three small rivers. From the Aldobrandesque family, to the Jewish community, this place has many stories to be discovered and places to be admired. The sight from the upper town will leave you breathless.

The Institute Galilei offers guided excursions through the most famous and beautiful places in Tuscany. See the program of our excursions here >>>