Tuscany Journals

Under the Tuscan sun - Doing the passoggia in Florence and Pisa

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A June 2004 trip to Tuscany by actonsteve

Field of Miracles Photo, Tuscany, Italy More Photos
Quote: Tuscany isn't just a province of Italy; it is a credo, a way of life. It is possibly the most culturally rich place on the planet, a province of sunflower fields, Giotto frescoes, and cozy trattorias. Tuscany definitely embodies the good life.

Under the Tuscan sun - Doing the passoggia in Florence and Pisa

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Overview

The minds eye view of Florence Photo, Tuscany, Italy
Quote:
Everybody has an image of Tuscany in their mind’s eye before they arrive. For some, it is a crumbling farmhouse bathed in warm sunlight, for others, it is Brunescelli's dome looming above the Florentine cityscape, or fields of sunflowers against an azure sky, or Giottos frescoes, or . . . or . . . or . . . On your trip, I can guarantee you will not have enough time to see it all. We've all read enough books about northern European ex-pats moving to Tuscany and creating their own little paradise. They speak lyrically of warm nights eating pasta and drinking Chianti under the stars, and of villages untouched by time and full of eccentric inhabitants. This all exists, but i...Read More

Osteria Vasari

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Restaurant | "Osteria Vasari - Secret Restaurant along the Arno"

Osteria Vasari Photo, Tuscany, Italy
Quote:
At about 1pm, every tourist in Florence starts to feel hungry. The hordes pile out of the Uffizi or rip themselves away from whatever renaissance fresco they are currently engrossed in and start to look for somewhere to eat. Florence has a superb collection of restaurants for what must be one of the oldest tourist destinations in the world. It has finds for those on a budget just wanting a slice of pizza but also five-star luxury restaurants with tables overlooking the green Arno and the Ponte Vecchio. But the vast majority of people go for small tourist restaurants for a taste of Italian cuisine. Prices are displayed outside for the 100 or so restaurants in Florence that vie f...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 26, 2004

Osteria Vasari
Via de Bardi
Tuscany, Italy

Ma Ma Mia - Tuscany's premier gay nightclub Photo, Tuscany, Italy
Quote:
Imagine it. The air is still warm on yet another hot Tuscan night. You catch the scent of pines from the pineta and the tang of salt from the Ligurian sea. The sound of excited Italian voices is in the air, and the BOOM, BOOM from the speakers throws music onto hundreds of revelers. There they dance until dawn, and you can see across a sea of happy party-loving faces squeezed onto the road between the nightclub and the beach. This is Torre del Largo in summer. And the best fun in the area must be in the gay nightclub Ma Ma Mia, which faces onto the passeggiata a mare (the sea road). Gay and straight mix in together in an orgy of drinking and dancing. There is a tiny out...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 26, 2004

Ma Ma Mia - Tuscany's premier gay nightclub
Viale Europa 5 (passeggiata a mare)
Tuscany, Italy

Torre Del Largo

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Attraction | "Suck in your stomach at Torre Del Largo"

Torre Del Largo Photo, Tuscany, Italy
Quote:
The gay beach at Torre del Largo is a real eye-opener. The most beautiful and flawless men between Florence and the coast flock here each weekend in the summer. Here they show off their perfect bodies, socialize with friends, and generally lap up the sun. The chatter of well-coiffed men (and women?) can be heard along the length of the 4-mile beach in a slice of Italian culture far away from Florence's Duomo or Pisa's famous leaning tower. The Torre del Largo lies15 miles west of Pisa on the Ligurian coast. To Italians, it is one of the closest resorts to Florence, Pisa, and Viarregio. And it is a low-key resort, with campsites, small hotels, and intimate resorts. It is a place to kick back, and...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 26, 2004

Torre Del Largo
Off the A12 to Viarreggio
Tuscany, Italy

Pisa in the morning Photo, Tuscany, Italy
Quote:
Florentine proverb: "Meglio un morto a casa che un Pisano al'uschio!" ("Better a death in the family than a Pisan at the door!") Pisan reply: "E che Dio to contenda!" ("And may god grant your wish!") At midnight on a weekday, when most of Europe is tucked up in bed, Pisa comes alive down by the river. The students from the famous university sit on the river walls - hundreds of them - chatting, drinking, and flirting till the early hours. It is of course the famous Italian passoggiata, and in this town of ancient academia, its participants are young people who study at one of the most important universities in the world. But then students can stay u...Read More
The Field of Miracles Photo, Tuscany, Italy
Quote:
I first got to see the famous Torre Pendente (Leaning Tower) at 1am. We had just arrived in Pisa and were eating late. A friend of ours, Alessio, suggested seeing the Field of Miracles before we went to bed. And as Italians keep late hours, we tagged along to find that, apart from a couple of European backpackers lounging near the steps of the Ospetale, we were the only ones there. Imagine it? One of the most famous sights in the world, but with just you there. The Duomo, Baptistery, and Leaning Tower standing unmolested in their sea of green grass. The pure white stone gleams under the arc lights, and there is not a sound to be heard, except far, far away, the lone buzz of a la...Read More
Brunneschellis famous dome Photo, Tuscany, Italy
Quote:
You remember the scene in the film... The soundtrack starts with Puccini's 'Sogno di Doretta',, the shutters are thrown open, and the audience sees the magnificent cityscape of Florence for the first time. The tangerine octagonal dome of the Duomo floats above the terracotta roofs, Italian voices can be heard below, and the whole vista is bathed in warm sunshine. Everyone in that darkened cinema then swears that they will visit Florence one day.... Well, everybody does. Florence copes with enormous hordes in the summer, and each person comes away with a feeling of satisfaction in visiting one of the great repositories of culture in the world. The words "Florence" and "Rena...Read More
Neptune Photo, Tuscany, Italy
Quote:
"I will show you the Piazza della Signoria...and then we go and visit Armani..." The price that my friend Nicola Pavese consented to for showing us around Florence was that he was allowed to cane the plastic at Emporio Armani. And who can blame him? The Italians cannot live without fine shops and judge every other country in Europe on how stylish their shopping streets are. And the set of streets between the stazione and the river are rolling in designer shops. Florence has some of the best shopping in Europe. But the heart of this area is the gorgeous Piazza della Signoria. The great Palazzo di Signoria, where the Medici family kept an eye on their famous c...Read More

Basilica of Santa Croce

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Attraction | "Florence - Santa Croce Church - the resting place of Michelangelo and Michiavelli"

Basilica of Santa Croce Photo, Florence, Italy
Quote:
Machiavelli. Niccolo Machiavelli The name, for over five-hundred years, has come to represent skulduggery and political maneuvering . The termMachiavellian is still used in newspaper articles and fiction to denote one who engages in machinations against others. It has come to mean ruthlessness and backstabbing, taken to Shakespearean excesses. This Tuscan noble worked for the government of Florence, and his intricate plots against the papacy and Borgia family have became famous down the ages. He lost his job when the Medici returned to Florence and is probably most famous for his novel The Prince, which is the blueprint tome on political cunning. He is buri...Read More

Basilica of Santa Croce
Piazza Santa Croce
Florence, Italy 50122
+39 055244619