The Keys to Enjoying Siena

Last week, I had a glass of wine with friends who had spent their August holidays in Tuscany. Unsurprisingly, a great part of our conversation centered on their Italian respite:

“We had the most wonderful time, Katharina, really. The view we had from the villa, the blooming lavender, the garden, the wine, the food… We enjoyed everything and every single moment of it. Except…”

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Florentine Wax Anatomy and Taxidermy

“Hey, look at this one, Mummy! Is that a hippotamus?
– A hippopotamus, darling. Yes, it is.
– He looks angry!
– Well… yes. Or he may just be yawning…”

For my daughter and I, this was our very first visit to La Specola, a jewel of a museum in the heart of Florence. We were lucky enough that day to be accompanied by Gina, a good friend of mine who happened to be well-versed in zoology and natural history, the domains which La Specola is dedicated to. Gina presented us with some additional information on the “yawning hippotamus”:

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Behind the Scenes of Siena’s Palio

 

– Mummy, I want to “vote” for the Leocorno, my daughter told me with big round eyes.
– The Unicorn? You want to support the Unicorn team?
– Yes! And George says he wants to support the Elephant!
– Well… I’m afraid there is no Elephant team in the race, darling.
– Ah… I’ll go tell him to support something else then.
– Good idea. Continue Reading →

The Great Mercato Centrale in Florence

One of my favourite places in Florence is the Mercato Centrale, also known as the Mercato di San Lorenzo, the largest food market in town. A beautiful glass and cast-iron construction, it was designed over 140 years ago by Giovanni Mengoni, an architect who also built the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan.

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Artichoke Hearts in the Heart of Tuscany

“A woman is like an artichoke: you must work hard to get to her heart.” You will never guess who said that… Inspector Jacques Clouseau. Yes, the French – and always gallant – police detective featured in the Pink Panther, the famous movie series on the art of sensible investigation. Remember? Continue Reading →

The Ultimate Tuscan Wine Tours

In vino veritas. This is Latin and it means: “In wine there is truth”. Yes indeed, there is truth in wine, and a lot more as well – design, intent, know-how, genius and life!

Over the last 20 years, I have had the chance to visit scores of wineries in Italy, particularly in Tuscany. I have even worked at the Castello di Brolio (Barone Ricasoli) estate, Italy’s oldest continually operating winery. Yet, I still learn something new, something that astonishes me, every time I take another vineyard tour. Continue Reading →

Modern Italy’s Oldest Winery

“Katharina, this Casalferro wine is absolutely divine! whispered to me one of my neighbours at table.
– Divine indeed, I replied, and coming from the oldest winery in Italy, believe it or not.
– Is that so?” Continue Reading →



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