Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Personajes Clásicos: Carlo Collodi, el papá de Pinocho!

De Encarni Tirado.

No son pocos los autores toscanos que han tenido éxito a lo largo de los años, pero sin duda, uno de los más queridos es Carlo Lorenzo Fillipo Giovanni Lorenzini, más conocido como Carlo Collodi (y aun más conocido mundialmente como el “padre” de Pinocho).
Carlo, nacido en Florencia el 24 de noviembre de 1826, toma el sobre nombre artístico del pueblecito de su madre, Collodi (en provincia de Pistoia).
Viene de una familia muy humilde, su mamá era maestra de primaria aunque trabajaba como camarera para los marqueses Ginori. Su padre, también trabajaba en cocina para los mismos marqueses.
Desde pequeño estuvo interesado por la filosofia y la retórica aunque también le interesaba la política, lo que lo llevó a participar en la Guerra de Independencia a partir de 1848 con el vando toscano de los revolucionarios.
Sus primeras publicaciones tienen lugar en el periódico Il Lampione, las cuales fueron censuradas por el Gran Duque toscano.
Carlo demuestra su capacidad como escritor de distintos géneros pero principalmete empieza a acercarse al público infantil: en el año 1876 cuando publica “I racconti delle fate” (las historias de las hadas), en el cual traduce fabulas francesas al italiano.
Su obra más destacada se publica a partir de julio de 1881 en un periodico para niños, pero no se publica al completo sino por capítulos, la “Storia di un burattino” (“La historia de una marioneta”), lo que más adelante se conocería como “Las aventuras de Pinocho”.
El nombre de origen del protagonista principal, Pinocho, no es algo que se conozca con certeza, pero seguramente tiene que ver con el árbol con el que se construye, el pino, ya que éste se trataría de un niño enteramente de madera, y a quien una hada madrina decide otorgarle rasgos humanos.
El nombre de “burattino” en el libro es algo simbolico y gracioso puesto que Pinocho es una marioneta, un títere que se maneja con hilos, mientras que “burattino” es aquel títere que se maneja con la mano directamente desde atrás del muñeco.
Una de las características más destacadas de este niño, es que su nariz crecía cuando decía una mentira: se trataba de una lección para evitar que los niños mientan.
El autor, Collodi, fallece sin saber que Pinocho alcanzaría la fama internacional. Está enterrado en la Basílica de San Miniato al Monte, Florencia.
Las notas que se conservaban de su estudio en el momento de la muerte, seleccionadas por su hermano, están conservadas en la Biblioteca Central Nacional de Florencia.
Walt Disney, después de algunas adaptaciones, lleva a Pinocho a las grandes pantallas de todo el mundo. En una de ellas actúa también el famoso actor toscano Roberto Benigni.
En 1956 se inaugura el Parque de Pinocho (en la localidad de Collodi), en el cual se retratan las distintas etapas del viaje de Pinocho, hasta conseguir ser un niño de carne y hueso.

En este parque encontramos un taller para niños, la posibilidad de apreciar distintas esculturas, pinturas y muestras de todo tipo sobre el maravilloso personaje de Collodi.

Collodi se encuentra a mitad de camino entre Montecatini Terme y Lucca, muy cerca de la ciudad de Florencia, y el valor de la entrada es realmente accesible.

No te vayas de Florencia sin sentirte como en el cuento de Pinocho, y no me refiero a las mentiras ! ;)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Florence as the home city of ice cream

via www.gelatofestival.it
by Ilaria Gelichi



Ice cream has a long history, and it’s much older than one could imagine. Something similar to ice cream already existed in ancient times but it was quite different from ours: the custom of cooling milk, fruit and honey was already widespread in the Far East, Greek and Turkey but also the Romans during their banquets used to consume chopped fruit mixed with honey and snow. However, these "mixtures" looked more like a sorbet than our ice cream, and it is in fact during the Middle Ages that in Sicily are prepared the first sorbets and ices, thanks to a new technique of freezing fruit learned from the Arabs and refined by the Sicilians.

But it’s during Renaissance and in Florence in particular that comes the luck of ice cream, which at this point looks quite similar to the one we know. According to legend, a poultry seller named Ruggeri won with his sorbet a contest held by the lords of Florence, the Medici, becoming famous throughout the region. The "ice cream" was put into moulds of various shapes, realizing sculptures that amazed the diners. When in 1533 Caterina de' Medici married Enrico d'Orleans and moved to Paris, wanted Ruggeri with her, who brought to France the tradition of ice cream, giving rise to its spread throughout Europe. In the same period, another Florentine contributed to the birth of the ice cream as we know it today: Bernardo Buontalenti, who was famous mostly as an artist and animator at the court of Cosimo I de 'Medici and was the first to freeze a cream made with milk and eggs. Having received the task of organizing the festivities to welcome a Spanish delegation, Buontalenti organized theater performances in the gardens and along the river Arno, a great show at the Fortezza da Basso, fireworks and prepared a cream flavored with bergamot, lemon and orange, frozen with a mixture of his own invention. Historical records show that it was the brilliant artist in person to think up an important innovation to conserve the snow. During the winter, the snow was normally collected and pressed in cellars lined with straw to keep it longer. Buontalenti created special cellars with an interspace, filled with cork and lined with wood to allow the flow of water as the ice melted. These cellars were located outside the city walls, in Via delle Ghiacciaie (ghiacciaia means icebox) - a road that still exists.

So nothing better than enjoying an ice cream in its home city, Florence!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Known and hidden gardens in Florence

Boboli Garden
by Ilaria Gelichi




Today I’m going to write a little about Florentine gardens. Florence has a lot of green areas: some gardens are big and famous, like Boboli Garden, others are less known but not less charming.
Let’s start with the well-known ones and then we will discover the “hidden” ones.

Boboli Garden

Boboli is one of the biggest gardens in Florence (45000 m2) and it is linked with Palazzo Pitti, the ancient residence of the Medici family. The first project of Boboli was done by Niccolò Pericoli during the 16th century, then modified during the 18th and 19th century, becoming as we admire it today. Boboli has a lot of statues inside it and for this reason – but also for its architecture - could be considered an open-air museum. It is one of the best examples of Italian garden, which mixes landscape with architecture, creating an amazing union of colours and shapes.
Price: Euro 3

Parco delle Cascine

This park was property of the Medici family and was bought for cattle breeding and as shooting ground. In 1786 Giuseppe Manetti started some renovation works to turn Cascine into a big public park, enriched with architecture and decorations: Fontana delle Boccacce for example, or the pyramid that had function of icebox.
Located on the right bank of the river Arno, it is the biggest park in Florence; Florentines go here during weekends to jogging or walking.
Price: free

Giardino delle Rose
Giardino delle Rose

“Garden of roses”, this is the meaning of the name of this garden, created by Florence municipality between Viale delle Rampe and Via delle Croci. It has been one of the glories of the Florentine horticultural tradition for decades and a nice detour during a stroll on the Viale dei Colli. In 1998 it was enriched with an “international area”: a Japanese garden “Shorai”, donated to Florence by the city of Kyoto and the Zen temple “Kodai-Ji”. It is worth a visit, especially in May when the roses bloom.                        
Price: free

Giardino dell’Iris

This garden can be reached driving on the Viale dei Colli, and the entrance is on the left side of Piazzale Michelangelo. It can be visited during the month of May, when the irises – the symbol of the city of Florence – bloom. The garden is home to more than 2000 varieties of this flower, which is widespread in the Arno valley and painted in red on the emblem of Florence. The iris (or lily) is frequent in Florentine decorations, in the past as nowadays – it was on the first silver coins and then on the golden fiorino.
Price: free

Giardino di Villa Bardini
Giardino di Villa Bardini

This garden has been recently restored, after several years of neglect and decay. For this reason, it is not well-known yet but it can be defined a little piece of paradise on the hill which from Costa S. Giorgio goes down to the river Arno. From here it is possible to admire the Duomo’s dome, Palazzo Vecchio and S. Croce church. Admiring the beauty of Florence is not the only thing to do in this garden: there are frequent exhibitions and a restaurant with a terrace, open for lunch and dinner. 
Price: Euro 6

Giardino di Palazzo Corsini al Prato

You would not expect to find such an enchanting place only a couple of steps from the crowded and congested Porta al Prato. Palazzo Corsini was designed by Buontalenti in the 16th century, commissioned by Alessandro Acciaiuoli - a nobleman with a passion for botany who wanted a villa with a great park inside the city. The garden of the palace is full of lemon trees, flowers and trees and during the visit it is possible to meet some turtles, free to wander in the garden. It is home to 180 citrus plants and has 3 big limonaias.
Price: Euro 5

Giardino dei Semplici
Giardino dei Semplici

This garden was founded in 1545 by Cosimo de’ Medici and is the third more ancient botanical garden (after the ones of Pisa and Padova). Half of its area is occupied by “hot” and “cold” greenhouses, with plants from all over the world (more than 6000). At open air there are trees, vegetables and medicinal plants; the collection is enlarged every year.
Price: Euro 4

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

TOP 5 Pizzerias in Florence

by Ilaria Gelichi



A pizza is made with water, flour, salt and yeast and flavoured with various ingredients. Quite simple, but behind an ordinary margherita there is much more: tradition, sun, colours, taste, in one word Italy. Pizza is a synonymous of Italian culinary tradition and Italy itself, especially the southern regions. However, even in Florence you can find excellent pizzerias: here is a top 5 list – of course in our opinion.

1. Il Pizzaiuolo - Via de’Macci 113, Firenze

This is a classic Neapolitan pizzeria, and is located in the centre of Florence, in the neighbourhood of S. Ambrogio. I suggest to reserve a table, especially during the weekend, because it is always very crowded – otherwise you will have to stay in line waiting for a table. For this reason, the service and the waiters are very quick. The pizza here is the classic one, with high dough and genuine ingredients. Strongly recommended: Neapolitan mixed fried appetizers and burrata.

2. Il Vico del Carmine – Via Pisana 40r, Firenze

It is another classic Neapolitan pizzeria in Oltrarno (the other side of the river Arno), furnished in the style of Naples’ alleys. The pizza dough is again high, as traditionally. Fish dishes are also very good. Excellent the pizza with sausage and friarielli, a typical vegetable. If you go, reserve a table in advance.

3. Spera – Via della Cernaia 9r, Firenze

This small pizzeria is located just outside of the centre, between Piazza della Libertà and Piazza Leopoldo. However, it is worth a visit: the owner won some international prizes with her pizzas. The dough is soft, similar to bread and it is possible to choose between classic, wholegrain and kamut. Ingredients put on the pizza are either classic or creative. It is not possible to reserve a table, so you just have to be patient and wait for your turn.

4. O’Munaciello – Via Maffia 31r, Firenze

O’Munaciello is another Neapolitan pizzeria, well-known in Florence. It is located in S. Spirito neighbourhood, in an ancient cloister of XVII century, and furnished in Neapolitan style. Beside the classic high-dough pizza, here you can find a lot of typical dishes of Neapolitan tradition: appetizers, fish, etc. Reservation suggested, especially during the weekend.

5. Gustapizza – Via Maggio 46r, Firenze

This pizzeria is located in the same neighbourhood of O’Munaciello, near Palazzo Pitti and S. Spirito church. The atmosphere is friendly and cheerful and the place is crowded, there is usually a line outside the door. They do not serve at the table – a wine barrel adapted to a table – and you will share it with others. They also have the take-away service, so you can buy your pizza and eat it outside in the beautiful Piazza S. Spirito. Each day there is a couple “pizza of the day”; the dough is very soft and tasty.

And you? Which pizzeria would you recommend in Florence? We wait for your comments!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Top 5 Heladerias en Florencia

By Encarni Tirado


Italia, pasta, pizza, foccacia, lo único que falta en este cocktail explosivo es un sabroso helado artesanal. Aquí os presentamos un Top 5 de las cinco mejores heladerias de Florencia.
Los Italianos tienen un especial culto al buen helado, da igual la época del año, la hora o la compañia con quien quieras compartirlo, nunca está de más un helado paseando por una de las ciudades más románticas del mundo, Florencia.

Aquí os proponemos algunos de los lugares donde disfrutar de este exquisito manjar.


La carraia, situado en la otra parte del río Arno, exactamente en el puente que la hace denominarse así, tenemos esta magnífica heladería, una de las más competitivas de la ciudad puesto que además de privilegiar su posición, también reinan sus buenos precios, y su pasión por hacer los helados. Lo que podriamos decir que tienen ventaja competitiva en todos los aspectos.
Podemos encontrar conos a partir de 1€ hasta 6€ y esto es una cosa fantástica.
Al visitarlos, podrás decir: “Yo también estube en la Carraia”

La bottega del gelato, a tan sólo 50 metros del puente viejo en Via Por Santa Maria 33, nos encontramos una heladería muy particular, donde podemos disfrutar de más de 30 variedades de polos diferentes. Además de poder realizar una foto espectacular de su colorida vitrina con alrededor de 400 helados de fresa, naranja, mango, kiwi, chololates, recubiertos con coco, pistacho... Su propietario, Andrea, un chico muy simpático, nos recomienda:“cupido”un helado de nata y fresa, “crema de limón” “piña colada” o “mojito”.
No dudeis en ir, están buenisimos.

Grom, en via del Campanile 2, encontramos una de las heladerias más famosas de Italia, nada más entrar sorprende el increible olor a chocolate fondant que existe en el ambiente.
Y como todos los dias no nos apetece las mismas cosas: Helados, sorbetes, granitas, frappé o chocolate caliente es la lista de productos que podemos elegir dependiendo del estado de ánimo, seguro que nos ayudan a estar al 100% J Conservados en lecheras metálicas cerradas para no pierder el aroma, podemos elegir 2 o 3 sabores y descubrir mundos diversos.
Después, obviamente, paseo por el Duomo!!

Perchè no, exacto, ¿por qué no comer un rico helado que ha pasado de generación en generación?desde 1939 y hecho con los mejores ingredientes naturales, el helado artesanal del Perchè no es todo un clásico florentino.
En Via Tavolini 19r encontramos un local pequeño pero moderno donde nos ofrecen helados con los sabores de siempre, además de granizados y mousses.

Vivoli, otro clásico, visita obligatoria tanto para gente que venga de excursión como para las personas de la ciudad.
Hablamos de un negocio decorado con madera, como en época de antaño. El servicio que nos ofrece es bastante bueno (cafeteria, restaurante y heladeria), además de la amabilidad de las camareras. Helados con sabores de ayer y hoy crema, chocolate con naranja o bruja le hacen ser una de las heladerías más famosas. Localización: Via dell’Isola delle Stinche 7r

Aunque hay que reconocer que en esta ciudad puedes encontrar cientos de heladerias, nosotros os proponemos las 5 más destacadas desde nuestro punto de vista. Esperemos que disfruteis de estos caprichitos que no vienen mal para resfrescarnos en cualquier época del año.

¡Que aproveche! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The history of Ponte Vecchio

written by Ilaria Gelichi


Ponte Vecchio is one of the most famous bridges in the world and a symbol of the city of Florence. It crosses the river Arno in its narrowest part, where anciently there was a ford. During the Roman age and early Middle Ages many bridges were built and destroyed by floods, especially by the famous flood of 1333, one of the most violent. The bridge was then rebuilt with 3 arches in 1345, probably by Taddeo Gaddi or Neri di Fioravante.

As was once common Ponte Vecchio still has shops built on it, but in the past there were no jewellers. In 1442 the authorities of the city stated that all butchers should move their shops on the bridge. The purpose of this regulation was keeping the city’s streets clean and remove the butchers from the city centre, keeping them away from palaces and homes. They in fact used to throw discards and offal in the river Arno and the street they used to reach it were dirty and stinky; in this way they could throw them directly into the river without soiling the city.

In 1565 the architect Giorgio Vasari built the famous “corridoio vasariano” (Vasari’s corridor) to link Palazzo Vecchio, the political and administrative centre, to Palazzo Pitti, the Medici’s private palace. This corridor is almost 1 kilometre long (0,62 miles) and passes over the shops of Ponte Vecchio. For this reason, in 1593 Ferdinando I of the Medici family stated that all butchers should stop selling there and move from the bridge – he did not like this smelly activity under his corridor. He then replaced the butchers with gold merchants and jewellers, as we can still see nowadays.


Ponte Vecchio is the only bridge in Florence which was not destroyed by Germans during their retreat at the end of World War II. According to some sources, this happened because of an express order by Hitler (who had visited Florence and the bridge before the war) and with the help of Gerhard Wolf, the German representative in Florence. For this reason and for other merits he obtained the honorary citizenship of the city of Florence; a plate with his name was also put on the bridge.