Florence, the capital of Tuscany, is one of the most visited tourist cities in the world and also the most loved. To know Florence you have to walk around, get lost in the many little alleys and always look up to discover all its beauty.
Florence is the city of the Renaissance and of the Italian language, a city of art, culture and elegance with a long history of craftsmen’s workshops.
The Arno River divides the city into two parts, if we start walking from the Church of Santa Maria Novella (behind the train station), right in front of the church, at the end of the square, there is the Loggia di San Paolo. Looking at the Loggia, on the left in Via della Scala, there is the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella which is considered the oldest historical pharmacy in Europe. If you continue on Via della Scala you arrive at Via Tuornabuoni, the street of the luxury stores of the great Italian brands; Gucci, Prada, Armani, Ferragamo…. Parallel to Via Tornabuoni there is Via Roma, if we turn left in a northerly direction we arrive at the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and continuing after the cathedral we arrive at the Galleria dell’Accademia where Michelangelo’s David is located; if we turn right in the direction of the Arno River we arrive at the famous Ponte Vecchio, symbol of the art of Italian goldsmithing.
Crossing Ponte Vecchio we arrive at what is considered the most bohemian part of Florence for the Florentines. Here where is Palazzo Pitti, the wonderful Boboli Gardens and Piazza Santo Spirito with its restaurants, bars, the sunday market and the center of nightlife. Close to Piazza Santo Spirito is San Frediano one of the few neighborhoods where Florentines still live and unknown to tourists.
But Florence is not only a beautiful outdoor museum, it also has a long history of culinary traditions and great wines … the wines of Tuscany.
Other than the well-known Chianti, the prestigious Brunello di Montalcino, in Florence it is usual to drink a good glass of Vin Santo served with Cantucci after lunch.
Vin Santo is a sweet wine mainly produced with Trebbiano grape which gives it acidity and crispness and Malvasia grape which gives it a sweeter taste, the grape are dried and after that the wine is aged in oak barrels.
Vin Santo is always served with Cantucci, a type of Tuscan almond cookies, normally the cookie is soaked in wine to make it softer and to intensify the contrast of the tastes….Cheers!
It is unclear where its name comes from and there are many legends about it There are those who explain the term “santo” by referring to its use during the Easter, others said that the name come from the Greek word ‘xantos’, meaning blond or yellow, or from the Latin word ‘sanctus’ indicating everything unique and rare.