VINAINO TOUR: DISCOVERING MARKETS, POPULAR TRADITIONS AND ANTIQUE WINE SHOPS
Are you tired of visiting museums and seeing Renaissance art? Would you like to taste the flavours of Florence, to discover the traditions and the humanity of our town through the eyes of the local people, and, most of all, is it not the right time for a couple glasses of wine? This is the Vinaino Tour (a vinaino is an old street wine vendor), a “goliardic” tour to discover Florence with new eyes and pass your time in good company. The right tour for right travellers.
What we see together:
- The Old Market. We will step back into a Florence of street merchants, tradesmen, groceries, marketplaces and brothels, where selling some meet without paying duty or revealing to foreigners merchants the undisclosed secrets of silk dyeing could deal you a public flogging in Old Market (Piazza Repubblica)… One of the oldest market of Florence took place in front of Strozzi Palace: this is why in the past this area was called “Piazza delle Cipolle”, i.e. “Onions Square”.
- The New Market. This Loggia was built around 1547; originally, silk and precious items where sold here, followed by the famous Florentine straw hats from 1800. Dishonest merchants and debtors were punished here with the so-called “acculata” (we will explain to you what it litterary means in Italian, but nothing pleasant at all!) .
- The Ponte Vecchio. In 1442, the City authorities ordered the butchers to move and gather in the shops on the old bridge to separate them from the city centre and protect the beauty and life of the city itself….
- Piazza della Signoria. This area was once a popular area with narrow streets, chiassi (small narrow streets), and homes with many levels crowed with poor people. In addition, the area was animated by several prostitutes and a famous inn called “della Baldracca” (Inn of the prostitute). Here we will stop at one of the oldest wine inns of the city, where we will relax drinking a gottino (local measure glass) of wine (better if it’s a Chianti!) and eating a crostino or some cheese, as all the Florentine people do since ages.
- The Buonuomini Oratory. It was the firts seat of the Winemakers’ Guild, that was founded in 1293 with a precise statute, that prohibited gambling and prostitution in the wine inss. We will discover some unique and hidden Renaissance frescos in the little oratory, seat, later on, of a brotherhood that aimed to help decayed families embarassed of begging in public (the so-called “poor ashamed”).
- Orsanmichele Church and the Florentine arts. Orsanmichele was the former local barn and it was converted into a church used as the chapel of Florence’s powerful craft and trade guilds )Wool and silk traders, bankers, merchants, magistrates, butchers, winemakers, furriers, masons, smiths,…).
- The “buchette del vino” (wine hatches). We go and look for the proper places where wine was sold directly in the past. Wine and oil surplus of the rich Florentine families were brought to the city and kept in the cellars. At the height of the cellars, small doors were opened so as to let just a small glass or at the maximum a flask of wine go through.
- Piazza San Giovanni. We will admire Giotto’s bell tower, where all the human activities are displayed, such as masonry, pharmacy, weaving and oratory.
- The Mercato Centrale. In the 19th century, following the significant increase in Florence population and the destruction of the old market to have Piazza Repubblica, there was a high need for bigger markets. Here, we will toast with the last gottino and maybe a lampredotto sandwich (lamprey…sounds bad, tastes good!) to round off our walk and experience the real Florentine tradition.