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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

  July – Let the good times roll. Florence and Tuscany are the hot place to be in July... in more ways than one! Even for those still at work, the month of July feels like a mezza vacanza. Weekends easily include a drive to the sea, and weeknights are spent outdoors at concerts, in piazzas and enjoying the cooler air of the hills surrounding the city.

  This month we cover the multitude of cultural and musical events that will brighten our local scene during the warm season, plus word on a new restaurant, a new museum and a yummy new gelateria. There are no official holidays to mar the July calendar.....

SUZANNE, CORSO, SANDRA, LORI and KIMBERLY join together to send out our best wishes to all.


THE LINARI CLASSICAL MUSIC FESTIVAL: from July 20 to Sept. 6. Barberino Val d’Elsa.
Situated between Florence and Siena, Linari is a medieval hilltop “Borgo” in the Chianti Classico area, one of the most enchanting parts of Tuscany. The first festival was held here in the summer of 2003 at the initiative of Airdrie Armstrong Terenghi, organizer and artistic director working with Joris van Rijn, music director. There are around ten concerts every summer, with programs ranging from Early to Contemporary classic music. From medieval castles and churches to town piazzas, the unique venues provide an extra dimension to a musical experience.
This relatively new music festival presents a rich program of classical music, ranging from the Baroque Era to the Twentieth century executed by young and talented musicians from Australia, Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States, many of whom perform in some of the world's great orchestras. A special feature of the festival is the opportunity to join your friends and the performers over a meal at the end of most of the concerts. (Since it is so amazingly good, I’ve repeated a Recipe of the Month from two years ago, that was offered to us by the Linari Music Festival.)
For further information including site locations, and Buffet reservations (max. 2 days before), call 055 8068022. E-mail: info@linariclassic.com. Website: www.linariclassic.com

Sunday 20: ANTEPRIMA LINARI CLASSIC 2008. Piazza Barberini, Barberino Val d'Elsa (Fi). 9:00 pm.
Monday 21: OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE LINARI CLASSIC FESTIVAL 2008. Church of Santo Stefano/Castello di Linari. Loc. Linari - Barberino Val d'Elsa (Fi). 8:00 pm. Dinner after the concert in the garden of Linari Castle.
Tuesday 22: CONCERT. Tenuta “IL CORNO" - San Pancrazio - San Casciano Val di Pesa (Fi). 7:30 pm. Dinner after the concert.
Thursday 24: CONCERT. Pieve a Castello. Monteriggioni (Si). 7:00 pm. Dinner after the concert.
Friday 25: PRIVATE CONCERT - Only for Members. Venue and music will be notified. 8:00 pm.
Monday 28: CONCERT. Pieve di Sant’Appiano. Barberino Val d'Elsa (Fi). 8:00 pm. Dinner after the concert
Wednesday 30: CONCERT. Pieve a Castello. Monteriggioni (Si). 7:00 pm. Dinner after the concert.
Saturday August 2 - Pieve di San'Appiano. Barberino Val d'Elsa (Fi). 8:00 pm. Dinner after the concert.
Thursday August 7 - Pieve di San'Appiano. Barberino Val d'Elsa (Fi). 8:00 pm. Dinner after the concert.

SUMMER JAZZ FESTIVAL. Thursdays throughout July. S. Angelo Vicolabate, Ponte di Gabbiano. Aperitivo and buffet start at 8:00 pm, concerts begin at 9:30 pm. Tickets: 25 euro. Information and bookings: tel. 055 821911, Amici del Vino Toscano: 333 3355962. www.castellidelgrevepesa.it, info@castellidelgrevepesa.it.
The Castelli del Greve Pesa collective winery, located between Greve in Chianti and S. Casciano Val di Pesa, has decided to light up the Chianti nights with a Jazz Festival. Every Thursday from mid-June to mid-August, at the lovely site of S. Angiolo Vicolabate you can enjoy an evening of wine and music. Of particular interest, the amazing voice of young Amana Melomè, accompanied on July 17th by Poul Dabirè (percussion), Francesco Fagiani (guitar) and Francesca Taranto (electric bass).

We are very proud to pass on the great news we received this month from our ex-client and friend Douglas Preston together with our local buddy Mario Spezi. Their incredible story was published in June and is now available in bookstores and online. I will let Douglas tell you about it in his own words:

…The Monster of Florence tells the true story of a serial killer who murdered lovers in the hills of Florence, Italy. When I lived in Italy, I teamed up with Italian journalist Mario Spezi and investigated the still-unsolved case. The book chronicles the murders and our search for the killer. And then, in a bizarre twist, Mario and I became trapped in our own thriller... I was interrogated by the Italian police and indicted for a string of felonies. Mario was thrown in prison, accused of being the Monster of Florence himself. This is the strangest and most terrifying true story I have ever encountered in the annals of crime. In an early review in Men's Vogue, John Leake wrote: "The authors have brilliantly mapped out the dark, labyrinthine story of his [the Monster's] crimes. Their encounter with arbitrary power is incredible and harrowing, and their interview with Antonio Vinci, the man they suspect to be the Monster, is fascinating... The book has great narrative drive. [It] will appeal to fans of John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."
I will be doing a short tour for The Monster of Florence in June and July, giving signings in New York, Arizona, New Mexico, New Orleans, and Maine. Check out my website for dates and times: www.prestonchild.com.

Warm regards, Doug

Note from Kim: I found the book nearly impossible to put down. It follows a story that has never fully disappeared from the news during my 20 years of living in Tuscany. Even today, I can pick up a paper and read of yet another person on trial for supposed crimes linked to “The Monster”. On reflection, after finishing the book, I believe I have never heard of a serial killer who created fewer actual “victims” than the judicial system following in his wake.

St. James Church, 'la chiesa americana,' offers services in English at 9:00am and 11:00am throughout the year. Check out the THRIFT SHOP open from 10am to 12pm on the 1st Wednesday of every month. You are guaranteed to find great deals and a good time. The Thrift Shop is always on the lookout for nice things, so keep them in mind if you're cleaning out your closets.
Also housed in the St. James Church, the following programs are open to anyone.
AL-ANON: (in Italiano) Martedì 17.30-19.00.
A.A: (in English) meets on Tues. 1:30-2:30 p.m., Wed. 7-8 p.m, Thurs. 1:30-2:30 p.m., Fri. 7-8 p.m., Sat. 5-6 p.m..

CHILDREN’S PLAYGROUP: Tuesday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. as well as party planning and baby-sitting services. (closed in July and August)

THE CHILDREN’S LENDING LIBRARY OF FLORENCE with English Books for children and youth, and Videos & DVDs (for people of all ages!) Opening hours: Sundays 10am-10.45am / 12.00-1.15pm, Mondays 11am-12pm / 5-6.30pm, Wednesdays 10-12noon / 3.30-5.30pm. Open from June to September (July and August by appt only). For more information, please contact: Nanette Davis 055 4633854 / 3486710444 The church also hosts an informal lending library of literature, travel guides and self help books in its undercroft: feel free to borrow a book, and bring it back when you're done.
St James Church, via B. Rucellai 9, Phone/fax: 055 29 44 17 Email: info@stjames.it. www.stjames.it.

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 reader’s points of view (though we reserve the right to agree or disagree). Send your input to newsletter@pitcherflaccomio.com.

Dear Kim,
As follows is the excerpt I had promised you last month and didn’t manage to get on time. Hope you can use it for July.
“Ai Ciompi” opened a year ago, but is already an important name in the Florentine restaurants’ scene. From the rich menu, you cannot miss the fresh ricotta mousse and robiola cheese served with crackling prosciutto in a special basket, or the “fagottino” (little bundle) of Apple cream, curry and speck. Amongst the main courses the “orecchio di elefante” (elephant ear) is a must . It’s a fried pork chop made with secret ingredients. The menu offers typical Tuscan dishes revisited in modern key, great Tuscan wines, and a number of the best Sicilian labels. The market of nearby S. Ambrogio ensures daily fresh ingredients. The owners, Matteo Gazzarrini and Gabriele Bani are very attentive and impeccable hosts. The American bar serves delicious long drinks and cocktails until late. Ristorante Ai Ciompi – Via Pietrapiana, 36/38r – Tel. 055-2344100. Closed only on Saturday lunch time.
A presto,

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 (usually) strictly those of our readers. Lend us your thoughts!

The wonderful Simon Clark and Anne Brooks send us the following Thumbs Up!

MUSEO PIAGGIO. Permanent exhibition and archive plus special displays. Wednesday-Saturday 10-18.00; entrance free. Viale Rinaldo Piaggio 7, Pontedera. Tel 0587 27171

Ever wondered where all those motorini buzzing around the streets of Florence come from? Many of them are made in Pontedera and there are several reasons to visit the town and its Museo Piaggio. Pontedera is “Piaggio-town” and the museum focuses on the history of an Italian business dynasty (from aircraft and trains to vespas – a canny decision after the Second World War) and the development of its products – including the largest scooter you will ever see and some diving/flying editions designed for the movies! In addition, it’s worth keeping an eye out for their special events and exhibitions (De Chirico in June). It’s a very friendly museum, winning European Museum of the Year in 2001, and the shop has some interesting merchandise. Regular trains from Santa Maria Novella take under an hour. The Museum is five minutes from the station (exit away from the town centre, turn left and walk until you see the entrance).

Thumbs Up to new Florentine gelateria Carapina located outside the “avenues” in Piazza Oberdan. The MentaFresca flavor will (delicately) knock your socks off with its combination of mint leaf infused creaminess. Barely one month old, Carapina is destined for greatness… Trust me.

And our friends Mimi and Ed send us this note:

Dear Kim and Suzanne,
You'll want to present this as a POSITIVE thing, rather than the way it was handled below, but if you haven't already told this "story" I think it can be useful information for your readers. I would present is as making walking in Florence more pleasant and more quiet, as well as helping protect historic foundations ... See you guys soon!

Baci, Ed and Mimi

[P.S. I received a charge for just such an infraction in Rome. The traffic camera got me! Ed C.] From the New York AAA Car & Travel magazine July 2008 issue: "Why did I receive a ticket in Florence, Italy?

Q. Several weeks after I returned from my vacation in Italy, I received a traffic citation in the mail for driving in a "limited traffic area without authorization" in Florence. The rental car company charged the amount of the ticket, 92 Euros ($146), to my credit card. I think AAA should provide more information to its members about the possibility of this kind of situation happening to travelers overseas.

A. Traffic cameras that record various violations are increasingly commonplace in Italy, especially in the region of Tuscany. In your case, you received a ticket for entering a Limited Traffic Zone area, or Zona a Traffico Limitato (ZTL). The city of Florence restricts drivers from traveling through certain historic sections to reduce traffic. However, there are some exceptions for tourists unloading and parking rental vehicles at hotels in such zones. The Italian Tourist Board suggests that you call your hotel prior to arrival with the license plate of your vehicle. In fact, this member's ticket was later dismissed when her hotel contacted local authorities on her behalf.

Pollo alla Linari - (serves 6) - This recipe arrives thanks to the organizers of the Linari Music Festival organizers who tell us the dish is a Linari classic. It started as Joan Roberts' 2004 Chicken Marabella and was adapted by Peter and Marg in 2005 and renamed Pollo alla Linari in honour of the Festival. You will need:
6 to 8 chicken thighs (breasts will do, but thighs are better)
3 Tbs. capers
1 clove minced garlic
1½ tsp. dried tarragon (we use Tuscan dragoncello in Linari!)
100 mls (about ½ cup) olive oil
30 mls (2 Tbs.) white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
100 gms (3 ½ oz.) dried apricots, chopped (add more if you like)
300 mls (1¼ cup) white wine
1 Tbs. brown sugar
2 bay leaves

Add oil, capers, tarragon, bay leaves, garlic, vinegar, 200 mls white wine and chopped apricots to a bowl and mix together. Season with salt and pepper. Marinate the chicken pieces in this mixture overnight.

Lay the chicken pieces in a baking pan and pour over the marinade and the remaining wine. Sprinkle with brown sugar. (We often added some halved and stoned fresh apricots, too, as they were right in season and just so beautiful!) Bake in a preheated oven at 180ºC (350 Fahrenheit) for about 50 minutes until chicken is tender. Baste a few times during the cooking process.

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