Welcome to my little tour that will guide you through some hidden spots in Florence. Have fun, pick up interesting facts, surf around, and dream about Italy. If you want, you can answer six fun questions and you’ll receive a prize: A free short story, set in Tuscany, delivered to you via e-mail. Every spot chosen for this fun tour has a direct connection with the mystery series Temptation in Florence, so if you want that Italian feeling to linger, you’re at the right place. Please note that this little tour is not a paid promotion. I chose these spots based on personal recommendations and experience and hope that you will fall in love with Florence just as I did.
START THE TOUR
A. Bed & Breakfast – Le Stanze di Santa Croce
- this literally translates as “The rooms of the church of the Holy Cross”
Via delle Pinzochere 6
This is the street where Carlina lives with the rest of the Mantoni family. The series “Temptation in Florence” was inspired during a stay at this charming B&B, so it’s only proper to start our little tour here, right at the roots.
The street is named after the Gate of the Pinzochere, nowadays walled-in, which was situated on the northern side of the church. This name was given to the gate because every morning at daybreak, the Pinzochere (grey robed Franciscan tertiaries) passed through it with buckets and brushes, since they were in charge of keeping the church clean and in order.
The most special thing about this Bed & Breakfast is not only the extraordinary charm of the rooms but the possibility to learn how to cook and shop in the true Italian way. On top of that, a little terrace is perfect to rest your aching feet, sip an espresso and write in your travel diary about the many things you discovered in Florence while listening to the bells of Santa Croce.
Q: Where do the names of the rooms come from?
- 1. The names were chosen in honor of some famous old bells that used to echo through the city of Florence.
- 2. The names were chosen in honor of the most delicious pasta that Florence has to offer
- 3. The names were chosen in honor of the most famous families of the city of Florence
B. Gelateria Vivoli
This is one of the historical ice-cream parlors in Florence, and all members of the Mantoni family are regular guests. No doubt Carlina’s mother Fabbiola already went here with her first boyfriend – and probably even her mother and grandmother did the same before her.
Q: What does this expression mean? “coppa o corna”
- 1. Enjoy your ice-cream
- 2. Paper-cup or waffle-cone?
- 3. You have to pay in small coins
C. Biblioteca delle Oblate
Via dell’Oriolo 26
This library used to be a convent. Today, it still offers everything a human needs – food for the mind in the form of books, food for the body in the form of a little cafeteria on a beautiful terrace, and food for the soul by offering a magnificent view at the Duomo (the Dome) of Florence.
In this little-known cafeteria, Commissario Stefano Garini meets the man who might or might not be Carlina’s secret father.
Q: How do you translate “Amo questo libro”?
- 1. I love liberty.
- 2. I am born under the sign of libra.
- 3. I love this book.
- 4. The quest for liberty is essential.
D. Mesticheria mazzanti
Borgo la Croce 101r
Everything you need for the kitchen or household, Italian-style. It’s a bit like a bazaar, and probably you’ll run across several appliances that you’ve never seen before, including such rare items as outdoor lacquer in “verde piselli” (pea green). Make sure you visit their Facebook page and have a look at the pictures, and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Carlina’s aunt Benedetta, who cooks for the whole family, buys all her knifes here – even the fatal one that plays such an important role in book #3, Investor’s Death.
Q: What’s the best way to combine pasta with sauce, so that it’ll look glossy and appetizing?
- 1. Use a sauté pan instead of a pot for the sauce and toss the undercooked pasta in it until it is completely coated.
- 2. Take each individual strand of pasta and wipe it through the sauce by hand.
- 3. Spread out the pasta on a pre-heated marble slab and cover it carefully with sauce, using a wide-meshed sieve.
E. Palazzo Davanzati
Via Porta Rossa, 13
This is where the Christmas Fair in book #2 (Charmer’s Death) takes place, and where, eventually, the murderer will be caught. It is also a place that will hold another, much sweeter, memory for Carlina.
The Davanzati family bought the palazzo in 1578. It had been erected roughly 100 years earlier. Today, it is a museum with breath-taking wall decorations in several stories. The first floor has three large trapdoors in the ceiling, right above the three arched entrances of the Atrium.
Q: Why did the floor have these trapdoors?
- 1. So the inhabitants could easily pour wine to guests below.
- 2. So the inhabitants could pour liquid lead onto attackers below.
- So the inhabitants could escape easily when under attack.
F. Grazia Giachi
Borgo Ognissanti, 6r
If Carlina’s store “Temptation” had a website, it would probably look a lot like the one from Grazia Giachi! Carlina’s store also has very similar mannequins. So practical if you want to hit a murderer. ;-)
Q: Why is the street named “Borgo”?
- 1. The ‘borgo’ indicates that in former times, you could borrow money from moneylenders that were situated in this street.
- 2. The ‘borgo’ indicates that at one time this street or quarter was outside the city walls.
- 3. The ‘borgo’ indicates that this street is particularly broad.
Well done! You’ve reached the end of the Online Tour, and I hope you had fun!
These are the right answers:
- A – The rooms of the B&B Le Stanze di Santa Croce are named after the bells of Florence.
- B- “Coppa o cona?” means “paper cup or waffle-cone?” You absolutely have to know this sentence if you want to order ice-cream in Italy! :-)
- C – “Amo questo libro” means “I love this book”
- D – Sauté the pasta in a pan to mix it well with the sauce. (You didn’t really think you had to do each strand by hand, did you?)
- E – Liquid lead was the material of choice to keep attackers away. Better not think about it in detail.
- F – The ‘borgo’ was a street outside the city walls. A borghetto was an outside village or small hamlet, and later, this expression was shortened and went around the world in the word “ghetto” (albeit with a somewhat different connotation).
You’ve well deserved your free short story as a reward even if you didn’t hit upon the right answers all the time. Please contact me via the contact form on this website, so that I can send you your prize.