Monthly Archives: December 2011

Tuscan Christmas Feasts!

Gathered around a round table, places were elaborately set for the entire extended family. Our napkins were rolled up to look like crackers on the elaborate spread, with the tablecloth a traditional one made by the host’s grandmother and used … Continue reading

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Great Italian Christmas Traditions: Il Presepio

In many parts of Italy, particularly in the south, you will not find a Christmas tree as the symbol of Christmas, but rather a ‘Presepio’ – a nativity scene. One of our wonderful Rome tour guides, Chris, who has a … Continue reading

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Teatro dell’Opera di Firenze: a sneak preview of Florence’s new Opera House

Florence is a cultural hub rich in traditions of art, artistry, fashion, gastronomy, and music. Florence is actually the birthplace of Opera, with the first opera to be performed being Jacopo Peri’s ‘Dafne’, performed in Florence in about 1597. This … Continue reading

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Tuscan Winter: how the seasons change

Tuscany in December. If you could taste the way the Tuscan countryside looks right now, it would surely taste like cinnamon. The leaves and the birds have left the trees, abandoned nests left in full display. The countryside has evolved … Continue reading

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VINEGAR: simple recipes, simple pleasures

As with all great things in life (namely, wine and women) vinegar just keeps getting better with age. We’ve been cooking lots of traditional Italian recipes using vinegar of late, after being recently given a mother of red wine vinegar, … Continue reading

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MONA LISA: ‘Tis the season to be Jolly as ‘La Gioconda’ plays tricks on us again!

Leonardo da Vinci’s artwork of Mona Lisa is possibly one of the most intriguing and debated art works in history. And the theories and ‘findings’ are almost as wonderful as the artwork itself – especially the latest one to emerge … Continue reading

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The bold & beautiful of the Uffizi Gallery – old art, new revelations

Who would have thought that in the 21st century, the world of Renaissance art could contain more drama than a soap opera? First, a long-sought-after Da Vinci is being hunted for as we speak (or rather, write). And now, it … Continue reading

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The Lost Da Vinci: clues, controversy and now conclusion?

Art historians, art lovers, history buffs and Da Vinci fans around the world are anxiously awaiting the results of art sleuth Maurizio Seracini’s controversial investigation in finding a Leonardo da Vinci work which was started in 1505 and lost soon … Continue reading

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VIN SANTO: Wine for Saints and Sweet Sippers

It was some hours since we had gathered around the lunch table, and the light outside was starting to dim with the early onset of winter darkness. As the daylight outside the window was fading and the sky greying slightly … Continue reading

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Truffles – Tuscany’s tastiest treats!

One or twice a year, we are invited to a farmhouse nestled in the Tuscan hills to enjoy a traditional Tuscan lunch with a lovely Tuscan family. The invitation comes however with a strict warning – the location must be … Continue reading

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