Your first trip in Florence and Tuscany here are things you have to know before you visit Tuscany and Florence.
This is trying to be a funny guide to things you must know to sound like a local and not as a tourist.
Florence and Tuscany
First and the most important of all, Florence is in Tuscany. They are not separate entities but one absorbs the other. Tuscany is the region where Florence is settled. Florence is the capital of Tuscany, even if in Italy there is only one capital and it’s Rome. We call the leading city of a region, “Capoluogo di Regione”. So Florence is the Capoluogo of Tuscany.
After this, let’s clarify more the concept of Tuscany. What a tourist might refer to Tuscany are the specific minor areas of the Region where the famous rolling hills are like Chianti and Chianti Classico, Val D’Orcia, Crete Senesi, San Gimignano, Montalcino, Pienza, etc.
All of them are specific areas of the region Tuscany.
Most of them identified with wines (have a look at this https://www.outoftheboxflorence.com/2020/11/26/chianti-vs-chianti-classico-tuscany-wines/ :):):)
So you know now that saying I have been in Tuscany to us doesn’t mean absolutely anything, especially if I meet you in Florence. :):):)
Everyone will ask you where in Tuscany or because they are polite might not ask you other questions knowing the fact you are not a local.
When you come to visit Tuscany, you have to know the Tuscan dialect is the one that gave birth to italian. You can’t find another place in Italy that speaks Italian better than us.
I mean thanks to Dante and his book our dialect, the Tuscan one became italian and we are very proud of this.
The only thing that also makes our way of speaking the best and the funniest in Italy :):):) is our slang. The real locals speak with the letter C almost unpronounced like instead of “cavolo” colloquially become “aavolo”. The letter C is aspirate.
So at the end, welcome to the place where italian has spoken the best. A great reason to choose Florence and Tuscany could also be to learn Italian. No better places in Italy.
In Tuscany you have to know, we don’t like each other. We don’t fight anymore but we make fun of each other.
Historically every city in Tuscany, where working as independent republics, totally like independent states today.
So Florence was a Republic that had many battles versus Pisa or Siena or Grossetto or Pistoia or Lucca.
There aren’t towns in Tuscany that haven’t fought for some reasons. Sometimes there were good reasons like the high taxes on salt put by Pisa, others they just needed to show off which one was the strongest or the coolest city in Tuscany.
Actually even during the Etruscan period every single town was working as a separate state, the Etruscan City States.
Since then we at least make fun of each other. For example in Florence we like to tell a joke about Pisans ( known to be frugal and untrustable) “it’s better to have a dead body in your house than a Pisan knocking at your door” :):):)
That’s why a Florentine has never been to see the Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa:) Joking of course we love Piazza dei Miracoli and I have been there so many times you can’t imagine.
Florence main dishes
When you come to visit Florence you probably want to eat typical food like locals. And of course you want to try it as a local. So the first renomated dish is the “Bistecca alla Fiorentina”.
The Bistecca, as you call it, is really good but we don’t eat it everyday. We probably have it twice a year maximum.
Normally is order medium rare or rare. We never never never 🙂 eat the bistecca well done, it is an outrage for us because if you want to eat a piece of meat well cooked then order a different piece of meat. There are pieces of meat made on purpose to be eaten well cooked, not The bistecca.
Other dishe that is underestimated in FLorence is the “peposo dell’Impruneta”, just call it “Peposo”.
It’s a real yummy yummy dish, a bit heavy in the summer but for dinner is always ok.
The Peposo is slow cooked cow meat with tomato and lots of pepper and bay leaves with garlic. The original recipe imagines it was created by Brunelleschi in person, the guy who built the Duomo in Florence. He used to cook his Peposo for more than 10 hours.
Another dish is the Ribollita but it’s already more famous than Peposo. The Ribollita is a bread and black cabbage soup with other vegetables.
The real deal in Florence when you visit the city is spinach 🙂 Really!!!
Florentines export spinach everywhere in Europe, especially to France where Caterina De’ Medici introduced it at the royal court.
You must try SPINACH when in Florence.
Insights from a local
Now some insight from a local before you come to visit Florence and Tuscany.
In Florence we invented forks and then exported them to Europe and the world. Thanks mostly to the Medici family.
Gelato was first invented in Florence by the famous architect Buontalenti: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernardo_Buontalenti
The first Concilium of the 2 catholic churches was held in Florence when the Duomo was completed.
In Florence and Tuscany we use our hands to communicate, it is part of our DNA but we use tham less than other regions in Italy. What I mean is that what you know as italian’s gesture are mostly southern Italian gestures. In fact it is in the south where your eyes can be delighted with abnormal abuse of gestures to communicate.
So if you visit Tuscany and Florence pretending to be funny doing all sorts of Italians gestures, people don’t find you funny if not to make you happy if you are a client.
Historically in Italy we spoke a multitude of different languages for centuries if not millennia and the quickest way to let everyone understand it was to use hands.
Every problem has a solution.
Other insights for example, we like football and many people are crazy about it but many Italians love other sports like Basketball, Volleyball, Tennis, Rugby, Swimming, etc.
Your trip to Florence and Tuscany
Enjoy your trip to Florence and Tuscany and for any other tips just contact us and join our local experiences for small groups only.