Author: Helen Farrell

Editor-in-Chief of The Florentine, Helen writes about food, wine and all things literary. She is also a freelance contributor to Decanter. Email her at and follow her on Instagram @helencfarrell.
January 16, 2014

National round-up

Italian prime minister Enrico Letta and new leader of the Partito Democratico (PD) Matteo Renzi are discussing key issues such as electoral legislation, the so-called jobs act and a government reshuffle, and they appear to be in agreement about the need for swift and decisive action. Letta commented, ‘
December 12, 2013

Renzi wins landslide victory in PD primaries

Speaking at Florence’s Obihall, backed by the slogan of his electoral campaign in inverted letters, ‘L’Italia cambia verso’ [Italy changes direction], new Democratic Party leader Matteo Renzi thanked the people of Italy, his wife and his opponents.   With 67.8 percent of the

Concordia commemorated

Tuscany recently paid tribute to the memory of the 32 people who lost their lives in the Costa Concordia shipwreck that occurred on January 13, 2012.   A laurel wreath bearing the words Comune Isola del Giglio (Municipality of Giglio Island) was placed in the sea in front of the

What a beauty!

1989 was the last year in which an Italian film (Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso) won a Golden Globe. Now Paolo Sorrentino’s La grande bellezza has put an end to the 25-year drought. It has also been nominated for Best Foreign Film at the upcoming Oscars. &

A not so ‘Merry’ Christmas

Until January 6, bars in the old city centre of Florence and in the Cascine park are not allowed to sell alcoholic drinks from 9pm to 6am.   Prefect Luigi Varratta signed off on the legislation, which prohibits both sale of alcohol to drink on the premises and to take

An interview with Riccardo Maccolini

A feeling of togetherness and tranquillity pervades Palazzo Tornabuoni the moment you step inside off the busy thoroughfare of via degli Strozzi. I spoke with Riccardo Maccolini, who recently became the president of private residence Club Tornabuoni, returning home to Florence after a long spell working in fashion and retail

New old-school Uffizi

For visitors to the Uffizi Gallery who are short on time but eager to take in the highlights of the famed museum, there's an app for that... the Uffizi Art History Guide.   The easy-to-use app for IOS devices (there is also Kindle e-book version) lists

Snow news

Many of those who enjoy skiing in Tuscany know that the Toscana Neve website ( provides full snow reports for the ski areas throughout the region. Now some handy apps have been developed to allow skiers to check weather, slope conditions and more.   The mountain section of
November 21, 2013

Identity regenerator

For centuries, the city's niches and shrines have been regarded as sacred places. Yet today, the original meaning of many of these tabernacles has been lost, and they have become increasingly invisible in the complexities of the cityscape. Although many still contain faded frescoes or votive offerings behind glass,

Coffee culture

In 2012, Italians spent 35 percent of their entire food budget at cafés and restaurants, higher than the 32 percent average for the European Union.   Forget Facebook and Twitter: this face-to-face social network is alive and kicking, and somewhat twitchy, given its caffeine intake. But