Curious Florence: An endless love at Grifoni Palace

Florence is a wonderful city, in fact it doesn’t requires a lot of work to fall in love with it. This Italian city is a living museum, where every street, alley, and building is full of history.

The undisputed charm of the city of Florence comes not only from all the works of art you can see in every street, but also from the imperceptible hidden details, elements that can escape the eye at first glance.

I am now going to reveal you one of these hidden elements that will surely blow your mind:

Piazza_Annunziata
Grifoni Palace

On the corner between Piazza Santissima Annunziata and Via dei Servi there is the Palazzo Grifoni (more known as Palazzo Budini-Gattai), which is a red brick palace. When you observe the palace from the square you might notice that on the facade of this building there is a particular window that is always open.

One of the most less known Florentine legends relates that the Grifoni family lived in this building for centuries and it is said that toward the end of the sixth century, one of the Grifoni sons went off to war (which was not something uncommon at the time) and was so forced to leave her beloved wife.

Piazza_Annunziata1
The open window

The beautiful lady ran to the window to greet him one last time and to watch him leaving. The legend tells us that the wife spent all of her time sitting nearby the window, hoping to see her husband again. The love of her life never returned home, and when she died, the window was shut.

There are two different versions to this story:

Some say that the neighbors of the two lovers were so touched by the profound love story that they decided to reopen the window.

Other people say that when the window was closed, objects inside the room began to fly and furniture began to shake. As a servant reopened the window, everything returned normal. This makes us understand that this woman’s love is still there and her spirit still waits for her husband’s return and will probably wait forever.

No one knows the woman’s name and no one will ever know which one of these two stories is true.

For more stories and legends about Florence, do not miss our history of Florence tours!

Italian cooking: Pappa al Pomodoro

italian recipes, pappa al pomodoro recipe, italian cooking recipesThe “pappa al pomodoro” is one of those dishes that best represents the Florentine and Tuscan cuisine, as it is made of simple ingredients which, properly combined, offers tasty and flavoured dishes!!


Here are the ingredients:

350 gr of stale Tuscan bread
500 grams of ripe Tuscan tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
garlic
basil
1 lt of vegetable broth

italian recipes, pappa al pomodoro recipe, italian cooking recipes– Peel the tomatoes (they are ripe, so there is no need to pass them in boiling water), remove the seeds and cut them into small pieces.

– Heat up the oil in a pot with garlic. When the garlic releases its aroma, add the tomatoes and some basil stalks.

– Season with salt, add the chili and simmer the sauce for a few minutes covering the pot.

– Cut the bread into small pieces and let it soften in warm vegetable broth. Squeeze lightly and add the bread to the tomato sauce.

– Cook for about 15-20 minutes while turning it, until the “pappa” begins to take shape. If it is either too dry, balance the consistency by pouring a ladle of broth.

Add the fresh basil leaves torn by hand and leave to rest for an hour.

The pappa al pomodoro is at it best when served warm with a sprinkle of pepper and a little olive oil…

And now…Buon Appetito!!!

If you wish to know more on Italian cooking or you’s like to take a few lessons to learn and improve your cooking skills with a professional chef, then take a look to our Italian cooking courses!

 

Curious Florence: Wine holes

Florence is a city rich not only in art and history, but also in curiousities and intriguing secrets.

Today we will speak about the mystery related to those ancient shrines dedicated to a very important product of the city’s both culture and economy.

If you have been to Florence, probably wandering in the streets of the center you could have seen some “buchette” (small openings) on the ground floor of the facades of palaces.
These small holes are all very similar: they have the shape of a small door with a higher arch, decorated by a dropped frame, and closed by a wooden door.

Florence tours, Secret florence tours, private tours Florence
Buchette del vino

What were those little holes for? Well these are “wine tabernacles”.

Their origin dates back to many centuries ago: at the end of XVth century the trade in textiles and linen, a driving engine of the Florentine medieval and Renaissance economy, began to encounter the fierce competition of the northern countries, especially England.

The nobles, the bankers and the Florentine merchants sought new markets and decided to invest their capitals in land and possessions. The new landowners invested on the typical products of the area and particularly on wine. Those little holes are the result of strong investment in wine production.

Florence tours, Secret florence tours, private tours Florence
Buchette del vino – Firenze

Through these openings the producers directly sold their wine on the street, without other intermediaries, such as taverns. The little holes were placed on the ground floor at the same level as the palaces’ inner cellars to allow a quick and easy sale.

Try to knock when you find one, maybe a good merchant of ancient times might make you taste the new wine 😉

Did you like this story? Then they will like also our guided tour of History of Florence!

Curious Florence: La Berta

One of the best things about Florence is that at every corner, if you raise your head and look around, you always have the opportunity to discover something new.
And we’re not just talking about beautiful churches and old buildings, but of curiosities mostly linked to particular stories and legends, like the one we’re about to tell you:

Discover Florence, Private Florence tours
La Berta on the side of Santa Maria Maggiore

Near the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore you can find the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore. In the side of the tower overlooking Via dei Cerretani you will notice that there is a “petrified head” embedded in the bricks: This is the “Berta”.

Two very different stories tell us about its likely origin:

According to one school of thought, it seems that this head is there from 1326 because of Cecco d’Ascoli (an astrologer condemned to the stake). The man was led to death and casted a curse to a woman who, denying him water, had prevented him to save himself from the flames (he had made a pact with the devil).

According to others, Berta would have been a greengrocer who gave the church a bell, so that it could be used to alert citizens with its chimes about the opening and closing of the city gates.
This small bust is therefore a sign of recognition of the Florentines to  Berta.

Which of the two stories is true? We do not know, it’s up to you to choose what to believe 😉

For more stories and legends about Florence, do not miss our history of Florence tours!

To-do in Florence: Mostra dell’Artigianato 2016

events in Florence, mostra artigianato florence, florence weekend. florence eventsThe traditional event opens his gates tomorrow in Florence!
From April 23rd to May 1st the Fortezza da Basso will be the place to go for a journey through tasty flavours, handmade objects and the best of local and international artisans.

Every year a foreign country is the special guest and it’s Brazil’s turn this time: in its reserved areas the country of next Olympic games will show you its best thanks to food pavillons, shows and events.

The opening times are the following:

Every day from 10am to 10:30pm
(on the last day early closing at 8pm)
All information on the official website
events in Florence, mostra artigianato florence, florence weekend. florence events

Here’re our tips to enjoy the fair at its best 😉

  • events in Florence, mostra artigianato florence, florence weekend. florence eventsavoid April 25th and May 1st: they’re national holidays in Italy, so the risk of overcrowding are pretty high. Moreover the last day happens to be mostly a dismantling day for most international exibithors so you might not be able to see some of them properly
  • use lunchtime to see the pavillons while many visitors will be eating, and enjoy an early lunch when food pavillons will not be crowdy yet, so to avoid queueing
  •  events in Florence, mostra artigianato florence, florence weekend. florence eventsget there in the afternoon, enjoy a first look to the exibithors and dine inside the fair, then after dinner might be the occasion to get again in the pavillons and complete your shopping