Author: Helen Farrell

Editor-in-Chief of The Florentine, Helen writes about food, wine and all things literary. Helen manages The Florentine's translation and copywriting department. She is also a freelance contributor to Decanter, Newsweek and Der Feinschmecker. Email her at and follow her on Instagram @helencfarrell.
September 11, 2017

Best eats in the San Niccolò area

Feeling peckish after a wander through Florence’s calmest and perhaps prettiest downtown district? Try these hotspots.   I’ Pizzacchiere (via San Miniato, 2) Alfredo and Natascia serve up inexpensive and intriguing pizzas in this seven-table space. Plumb for the cheese feast “Tigre Bianca” or “Calzone Ponte Vecchio” (ham, sausage and onion). Website   Enoteca Fuori […]

On “mescita”

If you’ve ever eaten in San Niccolò, likely it was a hearty Florentine affair among amici at the Osteria Antica Mescita. On the table a fiasco flowing with rough-around-the-edges red wine, the sort that makes Florence living tantalize like the Holy Grail. Mescita is a Tuscan word with an etymology worth wandering into. In its […]
September 9, 2017

Giardino Piero Filippi: a San Niccolò story

Sanniccolini proudly take their children there for play dates. Giardino della Carraia is a breath of fresh air extending up the hill from Porta San Miniato. The name comes from the fact that it was once a carriage track that led as far as Ponte a Ema. Up until the 1970s it was known as […]
September 6, 2017

Art as an invitation

Autumn 2017 at the Uffizi means a new exhibition in the Sala del Camino. Titled “Drawings by Luca Giordano and Taddeo Mazzi for two important monastic complexes”, the show impresses upon visitors just how closely bound Florence’s foremost art gallery is to its surroundings. Luca Giordano, Sant’Andrea Corsini presented by the Virgin Mary is welcomed […]
September 2, 2017

Eike Schmidt to leave the Uffizi

Uffizi Gallery director Eike Schmidt to leave foremost Florentine museum to head up Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum.
July 18, 2017

Contemporary cantine: Capalbio è vino

You’d be forgiven for never having heard of Capalbio. Until now, that is. 45 kilometres southeast of Grosseto and just 10 minutes from the Lazio border, earliest records of this picturesque Tuscan border town date to 805 CE when it was donated to the Tre Fontane Abbey, near Rome, by Charlemagne. History aside, the town […]
July 10, 2017

Summer eats in the city

BY THE ARNO Ph. Helen Farrell   Executive Chef Andrea Quagliarella prepares quietly impressive dishes at five-star Villa La Massa’s riverside hotel restaurant. Open to non-guests, arrive before dinner for a creative cocktail made using Santa Maria Novella pharmacy elixirs, segued by niche and well-informed wine waitering over the candlelit cuisine. Ristorante Il Verrocchio at […]
July 6, 2017

The natives

Native grapes have become a thing on the Italian wine scene, even if they have been around longer than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. “Ah, it was made in purezza”, a wine lover sighs, as if Tuscany’s finest wines have always been made from 100% Sangiovese and blending was so last century. Producers like a […]

The Obama sommelier

Filippo Bartolotta is a humble guy, down to earth, dynamic and utterly devoted to his passion and profession: wine. These qualities earned him the privilege of selecting and serving wines to Barack and Michelle Obama during their recent Tuscan stay at former U.S. Ambassador to Italy John R. Phillips’ estate Borgo Finocchieto, near Buonconvento.   […]
July 5, 2017

France in Florence

Liberty, equality, fraternity: the French national motto since the Revolution. These three words resound now more than ever in France and beyond on the eve of July 14, Bastille Day. Reflective determination was the mood that emerged during a recent conversation with Isabelle Mallez, honorary French consul and director of the Institut Français, and three […]