Posts in Italy
5-Night Villa + Wine Harvest in Tuscany
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Have you ever dreamt of participating in a wine harvest in Tuscany? Now you can!

During the first two weeks in October, my guests have a special invite to a beautiful villa near Montepulciano and to participate in harvesting the grapes that will become Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and some of the best wine in all of Tuscany.

Bring 4-8 of your favorite people to enjoy a 5-night stay, each couple in their own Junior Suite at a 4-room luxury villa, breakfast served in your room each morning, amazing winery views, and optional spa services and cooking classes on site. With the experience, you will get to help with the wine harvest, followed by a private tasting, and special lunch at the winery.

The experience starts at only $1500 for Slice of Tuscany guests. For 5 nights. Whaaaaaat?!

Let me know if you are interested! Sally@sliceoftuscany.com I’m quite sure this offer will go quickly.

Matera, Basilicata – Southern Italy
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MATERA! Located in Basilicata in southern Italy, Matera has been designated the 2019 European Capital of Culture. The city is most well known for its Sassi, the caves in the cliffside that were homes to people until 1952 when the government forced people to move out of the caves and into the town.

Mr. Slice and I have been several times when we lived in nearby Martina France, Puglia. We once spoke with a woman whose family stayed in the caves well into the 1970s. Into her late 80s now, she admitted she missed the caves and was still not used to living in the town.

Materia is unlike any other place I've been. Because of its uniqueness, it is often the set of movies. Twice on visits to Matera we've caught the filming of two difference major motion pictures. The town and caves are apparently a good substitute for Biblical locations stories.

Oh and obviously I found some great places to eat and drink ;)

Contact me to plan your trip to southern Italy and your stop in Matera.

Where to change money in Italy?
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This is a very common questions from travelers and I can only give you my personal recommendation on best way to manage your money when traveling in Italy.

  • Where to change money in Italy? My advice is DON’T. You lose too much on service fees and bad exchange rates.

  • Bring some EUR cash with you. Order EUR from your local bank at least two weeks prior to travel. You don’t have to bring ALL the cash you will need, but it’s smart to start with at least a few hundred.

  • When you need more cash in Italy, use the ATMs! They are easy to use with English menus, and they charge a lower fee than if you were to exchange money. (Always check with your bank first!) You can always request to raise your daily allowance for withdraws from your bank, or with many banks you can simply do this online. The ATMs give you EUR cash and will automatically convert that amount to reflect the USD amount taken from your account.

  • ATMs - “Bancomat” in Italy. Always use bancomat machines that are built into walls and have the name of a bank on them. “Banca di….” is always a good sign. I would steer clear of the free-standing ATM machines that you might find in a gas station. Stick to the official bank ATMs.

  • Credit Cards - You can use credit cards at your hotels and most restaurants. Also most stores and shops take them. If you are trying to charge any amount under 20 or 30 EUR, you will most likely be told that their credit card machine is “broken.” That means they want you to use cash. :)

Verona

You are just plain crazy if you don’t want to go visit Verona with these two amazingly knowledgeable and fun beauties!

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The name ‘Slice of Tuscany’ might imply that I only plan travel in Tuscany, but THAT’S SIMPLY NOT TRUE! I have a whole network of locals including guides, chefs, wine makers, boat drivers, artists and then some ALL OVER ITALY who are ready to help my guests have amazing experiences.

I met these incredible ladies in Verona several years ago and Slice guests who are lucky enough to visit this gorgeous city just west of Venice have gotten to meet them too.

Verona is so much more than the city of Romeo and Juliet. Yes, you can visit Juliet’s balcony, but you can also visit Piazzale Castel San Pietro for a panoramic view of the city, check out the stalls in Piazza delle Erbe, and the Roman-era arena that is still in use today.

Outside of the city walls you can step into some of the most important vineyards in Italy where they make one of my all-time favorite reds - Amarone della Valpolicella. Also just a few minutes by car is Lake Garda, Italians’ favorite northern lake getaway.

These two ladies also have their thumb on the pulse of the best eateries, bars and restaurants and can help create the perfect food tour for you. Try signature dishes such as Bigoli pasta with duck ragu, Ristotto all’Amarone, and Pandoro for dessert.

Ready to go? Let me know and we’ll get you on your way! sally@sliceoftuscany.com




Libri Bianchi // Art in Santo Spirito, Florence

Walking around my neighborhood is always an adventure. Santo Spirito is the artistic soul of Florence lying south of the Arno River across the Ponte Vecchio. It is considered one of the few neighborhoods in Florence's city center where the true "Florentines" live. It also has a high concentration of working  studios where you can find blacksmiths and carpenters as well as glass specialists and modern artists.

I recently discovered a small studio around the corner from my house. I was walking by when, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a man working amidst a sea of stark white books. He appeared to be creating a tower with the books and was using a vice to clamp them together. I immediately invited myself inside. I wanted to know everything about him and these gorgeous white books.

Lorenzo introduced himself and his lovely wife Simona who was assisting in the studio, and told me the story of his Libri Bianchi.  He has been working in this Santo Spirito studio for 12 years taking books and expressing his interpretation of the story giving by life to the pages.

Lorenzo's books flip and fold, pages turn, and lay open in a precise manner which he creates using simple materials like plaster and glue. Sometimes in stacks or using small props to communicate his message, the books are visually stunning and convey something entirely new and different under Lorenzo's influence.

The books he uses are often about oppression or convey a profound truth, which he then takes and creates a visual representation of the truth, as he sees it, with his hands. His hands, he explained, are the most important part of his work - allowing him to exact his representation in the most meaningful way.

I strongly urge you to check out Lorenzo Perrone's works - http://www.libribianchi.info/ - either online or with a PERSONAL ARTIST STUDIO TOUR of Santo Spirito by CONTACTING ME.

SALLY@SLICEOFTUSCANY.COM

Vinaino Lo Sprone - Florence hole in the wall restaruant

Located on the south side of the Arno River in Florence is my favorite neighborhood in town, the Oltrarno a.k.a. Santo Spirito. This is home to my favorite shops and restaurants, including one little hole in the wall called Vinaino Lo Sprone on Via dello Sprone near Piazza della Passera.

When Piero and Riccardo opened the restaurant in 2013, I was living across the street from them upon the 4th floor. The guys would often yell up to me, “Sally, how do you say melanzane in English?!” And I would yell the answer down to them out the window. They have good classic dishes written by hand on paper menus and wine by the liter at decent prices.

The only trick here is that you have to get cozy as they only have about 7 tables total. I love the place to much, I stopped here during my engagement photo shoot.

Me and Mr. Slice having a laugh

Me and Mr. Slice having a laugh

Riccardo, Piero, My, Sally (me)

Riccardo, Piero, My, Sally (me)