Payphones in Florence, and most of Italy for that matter, are almost completely worked with calling cards, not coins. The card that can be used are either the insertable cards (normally for local calls) or the access dial cards (normally for overseas calls). To purchase these cards, just go to a Tabbacci Store, marked with a big, black " T ", and ask either for a "Carta internazionale" or "Carta Italia," depending on where you are calling.
Calcio Storico Fiorentino, or Ancient Florentine Football (sometimes called Costume Football) is an ancient game that is a combination of soccer, football, and boxing. It is one of the most brutal sporting events in the world. Once a way that soldiers prepared for war, it remains as a game for only the very tried and tested. Each team has 27 players and there are not subsitutes. So if taken off the field, the team plays with less men.
Developed in the 16th century, the Azzurro (the Blues) belongs to Santa Croce, the Verde (the Greens) belongs to San Giovanni, the Bianco (the Whites) belongs to Santo Spirito and the Rosso (the Reds) belongs to Santa Maria Novella. Every June, on two Sundays just before the Feast of San Giovanni, there are two semifinal games to decide the teams for the final match. The championships take place on the feast of San Giovanni which is June 24th.
The stadium is a makeshift one built in June in front of Santa Croce with Dante overlooking the affair. Portable bleachers are brought in, and a field created with dirt, fence, and beds covered with red vinyl.
The only rule is that you cannot kick an unconscious player in the head. Players are carted off for various injuries that include broken bones. As the match wears on, the participants hold onto each other to prevent them from playing. There are high flying kicks, punches to the face, and hard tackling. The goals are the width of the end zone, and a player can be seen taking his full body and the ball over the end zone barrior to be awarded a point. The official is not immune to being punched as arguments break out during the match.
There is parade that starts in front of the Duomo on completion of mass. Flag throwers and drummers march the street to the Piazza della Signoria to Sante Croce. If it is the greens versus the blues, then they too are in the parade. There is a semifinal match the leads to the championship game.
Behind the pig in San Lorenzo market, there is a building which houses the society of Calcio Fiorentino, They meet to practice, and if you are fortunate, can see them during your visit/
This ticket is among the toughest to get as there is very limited seating, and the frenzy of the fans is high as fights break out in the stands as well. Plan and simple, you have to be crazy to play this game. A ball, but no protective gear.
Great Leather Jackets
Giorgio made Giorgio's special. The owner helped my friend and I pick out some leather jackets that he designed and made with super-soft leather. He was helpful and funny. He spoke really great English, which made bargaining with him easier. Since both of us bought a jacket, he sold 'em to us for $180 each. Leather jackets Below $200
Make sure to get your train ticket stamped
You must time stamp your train ticket in the little yellow machines located all over the place before you board.
Make sure to listen to the Announcements even though they are in Italian. Listen for the word Binario - it may mean there is a platform change. Other passengers will start running in another direction. Stop one and ask if there has been a change.
This restaurant has a sister restaurant in America but we'd not heard of it until we read about it in our guide book.
We wandered in around 8pm, early for Italy, but there were plenty of people already seated. We were seated at a table for four with two ladies who'd arrived just before us.
Acqua al Due has a tradition of asking patrons to decorate plates which they then display on the walls, however we didn't join in (not very creative!)
The staff were friendly and really appreciated my (albeit very limited) attempts to order in Italian but all spoke very good English. And yes, the next time we go back to Italy my Italian will be much better. Fusilli a peperoni