Bewitching – Italy’s macabre past unearthed!

Amongst the gently undulating Tuscany hillside, draped with grape vines and dotted with olive groves, a dark and mysterious part of Italy’s history has been uncovered near Lucca. In a ground that may have been used as a witches burial ground, archaeologists have discovered bones dating back some 800 years, believed by to be those […]

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Grapes in Tuscany – from harvest to wines, mains & sweets

With the 2011 harvest for the most part completed, a little earlier this year owing to the dry weather in Tuscany this summer, there is much excitement about the forecasted great 2011 vintage. Tuscan reds from 2011 are expected to be exceptionally good, with the low rain fall meaning there is less water content in […]

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Latest Autumn Fashion from Italy: dressing like an onion?

When the seasons start to change, the Italians have  a lovely way to express how you should dress: ‘come una cipolla’ – like an onion. The saying perfectly captures the idea of layering so that when the mornings are lovely and crisp, you are nice and warm, and when the sun warms things up a […]

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Tuscan Wine at the ‘VINO AL VINO’ Festival in Panzano

The Tuscan countryside flashes post-card perfect before us as we curve along the winding Tuscan countryside roads on our way from Florence to the surrounding Tuscan countryside. The cypress-pierced Tuscan landscape arches up as if wanting to lift the trees even closer to the perfect blue Tuscan sky. Quaint farmhouses watch out over their metered […]

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Risotto – how nice is rice?! (Includes great Tessa Kiros risotto recipe!)

With all the amazing fresh produce available in the  local produce markets in Florence and Tuscany in general, organising a dinner for friends is a fun thing to do in Italy. In fact, our social calendar revolves around extending and accepting dinner invitations. In our house, cooking in Tuscany for our friends begins with sitting […]

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Fun in Florence – great things to do for the young and not-so-young!

When was the last time you had real fun? You know, actual giddy, giggling fun – like you had playing red rover-red rover in the school yard or skating in the park as a child, or spinning in circles until you fell laughing to the ground? Whilst we at Artviva enjoy showing lucky visitors to […]

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Terracotta Fair – cooked earth, fine art in Florence

One of Tuscany’s great traditions is about to be showcased in Florence – artworks made from ceramics and terracotta at the Fiera Internazionale della Ceramica 2011. Terracotta and ceramics have played an important role in the history of Italy dating back since Etruscan times, not only in regards to the great artworks produced, but also […]

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A little-known Tuscan treasure: San Casciano

Think Tuscany – or dream Tuscany as the case may rightly be! – and perhaps your mind travels to Italy and winds up in Siena and the charming village town of San Gimignano village towns in Tuscany. Maybe you mentally visit the wonderful Cortona (of ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ fame) or some other charming Tuscan […]

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Setting sights on sites & scents of Florence: Pitti Immagine FRAGRANZE

Tuscans love to tell the story of how their very own Catherine De’ Medici left her home in Florence in 1533 for France to marry then-prince and later King Henry II, taking with her the traditional Tuscan recipe for Onion Soup, ‘Zuppa di cipolle toscana’  which soon became ‘Soupe d’oignons’ – French Onion Soup. Catherine […]

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Garibaldi – stature and statues in Italy

Visit Florence, Rome, Venice, or almost any other Italian city, town or charming village in Italy, and you are bound to find a street, piazza, important building or monument named ‘Garibaldi’ (pronounced something like, ‘Garry-ba-l-dee’). Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882) has become a national hero for his efforts in leading an Italian revolution in 1848, together with Giuseppe […]

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