Rent, Sell and Manage Properties in Florence and Tuscany
|NEWSLETTER – August 2010
| August in Florence is usually a month when those
of us left in town find great pleasure flying around the viali
at (nearly) breakneck speed with no thoughts to the usual traffic
or parking problems. The streets in Florence may not be as empty
as usual this year, as economics have been changing the way
folks take vacations. Without a doubt though, life in all of
Italy slows significantly mid-month. The Assumption of the Madonna
is celebrated on August 15th, creating a week that most of the
country takes a breather (action at the seaside continues full
force). Do expect that almost everything will be closed on the
15th (also because it is Sunday).
This month we cover the Palio, Puccini and the new
Bardini Museum, plus Lo Steccheto restaurant in the Val di
Chiana and more about the hidden gelaterie in Florence.
Hot but not too bothered
SUZANNE, CORSO, SANDRA, LORI,
ANNA PIA, BEI, KIMBERLY and MARIO send summer kisses to all.
& FLACCOMIO REPORT
| A note from Suzanne about CORRI LA VITA
A SPORTING, CULTURAL AND FUND RAISING EVENT - Piazza della Signoria,
Sunday Sept. 26, starting time 9:30 am.
Once again I have the pleasure of joining the committee organizing
CORRI LA VITA, an event managed by volunteers to help the
fight against breast cancer. CORRI LA VITA is not only a walk/run,
but is an event for people to gather together for sport, culture
and solidarity. All sorts of athletes and non-athletes participate.
There are no limits in size, age or capability. Two routes
have been designed that vary in length and difficulty: one
is a competitive/or non-competitive race of approx. 12 km.
The second is a walk of approx. 5.7 km specifically designed
for families, friends and children. The walk winds through
the historic center of Florence and crosses over the river
to the Oltrarno, stopping along the way to visit
gardens, churches, palaces and museums opened especially for
This years itinerary has new and interesting visits
to the church and crypt of Santo Stefano al Ponte, the Tribune
of Galileo in the Specola Museum and the Museum of Natural
History. We pass through the Boboli Gardens strolling along
the amphitheatre, to the steps of the Meridiana, the Botanical
Gardens and more.
CORRI LA VITA expects 20,000 participants this year which
represents a phenomenal increase from the first edition seven
years ago. The official T-shirt will yet again be generously
offered by the Florence fashion house of SALVATORE FERRAGAMO
and the color this year is purple, the color of the Florentine
football team. We suggest you be quick to sign up as only
the first 20,000 registered participants will receive a shirt.
LA PERLA, a prestigious local lingerie/beachwear company has
always been sensitive to womens health issues and is
also an official sponsor this year. All funds raised will
be donated by CORRI LA VITA to the following projects:
This year Corri la Vita will finalize the purchase of the
digital mammography unit fitted with special software for
digital breast tomosynthesis. This is a new method that promises
brilliant clinical results, giving a very precise three-dimensional
view of breast, thereby improving the speed of prognosis.
L.I.L.T .(Italian Cancer Society) together with Ce.Ri.On.
(Oncological Rehabilitation Centre) offer psychological and
physical help for women, especially breast cancer victims.
VILLA DELLE ROSE is one of the most advanced oncology rehabilitation
centers in Italy and CORRI LA VITA has been committed to support
VILLA DELLE ROSE from its inauguration in 2005.
F.I.LE Onlus (Palliative care) "Bridging" - "Bridging"
means a continuity of care between the oncology day-hospital
and palliative care for the Florentine community. This ensures
constant and continued assistance for patients with a bad
prognosis together with their families.
"The Vito Distante Project in Breast Cancer Clinical
Research" - Dedicated to the memory of Professor Vito
Distante, who believed in the importance of training and encouraging
young doctors to assist and improve the care for women with
breast cancer. A jury will select two young Italian doctors
after presenting their curriculum and their specific publications.
They will be sent abroad on a scholarship for six months to
one of the world best oncology clinics for further studies.
CORRI LA VITA will sponsor one doctor.
FROM SEPTEMBER 1ST YOU CAN SIGN UP FOR CORRI LA VITA. The
cost is €10.00 per person (children under 10 years of
age free). Sign up for the competitive run and walk at the
L.I.L.T. - Viale Giannotti 23 - Florence, tel. 055 576939
Florence Marathon - Viale Fanti, 2 Florence, tel. 055 5522957
The Islet Sports Argingrosso - Street, 69 A / B Florence
Universo Sports - Piazza Duomo 6 / r Florence
Please note: for the competitive run a medical certificated
or a membership card for agonistic sport must be shown. You
may run the race without being competitive.
Sign up for the walk ONLY:
F.I.L.E. - Via San Niccolo, 1 - Florence, tel. 055 2001212
Universo Sports - corner Via Sandro Pertini, 36/and Viale
BOX OFFICE - any one of their offices, PLUS this year you
can sign up for the walk on- line at the following address:
www.boxol.it (this will cost an additional €1.00). On
Saturday September 25 from 10 a.m. to 1.p.m. you can register
for the COMPETITIVE RUN and WALK in Piazza della Signoria.
On Sunday September 26 between 8 and 9 a.m. last minute registration
for the WALK ONLY can be done in Piazza della Signoria. T-shirts
will be given to all registered participants until supplies
We of Pitcher & Flaccomio have given you our friends
and clients up-to-date information on what is going on in
Florence and Tuscany for the past years with our monthly newsletter.
I know a lot of you read it and appreciate our work, so I
was thinking if you all have enjoyed visiting Italy and Florence
in particular, maybe you would like to give a donation to
her citizens by supporting Corri La Vita. All checks may be
made out to CORRI LA VITA and sent to Pitcher & Flaccomio,
or ask us for the bank coordinates for a wire transfer.
Corri La Vita is seeking all sorts of additional financial
support for projects. Therefore I turn to all of you who read
the newsletter, to ask yourselves or your companies or local
associations if they would like to become sponsors. 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 and how please dont hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org,
or go to the official event website www.corrilavita.it.
I will be forever grateful for any donations and assistance
my friends can offer.
FLORENCE WELCOMES BACK THE BARDINI MUSEUM by Ann Reavis
Just over a year ago, the Bardini Museum in Florence opened
to the public again after long and accurate restoration work
aimed at re-establishing the configuration that its founder,
the antiquarian Stefano Bardini, had originally given the
exhibition. Bardini trained as a painter and became famous
as a restorer and art dealer. He created a collection of artwork
with a deep passion for the Renaissance and skill at unearthing
medieval Florence. All can now enjoy this distinctive museum,
which was actually the antiques showroom where Bardini sold
thousands of pieces that now grace the galleries of museums
as well as private collections throughout the world.
Bardinis blue walls have been restored from the ochre
preferred by some early 20th century conservator. On account
of its uniqueness, many, including Jacquemart-Andrè
in Paris and Isabella Stewart Gardner at Fenway Court in Boston,
imitated the blue color employed by Bardini. In fact, Mrs.
Gardner worked hard to get the exact color of blue to show
off her marble sculptures in the same way Bardini knew it
would highlight the creamy white of those pieces he had for
In 1881, Bardini acquired the deconsecrated church and convent
of San Gregorio facing piazza dei Mozzi in the Oltrarno and
he set about transforming it into his opulent residence, restoration
studio and showroom. Bardini donated the palazzo to the Municipal
Administration of Florence in 1922 as a museum. The building
is remarkable for its use of doors, windows and moldings of
old fragments originally belonging to ruined churches and
villas. The ceilings are magnificent examples of Venetian
glass and Tuscan woodwork ranging from the 15th to the 17th
The collection comprises sculptures, paintings, furniture
pieces, ceramic pieces, tapestries, as well as fragments of
the old center of Florence, salvaged before its destruction
in the 1860s to make way for the new national government buildings.
These items are displayed on the ground and the first floors
according to a layout that fully reflects the character of
a typically private collection. In addition to Roman sarcophagi,
capitals, Roman and Gothic relief work, there are also other
remarkable examples like the work of the Della Robbia brothers
(15th and 16th century), works attributed to Donatello and
to Nino or Giovanni Pisano, in addition to the famous "Charity"
by Tino di Camaino (1280 app.-1337).
The most outstanding painting of the collection is perhaps
St. Michael Archangel by Antonio Del Pollaiolo (1431-1498),
although there are many other precious works among the collections
of weapons, 15th century polychrome stuccoes and wooden sculpture.
The original of the famed bronze of the wild boar, Il Porcellino,
(Pietro Tacca, 1612) a copy of which draws crowds in the Mercato
Nuovo, sits bored in a small alcove of its own.
The museum is the perfect place to visit on a hot summer day
in Florence. It is only open three days a week - Saturday,
Sunday and Monday from 11am to 5pm. Also, for English-speaking
visitors, August (and the first two weeks in September) is
the month to visit the Bardini -- The Con gli occhi di ...
(Through the eyes of ...) initiative, has scheduled free English-language
tours for the Bardini Museum (as well as the Horne Museum
and the Stibbert Museum). The free tour starts at 11am on
Mondays only. Address: Via dei Renai 37, Phone: 055.234.2427.
Ticket Price: 5 euro.
Ann Reavis has two abiding interests in Florence. One is to
write about whatever catches her fancy as Tuscan Traveler
(www.tuscantraveler.com) and the other is to introduce people
to her Florence and Tuscany as Friend in Florence (www.friendinflorence.com).
ST JAMES CHURCH LATEST NEWS
Our Sunday Eucharist at 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM will continue
through August. The St. James Office will be closed for the
month and the Food Bank distribution of food and clothing
will be suspended until September. St James Church, via B.
Rucellai 9, Phone/fax: 055 29 44 17 Email: email@example.com.
ACCADEMIA AND UFFIZI EVENING EXTRAVAGANZA
Given the success of last years special summer hours,
this month the Accademia Gallery and the Uffizi will extend
Tuesday evening opening hours until 10:00 pm making for cool,
crowd-free art enjoyment. Get there before 7:00 pm though,
when entries will be cut off.
SALDI SALES SCONTI
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 see how far
a few euros can go.
FOOTBAAAALLL!! by Simon Clark and Anne Brooks
Forza Viola!.......... Still a month to go before the 2010-11
campaign formally kicks off but the new regime is taking shape
and shaping up well. The carping and grizzling of June is
silent as a fresh solidarity envelops the club. Mario Cognini
(vice-President of the society) and CEO Menucci have been
emphasising the key priorities back into the Top Four
with Champions League football and progress on a new stadium.
The Della Valle brothers are not walking away; Fiorentina
do not have to sell any of our big players to
finance reinforcement; Mihajlovic is at work with the players.
Well see what the new house looks like when we line
up for real and check whos wearing viola!
Director of Football, Pantaleo Corvino, has been his usual
busy self around the transfer market and on the coaching park.
Hes an intriguing mix of the brusque and the avuncular
but his influence on the clubs fortunes is probably
greater than many realise. Speculation has run riot on players
leaving, especially Vargas (Real Madrid), Gilardino (Lyons),
Jovetic (apparently a 30 mn euro bid was rejected) and Frey
(just about anywhere) but nearly everyone is still here. Patient,
long-serving Gobbi, out of contract and finding it harder
and harder to get a start in games, elected to leave; as is
the Viola way, he left on the best of terms and in the best
of spirits. Weve also said addio to Keirrison;
the Brazilian never convinced that he could cut the Serie
A mustard. Babacar, however, having broken into the first
team last year, has extended his contract in a mutual vote
of confidence. Even Adrian Mutu is still with us, forbidden
to play even in friendlies until October and wondering how
to pay that Chelsea bill; we know he is still a world-class
player and we may turn out to be fortunate in that no-one
else will be prepared to take the risk at a price Adrian can
Last month we signed DAgostino. This month Corvino has
been seeking to deepen the defensive gene pool. A lot of effort
is going into attracting Emiliano Insua from Liverpool for
a fee reputed to be around 5mn euros. Negotiations on personal
terms have become protracted and this one remains in the balance.
We do have a deputy and rival for Sebastien Frey in Artur
Boric who has arrived from Glasgow Celtic. The Polish keeper
is highly talented but has on occasion found Glasgows
hothouse football-sectarian divide hard to handle; hell
miss our bars and our bakers. A lot hangs on how he relates
to Frey, Mihajlovic and the City of Florence.
All of this looks positive and with the potential to make
last season look a blip on a continuing upward curve. Our
world cup participants are returning, Bolatti having fared
best as Argentina made the quarter finals. Riccardo Montolivo
one of a small handful in the Azzurri South African
squad to enhance his reputation - will carry on wearing the
captains armband. The usual, relaxed friendlies are
producing the usual relaxed and meaningless 6-0, 8-0, 9-0
victories (although Ljajic is said to be looking sharp as
a razor). Things will step up a gear for some serious friendlies
including a visit to London and the mighty Tottenham Hotspur,
themselves Champions League participants this season.
The 2010-11 Serie A schedule is hot from the presses. We open
up at home against Napoli, followed by a series of fixtures
that mix stern challenges (like the match away at Genoa) with
easy tickets (where we mustnt trip up like newly-promoted-and-shortly-to-be-relegated-again
Lecce). Our eleventh game will be away to Roma, by which time
we should have a pretty good idea about how the season is
going to pan out. We also know that we will enter the Coppa
Italia on October 27 with a tie against either Empoli or the
winner of the earlier Reggiana-Alzanocene game. But all eyes
will be on the league.
August will tell us more about how high to raise our expectations
of the season but, so far, Sinisa Mihajlovic will be probably
be feeling very happy about joining Fiorentina....................Ale
BUYING TICKETS - Ticket information seating plan, prices,
ticket outlets is on the biglietteria section
of the clubs website [www.it.violachannel.tv ]. Tickets
can be purchased at official box offices and holders of TicketOne
lottery franchises. Sources include:
CHIOSCO DEGLI SPORTIVI, via degli Anselmi (between P.za Repubblica/Odeon
cinema). Tel 055 292363.
BAR MARISA, viale Manfredo Fanti 41. Tel 055 572723.
BAR STADIO, viale Manfredo Fanti 3r. Tel 055 576169.
ACF OFFICIAL TICKET-OFFICE, via Dupre 28 (corner of via Settesanti).
NUOVO BOX OFFICE, via Luigi Alamanni 39 (close to SMN station).
Tel 055 264321
FELTRINELLI FIRENZE, Via de Cerretani 39/32R
THE FIORENTINA SCHEDULE: There is only the opening game
in August so, to give readers advance notice, we have included
the games for September:
Week 1: 29 Aug/home Fiorentina-Napoli
Week 2: 12 Sept/away Lecce-Fiorentina
Week 3: 19 Sept/home Fiorentina-Lazio
Week 4: 22 Sept/away Genoa-Fiorentina
Week 5: 26 Sept/home Fiorentina-Parma
RECIPE OF THE MONTH
INSALATA DI FARRO
Insalata di Farro is a cool, summer dish made from an ancient
form of wheat that fed Mediterranean populations for thousands
of years. Farro is most often translated as spelt or emmer,
grains which produce very similar results, but are not exactly
the same as Triticum dicoccum (farro's Latin name). Farro
eventually fell into disuse leaving the way for higher-yielding
grains after the fall of the Roman Empire. Today farro has
made a comeback, appearing in hearty bean and vegetable soups,
or ground into flour to make pasta. Insalata di Farro like
its cousin Insalata di Riso, is a recipe that lends itself
to infinite variations. We have listed two of our favorites
below in proportions that serve about 6.
Rinse 2 cups farro, checking for tiny pebbles or bad grains.
Simmer on medium heat, in salted water for 35 to 45 minutes,
or until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool.
The farro can then be dressed with 1 thinly sliced red onion,
2 stalks diced celery and 1 cup good olives plus a vinaigrette
made with: 5 Tbsp. red wine vinegar, 1/3 cup extra virgin
olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, and pepper to taste.
1/2 cup pesto, 1 cup cherry tomatoes, 1 cup black olives,
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, 1 cup diced, medium-aged pecorino
cheese, salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil to taste.
THUMBS UP THUMBS DOWN Our Readers Right
Our Thumbs up, Thumbs down column is your chance
to write us and share your own ideas and information, or to
toot the horn of businesses, events and those Florentine situations
that strike you as either wonderful or terrible. Please note:
all opinions are (usually) those of our readers. Lend us your
LO STECCHETO RESTAURANT in MARCIANO DI CHIANA thanks
to Mimi and Ed
Whether you are served in the garden or inside this 300-year-old
Tuscan farmhouse typical of the Valdichiana, you will dine
well and heartily in a unique environment at Lo Steccheto
restaurant. Chef Giancarlo Fulgenzi offers an imaginative
menu grounded on traditional Tuscan cookery as well as on
his many years of hands-on experience in the kitchen. His
ingredients could not be fresher!
Using herbs and vegetables from his garden and a daily supply
of fresh fish, he prepares generous-sized dishes which are
both delightfully familiar and happily distinctive. For example,
"Insalata tiepida di pesce," (12.90 Euro) while
neither chilled nor hot, is just the right temperature to
bring out the best features of the shrimp, calamari, freshly
chopped tomatoes, carrots, and other vegetables.
Far more than most cooks, he knows the exact moment to remove
the fish or pasta or veal or steak from the fire in order
to achieve the best texture when brought to your table. Some
more dishes: "tagliolini Primavera" made with the
very best gamberi (12.90 Euro), "misto griglia"
of chicken, pork and veal (16.90 Euros), "pesce alla
griglia misto" (15.90 Euro), "riso di mare"
(11.90 Euro), and "bistecca" (17.90 Euro).
Giancarlo is also known for bringing gifts to the table --
dishes you didn't order and will not be asked to pay for.
The wine cellar is extensive -- thousands of bottles of the
most famous wines "sleep, or at least pretend to sleep,"
says Giancarlo. These range from a 1929 Brolio to young vini
novelli. Wine prices are kept reasonable; the better to enjoy
your dinner. In fact, you could eat for as little as 20 Euros,
through the average person spends about 35 Euro, including
The plantings in the garden areas create a luxuriant green
universe. The walls within the restaurant are covered with
a diverse range of antiques collected over the years. These
organized collections are artfully arranged in fascinating
ways to entertain the eye. Lighting is soft, as is the music.
Service is friendly and professional. A fire is lit on winter
nights. All is right with the world.
Lo Steccheto restaurant. Via dell'Esse 6. Marciano della Chiana.
Reservations: 0575 845222. www.losteccheto.com. Directions:
the restaurant is near the exit "Monte San Savino"
from either the Superstrada or the Autostrada del Sole.
GELATO: AN OCCASIONAL PROMENADE (continued..... thanks to
Simon Clark and Anne Brooks.)
As anyone who took in the Gelato Universitys lecture
at the inaugural Gelato Festival knows, gelato
is different from ice cream. As August steams
and bubbles, gelato is the frozen nectar that frosts your
nerves as it delights your taste-buds. Depending on where
you start, little effort is required to reach these oases.
First up, a place where no-one disappears........
TRIANGOLO DELLE BERMUDA (via Nazionale 61/R). Weve blanked
it for years, marching past to and from the station
then they turned up at the Festival with a magisterial Toblerone!
Weve been back to a friendly bar that rings the changes;
if no Toblerone, then possibly a Mars Bar-flavour and certainly
a (not too sharp) grapefruit that dissolved the heat, a fine
lampone and a memorable pannacotta with caramel. Also good
for an early evening prosecco!
.......Then it wont have escaped notice that Fiorentina
is acquiring a tramvia. So far, we only have one bit
from the SMN station out to Scandicci but thats
enough. Fifth stop is Piazza Batoni....... left hand side
from the tramvia but right on the piazza is GELATERIA I GELATI
DEL RIGHI (18 Piazza Batoni). Open 15.30-20.30, closed Sundays
and Mondays. Limited hours; no-nonsense facilities; focus
on the goods. Eat the chocolate & pear, taste the dark
choccy, savour the chocolate arancia! Dont eat too much.
A stroll away is a second reason for the Tramvia - LARTE
DEL GELATO (via Torcicoda 97R), established 1975 and they
havent been wasting time. Open 10.30-13.00/15.30-20.30;
closed Wednesdays. White chocolate to rival the best; lampone
and pinoli great; fascinating grisbi effectively
a lemon meringue!
........Finally, and anticipating the time when the tramvia
forces Terravision etc to switch to Piazza Leopoldo as a terminus,
we will all need: BARONCINI (via Celso 3r). Slightly cramped,
fewer flavours than some competitors but enough and more than
good enough to make decisions hard, especially given Baroncinis
imagination honey-based Buontalenti, pear & chocolate,
chocolate & bacio, ricotta & arancia all terrific!
Not to mention the seductive-looking lemon or fresh chestnuts
lurking in the cabinet! Lori from P&F enthused over their
cioccolato fondente arancia with vin santo-biscottini di Prato
how ethnic would you like to be? [Also at Viale Mazzini
13R, 055 242365, near Campo di Marte station.]
|FESTIVAL OF SAN LORENZO
On Tuesday 10, join the neighborhood of San Lorenzo in a celebration
of their patron, Saint Lawrence. During the morning, salute
the parade that marches 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://www.filarmonicarossini.it.
LIBERATION OF FLORENCE
Wednesday 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
66th Anniversary of Florences Liberation with a concert
by the G. ROSSINI PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA at 9:00 pm. in Piazza
Throughout the month there will be events, jazz and folk concerts
in five of Florences piazzas. Piazza del Mercato Centrale
will be the site of jazz and rock concerts including the DI
MAGGIO CONNECTION on Tuesday 10 in Pulp Fiction Party,
and the SEXUAL CHOCOLATE BLUES BAND on Thursday 12. Largo
Damiano Chiesa (in the Campo di Marte neighborhood) will have
lots of danceable rock-and-roll with FREAK BANANA on Friday
6 for 70s and 80s fun. Or come on
Wednesday 18 for APPLE JUICE & LE SBARELLINE to hear some
first class doo-wop rock and Motown twist.
Keep an eye on the fun in Piazza Dalmazia and Piazza Beccaria,
too. The events are free and most start at 9:30. See the full
list of what is happening at: http://www.digispace.it/schedaevento.asp?id_evento=6352
EASY LIVING BEACH
All summer long check out the beach scene Arno-style just
below Piazza Poggi. Get a snack at the bar kiosk, and wander
down to catch some rays on a sandy, new beach equipped with
umbrellas and showers. Entry is free. The beach is open from
9:00 am til late afternoon, and the action then continues
on the Terrazza di Piazza Poggi overlooking the Arno, with
sunset music events, plus contemporary dance, cinema and more.
Lungarno Serrestori. Tel. 335 6630341. Check their site for
activities and upcoming events. www.piazzart.com
EXHIBITS AROUND FLORENCE
VINUM NOSTRUM - Art, science and myths of wine in ancient
Until next May 14 the Museo degli Argenti hosts Vinum Nostrum.
From Mesopotamia to our tables, from the rite of communion
to avoidable drunkenness, from distasteful habit to the gate
of spirituality, wines and vines are the protagonists of this
exhibit. Original showpieces, sculptures, frescoes and mosaics,
accompanied by multimedia and video installations tell the
millenarian history of the grapevine and of wine, and the
important influence they exerted on ancient cultures. Following
a chronological development, the exhibition illustrates the
origin of wine-growing in the Near East, its full affirmation
along with its related symbolic, religious and cultural significance
in the Hellenic world, up to the wine production and large-scale
diffusion practiced by the Romans.
By virtue of the abundant archaeological remains of the Vesuvian
cities, the particular case of Pompeiis vineyards is
illustrated, while the exhibition devotes another section
to the contribution of the Phoenicians and the Etruscans,
who played an essential role in spreading vitis vinifera throughout
the Mediterranean. While inviting visitors to reflect on the
evolution of cultivation techniques (reproduction and genetic
improvement, plowing the land, tending the vineyard, theoretical
principles and practical instructions for pruning and grafting),
specially selected exhibits also illustrate the religious
and cultural values of the grapevine, expressed through a
series of depictions regarding the divinities, rituals and
festivities of wine. Sculptures and painted vases illustrate
the cult of Dionysus. Elegant table-services clarify how the
consumption of wine represented one of the most important
moments of conviviality among patricians. A cella vinaria
where wine was stored, reconstructed based on finds uncovered
at Pompeii and on the precise descriptions contained in Latin
literature, enable the visitor to delve into the reality of
the past, through tools for the vineyard, wine amphorae and
wooden barrels, baskets for harvesting, carts and more.
The exhibition itinerary aims not only at scientifically documenting
the entire cycle of wine, from harvest to consumption, but
also by stimulating the visitors senses of taste, smell
and sight. Museo degli Argenti, Palazzo Pitti. Hours: 8:15
am to 6:50 pm. Ticket: € 10.00. Closed on the 1st and
the last Monday of each month. Info: Tel. 055294883
PARIS IS WELL WORTH A MASS! - THE MEDICI TRIBUTE
TO HENRY IV, KING OF FRANCE
Until November 2, the Museum of the Medici Chapels links the
Medici with Henry IV. Four hundred years after his assassination
on May 14, 1610 in Paris, Florence celebrates the King of
France and Navarre with a major exhibition. The fulcrum of
the exhibition consists of 19 monochrome canvases that Cosimo
II de' Medici commissioned to Florentine academic painters
to celebrate a funeral service for Henry IV with great pomp
on September 16, 1610 in the Basilica of San Lorenzo.
Having recently succeeded his father Ferdinando I to the throne,
the new Grand Duke had an important funeral held in effigy
for the "most Christian King". This decision was
part of the consolidated practice that, as of the sixteenth
century, saw the Medici family, rulers of Florence, show their
political influence in Europe with dramatic productions tied
to the family events of the principal dynasties: births, weddings
and deaths. The paintings were arranged along the walls of
the church, entirely decked in mourning, with elements evoking
the King's triumphs and virtues, so as to perpetuate his glory
beyond death. Executed by an until-then little-known group
of painters and artists, the paintings had subjects dictated
by historians and men of letters, and dealt with episodes
in which the Medici had played an important role.
A part of the exhibition is dedicated to the Medici and the
family politics which saw Maria, granddaughter of Ferdinando
I, marry Henry IV in 1600 and, following the assassination
of the King, assume the regency of France for the dauphin.
With the magnificence of the funeral ceremony celebrated in
Florence, the Medici court emphasized the legitimacy of that
regency and of the succession to the throne of Louis XIII.
In addition to the paintings, the show will also present books,
engravings and drawings for the celebration, the Medici family
tree, medals of the principal figures tied to the episode,
wedding documents, precious portraits of the King and Queen
in painting and sculpture, and a magnificent drawing by Pieter
Paul Rubens with Maria de' Medici Landing at Marseilles, executed
as a model for the cycle in the Luxembourg Palace, which Maria
commissioned the painter between 1622 and 1624.
Medici Chapel. Piazza di Madonna degli Aldobrandini 6. Tel.
055 2388602. Hours: 8:15 am 1:50 pm. Closed on the
second and fourth Sunday of the month; the first, third and
fifth Monday of every month. Ticket: € 6,00.
UNA GLORIA EUROPEA PIETRO DA CORTONA
Until Oct. 11 the Casa Buonarroti museum hosts a show of works
by Pietro da Cortona covering the decade 1637 to 1647. Pietro
da Cortona was one of the foremost artists of the Baroque
period in Rome but also in Florence. He worked in Florence
for long periods on several occasions between 1637 and 1647,
leaving his mark mainly as a fresco painter in the famous
rooms of Palazzo Pitti. A key figure for Pietro da Cortona
during his stays in Florence was Michelangelo the Younger,
the owner of Casa Buonarroti, where the artist lived and where
he left as a sign of gratitude to his generous friend and
host, numerous examples of his art, the starting point for
The event is particularly important given its unusual, innovative
layout, which helps to understand the artists role in
Florence. The exhibition displays a selection of paintings
and drawings from Italian and foreign museums, illustrating
the decade in which Florence embraced the Baroque and began
to follow the new directions indicated by Rome and destined
to spread throughout Europe. Casa Buonarroti, via Ghibellina
70. Tickets: € 6,50. Hours: 9.30 a.m. - 4 p.m., closed
on Tuesdays and on August 15th. Tel. 055 241752. www.casabuonarroti.it
THE VIRTUES OF LOVE - NUPTIAL PAINTING IN XV CENTURY FLORENCE
Until Nov. 1 the Accademia Gallery is hosting an unusual show
of furnishings and paintings of subjects focusing on marriage
in the 1400s. An entire array of objects, from wooden
storage chests, to wall panels to headboards were often decorated
with scenes meant to give advice to newlyweds on how to adopt
an exemplary form of personal conduct. These nuptial
paintings served the fundamental function of conveying
messages of warning and encouragement to a couple, helping
us today to better understand a mainstay of fifteenth-century
Florentine culture: the role of the family and those of the
husband and wife.
Drawing on classical mythology, the Bible, historical episodes
and contemporary literature, many facets of love are depicted,
along with the ensuing duties: from love triumphant over adverse
circumstances (The Marriage of Thetis and Peleus), to the
virtues of obedience and abnegation that a woman must pursue
(The Legend of Griselda from Boccaccio's Decameron), to the
courage of the heroines Lucretia and Virginia, who choose
death as source of redemption.
An entire section illustrates the harmful consequences of
love as sexual beguilement capable of totally subduing a man's
will. We must not forget however, that marriage meant first
and foremost to give life to new progeny and perpetuate the
family. To this end, the last section of the exhibition is
dedicated to family pride in stories that recount the foundation
of famous families like those of Aeneas and David or that
following the texts of Petrarch, celebrate the Triumphs of
Fame, Time and Eternity.
The exhibit features works by Botticelli (Story of Virginia
Romana, Bergamo, Accademia Carrara), Filippino Lippi (Story
of Lucretia, Florence, Galleria Palatina), and Pesellino (Stories
of Susanna, Avignon, Musée du Petit Palais), opening
an extraordinary view onto the Florentine workshops that made
the objects, and that enjoyed their greatest fortune precisely
in the fifteenth century. The exhibition has been organized
in collaboration with the Museo Horne of Florence. Galleria
dellAccademia, Via Ricasoli 58. Hours: Tues. to Sun
8:15 to 6:50 pm. Until Sept. 30, free entry on Thursday
evenings from 7:00 to 10:00 pm. And up to Sept. 28 the exhibit
will be open Tuesday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00 pm (entry
CARAVAGGIO AND CARAVAGGESQUES IN FLORENCE
Until October 10, three of Florences most important
museums (the Pitti Palatine Gallery, the Uffizi and Villa
Bardini) unite forces to offer a fascinating overview of the
works and influence of one of Italys greatest masters
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.
Born in 1573 in the town of Caravaggio, this artists
life is as turbulent as his personality. We know he had numerous
run-ins with the law and was arrested on several occasions.
For example, in 1606 a bet over a game of tennis led to an
argument, at which point Caravaggio drew his sword and killed
his opponent. We also know that Caravaggio's artistic influence
was widespread: outside Italy he inspired painters as diverse
as Georges de La Tour and members of the Utrecht School, e.g.
Gerrit van Honthorst artists who in turn later influenced
Rembrandt. Caravaggio was particularly celebrated for his
use of chiaroscuro, a technique using light and dark to achieve
a 3-D effect.
While many aspects of this artists life remain a mystery,
what we do know is that splendid paintings by Caravaggio -
the Bacchus and the Medusa - reached the Uffizi towards the
end of the XVI century. Others (two or three) were purchased
by the Grand Dukes who proved to be early and staunch admirers
- especially Cosimo II - of the controversial painter and
of his followers. The presence of important artists in Florence
such as Artemisia Gentileschi, Battistello Caracciolo and
Theodoor Rombouts, and direct dealings with artists like Gerrit
Honthorst, Bartolomeo Manfredi and Jusepe Ribera gave rise
to an intense Caravaggesque "season" which left
an extraordinary number of paintings in Florence itself.
Gerrit Honthorst (who painted the Adoration of the Shepherds,
today in the Uffizi Gallery, though heavily damaged by the
Via dei Georgofili bombing of 1993) was the protagonist of
one of the most important episodes of the fortune of Caravaggesque
painting outside of Rome; the unfinished decoration of the
Guicciardini Chapel in the church of Santa Felicita. Honthorst
was commissioned to execute the work with Cecco del Caravaggio
and Spadarino. This exhibition presents a landmark virtual
reconstruction of the work. In addition, on this the IV centennial
of Caravaggio's death, the show will include more than one
hundred paintings, both famous and less famous, in the light
of research, with new attributions that have modified our
view of this outstanding master. Galleria Palatina at the
Pitti Palace, the Uffizi, Villa Bardini. Hours: the usual
hours of each venue. Ticket: a cumulative ticket for the three
venues will cost euro 25.00. For info and reservations: tel.
055 294883. www.unannoadarte.it.
Theatre info: Teatro Comunale, Via Solferino 15. Tel. 055
27791. Teatro della Pergola, Via della Pergola 12/32, Tel.
055 2479651. Teatro Verdi, Via Ghibellina 99, tel. 055 212320.
Teatro Saschall, Lungarno Moro 3, tel. 055 6504112. Teatro
Goldoni, Via Santa Maria 15. Tel. 055 229651. Teatro Romano,
Fiesole, Tel. 055/59187. Mandela Forum, Viale Paoli 3, tel.
055 678841. Stazione Leopolda. Viale Fratelli Rosselli 5.
St. Marks Church. Via Maggio 16. Tel. 055 294764. Church
of Orsanmichele, Via dei Calzaiuoli. Tel. 055-210305. Teatro
Puccini, via delle Cascine 41, tel 055 362067. Chiesa S. Stefano
al Ponte Vecchio, piazza S. Stefano 5. Viper Theatre, Via
Lombardia 1.055/318056, www.viperclub.eu. Auditorium FLOG,
Via M. Mercati, 24/b, 055/210804, www.flog.it Sala Vanni,
Piazza del Carmine 14. Teatro Everest, Via Volterrana 4/b,
tel. 055. 23 21 754. firstname.lastname@example.org, www.teatroeverest.it.
Teatro Politeama Pratese, Via G. Garibaldi, 33 Prato.
Tel: 0574/603758, www.politeamapratese.com. Purchase tickets
for theatre, concerts and other events at the following ticket
agencies: BOX OFFICE: Via Alamanni, 39 (alongside the train
station). Open Monday 3:30-7:30 pm, from Tuesday to Saturday
10:00-7:30 pm. Tel. 055/210804. ARGONAUTA VIAGGI, Lungarno
Torrigiani 33/B, Tel.055/2342777. Many tickets can be pre-purchased
via www.ticketone.it, www.boxol.it.
MARIO BIONDI The soul voice on the Italian scene. Piazza
Duomo di San Gimignano. 9:30 pm.
PAOLO CONTE Italys best-known crooner. Gran Teatro
all'Aperto di Torre del Lago Puccini. 9:15 pm. Tel. 0584.359322
GIOVANNI ALLEVI Piano solo in the beautiful Piazza
Duomo di San Gimignano. 9:30 pm. Tel. 0577.940008
ORCHESTRA DELLA TOSCANA, conducted by Francesco Pasqualetti,
Boris Belkin (violin), music of Beethoven, Haydn. Piazza delle
Erbe, San Gimignano SI. 9:15 pm. Tel. 0577.22091
MODERN JAZZ - stretching from New York to Naples with the
fabulous Trio di Fabio Morgera. Mercato di Sant´Ambrogio,
Florence. 9:45 pm. Tel. 333.4338838
|56th PUCCINI FESTIVAL AT TORRE DEL LAGO
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
This years festival features TURANDOT (6, 12 and 20 August),
TOSCA (8, 13 and 21 August), LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST (7 August),
MADAMA BUTTERFLY (14 and 22 August), and the ballet ROMEO &
GIULIETTA on August 11th.
The Puccini Festival was born in 1930 following Puccinis
I always come out here, take a boat and
but once I would like to come here and listen
to one of my operas in the open air
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 Puccinis operas on the lakeshore
in front of the Maestros house, and one of the worlds
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 Puccinis 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 Summers of 2003 and 2009.
Performances start at 9:15 pm. Ticket prices range from 33 to
160 euro. For information: email@example.com. Tel. 0584
CALICI DI STELLE - WINE UNDER THE STARS
On Tuesday 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. Again 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. The thirteenth
edition of Calici di Stelle will be particularly
rich in talks on the subject of eco-sustainability as well
as 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 (around 7:30/8:00 pm): ABBADIA SAN
SALVATORE (Siena), CARMIGNANO (Prato), CASTAGNETO CARDUCCI
(Livorno), CASTELLINA IN CHIANTI (Siena), CASTELNUOVO BERARDENGA
(Siena), CHIUSI (Siena), COLLE DI VAL DELSA (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://www.movimentoturismovino.it, http://www.cittadelvino.it.
FESTA DEL PATRONO SAN CASCIANO
On Friday 13, the Tuscan town of San Casciano Val di Pesa
celebrates its patron saint with an all-day fair and evening
VOLTERRA A.D. 1398
For the past 13 years, on two August Sundays (15 and 22) 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
youll find that your euros must be changed into grossi
(the currency of the 14th century) to carry any weight. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Monday 16, Sienas Piazza del Campo hosts one of Italys
most historic 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, its 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 havent booked one of the few and expensive bleacher
or window seats, its best to get there by 3 pm to find
a place to stand in the center of Piazza del Campo. A colorful
and heartfelt parade starts around 5:00 pm. The race generally
begins around 7:00. Though the event itself is short, a day
at the Palio presents a live opportunity to understand the
history of Siena. Remember though, Italys RAI channel
broadcasts the Palio with a very informative running commentary,
which make watching from the comfort of your own living room
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. Check for info
and seating availability by phoning 0577/280551.
STELLE E MERCANTI
On Thurs. 19 spend the evening in Greve. At 6:00 pm, as the
day cools to evening temperatures, Greves main piazza
will come to life with a handicraft market and street performers.
Filled with great places to eat, the small town shows its
best side at night. Greve-in-Chianti. From 6:00 p.m. to 11:00
p.m. Tel. 055.85.45.271
EXHIBITS AROUND TUSCANY
GALILEO CHINI AND TUSCANY
Until December 5 Viareggio is hosting a show celebrating the
100th anniversary of the Liberty (Art Nouveau) movement in
Italy. One of the main figures of the period was Galileo Chini
(born Florence 1873 1956). Painter, ceramicist and
graphic designer, he combined art and artisanship, renewing
a Tuscan tradition of the artisan workshop for the 20th century.
Paintings, ceramics, drawings and furnishings all have a place
in the show. His luminescent Tuscan landscapes, that reflect
serene moments spent in Versilia, reflect against the darker
works done during WW2. Chini is equally well known for his
ceramic production and the exhibit is rich with vases, plates,
tiles and more. He worked principally out of two spaces; LArte
della Ceramica, founded in Florence in 1896 and the Fornaci
San Lorenzo, founded in 1906 in Borgo San Lorenzo, where he
created the incredible decorative tiles that we see throughout
Tuscany today on a fantastic, few, Liberty-style homes and
Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea Lorenzo Viani, Palazzo
delle Muse, Piazza Mazzini 22, Viareggio. Hours: July and
August Tues. to Sun. from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Tel.
0584966343. email@example.com. www.gamc.it
GENIUS & PASSION, THE RESTORATION OF LIPPI'S FRESCOES
Over five centuries ago, Filippo Lippi ascended three stories
of scaffolding in the dark recesses of Pratos cathedral.
Today, the three-tiered frescoes, which cover the walls and
vaults of the main chapel with stories of St. John the Baptist
and St. Stephen, are visible in renewed splendor after seven
years of restoration. Small, guided tours of the fresco cycle
now allow the public to come face to face with Lippi. The
restoration began in the upper reaches of the chapel ceiling.
Four monumental images of the evangelists are incised within
the arches of the groin vault. Below them flow the scenes
from the lives of two saints: Stephen, Pratos patron
saint on the left, and John the Baptist, protector of nearby
Florence on the right. From his birth in the top register
to his death on the lower register, each saints life
is a theatrical spectacle played out with vivid imagery.
Fra Filippo Lippi was quite an intriguing character; his behavior
wasnt exactly exemplary of the Carmelite order, (Fra
indicates his religious title). The Carmelites ordained him
and trained him as an artist, and by the time he reached Prato
in 1452 he was among the most highly regarded and frequently
commissioned painters of the early Renaissance. His trysts
with various women had already gained him a somewhat sensational
reputation, but it is the long-running romance with nun Lucrezia
Buti, 25 years his junior, that has been most noted by history.
Lucrezia modeled for many of the Lippis Madonnas, and
is said to have been the inspiration for the enchanting Salomë,
who dances through the final scene of John the Baptists
fresco cycle, The Feast of Herod. The three-part banquet scene
contains larger-than-life figures that feast and make merry
around the dancing girl, whom many compare to the female figures
in the later works of Lippis young apprentice Botticelli.
Prato Cathedral. Open Mon. to Sat. 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission:
4 euro with audio guide. Small, guided tours available by
calling 0574/24112. www.restaurofilippolippi.it
|All the best,|
Pitcher and Flaccomio