BEST EXTRAVAGANZA FOR APRIL – Scoppio del Carro on Easter Sunday
Between 10 and 11 o'clock on Easter Sunday morning, a tradition that has played out annually over the last 500 years will be celebrated in front of the Duomo in Florence. The Scoppio del Carro, or Explosion of the Cart, is a mixed pagan/religious ceremony. Marking both Easter and Spring, the successful ignition of the cart guarantees good crops, a successful harvest, stable civic life and bountiful trade, as well as signifying the passage of new holy fire to light those extinguished on Good Friday.
A thirty-foot carved and painted wooden cart (the present version is over 150 years old) is pulled by flower-bedecked white oxen from Porta al Prato to Piazza del Duomo. A mechanical dove ‘flies' down a line through the open doors of the cathedral, picks up ‘fire' at the altar, returns to the cart and ignites the explosion of one of the best daytime fireworks display in the world.
It was during the pontificate of Leo X (Giovanni de'Medici, 1513-1521), the ‘colombina‘ - the mechanical bird, shaped like a dove with an olive branch in its beak - was used for the first time. At the Gloria of the Easter Mass, the deacon uses holy fire kindled from the stone chips - obtained during the crusades of 1099 from the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem - to light a fuse attached to the dove.
BEST PARADE IN APRIL – Scoppio del Carro: Before & After
Due to the incredible crowds packed into the piazza in front of the Duomo, the best place to get a view of the oxen and the cart is along the route on Borgo Ognissanti and Via Vigna Nuova, both before and after the Scoppio del Carro. Before the cart "explodes" a parade of armored guards, costumed musicians, and elegant nobility, attired in 15th century dress, march in front of the cart, escorting it to the Duomo. Teams of flag throwers entertain people lined up along Via Vigna Nuova and Via Strozzi. After the fireworks, the oxen take the cart back to its "garage" - a great time to see the flower-adorned animals and the fabulous designs on the carro.
P&F PICK APARTMENT RENTAL FOR APRIL –
A Terrace with a View of All of the Domes
Did you ever want your own roof-top terrace in the center of Florence? The “Dome View Apartment” near San Lorenzo Church is the one for you. The furnishings are a combination of modern and traditional pieces. The living room and dining room have frescoed ceilings. The floors are wood in the living areas and terra cotto tile floor in the two bedrooms. There are double windows, and the bedrooms overlook sunny internal courtyards. This special apartment is equipped with air-conditioning, ADSL computer connection, TV, dishwasher, microwave oven, washing machine, kitchenware and linens. It’s on the third floor… and there is an elevator! For more information click this
MUSEUM FOR APRIL – Bargello
The Bargello Museum is one of the best places to spend a Sring morning. With its inside/outside configuration you can happily arrive at 8:15am and leave when it closes at 1:50pm. This would be the perfect museum to take advantage of during the Cultural Week’s free openings (see below in “Best Deal”).
The Bargello palace was built to house first the Capitano del Popolo and later, in 1261, the 'podestà', the highest magistrate of the Florence City Council. This Palazzo del Podestà, as it was originally called, is the oldest public building in Florence. This austere crenellated building served as model for the construction of the Palazzo Vecchio. In 1574, the Medici dispensed with the function of the Podestà and housed the bargello, the police chief of Florence, in this building, hence its name. It was employed as a prison; executions took place in the Bargello's yard until they were abolished by Grand Duke Peter Leopold in 1780, but it remained the headquarters of the Florentine police until 1859. When Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor Peter Leopold was exiled, the makeshift Governor of Tuscany decided that the Bargello should no longer be a jail, and it then became a national museum.
The original two-story structure was built alongside the Volognana Tower in 1256. The third story, which can be identified by the smaller blocks used to construct it, was added after the fire of 1323. The building is designed around an open courtyard with an external staircase leading to the second floor. An open well is found in the center of the courtyard.
The Bargello opened as a national museum (Museo Nazionale del Bargello) in 1865, displaying the largest Italian collection of gothic and Renaissance sculptures (14–17th century).
The museum houses masterpieces by Michelangelo, such as his Bacchus, Pitti Tondo (Madonna and Child), Brutus and David-Apollo. Its collection includes Donatello's David and St. George Tabernacle, Vincenzo Gemito's Pescatore ("fisherboy"), Jacopo Sansovino's Bacco, Giambologna's L’Architettura and his Mercurio and many works from the Della Robbia family. Benvenuto Cellini is represented with his bronze bust of Cosimo I and the original base for his Perseo, as well as a miniature of the original statue.
The museum also has a fine collection of ceramics (maiolica), textile, tapestries, ivory, silver, armours and old coins. It also features the competing designs on Isaac's Sacrifice (Sacrificio di Isacco) that were performed by Lorenzo Ghiberti and Filippo Brunelleschi to win the contest for the second set of doors of the Florentine Baptistry (1401).
Address: Via del Proconsolo 4. Tel. 055 2388606
Open: Weekdays: from Tuesday to Saturday: 8.15 am - 1.50 pm; open on the first, third and fifth Monday of every month; the ticket office closes 40 minutes before the museum closing time.
Holidays: 8.15 am - 1.50 pm; open on the second and fourth Sunday of every month; the ticket office closes 40 minutes before the museum closing time.
Closed on: on the second and fourth Monday of every month; on the first, third and fifth Sunday of every month. December 25, January 1, May 1. -
Entrance: € 4,00.
BEST CAFÉ FOR APRIL – Café Libreria La Cite
Enjoy a nice hot tea or a glass of wine at this little café in the San Frediano neighbvorhood With books lining the walls and a cozy upstairs area to sit and use the Wi-Fi, this is the new hip place to be. Drinks are reasonably-priced (3 euros for a glass of wine). There is a limited food selection (sandwhiches, tortillas, and a variety of sweet cakes). This is one of the few places in Florence with this atmosphere and culture, and definitely one of the best.
There is a schedule of activities every week that includes a Jazz session on Mondays, Tango on Wednesdays and a handful of exotic theatrical performances and quartets with jazz, rock and fusion. La Cite during the day is a much more low key with people sitting on their computers. The evenings is when Borgo San Frediano livens up a bit with great music and ambience.
visit website: www.lacitelibreria.info
tel: +39 055 21 0387
Address: Borgo San Frediano, 20r
FORZA VIOLA!! FOR APRIL – Florentine Calcio
P&F Sports Reporters Simon Clark & Anne Brooks bring you March’s Florentine Calcio results and the upcoming schedule for April.
Forza Viola!.........This was to be the month Rossi and the squad led The Long March towards a top-six place (remember the pre-season aspiration?). Instead, we managed one win in five games, slumped to 16th place (within touching distance of the relegation zone) and got thrashed by Juventus – after which humiliation, rumours swirled that the manager had resigned. He hasn’t, but Director of Football Corvino is falling on his sword in slo-mo and will not have his contract renewed at the end of the season. And yet, and yet........
Week 26: Fiorentina-Cesena WON 2-0
Week 23: Parma-Fiorentina DREW 2-2
Week 27: Catania-Fiorentina LOST 0-1
Week 28: Fiorentina-Juventus LOST 0-5
Week 29: Genoa-Fiorentina DREW 2-2
Primavera. Our Primavera side have faltered, maybe because so many of the team are being called into Serie A service. A couple of draws mean we lag Juventus but we are well clear of the rest. The youth team is second to Empoli with a game in hand. The regional boys league is a different world; this month we have thumped Poggibonsi and San Marino and humiliated Grossetto to stay top with a goal difference of +110!
Serie A. Time to grab hold of Cesena and shake them – or, at the least, win. We do but not in great style. Cesena are in relegation trouble and a haven for ageing and failing players. We make hard work of it and reach half-time all-square but it’s been all Viola and eventually they yield as their defence deflects a typically tricky Pasqual cross into their own net in a panic. The second goal was rich and from a defender; teenager Nastasic controlled, swivelled and shot like an experienced centre-forward. Better – but we need more!
We need to clean up in Parma just as the judges are cleaning Parmalat but Jovetic is injured and they have toughened up since we trounced them in Florence. They go ahead with a lucky rebound that looked offside but we take over in the second half. Nastasic happens to be first in a queue of Viola players waiting to nod in a Vargas free kick for his second Serie A goal, Parma being temporarily AWOL. Ten minutes more and Cerci turns in our second. We have cause to be grateful to Boruc’s goalkeeping but there is nothing he can do about the late penalty.
A blatant smash-and-grab by Catania. How did we not win this one? After 58 minutes, Vincent Montella (making a decent fist of starting his managerial career) must have been wondering what to do against a fluid Viola formation. Then – Wham! A very dubious penalty, although very well-taken. Boruc must have been wondering what was going on, watching his colleagues throw away chance after chance. Amauri still has not scored a goal; no-one is scoring goals-plural for us except Jovetic. A lot depends on the next two games. We could even contemplate going through three managers in a season!
The BIG one, the hated Juventus at the Stadio and the pre-match hype dissolves into disaster and despair. A goal down in 15 minutes is tough, then Cerci gets himself sent off for a petulant gesture. The game becomes damage-limitation – not a game we are well-equipped for. By half-time they are two-up; it’s three (this looked offside but the game is lost by now) early in the second half, four in 67 minutes, a fifth and then the merciful final whistle. We tried; we hit the post, but it’s hard when we only had the ball a quarter of the time (when Juve took a breather). The Juventus forwards had way too much speed, technique and class for our defence. Notable that, as the steamroller bore down on us continuously, our Mr did nothing; had he given up? Or was he already thinking about the next game?
BIGGER than the BIG one, to Genoa and the rats who deserted our ship. Jovetic is back in harness and we are superior; Rossi rightly declares that when we play like this we usually win. But we don’t and it’s our own fault. Our defence has gone slack; our attack has lost sight of the Viola principle – at any point in a game, we need to be two goals ahead because we are going to cede a soft late one. Genoa queue up for the opening header, then we take over and ten minutes later Montolivo’s second goal of the season equalises. Midway through the second half, Natali loops in a header and the points are in the bag. Except in the 89th minute, Palacio is ushered through our defence for a clinical strike and a point they never deserved.
Next Month. April is the cruellest month. (Yes, we have used it before but it’s one of T S Eliot’s best lines and you can’t have too much of a poetic thing). We worry about the fixtures. A home game against Chievo is manageable; then we have Milan (title contenders); Palermo (European contenders but disintegrating); the usual Roma; a stuttering Inter - but when will they get their mojo back? And away to Atalanta – just promoted and docked points but trashing all before them.............Forza Viola!
THE FIORENTINA SCHEDULE:
The month of April features:
Week 30: 01 Apr/home Fiorentina-Chievo
Week 31: 07 Apr/away Milan-Fiorentina
Week 32: 11 Apr/home Fiorentina-Palermo
Week 33: 15 Apr/away Roma-Fiorentina
Week 34: 22 Apr/home Fiorentina-Inter
Week 35: 29 Apr/away Atalanta-Fiorentina
Ticket information - seating plan, prices, and ticket outlets - is on the "biglietteria" section of the club's website [www.it.violachannel.tv ]. Tickets can be purchased at official box offices and holders of TicketOne lottery franchises. Sources include:
CHIOSCO DEGLI SPORTIVI, via degli Anselmi 1. Tel 055 292363.
BAR MARISA, viale Manfredo Fanti 41. Tel 055 572723.
BAR STADIO, viale Manfredo Fanti 3r. Tel 055 576169.
ACF OFFICIAL TICKET-OFFICE, via Dupre 28 (corner of via Settesanti).
NUOVO BOX OFFICE, Via delle Vecchie Carceri, 1, (inside the Murate). Tel 055 264321
FELTRINELLI FIRENZE, Via de' Cerretani 39/32R
BEST BOOK FOR APRIL – Dante In Love by A.N. Wilson
For William Butler Yeats, Dante Alighieri was “the chief imagination of Christendom.” For T. S. Eliot, he was of supreme importance, both as poet and philosopher. Coleridge championed his introduction to an English readership. Tennyson based his poem “Ulysses” on lines from the Inferno. Byron chastised an “Ungrateful Florence” for exiling Dante. The Divine Comedy resonates across five hundred years of our literary canon.
In Dante in Love, A. N. Wilson presents a glittering study of an artist and his world, arguing that without an understanding of medieval Florence, it is impossible to grasp the meaning of Dante’s great poem. He explains how the Italian states were at that time locked into violent feuds, mirrored in the ferocious competition between the Holy Roman Empire and the Papacy. He shows how Dante’s preoccupations with classical mythology, numerology, and the great Christian philosophers inform every line of the Comedy.
Dante in Love also explores the enigma of the man who never wrote about the mother of his children, yet immortalized the mysterious Beatrice whom he barely knew. With a biographer’s eye for detail and a novelist’s comprehension of the creative process, A. N. Wilson paints a masterful portrait of Dante Alighieri and unlocks one of the seminal works of literature for a new generation of readers.
BEST BOOK FOR KIDS FOR APRIL – Little Bo in Italy: The Continued Adventures of Bonnie Boadicea by Julie Andrews Edwards
Bo the cat and her human, Billy, who are working as crew aboard an English lord’s yacht, travel across the Mediterranean to visit Pisa and Rome. Along the way, they are reunited with long-lost feline relatives, take part in a circus act, become embroiled in a Colosseum cat fight, and interact with some suspicious-looking fellows at the British embassy. The simple, progressive plot includes manageable conflict, and frequent dialogue interspersed with Italian and French phrases, and the full-color artwork extends the book’s feel as an old-fashioned classic.
Julie Andrews Edwards is that Julie Andrews, one of the most recognized figures in the world of entertainment. She is perhaps best known for her performances in Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and The Princess Diaries. Ms. Edwards is the author of many favorite children's books, including Mandy, The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, and the Little Bo series. Grades 1-3.
BEST EXHIBIT FOR APRIL – Americans in Florence: Sargent and the American Impressionists
Until July 15, 2012, at the Palazzo Strozzi, century-old ties between Florence and the United States is celebrated in a fantastic new exhibition.
In 2012, exactly 500 years since the death of Amerigo Vespucci, Florence will be marking this event with an exhibition designed to celebrate the strong ties linking the Old World and the New, and the cosmopolitan ambiance that bound the city to the New World for ever, transmitting European culture and sophistication to America. The exhibition explores the American impressionists' relationship with Italy, and with Florence in particular, in the decades spanning the close of the 19th and dawn of the 20th centuries.
There was a marked upswing in the number of American artists travelling to Europe after the Civil War ended in 1865, and the trend continued on into the early 20th century. Hundreds of painters came to Paris and other parts of France while others studied in Germany, with England, Holland and Spain being other favorite locations. Italy, however, was an inescapable pole of attraction for most of them. Florence, Venice and Rome had been at the heart of the Grand tour for centuries and had become legendary for all those eager to study the art of the past, quite apart from their appeal in terms of the climate, the countryside, the people, and the overall atmosphere prevailing in them.
This exhibition hosts the work of American painters who embraced the artistic vocabulary of Impressionism and spent time in Italy. It contains works by painters who, while not explicitly subscribing to the new style, were nevertheless crucial masters for the younger generations: men such as Winslow Homer, William Morris Hunt, John La Farge and Thomas Eakins. These are followed by the great forerunners, artists such as John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt and James Abbott McNeill Whistler, who could boast of strong cosmopolitan leanings.
The main part of the exhibition comprises works by artists of remarkable quality who spent time in Florence and who deserve to be better known. Their number includes members of the American impressionist group known as the Ten American Painters: William Merrit Chase, John Henry Twachman and Frederick Childe Hassam. Franck Duveneck also played an important role in fostering relations between American and local artists by putting together the “Duveneck boys“, a group that included his wife Elisabeth Boott and the painter Joseph Rodefer De Camp.
The Americans in Florence lived their lives and pursued their activities in close contact with their scholar, collector, writer and art critic compatriots in the city, with some of whom they had previously had dealings in America: Gertrude Stein, Mabel Dodge, Bernard Berenson, the brothers Henry and William James, Egisto Fabbri and his family (his sisters Ernestine, a painter, and Cora, a poet) Mabel Hooper La Farge, Bancel La Farge, Charles Loeser and Edith Wharton. Though tending not to mix with the local population, these American colonies in Italy learnt the lesson of the most up-to-date Italian painting of the day – in Florence it is worth highlighting the importance of the Macchiaioli – and had a certain impact on Italian artists and thinkers, introducing sophisticated and cosmopolitan lifestyles and adopting a more relaxed attitude towards women.
The exhibition includes female portraits of great quality in which women symbolize the modern American nation: young girls, adolescents and even children, often dressed in white, personify the purity and hopes of an entire nation. The female portrait theme provides a link with the activity of American women painters, who were far more emancipated than their French and European counterparts. The more enterprising among them came to Europe and contributed to the cultural osmosis between their country and the Old World, a shining example of this trend being Mary Cassatt. Painting for women was considered little more than a pastime in Europe, but women painters in America were allowed to frequent the academies on an equal footing with their male counterparts.
Curated by Francesca Bardazzi and Carlo Sisi.
Info: Ph. + 39 055 2645155 Website: www.palazzostrozzi.org/Sezione.jsp?idSezione=683
ARTISAN FOR APRIL – Angela Caputi
Angela Caputi established the company "Giuggiù" in 1975 in Florence. From the very beginning she has worked and created costume jewelry in her prestigious workshop in the San Frediano neighborhood. Her production and designs are precise and very distinctive.
Angela adores to mix various materials, creating always particular combinations of colors and textures. Angela works with all sorts of mediums like plastic and resin (reminiscent of vintage Bakelite). Her pieces are so distinct — they have a wonderful vintage feel, with bow broaches with crystal detailing, or the clip earrings that are her signature. The outcome is colored, original jewelry know the world over.
Angela Caputi is today one of the most recognized names in the field of high fashion costume jewelry carrying the "Made in Italy" label.
Stores in Florence:
Via S. Spirito, 58/R
Tel +39 055 212 972
Borgo SS. Apostoli, 44/46
Tel +39 055 292 993
BEST DEAL FOR APRIL – Cultural Heritage Week
From April 14 to 22, 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).
If you are planning to get into the Uffizi or the Accademia during this week, you should make a reservation by calling 055 294883. You will pay 4 euro for each "free" ticket, but you will not have to wait in a 4-hour line.
BEST GARDEN FOR APRIL – DINOSAURS IN THE FLESH IN THE BOTANICAL GARDEN!
A fascinating world comes to life in Giardino dei Semplici (Florence’s Botanical Garden).
The Natural History Museum of Florence will showcase the fascinating world of dinosaurs. Until September 2, through an informative, educational and fun exhibition, Dinosaurs in the Flesh and Bones will bring the public one of the most fascinating of aspects of science that will be a kind of laboratory in 'continuous evolution.'
"Dinosaurs in the Flesh" is a cultural event entirely Made in Italy and expresses Italian excellence in the Sciences and Paleontology, which has traditionally been predominant among the Anglo-Saxon cultures.
At the Giardino dei Semplici and between the palaeontological collections of the Natural History Museum visitors can admire life-size prehistoric animals, created by internationally recognized Italian artists of the field. A recreated dinosaur habitat emerges with copies of the Tyrannosaurus and Spinosauri, and using the fossil skeletal remains of the museum, other dinosaurs will be on display, among them the Glyptodon and Thylacinus.
The exhibition features 40 hyper-realistic reconstructions on a 1:1 scale of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, some of them colossal in size. Also, as part of the exhibition, there are 9 murals with prehistoric animals and paleoenvironmental reconstructions; 110 illustrated information panels; 120 works by internationally renowned Italian illustrators of paleontology art; and the exhibition of fossils, molds and tools needed to build the reproduction of a dinosaur, and a 3D paleontology aquarium
In conjunction with the exhibition are an array of cultural events, such as guided tours, informational lectures, and conferences with special initiatives.
Florence Museum of Natural History
March 1 to September 2
FULL PRICE € 10
FAMILY TICKET € 22
two adults and up to two children aged 4-18
REDUCED PRICE € 8
children aged 11-18; senior (over 65)
FURTHER REDUCED PRICE € 4
children aged 4-10; students
children under 4; disabled people and their accompanists;
3 teachers/accompanists per class.
The entrance fee is cumulative for access to the exhibition, the Geology and Paleontology Section and the Botanic Garden Section.
Geology and Paleontology Section , Via G. La Pira, 4
BOTANICAL GARDEN Section on P.A. Micheli, 3