StudentsVille is very excited to announce our web partnership with WineTown 2013! Why? Because it means they’re giving us a bunch of free tasting cards and tickets to the fancy inauguration dinner – TO GIVE AWAY! (Check out details on how to win at the end of the article.)
The annual festival, now in its fourth season, will recreate a bit of the Renaissance in Florence’s city center, on May 17th and 18th, through song, stage, art, food, beer and… what are we forgetting? WINE.
We sat down with WineTown social media team member, Alessandro Benedetti, to get an insider’s tips on the weekend festivities:
12 of Florence’s most beautiful historic palaces will lend cloisters, loggias, courtyards, and gardens to WineTown’s tastings and performances.
While each site is unique and spectacular in itself, Alessandro urges you to visit Palazzo Pazzi Quaratesi, Palazzo Capponi delle Rovinate, and the Aula Ex Tribunale di San Firenze. WineTown is one of the only chances you’ll have to see them, as these locations aren’t normally open to the public.
Palazzo Pazzi Quaratesi once belonged to the Pazzi family, but fell out of their control after most were exiled due to the conspiracy of killing Giuliano de’ Medici and wounding his brother, Lorenzo. To this day, the building has remained very close to how it was left at the end of the 1400s. “No one wanted to live in the traitor’s palace,” explained Alessandro.
For a map and list of locations (with descriptions in Italian), take a look at this page from WineTown’s official site.
Wine (& Beer) Tasting
WineTown boasts over 100 different wines from 35 different cellars available for tasting from 15:00-23:00 each day, (Check out the list of participating wine cellars and where you can find them, here.) And if tons of vino doesn’t excite you (leave Italy ;)), this year, craft beer has been added to the mix! Alessandro wants you to know that this stuff is the real deal, “homemade” from small, traditional breweries.
But to get your lips on all this goodness, you’ll need a “WineCard.” They cost €15, and are good for one wine glass and five tastings of your choice (including beer). You can buy one inside any of the palaces where the tastings are taking place.
To save a little money, you can also get your WineCard at any Conad grocery store displaying WineTown promotions for €13. To save a little time, try booking one with your credit card online (max 5).
The card is rechargable, just €10 euro per 5 tastings after the initial purchase.
According to Alessandro, one, must-try white wine is: Vernaccia. He called it the “Italian equivalent to beer,” alluding to the fact that it’s deliciously refreshing and the go-to, easy-drinking summer beverage. If you’re more of a red wine-er, on the other hand, Alessandro suggests: San Giovese. The San Giovese grape is native the region, and apparently it’s a key ingredient in almost all Tuscan wines.
If you can’t decide, just head over to Palazzo Pitti (host to 16 out of 35 participating cellars) or fill your glass with anything from Marchesi Antinori cellar. In addition to being hosted in the very palace that belonged to their ancestors and still bears the family name – Palazzo Antinori – they’ve been making wine for TWENTY-SEVEN generations.
Music & Performances
All shows are FREE and open to the public. That’s right! You don’t need a WineCard to enjoy the 25 live music and artistic/theatrical performances (although it might just be the perfect accompaniment)! Most acts have multiple showtimes from 16:00-22:30. Click here for the concert program (in Italian), and here for the schedule of other performances (also in Italian).
Alessandro believes Jazz Lovers will get the most aural pleasure from either Jesper Bodilsen or the Enrico Rava quintet, while those who like to dance will have a blast with Che! Tango project, straight from Argentina. And the first-ever wandering string orchestra, Archimossi, knows how to put on a show that everyone can appreciate – and it’s not at all what you’d imagine. Last year they performed Michael Jackson’s, “Smooth Criminal.”
Street Food & Special Tastings
This year it’s goodbye markets, hello street food! Because it’s much more fun to watch famous Italian chefs whip up traditional Tuscan recipes (which you can then buy and eat) than it is to purchase the gourmet ingredients and cook them yourself.
You’ll find seven big names in Italian cuisine cooking “al fresco” in Piazza Pitti and under the Loggia del Grano. Alessandro suggests trying one of Luca Cai’s specialties (who you can find at the latter location). And considering he’s the owner of one of my favorite restaurants in Florence, Trattoria 4 Leoni, I’ll vouch for that!
And for dessert? WineTown is offering up two special tastings:
Spalmabile a Confronto (€15)
Friday May, 17 @ 17:00
A blind tasting of the 10 best Italian (and a few “intruder”) chocolate spreads, ending in a vote for the #1.
Reserve your spot, here.
Terre di Vino e di Cioccolato (€20)
Saturday, May 18 @ 18:30
Award-winning chocolatiers from the lands of wine & chocolate (Piedmont vs. Tuscany) let you taste 12 products that represent their region.
Reserve your spot, here.
Download The Official App (Free!)
“WineRoute Firenze” is now ready to be downloaded for free on Google Play. This free Android mobile app lets you browse the entire list of wine producers at WineTown 2013 and displays each one’s list of wines for tasting. Once you’ve found the label you’re looking for, just click the Google Maps icon and you’ll get a GPS route from your current position to that particular wine’s location. Easy. Free. And totally necessary. Navigating Florence’s narrow, cobblestone streets is hard enough with all your wits about you.
Visit the official WineTown website, like WineTown on Facebook, or follow @wine_town on Twitter, for sneak peeks and the latest event news!
Win Free Tastings! StudentsVille’s I Love Wine(town) Facebook Photo Contest
How to Participate:
Make sure you’ll be in Florence on May 16-18 and send us a picture that expresses how much you LOVE wine to firstname.lastname@example.org, with your FULL NAME and BIRTHDATE (as it appears on your ID), between now (May 2) and midnight on May 14 (Tuesday night).
Last year there was just one winner. This year, there are three!
- 1st prize: 2 WineCards (good for FIVE different wine tastings each for use on either (or both) day/s of the festival – May 17th & 18th) + 2 tickets to the WineTown Inauguration aperitivo (open wine bar and gourmet food prepared in front of you!) at LOFT E’ in Piazza del Carmine on May 16th at 20:00.
- 2nd prize: 2 WineCards (good for FIVE different wine tastings each for use on either (or both) day/s of the festival – May 17th & 18th)
- 3rd prize: 1 WineCard (good for FIVE different wine tastings for use on either (or both) day/s of the festival – May 17th & 18th)
How to Vote/Win:
Visit and like the StudentsVille Facebook page. All received pictures will be posted in an album titled “I LOVE WINE(town)!” at midnight on May 14 (Tuesday night). The top 3 photos that receive the most “likes” in 24 hours win prizes 1-3 (see list above), respectively! (Like are counted from midnight on May 14 to midnight on May 15 – i.e. all of WEDNESDAY).
The winners will be announced on the StudentsVille Facebook page and contacted by email just after midnight, May 15 (Wednesday night). They will be able to claim their free WineCards (good for 5 tastings each) by bringing a photo ID to the WineTown event ticket booth in the Florence city center, on either May 14 or May 15 (location will be sent to their personal email). The winner of tickets to the inauguration dinner will have their name on the list at the door at beautiful LOFT E’ in Piazza del Carmine.
What are you waiting for?
I bet you have, like, 1,000 pictures of you loving wine already, so why don’t you just send one to me at email@example.com, right now? Or, you can get creative like our favorite photo from last year:
Good luck and see you all at WineTown!