Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tuscany with kids year round

Places to Take kids for Parties and Activities






Via S. Quirico, 37


Creative lab

L'Albero di Alice

Via del Cavallaccio


Creative lab

La Carrozza di Hans

Via Modigliani, 101


Creative lab

La Casa dei Giochi

Via Santa Maria a Cintoia, 1/14


Creative lab

La Ludoteca

Via Della Villa, 8

Barberino Val d'Elsa

Creative lab

Ludoteca Giochinventa

Piazza della Vittoria, 15-10


Creative lab

Bottega dei Ragazzi

Via dei Fibbiai, 2


Creative lab

L'Albero di Alice

Via del Cavallaccio


Creative lab

La casa dei giochi

Via Santa Maria a Cintoia, 5


Creative lab

La Mondolfiera

Via dell'Anconella, 3


Creative lab

La Ludoteca

Via Della Villa, 8

Barberino Val d'Elsa


Baby Club di Associazione Pianeta Famiglia

Via Don Facibeni, 13



Fate e Folletti

Via Cesare Pavese, 5



Fate e Folletti

Via Cesare Pavese, 5



La Vispa Teresa

Via delle Campora, 66a



Teatrino del Gallo (Florence) via San Gallo 25r
This theater is the only theater in the center of Florence for kids!
The theater costs €5.00 for kids and €7.00 for adults. There are monthly activities scheduled for children. The shows are normally on Saturday, one at 3:30pm and 5:30 pm, and two on Sunday at the same times.

Saturday 29 January

Pupi di Sac- "Parsley"

This puppet show is based on traditional Tuscan fables and uses original techniques of traditional puppet shows.

Sunday 30th January

Teatrosfere-"reverse fables"

This week's performance will be on the Brother's Grimm,. Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel.

Events in Tuscany for Carnevale!

Piombino - Livorno Carnival

Carnevale Piombinese

Carnival celebrations in Piombino near Livorno are the 5, 18, 19, 20,25, 26, 27 of February and 5, 6, 8, (13 in case of bad weather) of march 2011.


Saturday 5 February 2011: “Waiting for Carnival”. starts at 3:30pm at the Youth Center. There is abeauty contest.

Friday 18 February 2011: 3:00 pm Beauty Contest 'Miss Carnival 2011'
Saturday 19 February 2011: 3:00pm Street Party in the Fiorentina Popolonia quarter.

Sunday 20 February 2011: 4:00 pm Street Party in Piazza Gramsci;

Friday 25 February 2011: 9:00pm Concert at the Youth Center.

Saturday 26 February 2011: 3:00pm Street Party in Piazza della Costituzione;

Sunday 27 February 2011:
3:00pm: Parade starts
6:30 pm street party with the orchestra “Zia Seconda”;
tastings and gastronomical booths.

Thursday 3 March 9:30pm: Traditional Senegalese concert at the youth center

Saturday 5 March
3:00pm Masked street party at il Perticale, for children;
10:00 Masked street party at the youth center, for adults;

Sunday 6 March:
3:00pm: Parade

8 March, Fat Tuesday:
3:00 pm: Parade and festivities begin)

For more information visit:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

So I had my what!

by Jill A. Benik

Many of us moms here in Florence find it overwhelming to be not only pregnant....but also figuring out the bureaucratic interworkings of giving birth in Italy. Many of us probably never thought was looming beyond the actual birth let's get started!

1. How many days to I stay in the hospital after giving birth?
The number of days normally depends on the hospital. The average length is 2 days after a normal natural birth, c-sections are around 3 days. The Italian healthcare system wants to make sure moms are sent home healthy with healthy babies so they may keep you longer than you would like in order to be more sure!

2. What will I need to bring to the hospital?
You will need to bring all of your things that you would bring if you were staying somewhere on vacation, i.e. Pj's, toothbrush, napkins...etc. On top of this you will need to bring your own silverware and cup. Most Italian hospitals don't have in-room something to read or watch is always nice! I found them to be very noisy so I was glad I had some ear plugs in my bag! You will also need your ID, your blood tests, and any other relevant medical papers. The baby's father will need to bring relevant documents to register for the baby's birth certificate. Your baby must be registered no later than 3 days after the birth. This is done at the hospital and you can make an appointment normally in the maternity ward of the hospital.

3. So I've been released from the hospital--now what?
At the hospital you will pick your pediatrician. A little bit of research should be done before you get to the hospital to ensure you aren't without one! You will also get a booklet that is good for all of the baby's visits to the pediatrician until they are 12. This booklet will have a list of appointments and vaccines the baby will need! Make sure you make the vaccine appointments as soon as possible! Sometimes they are completely booked for up to 3 months! Call the CUP in your area for appointments, as vaccine appointments must be made on the phone. 840.003.003 from landlines and 199.175.955 from cell phones
Your pediatrician will also talk to you about your baby having a sonogram. This sonogram is of the hip joints and is a precautionary visit to verify that the legs are developing properly. The visit must be done before the baby is 3 months old. This visit must be done at MEYER and can be reserved only at the CUP for MEYER. The visit is around €35.

4. What visits will I need for myself?
I was shocked at how I was left on my own after I had given birth. When I was pregnant I saw the doctor a couple of times a month. After you give birth you will need to make an appointment at the gynecologist for a check up. Things can get really busy after the baby is if you think about it, make an appointment for a month or so after your due date. That way you won't have to think about it later.

5. Are there any support groups for new moms?
If you didn't take any pre-birth courses, don't worry! I highly recommend the courses before birth if you can...but sometimes it isn't possible. Many of the area clinics have meetings once a month for all of the moms to share stories and to talk to the obstetrician. I found these meetings very useful because it was nice to know someone was going through exactly the same thing I was! In fact, the women from my course set a weekly meeting to go walking with our strollers and share stories!

6. I want to take my baby home for a visit, what do I need to do?
If you want to travel outside of Italy...or even on a plane inside Italy you will need to wait for a few things. First, you will need the baby's birth certificate. The birth certificate is available at the commune in which you are a resident after about 2 months. They will send you a letter in the mail when it is ready. If you have to leave earlier you will have to go to the commune and fill out a form to have the service expedited! Once you have the birth certificate you will need 4 photographs with the babies eyes open and a white background. Normally they will put a white cardboard in your lap so the parent is not visible in the photos. Take these photos to the comune and have them verified as originals of the baby. Once the photos have been verified you will need to go to a police stations and fill out a form for a 'lascia passare'. They will verify the ID's of the parents and then make an ID form. This will normally be ready in 8 days. You will need a lot of patience for this process as the police officers have a lot on their plate! Don't take it personal if they aren't the most friendly. Once you have the form you will be able to travel within the EU with this document. If you are traveling outside of the EU you will need a passport. See your embassy websites for more information.

  1. Can my baby have dual citizenship if they are born in Italy?
If one of the parent's is Italian the baby will have Italian citizenship...if not...they won't unless there is a special arrangement between the two governments for special circumstances, i.e. Children of military and diplomats.

    FOR AMERICANS ONLY: If you would like your child to share your citizenship and either the mother or father is American already this is what you have to do...1.collect 2 copies of the baby's Italian birth certificate, the id of the Amercian parent-with proof of 6 years of residence in the U.S.-4 of which were over the age of 14, official marriage certificate of the parents(not needed if the parents are unwed but will need a sworn affidavit to the paternity of the child), completed form DS-2029, and your social security number. 2. Make an appointment at the consulate to bring your baby in. If you are married you will need to bring your spouse. 3.Have $110 on hand, or the equivalent in euro. It is better to have a check, but they do accept euros. Don't bring your credit card, they won't take it! 4. After about a week the certificate will be ready, so you can pick it up or have it sent to your house! Sending it will cost more!

I hope I have covered everything! Remember, having a baby is overwhelming and you're not alone! Being a mom is great and once you get everything figured out you'll find out it's much easier! Good Luck!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuscan Recipes: Ribollita

Ribolitta- An Italian word meaning ‘reboiled’ is a vegetable soup made up of pretty everything that is left in the kitchen. Classically it’s made with white beans, collard greens, carrots, potatoes,celery and bread pieces(normally lightly stale.) I have to admit that this is one of my favorite Tuscan plates and recommend it for any vegetarian palate!


1 head of black cabbage
1/4 of white cabbage
1 a package of collard greens or spinach
1 leak
1 onions cut in slivers
2 potatoes
2 carrots
2 Zucchini
2 sprig of celery
300 g. of white beans
2 pealed tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
250 g. of stale unsalted bread


Boil beans for about 8 hours, rinse them in 2 liters of water. In another pan, coated with olive oil, cook chopped onions until golden, then add other vegetables already cut. Put vegetable mixture on low for about 10 minutes, then add beans with half of the broth. The other half of the bean broth will be added slowly as the water evaporates from the vegetable mixture. Add salt and pepper to your liking. Let the mixture cook for about 2 hours. After this add the bread in small chunks and mix for about 10 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes and then serve with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil . Buon Appetito!

Tuscan recipes: Papparedelle with mushroom sauce

    Funghi porcini- This sauce is made with porcini mushrooms! These mushrooms are normally cultivated in the early Spring and early Fall. They have a very strong hearty taste to them. Although they can be frozen, and are pretty good that way too, I recommend trying to get some in the porcini season for an ultimate example. The sauce is normally with sliced porcini mushrooms, parsley, olive oil, and salt. This is a good sauce for vegetarians.

  • 400 g. of fresh porcini mushrooms (or other mushrooms with a good hearty flavor)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 6 spoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • a sprinkle of fresh parsley leaves
  • parmesan cheese
  • salt (as you like)
  • pepper (as you like)

Clean and wash the the parsley, cut it in thin pieces, and put it off to the side. Clean the mushrooms, get rid of the dirt and stems ( clean them with a damp cloth as they cannot stay under running water). Cut them into slices, and if you like cut the stems too.

Coat a pan with olive oil that is capable to hold the pasta. Add the garlic pealed and minced. Put the pan on the fire and after the garlic is golden add the mushrooms. Let the mushrooms golden. When the mushrooms are golden add salt and a little bit of water, lower the temperature and let them simmer for 10 minutes. In the meantime start the water for the pasta in salted water. After draining the pasta add to the mushroom mix. Let the mushroom mix well with the pasta and make sure all of the noodles are well coated. Add the parsley pieces and serve hot! Add parmesan to individual plates as desired.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tuscan Food Vocab: First Courses

Primi piatti (First courses)

Here is our next edition into Italian food vocabulary. If you haven't guessed by now, Italian meals normally consist of 4 or 5 courses. They aren't what we think of as courses as they are only one food item. Today we are going to work on Tuscan first courses vocabulary. In Tuscany a first course can be a soup or a pasta. Below you will find some of the typical Tuscan first courses and just what they are!


Each region in Italy is famous for their particular pasta. Tuscany is no different. Below are a couple worth mentioning.

Pici- Are a thick, very thick, spaghetti like pasta. They can take up to 20 minutes to cook. If you order pici, I recommend doing so with a traditional Tuscan or Umbrian sauce. They are pretty heavy on the a second course may be too much after eating them!

Tortelli di patate- Probably my favorite kind of pasta. This is a ravioli filled with mashed potatoes and spiced lightly with nutmeg. The best sauces for the Tortelli are a simple red sauce or a butter and thyme sauce.

Sughi (sauces)

Tuscany is famous for its sauces that are inspired by the forest. The stereotypical Italian sauces can be found, but the native Tuscan sauces are much tastier.

Funghi porcini- This sauce is made with porcini mushrooms! These mushrooms are normally cultivated in the early Spring and early Fall. They have a very strong hearty taste to them. Although they can be frozen, and are pretty good that way too, I recommend trying to get some in the porcini season for an ultimate example. The sauce is normally with sliced porcini mushrooms, parsley, olive oil, and salt. This is a good sauce for vegetarians.

Tartufo- Tartufo sauce is normally made with ‘aromas’ as the tartufo, or truffle, is very expensive and strong to be eaten by itself.

Cinghiale-a sauce normally served in mid fall made with wild boar. This sauce is normally made like a normal meat sauce.

Boscaiola- This sauce is made with vegetables found in the forest---i.e. typical rag├╣ sauce but the meat may be substituted for mushrooms.

Tuscan Food Vocab: Antipasti

Ever wonder if what your really eating when your dining at one of the many 'authentic' Italian Restaurants at home? I can tell you that the stereotypical ' Italian dishes' are not so stereotypical this side of the boot. First of all 'Fettucini Alfredo' is not Italian at all, but most likely is the creation of some Italian immigrant to NYC. Spaghetti and meatballs is another dish you are more likely to find down south. So what exactly do they eat up in Tuscany. Here is what I've got.

Antipasti or Appetizers

Crostini-toasted bread, normally with some sort of topping

Bruschetta-toasted bread with olive oil and sometimes garlic. 2 misconceptions 1. Bruschetta is not pronounced Brushetta, but Brusketta, the ch in Italian makes the k sounds as there is no k in the Italian alphabet. 2. Bruschetta is normally just toasted bread, so it really just mean small toast.

Types of Crostini

al pomodoro-diced tomatoes

aglio- with a garlic spread

Toscano-a liver and anchovies mixtures

al tonno- with tuna, sometimes with artichokes on top.

Tuscan Bread

Normal Tuscan bread is fairly hard, sometimes teeth breaking, and un-salted. Tuscans feel that with all of their salted hams and salamis, salted bread is just too much.


Very salted bread made with olive oil, schiaciatta is a flat and soft bread. The bread can be eaten on its own or with ham and a mild pecorino cheese. The best schiaciatta in the province of Florence is located on the main street of a town called Chiesa Nuova. Schiaciatta is best when right out of the oven!

Prosciutto Toscano

Prosciutto Toscano is a cured ham. It is different from other proscuittos mainly because it is saltier than other kinds.