CORRI LA VITA thanks Ted and Anjela Guariello who won the
Premio Speciale alla Coppia Più Generosa
(Most Generous Couple prize).
BEAUTY IN FLORENCE:
In the name of research, Pitcher and Flaccomio will be dedicating
a two-part series of notes to the beauty options available
in Florence listing people and places we use, ones we have
heard good things about, and hopefully, in the second set
of notes, we will also list suggestions that our readers send
Aesthetic salon: For ages I have been hearing only the best
about Dr. Georgios Foukis, owner of the Clinica Medica Estetica
SKIN on Borgo San Jacopo. Friends and clients
have been quietly raving about his work, his gentle personality
and of the myriad of services offered at his clinic. I visited
Dr. Foukis and found a wonderful resource in his straightforward
style and holistic philosophy. Basically, he has created a
lovely space (the view of the Arno from his office sweeps
from the Ponte Vecchio to the Ponte Santa Trinità),
and a top-class team of professionals so that a multitude
of services can be offered through a single contact. The 250-square-metre
location is permeated with an overall feeling of lightness
and illumination and includes state-of-the-art operating theaters,
meeting rooms, massage rooms, offices and a welcoming reception
At SKIN you can arrange consultations and appointments regarding
dermatology, vascular surgery, breast and aesthetic surgery,
homeopathy and pain therapy, cosmetic dentistry and nutrition.
Treatments include microdermabrasion, photo-rejuvenation for
wrinkles, age spot and broken vessel removal through phototherapy,
non-surgical face, neck and body lifts through radiofrequency,
fillers (lips, cheeks), botox, permanent hair removal and
cellulite treatments. SKIN also offers more traditional salon
treatments (manicures, pedicures, massages and facials). Prices
are surprisingly reasonable (for example: mircrodermabrasion
90 euro, photo-rejuvenation 80 euro, botox
from 150 to 350 euro, chemical peel 100 euro. An initial
consultation is always free. I can guarantee there will definitely
be more details about SKIN and Dr. Foukis in part two of this
series! Skin Spa. Borgo San Jacopo 64/r . Tel. 055.2741503.
www.skinaestheticlinic.com. Email: info@skinaestheticlinic.
Salons: These run the gamut from super traditional to super
modern, and generally offer an array of solutions and treatments
including massage, hair styling, manicures, pedicures, nail
reconstruction, plus tanning etc. Mario di Via della Vigna
Nuova: (ask for Stefano who speaks lovely English) on Via
della Vigna Nuova 22/red, tel. 055 294813. Carlo Bay (ask
for Patrick who speaks English, or Nicla who is a fantastic
colorist), Via Marsuppini, 055-6811876. Simonetta Pini, Viale
Gramsci 27red, tel. 055 247713. Simonetta, who had quite a
local following, does most of the cutting, leaving the rest
to her valid assistants. Contrasto Via Mosca 10r, tel.
055 2398553. This shop (with a new, walk-in only location
around the corner on Via dei Neri) specializes in Aveda products.
Gabrio Staff Olimpo: - Via dé Tornabuoni 5. Tel. 055
Gyms: Outside of the chaotic center, and one of our favorites
(run by Laura Gilbert, an American woman) is Bodyworks, Via
Frà Jacopo Passavanti, 35. Tel. 055 587 399. Or try
in the center: Palestra Ricciardi Borgo Pinti, 75 055-2478444.
For a gym complete with indoor pool try: Tropos Via Orcagna,
20/a, 055661581. Klab Wellness Centre has three locations
in and around Florence, the most central in Via dei Conti
7. Virgin Active Italia, (The biggest, newest and as one client
said better than in America), Via Dalla Chiesa
11, tel: 055 6594737, 055 691663, 055 6594836. Most gyms will
offer temporary memberships. You may need a doctors
certificate of good health in order to use the
Massage: In Florence contact Laura Gilbert at Bodyworks Gym:
055 587399, Natacha Bompar at Think Wellness, tel. 3381176728,
or Alessandra Graps who practices Dorn and Reiki techniques
on preferably female clients. tel. 339 8472709. Domenico Neri:
cell phone 333 5889513, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spas: Fonbliù, Piazza Porta Romana 10/r, Tel: 055 2335385.
Nails: Bello delle Mani specialised in nail reconstruction.
Via Caponsacchi 10/r, Gavinana area. Nail 42 - Via Santo Spirito
4, tel. 348 7762879. This shop does only nails, mani and pedi
in a number of styles
SO YOU GOTTA GO
Finding a bathroom in Florence isnt the drama it used
to be. There are good and even great toilets available throughout
the city. Bathrooms with a view, free bathrooms, bathrooms
you pay for, marble bathrooms, spacious public ones, even
exotic Turkish toilets. Let me point out a few
so that the next time you are downtown and you gotta
go, you wont have to walk more than a short block
from anywhere to find relief.
And lets start there
. Relief. What is relief worth?
For me it is worth the 60 cents it costs to use one of the
12 well-kept, anything-but-stinky, and often rather lovely
public bathrooms dotted around the city center. In recent
years, the city has gone to some lengths to provide visitors
and locals with efficient, well-kept bathrooms. Dont
hesitate to check one out if you run across it. You might
even find tourist information and a drink machine offering
bottles of water and sodas in the bathroom lobby. They are
generally open from 10:00 am, to 8:00 pm, and staffed with
a courteous attendant.
Watch for the Public Toilette signs in the following places:
the underground walkway of the Santa Maria Novella train station,
in Via della Stufa no. 25 (corner of Via Taddea, behind the
San Lorenzo market), on tiny via Filippina (corner of Via
Borgognona, between Santa Croce and Palazzo Vecchio), also
near Santa Croce church on Borgo Santa Croce no. 29red (next
to the handy, information-filled tourist office), inside the
SantAmbrogio market (downstairs, from next to world-famous
trattoria Rocco), Via dellAriento no. 14 (near the San
Lorenzo Market), on Via dello Sprone in the Oltrarno (near
Piazza della Passera), in Piazza Madonna della Neve (a hidden
new piazza between Via Ghiberti and Via dellAgnolo),
in Piazza dei Ciompi (inside the garden), in Piazza del Grano
(inside the new Uffizi Centre) plus up near Piazzale Michelangelo
on Viale Galilei and in the Cascine Park at Piazzale Kennedy.
For two bucks you can even take a shower at the one in Via
Even with all these locations, there arent very many
in the centro-centro, so here are a few other
personal selections. And remember, it is customary, though
not necessarily required to make at least a small
purchase (a cappuccino for example) at a bar/café before
asking to use their toilette.
Free and easy (though it usually costs me at least a blouse):
1) Zara clothing store (Via Calimala, the Zara on the right
as you walk toward the Ponte Vecchio), top floor, straight
ahead off the escalator, unmarked door . Ask if you are unsure.
The plus: never a line
no one knows it is there. 2)
Department store Rinascente on Piazza della Repubblica: fourth
floor, immediately right, out of the elevator. The plus: a
nice view of Orsanmichele church. 3) Vips Bar located
on the lower level terrace of Piazzale Michelangelo. The plus:
in the top 2 of best view bathrooms, you will see what I mean
when you step back out.
Costing a courtesy purchase: O Café on Via dei Bardi
(handily open from 7:00 am straight through to 2:00 am every
day). The plus: also in the top 2 of Best View Bathrooms.
A couple of hotels that seem pretty kind to a stranger in
need (plus the bathrooms are sooooo nice): The Savoy on Piazza
della Reppublica, the Lungarno on Borgo San Jacopo, the Grand
on Piazza Ognissanti (all through the lobby entry and then
down stairs to a lower level.) The Westin Excelsior on Piazza
Ognissanti wins for most extravagant use of multi-colored
marble (through lobby, on left).
STREETWISE TIPS AND HINTS
Luckily for us, the president of SACI, (Studio Art Centers
International) a school of art located in Florence, has given
her permission for us to print insightful bits of advice left
by departing students for newbies in arrival. I think the
kids have great advice for anyone planning a trip to Florence.
We thank SACI. Via Sant'Antonino 11, Tel. 055.289948. http://www.saci-florence.org
Advice from Departing Fall Term Students:
Dont think you will be buying a whole new wardrobe
here. Clothes are very expensive. Also, dont worry about
fitting in and looking European. As
hard as you try, they still know youre American and
there are so many here that you fit in anyway. n.n.
"Check out the Gelateria in Via dei Neri for the best
gelato (ice cream) in Florence. The Oil Shoppe has some amazing
panini (sandwiches) and its right near the Duomo.
Go and draw the statues (especially in Piazza della
Signoria) at the beginning of the semester, when you have
more time and before it gets cold. L.R.
Advice from Departing Spring Term Students:
"Bring DVDs from home because you can only change format
on your computer 2 or 3 times." N.F.
"Go see the sights in Florence as soon as you can, otherwise
time will run out and you won't go." n.n.
"Dont eat out a lot in the beginning, your wallet
will regret it." n.n.
"The Specola Natural History museum is awesome."
Buy your produce and olive oil from the Mercato Centrale."
"Its not necessary to bring a suit. I brought one
and never wore it." M.P.
"Get a Friends of the Uffizi pass as soon as possible."
Advice from Departing Late Spring Term Students
"Bring peanut butter, shampoo, and conditioner. Its
really expensive here. Pugi bakery and Gelateria Carabé
are amazing. Palazzo Pitti has great art and very few tourists.
Buy a map and get yourself lost, youll see so many exciting
things that you werent expecting." T.G.
"Ladies do not wear short skirts or low cut tops, you
will get negative attention from the men. Watch how the Italian
women deal with the men it helps." M.C.
"Take a map with you if you explore. The one day I decided
I wouldnt need it in my bag, it took me an hour or two
to make my way back home. A.B.
Advice from Departing Summer Term Students
"Volterra is my favorite city. I would move there in
a heartbeat. Find out the history of the building where you
live. Mine turned out to be a building from the early 17th
century, which at one time housed a chocolate factory."
"Pack as little as possible. You are not going to want
to haul two suitcases on and off trains!" M.K.
Eat sandwiches (panini) with lampredotto in Via de
Macci (3 euros for the best sandwich in town). See as many
museums as possible, including the fascinating Museo dellOpificio
delle Pietre Dure. n.n.
Just remember that you are in their country. You must
adapt to the place and people, not the other way around. On
quite a few occasions, I was embarrassed by the way foreigners
were acting. Things are done differently here. B.J
Dont over-order, most restaurants dont provide
boxes for left-overs. P.W.
Dont stop taking pictures. O.A.
I loved Palle dOro trattoria in Via SantAntonino.
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
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Dear P & F,
We all know there are lots of perfectly good pastry shop/coffee
bars in Florence, but few really compete for Best of
Show. Pasticceria Stefania on Via Marconi (Campo di
Marte area) is one of those few. Two sides of the large shop
are lined with display cases filled with the freshest array
of pasticini, beignet, cookies, sandwiches and the most amazing
cakes to be found. The fresh fruit tarts are works of art,
as are the berry millefoglie. Amazing! The breakfast brioche
(plain or jam filled) are positively, lusciously, rich and
buttery. Dont go if you need to avoid temptation, because
here you will lose that battle in a nano-second. Via Marconi
26/red. And thanks for keeping me informed on the hidden corners
of Florence. Your work is much appreciated.
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!
Dear P & F,
I hope you can help me. A few weekends ago, I finally discovered
a partial solution to one of my new residents dilemmas:
a consignment-type store where I can find the last few extra
items to make my apartment feel more like home, without spending
a fortune or having to resort to the nice but been-there-done-that
look of IKEA. From their array of desks, armchairs, tables
big and small, I picked up a couple of extra chairs for my
dining room, but am still looking for a few other items to
complete my living room. So first, I would like to give a
big Thumbs Up to the used furniture shop DITUTTO DIPIU.
They seem to work on a consignment plan, where I will also
be able to re-sell my own things when (unfortunately) I need
to leave next year. They are located at the edge
of Florence, toward San Donnino just off the Via Pistoiese
(via dei Manderi 62, Tel.055/8961801, open from Tuesday to
Sunday, from 9.30 to 13.00 and from 15.30 to 19.30.) What
I am hoping, is that you can tell me about other similar places,
maybe a little closer to the center, that I can visit to finish
furnishing my apartment? Thanks a million.
We will be happy to look into it and get back to you next
month. Thanks for your Thumbs Up message.
RECIPE OF THE MONTH
Luscious, sexy persimmons
Tuscany is loaded with them.
As is tradition here, many rural homes have a persimmon tree
to supply the family with its juicy fruit. The trees lose
their leaves with Autumns wind and rain, leaving the
orange, apple-sized fruits hanging on otherwise naked trees.
As October and November pass, the fruit begins to ripen, and
if left un-harvested, will drop the orange bombs on the ground
as the fruit gets so soft it falls off its stem. The most
common species of persimmon in Tuscany is the Diospyros kaki.
In fact, Tuscan locals refer to them as kaki (cachi), not
the Italian word diospero. Persimmons are loaded with tannins,
making them incredibly astringent if eaten before they are
fully ripe, so soft that they are bursting out of their skin.
I love to eat the fruit as is, slurping it out of its skin.
However, the flavor really pops with a little lime or lemon
juice squeezed on top. A Fall fruit salad is beautiful when
dressed with the pureed fruit. Tuscans dont
bake with kaki, as far as I know, but recipes abound in American
cookbooks for sweet breads and cakes. The flavor is subtle,
but persimmons juiciness assures a moist dessert.
Macedonia Autunnale - Fall Fruit Salad
Cut the pears and apples into small pieces. Peel and break
the mandarins into sections. Open the pomegranate and separate
the seeds from the yellow membrane. Halve the persimmons and
scoop the fruit out of its skin, cradling the halved fruit
in your hand as you do so. Its a little messy, but finger
licking is permitted, even encouraged! Smash the persimmon
in a bowl with a fork or whirl it little in a food processor.
Add some toasted pine nuts, the raisins and halved dates.
Thats it, enjoy!
Recipe provided by Sahna Wicks of A Tuscan Welcome Catering