Florence
 
 

FLORENCE, capital of the region of Tuscany, has a population of around half a million inhabitants, spreads on the banks of the Arno, between the Adriatic and the Tyrrhenian seas, almost in the middle of the Italian peninsula. It is a city which bustles with industry and craft, commerce and culture, art and science. Being on the main national railway lines, it is easily accessible from most important places both in Italy and abroad. The Florence "Vespucci" airport, where both national and international airlines stop, is located 5 Km. from the city centre. The main motorway, A1, connects Florence with Bologna and Milano in the North and Rome and Naples in the South. The motorway A11 to the sea joins it to Prato, Pistoia, Montecatini, Lucca, Pisa and all the resorts on the Tyrrhenian sea. There is also motorway which connects Florence to Siena. The climate is temperate but rather variable, with breezy winters and hot summers.

The Chianti area, between Florence and Siena, is one of the most beautiful countrysides in Italy and a famous wine production area.

Florence is one of the most visited tourist destinations of the world. At least once in a life time, you’d like to take a close look at the David of Michelangelo, or the Venere of Botticelli, or visit the Uffizi Gallery, the Pitti Palace, the Boboli Gardens, the Brunelleschi’s Dome, etc. etc. As a matter of fact, there are few places in the world that have such a huge concentration of monuments and masterpieces in such a small space.

 

ART AND CULTURE Florence contains an exceptional artistic patrimony, glorious testimony to its secular civilization. Cimabue and Giotto, the fathers of Italian painting, lived here, along with Arnolfo and Andrea Pisano, reformists of architecture and sculpture; Brunelleschi, Donatello and Masaccio, founders of the Renaissance; Ghiberti and the Della Robbia; Filippo Lippi and l'Angelico; Botticelli and Paolo Uccello; the universal geniuses Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Their works, along with those of many generations of artists up to the masters of the present century, are gathered in the city's many museums. In Florence, thanks to Dante, the Italian language was born; with Petrarch and Boccaccio literary studies were affirmed; with Humanism the philosophy and values of classical civilization were revived; with Machiavelli modern political science was born; with Guicciardini, historical prose; and with Galileo, modern experimental science. Up to the time of Charlemagne, Florence was a university town. Today it includes many specialized institutes and is an international cultural center. Academies, art schools, scientific institutes and cultural centers all contribute to the city's intense activity.
 

Tuscan food is simple and abundant with local produce, mellow cheeses and grilled meats. Tuscans are also known for their appreciation of beans as seen in the staple of the Tuscan table: white beans cooked with sage and olive oil. Beef Steak Florentine, many versions of roasted or wine-braised game such as boar, deer and rabbit and thick and hearty soups cover the table of a typical Tuscan meal. Plus this is the home of Chianti wine.
The recipes in Florentine cookery range from the original and traditional to more recent arrivals and innovations. Such a wide and occasionally unusual choice of dishes has not only provided some fascinating historical and social information, but the assortment and variety of flavours, colours, customs and costs suited to all pockets, also offers a style of cooking which is lively and flexible.

At the heart of Florentine cookery lie four fundamental ingredients: bread (plain, unsalted, well-baked with a crispy crust and light and airy inside); extra-virgin olive oil, without any doubt the best even for frying, grilled meat; Florentine steaks of beef, roasted or wine-braised game such as boar, deer and rabbit and lastly, wine itself.

Florentine restaurants serve all the Italian specialities, not just the ones typical of Florence and here is a brief guide to some of those Tuscan meals.