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

July 2, 2010

Japanese ancient traditions: a new publication to be presented in Florence

We today inform you about a new publication to be soon presented  in Florence:

by Olimpia Niglio and Koji Kuwakino (Pisa: Plus-Pisa University Press, 2010)

The publication is the result of the collaboration between the Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Tokyo and the Gabinetto Scientifico Letterario G.P. Vieusseux, and it will be officially presented in Florence, Italy in Palazzo Strozzi on November 17th 2010, at 17.30.

The book represents a journey through the world of art, of architecture and Japanese landscapes, discovering values and methods which are fundamental for the conservation of architectural and historical/artistic heritage. A journey inside the Land of the Rising Sun culture, which expands our mental horizons – as Fosco Maraini wrote – and focusing attention on the intimate mechanisms which are fundamental in the relationship between man and nature.
The book has three parts: Art and Culture, Cultural Scenery, Architecture and Restoration. Inside this tripartition, runs through the traces of ancient and modern traditions again, which also today characterize Japan and are at the base of its cultural development.
Download the invitation and the poster.

OLIMPIA NIGLIO, architect, university researcher in Restoration at the College of Engineering – eCampus  University (Novedrate, Como). She teaches architectural restoration at Postgraduate School in Historical/Artistic Assets at the University of Pisa. In 2009 did a lecture about restoration in Italy at the Kanto Gakuin University of Yokohama.

KOJI KUWAKINO, graduate in Engineering at the Chiba University in Japan. In 1999 did a Master on History of Western Architecture at  the Tokyo University. In 2007 became Doctor in Research into History of Visual and Performance Arts at the University of Pisa.

June 3, 2010

Musica in Piazza 2010

Il 6 Giugno h. 21,15 in Piazza Umberto I a Grassina, non perdere l’occasione di ascoltare lo storico concerto in piazza del Coro Sociale di Grassina.  Fondato nel 1893, il Coro è composto da 50 elementi e diretto dal Maestro Ginko Yamada – soprano del Coro del Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. A carattere dilettantisctico, si prefigge  di “divulgare la conoscenza della musica a livello popolare poichè considera la musica un linguaggio universale che unisce tutti i popoli“.

Durante la serata, verranno riproposti pezzi di diversi compositori quali G. Verdi, V. Bellini, G. Puccini, L. Bernstein; G. Gershwin, S. Cardillo e R. Leoncavallo.

Diretti dal Maestro Mario Bruno e prestigiosi elementi dell’orchestra del Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, i Cameristi Fiorentini,  forniranno la loro esperienza e professionalitcon i fiati. Al pianoforte il tenore e solista Graham Lister.


On the 6th of June 2010, h.21,15, come to Piazza Umberto I in Grassina (Florence, Italy) to listen to a local traditional amateurishchoir Coro Sociale di Grassina. During the concert, various composers will be proposed such as  G. Verdi, V. Bellini, G. Puccini, L. Bernstein, G. Gershwin, S. Cardillo and R. Leoncavallo.

Founded in 1893, the Choir counts on 50 singers and is directed by  Maestro Ginko Yamada – sopran of  the Coro del Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.

Directed by Maestro Mario Bruno the Cameristi Fiorentini will provide their experience and professionalism with the winds. They are from the orchestra of the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.  The tenor and solo  Graham Lister will be on the piano.

Aim of the choir’s activities is to  spread and foster knowledge on music – music seen as international language able to connect all people and cultures.”

May 20, 2010

ITKI- International Traditional Knowledge Institute

Promoted by UNESCO, a new institute to study, preserve, and apply traditional knowledges and tecniques is recently born. The official presentation of  ITKI- International Traditional Knowledge Institute was held in Florence on the 12th of May, 2010.

Read the full news at this link!!!

April 27, 2010

90 day for Intercultural Dialogue in Florence: reopening of the Caffè Astra al Duomo!

Are you in Florence, Italy? Are you looking for a charming, warm enviroment in the centre of  Florence to have lunch or to spend your happy hour?? Then you will be happy to know that Caffè Astra al Duomo is going to re-open tomorrow April 28th!

Caffè Astra al Duomo is going to offer you the best of  Tuscan and Italian food&wine, as well as the opportunity to witness cultural events such as international conference and art exhibitions! As a matter of fact, Caffè Astra al Duomo is part of the Centro Congressi al Duomo. The Centro Congressi al Duomo is itself  member of Life Beyond Tourism, and – with its activities – represent one of the Best Practices of Life Beyond Tourism. Thus, the project 90 Days for Intercultural Dialogue also takes place here.

During the Press Conference for the re-opening of Caffè Astra al Duomo, the the project 90 Days for Intercultural Dialogue has been officially presented to the Florentine press: download the Press Release of the Caffè Astra’s reopening here!

Read more Press at the Life Beyond Tourism website!

April 19, 2010

‘Firenze:2000 Anni di Storia’ is on You Tube!

Hi bloggers,
interested in learning more about the history of  Florence?? Then,  watch the DVD Firenze:2000 Anni di Storia/Florence: 2000 Years of  History at this link on You Tube.

The DVD has been:
Realized by

Vincenzo Capalbo, Marilena Bertozzi – Art Media Studio

Promoted by Fondazione Romualdo Del Bianco in the context of  Life Beyond Tourism.
Produced by
Vivahotels and Comi Spa
With the contribution of Antonio Paolucci, Bruno Santi, Cristina Acidini

October 28, 2009

Touches of Renaissance

pilota_02 Hi bloggers,

today, we would like to inform you about another event organized in the context of Life Beyond Tourism! It is the
yearly workshopTouches of Reinassance‘ …coming up soon, and promoted by the Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation!

Students of architecture from different European countries will meet and work together,  studying Renaissance architecture in its authentic place: Florence, Italy. Students will thus have an on-hand experience with the studied architecture … and will literally “touch” it! Find out more at this link!

October 20, 2009

Upcoming event on Saturday, October 24th!


are you in Florence this weekend? are you looking for a special event in Florence? So come discovering  Russian culture this Saturday, October 24th, at Poggio Imperiale in Florence, Italy with the event  ‘Pushkin and his epoch’ !!

October 5, 2009

Sustainable Tourism with Context Travel

Hi bloggers!

with you, Life Beyond Tourism will  collect  international initiatives addressed to sustainable, and cultural toursim! Here is a first one …

… we have recently discovered a great initiative whose principles are very tight to the Life Beyond Tourism’s Manifesto!

It is Context Travel, an organization that  promotes sustainable tourism by organizing thematic tours  where tours guides are academic experts on the related tour’s theme:

” In this age of Disneyland and Club Med, Context Travel is dedicated to the experience of real places. We are committed to the character of these places: their built environment, cultural heritage, and living fabric. Through didactic walking seminars, we aim to bring together the traveler and these cities in a manner beneficial to both.

One of the dilemmas of traveling is the overwhelming amount of information, data, and experiences that we encounter during a short visit. Our walking seminars, which are limited to six participants, provide an intimate alternative to traditional tours. We emphasize in-depth conversation, much like a seminar class in a small, liberal arts college. “

You can find Context Travel in several cities such as Paris, Istanbul, New York, Florence, …

” … for example, in Florence, clients have the opportunity to visit a private artist’s studio where they will both learn about the history and technique of fresco painting […]”

All of the visited experiences form the context of the journey. Contextuality, is a mission:

“Our mission becomes especially important in Florence, where mass tourism has a corrosive effect on monuments, museums, and the city landscape. A portion of our profits, coupled with donations from our clients, is directed toward cultural preservation initiatives in each of the cities where we operate, which safegaurds specific aspects of local culture. In Florence, we have created an opportunity for a local student to spend time as an apprentice in one of the historic workshops of the Oltrarno. This scholarship allows the student to gain the technical knowledge necessary for continuing the traditions of craftsmanship within the Oltrarno community.”

For more information about Context Florence, please visit the website, and check out the Context blog.

Then, don’t forget to share your personal cultural-tourism experience!!

September 11, 2009

Discovering Russian culture in Florence!!

“Pushkin and his epoch” is an event proposed in the context of Life Beyond Tourism.
The event will be held in Florence, Italy  starting on the 24th of October. It is an occasion to meet with the Russian culture of the first half of the 19th Century.
The event is composed of the presentation of a collection of Pushkin poetry translated in Italian: “Il servigio delle muse non soffre frivolezza”. This collection was edited by the State Library of Foreign Literature in Moscow and is presented for the first time in Florence in the prestigious frame of Gabinetto GB Viesseux, in the heart of Florence.

Click here to read more about the event!!

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