Viola is often recognised as the typical colour of Florence, and in fact the uniform of the beloved Florentine football (soccer) team, La Fiorentina is even purple. But after the football season’s less than shining start for the ‘Forza Viola’, we thought it best to focus on something another colour ? gold!
The first famous golden item from Florence is gold itself. By law, it is 18k, and nickel free (great news for those with nickel allergies!). That means it is 75% pure gold. The rest is made up of harder metals mixed in to allow the fine workmanship undertaken by the cities goldsmiths.
Whist the Ponte Vecchio (‘Old Bridge’) is more known as being the ‘Gold bridge’ for the fact that it is lined with jewellery stores, there are many little family-run stores hidden amongst the cobbled streets of Florence.
Walter’s jewellery store on Borgo dei Greci is one lovely little family-run store where the stunningly crafted gold pieces is still weighed on an old-fashioned scale to ascertain the price.
Less extravagant to buy, Vernaccia is Tuscany’s most famous white wine, which is actually quite golden in colour. The first to be given the DOCG wine appellation, it is made in the San Gimignano area. You can also try the Vernaccia gelato too from the local gelaterias there, but we have already done that and can ascertain that it is not very nice!
Vernaccia is often aged in barrels (unusual for a white wine) to obtain a stronger flavoured wine that pairs well with main meals, such as rabbit, roast chicken, smoked fish and other stronger flavours.
When you’re thinking about Tuscany, imagining yourself sipping on a glass of Vernaccia wine, the rolling hills unfurling before you, one thing you may not think of is saffron. Produced from the crocus plant, saffron used to be so valued that it was once offered as security against loans! The golden spice is obtained from the stamen of the crocus flower, which is planted in August and cultivated in October. You’ll need around 100 of them to make just a gram of saffron. Add it to risotto, use it to make a light pasta sauce or flavour rabbit or sole fish for a traditional main.
The other beloved golden element of Tuscany is undoubtedly the famous Tuscan sun. Or perhaps your attention will be drawn instead to the golden daffodils that honour their sun god from their Tuscan fields as they face upwards towards the golden sunshine. The wild flowers that pepper the countryside are often decorated with yellow blossoms too.
*** You can actually see safron growing on our Chianti Castle Wine Tour (http://www.italy.artviva.com/tours/29/marvelous_chianti_castle_wine_tour_tuscany). If you’d like to explore the Tuscan countryside, you can do so with Artviva on one of our Tuscany tours. You can read about the small-group tours here – Tuscany Tours: http://www.italy.artviva.com/tours_category/14/Tuscany_Tours. For private tours of Tuscany, check out this link – Private Florence Tours: http://www.italy.artviva.com/tours_category/3/Florence_Private_Tours.***