Eat and Drink in Florence
Our great cookery patrimony may go up to the traditions of the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations; in fact in some regional cuisines there are signs of their presence. The Italian cuisine, that today is famous all over the world, has developed during the centuries so much that it has reached the wonderful forms that we all know.
In the 1200's the cookery and its recipes were kept in the noble courts and in the convents where it was full of ingredients but simple in the preparation with plentyful of spices. Among the poor people, instead, there wasn't a determinate cuisine but only few ingredients cooked in simple ways.
In the 1400's the Reinassance cuisine made itself known becoming particularly scenic and rich; for the first time in the history the cooking is the representation of the grandiosity giving an important role to the appearence of the dishes. The tastes got more and more sofisticated but this armony will be revolutioned by the arrival of new products from America.
The Tuscany cooking is famous for its simple flavours prepares with great attention.
In passed the difficult living conditions imposed to the Tuscany population to prefer the use of poor alimony as the bread without salt that is present still today with thousand shapes and flavours: in every part of the Tuscany exist vary type of bread, from the tradition to the wheel, from the crostoni to the focacce, from the crushed with the oil to the bread with the ramerino, until arriving to the round loaf with grape.
Just the bread is one of the main ingredients of most famous Tuscany prescription like the panzanella (made with bread softened in the water, with vegetables), the pappa al pomodoro (to cook itself with bread, garlic, prezzemolo, basil, salt, oil and tomato), the ribollita (born from the tradition peasant who heated the remainders of the foods already cooked the day before).
Florence is very famous for the bistecca alla fiorentina, the ribollita, the trippa, the donuts, the schiacciata con l'uva, the cenci, the lampredotto, the fagioli all'uccelletto.
For centuries chestnuts have been the staple diet for woodcutters, farmers and shepherds who simply either boiled or roasted them.Chestnuts were used as basic ingredients in many dishes such as 'polenta' (a kind of maize pudding), bread, soups and cakes.Recently rediscovered by even the more sophisticated gourmets, the taste of this simple fruit has never been forgotten by the rural gastronomical tradition.The best chestnuts come from Mugello, a wonderful part of Tuscany, where their special characteristics have been recently recognized by the European Community.In Mugello there are often Chestnut festivals, especially in October, where it is possible to taste and buy the typical gastronomic specialities, both salty and sweet ones, among which 'tortelli di marroni' (pockets of pasta stuffed with chestnuts) or 'chestnut jam'.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Virgin olive oil for the Tuscan cuisineis is very important gastronomical product. Due to the morphology of our region, many types of olive oil are produced in Tuscany.
The flavour of each ones changes even within a radius of a few kilometres though all are equally excellent.The oil produced on the hills surroinding Florence is the best in Tuscany.It is a delicate oil yet full of flavour, light green and with a strong aroma that leaves a slightly burning sensation in the throat.It enjoys a very high status in our region and during the olive pressing period, dinners are frequently organised as an occasion to taste the new oil.It must be eaten uncooked either on bruschetta(slices of toasted crusty bread smeared with garlic) or poured over vegetables.It is excellent with beans, chick peas and black cabbage.
The Tuscany is famous for being between the italian regions in which you can tasted the better plates.
In this section of the website a wide directory of the best restaurants in which you will be able to savour the specialties From Tuscany and Florence and to taste valuable wines of the chianti area: restaurants, trattorias, osterias, pizzerias, wine bar and international restaurants.
The Tuscany is famous all over the world for its valuable and precious wines.
Brunello di Montalcino, Nobile di Montepulciano, Chianti classic, Barco reale of Carmignano, Vernaccia of San Gimignano, Morellino of Scansano, Pomino, Montescudaio white, Montescudaio red
are only some of the valuable wine produced in Tuscany. The Tuscany region in fact is rich of large vitigni is scattered on hills and of visitable wine cellars in whichever period of the year.
The Tuscany evokes one images of great beauty; a rich and unique place of historical, cultural and natural treasures. A territory that in the time has been evoked from poets and writers. A territory with colors, smells and flavours unique.
The Tuscany is rich of Medieval Castles and villages, palaces, villas, churches, works of art fascination and history. The Tuscany is characterized from a varied landscape; greens hills, beauty sea, high relaxant mountains and terme.
Just for these characteristics many tourists every year choose routes in lands of Tuscany to the search of the traditions and in order tasting, wine cellar after wine cellar, the great from Tuscany red wines. Between the more known localities we can name the Chianti zone, the Orcia Valley,
Montepulciano, San Giminiano, Montalcino and the zone of Tuscany Maremma.
Delicious wines, typical Tuscany foods, traditional plates, typical specialties of fish, international plates… You must only choice...
Florence is famous for the elegance and taste of its classy craft products, the legacy of a centuries-old tradition.
These range from pleasing and highly original clothing accessories and furnishings made from straw, a typical Florentine craft activity, to top-quality, meticulously made leather goods, ceramics and glassware, plus a host of items in wood and metal, including furniture, trinkets and any number of other attractive objects for all ages, tastes and pockets.
Florence als produces some very graceful and original clothes, and is also well-known for its linens and fine embroidery.
And in the city where Benvenuto Cellini was born, there is no shortage of silver and gold-work, jewellery and filigree, and typical mosaics made from semi-precious stones.
Florence also has a lively antiques trade in both small and large items.
Way back in the 13th century travellers were already praising Florence’s pleasing and comfortable hostelries.
The city now has almost 400 hotels of various categories, which can provide accommodation for about 30.000 visitors, besides various cheaper options such as campsites and youth hostels.
There are also innumerable restaurants and trattorias in the city centre and the surrounding hills, offering simple, healthy traditional fare.
The local cuisine is accompanied by Tuscany’s justly famous wines from the Chianti and other nearby areas: tasty, full-bodied reds, softer whites, sweet dessert wines and vin santo.
There are also many restaurants in the city and surrounding area that serve international cuisine.
Tuscany offers about 20 famous wines with the Denominazione di Origine Controllata (Doc), and 5 of them with the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (Docg) (Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Vernaccia di San Gimignano e Carmignano).
A short history introduces the wines listed below and a card describes the characteristics and the food combinations.
Brunello di Montalcino.
Brunello di Montalcino, superb red wine of noble origins, started to be known around the half of last century when Clemente Santi, a chemist and pharmacist, made a selection of vine Sangiovese Grosso, the best for the production of a high quality wine. In 1870, during a fair in Siena, are presented the first bottles of Brunello of 1863 and 1865. From then all the experiments tend to find a special wine of superior quality.
The vintages of 1888 and 1891 confirm the success of this wine which has a limited production and, until the beginning of the 20th century, is known only by a few connoisseurs.
Brunello is a rare wine after the war, very difficult to find and therefore also very expensive. In the sixties, thanks to contribution of EEC and the law on Doc, vines are planted again in Montalcino area.
After the licence of 'Denominazione di Origine Controllata', and the constitution of a Consortium, the Brunello improves its production. It starts to be advertised and in few years new farms start to produce this excellent wine.
For the first time in 1980 Brunello gets the prestigious award of Docg that makes the Brunello a wine known and appreciated throughout the world.
The production area of the Brunello is the land around Montalcino (around 24.000 hectares) delimited by rivers Ombrone, Asso e Orcia. The geological characteristics of the territory reflect on wines depending on the production area.
Brunello di Montalcino comes from only a vine, the Sangiovese Grosso, that has a regular production and it is resistant to desease. The main characteristic of this wine is the long aging, before and after the bottling.
The wine must stay in the cellar for at least 4 year. The first 3 and half years in durmast and chestnut barrel; the ramaining months stay in a tank or in glass. After 4 years is presented to a commission to get the Docg. Once obtained the award, can be called Brunello di Montalcino.
For more informations:
Brunello di Montalcino.
Chianti is known abroad as the italian wine, and in Italy as the Tuscany wine. It has always kept its fame eventrough its quality has not been always at an ecellent level. At the beginnin the production area was only the 'chiantigiana region', now called 'classica'. In 1932 there is the regulation of production with the definition of production area, confirmed by DPR of 1967 that estabilishes the Denominazione di Origine Controllata Chianti.
The vast production area that includes all central Tuscany, has been divided in seven small areas: Classico, Montalbano, Rufina, Colli Senesi, Colli Fiorentini, Colline Pisane, Colli Aretini.
An eight area includes some territories where Chianti has no specification: Montespertoli, Cerreto Guidi, Agliana, Gambassi and San Miniato.
Chianti represents the biggest italian Doc and Docg territory, covering the 18-20% of the entire Doc national production.
Due to vast production area, this wine has sometime big differences according to the characteristics of the zone where it grows.
A Chianti wine can have a higher or lower alcohol level, can be younger or older, with a more or less intense odor.
Classico is produced in the most prestigious area of Chianti, between Firenze and Siena, and it is considered the best.
Around the end of the XIV century, the name Chianti appears for the first time referred to the wine produced in this area, in a document of merchant Francesco di Marco Datini. The area of historical Chianti included Radda, Gaiole and Castellina. The Granduca Cosimo III defined the borders of the production area: from Spedaluzzo to Greve, from there to Panzano, including Radda, Gaiole and Castellina, arriving to Siena.
Around half of the XIX century, Baron Bettino Ricasoli found the formula to produce Chianti Classico and chose the vines: Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Malvasia.
The Chianti Classico is now produced in a territory of 70.000 hectars.
The coltivation of vine is on hill grounds, mainly sandy, calcareous- marly, schist- clayey grounds.
Most of this wine is exported throughout the world, mainly in Germany, United Kingdom, United States and Switzerland.
For more informations:
The very good quality of Montalbano wines goes back to the end of XIII cent. when the bishops of Pistoia brought it on theirs tables. Francesco Redi and Edmondo de Amicis have been among the numerous estimators of this wine.
The main production centers of Chianti Montalbano are Carmignano, Artimino, Bacchereto, Lamporecchio, Vinci and Larciano, for a territory of about 500 hectares.
There are 180 vineries that produce yearly 25.000 hectolitres of wine DOCG. Some of above vineries produce both wine DOC and DOCG.
It's the smallest production area of Chianti but it is the best known throughout the world. The wine produced here has been the first one exported in the States. The Chianti of these hills is very closed to Classico.
The good quality of this wine was appreciated by Francesco Redi.
The big development starts at the beginning of the XX cent. with the purchase of grapes or wine to be sent in Italy or abroad.
The surfaces of Chianti Rufina is 574 hectares with 45 vineries that produce 25.000 hectolitres of wine per year.
The restoration of cellars and the specialization of machineries has improved the production, giving more importance to the quality i/o quantity.
Chianti Colli Senesi.
The wine patrimony of Siena province consists in 3 DOCG wines and 5 DOC wines. Among the above two Chianti: one half of the CLassico ( half is FLorentine ) and the Chianti of Colli Senesi.
The characteristics of this production area are different. Therefore also the wines are different: less alcoholic and deeper those of the north area, more alcoholic those of the south. The surface of the vineyards is 3500 hectares with 900 vineries ans an average yearly production of 20,.000 hectolitres.
Chianti Colli Fiorentini.
Florentine vinyards are not far from town. Fiesole and Settignano are inside the borders of Chianti area. Val d'Elsa, La Romola, Impruneta, Grassina, San Donato are among the best known areas of the wine tradition. The surfaces is 1100 hectares with 120 vinaries. Chianti Fiorentino, whose production is about 55.000 hectolitres per year, is appreciated for the odor and the moderate alcohol level.
Chianti Colline Pisane.
The Bianco Pisano of San Torpe' is a wine DOC produced on hills in Pisa area. Terricciola, Lari, Chianni, Palaia, Fauglia, Casciana Terme are the places where the wine production is still going on in spite of markets problems.
The area of wine production is around 250 hectares with different kind of ground: sandy, clayey, calcareous, pebbly.
The yearly production is around 10.000 hectolitres. This wine is advised to consumed young.
Chianti Colli Aretini.
Since the XIV cent. there have been news about the good quality of the wine produced on Valdarno Superiore hills. The best wine were Trebbiani together with wine of Montecarlo in Valdarno, wine of Pian di Sco' and wines produced on Montevarchi hills. They are about 80 vineries with an average production of 35.000 hectolitres of wine DOCG. Medium alcoholic, very pleasant, the wine is preferably consumed quite young.
Rosso di Montalcino.
It is said that durung one of the last siege of Montalcino, the commander of the garrison, the french Marshal Blaise de Montluc, used to put some red wine in order to hide the paleness due to the fear. The Madici family, after having conquered Montalcino, used to send the wine to Pope Clemente VII in Rome. After 4 centuries the above mentioned wine can be considered the ancistor of Rosso di Montacino, which is the other most important wine together with Brunello, of this area.
Rosso di Montalcino has been created after the success of Brunello, responding to the market need of having a good wine coming from the vinyards of Sangiovese Grosso without waiting the period of aging requested to Brunello. Threfore in 1968 we assist to the birth of Vino Rosso from vigneti di Brunello, first denomination of this wine which had an immediate success covering the 40% of production obtained with the grapes of Brunello. In 1979 producers ask for DOC that arrives only in 1984 with a new name for the wine, Rosso di Montalcino.
For the first time in Italy we have a production of grapes for different wines from the same vinyard. This is very important as it allows a turnover depending on the the vintage and also a sure production in case the wine is not good for DOCG.
The disciplinary sanction provide that Rosso di Montalcino has be to obtained only by grapes of Brunello ( Sangiovese Gosso ) produced in Montalcino territory. The max production per hectare is 100 quintals. The sale strts on September 1st. the following year of the vintage. Many consumers purchase bottles of Rosso di Montalcino which have a medium price, leaving them to obtain Brunello. But real Brunello has be aged in barrels and not in bottles.
For more informations:
Rosso di Montalcino.
Rosso di Montepulciano.
Montepulciano is very famous for its beautiful buildings and for its wines. Besides Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Chianti dei Colli Senesi, this area products another DOC wine: Rosso di Montepulciano. As well as in Montalcino, it is possible to get two different DOC wines from the same vinyard, so the same happens in Montepulciano where the Rosso comes from the same grapes of Nobile.
The production of a DOCG wine gives a very good reputation but on the other hand forces to a very accurate selection of grapes that reduces the producing capacity of the vinyards. Moreover some years it is difficult to get the right Nobile to put on sale. So the need of a good quality wine but with a different aging process.
The max yreld of grapes per hectare is 100 quintals, while that of wine cannot be more than 70%. The exceed part cannot be DOC. The wine is on the market not before March 1st of the following year of vintage.
For more informations:
Rosso di Montepulciano.
Are you planning a dinner in a typical restaurant in Florence?
Dinner in the historic centre in a typical Florentine restaurant after, by an unforgettable walk, discover one of the most suggestive and important places in the city following this itinerary:
Piazza del Duomo, Splendid view of the illuminated religious centre; Palazzo of Bargello, the oldest mediaeval building in Florence: Piazza San Firenze, with its magnificent Palazzo Gondi; Piazza della Signoria, a spectacular outdoor museum of sculpture. Views of the Uffizi Galleries and the Ponte Vecchio, the 'bridge of jewellers'. Finnally, in Piazza della Repubblca, a stop at the famous 'Caffè Concerto' with a dessert.