June The beginning of June is always
splashed with incredible colour in and around Florence. Climbing
roses deck terraces and secret gardens in town, while in the
countryside red violet-coloured expanses of alfalfa, fields
of red poppies and swatches of golden scotch broom bring smiles
even to hardened commuters (yes, we commute in Tuscany, too).
School is soon out and Florence starts blooming into its summer
self. Life turns from inside to outdoors and the pace begins
Saturday June 2 is a national holiday (celebrating
the birth of the Italian Republic) and Sunday June 24 is the
Festa di San Giovanni, a local holiday in Florence
only (see St. John celebration info below).
To find locations mentioned in our newsletter,
copy the address onto the MAP FINDING space on www.mappy.com
A summery embrace from SUZANNE, CORSO, SANDRA, LORI, ERNESTINA
MEDIEVAL FESTIVAL, San Gimignano. Fri. June 13 to Sun. 15.
Opening time: 5 p.m. San Gimignano Tourist Office. Tel. 0577
This colourful festival (Ferie delle Messi) brings jugglers,
acrobats and jousting knights onto the streets of San Gimignano.
The event is staged both for the entertainment of tourists
and for the townspeople themselves, who take great pride in
their splendid hill top town, a designated Unesco World Heritage
Site. Activities include the Medieval Guild Fair, with stalls
displaying trade goods, arts and crafts typical of the Middle
Ages and live street shows with fireworks, jugglers, acrobats,
storytellers and musicians. On Sunday, in addition to the
street shows throughout the day, there is a parade in the
afternoon, the Corteo Storico, followed by the famous real-life
Knights' Tournament in Parco della Roca. The winners of the
tournament parade through the town and the festivities continue
until late into the night.
THE LUMINARA OF SAN RANIERI. Mon. 16. Pisa.
Every year on the night of June 16th, the streets running
along the river Arno through Pisa (the so-called Lungarni),
are lit with the enchanting glow of 70,000 candles. On this,
the eve of the feast day of Pisan patron saint, San Ranieri,
candles are set afloat on the Arno, and set into glass holders,
fixed on wood frames that accentuate the lines of the palazzi,
bridges, churches and towers reflecting off the slowly moving
river. Oil lamps light the Leaning Tower and crenulations
of the city walls surrounding the Piazza dei Miracoli as well.
Top the evening off with a spectacular fireworks display,
and you have a pretty magical evening to visit Pisa.
READERS REVIEW RESTAURANTS
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear P & F,
After another enjoyable meal at the Trattoria Del Carmine,
in piazza of the same name, I felt I had to write... The food
is always so very fresh, plentiful and Tuscan and the atmosphere
is just so genuine. Eating outdoors, the tables are almost
too close together but that just adds to the fun as you can
catch snippets of the other diners' conversations! On my most
recent visit my dinner companions had a delicious fresh porcini
mushroom salad to start, while I had the standard hot-weather
prosciutto e melone. The second courses were equally good:
stuffed zucchini, carpaccio with porcini and parmigiano, and
two people had tender, filetto grilled to perfection. Trattoria
Del Carmine, Piazza del Carmine 18, 055-218601.
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!
Here we are again, P & F talking about a group of fascinating
women we have recently met:
VOICES OF THE PAST RESONATE THROUGH HISTORY - The Merry Maidens
are a womens Early Music vocal ensemble composed of
singers from all over the world. Founded in 1999, The Merry
Maidens have performed throughout Florence and Tuscany, including
park concerts at the Boboli Gardens and the Gardens of Villa
Demidoff, and during religious ceremonies, weddings, and special
From Gregorian chants to light Renaissance madrigals, the
Merry Maidens repertoire reflects themes found in Medieval
and Renaissance music, recounting the stories of traditional
heroes such as Robin Hood, celebrating occasions of the hunt,
the seasons, and the harvest, and meditating on the themes
of love, the human spirit, and the divine. As the birthplace
of the Renaissance and home to the first opera, Florence and
her surrounding areas provide a natural setting for the enjoyment
of Early Music. The Merry Maidens renew little-known musical
traditions of the past. Their a cappella repertoire
can be performed anywhere, evoking a period in time that is
far away, yet very familiar in Florence and the ancient towns
of Tuscany. The Merry Maidens are available for weddings,
banquets, ceremonies, concerts, special events, holiday music,
and more. For info contact director Kathryn (Kate) Rakich.
Telephone: 335-6530463. E-mail: email@example.com.
RECIPE OF THE MONTH
PESTO ALLE ERBE AROMATICHE (Sauce for approx. 10 servings
of pasta.) This is a repeat, since it is one of our all-time
With Spring rains and the early Summer sun, all the local
herbs are bright and wonderfully fresh here in Tuscany. For
this unusual twist on the classic Genovese pesto, we most
often use fresh basil, mint, fennel fronds and marjoram, with
smaller amounts of thyme, tarragon, or other herbs. But you
can adjust the amounts to what you have on hand.
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3 cups lightly packed mixed herbs, washed and dried well in
one half teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
one half cup (or more) almonds, toasted and finely chopped
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
one third cup grated parmigiano
With food processor running, drop garlic through feed tube
to chop finely. Scrape down sides of work bowl. Add herbs,
salt and pepper and process until finely chopped, scraping
sides of work bowl as necessary. Add chopped almonds, then
with processor running, drizzle olive oil through feed tube.
Add grated parmigiano and pulse once or twice to blend.
We use a food processor, but this can also be chopped together
with a knife or a mezzaluna, or ground with a mortar and pestle.
Our recipes are supplied by Sahna Wicks of "A Tuscan
Welcome" catering and cooking school (firstname.lastname@example.org).