Candida Martinelli's Italophile Site

Main Page This family-friendly site celebrates Italian culture for the enjoyment of children and adults. Site-Overview



Florence, Virtual Tour, Monuments, Calcio Storico, Prints, Maggio Musicale...

E. Wharton

De' Medici


Florence Art

Home Decor











Florence's cathedral from space courtesy of GoogleEarth
 offers a wide selection of boutique hotels in Italy.  You can search the selection by price, popularity, region, city, and even by hotel type (i.e. boutique, historic, gourmet, family, design, luxury, romantic, spa, nature and many, many more) and features (i.e. internet, city, sea, pool, spa and many more).  There is even an option to check for those hotels offering the best discounted prices.  I link here to their Tuscany Hotels.





Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens from space courtesy of GoogleEarth





























Visit my Florentia Page to access some images and for information about the Florentia line of paper products. 




The above image is of a poster available from a site called "Views of Florence".  They have lots of posters of old Florence for sale on-line.  I've not ordered from them, but the images on the site are very beautiful.







The Prince of Florence is a unique game that brings you back to Renaissance Italy.







Virtual Tours and Real Tours

Calcio Storico

La Galleria degli Uffizi...

Florentine Artists Mini-Biographies

Famous Florentine Italophiles

Personal Recollections

Books about Florence



It's said that most tourists to Italy visit only three cities:  Rome, Venice and Florence.  For those tourists:

  • Rome is the eternal city with ancient Roman ruins and the Vatican; 
  • Venice is the Byzantine, watery, fairy-tale city; 
  • and Florence is the Renaissance time-capsule.  

But Florence is more than a time-capsule.  It is a stylish, artful, cultured, and vibrant city.  

Florentines are known throughout Italy for their business sense and economic prowess.  This reputation is well-earned.  

The city is alive with small and medium-sized businesses, and surrounded by larger industries that sell to both national and international markets.  (Including Mokaflor, the Espresso of Florence!)


Virtual Tours and Real Tours is a site visitor that offers luxury services in Florence.  Their blurb goes like this:  "Luxury in Florence: Top boutiques, outlets, shops, hotels, restaurants, tourist
services and more to turn your Florence stay into an unforgettable experience!"  If you have an older version of Flash Player, you may need to click twice on their internal links, but the trade off is a stylish site. 

If you've never been to Florence, or want to relive a visit there, click here for a virtual tour with lots of photos.  

As for read tours, the British newspaper The Telegraph offers some help, with how to spend your summer in Florence.  Click here to read all about it. 


Donnini and Rivoire are two of the top pastry-cafes in Florence, places to not miss when touring.  Try this online guide to Florence from Fodor's for more interesting sights.  

This is a wonderful clickable map that breaks Florence into 9 zones and shows you each zone's key attractions.  This is a good way to plan your wanderings beforehand.

The Terra di Toscana site offers great information on Florence.  It is virtually an on-line guidebook with pages for all the major religious buildings, museums, and historical buildings.  Here is a sample of their information on Florence's streets and squares:

Yahoo also offers a list with Florentine  information.  And the official Florence Tourist Office offers lots of information too. 


Calcio Storico

To read about Florence's famous historical football match that's held each year, and to see some action photos of the event, go to my Calcio page.



La Galleria degli Uffizi...

The Galleria degli Uffizi is the main museum of Florence, and one of the major museums in Italy, and the world.  

They have a wonderful website that lets you get a map of the gallery, and the contents of each room.  There is also another website with loads of information, too.

If you only have a short amount of time in Florence, it's a good idea to know what you want to see and where to find it in the vast museum before you get there.  


All the major artistic monuments in Florence are represented on this map.  Each image is linked to a guide book page explaining why you might want to visit that site.  It is very well done, with photos and history.

"Maggio Musicale" is the Florentine music festival that features world-class performers and conductors.  

Visit their site for information about performances and tickets. I went every year I lived in Florence and attended the symphonic and opera seasons, so I can recommend it highly.  

The tickets were reasonably priced, the performances excellent, and the theatre was beautiful, as all theatres seem to be in Italy.


Florentine Artist Mini-Biographies

The Florentine school of art overflows with artists and their masterpieces.  To help prepare for a visit to Florence's churches and museums, visit my pages with short, illustrated biographies of these artists.  



Da Vinci

Filippino Lippi

Fra Angelico








del Sarto


Famous Florentine Italophiles

Florence was the home to two very famous English poets of the 1800s:  Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  

Click here to visit a page I've put together about them and their love of Italy and Florence in particular. 


Personal Recollections

I lived in Florence for nearly five years so I have lots of stories of life there, too many to tell in this space.  

But more than stories, I have vivid memories of images and events that will no doubt remain with me longer than the stories.  I will use the stories and memories, someday in the distant future, to drive batty my fellow inmates of a retirement home.  

For you, I'll just make a brief list of some of the more vivid remembrances:

  • The white marble statues floating over the snow-dusted main square on Christmas Eve, all glowing with an other-worldly air in the soft evening lights 

  • Sun-bathing in a park with Italians, above the Florentine skyline, overhearing a twenty-something American tourist supposing he'd wandered upon a university, the only place he'd ever seen people sunbathing on grass before

  • Catching a rose tossed by a brawny, dusty and tattered costume-wearing competitor after the yearly Calcio Storico match, to my then boyfriend's chagrin 

  • Having to climb from my neighbor's window to my window, three stories up, after accidentally breaking off their key in their front door's lock, and in mid-climb, finding myself the lunch-time entertainment for a dozen roofers relaxing on a building only meters away

  • Taking two young children for their first visit of one of the most beautiful churches in Florence, which they preferred to the park with the swans and begged to return to, to the surprise of their parents

  • On a day I was looking particularly well put together, it seems, the motherly clerk at a bakery telling everyone present that if she were my mother, she would have proudly signed her handiwork for all to see

  • The beautifully wrapped packages the staff of Cafe Rivoire made for me every time I purchased two pastries for breakfast on Saturday mornings, sleepy-eyed and hastily dressed, because I lived across the street

  • The five-year-old son of a man to whom I taught English, who practiced his budding pick-up techniques on me each time I gave his father an English lesson, much to his father's embarrassment (they start young in Italy!)

  • The time a family who'd invited me to Sunday lunch announced at the table that they were celebrating their daughter's first menstruation that had started just that morning, and then they waited for me to make my congratulations before serving the pasta; "Today, she's become a woman!" they announced.  (Different customs in different cultures.)


Books About Florence

If you'd like to read more about Florence before your trip, or checkout the printed guidebooks, you can use this Search tool to see what's available from, what people say about the books, and what they cost.  

Just enter 'Books' in the 'Search' field, and 'Florence Italy' (for example, or you could put 'Gli Uffizi' or 'Florence Italy camping'...).  Then click on the 'Go' button to see the resulting list.

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Here are some selections I've made of books, DVDs, Games that I think you might like.