PALAZZO BELFIORE APARTMENTS IN FLORENCE

REFLECTIONS FROM OUR INTERN – CATHERINE

Californian Intern, Catherine Slabaugh shares her experience working with Your Place In Florence.

“When I was first looking to study abroad, I knew I wanted my experience in Italy to be different than the average American-girl-in-Florence. I wanted a unique experience, something that challenged me to step outside of my comfortable world at home and pushed me to grow through the adversities I was bound to have. What better way to have all this than hold an Italian internship at a company I knew nothing about and no one at! 

Interning with Your Place in Florence at the Palazzo San Niccolò, Palazzo Belfiore and Palazzo Del Moro has been an incredibly unique and eye-opening experience. Few 20-year-olds are given the opportunity to hold an internship abroad, so I went in open-minded and full of curiosity as to what I’d be doing, who I’d be working with, and how an Italian business may be different from what I’m used to.

For some context, this Internship is the first job I’ve held where I entered a company knowing absolutely no one. This is also the first job I’ve held that has not been a job in the Religion industry. Thus, I was walking in rather blind and uncertain. 

I can’t say I had too many of the initial hurdles that may come to mind when you think of an American interning in Italy. My boss’s first language is English, the work I do, primarily social media, is something I’m quite comfortable with, and work days take on the same structure as they do in the States. 

However, the first couple weeks at the Palazzis were quite the adjustment period. My boss was learning what I was capable of and I was learning where I may fit in to the company. The most difficult adjustment for me initially was adapting to the Italian work style, a slower pace with time for conversation and time between projects. This was difficult for me, not accomplishing a million and one things each day made work days seems unsuccessful. In the past, I’ve always been given a rather extensive and ongoing to-do list at work and I’ve been comfortable enough with the company to create my own work. However, stepping in to a company you just heard of a few weeks prior, with people you met just last week, in an industry that is quite literally foreign to you takes away some of this autonomy. 

But as I developed a rhythm with my work and trust was established between my boss and I, work became much smoother. I found the importance in taking time to talk with coworkers and develop a more personal relationship with them. I found it okay to only accomplish five tasks in a day instead of my usual ten. I found myself dreaming up projects and carrying them out with positive feedback, as well as receiving critiques that have pushed me to look at social media in a much more professional way. This is my first time working for a larger company and as social media develops more and more each day, it takes a much stronger role in the development and outreach of a business.

Looking back on the past 12 weeks at the Palazzis, the greatest takeaways have to be some of the unique Florentine experiences I’ve been granted. The two that stand out the most are my visit to a local tea shop to showcase a partnership they have with our Palazzis on social media, and a private tour I took of the oldest Pharmacy and Perfume shop for a blog post I wrote. Representing an Italian company on social media that prides themselves on providing unique Tuscan experiences has encouraged me to truly dive into the Italian lifestyle and attempt to see Florence through the eyes of locals. I often talk with my boss about local events coming up, Tuscan delicacies she and her family prepare, and local artisan shops scattered throughout the city. 

Working with Your Place in Florence was a leap of faith into an industry I had never worked in before that has ultimately provided me with clarity on what I aspire to do in the future. I don’t necessarily think I’ll find myself working in the hotel industry or returning for permanent work in Florence, but sometimes we learn the most about ourselves through experiences that we may never have again. An eye-opening and incredibly unique Internship to say the least, and perhaps the most cherished gift I’ll take with me as I return home.”

OFFICINA PROFUMERIA-SANTA MARIA NOVELLA

A PRIVATE TOUR OF THE OLDEST WORKING PHARMACY IN ITALY

by Catherine Slabaugh

With over 400 years of Florentine history, the world-renowned Officina Profumo- Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella invites visitors nationwide to be entranced by their breath-taking perfumes, cosmetics, and more.

Upon entering, guests are welcomed with an awe-inspiring fresco that takes you back to the Profumo’s origins in the early 1600s. The Profumo was originally owned and operated by Dominican Monks who created herbal remedies for locals. In the early 1900s, the shop was turned over to the government and transitioned into a Profumo, selling luxurious and diverse products for visitors flocking in from around the world.

The Profumo is divided into six different spaces open to the public; the sales hall, green room, ancient apothecary’s shop, sacristy, museum, and herbal tea room. I found myself gazing at the intricate detail of each room and the elegant products on display, truly a breathtaking sight. Each visitor is welcomed into the shop warmly as Profumo workers invite you to experience their products and find one to take home with you.

We arrived for our private tour early in the morning and were quickly surrounded by a vast array of tourists and locals, eyeing the historic yet elegant products. Perfumes, cosmetics, home fragrances, wax products, liquer, and even a product for your pet can all be found in this ancient palazzo.

Stepping into the first room, originally one of the chapels of the monastery, the sales hall features a beautifully restored fresco that represents the four continents, showcasing the Profumo’s presence around the world. The room holds their perfume, soap, and cosmetic products, truly hand-crafted delicacies.

Turning right from the large sales room, we were taken to the green room and ancient apothecary’s shop. The green room features portraits of each Profumo owner, beginning with the earliest Dominican Monks. Here we gazed upon their candle and wax products, home fragrances, and other household accessories, showcased beautifully amongst fall décor to highlight the season.

Connected to the green room is the ancient apothecary’s shop, the original sales hall from 1612 to 1848. We were taken back in time to the Profumo’s ancient herbal remedies as the elisir, teas, herbal supplements, and specialty liquors were on display. The way in which the Profumo holds on to their historical roots and adapts their products for the needs of visitors today is quite inspiring.

The final room is the small sacristy and museum that gave us a peek into the past lives of the Dominican Monks, complete with a restored fresco of the passion of Christ and ancient machines and ceramics once used in the perfume creation. If you are looking to relax and absorb the ambiance of the space, you will be pleased to know that the Profumo holds their own tea room and café where guests can indulge in a cappuccino or cup of tea, while viewing the handmade chocolates, candies, honey, and tea for sale.

I highly recommend experiencing the Profumo through a guided tour, as there are countless anecdotes and stories you will only learn when walking through the palazzo privately. It is here where I learned about the Profumo’s private enclosed garden, home to all the company’s flowers and herbs used in each product, truly ‘Made in Italy’.

There were two products that stood out to me in particular during my visit to the Profumo. Perhaps the most well-known item that continually draws people in is the Acqua di S.M. Novella Perfume, originally created for Caterina de’ Medici in 1533 and sold today using the same original formula. Another eye-catching product is the historical Santa Maria Novella Water, known as Acqua Antisterica, developed in 1614 for calming and digestive purposes.

As the Profumo holds true to their historical roots, they continually develop products that sweep visitors off their feet. Spending a morning at the Profumo is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and one that cannot be replicated. I highly recommend incorporating a visit during your stay here in Florence, as this may be the most unique, and elegantly-smelling, a Florentine experience you will have!

GUEST EXPERIENCE TESTIMONIAL

Last month we had some of our guests enjoy two of our exclusive experiences during their stay with us.  It is always such an honour to receive emails like the following from happy and satisfied guests and so we just had to share!

“Dear Federico,

I want to send a quick note to thank you for a wonderful vacation.  My mom, daughter and sister had the best time!  We loved staying at the apartment.  The location is great, the hospitality you showed us, the accommodations….everything…just perfect!  One thing we didn’t get a chance to do that we had hoped was to visit the tea shop.  The tea was fantastic!  

The tours you recommended were among our favourite things.  My mom is still talking about the sidecar tour and the wine tour my son and his friend (who had been on other ones) commented to me that tour you arranged on Sunday was the best they had been on!  It is worth noting that the driver (he is in one of the pictures) was terrific!  We had so much fun!  

Everything…every single person…was just great!  

Thank you again.  We are already looking forward to visiting Florence in the future and staying again at the Palazzo Belfiore!

Jodi”

REFLECTIONS FROM OUR INTERNS

Our most recent interns, Andrea and Alessio were enthusiastic additions to our team and it seems that they enjoyed the experience as well.  Here Andrea Bonardi shares a few words about his time as an intern in our palazzi;

“During our school-work project, me, Andrea Bonardi, and my classmate Alessio Ridolfi had the opportunity to work at “Your Place In Florence”.

We worked in two different buildings: Palazzo San Niccolò and Palazzo Belfiore. Since our first day we had the feeling of a lovely atmosphere with a great, available and collaborative team ready to answer any doubt we had, making us feel comfortable with the place we worked in. We two worked manually for the most part of the time, having the opportunity to see every detail of the rooms of the residence. Since we were greeting and hosting not-italian people every day we also had the opportunity to speak the languages we are learning in school. Again, since the first day we really appreciated the modern furniture inside every room and the room service provided to our guests (thing we were doing for the majority of the time besides greeting and helping our guests). In Palazzo Belfiore we really liked the fact that many people/families from all around the world (literally from Australia to Canada to Saudi Arabia) felt comfortable despite language and culture differences. In Palazzo San Niccolò we also had the opportunity to assist a wedding which happened in the same Palazzo San Niccolò. In this place, we also appreciated the vintage but modern furniture in the lounge, in the lobby and in the rooms. In Palazzo Belfiore, the rooms are also lovely but with an “older” style referring to Florence’s origins: 1400-1500 look but with a touch of modern appearance. By the way, guests really seem to enjoy all the welcome cards and gifts that both Palazzo Belfiore and San Niccolò offer.”

SETTEMBRE IN PIAZZA DELLA PASSERA

Palazzo Belfiore is proud to once again be sponsoring the annual event, Settembre in ‘Piazza della Passera’!

This year marks the 17th edition of the event after taking a sabbatical last year.  The festival was conceived by Stefano Di Pucci, owner of Trattoria 4 Leoni together with the cultural association “In Piazza”, under the direction of Alessandro Di Puccio and in collaboration for the organisation with Momy Manetti.  The initial plan was to include all the main squares of the Oltrarno, with the idea of using art to enhance the territory and an opportunity to meet and discover new talents.

The piazza has come alive this week with two concerts each evening from 11th – 14th, all with free admission and the idea this year was to involve young students in the event.  The ‘Giovani in Piazza’ format, created with the Jazz department of the Florence Academy of Music offers young talents in the sector the opportunity to open the first three evenings.

Palazzo Belfiore was honoured to have Scott Hamilton stay with us on Wednesday night. One of the greatest jazz saxophonists around and in demand the world over, his playing has best been described by fellow tenor saxophonist and writer, Dave Gelly: “Following a Scott Hamilton solo is like listening to a great conversationalist in full flow. First comes the voice, the inimitable, assured sound of his tenor saxophone, then the informal style and finally the amazing fluency and eloquent command of the jazz language.”

EXPO CHIANTI CLASSICO

The town of Greve in Chianti will host the 48th edition of the Expo Chianti Classico this September from the 6th-9th.  Wine lovers from everywhere will descend on the town during these days to sample some of the best Chianti Classico that this territory is famous for, from more than 60 different wineries.

On Thursday, the festival starts at around 5 pm and finishes at 10 pm.  Friday, from 11 am to 10 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 8 pm.

Upon arrival, buy a wine glass from the Segretaria (the price in 2017 was 10 euros).  You will be given a ticket that allows you to taste up to eight of the wines offered at the stands.

Don’t forget that we can organise a private transfer to and from the event if you are staying with us during these days so don’t hesitate to ask us if you would like us to take care of the details.

For more details and the whole program visit the Event website : www.expochianticlassico.com

FERRAGOSTO

August 15  is one of the most popular and biggest holidays in Italy.  Known as Ferragosto, which literally translates as ‘holiday in August’, this day originates from Roman times when the first Emperor, Augusto decided to establish a day off in the middle of the hottest month.

Expect most businesses to be closed and most cities to be deserted as most Italians will be at the beach or escapiing the heat in the mountains.  If you decide to go to the beach on the 15th August, be prepared to get wet as it is also a tradition to throw buckets of water over anyone in close proximity – of course this is most popular with the kids and teenagers but beware if you happen to be in the path of a water-fight! Whatever your plans this Ferragosto, if you do happen to find yourself in Florence, you will have plenty of choices of things to do and see!

In Florence, most of the museums will be open and below is a quick quide to the opening hours :

The Uffizi Gallery is open as usual from 8:15am until 6:30pm

Palazzo Vecchio will be open from 9:00am until 11:00pm while The ‘Torre di Arnolfo’ will be open from 9:00am until 9:00pm.

Santa Maria Novella will be open from 12:00pm until 6:30pm

Museo Novecento will be open from 11:00am util 8:00pm.

Forte Belvedere which is currently showing the exhibition ‘Gong’ by Eliseo Mattiacci will be open from 10:00 – 20:00 but you must book prior to arrival.

The Bardini museum will be closed for the Ferragosto holiday.

 

 

There are also a number of musical events and concerts to be enjoyed in Florence.  At the ‘Giardino dell’Orticultura there will be a concert by the Alyen Roy Band which is a mix of jazz, swing, bossa nova and fusion.  The show starts at 7:00pm. San Salvi park will also be hosting a concert by quartet ‘Banditaliana’ founded in 1992 by organist Ricardo Tesi.  Bookings are recommended. You can also enjoy a dj set and aperitivo at the ‘Spiaggia sull’Arno / River Urban Beach, on the banks of the river Arno in front of Piazza Poggi.

 

 

THE LORENZO APARTMENT

Lorenzo il Magnifico was the only true Lord of Florence. With his strong political skills, Lorenzo managed to make the city famous all over the world in the 14th century. This, and his love for all forms of art, transformed the city into the cultural center of Italy and gave it new vitality. This beautifully restored apartment is 83 square meters and is the second apartment situated on the first floor. It has numerous windows which let in abundant light. Entering the apartment through a hallway and past a quiet little courtyard area for your private use, you reach a sitting and dining room which are open to a fully-equipped kitchenette.

A little door in the front of the hallway reveals a laundry room with a washing machine. Walking on down the hallway through the dining room, you reach a lounge area with a comfortable and easy-to-use double sofa bed. Sliding doors can make this an additional private bedroom if needed. Off of the dining area is the master bedroom with a king-sized bed (or two single beds by request) and a bathroom with a tub. From the dining room going up a wooden stairway, you reach a mezzanine with two single beds (or a double bed by request), a bathroom with shower, a walk-in closet and a storage room.

BOOK NOW YOUR APARTMENT IN FLORENCE

CALCIO STORICO FIORENTINO

June is an exciting time to find yourself in the city of Florence – this weekend especially!

The final match of Calcio Storico Fiorentino is held on this Sunday, June 24, which is the day Florence celebrates its patron saint’s feast day for St. John the Baptist. This day is full of celebration for the people of Florence. Catch the parade through the streets of Florence where you can see the locals dressed in historical costumes as well as all the players of the historic soccer game known as Calcio Storico that begins at Piazza Santa Maria Novella and travels through Florence towards Piazza Santa Croce. The parade starts around 4pm and will lead to the final match that will begin at 5pm between team Rossi of Santa Maria Novella and team Verdi of San Giovanni.

The rich history and culture of this 16th century sport, Calcio Storico Fiorentino, a combination of soccer, rugby, and wrestling is very rough as there seems to be no rules observed at all. All of the matches are held at Piazza Santa Croce which is the traditional location for all the matches of Calcio Storico. There are four teams from the historical neighborhoods of Florence who play each other in two playoffs and then the winners play in the final match. 

The day of festivities ends with a night of fireworks which are launched from Piazzale Michelangelo so if you are in town, make sure you have a good view from the river .

Tickets for the final can be purchased at the Box Office in Via delle Vecchie Carceri 1, Firenze from 11:00am Payment by bancomat, credit card (no AMEX) or debit card.

Maximum 5 tickets can be purchased per person.

WHEN : Sunday24 June 2018

TIME : 5:00pm

WHERE : Piazza Santa Croce

Ticket Prices :

  • Tribuna onore centrale  € 80
  • Tribuna onore laterale   € 60
  • Tribuna numerata         € 40
  • Tribune popolari           € 29

BOOK YOUR APARTMENT IN FLORENCE

ARTIGIANATO & PALAZZO

This Thursday 17 May marks the opening of the 24th Edition of the exhibition, ARTIGIANATO & PALAZZO in the beautiful Corsini Gardens.  An exhibition founded in 1995 by Neri Tortigiani and promoted by Princess Giorgiana Corsini as an opportunity to appreciate and give value to the artisan in this present day.

Each year around 100 artisans are selected to be the protagonists of this unique exhibition, the majority coming from Tuscany but there is also a representation from other parts of Italy and even some International artisans that you can discover at work as you wander around the curated private gardens.

Each year at ARTIGIANATO & PALAZZO an established Artisan is given the spotlight in a ‘Mostra Principe’ celebrating the success of a business or product that started life in the artisans workshop and has now arrived at International success.

Each day the exhibition will feature music by Naomi Berrill, live cooking “Ricette di Famiglia / Family Recipes” by the talented chefs from Desinare, various activities and various street food that will satisfy from breakfast to the hour of the aperitivo!

 

 

WHEN : 17-20 MAY – 10:00am – 8:00pm

WHERE : GIARDINI CORSINI. VIA DELLA SCALA, 115

PROGRAM : www.artigianatoepalazzo.it

 

 

*Cover photo credits:
Susanna Stiegler