10 Florence Favorites: Where to Eat and Drink on a Budget

After living in Florence for over 10 years I certainly have my favourite places to eat and drink. Since my student days of skimming by on a minimal budget have passed (thank God!) and I can choose restaurants based on other criteria, I thought it would be refreshing to have new insight. So I asked my current intern Lorelei who is a young american student visiting Florence for the first time to share her Florence experience with me….well at least the eating and drinking part. I think she did a great job and has certainly opened my eyes to new experiences. Enjoy!

La Milkeria – Coffee and Desserts $ Address: Borgo degli Albizi, 87, Firenze If you have a sweet tooth, I firmly believe you should try La Milkeria at least once. It’s the cutest little café and delivers a presentation just as charming, and I’ve had great service every time. From waffles to crepes, it’s all made fresh in the front window—a brilliant idea on their part I must say, as watching Nutella being drizzled on someone’s waffle is an especially tantalizing invite. You can top your dessert with just about anything; fresh fruit, gelato, or both. However, I know they sometimes struggle with taking card, so make sure you have cash on you.

  

The Oil Shoppe $ – A soup, salad, and sandwich shop Address: Via Sant’Egidio, 22/r, 50122 Firenze Hours: Closed Saturday and Sunday Oh, the Oil Shoppe. To most, it’s nothing but a hole in the wall. But to me—to us poor, starving study-abroad students—it is our holy grail, and we will be loyal followers until the death. It’s a small restaurant, but colorful and inviting, with long tables and plenty of stools lining the walls. Almost everything is between 4 and 6 euro. The service is outstanding—they even make an effort to learn your name—and the menu is infinite, with everything being made fresh before your eyes by a handsome Italian man. You can get your food to stay or to-go, and usually it’s very quick; however, if you come during lunch hour, you may experience between a 10 and 15 minute wait. I know a lot of people live for Oil Shoppe’s various buckets of leaves—I think they call it “salad” or something (weird, I don’t get it), but anyway, for what it’s worth, the number 4 panino (turkey, pesto, sun dried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes and arugula perfectly pressed on toasted bread—plus double turkey for .50 when I’m feeling Hungarian) is food for the soul.

  
L’Margaritaio Cocktail Bar $ – Inexpensive “Mexican” style margaritas and quesadillas  Address: Via dell’Anguillara, 70, Firenze 055 290374 Hours: 5:30pm-2:00am If you’re coming here for Mexican, well—just remember you’re in Italy. The chicken is…questionable; the vegetables are…weird and frozen, and the guacamole is visually comparable to baby poop (as for taste, I can’t confirm). Basically, I close my eyes, dip my chip, and don’t ask questions, and by some miracle I usually end up enjoying my meal. When you’re in Italy looking for Mexican cuisine, beggars can’t be choosers. That being said, if you’re as easily as impressed as me in the culinary department, this place will likely satisfy your craving—and best of all, it’s inexpensive. On that note, I must confess their means of salvation is the frozen margaritas. They’re towering, delicious, and two will have you feeling pret-ty good, with personal favorites including Gogi Berry, Pina-colada, and Blood Orange. They’re 7 euro, which, meh—“help me, I’m poor,” but even I agree it’s an indulgence you can spare. What’s even better, if you can make Happy Hour hosted between 5:30pm and 8:30pm, frozen margs are only 4 euro each. Pair it with a large plate of nachos (trust me, you’ll want the large), a good group of friends, and you’ll have yourself a time well-spent.


Move on: Best Beer & Vinyl $$ – Old-School American Music Bar and Restaurant  Address: Piazza Duomo Move On is a classy bar and restaurant with an effortlessly cool twist on old-school American music culture. The place is spacious and accommodating, complete with a cool record store on the second floor. The food measures up to the aesthetic feel—but if you’re in doubt, the ricotta and spinach ravioli tossed in a butter and sage sauce won’t disappoint. However, as it’s tucked in the realm of a major tourist attraction, it’s not the cheapest place around.

 Lo Scudo $ – Cozy Italian Restuarant Address: Via dell’Oriuolo, 53/r, 50122 Firenze Sitting right near the Duomo, Lo Scudo is a cute, traditional-Florentine style restaurant tailored to the likes of American tourists with an endless menu presented in all languages. In good spring/summer weather, they open the front of the restaurant and you can enjoy the sun and fresh air. It’s very affordable, and the personal pizzas are extremely satisfying.

  
Ditta Artigianale – Coffee and Brjnch Shop $ Address: Via dei Neri, 32, 50122 Firenze One of the best places for a Sunday’s brunch is absolutely Ditta Artigianale. It’s a small café-style, with energetic model waiters and baristas who turn the music up and dance like no one’s watching (but we’re watching—we’re definitely watching). And if you find yourself starving and staring at the menu, the Madame croquet with avocado is something my friends and I dream about night and day, while the cakes and pastries more than satisfy my sweet teeth—I have many.

Gatto e la Volpe $ Address: Via Ghibellina, 151/r, 50122 Firenze With an underground cellar-feel and infinite red brick, you’re really able to soak in the Italian dining culture. Gnocci and pesto is an absolute must, and did I mention unlimited wine?

Toscania Ristorante and Pizzeria – Italian Restuarant $$ Address: Via Dell’oriuolo 18/R, 50122 This place is a personal favorite in Florence—and for good reason. You walk in, you’re seated, poured a glass of champagne, and soon served an appetizer that depends on whatever mood the chef’s in—all complimentary and without even having to ask. I could’ve ordered everything on the menu, but the first time I saw the pizza, it nearly broke my heart. The “pizza for two” is delicious; with thick, soft crust that melts in your mouth, and while it’s priced as if it feeds one, it’s enormous, so bring a friend—or five. However, if you’re at all wide-eyed for steak, I insist you give this place the honor; it’s a notable investment, but enough to feed the table and more than worth it. All in all, you’ll find the reasonable bill a striking contrast to the immaculate service and impressive decor, which left us just as confused leaving the second time as we were the first. 

  

Kitsch $ Address: Via S.Gallo 22 Kitsch is one of my favorite places for aperitivo, a typical “drink-and-buffet” in the Italian culture. Here, aperitivo typically runs 7-10pm and costs only 10 euro, including 1 alcoholic beverage and an endlessly generous buffet of filling food; pastas, bread, vegetables, pizza—even seafood dishes. On a Friday or Saturday night, it can become crowded and finding a place to sit can be tough, especially if there is a group of you, so I recommend getting there earlier rather than later in order to score a table.


 Festival del Gelato – Endless Flavors to Choose From $ Half of me is ashamed to include this on my list, as it is generally considered a “tourist attraction” by Florentine natives, while the other half of me wants them to cater my wedding. I swear there must be 30 flavors to choose from (and as any modern American, I like my choices—enough to order the same thing every single time). Half cheese cake/half Nutella served in an oversized waffle cone; I like to call it “A dream come true.” And as the price isn’t necessarily a nightmare either, I’ll have you know poor-me was able to afford groceries and gelato in the same day—may we bless this establishment.   My top restaurants and bar suggestions coming soon!

 

 

 

 

Tuscania Events Wins 2015 Two Bright Lights Editors’ Choice Awards!!

Thanks in part to our phenomenal clients and our commitment to producing exceptional weddings, we are honored to announce that we have been selected as a winner of the 2015 Two Bright Lights Editors’ Choice Award! This award is a … Continue reading

Tuscania Events “Best of 2014”

2409Happy 2015 everyone!!! I could not close out 2014 without taking a look back at what a remarkable wedding year it truly has been. We have organised weddings for couples from all over the world. From vintage themed weddings, rustic country weddings to luxurious formal affairs the diversity of this year has kept us motivated and continually inspired.Foto 024

What most denominated our wedding season this year……the rain. It has been a very unusual year in Tuscany with rainfall well above normal and many weddings in “Plan B” mode. There has definitely been more pre wedding tears but at the end of the day the show must go on……and it certainly did!  Just a few of our beautiful weddings in the rain. Plan B is not so bad after all!

Beautiful Brides

All Brides are beautiful but we have had some exceptionally beautiful brides this year!

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DSC_3668_01 copyBeautiful Couples in Beautiful Places

I understand why people want to marry in Tuscany…..from the beauty of the coastline, the vineyards, rolling hills to the many quaint towns Tuscany provides a stunning backdrop! There is truly something for everyone here.

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Wedd_00823 copyBeautiful Emotions1548

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_D4A3765I have to say, I have so many beautiful photos the selection process was very difficult and I am still waiting for the photos of the last 2014 weddings. I would like to thank the following talented group of photographers: Andrea Corsi, Lelia Scarfiotti, Julian Kanz, Timelines, Edoardo Agresti and last but not least David Bastiononi. Each with their unique styles they have truly captured the emotions and beauty of each and every event.

Looking forward to another beautiful wedding season (hopefully with a little less rain).

For more information on planning your dream wedding in Tuscany please contact us at wed@tuscaniaevents.com

Let the Dream Begin…….

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Last minute 2016 Tuscan Castle Wedding deals!!

If you were waiting for the best moment to plan your italian wedding or an italian vacation without spending a fortune, you should get moving because the time is now! This charming 12th century castle, Castle Florence 5 is trying to fill up their 2016 calendar at discounted prices. Check out their special last minute deals!Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 21.06.01The EstateThe estate includes a 12th century castle, a wine cellar, a restaurant and wine shop, 2 Villas with private pools and 1 Villa with apartments that are available for short – long term stays. The estate is located 25 minutes from Florence and is immersed in the tuscan countryside. They produce high quality products such as wine, extra virgin olive oil and pure saffron. On request they can also organize wine and oil tours in their 900 year old castle cellars.

Villa 1 (for 14 people)Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 10.49.03Villa 2 (12 +2 people)Screen Shot 2013-12-22 at 13.04.57Villa 3 (divided into 3 separate apartments)Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 18.50.00 2016 AVAILABILITIES & SPECIAL DEALS*All packages below include the following Use of castle courtyard or Chapel for wedding and Dancing Room and welcome gift for bridal couple. Unless noted otherwise, Wedding dinner quoted separately. First come, first serve.

PROPOSAL  1
First half of April
Various possibilites: please inquire at wed@tuscaniaevents.com

PROPOSAL  2
24-27 APRIL
Up to 50 People, Fix Price:  
3 Night Accommodation (including tax) EURO 8,900 

PROPOSAL  3
5-9 MAY
Up to 43 People, Fix Price:
up to 4 Night accommodation for 47 people (including tax)
EURO 10,288

PROPOSAL  4
16-18 MAY
Up to 43 Guests, Fix Price:
2 Night accommodation (including tax)
EURO 5,430

PROPOSAL 5
May 22-24th June
Up to 55 People, Fix Price:
2 Night Accommodation (including tax) 
EURO 6750

PROPOSAL 6
22-27 May
Up to 43 People, Fix Price:
5 Night Accommodation (including tax)
EURO 11,665

PROPOSAL 7
31 May- 3 June
Up to 50 People, Fix Price:
3 Night Accommodation (including tax)
EURO 8,900

PROPOSAL  8
6 – 10 June.
Up to 50 Guests, Fix Price:
3 Night Accommodation (including tax, final cleaning)
EURO 8,900

PROPOSAL  9
13 -16 June
Up to 50 People, Fix Price:
3 night Accommodation, (including tax, final cleaning)
EURO 8,900

PROPOSAL  10
20-23 June.
Up to 33 People, Fix Price:
3 Night Accommodation (including tax)
EURO 5,749

PROPOSAL 11
23-27 June
Up to 16 People, Fix Price:
4 night Accommodation, (including tax, final cleaning)
EURO 4,092

PROPOSAL 12

30 July- 2 August

Up to 30 People, Fix Price:
3 Night Accommodation

Euro 5,290

PROPOSAL 13

10-13 August Up to 50 People, Fix Price:

3 night Accommodation, (including tax)

EURO 8,900

PROPOSAL 14
16-20 August
Up to 37 People, Fix Price:
up to 4 Night accommodation  (including tax)
EURO 8,900

PROPOSAL 15
30 August – 2 September
Up to 46 Guests, Fix Price:
3 Night accommodation (including tax)
EURO 7,738

PROPOSAL 16
5-8 September or 11-14 September
Up to 50 People, Fix Price:
3 night Accommodation, (including tax)
EURO 8,900

PROPOSAL 17
19-23 September
Up to 36 People, Fix Price:
up to 4 Night accommodation (including tax)
EURO 8,044

PROPOSAL 18
26 – 30 September
Up to 44 Guests, Fix Price:
4 Night accommodation (including tax)
EURO 9,676

PROPOSAL 19
1 – 7 October
Up to 26 People, Fix Price:
6 night Accommodation, (including tax)
EURO 7,720

PROPOSAL 20
10 – 15 October
Up to 26 People, Fix Price:
up to 5 Night accommodation (including tax)
EURO 6,500

PROPOSAL 21
After October 18th
– Various possibilities. Please inquire at wed@tuscaniaevents.com for additional information

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Castle Florence 5 is a fantastic castle with a rich and unique history. An overall great tuscan experience at a great cost. For more information on the above packages for either a wedding or for vacation, please contact us at wed@tuscaniaevents.com  (while supplies last!!!!)

Tuscania Event weddings at Castle Florence 5

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Let the dream begin……

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Grace Kelley inspired wedding in Tuscany

Ok, so we are not in Monaco, the bride is not a famous American actress (not yet at least) and the groom is not a Prince but Tuscania Event’s bride Megan surely captured the look and elegance of Grace Kelley.  A stunning couple and wedding that had all the fine details and glamour of times past.Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 09.38.27This is the story of Megan & Justin and their spectacular wedding in the hills of Lucca.

The settingmegan-5

Getting Ready

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The Catholic Ceremony

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The Location

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Flowers 

Transportation

How can you possibly go wrong with a vintage Fiat 500 and a Bentley?!?

The Reception

The cocktail reception was held in their garden with great views of the countryside. A fantastic vintage Rock n Roll band provided the entertainment. The dinner reception was held on the panoramic terrace. Great views and great tuscan food!

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megan-44Overall a truly fantastic event. I would like to thank photographer Lelia Scarfiotti for her amazing work, Florist Anna from Fleur Decor and Tenuta San Pietro for their wonderful wedding experience and great tuscan food. For more information about a wedding in Lucca or other beautiful areas of Tuscany contact us at wed@tuscaniaevents.com  Let the Dream begin………megan-32

Fabulous 50’s Inspired Tuscan Elopement

Nigel and Vikki-103I was looking through some photos in the Tuscania Event’s archive and I came across an elopement we organised in Cortona a few years back. I was utterly taken away by the beauty of these timeless photos. Not only was this couple very much in love but photographers Andrea Corsi and Daniele Vertelli so magnificently captured the couple and the essence of times past. Using the quaint tuscan town of Cortona certainly proved to be an idyllic setting for this dream wedding. This is the story of Vikki and Nigel and their fabulous 50’s inspired elopement in Cortona. Vintage, classic and truly timeless…….

The rustic farmhouse in the countryside of Cortona

Getting Ready

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Off to the Town Hall of Cortona for the Civil Ceremony

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What can I say – beautiful couple, great photographers, a fabulous wedding planner 🙂 and the spectacular setting of Cortona equals a truly unforgettable and inspiring wedding.

Nigel and Vikki-091For more information about a wedding in Cortona or a Civil elopement in any of the beautiful city halls in Tuscany please contact us at wed@tuscaniaevents.com

Let the Dream begin…….Nigel and Vikki-064

 

A Real Tuscan Wedding – Great Gatsby Style

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What a way to kick off the 2014 wedding season than with a Great Gatsby themed wedding held in a 600 year old Florentine castle. Out of all the beautiful pictures of this event it was this picture above that truly captured the spirit of the evening and of the lovely couple, Stephanie & Devin. This is their story in pictures…..

 The Location

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Stephanie & Devin decided to organise their symbolic wedding ceremony outside on the terrace with sweeping views of both the countryside and the city of Florence. Just spectacular! Even it there was a little rain the sky cleared up just in time for the ceremony.

The Ceremony

The First Dance 

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The Dinner Reception

In line with the 1920’s theme the bride chose a colour palette of gold. silver, and black. To achieve this vintage look she selected tobacco coloured linens, gold charger plates, large silver candelabras and gold chiaverini chairs. The addition of Baby’s breath flowers, candles and art deco printed menu cards in gold frames were the perfect finishing touches.

The Details

Whoever said ‘it’s all in the details’ could not have been more right. From the vintage beaded bouquet wrap to the vintage lace detailed umbrella, there was not one detail overlooked. And I can’t forget to mention the elegance created by the simple use of inexpensive flower baby’s breath!

Dance the night away

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What can I say, beautiful location, beautiful couple and lasting memories….Cheers to Stephanie & Devin!

Foto 061I would like to thank brilliant photographer Edoardo Agresti for capturing these beautiful moments, the ever creative and fantastic florist Davide from Sebastian Flowers, Hair & Make up by the talented Oreste of Oreste Studio Beauty and last but not least the delicious food of L’oste Gentiluomo.

For more information on this beautiful castle or to discover the right castle for you, please contact us at wed@tuscaniaevents.com

Let the dream begin…………

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Say “I do” in beautiful Florence!!

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Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy if not the world. It is the capital of Tuscany, the birthplace of the renaissance and a truly special place to get married. The great thing about choosing Florence for a civil wedding ceremony is that you have not 1 but 5 different locations to choose from!
Here are all the possibilities. I will start with the options located in the town hall of Florence – the Palazzo Vecchio or “old palace” in the beautiful Piazza della Signoria.

Palazzo Vecchio
Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 15.40.48I will start with the most popular choice, “La Sala Rossa” or the red room. Can you guess why it’s named the red room???

La Sala Rossa

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History: The room was built during the enlargement of the palace during the renaissance period and took on its current appearance during the second half of the 19th century when it was the bedroom of Baron Bettino Ricasoli the prime minister of that time. There are biblical tapestries, red carpet and velvet giving the room quite a rich and unique elegance.
When: Mornings daily (including Saturday), Sundays (1 x per month)
Cost: from 2,500-3,000 euros for non residents (depending on day/time chosen)
Capacity: 40 people

A Gallery of my favorite Tuscania Event’s couple who have married in the Sala Rossa

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Sala di Lorenzo

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History: This room was dedicated to Lorenzo the magnificent, a man with great intelligence, culture and political power during the renaissance period. The decoration of the hall dates back to the mid 16th century and celebrates the great life of the Medicic family. The room is enhanced by the beautiful paintings of Giorgio Vasari and Marco de Faenza.
When: twice a month (except August)
Cost: 3,000-3,500 euros for non residents
Capacity: 30 people


The third and probably most exceptional civil ceremony space in Palazzo Vecchio (made recently more visible by Dan Brown’s recent book Inferno) is La Sala dei 500 or the 500 room. This photo does absolutely no justice to the splendour of this room!

La Sala dei 500

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History: This room is the most historically significant room in the Palazzo Vecchio. The room was built in 1495 by Simone del Pollaiuolo. The grand hall was the seat of the 500 members of the Great Council of the Republic. Artistically important is the ceiling decorated with immense frescoes by Vasari and by 11 marble statues among which the famous “Genius of Victory by Michelangelo. I can’t forget to mention the hidden charms of the “Battle of Angiari” that is perhaps the rediscovered work by Leonardo da Vinci. I would say this is quite an exceptional place to marry!

When: twice a month (except August)

Cost: 5,000 euros (the most expensive option but the most notable for sure)

Capacity: 240 people


The above options – La Sala Rossa, Sala di Lorenzo and La Sala dei 500 are all located in Florence’s city hall – the Palazzo Vecchio. The remaining 2 options are located in other city locations.

Il Museo Bardino

The Bardini museum is located in the Oltrarno district of Florence (The Oltrarno is Tuscania Event’s headquarters and in my opinion one of the most authentic areas of the city). The museum is named after Stefano Bardini (1854-1922) an Italian antiquarian who decided to turn his collection into a museum and donated to the city of Florence.

La Sala della Carita’

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 10.57.33History: Before Stefano Bardini made restorations to the palazzo it was once and church and convent. The La Sala della Carita’ or the hall of charity is named after an important statue in the museum (Carita’ by Tino Camaino). Recently, the Sala della Carita’ was given permission to perform civil ceremonies.

When: twice a month (except August)

Cost: 3,000-3,500 euros for non residents

Capacity: 180 people


Il Giardino dell Rose

The Rose Garden is also a recent addition to Florence’s ceremony options and the only outdoor possibility. The photo below does not give this spectacular spot justice….it is truly spectacular! I dedicated a blog just to this spot.

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 10.57.42History: This beautiful garden is located just below Piazzale Michelangelo and was built in 1865 as part of Florence’s restructuring when it was Italy’s capital. From this spot you can enjoy unparalleled views of the city while being surrounded by 1000 plant varieties and hundreds of roses. The garden is enhanced by the presence of 10 sculptures by artist Jean-Michel Folon and a beautiful Japanese garden.

When: May, June, September (twice per month)

Cost: From 3,500-4,000 euros


The splendours of Florence

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For more information on wedding reception venues around florence check out Tuscania Event’s locations in Florence or contact us directly at wed@tuscaniaevents.com for a personal proposal.
Let the dream begin……….
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