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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

Easter explodes with color and pageantry in Italy and Florence is in bloom and full of chocolate eggs. Crack open an egg and find the surprise inside and then head out and enjoy the spring flowers with best wishes, from SUZANNE, CORSO, BEI, LESLIE, ANNA PIA, VANNI, ANN and MARIO.


BEST EXTRAVAGANZA FOR MARCH – Scoppio del Carro on Easter Sunday

Between 10 and 11 o'clock on Easter Sunday morning (April 20), 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.

P&F PICK APARTMENT RENTAL FOR APRIL – Quiet Apartment in Central Residential Neighborhood

This two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment is in a great residential neighborhood close to the center of town, but out of the tourist confusion. Via Palestro is in the Ognissanti neighborhood a few steps away from the Arno and the ancient city door “Porta al Prato.” This location is within easy reach of Florence’s Opera Theatre, the Leopolda exposition center, the American Consulate, Polimoda fashion school, St. James American church, and the Santa Maria Novella train station. Of historic interest is the Church of Ognissanti with the magnificent cenacolo of Ghirlandaio.

This carefully refurbished apartment of about 115 mq (1240 sq.ft.) located on the third floor with elevator, and consists of a living room, dining room (table for 8), modern kitchen (table for 4), a double and a single bedroom, and one bathroom with jacuzzi tub and handheld shower, and the other with hydro-massage shower stall.

The apartment has parquet floors. The furniture is mostly antiques and traditional Florentine style with a few modern pieces. There is a spacious built-in closet in the entrance and the kitchen is built to measure with extensive cabinets and is well equipped with modern appliances.

For more information click this link.


The International Handicrafts Trade Fair (Mostra Internazionale dell’Artigianato) has hosted the most important master craftsmen for the past 78 years inside the Fortezza del Basso, where tradition and innovation merge to create valuable handmade products. This year, from April 24 to May1, you can admire the works of the ancient Florence workshops, as well as skills that are being rediscovered and practiced by innovative young artists. The International Handicrafts Trade Fair is the place where culture, arts, handicraft traditions and new creativities meet. Unique pieces in classical, modern, ethnic, and contemporary styles await you.

Opening Times: everyday from 10am to 11pm (on the 28th April, the last day: closing time at 8pm)


This classic trattoria, open since 1869, is always packed with diners seated on its long wood benches at this small, narrow restaurant. Sostanza excels at the savory, no-frills cuisine for which Tuscany is famous. Their specialties include Florentine steak, crispy chicken drowned in butter, egg frittata with artichokes and tripe in tomato sauce.

These deceptively plain-sounding dishes with sides of Tuscan white beans and roasted potatoes are the backbone of a hand-written menu.

Don't be late for lunch: the kitchen stops serving at 2 p.m and book a spot well in advance, since many locals have standing reservations. In the evening there are two sittings at 7:30pm and 9:30pm.

Lining the walls of the trattoria are framed scrapbook pages that feature photos and scribbled accolades of celebrity customers - among them poet Ezra Pound, novelist John Steinbeck, artist Marc Chagall, director Steven Spielberg and, the most recent, actor Matt Dillon - all who have made the pilgrimage for one of the best bistecca alla fiorentina in town.

Trattoria Sostanza - Troia

Via del Porcellana, 25r (half-way down the block from Borgo Ognissanti)

055 212691

BEST EXHIBIT FOR APRIL – Two Exhibits at the Palazzo Strozzi

Until 20 July 2014

Palazzo Strozzi is hosting Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino. Diverging Paths of Mannerism until 20 July 2014, a major exhibition devoted to the work of Pontormo and of Rosso Fiorentino, the two painters who were without question the most original and unconventional adepts of the new way of interpreting art in that season of the Italian Cinquecento which Giorgio Vasari called the 'modern manner'.

Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino trained under Andrea del Sarto while maintaining a strongly independent approach and enormous freedom of expression. Pontormo, always a favourite with the Medici, was a painter open to stylistic variety and to a renewal of the traditional approach to composition. Rosso Fiorentino, on the other hand, was more tightly bound to tradition, yet at the same time he was fully capable of flights of originality and innovation, influenced also by Cabalistic literature and esoteric works.

Mirroring the precepts underlying the Bronzino exhibition, this exhibition opted for a broad and multifaceted overview of the two great painters' masterpieces, according priority to the formal splendour and lofty poetry of Pontormo and of Rosso Fiorentino so that the exhibition appeals in its clarity not only to the specialist but also to a wider audience thanks to themed sections set out in chronological order.

Introducing the exhibit, in the first room of Palazzo Strozzi, are three overwhelmingly large frescos, supported by deep maroon arched temporary walls that create the effect of walking into a dimly lit basilica. The three frescos, of equally large proportions, create a closed space, with two flanking the sides and one looming opposite the entrance. Del Sarto painted the first fresco in 1511; Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino completed the other two shortly after in 1513 and 1514. All three were made for SS. Annunziata, thusly the ecclesiastical atmosphere is fitting. Spotlighting illuminates the frescos dramatically, increasing the feeling of being in a religious setting, which these images were originally produced for.

The second room is dedicated to the workshop of Del Sarto, including images produced by Pontormo, Rosso Fiorentino and Fra Bartolomeo. Already, the divergence of styles between the two protagonists is visible.

The following rooms are dedicated solely to the individuality of the artists, Pontormo and Rosso and the wall texts comment on their evolved styles. One of the final rooms, titled Rosso and Pontormo between the sack of Rome and the Siege of Florence, opens to the beautifully conserved masterpiece by Pontormo The Visitation or Visitazione painted between 1528 and 1529. Clearly, this painting is one of the most important of the exhibition. Since its drastic restoration, it revealed Pontormo’s vibrant use of color and elements that had been lost.

The final room exhibits three large and beautiful tapestries, modeled after designs by Rosso and Pontormo. The largest, Combat of the Centaurs and the Lapiths 1539 to 1544, rests on a slanted surface, allows the textiles to rest but also reflects the light off of the detailed and intricately woven gold and silver wefts.

The exhibition design combines the contemporary concept of simplicity through the dramatic spotlighting and the comfort and feel of a traditional museum. Dark and muted altar-like structures are beneath the works, suggesting to the visitor the ecclesiastical connotation of the majority of the works. The bold maroon, which serves as a backdrop for the paintings, almost reminds the viewer of a textile background that compliments the Renaissance culture.

A unique and unrepeatable event bringing together for the very first time a selection of masterpieces by the two artists in Italian and foreign collections, many of them specially restored for the occasion.

You can download a pdf of an English language guide to the exhibition here:


Monday to Friday

9.00-13.00; 14.00-18.00

Tel. +39 055 2469600

Fax +39 055 244145


While you are at Palazzo Strozzi don’t miss: The Palazzo Strozzi unveils Family Matters: Portraits and experiences of family today (CCC Strozzina, 14 March-20 July 2014), which presents the works by contemporary artists that encourage an investigation into the images and dynamics of family in the contemporary world.

And there is still more: The Greeting by Bill Viola

The Greeting, a video which the artist first presented at the Venice Biennale in 1995, will be on show at Palazzo Strozzi alongside the work of art that inspired it, Pontormo's Visitation from the church of San Michele Arcangelo in Carmignano. The event will mark the return of this great contemporary artist to Palazzo Strozzi after the CCC Strozzina's first exhibition, Emotional Systems, in 2007, in which his Observance (2002) played an extremely important role.

The Greeting is the first work in which the artist relates directly to the work of the old masters. His aim is not to recreate Pontormo's Visitation (which depicts the meeting between Mary, who is pregnant with Jesus, and St. Elisabeth, who is pregnant with St. John the Baptist) but to use the Florentine master as "a guide for doing something new." Viola has created a choreography of contemporary characters interpreting a scene from traditional Christian iconography using these great masterpieces of the past as his models. The figures are stripped of their religious symbolism and provided with a new context in a new dimension. What we see here is neither a literal transposition of the story from the Gospel of Luke nor yet Pontormo's interpretation of that story, but a touching and original vision of a meeting that becomes a timeless and universally poetic metaphor for the very essence of the human condition.

BEST BOOK FOR APRIL – Leonardo and the Last Supper by Ross King

If you want an in-depth, but entertaining, discussion of an artist (Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, etc.) check if Ross King has written a book on the subject. He recently wrote one about Leonardo da Vinci.

Early in 1495, Leonardo da Vinci began work in Milan on what would become one of history's most influential and beloved works of art--The Last Supper. After a dozen years at the court of Lodovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, Leonardo was at a low point personally and professionally: at 43, in an era when he had almost reached the average life expectancy, he had failed, despite a number of prestigious commissions, to complete anything that truly fulfilled his astonishing promise. His latest failure was a giant bronze horse to honor Sforza's father: his 75 tons of bronze had been expropriated to be turned into cannon to help repel a French invasion of Italy. The commission to paint The Last Supper in the refectory of a Dominican convent was a small compensation, and his odds of completing it were not promising: Not only had he never worked on a painting of such a large size--15' high x 30' wide--but he had no experience in the extremely difficult medium of fresco.

In his compelling new book, Ross King explores how – amidst war and the political and religious turmoil around him, and beset by his own insecurities and frustrations – Leonardo created the masterpiece that would forever define him. King unveils dozens of stories that are embedded in the painting. Examining who served as the models for the Apostles, he makes a unique claim: that Leonardo modeled two of them on himself. Reviewing Leonardo's religious beliefs, King paints a much more complex picture than the received wisdom that he was a heretic. The food that Leonardo, a famous vegetarian, placed on the table reveals as much as do the numerous hand gestures of those at Christ's banquet.

As King explains, many of the myths that have grown up around The Last Supper are wrong, but its true story is ever more interesting. Bringing to life a fascinating period in European history, Ross King presents an original portrait of one of history's greatest geniuses through the lens of his most famous work.

BEST BOOK FOR KIDS FOR APRIL – The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by

Kate DiCamillo (Author) and Bagram Ibatoulline (Illustrator)

As she did in her Newbery Medal Book, The Tale of Despereaux (2004), DiCamillo tucks important messages into this story and once more plumbs the mystery of the heart--or, in this case, the heartless. Edward Tulane is a china rabbit with an extensive wardrobe. He belongs to 10-year-old Abilene, who thinks almost as highly of Edward as Edward does of himself.

Even young children will soon realize that Edward is riding for a fall. And fall he does, into the sea, after mean boys rip him from Abilene's hands during an ocean voyage. Thus begins Edward's journey from watery grave to the gentle embrace of a fisherman's wife, to the care of a hobo and his dog, and into the hands of a dying girl. Then, pure meanness breaks Edward apart, and love and sacrifice put him back together--until just the right child finds him. With every person who touches him, Edward's heart grows a little bit softer and a little bit bigger. Bruised and battered, Edward is at his most beautiful, and beautiful is a fine word to describe the artwork.

Ibatoulline outdoes himself; his precisely rendered sepia-tone drawings and color plates of high artistic merit are an integral part of this handsomely designed package. Yet even standing alone, the story soars because of DiCamillo's lyrical use of language and her understanding of universal yearnings. This will be a pleasure to read aloud.


After perusing the Italian (and English) websites for information regarding activities and events during this year’s Notte Bianca or White Night, scheduled for April 30 into May 1, we were again frustrated with the lack of quality information.

For those who have no idea what a Notte Bianca is – it basically guarantees you 12 hours of fun, late store-openings, events in palazzo courtyards, concerts, art exhibitions, dancing, free breakfast, and museum openings. The historic center will be packed and many in the crowd will get more inebriated as the night wears on.

Where is it located? All over Florence, the ZTL zone in particular will be closed off to all cars and will become a “real” pedestrian zone for one night. This means one important thing, plan to leave the car at home. Buses (6, 14, 17, 22, 23 and 37 ) should run until at least 4am and after that normal bus schedules start at about half after 5am. Check here for buses: http://www.ataf.net/it/novita-e-comunicati/novita-sul-servizio.aspx?idC=89&LN=it-IT .

Apparently this year’s theme is … “La Citta Continua” (The City Continues). Maybe this refers to Florence after Mayor Renzi moved to Rome. In 2013 there were aerostatic sculptures (think large flying balloons) in Piazza Santa Croce, acrobatic dancers on the Torre di San Niccolo, a “dreamlike event” inspired by the book Jonathon Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. And an interactive installation called “Flying Bells” in Piazza Santa Maria Novella. Concerts at San Ambrogio. Museums were open for free entry and the shops stayed open.

Who knows what will happen this year, but everybody will be there. Check this site www.nottebiancafirenze.it closer to the date or Google “Notte Bianca Firenze”.



LADIES ONLY – Avon Running Through Florence

Ladies, save the date – Sunday, April 13 – for a 5K women-only race. The non-competitive run kicks off in Piazza Santa Croce at 9:30am. For serious runners there is also a 10K competitive race.

This is not just a Florence event. In its 17th year the Avon Run started in Bari on Sunday March 16 and then in a different city it continues every Sunday until Milan on the 25th of May.

The participation fee is € 12.00 for adults and € 8.00 for under 18 years. Proceeds will be donated to charities for the support of children and adolescents who have been the victims of violence. You will get an official t-shirt, race bib, a swag bag of gifts from the sponsors, information, insurance and medical care, and the official program of the event. Registration will be open until April 12, at the following:

FIRENZE MARATHON - Athletic Stadium - Viale M. Fanti, 2

Hours: Monday to Friday 09.00/13.00 - 14.00/16.00

ISOLOTTO SPORTS - Via Argin Grosso, 69

THE CHAMPION - Via Mino da Fiesole - Prato

You can also register directly at the Avon Running Village in Piazza Santa Croce on Saturday, April 12 from 14.00 to 18.00 and Sunday, April 13 from 8.00 to 9.30.

Check out the details online: http://www.avonrunning.it/

EXHIBIT AT THE ACCADEMIA GALLERY – Getting Reacquainted with Michelangelo

Ri-conoscere Michelangelo: Sculpture by Buonarroti in Photographs and Paintings from the XIX Century to the Present

To celebrate the 450th anniversary of the death of Michelangelo Buonarroti, the Galleria dell’Accademia of Florence and Fratelli Alinari I.D.E.A. S.p.A. have collaborated to present an exhibition that validates the complex theme of the renewed interest and admiration for Michelangelo from the 19th century until today. The exhibition highlights the work of sculptors, painters and photographers who have looked to the figure of Buonarroti and his work as the iconographic point of reference in their own work.

The exhibition seeks to highlight the decisive role photography has played in consolidating the critical and iconographic successes of Michelangelo and, as a consequence, the celebration of his myth. Photography has played, since its very origins, an important role in celebrating one of the most renowned artists of the Italian Renaissance, with a selection of images of his timeless sculptures as monuments of the collective memory.

Featuring works by Eugène Delacroix and Auguste Rodin, as well as other authors who worked with the then-new photographic medium from its very beginning, including the early work of Eugène Piot, Édouard-Denis Baldus, the Alinari brothers, and John Brampton Philpot, to name only a few. By approaching the content from a contemporary view through the work of other artists, the exhibition analyzes how the photograph was used for documentation, but also as an interpretation tool creating new viewpoints.

Michelangelo’s mastery has been recognized for centuries and can be seen here in the work of 20th-century artists such as Henri Matisse, Carlo Mollino, as well as in the more recent photographic studies from Herbert List, Horst P. Horst, Helmut Newton, Frank Horvat, Youssef Nabil, and many more.

Want more Michelangelo? Through April, the Museo Casa Vasari in Arezzo has the exhibition The Relationship Between Michelangelo and Vasari in his Letters and Drawings, while the Casa Buonarroti in Florence will host two exhibitions about this great artist, The Power of Myth – The Plans for the Facade of San Lorenzo in Florence 1900-1905 (March 18 – June 2, 2014) and Michelangelo and the Twentieth Century (June 18 – October 20, 2014).


On Saturday and Sunday, April 5 and 6, in Piazza SS. Annunziata is a Artisan Fair of all things made of wood. Carvings, jewelry, toys, bowls, platters, painting, kitchen utensils, and more wonderful workmanship can be yours.


On Saturday the 5th of April, Piazza della Repubblica will transform into a market just like in medieval times. Vegetables, cheeses, olive oil and wine will be available as well as handicrafts and artisan products.


On Sun. 20, pop around to Piazza Santo Spirito and admire the crafts and organic food fair. This one, as the name suggests will focus on crafts for the home. Your will also find handmade ceramic whistles for kids, antiques, food, hand-woven dresses and linens, beeswax candles, naturally scented soaps and oils, home-baked bread and cakes, ceramics, wine, olive oil, hand-carved wooden salad bowls and more. www.lafierucola.org.


The Fulgor makes one of their theaters available for Original Sound movies, seven days a week, three show times a day. Call to find out what is showing in English. Via Maso Finiguerra – Tel. 055 238 1881


Located in Piazza Strozzi. See website for times: http://www.odeonfirenze.com/

April 1-3 300: Rise of the Empire

April 4-6 Saving Mr. Banks

April 4-8 Captain America

April 8 Onirica Field of Dogs (National Premiere)

April 9-14 Middle East Film Festival

April 17-23 Fading Gigolo

April 24-30 Amazing Spiderman

ORIGINAL LANGUAGE FILMS – Talking Movies at the British Institute

The Talking Movies Series at the British Institute Library: Every Wednesday at 8:00 pm, the Sala Ferragamo in the Institute's Harold Acton Library hosts a film, followed by discussion. The British Institute Library, Lungarno Guicciardini 9. Check the web site at www.britishinstitute.it/en/events/default.asp for times, dates, and detailed information or stop by the library for a brochure.

April starts with the films of Director Luchino Visconti and ends with the start of a new series of Humphrey Bogart films.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014. 19.00

Film: LUDWIG – Helmut Berger, Romy Schneider, Trevor Howard

Wednesday, April 09, 2014. 20.00

Shakespeare Week Film: OTHELLO – Orson Welles, Micheál MacLiammóir, Suzanne Cloutier

Wednesday, April 16, 2014. 20.00

Film: L'INNOCENTE – Giancarlo Giannini, Laura Antonelli, Jennifer O'Neill

Wednesday, April 30, 2014. 20.00



Every Wednesday at 18.00 from September to June there is a lecture, concert or other event in the Sala Ferragamo in the Harold Acton Library followed by an informal drinks reception.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014, 18.00

Lecture: Matteo Sansone

This lecture by the musicologist Matteo Sansone will examine, with the help of film clips, its reinterpretation as a 19th-century Italian opera by Giuseppe Verdi.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 18.00

Concert: Art of Music Programme: Accademia Europea di Firenze

The concert is arranged by the Art of Music Programme, Accademia Europea di Firenze.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 18.00

Lecture: Jeremy Boudreau

Jeremy Boudreau, our Head of Art History, shares a new perspective on Pope Pius II Piccolomini’s ambitions in transforming his hometown of Corsignano into the ideal city of Pienza.


Keep an eye out for demonstrations of Tai Chi in the piazzas of Florence on International Tai Chi Day on April 26.



On Wednesday, April 9, the 18th edition of the festival of sacred music will commence with The Last Seven Words of Christ on the Cross by Haydn. The concert starts at 9:15pm, but get there a bit early to get a seat.


Alexandra Amorosa brings her Amore Puro Tour to the Mandela Forum on April 9 at 9pm. Her pop/soul sold out concerts in Rome are a great lead into the concert in Florence.

MandelaForum, Viale Paoli. Info: 055 667566, www.bitconcerti.it


Noemi, known throughout Italy as a pop/rock/soul singer/songwriter is coming to Obihall on April 29 at 9pm.

On 20 February 2014, Noemi published her third studio album, realized in London and called "Made in London". The album includes "Bagnati dal sole" and "Un uomo è un albero". On 22 February 2014, was released the first single, "Bagnati dal sole"

Info: 055 667566, www.bitconcerti.it


The Amici della Musica of Florence presents various concerts at the Teatro della Pergola. Works by Haydn, Schubert, Chopin, Liszt, and Mozart are only a small sample of what will be performed. See the schedule for concerts at http://www.amicimusica.fi.it/.

Teatro della Pergola, Via della Pergola, info: 055/609012 or 055/2264333, www.amicimusica.fi.it


April 8 Paul Carignani directs the Overture of the rare Creatures of Prometheus, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and The Tragic by Schubert.

April 16 Easter Concert

April 25 Liberation Day Concert

Teatro Verdi, Via Ghibellina, 99

Info: http://www.teatroverdionline.it/cartellone/musical/my-fair-lady-dal-21-02-13-al-24-02-13.html


April 5 Zubin Mehta directs Concerto No. 2 for piano and orchestra by Liszt

Ticket Office Teatro Comunale

Corso Italia 16 - Firenze - fax: +39 055 287222 Tues. - Fri. 10:00-16:30 & Sat. 10:00-13:00

Tickets on line www.maggiofiorentino.com tickets@maggiofiorentino.com

Not to worry! … Here are a bunch of events or exhibits that will still be happening in late April and May:

NEW IN SHOES – The Prodigious Shoemaker: Legends & Fairy Tales On Shoes And Shoemakers

There is an exhibition that has been extended at Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, where various artists interpret the fabulous role of shoes in legends, myths and fairy tales. Curated by Stefania Ricci, Sergio Risaliti and Luca Scarlini, the exhibition portrays various artists’ interpretations on the universe of shoes: from the original manuscript of Federico Garcìa Lorca’s “La zapatera prodigiosa” to writers and poets such as Hamid Ziarati, Michele Mari and Elisa Biagini, Argentine-Italian composer Luis Bacalov and Milanese visual artist Liliana Moro; all works focus on a brilliant point-of-view of a lady’s second best friend.

Salvatore Ferragamo Museum – Piazza Santa Trinità 5


The Rooms Of The Muses at the Galleria degli Uffizi until 11 May 2014

The famed orchestra conductor Francesco Molinari Pradelli (1911-1996), in the course of his numerous travels throughout his professional career, collected baroque art which is housed in the Bologna Molinari Pradelli Collection. This special exhibit is part of Un Anno ad Arte 2014.

Born in Bologna in 1911, he attended the “Gian Battista Martini” music school, studying piano under the guidance of Filippo Ivaldi and orchestra conducting under Cesare Nordio, and completing his musical training in Rome. In 1938, from his very first performances, the press defined him as a “conductor with a glowing future, while Arturo Toscanini commended him as a young man “with talent who will go places”. In Rome, he distinguished himself in conducting concertos with soloists like Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli and Wilhelm Kempff. In the 1940s, he performed on the podiums of Milan, Pesaro, Trieste, Bologna and Florence, directing in particular, works by Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Wagner. His international success began with a 1949 tour in Hungary and then on to the most important theatres in Europe and America, with a repertory of thirty-three concertos and twenty-eight operas, from 1938 to 1982.

In the 1950s, the Maestro began to cultivate a growing passion for painting, first for nineteenth-century works, and then discovering an interest for Baroque painting. He developed a very original attraction for still-life, a genre that was just then beginning to garner interest from scholars, in which he combined the pleasure of owning artwork, aesthetic appreciation and the desire for knowledge, stimulated by museum visits in the cities his professional career took him to.

His collection of some two hundred paintings that in time lined the walls of his Bologna home and later, the Villa at Marano di Castenaso, was admired by the greatest art historians of the XX century, from both Europe and America. As the exhibition documents with a selection of one hundred paintings, the Maestro rigorously preferred seventeenth- and eighteenth-century painting, collecting works from the various Italian schools.


One of the most beautiful gardens in all of Florence is the annual Iris Garden, which is located on the east end of Piazzale Michelangelo. Opening on the 25th of April until the 20th of May (10 to 12:30pm; 3pm-7pm every day).


MERCATINO DI APRILANTE - Artisanal Crafts Market

Sun. 6 (morning to afternoon) visit Panzano-in-Chianti. The first Sunday of each month the weekly town market held in Panzano is expanded with artisan booths of all sorts. Depending on which vendors show up, 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 of Badia a Passignano. It is also possible to reach Panzano by SITA bus from Florence. The trip takes about one hour.


The Tuscan Archipelago National Park this year is celebrating its fifth edition of the Tuscany Walking Festival. “Taking advantage of all the benefits Mother Nature has to offer means living a better life.” The program runs from April 21 to October 12.

The philosophy of the festival: regaining the benefits of mother nature. Photography, painting and contemporary art lovers, and hobby lovers in general, will be given special treatment. During the festival a Convention will be held on the subject of the environment and the happiness it can give, with many innovative ideas and suggestions on how to live better. The Park has also published new brochures: as well as the guide to the most characteristic excursions in the Park, translated into three foreign languages, there is a brochure about the fascinating history of the Tuna fishing nets in Enfola, and a small guide for excursions on horseback, and by bike.

Website: http://www.tuscanywalkingfestival.it/en-GB/home.html


April 26 and 27 Volterra is alive with Volterragusto, a festival and market of all things tasty fro the territory around the hilltop town.


On Sun. 6, as on every first Sunday of the month, from 8 am to sunset, you can enjoy a visit to Fiesole with the added fun of perusing the stands filled with bric-brac and antiques. Piazza Mino. For info phone 0555978373.


Until June 29

Palazzo Blu, Lungarno Gambacorti 9, Pisa

Discover the many unexpected blunders covered up by the science world. The exhibit Lies in Science explores the inevitability of mistakes accompanying the thirst for knowledge in the science world; after all, being wrong is a part of science. Visit www.palazzoblu.it for more information.

MUVE - Museum of Glass in Empoli

Located in the picturesque surroundings of the ancient Salt Store, restored for the occasion, the Museum of Glass in Empoli (Museo del Vetro di Empoli – MUVE) was inaugurated in July 2010. The exhibition is spread over two floors, running through the history of glass production in Empoli, already active in the fifteenth century, but flourishing since the mid-18th century and especially in the 19th century, thanks also to the strategic position of Empoli on the way from Florence to Pisa, connected by the railway by the middle of the century.

Common objects, such as flasks, carboys and bottles, are on display along with tools, documents, photographs and advertising images that illustrate the changes in the production of glass in the area. On the second floor, interesting pieces of artistic glass reflect the fine craftsmanship of Tuscany glassworkers in the 20th century. The tour is then enriched by evocative visual and sound effects designed to recreate the atmosphere of historic glasswork.

Address: Empoli, via Ridolfi, 70-74

Tel:0571 76714

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 10 a.m.-7.00 p.m. Closed on Monday.

Tickets: Full price: € 3.00; half-price ( groups min. 15 persons): € 1.50; reduced (EU citizens under 18 and over 65, Every Sunday, from 15 to 19, free admission.


Tuscan Traveler’s Italian Food Rules written by Ann Reavis has been published! Find a copy at The Paperback Exchange at Via delle Oche, 4r, or at BM Bookshop, Borgo Ognissante, 4.


Lo Sciopero is a strike or temporary work stoppage. A sciopero can be national or local and can affect only one sector or many. They inconvenience everyone and help no one, but Italians keep exercising their right to strike.

The most common strikes are local, usually lasting from four hours to one day. Strikes often involve the transport sector. They are almost invariably announced in advance, which at least helps alert travelers to plan around the dates of strikes. Occasionally, to make things more complicated, they are cancelled or postponed at short notice.

There are many rail strikes in Italy and they generally take place at the weekend, from Saturday evening until Sunday evening. The law guarantees a minimum service, so some trains should still run. There are also frequent strikes of urban transport. These scioperi are generally announced in advance, and many city transport authorities will try to negotiate a service during the rush hour to help commuters.

A large proportion of Italy's air travel strikes have involved Alitalia, the perpetually troubled Italian national airline. Sometimes there are more general strikes by ground staff and by air traffic controllers, and unfortunately there's not much travelers can do about this other than be patient. These strikes usually last several hours; sometimes they simply delay flights, at other times they can lead to cancellations. 

Other strikes in Italy - by schoolteachers, students, taxi drivers, garbage collectors, tabacco sellers, even bloggers (2009 to protest a restrictive bill in Parliament). Strikes by state employees may affect museum openings. Strikes may even occur in sympathy with strikers from other countries.

Strikes at individual museums will almost always be timed to back up against the weekly closed day. Strikes in any industry happen almost every year in the week leading up to and after the national August 15 holiday.

Helpfully, the Commissione di Garanzia Sciopero tracks all of the national, regional, and local strikes and lists them on helpful online spreadsheets.

Just go to http://www.cgsse.it/web/guest;jsessionid=Y5IkoMcPT9Ikxyk7mpsNvg__ to check for yourself.

The granddaddy of all strikes is the national strike (lo sciopero nazionale), all transportation may be stopped or experience a slow down, garbage won’t be collected, museums will be closed, and many stores, including supermarkets will be closed. National strikes are fairly rare, but it’s a day most Italians will stay home in bed.


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March came in like a dripping wet grumpy lion and left like a lamb – now, get out there and enjoy the sunshine.

All the best,

Pitcher and Flaccomio