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Thread: ITALY

  1. #1
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Default ITALY

    I think this lovely country deserves its own thread

    I am looking for hotel and/or spa recommendations in Tuscany. Preferably in the middle of nowhere with them movie-shot views and charm.
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    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Ha, I can't believe no one answered all this time! I totally forgot, too. I thought we had a dedicated thread for Florence. I guess not.

    Well, I've been going to Florence twice a year for the past six years. And even though I operate in a codified environment and on regimented schedule I've managed to explore a bit.

    Art - First, Florence is small and it's an outdoor museum - so just walk and walk and walk.

    Of course you need to go Uffizi once. I suggest seeing only half of it, or you'll be puking Jesus and Virgin Mary by the time you get out. It's basically the same painting repeated ad nauseaum (I'm being flip, of course).

    There are a bunch of churches and Renaissance buildings you can walk into - do it! The Duomo is a must, obviously and also Santa Croce. My favorite is also Orsanmichele, right in the center. On Mondays they open the second floor sculpture museum to the public. Gareth Pugh did his presentation there, and you'll know why when you see it.

    Food - well, it's hard to go wrong there, just stay away from touristy places. Il Santo Bevitore is great for dinner, there is also their deli next door where you can get an amazing prosciutto sandwich and a glass of wine for lunch for pennies. Pizzeria Antica Porta for pizza. Gelato is pretty much amazing anywhere. And truffles.. the truffles...

    Shopping - besides PNP Firenze there really isn't anything. They have a good selection though, so that's all you need. Enter Luisa Via Roma at your own risk. There is also a small shop that carries Comme and Margiela, I forget the name.

    There is also a Faliero Sarti store with a huge selection of scarves.

    I buy my gloves in Florence now. My favorite is a tiny family shop by Ponte Vecchio. Though it looks like a tourist trap, it's not. Ask them for deer skin gloves. 70 euro or so, and they look and hold up better than anything "designer"

    Pena is a little grocery store hidden in the center where you can stock up on food to bring home. There I usually get biscotti, truffle sauce, and Marvis tooth paste (laugh all you want, it's amazing)

    Perfume - Santa Maria Novella "pharmacy" is an absolute must for the products as well as for the decor and experience. Get their rose water for your girlfriend. It's 13 euros but looks like you spent a hundred bucks on it. Tell them it's a gift so they package it nicely.

    Munstermann pharmacy is the best kept secret in Florence - their toilet water is 15 euros, but again looks like you spent 5 times that. I suggest the tea rose.

    You should also buy a notebook or some other paper product while there. Avoid Il Papiro, which is everwhere, and go for Signum instead.
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Faust View Post

    You should also buy a notebook or some other paper product while there. Avoid Il Papiro, which is everwhere, and go for Signum instead.
    Yes, Iíd add Fabriano to that list. Apart from their high volume business, they carry a very, very good quality artisanal paper line. I can recommend the mould made papers Secolo XIII (100% cotton, very understatet luxurious) and Minerva (which is my correspondence paper for the last years)


    For accomodation in Tuscany, my friends recommend La Selva.
    http://www.laselva-bio.eu/agritouris...artment-salvia (maybe english version available?)

    Itís basically a farm, operating all organic, with an adjascent villa for tourism and serving the best food.

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    u need to be careful when you go to Roma, there are so many thief and maybe you would get robbed.

  6. #6

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    Thanks Faust, appreciated. I wouldn't have thought about gloves and scarves because of when I'm going but will now - top tip!

    Any recommendations for contemporary art spaces would be good too.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by viv1984viv View Post
    Thanks Faust, appreciated. I wouldn't have thought about gloves and scarves because of when I'm going but will now - top tip!

    Any recommendations for contemporary art spaces would be good too.
    No art spaces from me, but wines & corn!

    For wines, avoid all the tourist-trap "enoteche" and go to FAMOUS VINI Via Cavour, 30 (near University) - ph. 055 212855: don't mind the spaghetti-english name, since they carry a respectable, not mainstream list of tuscan wine at hones prices.

    If you've ever wonder how many infinite variety of rices, beans (from all over the world) and other cereals are in the world, go to CIVAIE MENCHINI Via della Spada, 52 (near Santa Maria Novella): you'll find an old shop run by 3 sisters carrying tons of mushrooms, rices, beans, jams of incredible quality.

    Enjoy!

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    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Contemporary art in the Renaissance capital is a difficult proposition. They do have exhibits of contemporary art in some museums, so just see what's on the calendar when you go. I did see a Joel Peter Witkin exhibit in what was a photography museum, which they now renamed to something else. That was EPIC.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faust View Post
    Shopping - besides PNP Firenze there really isn't anything. They have a good selection though, so that's all you need. Enter Luisa Via Roma at your own risk. There is also a small shop that carries Comme and Margiela, I forget the name.
    Guya Firenze!

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    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    That's the one - thanks!
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    I too have been visiting Florence very regularly for some years now, like Faust.

    I am surprised to see a recommendation for Il Santo Bevitore if I'm honest. The last two times I've been there I've had terrible service, unfortunately.

    For more casual eating I highly recommend Osteria Vini e Vecchi Sapori on Via dei Magazzini, once on the small street it's on your left with your back to Piazza della Signoria. Da Ruggero on Via Senese is well known for rosticciana and spaghetti all'arrabiata. Both of these places are quite informal. For a light lunch in again, a very casual setting, High Bar on Via dei Renai - the barista Luigo is a genuinely nice guy and the penne with tuna and ginger is way better than it sounds. I suppose alternative eateries at a lower price point/quicker turnaround could be I Due Fratellini on Via dei Cimatori or All'Antico Vinaio on Via dei Neri, these tend to be huge tourist traps though. A little more off the beaten track are Lž X Lž (quick sandwiches) and Taverna del Bronzino on Via San Zanobi. For gelato it has to be Gelateria dei Neri, nowhere else I've been to touches it.

    Hopefully this will help someone. All are very affordable and just places I like to visit on some downtime.

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    Senior Member bukka's Avatar
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    ^
    I had dinner twice last month at Santo Bevitore and both time me and my girlfriend were happy about food, service and price. Why went you back there a second time if the first was terrible?
    Eternity is in love with the productions of time

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by bukka View Post
    ^
    I had dinner twice last month at Santo Bevitore and both time me and my girlfriend were happy about food, service and price.
    Don't bother, dude is a troll, 622 posts full of nothing ...

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    Senior Member bukka's Avatar
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    I have to agree with the Antico Vinaio recommandation though. All the locals are going there for a cheap and good lunch

    Edit: to add some other recommandations, try Cuculia Via dei Serragli and Vivanda in Via Santa Monaca. Both are located in Santo Spirito where I lived for a few months and really appreciated!
    Eternity is in love with the productions of time

  15. #15

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    Will be headed to Venice for the first time the first couple of weeks in September and would love any recommendations for food, shopping, and art, areas.

  16. #16

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    A couple of things I loved in Venice: for a treat, stay at Ca Maria Adele, and have dinner at Caffe' Quadri, where the menu is designed by Massimiliano Alajmo of Le Calandre, a 3 michelin star restaurant near Padova, one of the best "modern" chefs in Italy.

    Otherwise, Venice is great for its bacari, where you can have an infinite variety of cicheti (small venetian tapas, if you can say that). Super traditional and super cheap, here's a few places I liked:

    I Rusteghi
    Osteria Al Portego
    Alla Vedova

    but part of the fun in Venice is finding your own little favorite place

    I also liked the Osteria il diavolo e l'acqua santa.

    I think Venice is truly magic, it's a phenomenal place full of an indescribable decaying beauty which is literally unlike anywhere else in the world. I'm sure you'll enjoy it, as long as you don't get frustrated by the hordes of people in the more touristy places

  17. #17

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    Had a lovely lunch at Osteria Enoteca Ai Artisti, which we just happened to walk by as we were getting hungry. I later found out it's not such a 'secret' (but what is these days?). Still great food though.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by bukka View Post
    Why went you back there a second time if the first was terrible?
    I've been around 12-15 times, the first bad time I thought might just be a one off because it had been great up to that point. Sadly not, other friends had also dropped it from their recommendations around that time. Food and price were still great but the service was slow and rude. In my opinion, anyway.

    But yes, Antico is great and it's nice to see locals in such a touristy area - although where isn't in Florence centre.

  19. #19

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    When in Venice, I'd recommend eating at "Vecio Fritolin" (range €30-50, traditional with good service and quality)

    Also, if you go this week, go to "Mostra del Cinema di Venezia" (aka Venice Film Festival) at Venice's Lido and enjoy some movies: shame this year I won't make it...

  20. #20

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    Faust, do you remember the name or exact area of the store you bought your deerskin gloves at? I'm in Florence for a couple months and would love to pick up a pair but there are an overwhelming number of leather shops right off the Ponte Vecchio.

    Any recommendations for events or exhibitions coming up in the area would be greatly appreciated as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by gregor View Post
    it's terribly lit

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