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IMPORTANT INFORMATION » Our Monthly Newsletter ITA -

Palazzo Pitti

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Rent, Sell and Manage Properties in Florence and Tuscany
NEWSLETTER January 2008

January – After Christmas, Florence returns to the Florentines (except for the international crowd of fashion buyers in town for the Pitti Fashion Fairs). Tuscans will be skiing at the nearby Abetone slopes, or shopping, taking advantage of the January sales. The 1st and 6th are holidays.
In this issue we give you the scoop on traffic busters, more Italian Gentilezza and Footballlll. Don’t miss the Viareggio Carnevale. It is easy to get to and loads of fun.
From the office SUZANNE, CORSO, SANDRA, LORI, ERNESTINA and KIMBERLY send our winter warmth to all.


In a hopeful attempt to save our lungs, Florence has slowly but surely been outlawing the circulation of older, non-smog-efficient vehicles. If you have been out on Florence’s “viali” (the boulevards circling Florence) recently, you may have noticed traffic boards telling us of new traffic restrictions for 2008, mainly that Euro 0 and diesel Euro 1 trucks, cars and scooters will have new limitations starting January 1. If you, like me, have no idea whether your car is euro 1, 2 or 20… it turns out that euro-ness is printed on your carta di circolazione (vehicle registration document)… in code.
To decipher the code on your carta, first find the words RISPETTA LE DIRETTIVE (most likely) or CONFORME, or NON SUPERA IL…followed by a series of numbers. Then check the following website for a translation of the numbers (there are five pages of options… don’t lose hope). This code will then translate into Euro 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. If you don’t find the above words … you are most likely driving a Euro 0 (old) car…. or you need glasses. My carta reads “rispetta le direttive 96/20 CE – 96/69 CE, which turns out to be Euro 2 on the antinquinamento scale.
The new Florence traffic rules state that older diesel vehicles (euro 1) and euro 1 motorini (due tempi) are no longer allowed to circulate at any time. Note that Euro 0 motorbikes and scooters CAN be used. To decipher your code go to: http://put.edidomus.it/auto/mondoauto/attualita/pdf/dicheeurosei.pdf.

Ever in search of ways to reduce traffic, Florence has a new taxi sharing plan with a fixed rate of 5 or 6 euro per passenger. The new service, called Taxi Multiplo, is an organised, taxi-sharing, car-pool, kind of thing. Look for cars with a yellow stripe and a red-and-black logo, find at least two other people going in your same, basic direction and hop in a taxi. The driver will determine who gets dropped first.
The Multiplos (which also work as regular taxis) will be available from 5:00 am to 11:00 pm. Though from 9:00 am to 12:00, and 6:00 and 9:00 pm their priority will be car-pools. Actually, any taxi that is asked to take 3 or more passengers (to the same area) can be asked to provide the 5 euro per person service.
To get the plan off the ground, there will be three centre-city designated pick-up points (with stewards to explain how it works): at the Fortezza da Basso, Santa Maria Novella Station and in Piazza della Repubblica. These points will have information showing the eight colour-coded areas that Florence has been divided into: Legnaia-Soffiano-Isolotto (n. 1, dark blue), San Jacopino-Piazza Puccini-via Baracca (n. 2, light green), Novoli- Firenze Nova (n. 3, dark green), Rifredi-Careggi (n. 4, purple), Cure-Stadio (n. 5, pink), Piazza Alberti-Bellariva-Campo di Marte (n. 6, yellow), Piazza Ferruci-Gavinana-Viale Europa (n. 7, light blue), San Frediano-Santo Spirito-Porta Romana (n. 8, red). Designated taxi stands (for rides toward the centre) will also be located in the above areas (for ex. Piazzale Michelangelo, Careggi hospital and the Campo di Marte train station) for group rides back to the historical centre.
Consider it a good opportunity for some social interaction!

One of our favourite return clients sent a story she thought I would enjoy. I immediately asked if I could include it in our newsletter, perhaps in a few installments. She replied “Good gracious me” and consented.
La Gentilezza - By Elaine Fellows
Although Italy was politically united in 1861, the regional differences are still striking. During my twenty winters spent in that lovely land I encountered many of those cultural differences and recounting them would make an interesting story. Instead I have chosen to write about something that the Italians have in common. From Sicily to Milan everyone is caring of, and kind to, old ladies, and so in this story I will recall some endearing examples of Italian gentilezza encountered by me during the happy years from 1982 to 2002.
Ill in Orvieto
In 1995 I spent the winter in Rome and from there went up to Orvieto for a week. The day I was to return to Rome I woke up with a very sore throat. It didn’t respond to the farmacista’s pastilles, I had to check out of my hotel by noon, it had begun to rain heavily and I felt miserable. So it seemed prudent to take a book and spend the afternoon waiting in the warm train station for my four o’clock train.
Also in the waiting room with a book was a handsome gentleman of about forty. He was reading George Eliot’s Romola so I assumed he was English and we struck up a conversation. Turned out he was Italian and taught high school English. He was on sabbatical and had rented an old farm- house north of Orvieto where he was trying to write a novel. The place was damp and cold so he’d come down to Orvieto for a few days to warm up; his train north would leave at 4:30. So we had an afternoon to talk about art in Orvieto, about books and writing, and about the wisdom of introducing Italian teenagers to Romola. My throat was very sore, the pastilles offered no relief, and my head ached dreadfully.
The end of that afternoon will always be a haze. I remembered my new friend taking my little bag down to my train. Next I remembered sitting in a train, and two men standing above me, one of them digging around in my purse. In the next memory I am sitting in the back of an automobile and a man is standing outside it, talking to the driver, behind him is a large building, glowing with lights. Next scene: I am conscious, briefly, in my bed in my Rome hotel, and the little maid is covering me with a blanket. She has tucked under it- on my chest- a bundle of letters. (I was to learn Dan’s love letters had accumulated while I was in Orvieto. (The maid had assumed, romantically, that they’d comfort me, so she laid them on my bosom. Oh those kind Italians !)
That night I don’t remember seeing the doctor the hotel had summoned, but I learned from him the next day that I had had a 105 degree fever and he’d given me an antibiotic. I’ve never before or since experienced such a mystifying malady. I must have been ambulatory, but semi-conscious. When I considered the scenario I realised my friend, whose name I never knew, had found my rail ticket and the name of my hotel in my purse, accompanied me to Rome and paid a taxi driver to deliver me to my hotel before catching what was surely the last north-bound train that night! There’s no doubt that of all the many example of gentilezza I encountered in Italy, his was the most gallant.

We invite your comments for our “Readers Review Restaurants” section. Use this forum to spread the word about restaurants that merit recognition for their great food and good service. The contents will reflect our readers points of view (though we reserve the right to agree or disagree). Send your input to rentals@pitcherflaccomio.com.
Dear P & F,
I recently had the privilege of a private visit to the underground chocolate factory at Bar Rivoire. Even though I’ve gone there over two decades for an occasional cup of their wonderful hot chocolate, little did I know that all the chocolate bon-bons and chocolate creams one sees in the display windows, are hand-made in-shop (and have been for nearly 100 years). I saw their nutella cream created in what appeared to be a reduced-scale, stone-wheel olive mill, by grinding whole, fresh hazelnuts and chocolate into pure chocolate delight. I saw individual chocolates being wrapped by hand, and most of all, I remained impressed by the personal warmth of Laura, owner and director of the chocolate production.
Keep up the good work with your newsletter.

THUMBS UP – THUMBS DOWN “Our Readers Right”
Our “Thumbs up, Thumbs down” column is your chance to write us and share your own ideas and information, or to toot the horn of businesses, events and those Florentine situations that strike you as either wonderful or terrible. Please note: all opinions are strictly those of our readers. Lend us your thoughts!
Suzanne reports that she wowed out-of-town guests with a visit to the “Cantine di Greve in Chianti” where with the purchase of a “wine card” one can automatically dispense wines from a high-tech system of organised wine bottles. Purchase cards for values from 10 to 20 euro. Insert the card, push a button next to your chosen wines, and a shot of wine will appear in your glass. Taste Chianti Classico, Brunello, Super Tuscans and a more limited number of whites. You will find wines from Antinori, Sirio Pacenti, Isole e Olena, Le Pupille and more. Don’t expect a personal touch. No one is available to explain the wines. On the other hand, this single tasting room allows one to taste from over 140 wines, some you might never get close to unless you are a big Big Spender. Open from 10 am to 7:00 pm. Piazza delle Cantine, Greve in Chianti. Tel. 055 8546404.

Here is a delicious salsa verde recipe. This bright green compote is served with boiled beef or capon (castrated chicken) during the winter months, and is a staple on the holiday table for many Italian families. Its also great on a turkey or roast beef sandwich.
3 slices country style bread
¼ cup wine vinegar
1 cup chopped parsley
3 anchovy filets, mashed
¼ cup chopped capers
1 clove grated garlic
1 hard-boiled egg, grated
freshly ground pepper
1 cup or more extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
In a small mixing bowl soak bread in vinegar, then crumble. Add all other ingredients. Stir together and let sit at least few hours. Will keep in fridge for two weeks.

All our best,

The Staff of Pitcher and Flaccomio

Newsletter compiled by Kim Wicks

Pitcher & Flaccomio Newsletter Copyright 2008

Direttore responsabile Mario Spezi -  Pubblicazione con iscrizione n. 5697 del 23\01\09 presso il Tribunale di Firenze