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The Food Markets

There is great food shopping in Florence and people like to visit to Mercato Centrale in the San Lorenzo area of the city.  This is a collection of stalls and is open from 07:00 until 14:00.  You can buy there, you can try there and they will shrink wrap.  This all comes at a price and better bargains can be found at Sant’ambrogio food market about 7 or 8 minutes from DeiMori.

This is less sanitised and I call it the ‘Mommas Market’.  It is where the Florentine Mommas go and woe betide anyone who gives them a bad apple.  You can buy an interesting lunch there.

To find it, make a left out of DeiMori front door, walk to the end of the street and make a left and then right into Borgo Albizi.  Continue straight until you get to the market – a great experience.

People Watching at Night

What better way of spending an hour after dinner than visiting our favourite gelataria ‘Perche No’.  This is great ice-cream, imaginative selection of flavours, hand made daily from organic ingredients .  Pay just two Euro for a cup or cone and this will give you two flavours – a scoop of each.

Then go into either Piazza Repubblica or Piazza Della Signoria (or both, they are quite close.  There is often some sort of entertainment on a failing that just watch the parade of the Florentines as they dress up and go out for a ‘passeggiata’.  Quite the routine.

If you decided to skip a desert at dinner why not treat yourself to ‘hot chocolate’ at either Gilli in Piazza Repubblica or Rivoire in Piazza Signoria.  quite unlike any hot chocolate you have had before.  Be extravagant and sit at a table or save money and enjoy it at the bar for less than half the price – at the bar, pay the cashier and then take your ‘scontrino’ to the bar and order.  Stay standing, do not sit if you have taken the cheap route.

Parking when travelling to Florence from La Massa

Directions to the Park and Ride in Florence – Viale Europa.

Out of the gate at la Massa, turn right and drive to the main road.
Turn right and follow signs for Firenze – climbing up and down.
Once you reach the end of the road down from Consuma, turn right for Firenze and then left for Firenze.
You travel along a road around Pontassieve and eventually come to a roundabout.  Here, ignore the Florence signs instead following signs for A1 Roma / Bologna (the exit following the Firenze exit.
Drive along here for some kilometres (take care for speed cameras)
You will soon be onto a straight double lane road with a number of traffic lights
You will see the ‘P’ parking sign just before a Q8 gas station.
Turn right in here and take the ticket at the barrier.

The bus into the centre of Florence is a number 23 and you can buy a ticket from the machine at the car park – be sure to validate (cancel) your ticket in the machine on the bus.

When you return to your car, catch the bus at Corsi dei Tintori

When you return, get a 23 bus and ask the driver to tell you the best stop for the park and ride in Viale Europa

Car Parking In Florence

You can appreciate that driving  in a 15th Century City it is not something to recommend so therefore try to take the easier option and according to your point of access to the city please try to leave the car as soon as you can – you shouldn’t need the car staying with us in the middle of the pedestrian area of the Florence.

The  main thing is that you should never try to drive directly to DeiMori – this is very stressful and very illegal as you will drive through a veryu heavily pedestrianised route.  Further, there are optical number plate recognition cameras all over and you will be fined (maybe through your hire car company who will make things even worse by adding a ‘service charge’ to the fine.  Beware, it can cost hundreds.  The limit to which you can drive is quite clear, there are red lights and notices in English.  Despite this, every year we have several very stressed guests who ‘just want to drop off their luggage’.  Much cheaper and easier to park and take a taxi to us.

There are free parking spaces outside the centre around the major avenues and on Piazzale Michelangelo.  Please, it is up to you to assess the suitability and legality of the ‘free parking place’ you find.  Most are fine but beware that there is quite a keen attitude towards weekly street cleaning and cars in the way are liable to be towed.  Local people will know when the streets are due to be cleaned, you may not.

The Bargello Garage is the private garage nearest to us ,  it is just two minutes walk far from here in Via Ghibellina 170/red and costs from 25Euro per night depending on the size of the car . They close only on Sunday for a lunch break from Noon to 3PM .  They are in the restricted area, but so long as you are sure you are going to park with them, they will ‘legalise’ your car.

There are many public car parks dotted around the city and you can find out about these by clicking this link.

Please use Google Maps or www.viamichelin.com for directions and give us a ring before getting too lost or wasting too much time on finding your way.  These days, Sat Navs make life so much easier.

 

 

See Just ONE of the hundreds of Churches

There are literally hundreds of churches in Florence, but if you are going to just visit one, make it Santa Croce situated of course in  Santa Croce Square.

The website linked above will tell you so much more, but generally it is open on weekdays from 09:30 until 17:30 and holidays and Sundays between 14:00 and 17:30.  In both cases, the last admission is timed for 17:00.

Admission charges are around €6 but as you would expect, there are oncessions and party rates , family rates etc.

You can take a guided tour with headphones at reasonable rates and take about an hour.

As someone said, if you go to Florence and do not go to Santa Croce Church, then you have not been to Florence,

The ‘Terraces of the Cathedral Tour’ at the Duomo in Florence

Two of our guests, Max and Janet from Seattle recommend this tour which goes several times during the day and tickets at €15.00 can be obtained at the Duomo Museum which is behind the Duomo.  One of the advantages is that you avoid the long queues which can develop to get into the cathedral.  The tour includes a guided tour (in English) of the floor area before being taken up to do the terraces both inside and outside of the building.  At the end of the tour, a visit to the top of the dome is included in the entrance fee and this is spectacular.

Wine in Bulk

The whole region is of course famous for wine and this is widely available.  We particularly enjoy a wine shop in Ponte Poppi where you can buy excellent red and white by the five litre bottle.  In the guest suite you should find a 5 litre wine flask which you are welcome to borrow.  Follow the sign for Bibienna and as you approach Ponte Poppi, you will see a blue and white striped awning on the right followed by a cream one with the words olio e vino.  This is the place – enjoy.  They are closed Monday and have a longish lunch closure, opening again at 4.00pm.

Shopping in Our Local Village

Shopping Locally:

There are a wide variety of food shops in the nearest large village of Strada.  Here you will find small supermarkets, grocers (alimentari), fruit shops, a pharmacy, bakers, tobacconists, hairdressers, hardware stores etc etc.

The shops are open from quite early in the morning to about 7.00 in the evening.  They close for a fairly longish lunch siesta from about 12.30pm until 3.30.  In addition, the food stores close on a Wednesday afternoon. Most are open on a Sunday Morning – particularly during the holiday season.

To reach Strada, turn right out of the gate, go down the lane towards the main road and then make a left.  Follow the main road down hill for about five or six minutes until you reach the village of Strada.

As you approach the village, on the left you will see Alimentari Casentino – this is a wooden structure, somewhat like a chalet.  This is run by Lorenzo and Christina and they tend to sell ‘high end’ food.  They focus on quality but naturally, their prices can reflect this.  Nevertheless, a great shopping experience, they are very helpful and willing to let you ‘try before you buy’.  Tell them you have come from Peter and Danny at Vertelli, you often get a bottle of wine.

Passing this shop, the road turns to the right and you approach the main village.  On the right is an excellent dry cleaners and further down on the right is Ortofruita – a good fruit shop – fresh, good quality and a decent range.  Also, he is very obliging.

On the corner is a bar turn right down the old street and on the right amongst other shops you will see a butchers – this is the one we use.  Further on, is another fruit and flower shop – often a smell of cigarettes in there, puts us off.  Then a pharmacy, hairdressers etc.

On the left is a bakers and grocery store with a very good ‘deli’ counter.  This shop is famous locally for excellent bread, pastries and cakes.

Opposite is a newsagents and tobacconist and next door is a ferramanta (ironmongers)

Turn right again and you will come into the old square with post office and and a nice bar and gelateria.

Additionally after you enter the village, where you have turned right after Alimentari Casentino, rather than going straight on, veer left towards Arezzo.  You will pass Lele’s Pizza (superb) and then go pass the school on the left and following you will see a sign for Forno Bottega. Turn left and park and there is a very good small supermarket with two very ‘smiley ladies’.

On a Saturday morning, there is an excellent ‘fish van’ in the square near the Town Hall.

You can park either in the main square by the Town Hall or in the old piazza in the centre of the village.  Additionally, there is ‘on street’ parking in the obvious places.

Another great place to eat

on the journey between La Massa and Florence.

It is called Bar Consuma and not surprisingly can be found in the village of Consuma at the summit of the  Pass of the same name (1054 metres), the pass which joins Florence and La Massa.

They do great sandwich lunches (or more accurately Schiacciata lunches).  This is flat bread, dimpled and containing olive oil and is very tasty as a bread.  Add a filling of tomato and mozzarella, or maybe porcini mushrooms or local cured ham and you have a fine feast.  They serve a wide variety and couple this with a glass of house red (rough but gutsy and good) and then a coffee and one of their delicious pieces of cake (all on display) and you have a good, tasty yet simple meal for not a lot of money.  I just love it, tomato and mozzarella schiacciata, a glass of rough red and a coffee – perfect.  Give it a go!

Tips:

  • Go into the bar and pass around the coffee part to the food serving section behind.
  • If it is busy they sometimes operate a ‘number system’ – in this case, be sure to take  a ticket when you arrive.
  • The staff will help you with your selection – you will be asked if you want to eat in or take away.
  • Once all is done, go to the cashier to pay for your food, collect it and order your drinks.
  • They serve great cheese and ham – you can of course buy this to take home.
  • You can eat outside or in their dining room,
  • Go to the dining room to collect your own glasses, cutlery, napkins etc.
  • It is polite to take your dirty tray back to them – they appreciate the help as they can be busy.
  • They are open long hours but do often close on a Wednesday.
  • Like many places they do ‘chiuso per ferie’ (close for holidays ‘at the drop of a hat’)

If you are travelling from Florence:

Climb for about 20 minutes and you will see the village of Consuma clearly marked.  As you enter the village, you will pass an ERG petrol station on the left.  About 200 metres further on and still on the left is Bar Consuma.  You can park on the roadside on the right or turn left immediately prior into a car park.

If you are travelling from La Massa:

Climb for about 20 minutes and you will reach the village of Consuma and the summit.  As you descend, about 300 metres on the right you will see Bar Consuma.  Park on the left or make a right turn immediately after the bar into a car park.