February 23, 2011

Across the Ocean…compared visitor’s experiences between Chicago and Florence

Hi bloggers,

let’s go back to discover your own travel stories!!
Today, we have Hannah Ring from Chicago, USA telling us about her experience, suggestions, and pictures of a Chicagoan living in Florence, Italy for four months:

“Becoming a local visitor is truly the only way to see the world and experience first hand the uniqueness, beauty, and culture of each location. In visiting places such as Chicago and also Florence, it takes not only visiting the most renowned museums or just walking back and forth down Michigan Avenue, but also uncovering the culture and what makes the cities “home” for the locals. Adjusting to the closing of shops for lunch in Florence or the mile a minute speed of Chicagoans is just the start of a journey to learn the different realities of life around the world.

Tourists come to the “Windy City” for all kinds of reasons be it the sports, the architecture, the lake, shopping, etc. There is always something to find for everyone. Having grown up in “Chi-Town”, I thrive on driving down the highway with the skyline in front of me, watching the Sears Tower and John Hancock building tower over the city. Looking from side to side in the city, you cannot help but be constantly distracted by flashing lights of the theater, shops or restaurants as you continue to follow the flow of pedestrians that guide you up and down the streets. I always love to go to Navy Pier, one of Chicago’s great tourist attractions on the lake, to take a ride on the Ferris Wheel or walk through Millenium Park to laugh at your pictures off the “bean”, a contemporary steel sculpture that is actually shaped like a bean and reflects the Chicago skyline. Although it does not compare to the museums of the most renowned artists in history, the Aquarium, Planetarium and Field Museums were my favorite weekend adventures when I was a kid and find myself even today wanting to return to these places to have a fun and exciting day in the city. It cannot be forgotten that Chicago has some of the best sports life in the country and nothing compares to a sunny day at Wrigley Field watching the Cubs baseball team play while eating a hotdog, or spending the night in the Bull’s and Blackhawk’s home arena, the United Center, with thousands of other Chicago sports fans bonding, cheering, and celebrating with each other. I love Chicago for its excitement, versatility, and opportunity and it definitely welcomes anyone that wants to experience the culture of the city.

Florence, on the other hand, is known around the world as a site of the most renowned Renaissance art, architecture and history, housed in museums such as the Uffizi, Galleria dell’Accademia, Bargello and many more. But beyond these first few essential tourist sites there are hundreds more spots to get a feel for the real Florentine culture, such as small churches, Italian shops, or piazzas. My first recommendation is to wander down the streets and alleyways of the city until you really don’t know where you are. Being able to orient yourself in relation to some of the many major landmarks in the city, such as the Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio, Santa Maria Novella Railway Station, Piazza della Santa Croce, or the Palazzo Vecchio, will enable anyone to learn about city and also discover all of its special niches off the beaten track. Restaurants, cafes, shops, and bars line every street you may find yourself on and there is nothing better than stopping for a homemade Italian meal, a cappuccino or pastry, and maybe even some of the best gelato afterwards. My first experience in Florence was sitting in a small café while just watching a flow of Italians stop in for a quick drink while standing at the bar and conversing simply among each other. Just listening to the fluidity of the Italian language and watching the hand gestures and expressions of Italians when they laugh and talk to each other cannot help but make you smile even if you cannot understand what is being said. My second recommendation would be to walk up to the Saint Michelangelo’s Square, which sits on top of a hill not far across the river, and see the most amazing view of the city from above. It allows you to appreciate the beautiful location of the city as it sits among the mountains of Tuscany. Being able to appreciate both the history and the beauty of the Florentine lifestyle is the most important aspect of traveling to this one of a kind city.

Although the two locations are separated by many other countries and even an ocean, the experience of touring in a new environment and retaining a piece of each culture truly does make the world a smaller place.”

Thanks Hannah! And now it’s your turn, reader … send us your  travel story by writing at!

Millenium Park

November 24, 2010

Live again Kratky’s photo-exhibition in Florence!

During the week of November 15, 2010 until November 21, 2010, we had the pleasure of attending a photo exhibition by a Czech photographer, Frantisek Kratky. The exhibition was held at the Auditorium al Duomo, right  in  the centre of Florence, and is another part of our expanding Life Beyond Tourism project.

The exhibition formally opened on the evening of November 15, where guests that included students, professors, and people from around the world, could stop in to enjoy this nostalgic exhibition.

The exhibition showed Italy during the late nineteenth century and is titled: Italy 1897 Stereotypical Views of the Bohemian Photographer Frantisek Kratky. This exhibition was in collaboration with the Honorary Consulate of the Czech Republic of Tuscany, led by Giovanna Dani Del Bianco.

Many students and professors from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and several other countries, attended the event to support this beautiful cultural encounter. Although this exhibition reveals breathtaking photos of Italy’s major cities such as Rome, Florence, and Venice during the nineteenth century, there is more to their histories than just the interesting pictures. This event represents one of the primary aspects and goals of Life Beyond Tourism. It demonstrates the establishment of a cultural link between Italy and the Czech Republic and reveals how a man such as Kratky is extremely interested in discovering a culture other than his own. The manifestation conveyed more than just the major tourist attractions of Italy at the time, such as Brunelleschi’s Dome and Saint Peter’s Square. It instead revealed beyond the gorgeous architecture and into the deeper culture of Italy such as its people on the streets, the animals in the countryside, and the way the two interacted during the time period. It is here that one’s life beyond tourism actually begins. It is only when one starts to interact directly with the culture and environment in which they are surrounded, that they can create an intercultural dialogue that establishes a powerful link between two cultures.

Article by Lauren Di Bartolomeo, United States – Life Beyond Tourism University Delegate 2010

November 15, 2010

‘La Città degli Uffizi’ continua … a Castelfiorentino!


Il Comune di Castelfiorentino, l’Assessorato alla Cultura e il BE–GO Museo Benozzo Gozzoli stanno organizzando una nuova mostra nell’ambito del progetto “La Città degli Uffizi” – ideato dal Direttore della Galleria degli Uffizi Antonio Natali al fine di promuovere  le realtà museali ‘minori’ attraverso il prestito di opere d’arte normalmente conservate nei depositi della Galleria.

La mostra, la prima in Valdelsa di questa tipologia,  è intitolata La Città degli Uffizi – Benozzo Gozzoli e Cosimo Rosselli nelle terre di Castelfiorentino. Pittura devozionale in Valdelsa e si terrà  a  Castelfiorentino, presso il BE – GO Museo Benozzo Gozzoli nel periodo dal 30 Aprile – 31 luglio 2011.

L’intento è quello di creare le condizioni affinché il Museo Benozzo Gozzoli  possa da un lato giungere all’attenzione di un vasto pubblico, a livello nazionale e internazionale; dall’altro,  contribuire alla valorizzazione e conoscenza del patrimonio artistico, architettonico e naturale del territorio circostante.

Il territorio, con i suoi connotati storico-artistici,  diventa così protagonista e si prepara ad accogliere importanti opere d’arte collegate storicamente e artisticamente ai maestosi tabernacoli affrescati da Benozzo Gozzoli. Oltre che dalla  Galleria degli  Uffizi,  si prevedono capolavori provenienti dai Musei Vaticani, dal Museo di San Marco a Firenze.

per maggiori informazioni potete contattare BE–GO Museo Benozzo Gozzoli a questo indirizzo web.

September 10, 2010

When San Gimignano and Prague meets through art

Hi bloggers,

as we say in the Life Beyond Tourism ethos, contemporary art & traditional knowledge can truly bring two far away countries and cultures together…

today this is happening in  San Gimignano (Italy) and Prague (Czech Republic), where it will be soon taking place a parallel exhibition byMarco Piazza.

The exhibition Gruppo di figure in cammino – Voci dal mondo has been promoted by important international organization such as Associazione Città e Siti Italiani Patrimonio Mondiale UNESCO and Consolato Onorario della Repubblica Ceca; but also the Municipality of  San Gimignano, and Life Beyond Tourism.

What: Marco Piazza Gruppo di figure in cammino – Voci dal mondo

When: September 11th at 5.oopm – October 30th

San Gimignano, Siena, Italy. Cortile del Palazzo Comunale

Fell free to download the brochure and the invitation.

July 2, 2010

World Under 23 Ultimate Frisbee Championships

From July 19th to July 25th come to Florence and enjoy the World Under 23 Ultimate Frisbee Championships! Promoted by Tuscan Flying Bisch Association in collaboration with Federazione Italiana Flying Disc, World Flying Disc Federation, and Comune di Firenze, the championship will bring to Florence 600 players from around the world to play the World Cup (Under 23) the Ultimate Frisbee.
This sport is designed by and for athletes, curious to discover themselves and others, through competitive challenges high technical level, in which each participant is the arbiter of himself, and for (not against) the other.

What: World Under 23 Ultimate Frisbee Championships
When: July 19th-25th 2010
Where: Ippodromo (Le Cascine) & Stadio Ridolfi, Florence, Italy

June 30, 2010

Special Visits and special offers in Florence

Do you want to be part of  History in Florence, Italy!?? We have selected some special visits/offers in Florence for you! Such as the following ….

. visit to the Casa Martelli Museum

.visit to the exhibition La Città degli Uffizi-Beato Angelico a Pontassieve

. taking part to the project ‘Be part of History

More information from the Life Beyond Tourism Hotel Pitti Palace al Ponte Vecchio here.

More information from the Life Beyond Tourism Best WesternPremier Hotel Laurus al Duomo here.

June 16, 2010

Life Beyond Tourism and Rotary Club Firenze Brunelleschi

New collaboration between Life Beyond Tourism and the Rotary Club Firenze Brunelleschi: the activities of the Rotary Camp Firenze Brunelleschi 2010 will include the participation to the Life Beyond Tourism Photoblog, and to other Life Beyond Tourism initiatives. As a matter of  fact, motto of the Rotary Camp Firenze Brunelleschi2010 edition is “Together for intercultural dialogue”.
View here the official website of the Rotary Camp 2010.

Go to the Rotary Camp Session on the Photoblog

E’ recentemente nata una collaborazione tra Life Beyond Tourism e il Rotary Club Firenze Brunelleschi: le attività del Rotary Camp Firenze Brunelleschi 2010 comprenderanno infatti la partecipazione dei giovani al Photoblog Life Beyond Tourism, e ad altre iniziatve proposte da Life Beyond Tourism. Il motto dell’edizione 2010 del Rotary Camp Firenze Brunelleschi è “Insieme per il dialogo interculturale”.
Clicca qui per vedere il sito ufficiale del Rotary Camp 2010.

Accedi alla sezione ‘Rotary Camp’ del Photoblog

June 11, 2010

Mostre a Venezia: Détournement Venise 2010

Opera di Federica Gonnelli

In Venice, starts the new edition of Détournement Venise 2010, and we provide more details from the italian press release: / A Venezia, inizia la nuova edizione di Détournement Venise 201, e vi riportiamo meggiori dettagli dal comunicato stampa ufficiale:

“Come già nel 2009 l’itinerario di Détournement Venise ci invita a Palazzo Albrizzi, sede dell’Associazione Culturale Italo-Tedesca a Cannaregio che accoglierà nell’arco dei mesi estivi tre mostre d’arte contemporanea. Sabato 12 giugno alle ore 17.30 il ciclo si apre con due artisti affermati nel circuito internazionale, Tullio Brunone e Irmfried Windbichler, e con la giovane promettente Federica Gonnelli. Fare arte in una sede storica, rendere visibile il filo resistente che lega nel tempo e nello spazio la mente umana, mirare alla lettura della storia come indispensabile trama e tessuto sul quale ordire i percorsi contemporanei nell’arte. E ancora, riunire i creativi di generazioni ed espressioni diverse negli stessi luoghi espositivi, senza porre un limite dettato dalla loro età fisica e professionale. Sono questi i principi di base di Elisabeth Sarah Gluckstein per Detournement Venise che svolge ormai la sua seconda edizione con nuovi scenari sparsi nel tessuto urbano di Venezia.”

Read the full presentation at this link/Leggi la presentazione completa a questo link!

Read the authors’ biography at this link/Leggi la biografia dei giovani artisti a questo link!

Opera di Matteo Lucca

Opera di Dellaclà

For information/Per informazioni
Associazione Culturale Italo-Tedesca Venezia onlus
(Deutsch-Italienische Kulturgesellschaft)
Palazzo Albrizzi
Cannaregio 4118, 30123 Venezia
Tel. +39 041 523 25 44
Fax  +39 041 524 52 75
détournement venise 2010

May 28, 2010

Sardinia’s Hidden Treasures: mines and wildlife sanctuaries / Il turismo “nascosto” nel Cagliaritano: miniere e parchi naturali

When you think about Sardinia, you think about an earthly paradise, made of snow-white sands and turquoise seas. Very few people know that Sardinia has much more to offer – caves, mines, wildlife parks, an extraordinary rich flora and fauna, not to mention the delights of local gastronomy, a mixture of Italian and “exotic” flavours: the Arab conquerors used to rule the island a long time ago.
Wildlife lovers will undoubtedly find what they are looking for just outside Cagliari; in fact, in the south-west, the city hosts the famous pond of Molentargius, which is also a Regional Wildlife Park internationally recognised. This wide complex of ponds is a vital place for the nesting of several species of aquatic birds, among these a colony of pink flamingos. This area is a must for all bird loving twitchers due to its rich variety of bird species.
Mining heritage and tourism is the hidden gem of Sardinia: walking through the dim corridors, visiting the old miner’s villages, learning about Sardinia’s ancient past is a rewarding experience that will give your holiday a unique twist. The mines are mostly found between Iglesias and Carbonia, in the south-west, an area named Sulcis Inglesiente. Among Sardinia’s mines, one of the most famous is Masua – certainly the most spectacular. Its tunnel ends and opens on a 20 metres high sea cliff with a stunning landscape: the blue sea and the famous sea stack named “Pan di Zucchero”.

However, if you are looking for beaches and crystal clear waters, you will not be disappointed: the southern coast of Sardinia is famous for its stunning beaches, surrounded by the green colour of thick pine forests. A few names: Villasimius, Porto Pino, Santa Margherita di Pula, but there are many more; the landscape varies and some of the beaches are almost completely unspoilt.

The blog Mondo Viaggio suggets the best way to explore Sardinia is by driving yourself. You can easily hire a car in Cagliari you can drive along the SS130; Iglesias is about 60km from Cagliari, a little longer than a half an hour drive.  If you are not in a hurry, you might want to drive along the coast and enjoy the view.
More info at car hire.

Bring a map

La Sardegna è raffigurata nell’immaginario collettivo come una specie di paradiso terrestre, con litorali candidi che si affacciano su un mare cristallino. Tuttavia, pochi sanno che la Sardegna ha molto di più da offrire, oltre alle spiagge tanto decantate. Grotte, miniere, parchi naturali, una straordinaria ricchezza paesaggistica e faunistica, senza contare la gastronomia tradizionale, miscuglio di sapori occidentali ed “esotici” (i conquistatori arabi che occuparono l’isola millenni orsono).

Gli amanti della natura troveranno ciò che cercano alla periferia della stessa Cagliari; a sud-ovest infatti, il capoluogo sardo ospita il famoso stagno di Molentargius. Lo stagno è parte di un complesso più ampio che, insieme alle Saline e alla spiaggia del Poetto (la favorita dei cagliaritani), forma un Parco naturale regionale la cui importanza è riconosciuta anche a livello europeo. La straordinaria ricchezza faunistica di questa zona rende il parco meta ideale degli amanti del birdwatching; in particolare, la zona vanta una splendida colonia di fenicotteri rosa.

Il turismo minerario poi è la perla del settore, il fiore all’occhiello della vacanza perfetta; passeggiare tra i cunicoli delle miniere abbandonate è un’esperienza unica, soprattutto se questi terminano bruscamente, in un’apertura su una scogliera a picco sul mare. Questo è il caso delle miniere di Masua, famose anche perché lo splendido paesaggio di cui i visitatori potranno godere, che comprende anche il celebre scoglio Pan di Zucchero.

Coloro che cercano le spiagge da sogno tuttavia non saranno certo delusi. Tutta la costa Sud è infatti famosa per le sue spiagge, accessibili spesso tramite interruzioni del guard-rail a lato della strada, separate da quest’ultima da fitte pinete verdi. Mari Pintau, la turistica Villasimius e la più tranquilla Santa Margherita di Pula sono indubbiamente le località più celebri, ma le spiagge visitabili sono tantissime; si va dalle località attrezzate per i turisti alle spiagge semi-deserte.

Il blog ci dice che il modo migliore per visitare la Sardegna è in auto: la distanza tra Olbia e Cagliari infatti è di circa tre ore. Muoversi è relativamente semplice; si consiglia di viaggiare lungo le tante strade che si snodano lungo la costa, per godere di splendide vedute panoramiche.

Per maggiori informazioni visitate: noleggio auto Cagliari.

May 26, 2010

Risorgimento Italiano

Ti interessa saperne di più sul Risorgimento Italiano,  Giuseppe Garibaldi e l’Unità d’Italia?? Allora non perdere la conferenza-spettacolo di storia cantata L’altro Mondo del Generale. L’evento – che si svolgerà a Firenze il 31 maggio 2010 h. 21.00 presso l’Arengario di Palazzo Vecchio – è realizzato in collaborazione con Life Beyond Tourism!


Interested in discovering more about the Unification of Italy, about Giuseppe Garibaldi, and about the period called Risorgimento? Then,  don’t miss the upcoming performance L’altro Mondo del Generale.
The event will take place on May 31th, 2010 h. 9.00pm at the Arengario in Palazzo Vecchio, and it is organized in collaboration with Life Beyond Tourism!

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