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Golf in Italy’s brand new guide to discover Tuscany in 2019 – Part 1

Golf in Italy’s brand new guide to discover Tuscany in 2019 – Part 1

Golf in Italy’s brand new guide to discover Tuscany in 2019 – Part 1 3919 2634 Golf in Italy

Tuscany is one of the most famous regions in Italy thanks to its historical heritage, its cultural heritage and its gastronomy. As Tuscany is one of the regions that we promote most, we felt obliged to compile a special list, in which you will not find the classic points of interest, but rather you will receive something that only those who really know the authentic Tuscany could suggest.

1. Lampredotto Sandwich – Old School Street Food 

Tuscany is famous for being the home of authentic Italian food. One of these is the sandwich with lampredotto, a delicacy of ancient origins.

Volognana Tower (1255) and Bargello palace (1261) in Florence. Photo by C. Raso / P.D. 1.0

A jealous secret in the heart of Florence

The centre of Florence, a UNESCO world heritage site since 17 December 1982 (link) hosts a secret: the beloved Panino con Lampredotto.

The origins of Lampredotto Sandwich dates back to the XV century, where this meal was already mentioned in the chronicles, where it was cooked in smoky shops near the river Arno. At that time, when hunger was a much more serious issue than today, the lampredotto sandwich was a good answer for the hungry people with little money available.

Firenze-Campanile-SantaMaria

At the top of the Campanile of Santa Maria del Fiore’s in Florence /Photo by Maaelick / CC BY-SA 2.0

But, what is lampredotto exactly made of?

The sandwich with the lampredotto is composed of a key element of Tuscan cuisine, the tripe. Tripe is nothing more than the fourth and final stomach of a bovine, the Abomasum. In the Tuscan culinary tradition, tripe and puppa (the udder of the bovine) are the basis of many recipes, such as tripe alla fiorentina (tomato and parmesan), lampredotto in inzimino (with chard) or all’uccelletto (with sausage, beans and tomato).

Lampredotto Sandwich

A classic lampredotto sandwich seasoned with green sauce. /Photo by alchen_x / CC BY-SA 2.0

The classic Lampredotto Sandwich is nothing more than a crispy sandwich, slightly soaked inside with broth, and stuffed with boiled innards, seasoned with salt and black pepper! One of the most popular and modern versions of the lampredotto sandwich is accompanied by a tasty slightly spicy green sauce, which enhances the flavor of the meat in a heavenly way, try it!

Okay, I’m starving now. Which are the best places to eat it?

You are lucky, because in Florence there are plenty of opportunities to eat an excellent sandwich with lampredotto! In particular, we recommend you:

lantico

L’Antico Trippaio. /Photo by grobery / CC BY 2.0

  1. Trippaio del Porcellino – Via di Capaccio, 50123, Firenze (FI), Italia
  2. L’antico Trippaio – Piazza de Cimatori, 50122, Firenze (FI), Italia
  3. Da ‘Vinattieri: Via Santa Margherita 4r, 50122, Firenze (FI), Italia

Let us know if you enjoyed it!

GOLF TIP: Poggio De’ Medici G.C. – Via Di S. Gavino 27, 50038, Scarperia e San Piero, Florence

Set among the splendid hills of Mugello, the Poggio Dei Medici Golf Club has a spectacular and entertaining course. Comprising 2 groups of 9 holes, first 9 par 37 and second ones 36, it offers a variety of decidedly unusual game situations. The course has been designed both as an introduction for beginners and as a challenge for good players and champions who will be invited to take part in the competitions to be held here. Lakes, bunkers, streams and clumps of trees have been created, not only to create technical obstacles but also to form a visual horizon that is unique in its harmony and charm. The first 9 holes were opened for play in Spring ’94, together with the practice ground, with pitching and putting green, and the club house in Villa di Cignano which has been completely restored, fully respecting its fifteenth-century lines.

Comment read on the Peugeot Golf Guide

Florence is a little more than just the city of Florence; there is also some wonderfully sweet and charming countryside where everything is visual and natural harmony; In the middle of hills covered with vines, olive, pine and cypress trees, and in a land of sophisticated food and admirable wines, you could be forgiven for thinking that time has stood still. The name of this course (“The Hill of the Medici”) sums up both the history and landscape of Florence. However, the trees here will need to grow a little before the course fully matures. It was opened in 1992 over very wide open space and designed by the Italian champion Baldovino Dassù and course architect Alvise Rossi Fioravanti. They have showed a great deal of imagination in the way they used the terrain, contoured the fairways and greens and brought hazards into play, namely rough, sand and water. A very hilly course which is better played by the fitter golfer, and a difficult one, too, where the fronts tees are to be advised.


2. Vagli di Sotto – An eventful history

The small town in the province of Lucca boasts a troubled history since the dawn of the first millennium BC. Let’s discover together what it is.

Lake Vagli Aerial View

Lake Vagli. /Photo by D. Papalini / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Garfagnana, a disputed land

Since the first millennium BC, the historic Italian region of Garfagnana has been the scene of numerous disputes, due to the wealth of resources of the territory. From the people of Ligurians/Apuans to the Etruscans, from the Byzantines to the military supremacy of the Lombards, and from the Ghibelline nobility of Pisa to the possession of Lucca in 1451, the entire area was then administered by the Este family for generations. The Garfagnana, historical region of central Italy, is now located in the province of Lucca, in an area rich in forests and trails at the foot of the Apuan Alps and the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. Vagli Sotto is a charming old village overlooking Lake Vagli, and is connected by two bridges that connect the two shores of the basin: the bridge Morandi (built in the mid-twentieth century) and the recent Tibetan Bridge suspended.

Apuan Alps with fog

Apuan Alps. / Photo by Philipp Schlabs on Unsplash

Fabbriche di Careggine, the sunken village

Although it is completely submerged and invisible, the history of this village no longer forgotten is an atypical point of interest and little known to most tourists who venture into Tuscany. The only opportunity you will have to see the submerged remains of a bell tower or the roof of a house is when Enel, Italian multinational manufacturer and distributor of electricity and gas, decides to drain the lake for reasons of maintenance of the nearby dam. Maintenance work on the dam is becoming increasingly rare (the last was carried out in 1994), so we recommend a visit during the summer, when the water level of the lake reaches its minimum. The village Fabbriche di Careggine, of thirteenth-century origin, was founded by a colony of master ironworkers from Brescia.

Vagli di Sotto-The Sunken Village-Fabbriche di Careggine

A rare view of Fabbriche di Careggine. / Photo by Robyfra1

The dam, a historical event

The dam, built in 1947 and 1953, was built to control the water flow of the Edron stream and to provide electricity to the entire area. This is how the very young Lago di Vagli was born. The construction of the dam was to the detriment of the village of Fabbriche di Careggine, whose exodus of the inhabitants to the nearest bank went to repopulate the now semi-abandoned village of Vagli di Sotto, an ecosystem of alleys, squares and beautiful views.

Vagli di Sotto's Dam Aerial View

Lake Vagli’s dam. / Photo by D. Papalini / CC BY-SA 2.0

GOLF TIP: Versilia G.C. – Via delle Sipe 100, 55045, Pietrasanta, Lucca

In the heart of Versilia and at only 1 hour and a half from Vagli di Sotto, the Versilia Golf Club, designed by John Harris with the help of Marco Croze, is a 72 par course. The course is suitable both for amateurs and professionals due to the placing of its tees.The 18 holes are developed on an area of about 53 hectares and unwind over 5,878 meters and leave available area for a covered driving range and putting greens. The characteristics of this golf course are not usually found in Italy. In fact, they are more common in the States, especially in the Southern states such as Florida. This is due to the abundant presence of water in this area. For this reason, many holes are concerned with water obstacles, and not just small ponds, but also vast surfaces which can remarkably affect the play. Due to a particular choice of trees and plants, the setting looks natural, not forced.

Versilia Golf Club - Pond View

Versilia Golf Club


3. San Miniato – A strategic position

San Miniato, or as it was called in the Middle Ages San Miniato al Tedesco because of the Teutonic domination of the area during the early Middle Ages, is a small village born in a strategic position on a hill halfway between Florence and Pisa.

San Miniato - Village Centre

San Miniato. / Photo by I. Geri

San Miniato, a Langobardic Origin

In addition to the obvious Roman and Etruscan origins, the original nucleus of the city dates back to the seventh century and is founded by the Lombard people. The city, of ancient Ghibelline tradition, was built around its church, dedicated to the martyr Miniato. Long disputed between Florence and Pisa, it fell and finally swore allegiance to the Guelph Florence in 1370. The village still has many historical traces represented by the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and San Genesio, built in 1200 and hit by an unfortunate bombing in 1944, the Tower of San Miniato, built by Frederick II and become a symbol of the village. Another attraction not to be missed is the Convent of San Francesco, donated by the local nobles to San Francesco d’Assisi himself. The list of monuments and points of interest, as well as the history and famous people of the village is endless and impossible to summarize in a few lines.

Matildes

Matilde’s Tower in San Miniato / Photo by I. Geri

San Miniato and the Truffle Festival

San Miniato is renowned for its most famous national and international product: the white truffle, the most prized variety of truffle. Every year in San Miniato is set up the unmissable Festival of White Truffles, usually around the last three weeks of November, the period of collection of this delicacy.

The exquisite White Truffle from San Miniato

White Truffle. /Photo by M. Simoncini / CC-BY 2.0

 In this period you will have the opportunity to buy the most varied truffle products and to taste the most delicious truffle dishes offered by local restaurants. San Miniato holds a curious Guinness World Record, the one of the biggest truffle, which boasted a weight of 2.5kg! 2019 will be a very important year for this festival, as it will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci. For this occasion, San Miniato will forge a culinary alliance with the city of Vinci, home of the Italian genius, which will be manifested through the recipe of Acquarosa, invented by the famous inventor, starring the white truffle.

White Truffle and White Marble – Exhibition (10th November – 7th January)

In 2019 in San Miniato, the protagonist will also be the marble of Querceta (Seravezza) of the Henraux Foundation. From November the 10th to January the 7th nine sculptures of the Foundation will be exhibited, which will create a cultural journey through the picturesque squares, alleys and gardens featuring works by Park Eun Sun, Daniele Guidugli, Helidon Xhixha, Francesca Pasquali, Fabio Viale, Mattia Bosco, Mikayel Ohanjanyan, Kim De Ruysscher and many others.

White Marble from San Miniato

White Marble. / Photo by J. John / CC BY 2.0

GOLF TIP: Le Pavoniere G.C. – Via Traversa del Crocifisso, 59100, Prato

The Golf Club Le Pavoniere lies 3 kilometres far from Prato, the ancient industrial and manufacturing centre very close to Florence that, especially in recent years, has become a leading figure on the Tuscan economic scene. Besides many important memories of the past centuries, the town of Prato also possesses one of the very rare Italian museums of contemporary art, the Pecci Foundation, where from time to time very important exhibitions  are held of the works of the major world-famous artists of our times. The town lies in the plain, bathed by the river Arno and crossed by the motorway that links Florence with the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea and Versilia. The area around the club has many nurseries and is intensively farmed: it is rich in water which has been used on the golf course to create several obstacles. Filling material has been used to make the terrain gently undulating, while other features include a wood of holm-oaks, cluster pines and the ever-present cypresses of Tuscany.

A radical transformation changed the original 6-hole course into a fascinating 18-hole course designed by the famous U.S. champion Arnold Palmer.

Comment read on the Peugeot Golf Guide

After a good look at Florence, it is time to head west of the city and discover Montecatini Terme, a pretty spa resort for treating people suffering from too much Bistecca alla Fiorentina or Chianti, and particularly Prato, for many a year overshadowed by Florence but nonetheless a town of many attractions. Visit Duomo, the Palazzo Pretorio, or the amazing fortress of Castello dell’Imperatore. Or again, a few miles further on, play Le Pavoniere, opened in 1986 and designed by Arnold Palmer, as was Castello di Tolcinasco in Lombardy. You can feel Arnie’s highly strategic inspiration, where hazards are very cleverly brought into play, and his excellent knowledge of players of differing abilities. All the same, the less experienced players might suffer a little here anyway. Although rather flat, the course is subtle enough to be played and enjoyed often, and the greens big enough to offer very many different pin positions.

Le Pavoniere G.C - View from the bar

Le Pavoniere G.C


4. Antinori Winery – The Best Chianti Winery Tours

The Antinori are an ancient noble family originally from Florence and their family business is one of the oldest in the world, along with the Ricasoli family, also dedicated to the production of wine. The long family history of the family boasts titles of marquisate and duchy.

Antinori Family's coat of arms

Antinori Family’s coat of arms

The ancient and the modern, 2 sides of the same coin

The first time that the name Antinori appeared in the chronicles dates back to 1179, through the ancestor Accarisio di Antinoro di Combiate, originally from Combiate, located near Florence. The economic and social rise of the family took place in 1269, when Feo di Antinoro became a member of the Silk Guild of Florence, one of the most important commercial guilds of the time. 1385 was the key year for the Antinori family: Giovanni di Piero Antinori joined the Guild of Florentine Winemakers Guild. Wine production became the core activity of the family: in 1491 the family produced over 40 barrels of wine a year. Today, the Antinori family continues in its mission, trading wine nationally and internationally, keeping the flag of Italian culinary quality high.

Antinoris

Antinori’s Winery and Vineyard. /Photo by fabian.kron / CC BY-ND 2.0

Cantine Antinori, between Wine and Design

The new Antinori Winery architecture can be considered a masterpiece of modern design. Completed in 2012, after seven years of work, the new headquarters of the Antinori cellars are located in Bargino, in Chianti Classico. The new structure, which extends horizontally, was designed to assume the properties of the territory in which it is located, making its typical Tuscan colours. The structure is little visible from the outside, and is surrounded by vineyards of Chianti Classico, Sangiovese, Mammolo, Malvasia Nera, Colorino, Canaiolo and Ciliegiolo. The interior, which houses the cellar with its barriques, offices, the area for bottling wine, an auditorium and a museum, the entry of light is allowed by horizontal cuts in the ground. The Antinori Winery is part of the Toscana Wine Architecture circuit, which promotes the most famous wineries in the area.

Cantine Antinori from the inside

Cantine Antinori from the inside. / Photo by F. Folini / CC BY-SA 2.0

A Branded Tuscany Wine Tour

Needless to say, it is possible to book a tour including tastings of some typical labels from Antinori’s estates: Mezzo Braccio (Toscana IGT), Pian delle Vigne (Rosso di Montalcino DOC) and Villa Antinori (Chianti Classico DOCG Riserva). The visit focuses on the history of viticulture and the history of the Antinori family, and takes place both outside and inside the structure. For more information click here.

GOLF TIP: Circolo Golf Firenze Ugolino – Via Chiantigiana per Str. 3, 50023, Impruneta

The Golf Club dell’Ugolino lies in one of the finest parts of Italy and one of the most famous (especially abroad) for its landscapes and for human aspects too. Just a short distance from Florence, Chianti offers scenery of incomparable beauty, combining its gentle green cultivated hills with the presence of castles and farmhouses that bear witness to the deep-rooted love of the Tuscan people for nature. The many vineyards in these hills produce one of the world’s best known wines with an excellent quality; several famous producers have enriched their centuries of experience with the latest innovations in wine-making techniques. The Ugolino Club has a prestigious 18-hole course, length 5728 metres, par 72, in the fine setting of the Chianti hills: in many points you can lift your eyes from your game for a moment and let them range over the hills on the far horizon. The first nine holes lie on a terrain with various differences in gradient, while the second nine lie on more level ground, though this does not make them any less demanding.

Comment read on the Peugeot Golf Guide

The Circolo Golf Firenze (Florence Golf Club) is the oldest in Italy but opened here only in 1933. Designed by Blandford & Gannon, it was subsequently altered by Piero Mancinelli. This is a very pleasant site with a great day’s golfing assured. We would simply advise a buggy for players whose physical condition is not what it was, as the course is rather hilly. For today’s professionals, Ugolino is doubtless a little short, but this is an excellent course for amateur tournaments, where accuracy counts for much more than brute strength. The par 3s are rather long, but there is also an impressive group of short par 4s, where you might be tempted to think about birdies. Whether or not you make them remains in some doubt, as the greens are generally small, well contoured and well protected. Ugolino is by no means an example of modernity but it certainly deserves a visit, even if a trip to Florence, one of the world’s finest cities, leaves little time for sport. Certainly worth a try… together, of course, with a glass of local Chianti wine.

Firenze Ugolino G.C.

Firenze Ugolino G.C.


5. Andrea Bocelli’s Teatro del Silenzio – The Purest shape of Art

Silence has become a luxury that we can rarely afford. The Theatre of Silence in Lajatico is a tribute by the famous Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli to this rare condition.

Lajatico surroundings

Lajatico surroundings. /Photo by Anita / CC BY 2.0

Silence reigns 364 days a year

That’s right, the peculiarity of this place used as an amphitheater is that there is only one show per year, leaving the silence of the king of the Tuscan countryside for the remaining 364 days of the year. Probably the idea that started the project comes from a studio of the painter Edward Hopper, who loved to represent silence in his paintings in different forms.

A few days before the staging of the show are set up both stage and an audience of about 8000 seats immediately disassembled the next day, to alter as little as possible the natural setting of the place. One of the most famous concerts held in this place was called “Concerto del Sole” (Concert of the Sun), in which personalities from the musical world participated, such as the Italian Renato Zero and Goran Bregovic.

Igor Mitoraj - Teatro del Silenzio

Igor Mitoraj – Teatro del Silenzio

Andrea Bocelli, Lajatico and the Statues

The Teatro del Silenzio, inaugurated on July 27, 2006, was strongly desired by the popular tenor singer Andrea Bocelli, originally from Lajatico, a small Italian town in the province of Pisa. At the center of the building is installed a different art installation every year: the most famous, so suggestive as to become the symbol of the Theatre of Silence, is that of the Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj for the set design of a Manon Lescaut by Puccini. The sculpture represents an imposing human face, donated later to the foundation Teatro del Silenzio. Another extremely popular installation took place in 2013, when two statues called Presenze (Presences) were installed, made with ecological materials by the designers of Naturaliter. The town of Lajatico has certainly benefited from the entrepreneurship of its illustrious citizen and the flow of high-level artistic tourism, making it one of the richest Italian municipalities in Italy!

Presences by Naturaliter

Presenze / Photo by I. Geri

Il 2019, what happens here?

In 2019 the 14th edition of the Teatro del Silenzio will be celebrated, surprisingly, with two dates, due to the exceptional amount of bookings received. The days concerned will be:

  • Thursday, 25th July – 20,30 (Sold out)
  • Saturday, 27th July – 20,30

The title of this year’s concert will be titled “Ali di Libertà” (Wings of Freedom) by Alberto Bartalini, and the artistic direction will again be assigned to the eclectic artist Luca Tommassini, former choreographer of X Factor, Madonna and Michael Jackson. Obviously, Maestro Bocelli will be the absolute protagonist of the show, accompanied, for the first time, by his son Matteo Bocelli, talent of the international pop scene thanks to the single “Fall on me”, sung with his father. This year the rich program also offers a multisensory experience aimed at reinventing the opera through its most famous performers and the most popular classics, presented in an innovative format, in a thrilling landscape.

Buy 11AM (Italian Time) tickets from Saturday 5 by clicking here.

Andrea Bocelli singing

Maestro Bocelli

GOLF TIP: Castelfalfi G.C. – Località Castelfalfi, 50050, Montaione

Tuscany is a secret paradise for golfers. Many courses in the region were developed in the nineties, taking advantage of the natural landscape, and Castelfalfi is home to one of the most spectacular in Italy and the biggest in Tuscany.

The Golf Club Castelfalfi has 27 holes and more than 9,400 square meters of hillsides and meadow set amongst olive groves.

The 18-hole Mountain Course (Par 72) covers 6,351 square meters with steep slopes and water hazards, making it one of the exciting Italian layouts and a big attraction to golfers from around the world. The course was redesigned to complement the natural landscape of the area, giving each hole its own character, and with the existing vegetation which provides a sense of privacy to each fairway.

The 9-hole Lake Course (Par 37), opened in November 2011, is suitable for every level of experience.

Both courses were designed by the award-winning architects Moroder and Preissmann.

Castelfalfi G.C. aerial view

Castelfalfi G.C.


We hope you enjoyed our first article on what to do between golf matches! Tuscany is one of the best places to visit in Italy, but very difficult to discover in depth without the advice of those who know the territory as the palm of his hands.

We look forward to recommending other Tuscan highlights!

Have a good game!

Your Golf in Italy Team

I have found the game to be, in all factualness, a universal language wherever I traveled at home or abroad
– Ben Hogan

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