Tag Archives: Tuscany

Travel to Tuscany’s Vino con Vista Wine Regions in Italy

The gallo nero seal of the Consorzio Chianti C...

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Sangiovese vines of Brunello di Montalcino in ...

Sangiovese vines of Brunello di Montalcino in Tuscany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chianti sub-zone

Chianti sub-zone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Montalcino, Toscana, Italia

Montalcino, Toscana, Italia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A bottle of the Italian wine Chianti Classico ...

A bottle of the Italian wine Chianti Classico made from Sangiovese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A close-up view of sangiovese grapes ...

English: A close-up view of sangiovese grapes to be made into Chianti at the Colle Lungo vineyard in Castellina in Chianti, Tuscany, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tuscany is Italy’s quintessential wine region and the birthplace of three important red wines: Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. These wines are made from Sangiovese grapes but have distinctively different flavors in Tuscany’s diverse microclimates.

Vineyard growing in the Italian wine region of...

Vineyard growing in the Italian wine region of Tuscany, home of the Sangiovese-based Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wine. The photo also demonstrates the viticultural technique of clear (or bare) cultivation that leaves bare soil between the vines and rows with no cover crops. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chianti is produced in seven subzones in Tuscany. The Chianti Classico zone has DOCG status. The other six Chianti subzones are: Chianti Rufina, Colli Fiorentini, Colli Aretini, Colli Senesi, Colline Pisane and Chianti Montalbano. The “Chiantigiana” is the scenic road that twists and turns through the Chianti zones between Florence and Siena.

Brunello is Tuscany’s rarest and most expensive wine. It is produced in the walled medieval village of Montalcino, south of the Chianti Classico zone. The climate is warmer and the hills are steeper. The wine is aged longer and it must be aged in oak barrels.

Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino 2003 I...

Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino 2003 Italian wine from Tuscany made from Sangiovese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano has been made in the town of Montepulciano since Etruscan times. This wine is made from prugnolo grapes a sangiovese clone and was granted DOCG status in 1980.

Here’s Wine Spectator’s detailed overview map of Tuscany . The map includes: Chianti, Bolgheri, Brunello di Montalcino, Maremma and the Montepulciano appellations.

Click here to view the map: http://assets.winespectator.com/wso/Maps/Tuscanymap.pdf

On February 27th, 2014 there was an annual award ceremony for the Best of Wine Tourism 2014 winners at Palazzo Capponi in Florence.

The winners were:

Castello di Gabbiano, San Felice winery, Enotria, Castello di Poppiano, Castello La Leccia, Tenuta di Poggio Casciano from Ruffino, Panzanello winery and Col d’Orcia.

“The stretch of coastline from Livorno to Piombino is known as the Etruscan Coast, the area chosen by the ancient Etruscan people to exploit the huge mining and agricultural resources.  Medieval jewels like the towns of Casale Marittimo and Bolgheri, famous for its Viale dei Cipressi (Cypresses), which gained everlasting fame thanks to the poem “Davanti a San Guido” by Giosuè Carducci, as well as Castagneto Carducci, dominated by the castle of the Gherardesca counts, and Suvereto, a medieval town with charming architectural harmony.

Visit the Etruscan Coast wine trail where you can meet most local wine producers and visit their cellars and vineyards. Here are some helpful links for this area:

To learn more about Italian food and wine read Vino con Vista Travel guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites

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Filed under Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico, Florence, Italian Food, Italian Food and Wine, Italian Wine, Italy, Italy Travel Guides, Sangiovese, Sienna, Travel and Tourism, Tuscany, UNESCO, vino con vista, World Heritage Sites

My Glorious Vino Con Vista Weekend in San Diego

National Register of Historic Places listings ...

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English: Imperial Beach, California The symbol...

English: Imperial Beach, California The symbol of this surfers’ community south of San Diego. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you follow my posts, you already know that I wax poetic about my on-going love affair with Italy. Basically every nook and cranny of the magnificent peninsula and surrounding islands take my breath away. But you probably didn’t know that my second love is San Diego. There are 33 beaches, and 70 miles of coastline stretching from Imperial Beach to Oceanside. There are about 267 glorious days of sunshine per year. No wonder San Diego is “America’s Finest City.”

English: San Diego's original Victorian-style ...

English: San Diego’s original Victorian-style railway depot, built in 1887 for the California Southern Railroad Company, is razed to make way for the opening of the new Santa Fe Depot in 1915. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: San Diego Cityscape looking down Harb...

English: San Diego Cityscape looking down Harbor Drive. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

IMG_3330 I love the Santa Fe Depot train station with its glorious mosaic domes. There are plenty interesting places to visit on the way to Los Angeles.

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In Little Italy, go to  Extraordinary Desserts for the most beautiful sweet treats you will ever witness.

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The city has a vibrant Little Italy neighborhood with outstanding restaurants and bars and plenty of gelato and Italian delis. Filippi’s Pizza Grotto on India Street is a Little Italy institution.

Here’s a Video of Little Italy http://youtu.be/beH01nziAIsSkyline in San Diego California

Sometimes, when  I yearn to be sun-kissed by the hilly landscape of Tuscany or transported to the  glistening  azure sea that surrounds the majestic cliffs of the Cinque Terre or the Amalfi Coast; I just plan a trip to San Diego.

Amalfi coast Italy 1

Amalfi coast Italy 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Amalfi Coast Italy 6

Amalfi Coast Italy 6 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cinque Terre in Italy

A Town in the Cinque Terre

If all I have is a long weekend, I escape to the www.vino-con-vista.com of San Diego. Did I mention that the weather is always perfect in San Diego? As a college professor, I have the luxury of a Fall Break and believe me, I thank God each and every day for all my blessings.

Chef prepaing glazed shrimp in San Diego

Chef prepaing glazed shrimp in San Diego

I always celebrate Columbus Day in what I consider to be America’s Amalfi Coast. I prefer to stay at the Marriott in the Marina District for a number of reasons. I love sun-bathing at the luxurious pool while listening to the soothing sound of the magical fountains as I sip a refreshing Miami Vice from the Tiki Bar. The Marriott is within walking distance of many of my favorite San Diego attractions and it is close to the trolley.

The city is great for biking and the hotel has a bike rental service. I like the food and the view from Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Restaurant. The rooms have outstanding views and balconies. I enjoy watching the jet skiiers and boating enthusiasts. It’s fun to watch people flying their kites in the park. Gazing at the Coranado Bridge and the sailboats is basically one of life’s simple pleasures.San Diego California Marina District Sea Port Village’s 14 acre outdoor plaza has a beautiful 19th century carousel. Grab a coffee at the Upstart Crow Bookstore and Cofeehouse at 835-C W. Harbor Drive. If you go in the summer, get tickets for the San Diego Symphony Summer Pops concerts in the Embarcadero Marina Park South (behind the Conference Center). The tickets start at $20. For more informationn visit: www.sandiegosymphony.com. I’m saw Michael Bolton and Burt Baccarack in the summer of 2013!

English: San Diego Symphony Summer Pops 2008 -...

English: San Diego Symphony Summer Pops 2008 – “Motown Magic with Mary Wilson” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sea Port Village in the Marina District in San Diego California

Rocks in Sea Port Village in San Diego

Sea Port Village in the Marina District in San Diego California

The Marina District of San Diego California

The tenth annual San Diego Wine Festival will be held in the park behind the Marriott Hotel  on November 20-24, 2013 at the Embarcadero Marina Park North. What a great “Vino con Vista” venue!! Some of the other festivals held in 2013 include: Taste of Gaslamp (June 8-9), Taste of Little Italy (June 19) Taste of Adams Avenue (June 30), Encinitas Wine Festival (June 1), the San Diego Spirits Festival (August 24-25) and the San Diego Festival of Beer (September 20), and Hillcrest City Fest on August 11th with 250 vendors. On June 15th there was a Carlsbad Beach Fest with water sport challenges. The Festival of Sail is when Tall Ships from around the world dock at downtown’s Embarcadero between August 30-September 2.

San Diego Wine Festival 2012

San Diego Wine Festival 2012

San Diego Restaurant Week Kick-Off Event Tasting Event

San Diego Restaurant Week Kick-Off Event Tasting Event

San Diego Wine Festival 2012 Chefs

San Diego Wine Festival 2012 Chefs

There are many other reasons why I like the Marina District. I like to watch the sea gulls strategically capture and devour left-overs from sleeping sun-bunnies. They really seem to love french fries.  I wonder if they have cholesterol issues? Sea Port Village in the Marina District in San Diego CaliforniaI adore watching the captivating sunsets from Seaport Village.

San Diego California Marina District

I can’t understand why San Diegans don’t celebrate the vistas with the same pomp and circumstance as the daily sunset festivals in Key West.

It’s an easy stroll over to the Port of San Diego. I like the USS Midway Museum with the longest-serving US Navy aircraft carrierod the 20th century. At the museum, you can “relive 50 years of world history by walking in the footsteps of 225,000 Midway sailors” on Harbor Drive. There are 27 restored aircraft. For more information visit http://www.midway.org

Visit the “Greatest Generation Walk” that commemorates military heritage through art. My favorite WWII commemorative statue “is “Unconditional Surrender.”  This romantic 25 foot statue of a sailor kissing a nurse by J. Seward Johnson always makes my heart skip a beat.

Nurse and Sailor in San Diego California

Nurse and sailor in San Diego California

The  Marina District is also appealing because it is within walking distance to Horton Plaza, the Gaslamp District and Little Italy. These are some of my favorite San Diego destinations. Take some time to explore the bay on a Hornblower Cruise. I like the “Sights and Sips” Sunset Cruise. Pay for a reserved window seat when you purchase your ticket.

San Francisco 2012 616

My “Vino con Vista” San Diego adventure began in the Gaslamp District with a local wine event at the House of Blues.  Exhuberant dancers enjoyed the DJ’s classic Prince tunes. I was glad they were pouring Pinot Noir because I can be such a wine snob. We meandered over to the historic Grant Hotel at Broadway and 4th where a female San Diego attorney named Lynn Schenk broke the gender barrier at the Grant Grill restaurant in 1971. The sign at the entrance said “Men only until 3:00 pm.” The Hotel is celebrating their 100th anniversary. Long story short, the place was recently refurbished as an elegant Starwood Property and serves as a testiment to the Glory Days of San Diego. The live music was enchanting.

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The Gaslamp District has 94 historic buildings that have been  lovingly restored. Businessman Alonzo Erastus Horton spent $264 for 800 acres in 1867. These 16 blocks eventually became the Gaslamp Quarter. You can schedule a two-hour walking tour of the Gaslamp at the Historical Foundation at 619-233-4692. There are over 200 restaurants, bars and night clubs with a vast array of Happy Hour options including: Altitude Sky Lounge, Chianti, Currant, House of Blues, Hard Rock Hotel and McCormick & Schmicks.

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The next day, I had the good fortune of having lunch on the sun-drenched patio of the Hotel Del Coronado which is one of my favorite hotels in the world! I am also a big fan of Wentworth by the see near Portmouth New Hampshire.

View of Coronado and San Diego from the air.

View of Coronado and San Diego from the air. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I usually take the Coranado Ferry from the Broadway Pier behind the Convention Center when I want to visit Coranado. I put my bike on the ferry and ride down Orange Street to my final destination. I love the view of the skyline from the Coranado Ferry Landing.  Technically, the Silver Strand connects Coronado to the mainland so it really isn’t an island. It is technically an isthmus because it is attached to the mainland at the southern end of Silver Strand State Beach and is connected to Imperial Beach

English: The pier in Imperial Beach, Southern ...

English: The pier in Imperial Beach, Southern California. South of San Diego, very close to the Mexican border. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The beach at Coronado in front of the hotel is definitely the best beach in San Diego! Have brunch at the Hotel del Coronado’s Crown Room on Sunday at 1500 Orange Avenue. . You won’t be disappointed in this Victorian gem brimming with history.

Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego California

 I love the California Historic Landmark’s  photo montage of  the 1959 film “Some Like It Hot.”  The hotel was featured in the classic film with Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. It reminds me of the pictures of “La Dolce Vita” that adorn the walls of the Hotel Majestic in Rome. I like all the cute retail-therapy shops on the lower level. One of the jewelry stores had an adorable ruby slipper necklace that I had to work really hard at resisting. I grabbed a business card just in case I changed my mind when I got home about the necklace. Although our plan involved feasting on one of the restaurant’s famous Ruben sandwiches, we realized that they had changed the menu. I ordered some delicious seared scallops instead. The breath-taking views of the beach, the Pacific Ocean and hilly peninsula of Point Loma reminded me of Mondello Sicily. If I win the lottery, I’m moving to Ocean Drive in Coronado or maybe I’ll move to La Jolla so I can be Mitt Romney’s neighbor.

After lunch, we went to the Cabrillo National Monument on the southern tip of Point Loma and paid hommage to the Portuguese navigator Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo who landed here on September 28,1542 when he anchored his “San Salvador” ship. This is agreat place to watch the sunset! Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego CaliforniaI never knew about the sandstone cliffs that surround the tide pools and precious pre-historic fossils in Point Loma, but they definitely peaked my interest. Tide pools are generally found on rocky shores that are covered and uncovered daily by ocean tides. They are best viewed at low tide when you may see an array of sea like including sea stars and urchins.

Point Loma San Diego California

Point Loma San Diego California

As I gazed at the fourteen foot structure of Cabrillo, I was magically transported to the “Monument to the Discoveries” in Lisbon that honors the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator with Magellan, Vasco da Gama and other notable Portuguese explorers lining the concrete prow of a caravel. I heard the sweet serenade of Fado music and envisioned the Manueline Belem Tower that protects Lisbon’s harbor. I remembered that I was in San Diego when I saw the lighthouse, North Island, military ships and the skyline. Senior Cabrillo looks like he was kidnapped from the monument in Lisbon. In Point Loma have a burger at Slater’s 50/50 at 2750 Dewey Road. One of my favorite lunch is Point Loma Seafoods at 2805 Emerson Street.

Point Loma San Diego California

We drove past the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery that was named after a Union General in the American Civil War. The tombstones made me think about my travels to Normandy.

Point Loma San Diego California

Then I thought about how much I missed my Dad. I remembered that someone from the army called me the day before his funeral to tell me that they were sorry to hear that they had lost another one of their WWII brothers. They came to his funeral and presented me with a folded flag and gave him a proper 21 gun salute. It brought  tears to my eyes. Weeks after his funeral, I received a certificate from the White House. President Bush signed a document that stated The United States of America honored my father’s memory. It says: “This certificate is awarded by a grateful nation in recognition of devoted and selfless consecration to the service of our country in the Armed Forces of the United States.”  I presume that the daughters of many beloved fathers buried at Rosecrans and other military cemeteries received the same document.

It was time for us to check out the newly-renovated Bali Hai Tiki Temple at 2230 Shelter Island Drive. Bali Hai was a famous show tune from Roger and Hammerstein’s 1949 musical “South Pacific.” Shelter Island in San Diego CaliforniaThe venue was lavishly adorned with maps and Polynesian artifacts. We sat at the bar for another incredible “Vino con Vista.” Instead of wine, I opted for a Polynesean cocktail that was so strong that  I had to dilute it with orange juice. I felt it was too early in the day to get hammered. I’m starting to sound like Ernest Hemmingway; most of his tales revolve around cocktail hour.

That evening, we went back to Banker’s Hill overlooking  Balboa Park  where the San Diego Zoo is located. We watched the 1937 film “Captains Courageous” based on a 1897 story by Rudyard Kipling. In the film, a young Spencer Tracy serves as a heroic role model for the arrogant son of a wealthy tycoon played by Freddie Bartholomew.  Rudyard Kipling‘s heart-warming tale is about vices and virtues. Spencer Tracy is a Portuguese fisherman who teaches the child about respect, valor and love. This tear-jerker is a must see for the over-indulged pre-teen in your family.

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The weekend was  filled with festivals. We walked over to the Saturday morning Mercado in Little Italy. I love the fresh flowers, farm-fresh produce and wide array of merchandise offered at this weekly event. Smilin’ Jack was playing Italian songs on his accordion. When you go to Little Italy, make sure you try some of the Happy Hour Venues. I like the Glass Door Restaurant and Lounge for a Vino con Vista overlooking the Bay. San Diego’s vibrant dining scene has more than 7000 options. There are also plenty of food trucks including Mangia Mangia Mobile and Miho’s Gastrotruck. In Little Italy dine at Bencotto Italian Kitchen at 750 Fir Street or Prep Kitchen for Happy Hour.

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Little Italy in San Diego California

san diego california

We hopped on the Trolley in Little Italy that transported us to the Art Festival in Old Town where I found the perfect blush-colored  pearl bracelet to wear to my son’s spring wedding. Then for about  $20, we took a cab to Prospect Street in downtown La Jolla. I had to re-visit the historic  La Valencia Hotel and climb the stairs at George’s at the Cove for a panoramic shot of the Pacific Ocean. George’s Chef Trey Foshee serves contemporary California cuisine with breath-taking views. There’s even a rooftop terrace. Another interesting dining option in La Jolla is Nine-Ten at 910 Prospect Street inside the Grande Colonial Hotel. Chef Jason Knibb’s seasonal cuisine is served in an elegant dining room. I love the pink La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla on Prospect with the hand-painted murals

San Diego California

We walked over to the Art and Wine Festival on Girard St. The festival was a school fundraiser. Wineries from Temecula were pouring $3 tastings. I found it interesting that the public school on Girard Street was located at the intersection of the Maserati Dealership and the Ferrari Dealership. That spoke volumes about the demographics in La Jolla.

San Diego California

San Diego California

Plan to attend the La Jolla Music Society Summerfest between July 31 and August 23, 2013. La Jolla has an annual festival of the Arts between June 22-23. I wanted to attend the Gourmet Festival in Del Mar but we didn’t have enough time. If you have time, check out the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla Village where Nancy Rubins’ large-scale, nautical inspired  artwork adorns the museum’s west side.

One of my favorite Fall Festivals is in Little Italy. I love this annual Columbus Day celebration called  “Festa” in Little Italy.

San Diego California

Live music permeates the neighborhood as the chalk artists work their magic on five- foot square sections of Date Street. Some of the chalk art is incredible!

Little Italy in San Diego California

Litte Italy reminds me of Cefalu Sicily with the historic tales of tuna fisherman, cute shops with imported Italian ceramics and charming outdoor Italian restaurants. I had some flavorful gnocchi from Buon Appetito’s food booth.

I made my mandatory trek to Fillippi’s for pine nut cookies. They offer the perfect blend  of almond paste and pine-nuts. I was too full to order a Caprese Sandwich at Mona Lisa, one of my favorite Italian stores on India. Have a perfect expresso at Caffe Italia at 1704 India Street. There’s a summer Film Festival in Amici Park Amphitheater on Saturday nights in the summer at West Date and State Streets.

Little Italy in San Diego California

In the evening, we went to Island Prime on Shelter Island and I ordered a yummy Ahi Tuna/crab meat appetizer that was drizzled with a balsamic infused apricot flavored glaze. It was just the right mate for my Cadillac Margarita with Gran Marnier. I savored the combinaton as I admired the billion-dollar views of downtown San Diego at night. The cruise ship was parked in the Port and the configuration of the ship’s red lights resembled the Golden Gate Bridge.

San Diego California

Then it was time for some  “Smooth Jazz” at Humphrey’s at 2241 Shelter Island Drive. .  I loved watching the people on the dance floor move to the rhythm of Marcus Anderson’s sexy saxophone. The passionate tatooed drummer was getting a cardiac workout.

Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay is a great venue for dinner and a show during the summer months.

No weekend in San Diego would be complete without visiting the Gaslamp Quarter. Go to Bice at 425 Island for an outstanding Happy Hour. Everyone loves Searsucker with Top Chef Brian Malarkey’s grand slam at 611 5th Avenue. I absolutely love the Grant Grill at 326 Broadway inside the elegant US Grant Hotel.

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If you have extra time, there’s plenty of biking, hiking and walking trails. Go to Balboa Park, Lake Miramar, or the Grasslands loop if  you want short and flat terrain. Balboa  Park is the site of the 1915 and 1935 international exposition.

 I think my next book will be “Vino Con Vista San Diego.” Fortunately, my research will involve many return trips to my favorite American city. How appropriate that the local flowers are “Birds of Paradise.” If you wand to browse an event calendar visit http://www.sandiego.org/events

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ http://www.vino-con-vista.com

 

San Diego California

Mark your calendars for the San Diego Wine Festival in November. Here’s a YouTube Video overview that you might enjoy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPmEnsU3LsY

English: The city flag of San Diego, CA. Flag ...

Image via Wikipedia

Buon Viaggio–

 

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It’s Always Halloween in San Gimignano Italy

San Gimignano, perhaps the most popular of Ita...
Image via Wikipedia
Coat of arms of San Gimignano

Coat of arms of San Gimignano (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

San Gimignano delle belle Torri is 32 miles southwest of Florence. It is considered the Manhattan of Tuscany. The majestic skyline of noble towers was built for defensive purposes and as a symbol of status and wealth.

Many towns, such as San Gimignano, were enclos...

Many towns, such as San Gimignano, were enclosed with walls, causing crowding and the building of tower houses. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This destination served as an important relay point for pilgrims traveling to or from Rome on the Via Francigena.

San Gimignano view from torre grossa 5

San Gimignano view from torre grossa 5 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The patrician families who controlled the town built 72 tower houses (some as high as 50 meters) as symbols of their wealth and power. The Torre Grossa is still open to the public. Although only 13 of the original towers have survived, San Gimignano has retained its feudal atmosphere and appearance.

san gimignano

san gimignano (Photo credit: michael pollak)

San Gimignano view from torre grossa 3

San Gimignano view from torre grossa 3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You probably didn’t know about the Spooky Musuem in San Gimignano where you can celebrate Halloween all year long! Visit the Museo Pena di Morte.

Museo della Tortura in San GImignano Italy

San Gimignano Torture Museum

Skull in San Gimignano Torture Museum

Torture Museum in San Gimignano

Panforte at a shop in San Gimignano, Tuscany, ...

Panforte at a shop in San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides to Italy and  Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites

Happy Halloween from www.vino-con-vista.com

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Filed under ebooks, Gelato, IPad, Italian art, Italian Food, Italian Food and Wine, Italian Wine, Italy, Italy Travel Guides, Museo Pena di Morte, oenogastronomic, Renaissance Art, Rome, San Gimignano, Travel and Tourism, Tuscany, UNESCO, vino con vista, World Heritage Sites, World's Best Gelato

Taylor Street’s Taste of Italy at Festa Italiana 2015 in Chicago

Trevi Fountain - The fountain filled with coin...

Trevi Fountain – The fountain filled with coins, from another perspective. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are you going to Taylor Street’s Taste of Italy at Festa Italiana 2015 in Chicago?

Chicago’s popular Little Italy neighborhood will celebrate its history and heritage from August 13-16 2015 as the annual Taylor Street Festa Italiana returns for its ninth year.

The Taylor Street Festa Italiana is produced and managed by Star Events. Entry to the event is a suggested $5 donation with proceeds benefiting the University Village Association, a community development organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for the Near West Side community.

Taylor Street Festival

Taylor Street Summer Festival

Taylor Street Summer Festival

Festa ItalianaFesta Italiana

Thursday, August 13 – Sunday, August 16, 2015

1453 W. Taylor St.

Chicago, IL 60607

Taylor Street Italian Festival 2012

Trevi Fountain at Taylor Street in Chicago

Thursday, August 14: 5-10 pm; Friday, August 15: 5-11 pm; Saturday, August 16: 12 Noon-11 pm; Sunday, August 17: 12 Noon-10 pm

FREE Admission; $5 gate donation requested

Taylor Street in Chicago

Taylor Street in Chicago

Chicago’s popular Little Italy neighborhood will celebrate its history and heritage from August 14-17 as the annual Taylor Street Festa Italiana returns for its eighth year. More than 50,000 fest goers are expected to attend, saying “Ciao” to new neighbors, and “That’s Amore” about the authetic Italian activities, delectable (or “buono” Italian cuisine, and energetic live entertainment in three dynamic stages.

Legendary Drifters at Taylor Street Italian Festival 2012

Legendary Drifters at Taylor Street Italian Festival

Last year I listened to  Bobby Rydell perform  at the Italian Festival Taylor Street/ Little Italy in  Chicago IL.

at The Rosebud Stage  (Ashland  entrance of the festival).

Bobby Rydell

Cover of Bobby Rydell

Here’s the entertainment schedule:

http://www.festaitalianachicago.org/Entertainment.html

Here’s the official website: http://www.festaitalianachicago.org/

They will have a “Great Grape Stomp” at the Vintage Lounge. Last year, I took a picture of the replica of the Trevi Fountain and participated in the Meatball Eating Contest.

Taylor Street Italian Festival 2012

Taylor Street Italian Festival 2012

Taylor Street Italian Festival 2012

Taylor Street Italian Festival 2012

Taylor Street Italian Festival 2012

Taylor Street Italian Festival 2012

You have to go to Rome to see the real Trevi Fountain.

A 5x5 segment panorama taken by myself with a ...

A 5×5 segment panorama taken by myself with a Canon 5D and 24-105mm f/4L IS lens. Stitched with rectilinear projection to keep lines straight. This view is about 100 degrees horizontally, close to the upper practical limit of rectilinear projection. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Italian neighborhoods in Chicago celebrate summer with annual traditions in historic Italian neighborhoods. Taylor Street was the port-of-call for many Italians who immigrated to Chicago from the shores of southern Italy.

Taylor Street Italian Festival 2012

Taylor Street Italian Festival 2012

In previous years, I saw the Legendary Drifters perform on Friday night and Sunday night! Listen to them play their famous repertoire including: “On Broadway”, “Dance with Me”, “Saturday Night at the Movies“, “Under the Boardwalk”, “There Goes my Baby”, “This Magic Moment” and “Save the Last Dance for Me”.  There were plenty of dancing opportunities at the annual event.

Legendary Drifters at Taylor Street Italian Festival 2012

Legendary Drifters at Taylor Street Italian Festival 2012

Legendary Drifters perform on Taylor Street Italian Festival 2012

Legendary Drifters perform on Taylor Street Italian Festival 2012

On Broadway (song)

On Broadway (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hours:  Thursday 5 – 9 pm,

Friday  5 – 10 pm,

Saturday 12 – 11 pm,

Sunday 12 – 9 pm

Taylor Street Festa Italiana

The Drifters' Golden Hits

The Drifters’ Golden Hits (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WHERE:  Little Italy

Address:  Taylor St. at Ashland Ave. Chicago, IL 60606

In Little Italy, Chicago, some Italian languag...

In Little Italy, Chicago, some Italian language signage is visible (eg. Banca Italiana) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

taylor street

Taylor Street

There Goes My Baby (The Drifters song)

There Goes My Baby (The Drifters song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a link to the schedule:

There’s also a fun Italian Festival held annually over Father’s Day Weekend at 24th and Oakley in Chicago

For information on that Festival visit: http://wp.me/pRq9Q-3Ea

Here’s a short video of the Festival

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za3laHrq66I

The Drifters

Cover of The Drifters

They anticipate 55,000 visitors to the historic Italian neighborhood over the weekend and many will be Italian American. Many suburban Italians, whose roots trace back to Taylor Street maintain a regular pilgrimage to “the old neighborhood” on the near-west side.

Taylor Street Italian Festival in Chicago

RoseBud Restaurant on Taylor Street During the Festival 2012

Many businesses have been in this neighborhood for many generations like Chicago’s legendary Gonnella bread family.

Alex Dana runs the famed Rosebud Chain in Chicago and has earned his own street sign in the neighborhood. The Taylor Street location has an incredible outdoor space for dining alfresco.

Another one of my favorite Taylor Street eateries is Tuscany with multiple locations throughout the Chicagoland area. Try the Chicken Parmigiana Sandwich or the Pork Chop Vesuvio.

The festival is a mecca for foodies who want to enjoy Italian cuisine and listen to live entertainment on multiple stages.

This weekend when you attend the annual event on Taylor Street on the near-west side of Chicago, you can enjoy treats from the food booths of legendary establishments like Rosebud, Pompei and Francesca’s as well as new-comers like Ethyl’s Beer and Wine Dive.

Trattoria-style restaurants, the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame and the historic Roman Catholic churches like the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii and Holy Family populate Chicago’s most popular Little Italy precinct.

Visit Joe DiMaggio Piazza with the fountain. Enjoy a frozen lemonade from Mario’s Italian Lemonade or an Italian Beef sandwich. I enjoyed the “Juicy” (dipped in gravy) combination beef/sausage from The Patio food booth and the baked clams from Pompei.  All of my friends that are not from Chicago make fun of the way I say “saaaa-sage.”

Buy some olive oil from the “Italian Iron Chef”. The Conte di Savoia Italian grocer and deli are offering meatball sandwiches, Italian subs and Italian desserts. Scafuri’s bakery will all be offering tasty cookies. Don’t forget to take a stroll in Arrigo (Peanut) Park to see the statue of Columbus.

Piazza DiMaggio on Taylor street in Chicago

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Here’s a list of Italian Festivals around the country: http://www.niaf.org/research/festivals.asp

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Italy Travel Guides and Apps @ www.vino-con-vista.com

The Bronx Wanderers on Taylor street in Chicago

Live Music on Taylor Street in Chicago

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A Tuscan Winery Tour at Captivating Vino con Vista Castello Banfi in Montalcino Italy

A close-up view of sangiovese grapes to be mad...
Image via Wikipedia
Coat of arms of Montalcino

Coat of arms of Montalcino (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bottle & glass of a 1961 Brunello di Montelcin...

Bottle & glass of a 1961 Brunello di Montelcino wine from Tuscany. This Italian wine is made from Sangiovese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Italian wine Brunello from Tuscany made fr...

The Italian wine Brunello from Tuscany made from Sangiovese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brunello vineyard, Montalcino

Brunello vineyard, Montalcino (Photo credit: Conlawprof)

Abbey of Sant'Antimo, Montalcino, Tuscany

Abbey of Sant’Antimo, Montalcino, Tuscany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sangiovese grapes in a vineyard of Montalcino,...

Sangiovese grapes in a vineyard of Montalcino, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tuscany is Italy’s quintessential wine region. It is the birthplace of one of Italy’s blockbuster red wines, Brunello di Montalcino. This  is an opulent wine made entirely from sangiovese grapes. It has an intense ruby-red color and displays the complex aromas of black cherry, rasberry and violets.

English: The Municipality of Montalcino within...

English: The Municipality of Montalcino within the Province of Siena, Tuscany, Italy Italiano: Il comune di Montalcino nella Provincia di Siena, Toscana, Italia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Montalcino is surrounded by defensive medieval walls that were built in the 13th century.

 Montalcino has remained practically unchanged over the centuries.

 

The Montalcino fortress was built at the highest point of the town in 1361; designed by the Sienese architects Mino Foresi and Domenico di Feo.

Montalcino is west of Pienza, close to the Crete Senesi in Val d’Orcia.

Montalcino is the perfect  destination for wine lovers with it’s 14th-century castle, encircled by olive groves and majestic vineyards.

Here’s a good link: A day trip to Montalcino

Montalcino

Montalcino (Photo credit: littlestar19)

Castle (Fortezza) at Montalcino, Siena, Italy....

Castle (Fortezza) at Montalcino, Siena, Italy. Photo taken by Type17, 18:50hrs June 24th 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Montalcino is divided into quarters called contrade. They are: Borghetto, Travaglio, Pianello and Ruga. Each contrade has their own colours, songs and distinct drum rhythms. Twice a year they dress in  Medieval attire and compete in an archery contest under the walls of the Castel Fortezza.

English: View of Montalcino from the Castle (F...

English: View of Montalcino from the Castle (Fortezza). Taken Sept 8th 2006 by me. Canon EOS 20D, 10mm focal length (16mm effective length) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Montalcino

Montalcino (Photo credit: fondelli.nadia)

Montalcino, Toscana, Italia

Montalcino, Toscana, Italia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Montalcino, take a Winery Tour of Castello Banfi. You will learn about the restrictive government regulations that prescribe wine-making practices in Italy. These rules define areas where specific wines can be made using the acronyms DOCG, DOC, and IGT.

Brunello di Montalcino earned a reputation as one of Italy’s rarest wines. At the end of WWII, the only commercial producer recorded in government documents was the Biondi-Santi. The high price and prestige of there Brunello de Montalcino encouraged other producers to emulate Biondi-Santi’s success. By the 1960s, there were 11 producers making Brunello. By 1980 there were 53 producers in Montalcino. In 1980, the Montalcino region was the first Italian wine region to be awarded Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) designation.

Português: Garrafa de vinho Brunello di Montal...

Português: Garrafa de vinho Brunello di Montalcino de Biondi Santi – 1985 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brunello di Montalcino DOCG designation means  “Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita” (the most prestigious/elite Italian wines).  This means that the wine has the following characteristics:

The location is certified and guaranteed

Provides more stringent government regulations

Requires longer aging periods and lower yields per vine

montalcino fortress

montalcino fortress (Photo credit: tonyduckles)

Brunello is Tuscany’s rarest and most expensive wine. It is produced in the walled medieval village of Montalcino, south of the Chianti Classico zone. The climate is warmer and the hills are steeper. The wine is aged longer and it must be aged in oak barrels to enhance the character of the wines.

Tuscany

The Banfi Winery was the first winery in the world to be awarded international recognition for exceptional environmental, ethical and social responsibility. It won the 2009 VinItaly International Award and has been designated Italy’s Premier Vineyard estate for 11 consecutive years.

Tuscany

The winery is nestled on 7100 acres of land and it is owned by two wine-making brothers from Long Island, New York.

Tuscany

They have a state of the art winery with a glass museum.

Tuscany

Taste their Brunello di Montalcino at the Winery’s Enoteca.

Tuscany

Tuscany

 Dine at their Tuscan Taverna Tuscany

The restaurant is located in the vaulted cellars of the Castello. Enjoy three and five-course tasting menus of traditional Tuscan cooking on rustic wooden tables situated under gorgeous brick arches.

Tuscany

 You can even stay in the restored rooms and suites of the Castello Il Borgo.

Montalcino

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides to Italy andVino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites

Sangiovese vines of Brunello di Montalcino in ...

Sangiovese vines of Brunello di Montalcino in Tuscany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To learn more about wine tasting in Tuscany visit www.vino-con-vista.com. Florence and Tuscany now available for iPad. Salute!!

Montalcino

Montalcino (Photo credit: Un ragazzo chiamato Bi)

Montalcino

Montalcino (Photo credit: littlestar19)

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Summer Carnevale in Viareggio Italy

Carnevale Via Reggio Italy

see filename

see filename (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Viareggio

Viareggio (Photo credit: m.aquila)

Statue of Burlamacco on Belvedere delle Maschere

Statue of Burlamacco on Belvedere delle Maschere (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Promotional cinderella stamp from Ita...

English: Promotional cinderella stamp from Italy, 1931: Carnival of Viareggio. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Viareggio is a swanky Tuscan beach town on the west coast of the Tyrrenhian sea in Italy.  The beautiful beaches and a Passeggiata or promenade is brimming with charming cafés and shops. These attributes have earned Viareggio the well-deserved title: “Pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea” with Burlamacco as her master of ceremonies!

Summer Carnival 2015
Viareggio: August  14, 15 and 16 at Square Maria Luisa
www.ilcarnevale.com

During the Summer Carnvale in mid-August, you can see some of the Viareggio’s carnival papier-mâché floats built for the February parade on the promenade.  The parade will begin on the promenade at 8.30 pm leaving from the Carnival citadel. “La Cittadella del Carnevale is the place where the “papier – mâché Masters” set up the  huge Carnival floats. The complex has a specific architectural structure,  it is a real yard composed by 16 warehouses, a Carnival- museum,  Carnevalotto Museum for contemporary art, an hystorical archive, a restaurant and a big central elliptical square, a magic scenario to host shows. This is the area where some of the most important events of Viareggio take place, like summer concerts, parties and dance shows.” Then they will pass from Viale Einaudi, Viale Belluomini and Viale Carducci. The last stop is in Piazza Mazzini. The entrance to the Belvedere delle Maschere is expected around 10.30 pm.

Check it out: https://www.fest300.com/festivals/viareggio-carnevale

Official website: http://viareggio.ilcarnevale.com/

Viareggio nel cuore

Viareggio nel cuore (Photo credit: vinric)

Viareggio

Viareggio (Photo credit: see.lauren)

Stay at the elegant and luxurious Grand Hotel Principe Piemonte. The historic Grand Hotel Principe di Piemonte, is a prestigious 4-star hotel on Viareggio’s seafront. It is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World and the Great Hotels of the World. The Grand Dame of Viareggio was built in the early 1920s. The hotel underwent  a two-year restoration which brought it back to its former splendour. It re-opened in 2004. Dine at the Michelin rated Il Piccolo Principe. www.principedipiemonte.com. I loved the stained-glass doorway and Art Nouveau facade!

Grand Hotel Principe Piemonte in Viareggio Italy

English: Principe di Piemonte, Viareggio

English: Principe di Piemonte, Viareggio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beach Guido in Viareggio Italy

This town is located in the province of Lucca. It is the home well-maintained beaches and the famous carnival of Viareggio.

The event dates back to 1873. Elaborate papier-mâché floats parade along the promenade known as “Passeggiata a mare”, in the weeks preceding Easter.

Fountain in Viareggio Italy

The symbol of the carnival of Viareggio and its official mask is Burlamacco, designed and invented by Uberto Bonetti in 1930.

One of the most exciting times to visit is during Carnevale di Viareggio. Watch this video to see what this event:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siak0NgyApE&feature=related

Viareggio Carnival 2007

Image via Wikipedia

If you go to Viareggio, you will have an opportunity to meet the town’s most famous character, Burlamacco. He is the official Carnival representative and was concieved by Uberto Bonetti in 1930. Check out his statue on the boardwalk made by Renato Galli.

Burlamacco in Viareggio Italy

Burlamacco in ViaReggio Italy

The town is well-know for incredible Art Nouveau architecture and outstanding seafood restaurants.

Relas at the seashore at one of the beautiful beaches or stroll along the promenade, the “Passeggiata a mare.”

Beach at Viareggio Italy

I love Viareggio Italy

There are plenty of interesting shops and restaurants. They even have an outdoor market on the promenade. I bought one of my favorite scarves there!

Summer carnival manifesto

 

 

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ http://www.vino-con-vista.com

Here’s a video link: http://viareggio.ilcarnevale.com/en/

Read more about Viareggio Carnival in these posts:

The Hotels Excelsior (right) and Principe di P...

The Hotels Excelsior (right) and Principe di Piemonte (left). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Carnevale di viareggio 2008, uer iz de party

Image via Wikipedia

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Italy Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

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Monteriggioni Medieval Fair in Tuscany Italy

Chianti sub-zone

Chianti sub-zone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The Municipality of Monteriggioni wit...

English: The Municipality of Monteriggioni within the Province of Siena, Tuscany, Italy Italiano: Il comune di Monteriggioni nella Provincia di Siena, Toscana, Italia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Porta Franca - Monteriggioni, Italy I...

English: Porta Franca – Monteriggioni, Italy Italiano: Porta Franca – Monteriggioni (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

Monteriggioni is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Italy. It is surrounded by the lush Tuscan countryside of Chianti and the Val d’Elsa. Between 1244 and 1269, Florence tried many times to invade the town but they were not successful.

HISTORY: (from the official website)
“In the year 1000, Monteriggioni was a thriving town. The castle however, wasn’t built till 1213. It was built by the Republic of Siena who wanted it to be a kind of defensive outpost on the main road between Florence and Siena. It was one of the first castles built by the Sienese who, until then, had always used the fortresses of weak feudal families.
THE CASTLE:
This castle has two large entrances, one known as ‘romea’ which opened onto the road to Siena and another that faced Florence. The castle had several important defensive elements, such as the ‘carbonaie’ which were kept full of coal and could be set alight when needed in order to keep the enemy far from the castle walls. There are portcullises, towers and a second entrance that creates an anti-chamber for the Fiorentina Gate.”
“During the XIV century, the castle and surrounding town remained firmly in the hands of Siena, despite being weakened by the plague and an attempted invasion by a group of Sienese exiles in 1383 which failed due to lack of support from Florence. Nonetheless, the invention of gunpowder and the subsequent creation of the artillery made the castle much more vulnerable to attack. The walls were lowered and the ‘carbonaie’ were eliminated. Monteriggioni modernised its structure and was able to withstand the siege of 1554 by Papal troops who were historical allies of the Florentine Republic. However, shortly after this success, the town was betrayed by Captain Zeti who basically handed the town over to the Florentines without any kind of battle having to take place. This totally altered the balance between Florence and Siena and Florentine Medici troops were able to go on to take over the Sienese Republic.
The inhabitants of the castle were utterly humiliated and deported. The region came under the rule of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and stayed that way right up to the unification of Italy. Over the following centuries the castle belonged to various noteworthy families until it was bought in 1704 by the Griccioli family.
Today, the same family still owns several properties both inside and outside the town’s walls.”

Monteriggioni’s fortress has fourteen magnificent towers. Enter through the Franca or San Giovanni Door.  The main square is called Piazza Roma where you can visit the Church of Santa Maria Assunta. There is a museum with replicas of medieval and Renaissance arms and armatures.

 

Visit the Medieval festival in Tuscany! Townspeople dress in historical costumes and you can watch tournaments between thirteenth century knights. The fortress of Monteriggioni will be cloaked with “jesters, street artists, jugglers, men on stilts, musicians and minstrels.” You will use ancient coins that have been minted in Lucca.

 

Monteriggioni is (8.6 miles) from Siena ,  (15.5 miles) from San Gimignano, and (41 miles) from Florence.

 

 

PRICES

 

  • Adults: Euro 8,00 (Friday), Euro 12,00 (Saturday) Euro 10,00 (Sunday)
  • Reduced price for residents, over 65, boys&girls from 11 to 16: Euro 6,00 (Friday), Euro 10,00 (Saturday) Euro 8,00 (Sunday)
  • 0-12 years old: free

INFO

 

WHEN: (2015 edition)

 

  • June 27, 28
  • July 3-5, 10-12

 

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Have a Feast in Fiesole Italy near Florence

Sangiovese vines of Brunello di Montalcino in ...

Sangiovese vines of Brunello di Montalcino in Tuscany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Florence as seen from Fiesole.

Florence as seen from Fiesole. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

View to Fiesole in Florence, Italy
Image via Wikipedia
Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. ...

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. Thermae. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vineyard growing in the Italian wine region of...

Vineyard growing in the Italian wine region of Tuscany, home of the Sangiovese-based Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wine. The photo also demonstrates the viticultural technique of clear (or bare) cultivation that leaves bare soil between the vines and rows with no cover crops. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bistecca alla fiorentina

Bistecca alla fiorentina (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. ...

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. Theater. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. ...

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. Thermae. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. ...

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. Thermae. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. ...

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. Temples. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. ...

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. Thermae. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. ...

Fiesole archaeological site, Florence, Italy. Temples. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiesole is in the province of Florence in Tuscany. It was a former Etruscan settlement. It is nestled on a hilly ridge 30 minutes north of Florence. It’s position offers a breath-taking view of Florence.

Head for tranquil Fiesole for lunch or dinner at Trattoria Le Cave de Maiano. Order a veal chop or the famous “Bistecca alla Fiorentina” (Florentine T-Bone) from Tuscany’s famed Chianina beef and a bottle of Bolgheri Rosso, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano or Brunello di Montalcino.  Dine at La Reggia degli ‘Etrusci‘s terrace for a fabulous “Vino con Vista”.

Visit the Piazza Mino de Fiesole, the main square, and have an expresso at the Caffe Aurora in the bougainvillea shaded terrace with a fabulous view of Florence.  Take a picture with the bronze statue of Garibaldi and Victor Emmanuel II.

Roman theater in Fiesole, Italy

Roman theater in Fiesole, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Explore the 14th century Franciscan Friary of San Francesco with a presepi on display all year long. Visit the Archeological area in the first century BC Roman theater,  public baths and a 4th century Etruscan temple.  The temple is dedicated to Minerva, the goddess of wisdom and healing.

Stay at Villa San Michele in Fiesole and ask for the Michelangelo Suite. This Orient Express property was a former 15th century monastery that was designed by Michelangelo. Fabulous cooking classes are only available to hotel guests with “Guest Chefs” from many other world-class hotels www.villasanmichele.com. Another option is Italy’s Top Spa (19 miles northwest of Florence) www.termemontecatini.it.  After your spa treatment, take the Funicular to Montecatini Alto for a panoramic vista all the way to Florence.

see above

see above (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

see above

see above (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To learn more about Italy read www.vino-con-vista.com Travel Guides and

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Buon Natale and Christmas: Interesting Holiday Events in Florence Italy

Piazza Santa Croce
Image via Wikipedia

Florence is the world’s celebrated jewel of Renaissance art and architecture. It is famous for perfect voluptuous domes and  intimate restaurants with perfect steaks and wine. The Uffizi is the perfect art museum and and the Palazzo Pitti has the perfect Royal apartments. The Accademia has the perfect sculptures and the Baptistry has the perfect doors. Even the tombs are perfect at Santa Croce. The leather is perfect, the silk is perfect and the perfume made at Santa Maria Novella is perfect.

Accademia - DSC 1177 ep

Accademia – DSC 1177 ep (Photo credit: Eric.Parker)

Via Tornabuoni is a perfect street  for shopping with  designer powerhouses like Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Enrico Coveri, Roberto Cavalli and Emilio Pucci willing to sell you holiday goodies. Even the Piazzas are perfect! Florence is the perfect UNESCO site with many perfect “Vino con Vista” opportunities.

English: Loggia dei Lanzi

English: Loggia dei Lanzi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Florence rose to economic and cultural pre-eminence under the mighty Medici dynasty in the 15th and 16th centuries. The churches, galleries and palaces contain the world’s largest concentration of Renaissance art and sculpture.

loggia dei lanzi florence

loggia dei lanzi florence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Perseus holding the head of Medusa, b...

English: Perseus holding the head of Medusa, by Benvenuto Cellini, Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence; Italie Français : Persée tenant la tête de Méduse, par Benvenuto Cellini, Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence, Italie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Palais Pitti, Florence

Palais Pitti, Florence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The city was built on the site of an Etruscan settlement, and has 600 years of extraordinary artistic activity. It is an incredibly compact city for walking.  Walk to the Piazzale Michelangelo at sunset for a perfect glimmering moonlit cityscape.  Marvel at Florence’s panoramic glory as the cloak of darkness descends over her dimly lit splendor.

"The Rape of Polyxena", sculpture by...

“The Rape of Polyxena”, sculpture by Pio Fedi (1816-1892), in 1866 : Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence, Italy. Photo by Thermos. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Natural and man-made disasters have threatened the city’s wealth of art history and perfection.  In 1966, the Arno River’s devastating flood destroyed or severely damaged Florentine treasures.  In 1993, a mafia bomb exploded near the Uffizi and severely damaged the gallery. The Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge to escape Nazi bombs.

Loggia dei Lanzi.

Loggia dei Lanzi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Her glorious past is evident in the monumental grandeur and perfection of her structures:  the 13th-century cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore, the Church of Santa Croce, the Uffizi, Santa Maria Novella, the Galleria dell’Accademia, the Bargello and the Pitti Palace.  Works of art history grace every public building. Landmark cloisters, chapels and refectories are galleries of perfect Renaissance art.

The façade of Santa Maria Novella, completed b...

The façade of Santa Maria Novella, completed by Leon Battista Alberti in 1470. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Loggia dei Lanzi

The Loggia dei Lanzi (Photo credit: **Mary**)

Stroll the Via dei Calzaiuoli, between Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Signoria and imagine the creative genius that flourished in this city; evidenced by the works in the Loggia dei Lanzi. The Loggia was originally designed to shelter dignitaries watching civic ceremonies.

The Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna, i...

The Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna, in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This elegant, compact city, is bounded on the southern side by the glistening Arno River.  Distinctive works of great masters such as Giotto, Brunelleschi, Botticelli and Michelangelo adorn every nook and cranny of this perfectly majestic city. Visit Florence during the holidays for the perfect vacation.

Perfect Holiday Events in Florence:

German Christmas Market in Piazza Santa Croce from December 1- 19

“Florence Noel” at the Stazione Leopoldo from December 4-12

“Fierucola di Natale”  in Piazza Santo Spirito on December 19th

Christmas Party in Gambassi Terme on December 4-5

Annual “Sagra Antichi Sapori di Toscana” at Lastra a Signa December 3-8

“Sagra del Tartufo e Antichi Sapori del Mugello” in Borgo San Lorenzo December 8-12

Happy Holidays from Vino con Vista

Buon Natale and Happy Holidays from www.vino-con-vista.com

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Buon Natale and Christmas: Holiday Events in Tuscany

Piazza del Campo with Palazzo Pubblico and Tor...
Image via Wikipedia

If you follow my posts, you know that there are many exciting Holiday Events in Italy.  There are some interesting events you may want to attend in Tuscany over the holidays. Tuscany is divided into ten provinces.

Tuscany stretches over the slopes of the Apennines and borders the Tyrrhenian Sea. The landscape is mostly hilly with a flatter area along the sea called Maremma. Visit the wineries across the Chianti hills from Siena to Florence. The two notable wine towns of Montepulciano and Montalcino are also located in the province of Siena in Tuscany.

Siena

Siena (Photo credit: ho visto nina volare)

On of my favorite Tuscan towns is Siena. The historic center became an inscribed UNESCO site in 1995. Siena’s yellowish brown buildings are the embodiment of a gothic medieval city.  Her golden age came to a screeching halt with the Black Death of 1348.

Enlightened travelers will love this charming city in the heart of Chianti country about 21 miles south of Florence.  Siena is the birthplace of Saint Catherine (1347), the patron saint of Italy. She received the stigmata at Pisa and her head is still housed in the Basilica of San Domenico.

The brick,  shell shaped brick Piazza del Campo is one of Italy’s most triumphant piazzas, large enough to feature a semi-annual 350 year old summer bareback horse race called the “Palio delle Contrade.”  The Piazza’s surface is divided inato nine segments by colored paving stones, symbolizing the Council of Nine. Their members governed the city in her medieval heyday.  The Council met at the Palazzo Pubblicoon the eastern part of the square.

Torre del Mangia towering above of the Palazzo...

Torre del Mangia towering above of the Palazzo Pubblico. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The residents of Siena were fierce rivals of the Florentines.  The distinctive 330 foot city watch tower Torre del Mangia bears witness to their intense rivalry.  Climb to the summit of the Gothic Cathedral; the summit of the tower offers a superb panoramic view of Tuscany.

Throughout the centuries, the residents preserved their city’s Gothic appearance, acquired between the 12th and 15th centuries. In this period, the work of many artists including Duccio, the Lorenzetti brothers and Simone Martini influenced the course of European art. Many artists were influenced by Byzantium of the late 15th century. The entire historic city center of Siena, built around the Piazza del Campo, was devised as a work of art that blends into the surrounding landscape. In the southwestern quadrant of the city, the Duomo houses masterpieces by Michelangelo, Bernini and Donatello.  Visit Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s, “Allegory of Good and Bad Government” (1318), in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena.

There are many Holiday Events is Siena and other charming provinces of Tuscany:

In the Province of Siena

“Un Natale Speciale” in the town of Chiusi from December 6-25

The Feast of San Lucia on December 13th in the Church of Saint Lucia in Siena

Festa dell’Olio in mid-December

A New Year’s Eve Concert in Piazza del Campo in Siena

“Mostra dei Presepi” is the 16th Annual event in Bottolle (Citta dei Presepi) in Sinalunga Siena from December 12th to January 16th

In Montepulciano attend the Festa e Fiera di Natale

More Events in Tuscany

In Equi Terme witness the “Presepi Viventi”–living Nativity Scenes

Fiera de San Michelle on December 8th in Lucca

The Barga Chocolate Festival on December 4th and 5th in Lucca

In Lucca between December 25 and January 1st there are weekly Puccini concerts at the Basilica of St. John

In Arezzo attend the Honey Festival on December 12-13 in Piazza Risorgimento

Slow Christmas Exhibition in Cutigliano Pistoia from December 4th-12th

Happy Holidays from Vino con Vista

Buon Natale and Happy Holidays from www.vino-con-vista.com

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