The New Florence Opera House, inaugurated in May of this year, is one of the most innovative in Europe. This massive and monumental achievement of contemporary architecture was designed by Paolo Desideri of ABDR Architetti Associati after years of deliberating the need to provide Florence, and its renowned opera festival Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, with a modern venue. It is comprised of three large and spacious halls: the opera hall, built with special walls that direct soundwaves towards the audience without echoing, can hold up to 1800 spectators; the concert hall houses 1000 seats; and the spectacular rooftop amphitheater offers 2000 outdoor seats with an captivating panoramic view of the city. >>
Fall means truffle season again in Tuscany! Truffles are a top Italian culinary item and are celebrated in autumn with truffle fairs and festivals in central and northern Italy. Going to a truffle fair is a must for foodies visiting Italy.
Truffles are found primarily in the regions of Piedmont, Umbria, Le Marche and, of course, Tuscany. During October and November there are many white truffle fairs held in these regions and fall dishes made with white truffle, tartufo bianco, are plentiful. What could delight the tastebuds more than feasting on a meal made with sensuously aromatic truffle? >>
I just recently had the pleasure of attending a cooking class at a wonderful farmhouse in the Tuscan countryside where the chef, Paola, demonstrated for us her simple but AMAZING recipe for i biscotti di Prato, also known as cantuccini, a classic biscuit from the Tuscan town of Prato. These versatile biscuits exist in so many varieties and textures as each cook tends to personalize the recipe in her/his own way. What I loved about Paola's recipe is its simplicity: it is made of essentially 3 ingredients -- egg, sugar and flour. No fats, no raising agents, and incredibly, her biscotti had a marvelous soft texture to them! >>
With so many locales in Florence, where to eat? Which to choose? Although Italian food is almost always delicious, it can be a tough choice if one wants excellent food but something authentic, special and away from the tourists. Here are 5 of our favorites for a truly amazing fine dining experience... >>
The UCI Road Championships taking place this year from September 22nd to September 29th in Tuscany will be the 80th edition. The first edition, won by Italian Alfredo Binda, took place in 1927 in Adenau, Germany. Five Tuscan cities will host the Championships this year: Lucca, Montecatini Terme, Pistoia, Fiesole and Florence, in order of appearance in the Men's Road Race, the most highly anticipated part of the Championships. >>
This year Florence and Tuscany will be the host for the UCI Road World Championship, the annual world championships for bicycle road racing. In honor of the event the city of Florence has organized Florence By-ke Night on the evening of Monday, September 9th. Cyclists may embark on a scenic tour of the city by night, through its evocative squares and roads, past its historical palazzi and fountains, over the city's elegant bridges offering spectacular views of the Arno river. Part of the itinerary coincides with those of the UCI. The tour offers a chance to experience the Renaissance capital in an enchanting and unique way, as the evening lights of the city trace the outlines of sites and monuments in an almost surreal aura. >>
Here is my recipe for my absolute favorite Italian dessert: the TIRAMISU. The classic tiramisu is made with mascarpone cheese but at times I prefer a lighter version where I substitute it with ricotta cheese (which, for those of you who don't know, is the cheese containing the least amount of fat). I even have a version where I substitute espresso coffee with caffé d'orzo or barley coffee which is a popular coffee substitute originating in Italy and that is a favorite drink for kids and adults who wish to avoid caffeine for health reasons. Whichever way you make it, tiramisu is ALWAYS delicious, it really is hard to go wrong. >>
This is an incredibly simple but delicious and refined risotto recipe with amazing flavor. How good it turns out depends on the quality of the red wine that you select so better to splurge than to scrimp on this one. It is a first course that goes wonderfully with a hearty meat-based second course and you can be sure to impress your guests.
The whole idea behind risotto is to let the rice slowly absorb the liquid and flavors into each grain. Another secret to making risotto is the final phase called mantecare in Italian. It means to settle, to let the risotto settle a few minutes, allowing the dish to cool a bit until it reaches the proper texture. >>