Figline Valdarno, set half way between Firenze and Arezzo, is a gorgeous medieval town, full of history and art: it was considered to be Firenze’s granary, gave birth to a famous philosopher of the Renaissance, Marsilio Ficino, and now is home to Sting. Figline has everything you need: history, art, delicious food and superb Chianti wine.
What do you miss most when you’re away?
Our delicious stone baked unsalted bread, and of course, our red wines (just what you need to survive 🙂 )
What’s the first thing you do when you go back?
First things first: a good long walk with Pablo, my sweet dog, through the hills surrounding the town; on Tuesdays Figline’s Street Market is a must: can’t resist buying our local groceries (pecorino cheese, organic fruits and veggies etc)
Where’s the best place to stay?
There are few places I would recommend : Villa Casagrande, a beautiful medieval villa right in the town centre; Villa Borghetta and Villa ″La Palagina″, just outside town, surrounded by olive trees and vineyards. All these places would make a perfect place for lunch and/or dinner as they serve typical and elegant meals, all made with organic products; simply delicious!!!
Best place for a cappuccino in the morning?
Definitely ″Pasticceria Fabbrini″, where you can get freshly made croissants and other local pastries together with a creamy cappuccino.
Where would you meet friends for a drink?
We usually meet for ″aperitivo″, right before dinner, for a glass of wine or, if you prefer, a nice cocktail in one of the many pubs and bars in the town centre. I particularly enjoy an aperitivo during spring/summertime, when the air is warm and you can sit outside chitchatting 🙂
What’s the best time to go to the main piazza?
I personally like to go to Piazza Marsilio Ficino early in the morning, as the smell of fresly baked bread and coffee fills the air and there are only a few people around…
What’s the most famous sculputure, painting or building ?
Oh, that’s hard to say… so many things to see…
You can start with a 13th century church, ″San Francis″, or have a walk in the town square, visiting the main church ″La Collegiata″ and the old ″Spedale Serristori″. I particularly love the small area inside ″Villa San Cerbone″ (the current hospital), the ″Spezieria dell’Ospedale Serristori″, which is an old pharmacy furnished with the original glasses, furniture and paintings… just amazing…
When is the best festival?
Figline hosts, amongst others, two great events : ″Il Perdono″, a 15th century tradition, when the four districts of the town (Porta Aretina, Porta Senese, Porta S.Francesco and Porta Fiorentina) compete in different medieval games; or ″Autumnia″ a food festival with stalls that come from all over Italy. It’s like a type of country fair or agricultural show.
What’s a typical saying of the town?
Fare come il Nardi, che di presto fece tardi
We say this when somebody is early, wastes his time, and ends up late
When is the best time to go?
May through September, maybe avoiding the hottest months (July and August). The surrounding countryside is rich and colourful, and the weather is outstanding!
Nearest Irish pub – embrace or avoid
I have two in mind: James’s Pub, which is in a nearby town, Terranuova Bracciolini, a cosy but very alive pub, and, Clancy’s, a true Guinness pub, a bit further up, in Miravalle.
For both of them I would absolutely say embrace!!!!
Most interesting historical titbit?
Figline was mentioned by Dante in the Divina Commedia where he referred to the three valleys from where farmers moved to the city.
“Ma la cittadinanza, ch’è or mista
di Campi, di Certaldo e di Fegghine,
pura vedíesi nell’ultimo artista.
Oh quanto fora meglio esser vicine
quelle genti ch’io dico, e al Galluzzo
e a Trespiano aver vostro confine, ″
(PARADISO – CANTO 16 verse 49)
“ The multitude, which now disgrace the name
Of FLORENTINE, from fair CERTALDO came,
From CAMPI’s Hills, and old FIGGHINE’s Mound ;
Mechanics vile, but factious, blind and bold :
Would Heav’n, that now, as in the days of old,
Deep TRESPIAN, with GALLUZZO, mark’d your bound.
Well, I have to say that we (me and my husband) chose Cork because it seemed to be suited to the way we like to live, and I’m glad to say that we were absolutely right! This is the place we have chosen as our home now.
A funny thing is that when I was in Italy I was tutoring secondary school students, but only on my spare time; once I moved here the passion for teaching Italian as a foreign language has flourished. In fact, I’ve decided to dedicate myself to this full time and make my ‘passion’ become a job.
As a matter of fact I’m just about to become a certified Teacher of Italian as a Foreign Language. So Cork made me closer to my roots and its people made me discover the beauty of my home language.
Thank you Cork!!!
Silvia, who gives private lessons and conversation classes, can be contacted by email: