Bewitched in Florence !


As promised, today I’ll share with you some of my experiences in the beautiful city of Florence and of course a Tuscan recipe. Firenze in Italian. Florence, the city of Michelangelo (sculptor and painter), Dante and Boccaccio (poets), Donatello (sculptor) and many, many other artistic celebrities.

Ponte Vecchio

This city breathes so much history, culture, art and wealth that during the first days of your visit you are almost overwhelmed by all its beauty.  Florence owes much to the famous Medici family, a banking and political dynasty, who ruled this city for a long time. Most members of the Medici family shared a great interest in art forms and invested heavily in painting, sculpture, architecture and literature.

Galleria degli Uffizi

Cosimo I De’ Medici, one of the last descendants, opened the prestigious museum “Galleria degli Uffizi”. This impressive museum should be on your list of places to visit. The Uffizi has 45 rooms spread over 2 floors with many famous works such as the “Birth of Venus” and “Spring” from Botticelli, Michelangelo’s “Tondo Doni” and the “Bacchus” from Caravaggio,

Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore

My visit to Florence began late in the afternoon on 4th October. I was visiting to continue learning the Italian that I started during lockdown. On arrival at my apartment, I decided I first needed to find where my school, the Europass, was located. I wanted to be prepared because the next morning at 08:30 I was having my first Italian lesson 😉.

Within 2 minutes of leaving my apartment, I was standing in front of the “Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore” also called “Duomo di Firenze”.  Hmmm, not a bad start ………

For a moment I was speechless (that doesn’t happen very often 😊) as I admired this gigantic cathedral with its huge dome. The outside walls are entirely covered in green, pink and white marble. When you see the unbelievable size of the dome you immediately wonder how they ever managed to build it.

No time to gaze in amazement though as I needed to find the Europass school.…….. Luckily enough it turned out that it was only an 8-minute walk away from my apartment and was located in an equally beautiful building.

Basìlica di San Lorenzo en de Mercato Centrale di Firenze

When I walked back to my apartment, I discovered, on the other side of the street, the “Basílica di San Lorenzo”, then the “Mercato Centrale di Firenze” only a stone’s throw away! You will understand that the smile on my face was getting bigger and bigger but unfortunately no one could see this, wearing a mask is compulsory in the streets of Florence too.

As I made my way back to the apartment the bells of the Cattedrale Santa Maria del Fiore were playing their tune,  impressive, loud and every hour! Will this go on all night …….? The next morning it turned out that the bells were not the problem…. just the rather noisy night ! But hey that had its charm as well!

The first day at school turned out to be a bit of a surprise for me…..  I appeared to be the only new student, so they decided to put me in an existing class. The students in this class were young (very young !) and had been at school for at least 4 weeks 😲. I seriously hoped this was not going to be a disaster…….After school hours, there was an option to do an art history tour with our teacher Maurizio, I would like to share a bit of that tour with you.

Maurizio is so passionate about the history of his city. His vivid descriptions and enthusiasm leaves you with no other choice but to get excited too. We avoided the main tourist spots to find the “Buchette del Vino” (freely translated wine windows).

Buchette del Vino

These curious “windows” can be found everywhere in the historic centre of Florence.  You have to look carefully but then you can see them everywhere located in the walls of the old noble palaces. These “Buchette del Vino” date from the 16th century and were selling points for bottles or glasses of wine. During the period of the Italian bubonic plague, the windows were widely used as a way the nobility could sell their surplus wine without touching the lower class. Today, with all the Corona problems, they could be very useful again 😊.

The nobility began to focus on wine production during the economic crisis and the surplus wine was sold to passers-by. All you had to do was knock on the little door to be able to discreetly buy wine at a reasonable price. I see new business opportunities!

Here are some more examples of the Buchettes.

In the next instalment I will tell you more about my new passion “Michelangelo” and the beautiful “Bellosguardo” and today I will finish with a recipe from my favourite restaurant ZaZa.




  • Serves 4:
    * 1/2 carrot
    * 1 medium onion
    * 1 celery stalk
    * 7-8 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
    * 1 garlic clove
    * 1 pepper
    * 1 dried chilli pepper
    * 150g peeled canned tomatoes
    * 1 1/2 litres ready- or homemade stock
    * salt
    * pepper
    * sliced homemade bread
    * 3 eggs
    * 60g grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese

Prepare a finely chopped flavour base with the carrot, onion, celery and garlic. Fry in hot oil, and once the ingredients begin to brown, add the pepper (cut into very thin strips) and the crumbled dried chilli. Fry the pepper until tender and then add the can of peeled tomatoes, crushing with a wooden spoon. Leave for ten minutes to allow the flavours to merge, stirring occasionally. At this point, you can pour in the stock and continue to cook, leaving to simmer for twenty minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Place the bread slices in each soup bowl (you will need bowls that are wide enough to fit one slice of bread). Lastly, whisk the eggs with the grated cheese and add to the soup, stirring with a whisk or wooden spoon. Pour into bowls and serve piping hot.


For more information about the Europass school, click here or



  • Lesley Kelly 09/11/2020 at 12:30 pm Reply

    Interesting, and this brings back memories of a visit to Florence.
    I’m sure you’ll be chatting away in Italian in no time!

    • johanna 15/11/2020 at 5:54 pm Reply

      Hi Lesley, my Italian is getting better but still a long way to go to fluent speaking….. Hope you are both keeping well.

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