For centuries, porcelain was an exotic material imported from China, as its composition and manufacturing techniques remained unknown in Europe. From 1585 to 1610, Francesco I de' Medici financed the production of a pseudo-porcelain in Florence, intended for court use and for diplomatic gifts. The true formula, however, remained unknown until 1710,...

The Palio of Siena, often described as the toughest horse race in the world, will not be run this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, the mayor of the Tuscan city said on Thursday. The bareback race, where riders and horses have to charge three times around Siena’s main, mediaeval square, is held twice a year, on July 2 and Aug. 16. It was la...

Tuscan cuisine is loved and  appreciated all over the world. Cooking and baking in Tuscany is still a huge part of everyday life, I’m pleased to report. Having lived in a block of 12 apartments, I know that food, preparation and cooking continues to be a priority, in particular with the older generation. I’ve seen women return early in the morning...

 The director of Italy's Uffizi Galleries is predicting a boom in visitors after coronavirus restrictions end, judging by what happened after previous emergencies closed down one of the world’s most popular museums. Museum director Eike Schmidt recalled that after the Arno River flooded Florence in 1966 and shuttered the museum, the number of visit...

Tourists travel to the Tuscan island of Giglio for its tranquility and natural beauty. Legend has it that when the Tyrrhenian Venus emerged from the depths of the sea, seven gemstones fell from her tiara and turned into the seven islands of the Tuscan archipelago: Gorgona, Capraia, Elba, Pianosa, Montecristo, Giglio and Giannutri. Where is Giglio I...

‘We are all pilgrims who seek Italy’ (Goethe) We are aware more than ever about the effect that CoVid19 will have on the future of travel. Perhaps the nature of tourism will change, which in a lot of ways would be welcome as many of Italy cities suffered through overtourism. Perhaps 'slow' and sustainable travel, like walking the Via Matilda descri...

Although overshadowed by its more famous Tuscan neighbours, Arezzo has a charm all of its own. Arezzo, located at the confluence of the Casentino, Valdarno and Val di Chiana valleys in central Tuscany, is not in the same picture-postcard league as nearby Florence or Siena but its quirky, unexpected quality makes a visit here well worthwhile. Home t...

To discover Florence through its buildings, its monuments, and its museums is certainly an effective way to experience the charm of the Medici city that has remained intact over the centuries. To visit its historic cafés, however, is tantamount to catching a glimpse of its soul and its history. Indeed, the fortune of some of the most famous streets...

The National Park of the Casentino Forests, Monte Falterona and Campigna was established in 1993, on a vast territory between Emilia Romagna and Tuscany. The Emilia Romagna side is characterized by narrow, sunken valleys, with rocky slopes and sometimes thickly wooded, while the Tuscan side, with its limestone cliffs, is characterized by a landscap...

WHEN THE DOMINICAN FRIARS AT Florence’s Santa Maria Novella didn’t feel well and needed medicinal herbs, they stepped out to Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy (considered the oldest still-operating pharmacy in the world) along the monastery wall. But when it was time for these same monks to ingest a meal, they went to Santa Maria Novella’s refectory—a r...