Way Beyond a Show and Tell Tour
Drawing on the historical and cultural traditions of Italian food with personal anecdotes on her experiences, the author takes you on a taste and travel journey through Northern Italy, Tuscany and Umbria to hidden and little known places as she travels with her Italian family and friends. Along the way she develops a style of travel that pairs the pleasures of eating with the history and art of the region that results in a unique travel experience way beyond a "show and tell" tour.
If you are a school or book club and are interested in a reading and discussion with the author or to schedule a book signing for a local book store e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
(available in Northwest Indiana or along the southern shore of Lake Michigan and Indianapolis, IN)
Chapter 26: The Beautiful and Famous Daughter of Rome
One of the pleasures of traveling in Italy is having the opportunity to experience some of the world’s greatest art and design while tasting some of the world’s best food and this is never truer than when traveling in Florence. According to statistics provided by UNESCO, 60% of the world's most important works of art are in Italy and approximately half of those are in Florence. The city of Florence has been listed by Travel and Leisure Magazine readers as one of the Best Cities in the World for the collective experience of travelers who judged it based on the sights, culture and arts, restaurants and food, people, shopping and value. Seeing and savoring Florence can be a Renaissance dream.
Around 1200 Florence became a leading economic city in Tuscany and never looked back. In the 15th century, the powerful and influential Medici created a dynasty that would define the history and culture of the city for the next two and a half centuries. Their passion for the arts, literature and learning created an intellectual and economic rebirth with larger than life personalities. Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, Masaccio and Fra Angelico were all commissioned by the Medici to create works of Renaissance art that still inspire and influence us today. This means that the sensory experience of visiting Florence is huge. The sights, sounds, monuments, churches, cathedrals, museums and markets can be overwhelming. The enoteche, osterie, ristorante, trattorie, bars and gelaterie offer a dizzying array of food choices. Florence is a cosmopolitan city, a worldwide destination for both business and pleasure and together with Rome an entry point for most first time travelers to Italy. So there is a lot to taste and see.
You will need time to get to know Florence and you may not be able to do that in one trip, nor should you. It took me 4 trips to Florence before I began to understand, experience and appreciate the true beauty of this remarkable city on the Arno River. There are many wonderful books written about Florence and you might consider reading a few before your trip. They will help you sort through all the tourist babble and hone in on a few significant sites that appeal to you rather than your tour guide. There will be a first time you travel to Florence; most tours of Italy include Florence on their itineraries. On my first trip to Italy my cousin Lidia told me you cannot see all of Florence at one time, so you must choose to see what you can then you will return and see more and little by little you will discover the beauty of Florence. After all Dante called Florence "the beautiful and famous daughter of Rome" and as you know Rome wasn't built in a day.
I almost feel a magnetized drawn to visit Florence again and again. Like many of the sites in Italy Florence seems to need a longer look, another glance. The Duomo of Florence is one place I have visited many times but never get tired of seeing. It is located in the San Giovanni District of Florence which has the highest concentration of art per square meter on the planet.
Copyright 2010 by Pamela Marasco
All rights reserved
Reviews and Reader Comments
"Readers take note if you’re planning a trip to Italy and want to dig in to the finest culinary experience there is to offer, be sure to consult Marasco first" Unique Homes Magazine
"While there are plenty of books that tell you what to see, where to stay and where to eat this book explains the specialties a visitor will find in Italy.It tells you what to expect in a restaurant and gives the Italian names for items on the menu. It's the first "travel book" I've looked at that made me excited about our upcoming trip" Barnes and Noble.com Anonymous
"Pam Marasco, Northern Italy travel expert and food critic, has published a book on traveling and tasting off the beaten path in Tuscany and Umbria. Complete with authentic recipes, interesting places to visit and stories of quaint customs and celebrations, she brings to this book the travel and eating adventure which has distinguished her writing on her web sites". William Forgey, MD, Author Wilderness Medicine
"What I can say is that you speak about our cooking and our traditions not like the writers of the big part of american book that I've seen but like an italian: you wrote about what you've seen really and you didn't invented nothing. For me it's a good thing. I would like to show you other nice things. I'll wait you! Ciao!" Luigi C., Umbrian Olive Oil Producer
"You are doing a very important job" Ugo Contini Bonacossi, Tenuta di Capezzana, Carmignano
"Buon Giorno, Pam, I just thought you would get a kick out of my son's e-mail, received this morning from Florence, on the way to Venice. I was so pleased they accepted your recommendation about the restaurant in Ferrara. I can't wait to see their videos and photos when we get together on Oct. 22. Thank you so much for the recommendation and for your book, which they enjoyed so much!" (hi guys, just wanted to let you know we are on our way to venice today. florence was fantastic! we just stopped in ferrara and had the famous pumpkin tortelini mom's friend recommended. it was awesome. hard to believe we only have one more day left) Georgene K.
"Marasco combines the historical and cultural traditions of Italian food with her travel anecdotes in this journey through Northern Italy, Tuscany and Umbria. She offers readers an outside-the-box tour of Italy " MMD Newswire
"At this point, she may have olive oil in her veins, her love of Italian cuisine runs so deep" Shore Magazine
"Travel guide reveals hidden treasures of Northern Italy" Nations Restaurant News