Featured Video, Florence Videos, Piazze, Things to do in Florence

Piazza Santa Maria Novella

The areas around stations in Italy are often not the tidiest (or safest) parts of town and whilst you should keep your wits – and your wallet – about you in Florence’s Santa Maria Novella, the newly renovated piazza is a complete contrast to what many people expect. Exit from the station and go south and you enter the piazza along the side of the church. Here you can plant yourself in one of these cafes that have yet to display the ridiculous prices of their counterparts in piazze such as Signoria – where ā‚¬20 for 2 cappuccini is not unheard of – and do some people watching.

The church can be entered from the north side of the Piazza and frequently there is a tiny queue here when the queue for the Duomo is very long indeed. Since the grass was added in 2010, the piazza is a much nicer place to sit out, especially in the evening. It now feels a more complete part of the city and demonstrates that although Florence was the central light of the Renaissance, the city continues to develop and adapt to the modern visitor.

Arezzo, Day Trips, Things to do in Tuscany, Tuscany Video

Arezzo in Summer

A short video of the lovely Tuscan town of Arezzo to accompany the slightly longer Arezzo Market video.

With the luxury of living in Tuscany comes the benefit of being able to see places through the seasons. As it is an hour or an hour and a half away (depending on the train you take), Arezzo is a great choice for a day trip from Florence and this video was taken in the height of summer. Generally, Arezzo is less of a tourist trap than some other towns in Tuscany though it has – in my opinion – more to offer than somewhere like Cortona: made famous of course by cinema. So, until they shoot a film in Arezzo, take advantage and make it one of your stops in Tuscany.

The town is arranged around main pedestrianised street running up to the church on top of the hill. With these roads and the narrower alleys that connect them, Arezzo is perfect for wandering or, if you are there at around 6pm una passeggiata – the traditional evening stroll taken in the more traditional Italian towns and cities.

Arezzo piazza in summer

 

 

 

Florence Videos, Piazze, Things to do in Florence

Christmas Market in Santa Croce

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It’s not well known that the Christmas Markets in Florence are a very popular attraction. At this time of year many of the visitors are from Italy, preferring to visit the city at a time when there are less tourists from abroad.

As a Christmas Market, Santa Croce has all you could want with an International group of vendors selling food, clothing and gifts. There’s the obligatory mulled wine and strudel from Austria, biscuits from Switzerland and, my favourite, a German trailer selling the type of hot dogs and burgers that dietitians warn you about.

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