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Natural Italy Blog

Ruralia at the Cascine


Natural Italy Blog

Programma-Catalogo-2014_web1This weekend is the Fall edition of Ruralia, a farm festival held annually at the Cascine park in Florence.  There will be pony rides, animal exhibitions, food demonstrations, tree climbing, and many opportunities to purchase farm fresh organic products from the entire Italian peninsula.  The event starts September the 18th and ends on the 21st of September.  Entrance is free.  Don’t forget to check out the presentation of the new booklet ‘Guidelines for Tree Pruning in Urban Areas’ —a booklet written to better Florentine parks…especially the care and maintenance of its trees.  The book will be presented from 10 am-11am on the 21st of September at the Ordine dei Dottori Agronomi stand near the Agronomy faculty at the Cascine.  Your presence will support the city’s need to better its green areas.  See you there!


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A Delicious Tuscan Cake!

Natural Italy Blog

This is a cake you will find in just about every Tuscan pastry shop.  It is made with a butter crust, a cream of wheat filling and chocolate shell…need I say more? Recipe is translated and adjusted by me from Giallo Zafferano’s site.

THE Recipe!


125 grams or 1 cup sifted Flour

75 grams or 5.2 tbsp butter

A pinch of salt

3 egg yokes

100 grams or 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Chocolate spread

200 gr.  or 700 oz dark chocolate

200ml or 6.7 fl oz. fresh cream

For the filling

125 grams cream of wheat or semolino

500 ml or 17  fl. oz.  milk

350 gr. or 12.25 oz. Ricotta

200 grams or 7/8 cup powdered sugar


Torta di semolino al cioccolato

Begin by mixing the powdered sugar and flower together.  Add salt and then the butter at room temperature.  Soften the butter with your hands while mixing it with the flower…

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Rificolona, 100% Florentine holiday!

Ona ona ona ma che bella rificolona

Florence is home to a load of festivals and holidays, some more exciting than others.  One of the more exciting and more unique festivals is the Rificolona or lantern festival.  Here is a little outline of the festival!

Origin: Now nothing more than a children’s holiday, the festival originates from the countryside around Florence.  Once a year the country folk, in particular farmers, would make pilgrimages during the beginning of September to the church of Santissma Annunziata for the estimated birthday of the Virgin Mary.   Hordes would come from the countryside the night before…as daytime was prime farming time…you can’t waste sunlight…and they would do so with colorful lanterns.  The procession would come from lands faraway…like the Casentino!  Well, when you don’t have a car…that is far!  During the night they would sleep underneath the porches in Piazza Santissma Annunziata, much like the homeless people today…  After their religious site seeing was over, they would set up market stalls in the Piazza and along the via dei Servi.  This was another reason they would come the day before…as they wanted to get a prime spot to set up their booths.  They would sell cheeses, mushrooms, fabrics, and other traditional products from the countryside.  At dusk all would gather round and sing hymns to the virgin Mary!

The Holiday today:  Every 7th of September after 8:00pm the procession with start along via dei Servi to the Annunziata. Children will have colorful lanterns, many times home made in various shapes and sizes.  Some will have candles inside…other a battery operated light.  To my annoyance, most children will also have tubes where they spit out wads of clay which will bust, and often catch the other lanterns on fire.    There is also a market out in front of the church.  Many childrens’ organizations will have workshops so children may construct their own lantern.

Events this year for the holiday:

3-4-5 September 4pm 7pm Scuola Elementare Diaz in Via  Madonna delle Grazie 172

4-5-6 September 4pm-7pm Circolo via Nuove Viale Gianotti 13 and then their is a party the 7 September starting at 7:00 pm with food stands, and a band starting after 9:00 pm.

6 September  in Le Cure area at dusk- –Piazza le Cure and surrounding streets!

7 September: Official celebration in Piazza Santissma Annunziata 8:00pm-at 9:30 pm they will have a small ceremony and will give prices to the best home made lanterns.

7 September- At the Giardino il Lastrico del Popolo di Legnaia in via Pisana around 8:30pm they will have a small party in the street with lanterns.

8 September- They will have a small parade of boats in the Arno river.  The boats will be lit.   Time unknown

FESTA, Shakespeare, and 4th of July




F.E.S.T.A. (Florence English Speaking Theater Artists) is a not for profit cultural association dedicated to bringing high quality English language classical theater to Florence, and in providing meaningful theater education to all the children of Florence, regardless of their ability to pay for it!

We have produced seven main-stage productions, have raised a full generation of young actors, and have worked with Mayer Children’s Hospital, the Red Cross, and Dynamo Camp!

We need your help! F.E.S.T.A. depends on your support to continue bringing english language theater and theater education to the city of Florence!

F.E.S.T.A. (Florence English Speaking Theater Artists) è un’associazione culturale senza scopo di lucro. F.E.S.T.A. mette in scena a Firenze i grandi classici del teatro inglese; svolge una costante attività educativa e formativa con i bambini, utilizzando il teatro come potente strumento pedagogico – F.E.S.T.A. accetta sempre tutti i bambini, anche quelli che non possono permettersi l’iscrizione.

Abbiamo fin qua prodotto 7 spettacoli, abbiamo cresciuto una nuova generazione di giovani attori, ed abbiamo collaborato con l’Osp. Pediatrico Meyer, con la Croce Rossa e con Dynamo Camp.

F.E.S.T.A. ha bisogno del vostro concreto sostegno per continuare a portare a Firenze il teatro inglese e per continuare ad educare i vostri figli


FESTA’s Camp Shakespeare begins July 1 at 9am!  If you have NOT confirmed your place in this incredible one week day camp – please contact us immediately at 338-918-0867 or contact us!

Di FESTA Campo Shakespeare comincia il 1 ° luglio alle 09:00! Se non lo avete confermato il vostro posto in questo campo di giorno settimana incredibile – si prega di contattarci subito al 338-918-0867 o contattaci!

Giardino di Palazzo Corsini, via il Prato 58, Firenze
Luglio / July 1-5, 9:00am-2:00pm – Età / Age: 6-16

tel: +39 347 404 1503


Ruralia, Agricultural Festival at Pratolino


This year’s Ruralia will be 25-26 of May at the Pratolino park.  Pratolino is reachable by bus number 25.  The Festival is a magical festival dedicated to farming and agricultural, complete with animals, demonstrations, products, market, etc.  Great for all ages!

La festa dello Sport, Sport’s Festival at Obihall


Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 May, 10am-7:00pm  Obihall will have a huge sports festival organized by HappyLand.

During the two day festival, children and teens can learn about all of the various sports, such as volleyball, track, cycling, rugby, basketball, martial arts, fencing, climbing, dance, theater, and much more.

Get a reduced ticket price with the below voucher!

Entrance is 5,00 € (under 14) and 10€ (intero adulto).
Children under 90cm are free.
2 day tickets are also available.


Veggie ‘meat’ balls


This is a great recipe for those of you with kids that don’t like veggies!

4 potatoes

500  gr spinach

1 egg

1 clove of garlic


bread crumbs

nutmeg (in powder—but optional)


olive oil

First of all, boil all of the vegetables so they are soft and not crunchy.  Then, put them into tiny pieces and place them in a large bowl.  Add a bit of olive oil, egg, salt ( as much as you need or want) and the garlic minced.  Mix all of the ingredients well, then add the parmesan and nutmeg, continue mixing.  In the mean time heat the oven to 180°C.  Prepare a baking sheet with wax paper.  You will need to prepare the meatballs with your hands by making small balls and then rolling them in the bread crumbs. Place each ball on the baking sheets.  Cook for 15-20 minutes in the oven.  Taken them out once the ‘meat’ balls are nice and golden on the outside! Enjoy!

Spring Craft Project: Plant head

Spring Craft Project: Plant Head

plant head

plant head2Materials

1 small pot
1cup of soil
1 stocking/ panty hose
1 package of cat grass seeds
miscellaneous buttons/ ribbons, etc
Place a quarter of the soil inside of the panty hose.  Then place the cat grass inside.  Add the remaining soil and then tie the end of the panty hose so it forms a firm ball.  Cut off the excess panty hose.  Sew on any buttons, or ribbons that you desire. I made ours look like a face.  Place inside the pot… as it will serve as a ‘house’.  Water daily and little  “hairs” should start to appear in about week and a half!  Then enjoy!
plant head3