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The Vespa and Piaggio Museum (Pontedera)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

This is a fantastic museum! It’s not so famous, but if you love Vespa, at least if you liked Vacanze Romane (the movie), you really have to see it, it also has free entrance!
I’ve been there some weeks ago and it really amazed me… I still have an old Piaggio moped called “Grillo” and I’m quite sentimental about it, and the Vespas are so cool!

The Vespa Museum is located in Pontedera, a small city between Florence and Pisa, where the historical Piaggio factory sis producing scooters and motorcycles since 1884.
The Piaggio Museum was inaugurated on the 29th March 2000, it occupies 3,000 sq. m. of what used to be the old company toolshop, a smart conversion of an industrial area for cultural purposes.

The Museum's halls display Vespa and Gilera collections, with the most significant of Piaggio's products.
The Vespas on display are the most beautiful and the rarest of their kind, such as the prestigious Vespa painted by Salvador Dalì or the record-breaking Vespas.
Beside the Vespa are the products that also made the history of the company, mopeds such as “Ciao” and “Sì” that marked an epoch and the multi-functional Ape, the small truck that artisans and retailers over the generations have used and appreciated for its versatility, and which had an important role in reconstructing Italy after the second world war.

I took hundreds of pictures, there are some incredible Vespas!
Here are some examples of the amazing Vespas of the Piaggio Museum that I portrayed:

Some classic Vespas, behind you can see a couple of Ape trucks

A very long Vespa!

This Vespa was painted and autographed by Salvador Dalì in 1962

This "Siluro Vespa" (that means rocket) in 1951 beated all standing kilometre records with a time of 21.4 seconds and an average speed of 171.1 km/h.

the special Vespa Alpha, designed for the movie "Get Smart"

A giant Vespa and a cow-Vespa

Vespa 150 T.A.P. a very special Vespa, produced between 1956 and 1959, used by the Foreign Legion and French paratroopers.

Florentine Tripe Recipe (Trippa alla Fiorentina)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

This is one of my favourite traditional dishes of Florence, the Florentine tripe (Trippa alla Fiorentina). It’s incredibly tasty, made with “poor” ingredients and it's a big part of the Tuscany popular and ancient tradional cusine.

1 onion
1 carrot
1 stalk celery
extra-virgin olive oil
3 pounds tripe, blanched and boiled
1 pound canned peeled tomatoes.
Parmigiano cheese

Use only the best parts of the tripe, and cut it into very thin strips.

Clean, wash and chop the onion, carrot and celery and put into a metal pan with olive oil. Cook well, then add the tripe.

When tripe gets golden in colour, add the tomatoes, chopped very finely.

Add salt and pepper, then cook over a very low heat for about half an hour, until the sauce has reduced almost completely, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.

The tripe may be served immediately when is still hot, sprinkled with some grated Parmigiano over.

Tripe is usually served with boiled or mashed potatoes or, if preferred, with cannellini beans and olive oil.

You can try this unique speciality in one of the several tripe stands (trippai) in the streets of the city.
Tripe stands are generally open from 8:30 or 9 a.m. to 6:30 or 7:30 p.m. some of them even on Saturdays.

Some addresses:
Mario Albergucci, Piazzale di Porta Romana.
Sergio Pollini, Via dei Macci (near Borgo La Croce).
Il Trippaio di Firenze, Via Maso Finiguerra.
Marco Bolognesi, Via Gioberti.
Trippaio, Via Dante Alighieri.
Nerbone (inside San Lorenzo Market, 011-39- 055-219-949).

Best Vintage Shops in Florence

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Here’s a list of the best vintage shops in Florence: here you can find clothing, jewellery, handbags, shoes and more, from the twenties to the eighties, and you can also find some incredible vintage masterpieces of the best Italian super-fashion griffes, as Gucci or Armani...
Don't forget to hang around piazza Ciompi flea market too!

Pitti Vintage – vintage clothing and accessories
Sdrucciolo dei Pitti 19/R
Florence, Italy
Phone: +(39) 055 230 2676

Beggar Len – vintage clothing
via R. Giuliani 106/R
Florence, Italy
Phone: + (39) 055 417 028
+(39) 335 543 0252

Anna – vintage jewellery (from twenties to eighties)
Borgo Allegri
50100 Firenze

Pennylane – vintage clothing and accessories (sixties and seventies)
Via Verdi 53/R
50100 Firenze
Phone: +(39) 055 248 0498

Officina Vintage – vintage clothing and accessories
Via del Giglio 41/R
50100 Florence (historical center)
Tel. +(39) 055 215 828

Via F. Botticini 20
50143 Florence (Legnaia zone)
Tel./Fax +(39) 055 719 1340

Nadine Shop – vintage griffes clothing and accessories (Pierre Cardin, Balenciaga, Chanel, Dior, Hermes, Gucci, Fendi, Ferragamo, Valentino, Pucci, Saint Laurent...)
Lungarno Acciaiuoli, 22/R
50123 Firenze
Tel.: (+39) 055 287 851

David LaChapelle Exhibition in Florence

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

From February 28 2009 To May 06 2009 the Galleria Poggiali e Forconi in Florence will house an exhibition by David LaChapelle.
After 10 years the world-famous photographer of celebrities David LaChapelle is back in Florence with a great free exhibition of his works.
The David LaChapelle exhibition is divided into four main sections: Deluge, Recollections in America, Star System and Heaven to Hell.

This exhibition will be focused on last works of the photographer (Awakened and Recollections in America) side by side with his more famous works, as: Pietà with Courtney Love, Hi Bitch and Bye Bitch with Paris Hilton and Bon Apetite with Naomi Campbell.
Plus there’s a video of the backstage of his work Deluge.

I can’t miss this great exhibition, and entrance is even free!!!

Where: Galleria Poggiali e Forconi Via della Scala, 35/A
Project Room Via Benedetta, 3 /rosso
When: From February 28 2009 To May 06 2009
Last Through: May 6th, 2009

Opening hours: monday - saturday 9.30 am - 7.30 pm
sunday by appointment
Free entrance

Top 10 tips to save money in Florence

Monday, March 2, 2009

Here is my top ten tips to save some euros when visiting Florence: it's quite an expensive city for Italian standards, so let's pay attention to our wallet!

1 – save some money using the bus instead of taxi to move in Florence. Buy multiple tickets or “Carta Agile” to get 10 bus rides at the price of 8… and walk if you can, it’s free!

2- if you’re gonna visit several museums buy inclusive and multiple tickets.

3- Don’t book your visits, it usually has a charge. to avoid long waiting lines just wake up early and go in the early morning ;-)

4 – if you want to do wild shopping and you’re looking for the great Italian fashion brands, go to the outlets, the surroundings of Florence are full of outlets! (see this post for more info about Florence outlets!).

5 - take advantage of the sales: the best are in January-February and August-September. At the end of the sale season you can find up to 70% sales.

6- avoid pubs, restaurants and bars in the historical centre, they’re much expensive than the ones located in the other city neighbourhoods.

7 - Go to Happy Hours (from 18.30 to 20.00) to get drinks for less and to eat something for free.

8 – buy fresh and typical food in markets instead of shops, it’s surely cheaper and usually even the quality of products is better.

9 – if you have a car, don’t even try to drive or park in the historical (unless you have the microchip card) centre or park where’s forbidden: you’ll soon get a collection of fines, and Italian police won’t leave you in peace until you pay them, even if you live abroad.

10 – get information about special days and offers: 2 euro discount on cinemas on Wednesday, discount on museums tickets on special days, student fees (especially for architecture, arts and history students), special fees for groups.

An extra tip to save money: when you're booking your holiday in Florence use Trivago, compare the prices of the best hotels and find the best deal!