Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tour Season changes: City Tours now running Monday-Saturday

Walking Tours is now in mid-season, which means that we are regularly running our city tours. From Monday through Saturday, our Original Florence Walk is available from 9:30-12:30.
Tuesday through Saturday Masterpieces of the Uffizi is available from 1:45-3:45, and the Original David from 4:45 to 5:45.
Please remember to be at our offices atleast 10-15minutes before the start time. For more information on our city tours, visit us here.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Florence Art: Giorgio de Chirico exhibit

Need a break from Renaissance art? Why not check out the new De Chirico exhibit at Palazzo Strozzi, located conveniently behind our offices.
The exhibit will be on display until July 18th. De Chirico is well known for his pre-surrealist works. Although born in Greece, his parents were Italian. He studied art in Athens, Florence and Germany. His artwork inspired many other artists as well as some poets and Florence itself inspired a few pieces (such as The Enigma of an Autumn Afternoon, pictured above.)

Florence Events: Music museum nights

Calling all classical music lovers! During February and March, the famous Bargello museum will be hosting a series of nighttime classical concerts with a theme of Beethoven's sonnets,although there will also be other pieces by famous 20th century composers.
For more information check out the website here.
Concerts begin at 8.30 p.m.
Info: admission €10 (single concert); series pass 6 concerts €40

Friday, February 26, 2010

Celebrating the culture of Il Bel Paese

According to a poll of 320 linguists from a London language firm, Italy is the rated °1 most Romantic language in the world.
And it's no wonder, as the Italian culture is full of beautiful words, phrases, and affection is shown openly. Besides the renowned art and history seen all around you, Italian culture and interaction is just as fascinating to witness as a tourist. Stay tuned, ArtViva will soon be presenting a special program on culture. A perfect solution for anyone wanting to learn about Il Bel Paese, and having fun while learning!

- famous photo shown, American Girl in Italy, by Ruth Orkin. For more photos you can visit her site at:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Vasari Corridor Tours until June 2010

The famous Vasari Corridor, built in 1564 by Giorgio Vasari, is the enclosed passageway which allowed the Medicis to travel from Palazzo Pitti to Palazzo Vecchio without having to mingle with the commonors. Built in only 5months by the famous Tuscan architect, the corridor is one of the more prestigious secrets of this Renaissance city, and also has an amazing display of self-portraits and art on display throughout. Usually it requires a waiting list to enter and the costs are higher than your average museum.
The corridor will be closing in June 2010, and until then ArtViva will be offering private tours through the corridor (Uffizi tour also included). This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that may not be possibile the next time you visit our Renaissance city, so sign up now!
For more information on the exclusive tour, click here or feel free to email us at

Friday, February 19, 2010

Off the beaten path...a different type of tour

At Artviva, we pride ourselves on offering more than your typical, run-of-the-mill tours. We are constantly searching for new experiences to offer to clients that will give them a truly unforgettable experience with us. Last year we began offering a tour that does just that.

Our Marvelous Chianti Castle Wine Tour has been receiving rave reviews. And how could it not? It's not every day you have the chance to visit a 12th century castle wine estate...deep in the Chianti hills.
This award winning estate not only produces wines but also quality virgin olive oil and superb saffron. We'll take you there where you'll walk the grounds, visit the cellar, and learn how they produce their wine. Lunch and dessert of the famous Tuscan VinSanto and cantucci included...
visit our site for more details. Book now!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Florence Happenings: Dance Festival at Fortezza del Basso

From February 25th to 28th, the Fortezza da Basso will be hosting the 5th annual Danza in Fiera.For those of you who are interested in dance, dance lessons, shows, costumes, theatre you will surely find something here. Over the course of 4 days the fair will host about 500 different dance-related events- including free dance lessons, and appearances by famous Italian dancers, as well as open auditions for dance schools and the chance to win dance scholarships.

Opening hours are:

Thursday from 3:00p.m.-9:00p.m.

Friday and Saturday from 10:00a.m. -9:00 p.m.

Sunday 10a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

1 day admission 15Euro

4 days admission 35Euros

For more information on events view the website, available in english here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Staff Picks: Dining out for the budget traveller

Not too far from our offices in the center of town is a wonderful little restaurant in Piazza Ghiberti called A Casa Mia. If you're on a budget, and looking for a place to have a filling lunch, we suggest you check this out. You won't be able to beat the price for lunch specials here, the service is fast and friendly, the food tasty, and the portions large.

Two of our staff members stopped by one day for lunch and were not dissapointed. There is always quite a crowd, as many locals take advantage of the lunch specials, but the service is so speedy you won't be left standing long. Alternatively, if you'd like to guarantee yourself a spot, try heading over around noon- chances are there won't be many Italians lunching that early.

A Casa Mia has 2 alternative lunch options:
3.90E for a first course, 1/2 liter of water, and an after-lunch espresso.
6.90E for a first course, second course, side dish, 1/2 liter of water, and espresso. (a real deal!)

When choosing the lunch special you will be handed a menu with your 3 choices of a first dish (the day our staff members went we had a choice of spaghetti carbonara, risotto with rucola and gorgonzola, or gnocchi with broccoli and cream sauce. They usually rotate this menu- see site for all they offer).

Our staffers both chose the risotto which was cooked to perfection: creamy, cheesy, and filling on its own. It only took about 10 minutes between waiting for the first and second dish- the second course was stuffed farmers chicken plus a side of grilled vegetables. The other options were filet and rabbit.

All in all it was filling, incredibly tasty and the service was wonderful. We each had a glass of wine which was only 2 or 3 Euros, and the serving portion, like the food, was very satisfactory.

Besides the special, they also offer pizza, deserts, and various other options. But remember-the specials are only on for lunch, so if you want to get the maximum amount of hearty cooked Italian food for your wallet stop by A Casa Mia. There are 2 locations in Florence: Piazza Ghiberti and Via Pisana. For a full menu, click here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Carnevale in Viareggio

The most prestigious Carnevale celebration in Italy is in Venice, however the Carnevale celebration in Viareggio is just as fun, and a lot closer to get to if you are in the Tuscan area.

The parade is open to visitors from all over, so no watching from the sidelines- you will be part of the show. And with 40 ton floats, masks, musicians in the street, musical comedies, and restaurants even showcasing special Fat Tuesday menus, who can argue with that?

Only one more day until the big Madi Gras finale! For more information, please click here.