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sobota, 23 maja 2015

The famous Florentine Steak - Bistecca alla fiorentina

I would like to write about my favorite dish which is Bistecca alla fiorentina – The Florentine Steak which is also one of the most famous dishes of Tuscan cuisine.
Florentine steak is a cut of beef combined with the specific preparation. It is a high cut including the bone and it have to be cook over a wood or on the grill if you don’t have another possibility with doneness "blood".

I asked my friend who has finished the culinary school what is the definition of Bistecca alla fiorentina. He explained me that the Florentine Steak is you get from the cut from the loin (which exactly is the part corresponding to the lumbar vertebrae, the middle of the back from the tail) from Chianina or Maremmana beef. In the middle this kind of cut should be the bone in the shape of “T” and for that reason in English this type of meat is called “T-bone”. The steak should have the thread on the one part and the sirloin on the other.

The history of the Florentine steak is so old as the city from which it takes the name. However, its tradition, its fame and its name can be traced from to the celebration of the feast of San Lorenzo and the Medici family. At San Lorenzo’s Day on 10th August, the city was illuminated with light of bonfires and the habitants used to roast the large quantities of beef. At the celebrations of San Lorenzo’s day were present some English knights and Florentine people offered them the meat roasted over fires. They called it in their language beef steak referring to the type of meat they were eating. From here a translation adapted to the current language created the word bistecca which is used to the present day.

The most important thing is the preparation of the Florentine Steak which is shared often between two or more persons. It should be a piece of meat of 1 or 1,5 kg with thick of 4 fingers without seasoning, fundamental operation to prevent hardening. It is grill 4-5 minutes per side (flipping it only once) and 5-7 minutes vertically standing on its bone so as to make the blood drain out. Traditional accompaniment to Bistecca alla fiornetina are the cannellini bean with olive oil, the salad and grilled potatoes. On the table it should be present the traditional red Chianti vine.

Buon apettito !

Il Porcellino - The mascot of Florence

One of my favorite statues in Florence is Il Porcellino in Italian cinghiale which is the local name for the bronze fountain (without water :) ) of a boar. It is situated in Market of Porcellino .

Il Porcellino was sculpted by Pietro Tacca – the Baroque master in 1634. The original was found in Rome and removed to Florence in the 16th century by Medici Family. Originally the bronze boar was intended for the Boboli Garden and it was associated with the Greek mith of something strong and talisman. It is one of the most popular features for tourists. There you can also eat the best Lampredotto in whole Florence in company of Porcellino. The present statue is a modern copy, cast in 1998 by Ferdinando Marinelli Artistic Foundry and replaced in 2008, while Tacca's bronze is sheltered in the new Museo Bardini in Palazzo Mozzi.

Visitors should to put a coin into the boar’s jaws with the intent to let it fall through the underlying grating for good luck, and they rub the boar's snout to ensure a return to Florence.

So when you will visit Florence you have to also say “Hi!” to this nice boar called Il Porcellino.

Inferno in Florence – Visit the Florence along Dan Brown’s book.

Inferno in Florence – Visit the Florence along Dan Brown’s book.

"If you know where to look, Florence is paradise." Dan Brown

Some days ago, exactly in the mid of May Ron Howard the director of “Inferno” – the third part of the best seller written by Dan Brow has stared with shooting the first scenes of this book. It was a big event for all habitants in Florence. The biggest interest has created Tom Hanks.

This book offers an interesting key to visit this city. Through the investigations of professor Robert Langdon about Botticelli’s “map of inferno” you can get to know this town very well. With Inferno, you'll delve into the mysteries of ancient Italy, Florence's medieval past during the times of Dante and of the Renaissance. If you enjoyed the previous books of this writer you will enjoy also this part.

Reading this book and soon watching the film based on it  you will get to know for example Porta Romana there starts the adventure of Robert Langdon. This monument belongs to the ancient walls of Florence, dating back to the 14th century, and it is the largest and best preserved gate of the city. This entrance still has the original iron doors and a marble slab with the Medici coat of arms. Today around the Porta Romana are placed restaurants, bars and beautiful park called Cascine.


The professor Langdon crossed also the Boboli Gardens which I have described previously. The Boboli Gardens, along with the Pitti Palace, is the most noble area of the Oltrarno, the left bank of the Arno river.

The Vasari Corridor is also the important place for the main protagonist. In Italian Corridoio Vasariano is an elevated enclosed passageway in Florence which connects the Palazzo Vecchio with the Palazzo Pitti. Beginning on the south side of the Palazzo Vecchio, it then joins the Uffizi Gallery and leaves on its south side, crossing the Lungarno and then following the north bank of the River Arno until it crosses the Ponte Vecchio. The corridor covers up part of the façade of the church of Santa Felicità. The Vasari Corridor then snakes its way over rows of houses in the Oltrarno district, becoming narrower, to finally join the Palazzo Pitti. Most of it is closed to visitors.


Professor Langdon reached to the Palazzo Vecchio in search of additional clues, visiting the hall, then Francesco I's "studiolo" off to one side of the hall and then the stupendous Hall of Maps on the 2nd floor.

The protagonist follow also the street of of Dante Alighieri. He presents us the Via della Ninna when he dash into Piazza della Signoria and off into the streets that most retain their medieval aspect in Florence. This is where the Casa di Dante, or Dante's House, is located as well as the church where his muse, Beatrice Portinari, is buried.


So as you can read there are many places to get to know. So I would like to invite you to read or watch the movie – I will do it! If you are planning your holidays in Italy or Florence you can follow the footsteps of Robert Langdon – he has visit the Florence in few hours. Now in that city are organized many tourist tours during which you can see the exactly way of the main protagonist of the “Inferno”.  

niedziela, 19 kwietnia 2015


The Palazzo Pitti in English called the Pitti Palace is a vast, mainly Renaissance palace in Florence.   It is situated on the south side of the River Arno, a short distance from the Ponte Vecchio. The core of the present palazzo dates from 1458 and was originally the town residence of Luca Pitti, an ambitious Florentine banker.
The Pitti Palace was the main seat of the Medici Family, which bought this place in 1549 and in that moment it became the chief residence of the ruling families if the Grand Dukes in Tuscany. It grew as a great treasure house as later generations amassed paintings, plates, jewellery and luxurious possessions.
In the late 18th century, the palazzo was used as a power base by Napoleon, and later served for a brief period as the principal royal palace of the newly united Italy.

The palazzo is now the largest museum complex in Florence – something about 32,000 square metres. It is divided into several principal galleries or museums detailed below. The palace is an important part of the Boboli Gardens. In summer a lot of students go in front of The Palazzo Pitti to take a coffee or just read a book or sunbathing.



Gardini Boboli in English the Boboli Gardens is a park near the storical center in Florence. It is a home for collection of many sculptures from the 16th through the 18th centuries but also for some Roman antiquities.

This magnificent place is situated behind of the Pitti Palace which was the main seat of the Medici (the grand dukes family of Tuscany at Florence). The garden is designed in mid-16th-century style. The openness of the garden, with an expansive view of the city, was unconventional for its time. The gardens were very lavish. No access into this gardens was allowed only to the Medici family and no entertainment or parties ever took place there.
The Boboli Gardens were laid out for Eleonora di Toledo, the wife of Cosimo I de' Medici. At the beginning the works were stared by Niccolò Tribolo til 1550, then were continued by Bartolomeo Ammanati. The elaborate architecture of the grotto in the courtyard that separates the palace from its garden is by Buontalenti.
The interesting thing about the Boboli Gardens is that lacks a natural water source. To water the plants in the garden, a conduit was built from the nearby Arno River to feed water into an elaborate irrigation system which was very innovative for that time.
Inside the Boboli Gardens there is the amphitheatre with very important Egyptian obelisk brought from the Villa Medici at Rome. Another important point of the beautiful place is in a fountain of Neptune (known to the irreverent Florentines as the "Fountain of the Fork" for Neptune's trident), with the sculpture of Neptune by Stoldo Lorenzi visible against the skyline as a visitor climbs the slope. The gardens have passed through several stages of enlargement and restructuring work.
Today you have to pay for the entrance but this place is worth every penny. The Boboli Grades are especially beautiful in spring and summer but also in winter there is a lot of magical atmosphere.  As you can see under this place is a big inspiration for artist.



I would like to write about an amazing place in Florence which is a famous square with a magnificent panoramic called Piazzale Michelangelo – Michelangelo Square. It is an observation point which is overlooking the whole city. This panorama is present in every postcard of  Florence!

This square was built and projected by Giuseppe Poggi in 1869. Is placed on a hill on the left side of Arno river. The important thing of that period is that on that time the Florence was the capital of Italy and everybody was involved in RISANAMENTO called in English REBIRTH.

The square is dedicated to the great sculptor of Renaissance – Michelangelo. In the middle of this square you will find the second copy of his the most famous sculpture – David. The Michelangelo square is designed by Poggi in the neoclassical style which is dominating the whole terrace. At the beginning it should be a place for the museum of works by Michelangelo but it wasn’t never realized.

You will find there very beautiful and good restaurant with a splendid panorama. The panorama embraces the heart of Florence from Forte Belvedere to Santa Croce, across the lungarni and the bridges crossing the Arno, including the Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo, Palazzo Vecchio, the Bargello and the octagonal bell tower of the Badia Fiorentina. Beyond the view of the city itself are the hills of Settignano and Fiesole.

You can access the Piazzale Michelangelo by car along the tree-lined Viale Michelangelo but also by walking the stairs or going up the ramps from the Piazza Giuseppe Poggi, known as the "Poggi Ramps".

sobota, 17 stycznia 2015

Piazza della Signoria - the place of Florence City Hall

Piazza della Signoria is an L-shaped square which is situated in the center of Florence. It is in the front of Palazzo Vecchio which is the city hall of the capital of Tuscany. It is the central point of history and politics but also of art. It is located near Ponte Vecchio and Piazza del Duomo and it is a gateway to Uffizi Gallery. Piazza della Signoria is always crowded because there is a lot of tourist but also Florentines which prefer this place for meetings and walks.

Palazzo Vecchio ‘Old Palace’ is the city hall of the city. In the front of the entrance you can find the copy of Michelangelo’s David – the original statue is inside the Uffizzi Gallery. It is one of the most impressive town halls in whole Italy. It very beautiful and nice because you can sit in a corner and observe people or horses and many of interesting situations. The Loggia dei Lanzi contains the most beautiful copies of statues which you can find inside the gallery. In the Piazza della Signoria is also Tribunale della Mercanzia is a building where in the past lawyers judged in the trial between matchants.

This square is really appreciated for its art and architecture but for me is really special for its climate and atmosphere. Really often after my university lessons I went there only to take a coffee and then for a long time I was observing all those people who was creating really funny situations.


                                                               David by Michelangelo
                                                              Panorama of the square
                                                      Full view on Piazza delle Signoria
                                                                    Palazzo Vecchio
Loggia dei Lanzi