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IMPORTANT INFORMATION » Our Monthly Newsletter ITA -

Palazzo Pitti

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Rent, Sell and Manage Properties in Florence and Tuscany
NEWSLETTER – April 2010
April – A month for celebrations. We celebrate the arrival of spring with the fields turning vibrant green and Tuscany’s incredible “tulip” magnolia trees in full bloom, and at P & F we are celebrating six years and 72 issues of newsletters.

This month we offer a wide selection of flower and bonsai exhibitions, craft and kite fairs, movies, music and dance events, plus many ways to enjoy getting out of town and into the gorgeous Tuscan countryside. Watch for shops and banks to be closed on April 25th (Liberation Day), and Saturday May 1 (Labor Day). Thanks as always to the many friends who continue to send in dining and event suggestions. We welcome comments and ideas of all kinds. Send to newsletter@pitcherflaccomio.com.

SUZANNE, CORSO, SANDRA, LORI, ANNA PIA, KIMBERLY and MARIO send all our very best for a positive, productive and happy spring.

For the week of Fri. 16 to Sun. 25, Italy celebrates its cultural patrimony by opening all state-run museums admission-free. The list of these museums in Florence happily includes: the Uffizi; the Pitti Palace museums (Palatine, Silver and Porcelain museums, and the Costume Gallery); the Accademia; Bargello, Archaeological Museum; the Medici Chapels; San Marco Museum; and the Semi-Precious Stone Inlay Museum (Opificio delle Pietre Dure).

Sunday 18, join St. James for the annual Spring Fair from 12:30 to 5:00 pm. There will be a barbecue lunch, books for sale, Mary Ann's Treasure Trove, a Bake Sale, New Boutique & Jewelry, Children's Activities, plus Nearly New and Vintage Clothing and Accessories.
Earmark your "5 x 1000" to "Amici di St. James in Florence" http://stjames.it/donate/5x1000 - If you pay taxes in Italy, you can support our non-profit association "Amici di St. James in Florence" by using the "5 x 1000" line on your tax return. Simply sign the relevant box on your tax return form and indicate the 'codice fiscale' (tax ID number) for Amici di St. James in Florence: 94138720480. There is no financial implication to you for doing this; funds from the "5 x 1000" that are not specifically allocated for non-profit associations are left to the government. St. James, Via Rucellai 9, info@stjames.it, www.stjames.it,

Florence International Theatre Company offers playwriting workshops in English and Italian for children through adults, at Palazzo Strozzi. We kindly ask you to consider participating in this event and sending your children who might enjoy finding a creative expression of their imaginations into the world of de Chirico and theatre. Playwriting is an art form not practiced as much as it should be in Italy. Yet it offers an enormous opportunity for understanding process and self-exploration and expression. This is a 'taste' of that process. I also ask you if you are associated with any schools or institutions, or groups from ages 8 through adult who might enjoy doing this together to please pass the word. Thank you for your help in bringing theatre more into the center of the cultural life of Florence!
With regards,
Florence: a dream in one act: The evocative public spaces of Giorgio de Chirico’s paintings will be used as a starting point for a creative workshop run by the Florence International Theatre Company, which invites aspiring playwrights young and old to create their own visions of contemporary Florence. The workshops will begin in the exhibition with focused discussion and activities in front of the works of art, before moving into the studios where theatre professionals will take participants through a series of exercises and guide them through the process of writing a short one-act play. The best scripts will be published online and presented in a public performance in the courtyard of Palazzo Strozzi before the exhibition closes July 18.
The workshops offered IN ENGLISH for the following age groups:
Ages 8-10: Saturday, April 10, 15.00-18.30
Adults: Thursday, April 22, 17.00-20.30
Reservations required, maximum participation 15 pp. Participation is free with admission. Admission to the exhibition: €4,00 per child, free for children aged 6 and under; €8,00 for adults. Special Family tickets are also available for €20,00 and allow 2 adults + 2 kids aged 6 to 18 to visit the exhibition as often as they like. Tel. 055 2469600. prenotazioni@cscsigma.it

FOOTBAAAALLL!! by Simon Clark and Anne Brooks
Forza Viola!..........What’s going on behind the scenes? On the pitch, Capitano Montolivo is leading a drive up the table; backstage is leaking signs of stress and fracture. The media have been stirring their occult spoon in a cauldron awash with rumours of Juventus poaching Prandelli. Coach and club had been making soothing noises but there seems to have been a rammie [NB a Scottish term meaning a set-to or fisticuffs] between Cesare and President Diego della Valle. The della Valle/Prandelli/Corvino triangle isn’t managing itself as well as the soldiers on the pitch......
Serie A. Week 27 and the customary grudge match against Juventus at the Stadio. It looked like our recent revival was faltering as the Nerazzurri rushed ahead after just 2 minutes but Fiorentina piled on the pressure and Marchionni equalised 10 minutes before the break. The second half shaped a similar pattern. Juventus re-took the lead and we came back strongly. This time, though, we couldn’t manage a goal and that meant we’d taken just one point of Juve this year.
Crunch time at Napoli. They are good and a hard nut to crack in their home fastness but Fiorentina were buoyed by the win over Bayern Munich. The first half was uneventful aside from a trademark miracle from Sebastien Frey; the second half was anything but. From the restart, Kroldrup was caught napping and Napoli stole the lead. This prompted Prandelli into substitutions – including 16-year old Babacar – and a bit of reorganisation. This is what he gets paid for! On the hour, good work by Babacar, a sly cross from Jovetic and Gila steals in to equalise. On 87 minutes, another Jo-Jo assist, another snappy Gila header and we lead. The Neapolitans throw everything forward, including their goalkeeper – who is dispossessed in our penalty area and there is Babacar playing a delightful long pass for Jo-Jo to outpace everyone and score his second. Bang goes Napoli’s home record! Up goes our confidence. Bring on..........
.......Genoa at the Stadio. Hail Santana, Gilardino and Babacar – scorers in a 3-0 seeing-off for the Genovese; we made pesto of them. Four minutes in, a fantastic team-move with two back-heels, one of them from Santana into the net. Genoa tried but Jovetic, Montolivo and Gilardino were on fire; on 73 minutes, a wonderful team move led to a penalty and Gila smashed in number two (arguing with Jovetic over who was going to take the kick). Then, the precocious Babacar scored his virgin Serie A goal with great composure. We are not dead!.....But we don’t seem to have a proper grip on life either. We came a cropper at Catania for Week 30. The Sicilians were fresh from a resounding win over Inter but there was something funny going on here. The only goal of the game came in the first minute; from the 2nd minute to the final whistle, we set about them. Despite the successive efforts of Felipe, Kroldrup (deflected onto the post), Santana, Montolivo, Gobbi, Babacar and – in stoppage time – Jovetic, that’s how it finished. The TV pictures suggest some kind of invisible force field around their goal. It’s the only explanation and this underhand use of alien technology should be banned. Fortunately, other results are going in our favour.
A home game to finish the month against Udinese and we are going for it. Poor Udinese, victims of Vargas’ return to fitness. We’d worked up a fair head of steam to the 36th minute when Montolivo tapped a 20-metre free-kick to the Peruvian nuclear plant and he powered it in at warp-speed 10! We understand the ball burst the net, passed through several spectators and the Stadio concrete and achieved orbit around the planet. It’s almost irrelevant that defensive slackness allowed them to equalise minutes later. We were in charge: 55 minutes and Gila pounces on a slip – 2-1 to us; on 67 minutes Santana gets just reward for his penetrating play; 5 minutes from the end Jovetic grows an extra metre and makes it 4-1 with a header.
Coppa Italia The semi-finals. For the opening half an hour, we were given a lesson in how to play football, culminating in an error by poor Natali (how many thousand times did he have to watch it on TV?) which the avaricious Inter forwards converted into the only goal of the game. That roused us. We couldn’t conjure a goal but we gave as good as we got. The longer the game went on, the more we looked like the Fiorentina who dispatched Liverpool and Lyons. Inter for the first leg were a team of steel who kept on scoring goals; since then, they have slumped. We aren’t dead yet!
Champions League. So near, so far; just that world-record offside goal handed to Bayern on a tarnished plate. No dishonour; again, we outwitted and outplayed the “German giants” who, time and again, were left shaking their heads. We pen them back from the kick-off, grabbing a 1-0 lead with a role-reversal cameo. Marchionni impersonates Vargas with a 30-metre pile-driver the goalkeeper can only parry; Vargas, aping Gilardino, fires in from close range. At 1-0, we are going through. In the second half, we have the bit between our teeth, spurning chances until a brilliant Gila back-heel frees Jovetic to drive us 2-0 ahead. That rouses Bayern; on the hour they get one back - 2-1 on the night but Bayern are going through. The Germans smell closure; as they stretch forward, we get behind enemy lines – Gila heads down, Jovetic slides the ball into the net for a 3-1 lead and, once more, we are going through. We hope to play out an energetic end to the game but, abruptly, the Stadio witnesses one of those unstoppable moments of football genius as Robben rockets in Bayern’s second from 25 metres. Nothing anyone could have done short of a sniper in the stand. We fight to the end but Bayern hang on to lose 3-2 but go through on away goals. But for that shameful offside goal in Munich.......
It’s not over until the generously-proportioned female person does the usual. Catania was a travesty: we’re back on form and we’ve been here before; we know what it takes to succeed. We lie 8th, only 7 points off the 4th Champions League spot and 4 points short of a Europa Cup slot. We have seven league games to go. Gag the large lady!................................................. Forza Viola!
THE FIORENTINA SCHEDULE: The climb steepens. In a month dominated by twin games against Inter at the Stadio, what matters is picking up 9 points from the other three games. We have to care about the cup; it’s not good psychology to stop trying to win – but there’ll be no tears if we don’t make the final if we can avoid defeat in the league game.
BUYING TICKETS - Ticket information – seating plan, prices, ticket outlets – is on the “biglietteria” section of the club’s website [www.it.violachannel.tv ]. Basically, tickets can be purchased at official box offices and holders of TicketOne lottery franchises. Sources include:
CHIOSCO DEGLI SPORTIVI, via degli Anselmi (between the Piazza Repubblica post office and the Odeon cinema). Tel 055 292363 055 292363 .
BAR MARISA, viale Manfredo Fanti 41. Tel 055 572723 055 572723 .
BAR STADIO, viale Manfredo Fanti 3r. Tel 055 576169 055 576169 .
ACF OFFICIAL TICKET-OFFICE, via Dupre 28 (corner of via Settesanti).
NUOVO BOX OFFICE, via Luigi Alamanni 39 (close to SMN station). Tel 055 264321 055 264321
FELTRINELLI FIRENZE, Via de’ Carreiani 39/32R

ARISTA IN TEGAME - Serves 6-8 - A typical Tuscan dish, scented with fresh sage and rosemary, and usually served with sautéed spinach or other greens.

1 or 2 pound pork loin, trimmed of excess fat
20 fresh sage leaves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup dry white wine

Finely chop sage, rosemary and garlic. Combine with salt and pepper. Poke holes into pork loin and stuff with herb mixture. Reserve any herb mixture to add later. In a pot, brown all sides of pork loin with the olive oil. Add wine and any remaining herb mixture. Cook covered, turning occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until juices run clear instead of pink

THUMBS UP – THUMBS DOWN “Our Readers Right”
Our “Thumbs up, Thumbs down” column is your chance to write us and share your own ideas and information, or to toot the horn of businesses, events and those Florentine situations that strike you as either wonderful or terrible. Please note: all opinions are (usually) strictly those of our readers. Lend us your thoughts!

Dear P & F,
Hats off to James Bradburne, the director of Foundation Palazzo Strozzi. The exhibits just keep getting better and better! One example is the Ritratti di Letture. I libri ritraggono I lettori. A small photographic exhibit by Matteo Brogi, a contemporary Italian photographer. He asked a selection of well-known Italian and British personalities to choose 8-12 books from the British Institute Library, and then arranged and photographed the books from different angles. The result is an intimate portrait of each of the participants. A look into their thoughts, saying much more than a typical portrait could. The exhibit is free and located inside a small room in the bookstore in the cortile of the Palazzo. Open 10:30 am to 7:30 pm. www.ritrattidicarta.it
Janice V.

Dear Kim,
Long time, no write! Hope everything is good with you as it is with me - except, of course, for the annual bout of flu. It wouldn't be winter otherwise. I am writing to send you a Thumbs Up for your Newsletter re. Bloom Tea Garden. Perhaps you have already featured it but if you haven't I can really recommend it. I was there last week and it was a truly relaxing experience. If you haven't been there, drop in and see for yourself - it's worth it. Here's my contribution:
THUMBS UP - If you are looking for a quiet and peaceful refuge right in the heart of town without any traffic noise and with a comfy couch to sink down into while you recover from an afternoon's shopping, there is only one place to go - Bloom Tea Garden. This elegant tea house, run by Michele who is from Los Angeles, is a stone's throw from the Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio. Not only can you enjoy a wonderful afternoon tea with the best cup cakes and cookies in town but you can also enjoy the art works on display in the contemporary art gallery inside the shop. By reserving, you can also arrange special events there for your friends or colleagues like high teas or private parties. Don't miss it. I, for one, now think of it as 'my private space' in Florence, away from the maddening crowd but where you will still run into the most unexpected and interesting people. Brava Michele!
It is situated in Chiasso Del Buco 28, Florence (Tel: 055 219071) and is open daily from 3pm until 12 midnight. On Friday and Saturday it also serves an aperitivo from 8pm until 10pm. A small membership fee is required. See: www.bloomteagarden.com/Home.html
Deirdre Pirro

It’s warm work lugging bags full of vegetables around the central market; even agonising over which fruits look the best to buy can be tiring. It’s good to know that nearby are a couple of top-notch gelateria, both small and unassuming but well worth a visit.....
GELATERIA DAME - Along from the central market and opposite ZaZa restaurant, it’s on the corner of Borgo la Noce. A small place with keen, attentive staff serving an interesting and tasty range including a Persian mix of pistachio and rosewater. Open till midnight, according to our youthful spies. (41r piazza del Mercato Centrale. Tel: 338 6425997).
ANTICA GELATERIA FIORENTINA - Don’t be deterred by the cheapo ice cream cone sign sitting outside! Innovative flavours: persiano, ambrosiano – honey, yoghurt, cinnamon - white chocolate, amarena and a fabby “dolce latte” (caramelised evaporated milk). It’s addictive! Open every day from 12.30 to (winter) 21.30 and (summer) midnight but still working out opening hours. (via Faenza 2/a. www.gelateriafiorentina.com)

On Sun. 11 join the action in Piazza Santa Croce at 9:30 when the 27th annual Vivicittà half marathon takes off. The route leads the athletes through the city of Florence. Sign-ups close on the 9th. For info see www.mediauisp.it or call 055432055 or 055 9060156 for further information.

Sunday 18 browse this lovely fair in Piazza Santo Spirito and pick up natural and organic products, from fresh cheeses, to jams, clothing, and handmade items of all sorts. Open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm.

From Thurs. 22 to Sun. 25 the Italian Tango Festival in Florence will light up the Saschall Theater (and other locations around town). From rank beginners to some of the world's best tangeuros, all will have a chance to experience the intense emotions of tango. Beginners can sign up for classes starting Tuesday 20, held at the Tangoclub on Via Gemignani in Florence.
The main tango nights begin on Friday with the Tango-Show. The protagonists of this show will be Hyperion – a 7-element orchestra, and five dance couples. After the show, the ball begins. The theatre's 400 square meters of dance floor will be transformed into a typical Milonga where the dancing will continue until morning to live music. For information regarding classes, workshops and all the tango events see www.tangoclub.it

From Sat. 24 until May 20th, don’t miss the Iris Garden located just off a nearly hidden corner of Piazzale Michelangelo. This is your chance to visit one of Florence’s loveliest undiscovered treasures, where nearly 3,000 iris, collected and nurtured over the last 50 years by the Italian Iris Society, blast into bloom each May.
The iris’ link to Florence goes way back. The white iris against a red background was the city’s symbol until 1250 when the Guelph party came to power. To emphasize that a political change had occurred in Florence, the Guelphs inverted the color scheme: the white iris became bright red on a white field, creating the city’s coat-of-arms, still used today. Piazzale Michelangelo. Open daily including Sundays, 10:00 am - 12:30 pm, 3:00 – 7:00 pm. info: 055 483112 www.irisfirenze.it. Free entrance.

On Sat. 24 and Sunday 25 the Parterre exhibition area in Piazza della Libertà hosts the 25th anniversary of the Florentine Bonsai Club. Come see the best of Tuscany's bonsai and suiseki (the rocks and stones that are an integral part of the art). Hours: Sat. 10:00 to 1:00 pm, and 2:00 to 7:00 pm. Sunday 9:00 to 1:00 pm and 2:00 to 6:00 pm. www.bonsaifirenze.com

From Sat. 24 to Sunday May 2, check out the Fortezza da Basso for an array for the best artistic handicraft work that Italy and the world have to offer. The International Arts and Crafts exhibition has reached its 74th edition and it is not by chance that ART was born and developed in Florence. Artistic handicraft is an important richness of this culture and economy, one of the sectors which made the ingeniousness of “Made in Italy” products known and well-regarded all over the world. Artisans from around the globe will bring clothing, furnishings, silver, gold, giftware, health and beauty products, food and wine. The Fair this year, will be characterized by a vision toward the future, aiming at new shapes, new materials, and new colors, without forgetting the traditions of the past. Fortezza da Basso, Viale Strozzi 1. Open daily from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm (last day until 8:00 pm.). Ticket € 5.00.

On Sun. 25, Florence celebrates Liberation Day with a parade starting at 10:00 am in Piazza dell’Unità, and a concert by the Rossini Philharmonic Orchestra at 5:30 pm in Piazza Signoria. Info: 055 653308, www.filarmonicarossini.it

From Sun. 25 to Sat. May 1, in the fairytale setting of Florence’s Giardino dell’Orticulture, not far from Piazza della Libertà, it is possible to browse amongst flowers of every color, shape and size. Smell them, touch them, and most of all, take some home. From primroses, to cactus to bonsai, nearly 50 different produces and growers come together to present their colorful wares. It is a great excuse to visit one of Florence’s best “hidden” secrets. The Giardino dell’Orticulture has entrances at Via Vittorio Emanuele II, 4 and off the Via Bolognese. Open daily 8 am - 7:30 pm. Free admission.

On Fri. 30, all of downtown Florence will the setting for another White Night. A good selection of restaurants and shops, galleries, exhibits and museums will deep their doors open until the wee hours of the mornings. Piazzas throughout the center will host shows, concerts and events. Visit Palazzo Vecchio, the Bardini museum, Palazzo Strozzi and more. Watch local newspapers closer to the 30th, for final outlines of all the events.

DIAITA: Heath rules in the manuscripts of the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana
Until June 26 the historic Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Piazza San Lorenzo, hosts an exhibition concerning lifestyle and diet as strategies to ensure physical and mental well-being; the type of knowledge that has often survived in the realm of traditional medicine. The concept of a ‘life regime’ in the classical world was expressed by the term díaita/diaeta, whose meaning was far broader than our “diet” of today, encompassing areas not determined automatically by nature, that humans could plan of their own accord such as one’s relationship with air and water, food and drink, motion and rest, sleep and wakefulness, sexuality, love and passion.
The theme is as fashionable today as it was in the past. During the Italian age of princely courts and wealthy merchants, the elite’s interest in preserving their health inspired the Regimina sanitatis - an offspring of the classical tradition enriched by contact with the Arab world – that is contained in the manuscripts on display, all from the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, in Latin, Greek or Italian Vernacular and dating from the XII to the XVI centuries. Some are particularly interesting: the Treatise on Cooking by Apicius that witnesses the specific importance of eating; the Tacuinum sanitatis by Ibn Butlan; and the Regime del Corpo by Aldobrandino da Siena. Important among others is the Compendium of the Nature and Properties of Food by Barnaba from Reggio in a parchment manuscript copied between the 13th and 14th century. Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Piazza San Lorenzo 9. Hours: Monday-Saturday: 9:30 am -1:30 pm. Info: tel. 055 210760, bmleventi@beniculturali.it. For guided tours: tel. 055290184, eventi@operadarte.net

Running to June 27, the Museo degli Argenti at the Pitti Palace hosts an exhibition illustrating the Medici family passion for gem collecting, a fascinating aspect of the rediscovery of antiquity which characterized the Renaissance. The complex history of this collection, starting from its formation by Cosimo, Piero and, especially, Lorenzo de’ Medici, was celebrated and admired by a host of men of letters and artists.
Beginning in the first half of the XV century, cameos and intaglios were much sought after by popes, princes and cardinals, on several occasions giving rise to disputes between collectors ready to spend large sums to secure themselves a desired piece. The art of carving gems required the use of rare and costly materials, as well as master artisans with extraordinary technical capabilities, considering that the slightest error could nullify months or even years of hard work. Secondly, special magical and mysterious virtues were attributed to cameos and intaglios depending on the type of material utilized and on the subject. Moreover, their small dimensions and ease of transport made them ideal gifts for illustrious personages and an excellent form of investment; capital to draw on in moments of difficulty. It is no wonder that in the XV century the Medici developed a fixation for carvings on precious and semiprecious stones, which they sought out, forming one of the most important collections in history, a source of great prestige for the family.
Alongside the gems in the show, are a variety of illuminated codices, medals, drawings, paintings and sculptures, which show the great fortune enjoyed by the specimens that belonged to the Medici. Lorenzo Ghiberti, Donatello and Sandro Botticelli are just a few of the artists who found inspiration in the depictions found on the Medici gems. In many cases, these are faithful translations of the models, but there are also works in which the elements drawn from the carved stones are enriched with totally new aspects, as we can find in several drawings by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti who in the Medici gems not only found a repertory of forms but also an instrument for the recovery of the sense of balance and the measure of proportions characteristic of classical art. Museo degli Argenti - Pitti Palace. Hours: 8:15 am – 5:30 pm (March), 8.15 – 6:30 pm (April, May, June). Closed 1st and last Monday of each month. Tickets: 7 euro. www.unannoadarte.it

Until April 27, Palazzo Medici Riccardi hosts a free exhibit showcasing one artist’s take on two of history’s most beautiful women; both blond, both beloved, both representing the “ideal” beauty of their day, both icons. One lived 50 years ago and the other 500; Simonetta Vespucci, Botticelli’s model for the “Primavera” and Marilyn Monroe. Artist Omar Ronda, born in Portula (Biella) in 1947, has been active as an artist since 1967. He worked in New York in contact with the likes of Warhol, Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein, Basquiat and Haring. This show includes seventy, not-to-be-missed works. La Galleria di Palazzo Medici Riccardi. Via Cavour 1. Hours: 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. Info. 055 2760340. Ticket: free.

Until July 18, Palazzo Strozzi hosts another fascinating exhibit. This time we get to explore the early years of the career of De Chirico and the influence of his first works on movements such as Surrealism and the Neue Sachlichkeit. De Chirico was born in 1888 in Greece and partly raised there, where his engineer father designed and built railway lines. Having studied in Munich, at the age of twenty-one and fascinated by the work of the Symbolist painter Arnold Böcklin, he began painting a series of strange and unusual cityscapes. Displayed in Paris after 1911 they were enthusiastically greeted by painters and poets from Picasso to Paul Éluard, and very soon De Chirico became one of the heroes of Surrealism. This phase of his work – the so-called metaphysical painting – lasted up to around 1918. Subsequently De Chirico changed direction. He had a prolific artistic career, and lived to 90, almost as long as Picasso.
He died in 1978. Hours: Daily 9 am-8 pm, Thursday 9 a.m-11 p.m. Reservations: prenotazioni@cscsigma.it.

ANIMANI: Homage from Florence to Mario Mariotti
Until April 11, the Istituto degli Innocenti on Piazza SS. Annunziata celebrates artist Mario Mariotti with a show of his colorful works of “body painting” dating to the 80’s and 90’s. The works are presented through photos, video and various media. Kids and other visitors will have the chance to experiment with Mariotti’s creative techniques thanks to Francesca Mariotti, the artist’s daughter who has created a “Giotto Make-up Animani” kit. The Animani works were the result of Mariotti’s ability to play with art, through creative experiments that often involved children. With color and the human hand he playfully found a way to show us a giraffe, an elephant, dogs, zebras and people as well. Mario Mariotti (born in Montespertoli, 1936, died in Florence in 1997) worked as a graphic designer, illustrator, performer and communicator from his “bottega” in Florence’s Oltrarno neighborhood. Animani. Istituto degli Innocenti, piazza Santissima Annunziata 12. Monday to Friday: 3:00 to 7:00 pm. Sat. and Sunday: 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. Ticket: 6 euro. For info including hours and costs for children’s workshops: tel. 055 2478386, animani@istitutodeglinnocenti.it. www.mariottiafirenze.it

Until April 11 the Alinari Museum of Photography in collaboration with the Jeu de Paume museum of Paris, hosts an exhibit of photos taken during the1920’s and 1930’s, when Paris, thanks to a burgeoning political and religious freedom, was the center of an artistic avant-garde movement. In the early 20’s Paris blossomed as the world capital of the artistic avant-garde, including photography. Cosmopolitan and open-minded, Paris soon became the chosen city for photographers from Europe, Russia and America, a stimulating center for all sorts of exchanges. French photographers like Florence Henri, Roger Schall, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Pierre Boucher, were joined by Americans Man Ray and Berenice Abbott, plus Europeans Erwin Blumenfeld, Marianne Breslauer and Ilse Bing, and the list goes on. More than 100 vintage prints taken by 40 photographers are displayed, along with magazines and books from the same period. Alinari National Photography Museum, Piazza Santa Maria Novella. Open 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. Closed Wednesday. Ticket: 9 euro. www.alinari.it. Info: Tel. 055.216310, fax 055.2646990, mnaf@alinari.it.

BETTY WOODMAN: The Cheerful Vitality of the Porcelain
Until April 11, the Porcelain Museum at Palazzo Pitti is stage to the refined and imaginative creations of Betty Woodman. With their unpredictable shapes and the intensity and brilliance of the colors, the unusual Sèvres porcelain pieces created by Woodman revolutionize the traditional concept of prized tableware, while preserving a classy elegance. A potter who has already made her name in New York, Betty Woodman periodically lives and works in her house in Antella, just outside of Florence, where she has had the chance to delve into the stratifications of Italian culture. Her expressive freedom enables her to renew the design of traditional forms, drawing on diverse historical and geographical sources to bring forth a new, playful language of matter, unburdened by the labor and study that nevertheless lies behind each individual piece. As she herself puts it “I seek to make art that nods its appreciation towards the history of ceramics without attempting to imitate it”. Palazzo Pitti Porcelain museum. Piazza Pitti. Hours: Hours: 8:15 am – 5:30 pm (March), 8.15 – 6:30 pm (April). Tickets: 7 euro. Closed 1st and last Monday of each month.

The British Institute Weekly Cultural Programme. Every Wednesday (usually) at 6:00 pm, the Sala Ferragamo in the Institute’s Harold Acton Library hosts a free lecture, concert or other event, followed by an informal drinks reception. British Institute Library, Lungarno Guicciardini 9. http://www.britishinstitute.it/en/index.asp.
Wednesday 14 - Catherine Payling - ‘Written in water': Shelley and the death of Keats in Rome. John Keats died in Rome on 23 February 1821, aged only twenty-five. This talk deals with the posthumous idea that Keats was killed by a variety of different agents, and will look at each of these and at the immediate reactions of Shelley and Byron to his death. Catherine Payling, director of the Keats-Shelley house in Piazza di Spagna, goes on to explain how - despite the total indifference of his contemporaries - Keats's reputation became established in the Victorian period and enjoys enduring popularity in our own time.
Wednesday 21 - Shakespeare Week: Kate McLuskie -A lover or a tyrant? Performing The Merchant. Our annual Shakespeare lecture explores the way the great dramatist plays with the ideas of performance to complicate the connection between pleasure and judgement in responses to his play. Kate McLuskie, Director of the Shakespeare Institute of the University of Birmingham, examines the story that Shakespeare worked with to create The Merchant of Venice and how different directors and performers, including some in Italy, brought their own creative powers to create Merchants for their own time.
Wednesday 28 - Anthony D'Elia - A sudden terror: the attempted assassination of Pope Paul II. Anthony D'Elia examines the so-called ‘humanist conspiracy' to murder the pope and what in 1468 were thought to be the motives that would inspire a group of effete intellectuals to such a violent act. He introduces the cast: the parrot-loving, makeup-wearing, macaroni-eating pontiff, Paul II; the Turkish Sultan, Mehmet II; and the humanists, who would wear togas, hold classical banquets, and meet in the catacombs to perform pagan rites. These latter were arrested, tortured and imprisoned in Castel Sant'Angelo, whence they wrote pitiful letters describing their ordeal. Anthony D'Elia is associate professor at Queen's University, Ontario and currently a Fellow at I Tatti.
Thursday 29 - Brian Keeble - The visionary art of Cecil Collins. The English painter Cecil Collins (1908-1989) was originally associated with the Surrealist movement, but it never meant much to him and he later developed an individual style that placed him in the English tradition of visionary artists such as William Blake and Samuel Palmer. Brian Keeble, who knew Collins well, is the founder and director of the Golgonooza Press and has published three books on the artist. His illustrated talk is an authoritative interpretation of Collins's mysterious art and thought.

Odeon Theatre, Piazza Strozzi 2. Phone: 055 214 068. www.cinehall.it
Thursday 8 - EDGE OF DARKNESS (Italian subtitles) by Martin Campbell with Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone. 3.45 – 6.00 – 8.15 – 10.30 p.m.
Monday 12 - CHLOE (Italian subtitles) by Atom Egoyan with Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson. 4.30 – 6.30 – 8.30 – 10.30 p.m.
Tuesday 13 - THE BOOK OF ELI by Albert & Allen Hughes with D. Washington, Gary Oldman. 3.45 – 6.00 – 8.15 – 10.30 p.m.
Thursday 15 - THE BOOK OF ELI. 3.45 – 6.00 – 8.15 – 10.30 p.m.
Monday 19 - SHUTTER ISLAND (Italian subtitles) by Martin Scorsese with L. DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo. 3.00 – 5.30 – 8.00 – 10.30 p.m.
Tuesday 20 - ALICE IN WONDERLAND by Tim Burton with Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp. 3.00 – 5.30 – 8.00 – 10.30 p.m.
Monday 26 - CRAZY HEART by Scott Cooper with Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal. 4.00 – 6.10 – 8.20 – 10.30 p.m.
Tuesday 27 - THE GHOST WRITER by Roman Polanski with Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan. 3.30 – 5.50 – 8.10 – 10.30 p.m.
Mel Gibson stars in EDGE OF DARKNESS as Thomas Craven, a man who has spent years as a detective in Boston. When his daughter is killed near the door of his home, Craven realizes that her death is only one piece of a puzzle filled with corruption and conspiracy, and it falls to him to discover who is behind the crime.
CHLOE… is an escort, hired by a suspicious wife to test her husband’s fidelity. The successful couple, Catherine, a doctor, and David a professor of music, have a 17-year-old son, and to an outsider, they have everything. But their careers and raising a child have put strains on the marriage; their relationship is suffering greatly from loss of communication and intimacy. Soon caught in a web of desire, Catherine finds herself on a journey that places her family in danger—is it too late to stop Chloe?
THE BOOK OF ELI gives a glimpse into a possible not-too-distant future. Some 30 years after the final war, a solitary man walks across the wasteland that was once America. Empty cities, broken highways, seared earth--all around him, the marks of catastrophic destruction. A warrior not by choice but necessity, Eli (Denzel Washington) seeks only peace and bring help to a ravaged humanity. Driven by this commitment and guided by his belief in something greater than himself, Eli does what he must to survive--and continue.
From director Martin Scorsese, SHUTTER ISLAND is the story of two U.S. marshals, Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), who are summoned to a remote and barren island off the coast of Massachusetts to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a murderess from the island’s fortress-like hospital for the criminally insane.
ALICE IN WONDERLAND stars frequent Burton collaborator Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Mia Wasikowska as Alice, and Anne Hathaway as the White Queen. Director and subject matter make for a perfect marriage in Tim Burton’s version of the Lewis Carroll classic.
In CRAZY HEART Bad Blake (played by Oscar-winning Jeff Bridges) is a broken-down, hard-living country music singer who's had too many marriages, too many years on the road and too many drinks way too many times. And yet, Bad can’t help but reach for salvation with the help of Jean, a journalist who discovers the man behind the musician.
When a successful British ghostwriter, THE GHOST, agrees to complete the memoirs of former British Prime Minister Adam Lang, his agent assures him it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. But the day after arriving at the island mansion where Lang is staying with his wife, Ruth, and his personal assistant (and mistress), Amelia, Lang is accuse of authorizing the illegal seizure of suspected terrorists and handing them over for torture by the CIA—a war crime. The controversy brings reporters and protesters swarming. The Ghost quickly discovers that the past can be deadly—and that history is decided by whoever stays alive to write it.

Theatre info: Teatro Comunale, Via Solferino 15. Tel. 055 27791. Teatro della Pergola, Via della Pergola 12/32, Tel. 055 2479651. Teatro Verdi, Via Ghibellina 99, tel. 055 212320. Teatro Saschall , Lungarno Moro 3, tel. 055 6504112. Teatro Goldoni, Via Santa Maria 15. Tel. 055 229651. Teatro Romano, Fiesole, Tel. 055/59187. Mandela Forum, Viale Paoli 3, tel. 055 678841. Stazione Leopolda. Viale Fratelli Rosselli 5. St. Mark’s Church. Via Maggio 16. Tel. 055 294764. Church of Orsanmichele, Via dei Calzaiuoli. Tel. 055-210305. Teatro Puccini, via delle Cascine 41, tel 055 362067. Chiesa S. Stefano al Ponte Vecchio, piazza S. Stefano 5. Viper Theatre, Via Lombardia 1.055/318056, www.viperclub.eu. Auditorium FLOG, Via M. Mercati, 24/b, 055/210804, www.flog.it Sala Vanni, Piazza del Carmine 14. Teatro Everest, Via Volterrana 4/b, tel. 055. 23 21 754. info@teatroeverest.it, www.teatroeverest.it. Teatro Politeama Pratese, Via G. Garibaldi, 33 – Prato. Tel: 0574/603758, www.politeamapratese.com. Purchase tickets for theatre, concerts and other events at the following ticket agencies: BOX OFFICE: Via Alamanni, 39 (alongside the train station). Open Monday 3:30-7:30 pm, from Tuesday to Saturday 10:00-7:30 pm. Tel. 055/210804. ARGONAUTA VIAGGI, Lungarno Torrigiani 33/B, Tel.055/2342777. Many tickets can be pre-purchased via www.ticketone.it, www.boxol.it.

Tuesday 6
BOTHANICA BY MOMIX, a show created and directed by Moses Pendleton. Teatro Verdi. 8:45 pm.

Wednesday 7
BOTHANICA BY MOMIX, a show created and directed by Moses Pendleton. Teatro Verdi. 8:45 pm.

Thursday 8
BOTHANICA BY MOMIX, a show created and directed by Moses Pendleton. Teatro Verdi. 4:45 and 8:45 pm.

Friday 9
BOTHANICA BY MOMIX, a show created and directed by Moses Pendleton. Teatro Verdi. 8:45 pm.

Saturday 10
BOTHANICA BY MOMIX, a show created and directed by Moses Pendleton. Teatro Verdi. 8:45 pm.

Sunday 11
BOTHANICA BY MOMIX, a show created and directed by Moses Pendleton. Teatro Verdi. 4:45 and 9:00 pm.

Tuesday 13
SAMUELE BERSANI on Tour 2010. Saschall.

Wednesday 14
ORCHESTRA DELLA TOSCANA, conducted by Moshe Atzmon, Steven Isserlis (cello), music by Olivero, Schumann, Beethoven. Teatro Verdi. 9:00 pm.

Thursday 15
FRANCESCO RENGA – Orchestra and voice tour. Teatro Verdi 8:45 pm.

Friday 16
LITFIBA IN CONCERT. Nelson Mandela Forum

Saturday 17
LITFIBA IN CONCERT. Nelson Mandela Forum

Wednesday 21
ORCHESTRA DELLA TOSCANA. Conducted by David Afkham, Roberto Prosseda (piano), music by Mendelssohn, Beethoven. Teatro Verdi

Friday 23
FIORELLO SHOW. Nelson Mandela Forum

Saturday 24
FIORELLO SHOW. Nelson Mandela Forum

Sunday 25
PIANO CONCERT BY RADU LUPU. Teatro della Pergola

Tuesday 27
MARIO BIONDI SPAZIO TEMPO TOUR 2010. Mario Biondi will be accompanied by: Lorenzo Tucci and Fabio Nobile (drums), Andrea Satomi Bertorelli (keyboard), Andrea Celestino (bass), Daniele Scannapieco (sax), and Claudio Filippini (piano). Teatro Verdi. 8:45 pm.

Wednesday 28
MARIO BIONDI SPAZIO TEMPO TOUR 2010. Mario Biondi will be accompanied by: Lorenzo Tucci and Fabio Nobile (drums), Andrea Satomi Bertorelli (keyboard), Andrea Celestino (bass), Daniele Scannapieco (sax), and Claudio Filippini (piano). Teatro Verdi. 8:45 pm.

Thursday 29
DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN - opera in 3 acts by Richard Strauss, Orchestra and chorus of the Maggio
Musicale conducted by Zubin Mehta. Teatro Comunale.
SCOPPIO DEL CARRO (Explosion of the cart)
On Tuesday 6, Easter Tuesday. Panzano-in-Chianti hosts a sweet, small-town version of the traditional Scoppio del Carro (Exploding Cart). A cart is rigged with fireworks and sparklers so that when a dove-shaped rocket (symbolizing the Holy Spirit) zooms down a steel cable from the local church, it will set off a magnificent dance of fire on impact. Plan to be there by 6:00 pm. to catch the fever. For information call 055852020.

On Sat. 10 from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, the “Seasonal Market” will bring more than 100 producers and vendors into the town of Montevarchi, giving tastes, selling and ready to speak about their goods. You will find plants, trees, vegetables, fruit, honey, cheeses, wine, and more. www.eventi.comune.montevarchi.ar.it

Calling all kite lovers. Sun. 11 don’t miss San Miniato’s Festa degli Aquiloni. San Miniato is a town in the province of Pisa, in a historically strategic location atop three small hills dominating the lower Arno valley. The field of the Rocca di Federico II (a tower built by Frederick II in the 13th century overlooking the entire Valdarno), from the first hours of the morning will shine with fluttering, high-flying kites of every color, shape and size. You can learn to make and fly kites made following tradition from water-and-flour glue and newspapers. In the afternoon the fun continues with a historical parade at 3:30, and the launching of 3 hot-air balloons at 5:00 pm. At 6:00 pm an auction will be held of kites hand-painted by contemporary artists. www.festadegliaquiloni.it

On Sun. 11, in the medieval village of Mensano near Casole d'Elsa, the 22nd annual Corsa dei Carretti, Gran Premio della Valdelsa, will be held. The 2 km. course host a variety of carretti, from the traditional to the super-sophisticated, more skateboard-like modern street luge. On April 10 from 11 to 6:00 pm trials will be held, on the 11th the competitions start at 11:00 am and go through the mid-afternoon. Speeds of over 100 km are not unheard of, so hold onto your hats. Free entry. tel. 0577 959737. www.valdelsaracingteam.it

“Artisan wares market”: Sun. 11 (morning to afternoon). Panzano-in-Chianti. The second Sunday this month, the weekly town market held in Panzano is expanded with artisan booths of all sorts. You’ll find honey and pecorino (sheep’s milk) cheese makers, hand-embroidered linen makers, boutique wineries and antique dealers and much more. To visit Panzano by car from Florence or Siena, take Route 222, the "Chiantigiana" highway passing through the Chianti wine area. From the west, there is a road connecting with the highway at Tavarnelle or S. Donato. This pretty road passes the monastery at Badia a Passignano. It is also possible to reach Panzano by SITA bus from Florence. The trip takes about one hour.

From Thurs. 15 to Sun. 18, Borgo San Lorenzo’s Foro Boario exhibition space will host Energy Days, a trade fair featuring renewable energy sources, energy conservation and bio-housing ideas and consultants. Hours: 3:00 to 8:00 pm Thurs. and Friday, and 10:30 to 8:00 pm on Sat. and Sun. Admission is free. Tel. 055 84966229. www.energydays.eu

FESTA DELLA STAGION BONA (A local fair in medieval style)
Sunday April 25, Panzano-in-Chianti is traditionally host to a local fair born in remembrance of an event which took place in the twelfth century. One April centuries ago, a young nobleman of the Firidolfi family was taken prisoner and killed by two hit men hired by the Gherardini clan. The present-day procession evokes the event with a parade of more than 200 locals dressed in medieval costume, plus a “trial” and a “hanging”. The fun starts around 4:00 pm.

From Thurs. 29 to Sun. 2 May, Piazza Buondelmonti in Impruneta holds their annual antique fair. Use the excuse to take a trip to the edge of Chianti. Tel. 055 2313729, www.proimpruneta.rtd.it.

SILVANO CAMPEGGI: Toward Campaldino, from Pian di Ripoli to the Battle
From Sun. 25 to June 20, the Oratory of Santa Caterina in Bagno a Ripoli hosts Silvano “Nano” Campeggi; one of Tuscany’s best known artists, who has painted over 50 works depicting the epic battle that took place at Campaldino on June 11, 1289. Twenty-three thousand soldiers took to the field, and soon 2000 lay dead, the price of victory for the Florentine Guelphs against the Aretine Ghibelines. Campeggi, long-time resident of Bagno a Ripoli, took inspiration from the hills surrounding his home base.
Bagno a Ripoli/Ponte a Ema, Oratorio di Santa Caterina, Via del Carota. Hours: Fri. and Sat from 3:30 to 6:30, Sunday from 10 to 12:30 and 3:30 to 6:30 pm.

Until April 18, Pistoia’s Palazzo Comunale hosts a magical and utterly unique portrayal of rural Italian life. This photo exhibit by American artist Douglas Gayeton is a tribute to the region's kaleidoscope of charming local characters whose livelihoods and culture center around the everyday pleasures of growing, preparing, and eating food. The imaginative and interactive portraits are layered with Gayeton's handwritten notes, anecdotes, recipes, quotes, and historical facts that cleverly bring context and color to the subject of each sepia-toned image, and draw us deeper into this romantic, rewarding, and progressively rare way of life. You will fall in love with the intimate images of an entire Tuscan zone, where lives are profoundly bound to the rhythms of nature and inherently exemplify the principles dedicated to preserving local food traditions and honoring local farmers and producers. Until April 18, photo exhibit in Palazzo Comunale, Piazza del Duomo, Pistoia. Open Tuesday, Thurs, Fri, Sat. from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, on Wed. 3:00 to 6:00 pm and Sun 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. Info 05733711.

Over five centuries ago, Filippo Lippi ascended three stories of scaffolding in the dark recesses of Prato’s cathedral. Today, the three-tiered frescoes, which cover the walls and vaults of the main chapel with stories of St. John the Baptist and St. Stephen, are visible in renewed splendor after seven years of restoration. Small, guided tours of the fresco cycle now allow the public to come face to face with Lippi. The restoration began in the upper reaches of the chapel ceiling. Four monumental images of the evangelists are incised within the arches of the groin vault. Below them flow the scenes from the lives of two saints: Stephen, Prato’s patron saint on the left, and John the Baptist, protector of nearby Florence on the right. From his birth in the top register to his death on the lower register, each saints’ life is a theatrical spectacle played out with vivid imagery.
Fra Filippo Lippi was quite an intriguing character; his behavior wasn’t exactly exemplary of the Carmelite order, (Fra indicates his religious title). The Carmelites ordained him and trained him as an artist, and by the time he reached Prato in 1452 he was among the most highly regarded and frequently commissioned painters of the early Renaissance. His trysts with various women had already gained him a somewhat sensational reputation, but it is the long-running romance with nun Lucrezia Buti, 25 years his junior, that has been most noted by history. Lucrezia modeled for many of the Lippi’s Madonnas, and is said to have been the inspiration for the enchanting Salomë, who dances through the final scene of John the Baptist’s fresco cycle, The Feast of Herod. The three-part banquet scene contains larger-than-life figures that feast and make merry around the dancing girl, whom many compare to the female figures in the later works of Lippi’s young apprentice Botticelli.
Prato Cathedral. Open Mon. to Sat. 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission: 4 euro with audio guide. Small, guided tours available by calling 0574/24112. www.restaurofilippolippi.it

All our best, The Staff of Pitcher and Flaccomio

Newsletter compiled by Kim Wicks

Pitcher & Flaccomio Newsletter: Direttore responsabile Mario Spezi - Pubblicazione con iscrizione n. 5697 del 23\01\09 presso il Tribunale di Firenze.

All the best,

Pitcher and Flaccomio