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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 colomba and chocolate eggs. Slice off a piece of Easter bread, c rack open an egg and find the surprise inside, and then head out and enjoy the spring flowers and sunshine with best wishes, from SUZANNE, CORSO, BEI, LESLIE, ANNA PIA, VANNI, ANN and MARIO.


BEST EXTRAVAGANZA FOR APRIL – Scoppio del Carro on Easter Sunday

Between 10 and 11 o'clock on Easter Sunday morning (April 5), 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.


Why not rent a place in Florence where you are part of all of the energy, all of the pageantry, all of the romance of the Renaissance City. This month’s pick apartment is in the heart of the historic center. But you don’t have to live in the 16th century to enjoy this place. It has the finest that Italian modern design has to offer from the furnishings to the kitchen to the bathtub.

There are two bedrooms and two bathrooms (one with a shower and the other with the tub, so everyone is happy). The apartment is full of light with beautiful wood floors and characteristic wood-beamed ceilings.

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 79 years inside the Fortezza del Basso, where tradition and innovation merge to create valuable handmade products. This year, from April 24 to May 3, 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 10:30pm (on the last day it closes at 8pm

Web Site: www.mostraartigianato.it/en/the-fair.html


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 – Bronzes at the Palazzo Strozzi

Power And Pathos. Bronze Sculpture Of The Hellenistic World runs at the Palazzo Strozzi from 14 March−21 June 2015. This is major exhibition showcasing some of the ancient world's most important masterpieces of sculpture with exhibits from leading Italian and international museums. The exhibition uses 50 bronze sculptures to tell the story of the spectacular artistic developments of the Hellenistic era throughout the Mediterranean basin. Under Alexander the Great Hellenistic sculpture saw the birth of a genre known as "portraits of power", but at the same time it also revolutionized the style of Classical art by imbuing its figures with pathos, or expressiveness.

Monumental statues of gods, athletes and heroes will be displayed alongside portraits of historical figures, in a journey allowing visitors to explore the fascinating stories of these masterpieces' discovery while also probing the production and casting processes and the finishing techniques adopted.

Palazzo Strozzi is in Piazza Strozzi.

Tickets: €11, €9 reduced

Monday to Friday 9.00-13.00, 14.00-18.00

Tel. +39 055 2469600, Fax +39 055 244145, prenotazioni@palazzostrozzi.org

Website: www.palazzostrozzi.org

BEST BOOK FOR APRIL – A Zany Slice of Italy by Ivanka Di Felice

This light, lively book takes place in Italy, with hilarious anecdotes about the author and her husband’s trip to visit his family in Abruzzo and finally their escape to Tuscany. The author can laugh at her own expense, a rare quality. Her attitude and wit can turn even adversity into an almost tolerable and redeeming experience. Although the author is not so naïve as to think that all Italians’ lives flow as smoothly as their olive oil, she has not met anyone in Italy who is bitterly disappointed with life.

Her own expectations were shattered when she embarked on la dolce vita. She envisioned drinking unforgettable Brunello by candlelight and discussing art and history with elegant dinner guests. Instead, it is evident that still lifes and stilettos do not hold this author’s attention as much as living people do.

FOR KIDS FOR APRIL – Octavia and the Cats of Rome by Claudia Cerulli

Ottavia e i Gatti di Roma - Octavia and the Cats of Rome is a bilingual picture book in Italian and English. An adventurous story of two cats who call the ancient monuments of Rome their home. Follow Octavia and Julius in their tour of the best-loved sights of the Eternal City, with stops at the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Colosseum, and the famed Mouth of Truth.

Discover more about Rome and the sights mentioned in the story in the informative section at the end of the book. Use the location map to plan your own walking tour of Rome to see all the sights visited by the two cats and engage young children with a treasure hunt in the heart of Rome.

The text in Italian with English translation on every page will help Italian language students learn new words and practice their reading skills.


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 … “Black Night”. Evidently, this has something to do with an emphasis on African-American music. 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”.




TWEED RIDE – Biking in Style

April 19, 10am–3pm at the Cascine Park, Piazzale delle Cascine

For your next big bicycle ride, ditch the cycling shoes and ho-hum helmets in favour of vintage footwear, professor coats and grandpa cardigans. Part of the Florence Bike Festival (April 17–19), the Tweed Ride will bring together an unlikely group, from thrift-shopping fashion fiends to biking enthusiasts, all dressed in styles spanning the 1900s to the 1990s. A portion of the proceeds from registration fees will benefit Florence’s Meyer Children’s Hospital. To sign up (and get the essential dress-code details via video), see www.tweedride.it/booking/tweed-ride-firenze .

LADIES ONLY – Avon Running Through Florence

Ladies, save the date – Sunday, April 19 – 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 18th 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 26th 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/


April 12 starting in Piazza Santa Croce

From serious runners to casual joggers, everyone will celebrate spring by taking to the streets on April 12 for the 32nd Florence Half Marathon. Does the 21,097km distance sound daunting? Never fear: if you just want to join in the fresh-air fun, you can stake out a spot on the Lungarno to watch, sign up for the 5km walk or run in the 10km non-competitive race. For little ones there is the ‘Tommasino,’ a free 1.5km fun run.

Registration deadlines and rules differ for each event: for details, see www.halfmarathonfirenze.it .


In 1523 one of the last waves of the Black Death swept through Florence. A show of art depicting “The Plague in Florence in 1523" with drawings Alessandro Vannini is being staged in the basement of the Misericordia in Piazza Duomo. Go to see this medieval building. Go to see what life was like almost 500 years ago. The exhibit closes April 10.


On Easter Sunday, the state museums (Accademia, Uffizi, Pitti and Bargello, and others) will be open and free as part of the First Sunday of the Month offer by the national museums. If you make a reservation then you only pay for the reservation.


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.


April 10–12 in the Cascine Park, Piazzale delle Cascine

Never happened before. May never happen again! Whether you crave salty treats or have a sweet tooth, you can snack on kebab, suppli, spring rolls and other tempting street treats from Italy and beyond at the StreEAT Food Truck Festival. Unlike in the U.S., there will be a lot more Piaggio Ape’s than trucks. Admission is free.

For more information, visit www.streeatfoodtruckfestival.com .

ON THE ROAD – 150 Years at the Bargello

Mass movement was a major element of medieval civilization—from travel and trade to pilgrimage. With this exhibition, ‘The Middle Ages on the Road,’ the Bargello celebrates its 150th anniversary as a museum. Exploring the theme of movement through maps, artworks, travel items and everyday objects, the show sheds light on the impact of war, the centrality of faith and the prevailing worldviews during the Middle Ages.

Until June 21

Museo Nazionale del Bargello, via del Proconsolo 4


On Saturday the 4th 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. 19, 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.


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

April 1-7 Cinderella

April 5-7 Suite Francase

April 8 -13 Middle East Now Festival

April 15 Alexander

April 20-22 Mr. Turner

April 23-27 Into The Woods


On April 14 & 28 and continuing on selected Tuesdays throughout April and May, Palazzo Strozzi is partnering with the Odeon for an exciting cinematic series. In keeping with the themes explored in the ‘Power and Pathos’ exhibition, Palazzo Strozzi’s Tuesdays at the Movies will focus on the unlikely relationship between classical civilization and twentieth-century filmmaking: directors Oliver Stone, Federico Fellini, Stanley Kubrick and others turned to the ancient Greeks as a model for constructing myths and making observations about the modern world. The first two films in the series are Stone’s Alexander (April 14, 8.30pm) and Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Medea (April 28, 8.30pm). Entry is free, but arrive early! Odeon Cinehall, Piazza Strozzi.

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.

An Incredulity Toward Metanarratives

Post-modern Movies

Defining Post-modernism is notoriously problematic. Jim Collins' catalogue raisonné of post-modern aesthetics goes some way to providing a checklist of features that may or may not constitute elements of the post-modern:

1. lists of things and permutations, rather than a series of events in causal interaction which derive from an origin and move step by step toward a conclusion [parataxis];

2. middles without explicit beginnings or ends;

3. inconclusiveness, indeterminacy [lack of closure];

4. surface, randomness, and possibility [magic realism];

5. diversity and plurality without hierarchy;

6. fragmentation, dissonance, admixture, layering;

7. incongruity, rather than unity or purity;

8. multiple media, eclecticism, pastiche, intertextuality;

9. pop culture, stereotypes, cult of the everyday;

10. quotation, distance;

11 detachment, self-consciousness. [self-reflexivity]

Throw in the familiar concepts of Intertextuality, Parody, Pastiche, Prefabrication, Bricolage, and Simulation and perhaps a common theme might emerge from this selection of 30 years of Post-modernism, and counting...

Non-English language films are subtitled.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015. 20.00

Film: MAN WITH THE MOVIE CAMERA by Dziga Vertov, 1929

Wednesday, April 15, 2015. 20.00

Film: BRAZIL by Terry Gilliam, 1985

Wednesday, April 22, 2015. 20.00

Film: LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST by Kenneth Branagh, 2000 (part of the Shakespeare Week 2015)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015. 20.00

Film: PULP FICTION by Quentin Tarantino, 1994


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 01, 2015, 18.00

Lecture: Carlo Fumagalli

In England on a British Institute study grant, Carlo Fumagalli got to spend time in medical laboratories at the University of Cambridge. In this talk he relates his experiences.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015, 18.00

Concert: Natascha Majek (pianoforte)

A recital of music by Bach, Mozart and Schubert

Wednesday, April 22, 2015, 18.00

Lecture: Loretta Innocenti

Et in Arcadia ego': the sense of an ending in Love's Labour's Lost

Part of the Shakespeare Week 2015 programme

Wednesday, April 29, 2015, 18.00

Lecture: Lucinda Hawksley

Moustaches, whiskers and beards


Keep an eye out for demonstrations of Tai Chi in the piazzas of Florence on International Tai Chi Day on April 18.


Monday 20 April

16.00 Public Reading: Love's Labour's Lost

All are welcome to come and listen or to join in on the reading. Shakespeare is meant to be read aloud; everything is right there in the dialogue. Without sets, props or costumes we read the play as a group, finding new meaning in the magic of hearing the lines spoken.

While read primarily in English, readers are welcome to read aloud in other languages.

Followed by a light buffet.

20.00 Film: John Madden, Shakespeare in Love (1998), 123 mins.

With Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Judi Dench, Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush.

Where better to find Love in Shakespeare than in Shakespeare in Love?

John Madden's adaptation of Tom Stoppard's play is an already established firm favourite for lovers of Shakespeare and those with a penchant for intelligent romantic comedy. "One of those entertaining confections that's so pleasing to the eye and ear you'd have to be a genuine Scrooge to struggle against it" (Los Angeles Times).

Tuesday 21 April

15.00 Film: Elijah Moshinsky, Love's Labour's Lost (1985), 120 mins.

With Jonathan Kent, Mike Gwilym, Maureen Lipman, Jenny Agutter.

The only film in the BBC adaptations of Shakespeare's plays (and the last to be filmed) that is set in a time after the playwright's death; the eighteenth century, with sets and costumes based on Watteau. A highly creditable production that deserves wider exposure.

18.00 Exhibition opening: Tribute to Shakespeare

Within the framework of Shakespeare Week the students of the Russian Academy of Art in Florence, with its emphasis on classical, realistic art, present a series of works dedicated to Shakespeare's creative activity. The exhibition can be visited in the library until 30 April.

Wednesday 22 April

18.00 Lecture: Loretta Innocenti, ‘Et in Arcadia ego: the sense of an ending in Love's Labour's Lost'.

Loretta Innocenti is Professor of English Literature at Ca' Foscari, University of Venice. Her research has mainly focused on the relation of word to image. In 2014 she published a translation of LLL, Pene d'amore perdute (Salerno editore).

20.00 Film: Kenneth Branagh's Love's Labour's Lost (2000), 93 mins.

With Alessandro Nivola, Kenneth Branagh, Alicia Silverstone.

The play as a musical of the 1930s: two-thirds of the words are replaced with the songs of George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin. The New York Times called it a 'whimsical, affected adaptation'. The movie puts a frothy song-and-dance spin on Shakespeare's original highly stylised poetics, until the anti-comic denouement. The (uneven) result is never less than entertaining.

Thursday 23 April

9.15 Shakespeare and his Contemporaries - The IASEMS Graduate Conference at The British Institute of Florence

Humour in Shakespeare's Arcadia: gender, genre, and wordplay in early modern comedy

The annual conference is a one-day interdisciplinary and bilingual English-Italian forum open to PhD students and researchers who have obtained their doctorates within the past 5 years. This year's conference will focus on the theme of comedy in early modern texts, and on how humour is produced in language and plot, what purposes it serves and how it can be related to issues of gender and genre.

To take part in the British Institute of Florence Shakespeare Week 2015, membership of the Harold Acton Library is required. Membership options include annual (70 euro), three months (20 euro) and a 24-hour membership (5 euro). We have also created a special Shakespeare Week membership for only 10 euro covering all events and films. Please note that membership is not a requirement for the opening event, the public reading of Love's Labour's Lost on Monday 20 April. Non members are also welcome to attend the IASEMS Graduate Conference on Thursday 23 April.

The British Institute of Florence receives no Government funding and welcomes donations to support our Library and Cultural Programme.

We would like to thank the students and teachers of the Russian Academy of Art in Florence.



April 21, 9pm at Teatro Obihall, Via Fabrizio de Andre (lungarno Aldo Moro) one of the world’s top singer-songwriters, James Taylor now brings his signature rock-folk sounds to Florence. Taylor’s lyrics and tunes have earned him five Grammy Awards and sold 100 million albums over his 40 year career. His performance at the Obihall is one of six in Italy during his 2015 tour. To buy tickets, visit www.obihall.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


The choir of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino offers for the Easter concert the verses of Jacopo da Todi with the music of Gioachino Rossini: in the Stabat Mater they recount the human pain of the Mother at the sacrifice of the Son of God. Composed beginning in 1831, presumably as a gift for the Spanish Prelate Don Manuel Fernández, the Stabat Mater was performed for the first time in it’s final version on January 7, 1842 at the Théâtre-Italien of Paris, receiving notable success with both the public and the critics, thirteen years after Guillaume Tell, his last opera.

Fri 3 April, at 20:30

One seating area € 20 The ticket office of the Opera di Firenze is open Tuesday to Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m, and one hour before the show.

Opera di Firenze, Piazzale Vittorio Gui, 1

Ticket Office Teatro Comunale , Corso Italia 16

www.operadifirenze.it - fax: +39 055 287222 Tues. - Fri. 10:00-16:30 & Sat. 10:00-13:00

MUSIC IN THE CITY – Tuscany's Musical Bands in Florence

April 26 music will resound throughout the city. Eight bands will participate: Filarmonica “Rossini” of Firenze, “Puccini” of Segromigno in Monte (Lucca), “S. Cecilia” of Levigliani di Stazzema (Lucca), “Puccini” of Montevarchi (Arezzo), “Puccini” of Follonica (Grosseto), “Mascagni” of Cecina (Livorno), “Somma” of Chianciano Terme (Siena), “Puccini” of Borgo a Buggiano (Pistoia).

At 17:45, in Piazza Vittorio Gui in front of the Opera of Florence, these groups will perform the Ode to Joy, together with 900 children from the Florentine schools who participate in the Project “All’Opera!”.


At 16:00

Piazza della Signoria – Filarmonica "Giacomo Puccini" Città di Follonica (GR)

Piazza San Lorenzo – Corpo Musicale "Giacomo Puccini" di Montevarchi (AR)

Piazza Santa Maria Novella – Banda Musicale "Bonaventura Somma" di Chianciano Terme (SI)

Piazza del Carmine – Complesso Filarmonico "Giacomo Puccini" di Borgo a Buggiano (PT)

At 17:00

Piazza della Repubblica – Filarmonica "Pietro Mascagni" di Cecina (LI)

Piazza Duomo – Filarmonica "Giacomo Puccini" di Segromigno in Monte (LU)

Piazza Santo Spirito – Filarmonica "S. Cecilia" di Levigliani di Stazzema (LU)

Piazzale Vittorio Gui – Filarmonica "Gioachino Rossini" di Firenze (FI)


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


The armory of Frederick Stibbert through his masterpieces

27 March – 6 September 2015

Stibbert Museum, Via Federigo Stibbert 26

Looking for a knight in armor or just interested in armor. Go to the Stibbert Museum. The exhibition is a tribute to Frederick Stibbert (1838-1906) and his work: the extraordinary museum that bears his name and contains one of the largest collections in the world of ancient weapons and armor.

The Dream And The Glory, showcases some of the masterpieces collected by Stibbert worldwide, through an exhibition that not only highlights the beauty and the particularities of the armor, but introduces the visitor to the cultural atmosphere in the nineteenth century that brought this collector to amass such an amazing group of objects relating to war and armor.


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).


April 3–May 30 at the Eduardo Secci Contemporary Gallery, via Maggio 51r

This chic venue in via Maggio is hosting ‘Diramante,’ the first of a two-part showcase of works by Maurizio Donzelli. This thoroughly of-the-moment exhibition explores how beauty is making a comeback in contemporary art—Donzelli’s recent work figures prominently in this international conversation. Curated by Bartholomew F. Bland, who was behind the much-lauded American Dreamers show at the CCC Strozzina in 2012, the show at Eduardo Secci is the first part of the exhibition: in June, the gallery’s Pietrasanta location will host part two. For more information, call 055/283506 or visit www.eduardosecci.com .


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.

I SEGNI DELLA GUERRA – Signs of War in Pisa

March 28, 2015 - July 5, 2015

One hundred years from the entrance of Italy in World War I, Palazzo Blu dedicated an exhibition of photographs and documents dedicated to the conflict that opened and put its mark on twentieth century Italy.

Palazzo Blu, Lungarno Gambacorti 9, Pisa

Visit www.palazzoblu.it for more information.


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 24 to May 10 and then September 19 to October 4.

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


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.


Arte vera e gentile is a special exhibit running through May at the Museo del Tessuto in Prato. A fascinating selection of artifacts, precious embroideries, laces and fabrics from the Renaissance to examples from the 20th Century, conserved in order to keep the traditional techniques alive.

Via Puccetti 3 59100 Prato (PO) - Italia

Tel. +39 0574 611503

Fax +39 0574 444585

Web Site: www.museodaltessuto.it

email: info@museodeltessuto.it

facebook: www.facebook.com/museodeltessuto

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 Italian Life Rules, both written by Ann Reavis have been published! Find a copy at The Paperback Exchange at Via delle Oche, 4r, or on Amazon.com.

ITALIAN FOOD RULE: Eat Colomba at Easter

Colomba Pasquale or Colomba di Pasqua ("Easter Dove" in English) is an Italian traditional Easter cake, the counterpart of the two well-known Italian Christmas desserts, panettone and pandoro. The colomba traces its birth to the Lombardia region, but is enjoyed throughout Italy at Easter time.

The dough for the colomba is made in a similar manner to panettone, with flour, eggs, sugar, natural yeast and butter. Some prefer the light yellow dough studded with citrus peel or dried fruits; others want to only enjoy the sweetened cake. The sticky dough is fashioned into a dove-shape paper mold (or fashioned with two crossed halves of the dough to form the suggestion of a bird) and finally is topped with pearl sugar and almonds before being baked. Some manufacturers produce other versions including a popular bread topped with chocolate, but purists would argue that this is an unnecessary exaggeration.

There are a couple of fanciful stories about the origin of colomba. One version has the colomba dating back to 1176, commemorating the Lombardian victory over Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. During the deciding Battle of Legnano, according to this version, two doves representing the Holy Ghost miraculously appeared on the Milanese battle standards.

Another legend dates the bread to 572, when Alboin, King of the Lombards, conquered Pavia after a three-year siege. He demanded the typical tribute, including a dozen maidens, 11 of whom succumbed. The twelfth girl, however, arrived on the fateful night with a sweet bread in the shape of a dove, a symbol of peace. Alboin was so charmed (or exhausted) that he set her free, spared Pavia from destruction and made it his capital. (He later was assassinated on the orders of Rosamund, his Gepid wife, whom he forced to drink from the skull of her dead father, which he carried around his belt, inviting her "to drink merrily with her father.")

In more mundane times, the colomba was commercialized by the Milanese baker and businessman Angelo Motta as an Easter version of the Christmas specialty panettone that Motta company were already producing. Motta, however, does not rate as high these days among the producers. The honor of the best commercial colomba goes to Tre Marie and Bauli.

Many local Easter specialties incorporating the dove can be found throughout Italy. The dove, a pagan symbol of the coming of spring as well as the sign of the Holy Spirit in Catholicism, is the inspiration for a sweet called pastifuorti or moscardini in Palermo, pasta raffinata in Noto, and incanniddati in Syracuse, where it is shaped like a dove sitting with little candies at its base.


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April is when summer arrives this year. Get out there and enjoy the sunshine.

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Pitcher and Flaccomio