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IMPORTANT INFORMATION » Our Monthly Newsletter ITA -

Palazzo Pitti

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Rent, Sell and Manage Properties in Florence and Tuscany
NEWSLETTER august 2009

August in Florence… ok, it’s hot, but this is a month many of us adore spending in town. Most Florentines head out to the beaches or beyond, leaving behind a nearly traffic-free city where parking is blessedly easy, and a prevailing atmosphere of: “we are stuck in town for the summer, so let’s make the best of it”. Work continues… but with a much less serious attitude. We plan evening drinks together with friends and weekend outings to nearby lakes or pools. It is an un-official month of small celebrations. Enjoy yourselves; we intend to do the same.
In this issue: our August calendar of what’s happening in and out of town includes exhibitions, summer music festivals and medieval fairs. On August 15, all of Italy celebrates the Assumption of the Madonna, an important midsummer holiday. It is a week that towns and cities nearly come to a complete stop (though action at the seaside continues full force).
From Suzanne:
Dear Friends, once again this year, I have the pleasure of joining the committee that organizes Corri La Vita, a walk/marathon to raise money and awareness about breast cancer. In our seventh edition, to be held on Sunday September 2, we are being generously sponsored by Ferragamo who wil be creating 14,000 bright orange tee shirts for our participants. Every year a new colour and design is created especially for the official Corri La Vita T shirt, and this year, for the first time more than 2,400 virtual friends on Facebook selected “Orange” because of its “energy, vitality and radiates warmth”. The minimum donation to participate is €10.00 which entitles you to the official T shirt, and all children under 10 years of age do not pay.
Of course, we seek additional financial support to raise sufficient funds for our projects. Therefore I am turning to all of you who read our newsletter, to ask your companies or local associations if they would like to become sponsors for Corri La Vita. Undoubtedly, this high visibility event in the historic city of Florence would provide excellent exposure as well as association with a very just cause. Should you need any further information as to where, how, what and why, please don’t hesitate to email s.pitcher@dada.it or go to the official event website http://ww.corrilavita.it. I will be forever grateful for any assistance my friends can offer this worthy cause.
I thank you in advance,
From our cool office on Lungarno della Zecca Vecchia SUZANNE, CORSO, SANDRA, LORI, ANNA PIA, KIMBERLY and MARIO send best wishes for a summer full of fun.


To celebrate the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition, until Sept. 10 the Accademia Gallery will open with FREE entry during special hours from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Thursday evenings only. Plus, until Sept. 29, both the Accademia and the Uffizi will extend Tuesday evening opening hours until 9:00 pm (regular entry fee) making for cool, crowd-free art enjoyment.
FOOTBAAAALLL!! by Simon Clark and Anne Brooks
Forza Viola!..........It’s phony war time again as teams regroup around the transfer market and gear up with friendlies against the best teams in the world or, in the case of Livorno (with their own take on the rigours of Serie A) “unemployed Germans”. The press blares about a new stadium but it looks dependent on finance from public sector grants (under pressure), planning gain (worth little in the recession) and commercial developments (unlikely given the credit crunch). It may stay a dream for some time yet so let’s focus on Fiorentina’s hunt for a third-ever Scudetto.........
Fun & Games. We’ve been training at Cortona and playing local friendlies (made available on the official website for insomnia-sufferers) – not the most arduous of starts. On 19 July we trampled over the locals to the tune of 13-0; mixing old hands with juniors, nearly everyone scored! Our azzuri internationals drifted back a little later, Gilardino winning media coverage for returning a week early – maybe he didn’t like his holiday hotel? We’re being cautious with Adrian Mutu; regular readers will recall that knee surgery caused him to miss the tail of last season but he got a run-out on 25 July against Belluno, another sacrificial lamb. Seven-nil. Yawn.
These games don’t matter for their results; they enable Prandelli (with whom the editor of this newsletter was spotted talking tactics in a Florentine restaurant) to make sure his players are a group. Cesare sees the top places going again to Inter, Milan and Juve and everyone else vying for fourth. He may be right but (1) while it will take dynamite to prise the Scudetto away from Inter, Milan and Juve have major remodelling to do after personnel changes and (2) Fiorentina threw away points against lesser teams last season and if we can cut that out we might surprise even ourselves. A champion team will always beat a team of champions; in football, anything is possible [except Scotland winning the World Cup].

The friendlies got a little – but not much – more serious on 29 July as the Viola hosted a visit to the Stadio from French giants, Paris St Germain. Cold shower, dose of reality.......we lost by an emphatic 3-0. We were trying out a new formation and there were substitutes galore. No need to panic. There were only two problems – first, we didn’t score any goals; second, we conceded too many. Otherwise, everything was fine and the new strip looked good. More work needed!
Transfer Market. Pantaleo Corvino has never stopped working to strengthen the team and the media never stopped dreaming, inventing, imagining and reporting - but some things are becoming clear. No-one is coming from Real Madrid. Felipe Melo, having signed a new 5-year contract with a 20mn euro exclusion clause, has promptly departed for Juventus (no hard feelings but let’s pray that we beat them this season and Melo gets sent off). No matter the Viola management spin, Melo’s loss could hurt; he brought a necessary degree of robustness to our midfield – some interesting alternatives are being talked about.....we shall see! The other departures – Zauri, Bonazzoli, Storari, Lupoli and Mazurch – were loan deals reaching a natural end. Pasqual has signed a new 3-year contract but there are whispers about Semioli looking towards Sampdoria.
We have half a dozen or so additions confirmed. The key ones are the Juve winger, Marchionni, who is likely to go straight into the first-choice line-up (and whose acquisition may have unsettled Semioli); Natali, Torino’s experienced central defender; and a dollop of muted controversy at the signing of Jose Castillo from Lecce, relegated last year. The Argentine is 34 and is touted as cover for Gilardino; he will wear Batistuta’s shirt. Not all are enthralled but the proof of the pudding..........
Serie A. The season proper gets going on Sunday 22 August. The Viola wait till the Monday to stake their claim – 3 points at Bologna should be in the bag; then a test against Palermo at the Stadio. A good start is essential as Roma and Lazio lurk in September...Forza Viola!
Ticket information is available from the “biglietteria” section of the club’s website: http://ww.acffiorentina.it. There is a plan of the stadium seating areas, prices and a list of ticket outlets in Florence, including: CHIOSCO DEGLI SPORTIVI, via degli Anselmi (between the Piazza Repubblica post office and the Odeon cinema). Tel 055 292363. BAR MARISA, via Carnesecchi 1. Tel 055 572723. BAR STADIO, viale Manfredo Fanti 3r. Tel 055 576169. ASS. SPORTIVA COLLETTIVO AUTONOMO VIOLA 1978, via Lungo l’Affrico 10r. Tel 055 672580. BAR H9, via dell‘Ariento (south side of the central market). ACF OFFICIAL TICKET-OFFICE, via Dupre 28 (corner of via Settesanti). NUOVO BOX OFFICE, via Luigi Alamanni 39 (close to SMN station). Tel 055 264321.
THE FIORENTINA SCHEDULE: At the end of July, the squad heads south for the Dahlia Cup with hosts Catania and Palermo. Following another light local run-out on 5 August, we take a trip to Birmingham (England) to play Aston Villa, then come back for a game at Figline. Then things get serious. We have the Champions League qualifiers over two legs in August while the Serie A computer has settled on our August games:

• Champions League: Qualifier First Leg 18 or 19 August – to be confirmed
• Serie A Week 1: 23 August: Bologna-Fiorentina
• Champions League: Qualifier Second Leg 25 or 26 August – to be confirmed
• Serie A Week 2: (Florence) 30 August: Fiorentina-Palermo

Put a ripe watermelon in the fridge to chill. Slice and serve.

THUMBS UP – THUMBS DOWN - “Our Readers Right”
Our “Thumbs up, Thumbs down” column is your chance to toot the horn of businesses, events and those Florentine situations that strike you as either wonderful or terrible. Please note: all opinions are strictly those of our readers. Lend us your thoughts!
GELATO: AN OCCASIONAL PROMENADE (continued......) Submitted by Simon and Anne
.....and we feel the need to continue given the African heat bearing down on the city. If this goes on, promenading will have to be kept in check until the sun goes down. Still, it must be good news for the gelato industry. If you are feeling parched by the sun in the city centre, these three places will bring reliable relief:
FESTIVAL DI GELATO [via del Corso 75R. Tel: 055 239 4386]. Tucked down the northern side of the Coin store, a bustling gelateria with a tight frontage but running deep into the building. An extensive range of gelato and semi-freddo that gives the lie to the contention that more equals less. Occasionally offers a delectable white chocolate. Be ready to spend a little time choosing your combination of flavours. Closed Mondays, otherwise 10.00 to half-past midnight.
GELATERIA GROM [via del Campanile 2 (angolo dell’Oche). Tel: 055 216 158]. Chic decor for the Florence outlet of what has developed into an international chain (see http://ww.grom.it). Duck into a contemporarily-styled gelato-bar a block south of the Duomo, just along from the Paperback Exchange and Pegna – which upholds traditional gelateria methods. Grom boasts a commitment to the best of Italian ingredients; some flavours have a Slow Food accreditation. The product lives up to the claims. Open every day from 10.00 through to midnight. The queues can be serpentine!
PERCHE NO? [Via dei Tavolini 19r (angolo via Calzaioli). Tel: 055 239 8969]. A gem. A small city-centre outlet, off Calzaioli by Orsanmichele and a block south of Festival di Gelato. Well-known and offering a quality of gelato consistently higher than high. Specialises in chocolate and does a great white chocolate. Nothing seems to disappoint – perché no indeed! Generally open Wednesday to Monday.
ALGHIERI VIAGGI, VIA S. EGIDIO 14r. TEL 055 241044. info@alighieriviaggi.com
Hi Kim,
I love all the information in your newsletters. We have used this travel agency several times to book train tickets – all the staff we encountered were cheerful, helpful and spoke excellent English! It was a speedy process! (Though they do close for lunch.)
Best wishes,
Deborah Pontifex


On Monday 10, join the neighborhood of San Lorenzo in a celebration of their patron, Saint Lawrence. During the morning, salute the parade writhing through town from the Palagio di Parte Guelfa on Via Pellicceria, to the Basilica di San Lorenzo, starting around 10:30. At 7:00 pm, head to Piazza San Lorenzo for an outdoor celebration. There will be free lasagna, music and watermelon for all. The event begins sometime after the market stalls that line the streets by day are rolled away. In addition, in honor of San Lorenzo, a concert is held each year in Piazza San Lorenzo by the G. ROSSINI PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA, at 9:00 pm. For info tel. 055603407 - http://ww.filarmonicarossini.it.
Tuesday 11 watch for some local fanfare. On August 11, 1944, with the help of the Allied troops, Florence rebelled against the Germans and the city was restored to the Florentines. To celebrate, a parade takes place each year at 9:00 am, beginning in Piazza dell'Unità near the central station and ending in Piazza della Signoria. This year we also celebrate the 65th Anniversary of Florence’s Liberation with a concert by the G. ROSSINI PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA at 9:00 pm. in Piazza della Signoria.
Through August and until Sept. 7th, shops and stores in Florence and Tuscany are officially allowed to reduce prices on their spring/summer merchandise. Take advantage and stretch those precious euros.

FROM PETRA TO SHAWBAK - Archaeology of a Frontier
From Monday July 13 to October 11, the Limonaia in the Boboli Gardens offers an exhibition of the latest international archaeology investigations and of the research conducted by the University of Florence in these past twenty years in Jordan at the sites of Petra and Shawbak. Petra was the capital of the mercantile empire of the Nabataeans which controlled the incense route, then conquered by the Romans, the Persians and the Arabs up to the epoch of the Crusades, between 1100 and 1118, when king Baldwin of Jerusalem built the two castles of Al-Wu’Ayra and Al-Habis. The “Crusader” century (between 1100 and 1189) revived the city’s ancient function in southern Jordan, as a frontier between the Mediterranean and Arabia, but also between Syria and Egypt. The Castle of Shawbak, also founded by Baldwin I, is one of the most spectacular medieval settlements of the eastern Mediterranean. It is located 25 km north of Petra, which it replaced as capital of Transjordan in the XII century. Studies conducted by the Italian archaeological mission have restored this site to the great history of the Mediterranean, along with its extraordinary monuments: the cathedral of Saint Mary, the palace of Saladin’s grandson, the monumental bastions of the late XIII century.
As of 2006, the Shawbak site has been the object of an innovative international Italian-Jordanian agreement of scientific and cultural cooperation between the Department of Antiquities of Jordan and the University of Florence, which combines archaeological research, conservative restoration and valorization. The exhibition itinerary has been conceived in three sections: 1) the discovery of an authentic capital that reinterprets the Crusader presence of the Seigniory of Transjordan, and beginning a succession that crosses the dynasty of Saladin; 2) documentation of the diverse role performed by the frontier: from the ancient age (Nabataean, Roman, Byzantine), Arab-Islamic (Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid) up to the Crusader-Ayyubid and Mameluke ages, explored through the archaeological observatory of the region and of the sites of Petra and Shawbak; 3) the collection and “publication” of visitors’ comments. Several films (from Indiana Jones to Aleksandr Nevskij) will contribute to drawing the public to the exhibition themes. Limonaia of the Boboli Garden. Daily from 8:15 am to 7:30 pm. Closed the first and last Monday of the month. Tel. 055 2654321.
Until Sept. 14 the Museo della Casa Buonarroti presents a show based on studies carried out by the Département des Arts Graphiques at the Musée du Louvre on the vast graphics collection (about three thousand drawings and thirty thousand engravings) donated by Edmond de Rothschild to the Louvre in the 1930s, that has led to the identification of a remarkable number of works by Italian Renaissance masters. For many years now, Fondazione Casa Buonarroti and the Département des Arts Graphiques have had excellent scientific relations, with the result that the Museo della Casa Buonarroti is now putting on an exhibition of the highest level, with over ninety items, almost none of which have been shown previously. A particularly enchanting introduction to the exhibition is given by a group of twenty-one International Gothic drawings, visible from both sides. On the front, there are fabulous images of ancient castles, and on the back architectural and figure drawings of the finest draughtsmanship. The various subjects include an Angel Defeating Vices, a Saint George and the Dragon, a Crucifixion with God the Father and Mary Magdalene, and Architecture with Peacock and Birds in Flight. These are followed by nine niello works by famous artists; then we find the main section of the exhibition, which consists of about sixty-five sheets, with masterpieces by Pisanello, Jacopo Salimbeni, Leonardo, Raphael, Fra Bartolomeo, Benozzo Gozzoli, Maso Finiguerra, Niccolò dell'Abate, Perin del Vaga, Battista Franco, Cavalier d'Arpino, and other great names from Quattrocento and Cinquecento Italian art. Casa Buonarroti, via Ghibellina 70, tickets: € 6.50, opening hours: 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., closed Tuesdays. Tel. 055 241752. http://ww.casabuonarroti.it.
Until Sept. 27, an exhibition dedicated to the great American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, in the twentieth anniversary of his death, illuminates the Accademia Gallery. For the first time works of this renowned artist of photography are exhibited with universal icons of art like the David, flanked by the Prisoners, and paintings by masters from the fourteenth century to the full Renaissance. From its very title, Robert Mapplethorpe, Perfection in Form, the show expresses the profound principle that associates Mapplethorpe with the great Renaissance masters and, in particular, with Michelangelo: the search for balance, the precision and clarity inherent to ‘Form’ that tends toward perfection by means of the geometric rigor of volumes defined by line and sculpted by light.
In Mapplethorpe’s own words: “I look for perfection in form … I am trying to capture what could be sculpture”. The photographer confessed his fascination for the art of Michelangelo, stating: “If I had been born one hundred or two hundred years ago, I might have been a sculptor, but photography is a very quick way to see, to make sculpture”.
The material is grouped into four sections addressing the single theme of Form; Geometry of Form, Fragment as Form, Repeating Form, and Sculptural Form. Michelangelo’s David and the four Prisoners, as terms of comparison, in addition to four drawings and a wax model also by Michelangelo, reflect off 93 works by Mapplethorpe that include human subjects as well as numerous still-lifes, where Mapplethorpe confirms his attention for the study of light and shadows on the object, giving it a clear placement in space. Accademia Gallery. Via Ricasoli 58. Open Tues-Sun 8:15 am-6:50 pm; last admission 30 min. before closing. Ticket: 10 euro. Closed Monday. Firenze Musei Tel. 055. 2654321
Until Sept. 30 the Uffizi Gallery hosts a fascinating special exhibit. With the extinction of the Medici dynasty (1743), Florence did not lose its prestige as capital of culture and the arts, thanks to the government of the Lorraines, who gave the city the international profile required by Enlightenment policies. This exhibition is the first overall panorama of the principal artistic events of the eighteenth century in Florence, with 120 paintings, sculptures, art objects and furnishings, works from the entire century, recording the changes in taste from the late Baroque period to Neoclassicism.
The show starts with commissions made by Cosimo III and the Grand Prince Ferdinando de’ Medici, that opened the city to “foreign” artists like Sebastiano Ricci and Giuseppe Maria Crespi. They favored sculpture (with personalities like Giovan Battista Foggini and Massimiliano Soldani Benzi), and developed the manufacture of tapestries and semiprecious stone work.
Following the Medicis, Peter Leopold of Lorraine brought the European version of Rococo and Neoclassicism to Tuscany, along with the reformist spirit that accompanied the theories of the Enlightenment even in the figurative arts. A new elite of patrons took shape in Florence. In this context, the families of the Florentine aristocracy held a conspicuous role: the Gerinis for the diffusion of the veduta (landscape), the Ginoris for their famed porcelains of Doccia, the Corsinis for their constant relations with pontifical Rome. In this climate of civic and cultural fervor, the Frenchmen François-Xavier Fabre, Bénigne Gagnereaux, Louis Gauffier and Jean-Baptiste Desmarais came to Florence, driven from Pontifical Rome after the murder of the diplomat Nicolas de Basseville. With them came the international version of neoclassicism, thus contributing to the “reform” of the portrait, the veduta and the historical painting, on the eve of the instatement of the Napoleonic court (1799). Uffizi Gallery. Ticket: 10 euro. Open Tuesday to Sunday 8:15 – 6:50 pm. Closed Monday. Firenze Musei Tel. 055. 2654321
Until August 30, at Palazzo Strozzi, Florence pays homage to the human and intellectual epic of one of its most ingenious sons. Galileo’s first celestial discoveries date to exactly 400 years ago, and to mark this fourth centenary the United Nations has declared 2009 the International Year of Astronomy. The exhibition proposes a journey through time and space that begins with the mystical and poetic visions of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. It moves on to the Greek cosmogonies, characterized by the ingenious homocentric spheres of Eudoxus, through the planetary architectures of Ptolemy and Arab astronomy, revoking the Christian interpretations and finally arriving at the heliocentric theories of Copernicus that inspired Galileo and Kepler, the scholars who – together with Newton – made a decisive contribution to the definitive consolidation of the new concept of the universe. Enhanced by informative videos, the itinerary is illustrated by archaeological finds, beautifully-fashioned scientific instruments, celestial atlases, paintings (spectacular frescoes from Pompeii never shown before, in addition to Botticelli, Rubens and Guercino), sculptures, precious illuminated codices and specially-built working cosmological models. Among the most spectacular exhibits are the monumental astronomical tapestry of Toledo, the Farnese Atlas, the mysterious painting Linder Gallery Interior, displayed here for the first time, and Galileo’s telescope. Palazzo Strozzi, Piazza Strozzi. Until August 30. Open daily 9:00 am – 8:00 pm, Thursday until 11:00 pm. Tickets: € 10.00. Tel. 055 2645155. For bookings: tel. 055 2469600. prenotazioni@cscsigma.it


From Mon. 3 to Sun. 9, the medieval town of Cortona, in the province of Arezzo provides an intimate setting for a wonderful "new" arts festival, now already in its 7th edition. With a program designed to explore the 5 senses, The Tuscan Sun Festival this year includes not only world class concerts, but a daily program of events that spans fine art, film, food and wine, fitness, wellness, local culture and history.
Each evening the festival presents concerts by distinguished artists performing in the intimate setting of the 420 seat, Romantic-period theatre, Teatro Signorelli. The steps of Teatro Signorelli spill into the open-air Piazza Signorelli, site of not only this year's ballet performance by soloists of the American Ballet Theatre, but the festival closing night Opera Gala, featuring superstar soprano Angela Gheorghiu.
This year’s special guest is Anthony Hopkins, whose exhibition of paintings entitled Masques and musical compositions will both be featured. Artists Joshua Bell, Stéphane Denève, Nina Kotova, Danielle de Niese, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Maija Kovalevska, Vlad Mirita, Jaap van Zweden, Michael Guttman and Gisele Ben-Dor will all be featured at the festival this year. Participation is free for a daily, morning Power Walk or Tai Chi hour, plus art exhibitions, matinee movies, Author Talks (by Beppe Severgnini, Barry Unsworth and others), and many concerts. Purchase tickets to attend cooking demonstrations, historic walks, lunches, guided wine and food tastings, music and dance events.
For info and tickets: http://ww.ticketing.terretrusche.com or phone 0575 630084 (from the US - +1 646 797 2915, from England +44 (0) 20 8133 5571. In Cortona the Festival Booking and Information Point can be found on the terrace of Teatro Signorelli.
This year’s festival features TURANDOT (Aug. 7 and 22) and MANON LEASCAUT (Aug. 8, 13), TOSCA (Aug. 9 and 20) and LA BOHEME with sets and costumes by Jean Michel Folon (Aug. 14 and 21). Torre del Lago, home of the Puccini Festival, lies between Lake Massaciuccoli and the Tyrrhenian Sea, four kilometers from the beaches of Viareggio on the Tuscan Riviera. The Festival welcomes about 40.000 spectators every year to its open-air theatre, set next to the Villa Mausoleum where Giacomo Puccini lived and worked. His mortal remains are now in a small chapel inside the Villa.
The Puccini Festival was born in 1930 following Puccini’s wishes. “… I always come out here, take a boat and shoot snipes … but once I would like to come here and listen to one of my operas in the open air…” wrote Puccini in a letter to Giovacchino Forzano in November 1924, before he left for the Brussels clinic where he died shortly after. The author of La Bohème and Madama Butterfly, “the last great poet of the Italian opera, the best composer of operas Italy and the whole world had in our century” (Roman Vlad), expressed his wish to see his creatures come to life in the extraordinary natural stage offered by the Massaciuccoli Lake.
In 1930, together with Pietro Mascagni, who had been a fellow-student and roommate to Puccini, Giovacchino Forzano carried out the first performances of Puccini’s operas on the lakeshore in front of the Maestro’s house, and one of the world’s most famous and beloved opera festivals was born.
In 1966 the Festival moved to near the small lake harbor where the present theatre was built, a large structure enjoying the charming background of Massaciuccoli Lake. During the over seventy years of the Festival, the stage of Torre del Lago has hosted the most famous and acclaimed names of world opera. Among them the great Mario del Monaco, who chose Torre del Lago to leave the stage with an unforgettable performance in Il Tabarro; Giuseppe Di Stefano, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Josè Carreras (who received the Puccini Award in 1997) and Andrea Bocelli. As for the roles of Puccini’s heroines, the performances of Giovanna Casolla, Antonia Cifrone, Daniela Dessì, Ghena Dimitrova, Maria Dragoni, Norma Fantini, Eva Marton, Francesca Patanè, Katia Ricciarelli, Renata Scotto, Olivia Stapp, Maria Pia Jonata, Raina Kabaivanska, are unforgettable.
Since 2000 the Puccini Festival has seen world-famous artists who have chosen Pietrasanta as their homeland, in the role of opera set designers. After Madama Butterfly by Kan Yasuda, in 2002 a new production of Manon Lescaut with scenes and costumes by Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj opened the 48th Puccini Festival. A new production of La Bohème with sets and costumes designed by Belgian painter, sculptor and illustrator Jean-Michel Folon was a huge success in the Summer of 2003.
Performances start at 9:15 pm. Ticket prices range from 33 to 160 euro. For information: info@puccinifestival.it. Tel. (+39) 0584 359322. http://ww.puccinifestival.it/eng.
The official Linari classical concert season runs until August 7, and is based in the tiny, medieval village of Linari, situated between Florence and Siena. Linari is a hilltop “Borgo” in the Chianti Classico area, one of the most enchanting parts of Tuscany. This festival presents a rich program of classical music, ranging from the Baroque Era to the Twentieth century executed by young and talented musicians from Australia, Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States, many of whom perform in some of the world's great orchestras. A wonderful feature of the festival is the opportunity to join your friends and the performers over a meal at the end of most of the concerts.
Artistic Director Armstrong Terenghi tells us: “A special event in 2009 is the inclusion of a composer born in Volterra in 1737, Francesco Zanetti. At age seventeen Zanetti became Maestro di Cappella at Volterra, and early in 1760 he assumed the same position at Perugia Cathedral. A master of the harpsichord, organ, and violin, he composed not only a substantial amount of church music but also several operas and chamber works. For the first time we have access to his original manuscripts and some of these compositions will be played on August 4 at Il Moro near Impruneta in the Chamber Music Room where Zanetti himself performed.” Booking telephone number: 327 221 5301. For updated information on the program please check: http://ww.linariclassic.com.
Tuesday 4 - Il Moro, Impruneta. Music of Francesco Zanetti, Beethoven, Rossini, with musicians Matthew Wadsworth (lute), Daniel Parkin (flute), Gabriele Leporatti (piano) and Guilia Nuti Amante (harpsichord).
Friday 7 - Pieve di Sant‘Appiano, Barberino Val d’Elsa. Music of Saint Saen, Karg-Elert, Villa Lobos and Rimsky-Korsakov, by artists: Vicky Wright (clarinet), Daniel Parkin (flute), Benjamin Hudson (bassoon) and Naomi Atherton (horn).
Each year, the Chianti area hosts vocal music concerts featuring participants in the Music Course conducted by Daniel Ferro and the L'Associazione Daniel Ferro Vocal Program di New York. For over a decade the program has offered classes for talented and developing young singers featuring a series of evening concerts. These events are highly recommended, both for the singing and for the locations of the concerts. Entry is free, starting times may change. For info: ferrovoce@aol.com, call the Greve information office: 055 8546287 or see http://ww.ferrovocalprogram.org.
Monday 3, 9.00 pm at the Garden of Caffé Sant’Anna, Greve in Chianti – Concert for youth participants.
Wednesday 5, 9:00 pm at the Santa Croce Church, Greve in Chianti.
On Monday 10, Italians celebrate San Lorenzo by turning their eyes to the evening sky to watch for shooting stars. In Tuscany and beyond, this day is made even more special with “Calici di Stelle”, an event that will enliven wineries and piazzas with art, music, folklore and wine. Expert enologists and producers will guide tastings. This year, a common thread will link Italian wine lovers under the banner of Great Wine and Responsible Drinking. In many venues you will have the chance to take a “breathalyzer” test! A disposable breathalyzer, with the unmistakable logo of the big Italian summer event, will be freely distributed to all.
The twelfth edition of “Calici di Stelle” toasts 2009 as the “International Astronomic Year” and so this year’s event will be particularly rich in astronomical meetings with experts, glad to show to the public the secret beauty of the night sky.
Find special events in the following towns, generally starting in the afternoon/evening: ABBADIA SAN SALVATORE (Siena), CARMIGNANO (Prato), CASTAGNETO CARDUCCI (Livorno), CASTELLINA IN CHIANTI (Siena), CASTELNUOVO BERARDENGA (Siena), CHIUSI (Siena), COLLE DI VAL D’ELSA (Siena), CINIGIANO (Grosseto), GAVORRANO (Grosseto), GREVE IN CHIANTI (Firenze), MASSA MARITTIMA (Grosseto), MONTECARLO (Lucca), MONTEPULCIANO (Siena), MONTESCUDAIO (Pisa), MONTESPERTOLI (Firenze), PITIGLIANO (Grosseto), POGGIBONSI (Siena), RUFINA (Firenze), SAN CASCIANO DEI BAGNI (Siena), SAN GIMIGNANO (Siena), SCANSANO (Grosseto), SIENA, SUVERETO (Livorno), TAVARNELLE VAL DI PESA (Firenze), TERRICCIOLA (Pisa) and VINCI (Firenze). For details see: http://ww.movimentoturismovino.it, http://ww.cittadelvino.it.
On Thursday 13, the Tuscan town of San Casciano Val di Pesa celebrates its patron saint with an all-day fair and evening fireworks.
On the evening of Sat. 15, head out to the Mugello, north of Florence. At Andolaccio, on the new Bilancino Lake, cool off with free watermelon for everyone at 9:00 pm, and a great fireworks display over the lake starting at 10:30.
On Sunday 16, Siena’s Piazza del Campo hosts one of Italy’s most historical events, the Palio. Lasting less than 2 minutes, with 10 horses (representing 10 of the towns 17 neighborhoods) careening 3 turns around the shell-shaped piazza at break-neck speed, it’s something one should see at least once in a lifetime (future editions can be viewed comfortably from home, in front of the TV).
If you haven’t booked one of the few and expensive bleacher or window seats, it’s best to get there by 3 pm to find a place to stand in the center of Piazza del Campo. Though the event itself is short, a day at the Palio presents a live opportunity to understand the history of Siena. Remember though, Italy’s RAI channel broadcasts the Palio with a very informative running commentary. In addition to the race itself, a series of test runs take place in the preceding week on August 13, 14 and 15. The winning contrada holds a victory parade on the 17th. A colorful and heartfelt parade starts around 5:00 pm. The race generally begins around 7:00. Check for info and seating availability by phoning 0577/280551.
For the past 12 years, on two August Sundays (16 and 23) the town of Volterra becomes a medieval village, returning to the year 1398 in every way imaginable. With the help of local merchants, musicians, jugglers, commoners and noblemen, the streets and shops come to new (old) life. From dawn to dusk you’ll find that your euros must be changed into “grossi” (the currency of the 14th century) to carry any weight. At 5:00 pm on Sat. 15 as well, watch for medieval pageantry in Piazza dei Priori. Admission 9 euro. Under 18/over 60: 5 euro. Children under 10 free. Admission includes: reduced entry to the (very interesting) Etruscan Museum Guarnacci and the Art Gallery (from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm). Tel. 0588 87257. Email: info@volterra1398.it. http://ww.volterra1398.it

Over five centuries ago, Filippo Lippi ascended three stories of scaffolding in the dark recesses of Prato’s cathedral. Today, the three-tiered frescoes, which cover the walls and vaults of the main chapel with stories of St. John the Baptist and St. Stephen, are visible in renewed splendor after seven years of restoration. Small, guided tours of the fresco cycle now allow the public to come face to face with Lippi. Prato Cathedral. Open Mon. to Sat. 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission: 4 euro with audio guide. Small, guided tours available by calling 0574/24112.

All our best,

The Staff of Pitcher and Flaccomio

Newsletter compiled by Kim Wicks

Pitcher & Flaccomio Newsletter Copyright 2009

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