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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 2013

This year the streets of Florence, free from the Italians, who have all gone to the sea or the mountains, are going to be scorching, broken only by a momentary temporale (thunderstorm) that will result in higher humidity. So stay inside the museums, drink lots of water, and in the evening head out for dinner under the stars and lots of wine. With best summer wishes, from SUZANNE, CORSO, BEI, LESLIE, ANNA PIA, VANNI, ANN and MARIO.



Perched high at a good vantage point above the San Niccolò neighborhood and behind the Boboli Gardens is Florence’s Forte Belvedere. This beautiful Renaissance fortress has been closed for conservation purposes and security issues, but after a five-year wait, it has reopened, once again providing a fabulous destination, contemporary art exhibitions and installations, and one of the most fantastic views of the city.

Works by Chinese artist Zhang Huan are exhibited on the grounds and in the palazzo and will also be exhibited at the Palazzo Vecchio. A cumulative ticket is available for the Palazzo Vecchio and Forte Belvedere at the price of 14 euro. For those who are only interested in the Fort is the ‘Forte Card’, a 5 euro ticket entry to the Fort for the whole period of the exhibition.

There is a bar open each day for drinks and snacks. From July 9 – October 13, 2013, the Fort will be open from 10am-8pm.


Some find this little modern hole-in-the-wall gelateria hard to find, but once you get to Piazza Tasso, check the red numbers. La Sorbetteria has a sign that says it’s been around since 1934, but it’s a new one to us. The distinctive flavors and quality have earned it a huge fan base on line. Cookies: There are huge chunks of chocolate fudge-like cookies with vanilla gelato and it's just delicious. The cookies are crunchy yet fudge-y. Dark Chocolate: 70% cacao – if you like your chocolate dark, this is the gelato for you. Salted Caramel: The most talked about flavor. Not a tradition Italian flavor, but fabulous nonetheless. The salt brings out the caramel flavor and it's so so rich.

La Sorbettiera

P.zza T.Tasso, 11/red


Michelangelo always said that he was only happy when he was within the shadow of the dome of Florence’s cathedral. This spacious one bedroom apartment is perfect for the couple who want to be in the center of things. Out one of the windows is the perfect view of the gold ball on the top of Brunelleschi’s dome. This is an apartment for those who want to eat at all of the city’s fabulous restaurants, but also want the convenience of a small modern kitchen space.

The building has an elevator. This renovated apartment has tiled floors, under floor centralized heating, central air- conditioning, Internet connection, flat screen TV, dishwasher and combination washing machine/dryer (in the bathroom). This is a place where you enjoy the comfort of modern amenities, not the characteristic quirks that come with many of the places found in the Renaissance City/ Unlike most rental apartments, the heat and airconditioning costs are included in the rent so there are no surprises at the end of your stay.

For more information click this link.

PICK EATERY FOR AUGUST – Vinandro in Fiesole

In August you should take the #7 ATAF bus up to Fiesole to eat. Go to Vinandro, very small restaurant (only 20 tables so make reservations) in a corner of Piazza Mino, the main village square. There are few tables inside, but you are going to want to reserve an outside table in the evening. Vinandro has the typical atmosphere with many Italian families and groups of friends enjoying the cozy ambience and delicious food. Some people come just to buy one or two bottles of wine, some antipasti and have a chat.

The food was excellent. Crostini fresh and tasty, best risotto agli asparagi, panzanella and pappa al pomodoro. Order a beautiful piece of beef. Make sure it is controfiletto - which is prime quality meat, hence juicier. The meat is commonly served simply charcoal grilled or cut out in strips, on top of a bed of rucola and shaven Parmesan cheese (tagliata con rucola e grana). Also, have someone order the ‘peposo’ a type of stewed beef with peppercorns – which was really tender. The bacala (salt cod) is also tasty.

The house wine is great Being a vineria, they also offer an excellent choice of wine from Tuscany and other Italian regions.

Address: Piazza Mino, 33, Fiesole

Phone:+39 055 59121

Website: http://www.vinandroenotecaristorante-fiesole.com/

BEST BOOK FOR AUGUST – The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian

From a New York Times bestselling author comes a spellbinding novel of love, despair, and revenge—set in war-ravaged Tuscany.

1943: Tucked away in the idyllic hills south of Florence, the Rosatis, an Italian family of noble lineage, believe that the walls of their ancient villa will keep them safe from the war raging across Europe. Eighteen-year-old Cristina spends her days swimming in the pool, playing with her young niece and nephew, and wandering aimlessly amid the estate’s gardens and olive groves. But when two soldiers, a German and an Italian, arrive at the villa asking to see an ancient Etruscan burial site, the Rosatis’ bucolic tranquility is shattered. A young German lieutenant begins to court Cristina, the Nazis descend upon the estate demanding hospitality, and what was once their sanctuary becomes their prison.

1955: Serafina Bettini, an investigator with the Florence police department, has her own demons. A beautiful woman, Serafina carefully hides her scars along with her haunting memories of the war. But when she is assigned to a gruesome new case—a serial killer targeting the Rosatis, murdering the remnants of the family one-by-one in cold blood—Serafina finds herself digging into a past that involves both the victims and her own tragic history.

Set against an exquisitely rendered Italian countryside, The Light in the Ruins unveils a breathtaking story of moral paradox, human frailty, and the mysterious ways of the heart.

BEST BOOK FOR KIDS FOR AUGUST – Hero on a Bicycle by Shirley Hughes

In her first novel, beloved author Shirley Hughes presents a World War II adventure proving that in extraordinary circumstances, people are capable of extraordinary things. Italy, 1944: Florence is occupied by Nazi forces. The Italian resistance movement has not given up hope, though — and neither have thirteen-year- old Paolo and his sister, Costanza. As their mother is pressured into harboring escaping POWs, Paolo and Costanza each find a part to play in opposing the German forces. Both are desperate to fight the occupation, but what can two siblings — with only a bicycle to help them — do against a whole army? Middle-grade fans of history and adventure will be riveted by the action and the vividly evoked tension of World War II.


Until September 22 at the Bargello Museum, via del Proconsolo 4, there will be music and dance. It is an intimate evening in an evocative space under the stars. The Aperitivo ad Arte at the National Museum of the Bargello is the most fun one can have in the city in the August heat. Here, it will be every Tuesday from 7-10pm. The exhibition areas open to the public during these evenings are the Sala di Michelangelo, Rinascimento, and the Sala di Donatello. The aperitivo will be offered in the courtyard of Museum. Worth noting are some scheduled performances by the Compagnia delle Seggiole about the secrets of the Bargello and the seven centuries of its place in Florentine history.

See http://www.polomuseale.firenze.it/it/eventi/evento.php?t=5190c674f1c3bc300c00001c for details.

BEST EXTRAVAGANZAS FOR AUGUST – The Night Of The Shooting Stars Of San Lorenzo

On Tuesday 10, join the neighborhood of San Lorenzo in a celebration of their patron, St Lawrence. Traditionally, this is known as the Night of the Falling Stars – in reality an annual meteor shower. Since San Lorenzo was martyred on this day (by grilling) in 258, the stars are also seen as his tears.

During the morning, a parade marches through town from the Palagio di Parte Guelfa on Via Pellicceria, to the Basilica di San Lorenzo, starting around 10:30 am. 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 some time after the market stalls that line the streets by day are rolled away. In addition, in honor of San Lorenzo a concert by the G. Rossini Philharmonic Orchestra is held each year in Piazza San Lorenzo at 9:00 pm.

For concert info: tel. 055603407 and http://www.filarmonicarossini.it.

For festival info: tel. 055 0516181 and www.comune.fi.it

To best view the falling meteorites (when the Earth intersects the orbit of an old comet whose fragments penetrate the atmosphere), you should go somewhere outside of the city and away from “light pollution”. This year the best viewing days will be August 12 and 13. So if you’re staying in one of P&F’s rental apartments or villas in the countryside, you’re in luck!


NEW “GRAND MUSEO DEL DUOMO” PASS – Will this save you money?

The Opera del Duomo, which cares for the cathedral, the baptistry, and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, has come up with a plan to save you money. They are going to consolidate the tickets for all of the entries (Museo, Cupola, Baptistry, Campanile, Santa Reparata (Duomo crypt), which used to total 23euro, but now will be a 24-hour ticket for everything for 10 euro. It seems that if you only wanted to climb the dome, this is not such a good deal, but if you want to do all things Duomo, you are in luck. Stay tuned for more details.

The ticket is to be on sale at the Centro Arte e Cultura (across from the door to the Baptistry), the Campanile di Giotto, and the Museo. (Be aware that the Museo is set to mostly close (except for the Doors of Paradise and Michelangelo’s The Disposition) for reconstruction until 2015.)


Everybody who is resident in Florence and is having visitors come during the hot month of August be warned that the Firenze Card that used to cost 50 euro for 72 hours of manic museum viewing, now costs 72 euro per person with no added benefits. The Amici degli Uffizi card for 100 euro for a family of four is looking much better all of the time.


After last year’s sold out show, Roberto Benigni will be on stage until August 6 to read and discuss the poems of Dante. Benigni is an improvisatory poet, also known for his explanation and recitations of Dante’s Divina Commedia by memory. Benigni has toured Italy with his 90-minute one man show TuttoDante (“Everything About Dante”). Combining current events and memories of his past narrated with an ironic tone, Benigni then began a journey of poetry and passion through the world of the Divine Comedy. TuttoDante has been performed in numerous Italian piazzas, arenas, and stadiums for a total of over 150 shows, with an estimated audience of over one million spectators.

Until 6 August, Benigni will interpret the verses of Dante (Inferno, Cantos 23 to 34) in the unique setting of Piazza Santa Croce, which is dominated by the marble statue dedicated to the great poet. For those who don’t want to miss the uniqueness of this event tickets are available on-line. For information and tickets: http://www.tuttodante.it/


The works of Sicilian sculptor, Francesco Messina, will be showcased at the Villa Bardini until August 18, in the exhibit, Francesco Messina: Myths and Seasons in the 20th Century. On display in the Villa’s rooms and garden are approximately 30 drawings and over 120 sculptures, all of which present an impressive corpus of works by the unforgettable master who, with his figurative and classical art, has passed through the twentieth century and left behind an unmistakable mark in European and international sculpture.

The gardens of the Villa Bardini also offer one of the best vantage points of the city: the terrace cafe, where you can relax and sip a cup tea or a cocktail.

The Villa and Gardens are open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 7 pm, with an entrance fee of 6 euros.

The Villa Bardini is located on Costa San Giorgio, 2.

For more information, see http://www.bardinipeyron.it/

SAMURAI! – Japanese Armor from the Stibbert Collection

Seventy Japanese masterpieces from the collection of Frederick Stibbert are on display in an exciting exhibition that takes visitors into the exotic world of the Samurai – not only brave warriors, but also refined patrons of weapons and armor. This is an exhibit for young and old alike at one of P&F’s favorite museums.

The magnificent armor and extravagant helmets – as many contemporary artists and designers have interpreted- were the starting point for an exhibition that highlights the materials and craft techniques through which the Japanese artists were able to create true works of art. Here the power of the steel is made even more fascinating through the contrasting of iridescent silk ornaments, tanned skins and bright lacquers.

Impressive armor, imaginative helmets, terrible blades, saddles and stirrups are complemented by unusual shapes, painted and gilded folding screens, and brilliant colored lacquer boxes. And the Samurai legacy: ready for battle at any time for his noble lord, as well as the appreciation for objects of refined elegance.

The Japanese collection of Frederick Stibbert (1838-1906) is one of the most important collections outside of Japan. Stibbert was among the first collectors to take an interest in works from the Land of the Rising Sun during the mid-nineteenth century, and the collection is stunning in the richness and importance of the works, which it preserves.

Stibbert Museum, Via Federigo Stibbert, 26 - Tel. 055.475520

Samari! until November 3, 2013

Hours: Monday-Wednesday 10-14, Friday-Sunday 10-18, closed on Thursdays

Admission: € 8 (full) 6 € (reduced) including the visit of the museum


At the Accademia Gallery explore nearby places that are largely unknown or ignored by tourists and Florentines alike—without ever leaving the museum—through a display of artworks originally commissioned to colorfully decorate the palaces of Florence. Covering a series of themes, ranging from civic heraldry and religion to the city of Florence, the exhibit includes works by Michelangelo and other prominent artists in Florence’s history.

See out favorite piece – the nine scene wood panel painted in tempera, known as The Madonna dei Ricci – of the dung-flinging story. On the 21st July 1501 Antonio Giuseppe Rinaldeschi spent the night at l'Osteria del Fico getting drunk a losing much money gambling. He staggered cursing and swearing, half naked and angered by his losses, through the streets near the Duomo when, noticing the sacred image on the side of the church of Santa Maria degli Alberighi, he picked up some horse manure and threw it against the figure of the Virgin. He was seen and reported, arrested and hanged from a window of the Bargello.

See www.unannoadarte.it for details.

AMID MEDICI SPLENDOUR – At the Medici Tombs in San Lorenzo

Until October 6 at the Museum of the Medici Chapels, piazza di Madonna degli Aldobrandini 6, see the treasures of Pope Leone X. Five hundred years ago, Giovanni D’Medici, Lorenzo the Magnificent’s second son, became the first Medici pope. Follow his life, from birth, his time in the papacy and his return home, to discover why his years on the papal throne were hailed as a new ‘golden age,’ and admire works by Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Raphael and other renowned artists. See www.unannoadarte.it for details.


Florence’s tourism office ( has put together an interesting collection of rooftop view suggestions. A number of the city’s hotels and restaurants are opening their doors to clients as well as passersby. All of July, August and September you are invited to explore Florence from above, from terraces that you may otherwise have missed. Most of the venues have a bar or restaurant for an aperitif, for a dinner enjoyed watching the sunset, or for after-dinner drinks under a star-filled sky.

In some cases, you can also visit the terrace just to admire the view and take a few pictures. Choose your terrace and enjoy the beauty of Florence from above. There is even a photography contest that goes with “A Roof With A View”. Please note that in some cases you may need to book your visit beforehand. (Check to see if private parties haven’t reserved the space, before you go.)

Go to this site for all of the details: http://www.firenzeturismo.it/en/firenze-territorio/a-roof-with-a-view.html

Click on the link about the photo contest, too.

http://www.firenzeturismo.it/images/stories/terrazze-con-vista/2013/depliant_terrazze_2013.pdf (for the list of terraces)

ANTICA TORRE DI VIA TORNABUONI 1. Their beautiful roof-top terrace is surrounded by medieval crenellations. The terrace can be visited; and you are welcome to take pictures. No bar service.

Open 7-10:30pm. Via Tornabuoni 1, Tel. 055 2658161.

www.tornabuoni1.com. Reservations: mrbellini@tornabuoni1.com

GRAND HOTEL BAGLIONI. A visit to the roof-top, multi-level terrace can be reserved, even if you only want to take pictures or have a panoramic view. Otherwise, take advantage of the classic bar service for an aperitif, dinner, or after-dinner drinks. Open 7pm-12am. Piazza dell’Unità Italiana 6. Tel. 055 23580. info@hotelbaglioni.it. www.hotelbaglioni.it. Reservations: 055 23588560.

CONTINENTALE HOTEL. Roof-top bar open 6pm-12am for an aperitif or after-dinner drinks. Great view over the Ponte Vecchio and Arno River. Vicolo dell’Oro, 6r, Tel. 055 27262

continentale@lungarnohotels.com, http://www.lungarnohotels.com/en/firenze-continentale/hotels-38

GRAND HOTEL CAVOUR. Roof-top bar open 6-10 pm for an aperitif or after-dinner drinks. Via del Proconsolo 3. Tel. 055 266271. info@albergocavour.it. www.albergocavour.it. Reservations (required): 055 215521.

GRAND HOTEL MINERVA. A pool adds sparkle to this roof-top bar open for snacks or aperitifs from 11am-12pm. Piazza Santa Maria Novella 16. Tel. 055-27230.

info@grandhotelminerva.com. www.grandhotelminerva.com

HOTEL BOSCOLO ASTORIA. Have a drink at the bar. Open 7-12 pm. Via del Giglio 9. Tel. 055 2398095. reception@astoria.boscolo.com, www.boscolohotels.com

HOTEL KRAFT The roof-top area is open 7-12 pm. Join them for a snack, aperitif, dinner, or for after-dinner drinks. Via Solferino 2. Tel. 055 284273. info@krafthotel.it. www.krafthotel.it.

HOTEL LAURUS AL DUOMO. Open from 4-11pm, enjoy a snack, aperitif or after-dinner drinks at the bar. Reservations required. Via Cerretani 54r. Tel. 055 2381752.

reservations@florencehotellaurusalduomo.com. www.florencehotellaurusalduomo.com.

HOTEL SILLA. The Silla is open for a lovely aperitivo from 6-10 pm. Via de’ Renai 5. Tel. 0552342888. hotelsilla@hotelsilla.it and www.hotelsilla.it.

HOTEL TORNABUONI BEACCI. Charming and quaint, the Tornabuoni Beacci terrace is open 7-12 pm for a snack, aperitif, dinner or after-dinner drinks. The restaurant is closed on Mondays. Via Tornabuoni 3, Tel. 055 212645. info@tornabuonihotels.com, www.tornabuonihotels.com.

J.K. PLACE FIRENZE. Chic and trendy. The cozy roof-top bar is open 11 am- 11pm. Piazza Santa Maria Novella 7. Tel. 055 2645181. info@jkplace.com. www.jkplace.com.

PITTI PALACE AL PONTE VECCHIO. Look down on the Ponte Vecchio from this viewpoint bar. Open from 6-10.30 pm, you can order a snack, aperitif, dinner or after-dinner drinks. Reservations required. Borgo San Jacopo 3. Tel. 055 2398711, www.florencehotelpittipalacealpontevecchio.com

RELAIS CHATEAUX VILLA LA VEDETTA. A bit removed from the chaos of the city center, enjoy the park-like atmosphere at the Vedetta. Open all day for a snack, aperitif, dinner, after-dinner drinks and a swimming pool. Reservations required. Viale Michelangiolo 78. Tel. 055 681631.

info@villalavedettahotel.com. www.villalavedettahotel.com.

RISTORANTE TERRAZZA BARDINI. Breezy and beautiful, this terrace is open for an aperitif or dinner from 7-12 pm; closed on Mondays. Via Costa San Giorgio 6. Tel. 055 2008444. info@moba.fi.it. www.moba.fi.it


Antonio Canova, la Bellezza e la Memoria will be at the Casa Buonarroti through October 21, 2013. This exhibition brings a collection from the Museum of Bassano del Grappa or works by Antonio Canova (1757-1882), the great protagonist of Neoclassical sculpture. The institution has preserved ten albums and eight notebooks of drawings by Canova and provides a unique opportunity to view 40 selected drawings by the artist, as well as paintings and models.

The works exhibited show the process in which Canova conceived his sculptures by making beautiful preliminary sketches and paintings in monochromatic tempera. The exhibition is divided into 2 themes: beauty and memory, two concepts common among artists of the pre-Romanticism and Purism era linking philosophical, literary, and artistic creativity.

Much of Canova’s work depicts the female figure. His Venere Italica, was designed and built for the Tribuna of the Uffizi between 1804 and 1812, of which you can admire the extraordinary plaster model, a perfect translation of classical sculpture in a an image of ideal beauty tied to the female figure.

Memory is represented in the design of a funerary monument seen, according to the writings of Alfieri and Foscolo, as a reminder of the deeds of the single individual to the memory of the nation. The exhibition traces the design and realization, between 1806 and 1810, of the beautiful and evocative Tomb of Vittorio Alfieri, still visible in the Basilica of Santa Croce, emphasizing the intent to perpetuate the memory of a single character in a beautiful ideal tied to memory.

Another reason to see this exhibition is the museum: Casa Buonarroti, purchased by Michelangelo for his nephew and later made into a family museum, where you can find many sketches and some sculptures of Michelangelo Buonarroti, including one of the most beautiful: Madonna della Scala - Madonna of the Stairs, and artwork on the ceiling by Artimesia Gentileschi.

July 3 – October 21, 2013

Casa Buonarroti, Via Ghibellina 70

Admission to the exhibition includes a visit to the museum of the Casa Buonarroti where you can see a collection of works by Michelangelo.

Tickets: € 6.50, € 8.50 cumulative with the monumental complex of Santa Croce


The Palatine Gallery at the Palazzo Pitti

Before mid-September take yourself over to the Pitti Palace to view the incredibly well conceived exhibit all about the subjects of Dreams and their depiction in Renaissance art.

The theme of dreaming does in fact take on a particular significance in ancient mythology and in the Renaissance cultural setting, as demonstrated by its widespread occurrence in the figurative arts and, in particular, in works of a religious nature or those involving the rediscovery of ancient myths. Whether prophetic or premonitory, illustrated by celebrated episodes from the Old Testament (the Pharaoh’s dreams explained by Joseph the Hebrew, Jacob’s dream, etc.), the dream is presented first and foremost as the manifestation and revelation of another world. It also reveals, from a profane perspective, the inductive and speculative possibilities held out to the human spirit; it transfigures the quotidian experience and reveals its erotic dimension; it comes to occupy a valuable place in the theory and practice of art, being no less attentive to oneiric activities than to literature, philosophy or medicine.

“The unusual (in Italian exhibitions) iconographic and iconological approach will enable the public to see from a fresh perspective such famous works as The Knight’s Dream by Raphael in the National Gallery of London, which will be shown for the first time alongside Raphael’s principal source, the Latin poem, the Punica by Silius Italicus, published in Rome between 1471 and 1472” (Alessandro Cecchi).

Full Price: € 13,00

Reduced: € 6,50


Tuesday to Sunday: 8.15-18.50

Closed Mondays.


Going, going, almost gone at Palazzo Strozzi, until 18 August 2013 The exhibition at the Strozzi Palazzo, organized by the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and the Musée du Louvre, illustrates, in theme-based sections, the origin of what is still known today as the "miracle" of the Renaissance in Florence, doing so principally through masterpieces of sculpture, the branch of figurative art in which that new season first saw the light of day.

Info: Tel. + 39 055 2645155 Opening times: Daily 9.00-20.00 Thursdays 9.00-23.00

Tickets sold until one hour before closing time. Tickets: Full price € 12.50; Concessions € 8.50, 8.00

Thursday Squared (the second Thursday every month at Palazzo Strozzi – it’s free and it’s in the courtyard)


This summer at the Florence synagogue every Thursday there will be a lecture followed by an “apericena” of Jewish-inspired food followed by a musical event. It all takes place in the garden in front of the synagogue on Via Luigi Carlo Farini, starting at 7pm. Check for details: http://www.balagancafe.it/programma.html


Las Palmas is an outdoor restaurant (mainly fish) and pizzeria with music, movies, and sporting events every night of the week. Come to Piazza Ghiberti near the San Ambrogio Market and join the fun. You might even catch one of the few breezes blowing through Florence in August.

Check www.laspalmasfirenze.it for the schedule of events and call 340-680-3548 for reservations (recommended)

THE PRODIGIOUS SHOEMAKER – Legends & Fairy Tales On Shoes And Shoemakers

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

From April 19th, 2013 to March 31st, 2014

Salvatore Ferragamo Museum – Piazza Santa Trinità 5


The Fulgor makes one of their theaters available for Original Sound movies, seven days a week, three show times a day. But as far as we know it will be closed for August. Call to find out what is showing in English. Via Maso Finiguerra – Tel. 055 238 1881


The Odeon movie theater will be closed from August 1 to 30.

See http://www.odeon.intoscana.it/prossimamente_view.php?id=334 for details.



Your best bets for music in August are outside of Florence.

Go to Bolgheri and drink some of the best wine Tuscany has to offer and attend the Bolgheri Melody Festival


Go to Versilia and attend the 34th Festival La Versiliana (http://www.laversilianafestival.it/).

Go to Siena for the Accademia Musicale Chigiana (see below).

Go to the Sculpture Park near Radda in Chianti (see below).

Head to Pucci’s home on Torre del Lago near Lucca for the 59th Festival Puccini (http://www.puccinifestival.it/ ).


Go to Siena for your classical music in August. The Accademia Musicale Chigiana has a series of concerts in various historic venues (Teatro dei Rinnovati, Abazia di Sant'Antimo (Montalcino), Chiesa di Sant'Agostino, Teatro dei Rozzi, etc.). This year is the 82nd Edition of the summer series.

The Accademia Musicale Chigiana was founded by Count Guido Chigi Saracini in 1932 with the aim of organizing Master Classes for the principal musical instruments. Its founder, besides funding the academy and providing the magnificent palace, which he had restored and readapted for the purpose, was successful in bringing to Siena a large number of world famous musicians as instructors of the various classes.

Hear music by Bach, Chopin, Brahms,Rossini, Mendelssohn, and much more.

See the web page for the schedule and ticket prices: http://www.chigiana.it/2013/08/

See the Home Page for general information: http://www.chigiana.it


Parco Sculture del Chianti kicks off its 2013 Musical Evenings at the Amphitheatre on Tuesdays from 4 June through 27 August, 19:00

See http://www.chiantisculpturepark.it/program2013.htm for the program of the 2013 season concerts

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


Once again this summer, three of the top museums in Florence are promoting their collections combined with a social atmosphere, an aperitivo, and late open hours. Can you think of a better way to spend a warm evening in Firenze? At various museums in Florence until September 26, 7-10pm, sip a cocktail while enjoying rooms in Florence’s greatest museums after hours. Visit the Accademia every Wednesday, the Uffizi every Thursday, and the Bargello every Tuesday from August 6. Reservations are highly recommended;

The Galleria dell’Accademia Aperitivo ad Arte is every Wednesday from 7-10pm, from June 5 until September 25 for a total of 17 nights. The public will have access to are the Gallery of Prisoners with the Tribuna of David. The aperitivo will be offered in a flowered courtyard of the museum adjacent to the museum bookshop.

The Uffizi Gallery and Palazzo Vecchio event is every Thursday from 7-10pm, from June 6 until September 26 for a total of 17 nights. The exhibition areas to which the public will have access to the Sale del Cinquecento including works by Raphael, Bronzino, Allori, Vasari, Andrea del Sarto, Rosso Fiorentino, and Pontormo. The aperitivo will be held on the terrace above the Loggia dei Lanzi.

From August 6 to September 24 the Aperitivo ad Arte will also return to the National Museum of the Bargello. Here, it will be every Tuesday from 7-10pm, the exhibition areas to which the public have access are the Sala di Michelangelo, Rinascimento, and the Sala di Donatello. The aperitivo will be offered in the courtyard of Museum. Worth noting are some scheduled performances by the Compagnia delle Seggiole about the secrets of the Bargello and the seven centuries of its place in Florentine history.

Participation in the evenings costs €15 and need to be reserved at no additional cost, by calling 055-294883. If you are an ATAF card holder, you are entitled to a 30% discount.

Galleria dell’Accademia – Via Ricasoli 58-60,

June 5 – September 25, Wednesdays, 7-10pm

Galleria degli Uffizi – Piazzale degli Uffizi

June 6 – September 26, Thursdays from 7-10pm

Museo Nazionale del Bargello – Via del Proconsolo 4, Firenze

August 6 – September 24, Tuesdays from 7-10pm


The Tuscan Wine School is an initiative to have a connection year-round with people in the city – be they travelers or locals – and the wine regions around Tuscany. The school is run by expats who have come to love Tuscany’s wines and who’ve seen a need for such a place in Florence. It is a fun kind of “school” where you can choose a light class of just one hour, a two-hour in-depth class on Tuscan wines or a whole week of studies to the subject. The Tuscan Wine School also run professional WSET courses that award international wine diplomas. All the classes in English and serves the best possible wines from small unique producers that are selected from throughout the region.

The Tuscan Wine School also provides entertaining and educational wine tours in the Chianti Classico region.

For more information, visit the website www.tuscanwineschool.com or pass by to meet then any afternoon of the week in Via de' Bardi 23R, Florence.


For the past fifty years, between August and September, Cortona proudly hosts Cortonantiquaria, a national antiques exhibition market. It is set up in the beautiful 18th century halls of Palazzo Vagnotti, one of the better preserved of the city, which shows the charm of different stories, styles and tastes.

Every year dozens of exhibiters, coming from the whole Italy, from Lombardy to Sicily, display their old furniture and other art objects, which are accurately selected and certified: paintings, sculptures, earthenware, silver and bronzes, prints, engravings, carpets, weapons, jewels, fans, laces and much more. Thanks to the quality of the items exposed, to the experience in the organization by the Tourist Office of Arezzo and to the beauty of the halls, the antiques exhibition of Cortona is considered to be one of the most prestigious antiques fairs at the national and international level.

The fact that some exhibiters have come back every year since the beginning shows all the success and importance of this antiques exhibition market. Antiques trade in Cortona is not only an exhibition event, but also something closely related to some traditions of a great economic and cultural value for this region, such as craftsmanship and restoration.

Cortonantiquaria is a must for antique and modern art lovers, but also a fashionable crowd-pulling event taking place at the end of summer, since it gives everyone the chance to become familiar with this beautiful world. This renowned antiques market combines the peculiar fascination of antique works of art with social events, like conferences and wine tasting. In particular, every year since 2001 the local authorities award the Cortonantiquaria Prize to an important personality in arts, culture or entrepreneurship, who have based their professional engagement on quality and reliability and who have a special connection with Cortona.

August 24 to September 8.


Usually the intricate floor of the cathedral in Siena is covered, but on August 18 and throughout September the floor is on view. The marble intarsia works of art that tell biblical narratives and represent allegories, and took centuries to complete. In 2013, this visit is made even more exceptional because you will be able to also see the works from above by attending the small group tours called Porta del Cielo (see below in the “Fun, Festivals And Food Outside Of Florence for August” section).

There are fifty-six large scenes represented by major Sienese artists including Sassetta, Domenico di Bartolo, Matteo di Giovanni, and Domenico Beccafumi, as well as other artists like Pinturicchio. The techniques used progress from graffito to commesso marmoreo. Graffito is the use of the scalpel to carve out areas of white marble which were then filled with black stucco. This evolved to incorporating more colors using a technique similar to wood intarsia, which is called commesso marmoreo (sometimes also pietre dure, but these are softer stones, thus not ‘dure’). The transept and choir narrate old testament stories, all except the Slaughter of the Innocents by Matteo di Giovanni which is based on the recount of the Evangelist St. Matthew. Under the cuppola, there are works by the Mannerist artist Domenico Beccafumi, with a perfection of the marble intarsia technique to use gradations of material for fine shadows and intricate representations.

See www.operaduomo.siena.it or call 0577/286300 for details.


Until September 22 at the Bargello Museum, via del Proconsolo 4, Florence

The courtyard of the beautiful Bargello Museum will be filled with musical, dance and theatre performances all summer. Highlights among the more than 70 events include classical music on July 6 and 17 and the Florence Dance Festival (June 2 – July 24).

See http://www.polomuseale.firenze.it/it/eventi/evento.php?t=5190c674f1c3bc300c00001c for details.

ROBERTO CAPUCCI – Fabulous Fashions

The Capucci Museum at Villa Bardini, Costa San Giorgio 2, Florence

Fashion designer Roberto Capucci creates strikingly colorful and fluid garments. Using fabrics ranging from silk, taffeta and velvet to organza and georgette, Capucci experiments with the ways materials can be formed, draped and sculpted, so that they glide over the body or form stiff waves, swirls, frills and pleats. This exhibit displays 27 of the Italian designer’s best creations. See www.fondazionerobertocapucci.com for more.


Until November 3, there is an evocative exhibit at Uffizi Gallery – The Grand Prince. Marking 300 years since the death of Grand Prince Ferdinando de' Medici, this exhibit celebrates the life of one of the most important collectors and patrons of the arts in the history of the Medici, including sections on iconography, art collected by the Prince, renovations he commissioned in Florence, and Florentine statuary. For more, see www.unannoadarte.it .


Parco Sculture del Chianti kicks off its 2013 Musical Evenings at the Amphitheatre on Tuesdays from 4 June through 27 August, 19:00 See http://www.chiantisculpturepark.it/program2013.htm for the program of the 2013 season concerts.



Experience the extraordinary opening of the Porta del Cielo (Door of Heaven) – or, at least, Siena’s version of it. Until October 27, 2013, if you happen to visit Siena, don’t miss this spectacular opportunity.

For the first time, after extensive renovation, it will be possible to take a tour of the walkways in the vault of the Duomo of Siena. Internal passages, balconies (both inside and outside) and hidden attic spaces will be open to small, guided groups. Until now, these parts of the Cathedral were accessible only to the architects and builders in charge of maintaining the structure over the centuries.

The two massive towers on each side of the façade of the Duomo house spiral staircases that lead up into the roof where there is a series of walkways and rooms that provide astonishing views of both the interior of the Duomo and the city of Siena outside.

You will be able to look down onto the marble intarsia floor of the main nave and understand its design in a way that until now could only be done through photographs. You will be able to traverse the walkway over the main altar and almost reach out and touch Duccio di Buoninsegna’s stained glass rose window. Finally, you will be able to walk along the balcony inside the dome of the cathedral from which there is a fabulous view of the high altar.

The visiting itinerary “from above” will thus permit visitors to better understand the dedication of the Cathedral of Siena to the Assumption of the Madonna, and the strong connection the people of Siena have had with their ‘patron’ for centuries: Sena vetus civitas Virginis.

The exterior views extend over the Basilica of St. Domenico, the Medici Fortress, the entire dome of the chapel of St. John the Baptist and the landscape of the surrounding Sienese hills.

The Door to Heaven Guided Tour (La Porta del Cielo)

6 April – 27 October 2013

Reservations required: tickets per person €25, groups of max 17 people €400. Tel +39 0577 286300 (Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm) or email: opasiena@operalaboratori.com

For all of the details of what to wear and what to consider before taking the tour see the official website:



Until August 31 travel back in time to consider the last moments of Christ’s life through the eyes of humankind over the centuries. The exhibit, Resurrexi: From the Passion to the Resurrection, presents works from the Duomo’s collection, among them miniatures, frescoes and paintings on wood, highlighting the varied artistic depictions of Christ’s final moments and resurrection. See www.operaduomo.siena.it or call 0577/286300 for details.


Each year on August 16th, the Palio of Siena takes place in Italy. Ten bareback jockeys circle the main piazza three times on horses they may have met just four days earlier; while the actual prize may be the Palio, a silk painted banner, there's much more at stake. The competition between neighborhoods has roots going back centuries, and established rivalries add further dimension to the race. The historical procession preceding the race is unlike any parade ever experienced.

The race itself lasts less than 2 minutes, but that explosion of activity marks the culmination of a four-day crescendo of fascinating events, starting with the selection of the horses and concluding with the breathless gallop of the race. On a deeper level, for the Sienese people, the Palio is part of their lives 24/7, 365 days a year. They are either strategizing, preparing, or participating when they’re not celebrating victory or gnashing their teeth in defeat.


Henri Cartier-Bresson at Lu.C.C.A. (Lucca Center of Contemporary Art until November 3rd.

Discover the life and fabulous photography of Cartier-Bresson, the French photographer considered to be the father of modern photojournalism. His personal, candid and absolutely unique photos capture moments in history and were the beginnings of street photography. Visit www.luccamuseum.com for more.


The Chianti Star Festival until August 11 at Palazzo Malaspina,

Science and art unite in this celebration of the Chianti area and dissemination of scientific culture. Meet OpenLab professors and researchers dedicated to the relationship between art and science, see an international contemporary art exhibit and watch films which explore what happens when art meets science.

Visit http://eng.chiantistarfestival.com for more information.


Inaugurated in 1956, the Pinocchio Park is no ordinary theme park, but rather a work of art that visitors can walk through, climb on, and recall childhood stories. It's a rather old fashioned kind of park from the days when you didn't need bloodcurdling death-defying rides to charm the kids. The park tells Carlo Collodi's (the pen name of Carlo Lorenzini) version of the story of Pinocchio through sculpture, mosaics and puppet shows. It features a museum with Pinocchio related items.

The literary itinerary, marked out by mosaics, buildings and sculptures set amidst the greenery, emerges as an inspired combination of art and nature. The path is winding, and the dense vegetation means that every stage on the route comes as an unexpected surprise, with the very plants and trees contributing to create the atmosphere and the episodes in the story of the Adventures of Pinocchio. The Park itself is the site of constantly renewed cultural activities that are always mindful of its roots: exhibitions of art and illustrations inspired by children’s literature and the story of Pinocchio, puppet-making workshops, puppet and marionette shows and minstrels enliven the visit to the Park, depending on the season.

The Pinocchio Park could not have been set up anywhere else but in Collodi, where the ancient village has remained as it was hundreds of years ago, a cascade of houses that ends behind the 17th century Villa Garzoni and its fabulous garden (another stop you should add to your day in Collodi). It was in the village that Carlo Lorenzini’s mother was born, and here that he spent his childhood with his grandparents, the Orzali.

The original idea for Pinocchio Park came to the Mayor of Pescia in 1951. He invited leading artists to enter a competition. No less than eighty-four sculptors responded to the invitation: the joint winners were Emilio Greco with Pinocchio and the Fairy and Venturino Venturini with the Square of the Mosaics. In 1956 the famous bronze group that symbolically represents the metamorphosis of Pinocchio, and the extraordinary mosaics showing the principal episodes from the Adventures were unveiled. In 1963 a restaurant, Osteria del Gambero Rosso, was added. In 1972 the Park was enlarged by the addition of the Land of Toys, a fantastic itinerary that contains twenty-one sculptures in bronze and steel by Pietro Consagra and constructions by Marco Zanuso, evoking the plot of the Adventures of Pinocchio.

Collodi, located about midway between Montecatini Terme Spa (10 km), and Lucca (15 km), near Florence (60 km). Take highway 435 heading east from Lucca towards Florence to find Collodi.

MERCATINO DI APRILANTE - Artisanal Crafts Market

Sun. 4 (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. Stop by the Aprilante Market in Greve on the same day.


On August 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. The 16th edition of “Calici di Stelle” is sure to be a stellar series of events celebrated all on one night. Festivities begin at sunset. From August 5 to 11, the celebration of wine and stars happens all over Tuscany. The following towns are among the many celebrating the shooting stars (check internet sites for exact dates and times):


Piazza Matteotti

info: 055 8545271 - 055 8546299



Piazza Machiavelli

info: 0571 600230 - 0571 657579



Piazza Matteotti

info: 055 8077832



Piazza del Castello

info: 0571 568012



Piazza del Mercato

info: 055 84966229



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

ITALIAN FOOD RULE: Biscotti May Be Dipped In Vin Santo, Not Coffee

Italians are very particular about what they dip their biscotti into. Pretty much it is a list of one – Vin Santo.

The subtly sweet, crisp almond cookies are loved throughout the world but have their origin in Italy. The word “biscotti is the plural form of biscotto, which originates from the ancient Latin word biscoctus, meaning "twice-baked." By baking them twice, biscotti (known in Tuscany as cantucci or cantuccini) lose any excess moisture, which ensures a crisp, dry cookie perfect for dipping. In Vin Santo.

Vin Santo or vino santo (holy wine) is a style of Italian dessert wine. Traditional in Tuscany, these sweet high alcohol, late harvest wines are made from white grape varieties such as Trebbiano and Malvasia, which are hung to dry before pressing to increase their sugar content. The most likely origin of the name Vin Santo was the wine's historic use in religious Mass, where sweet wine was often preferred. One of the earliest references to a ‘vinsanto’ wine come from the Renaissance era sales logs of Florentine wine merchants.

So, if after dinner you start reaching for the biscotti on the plate in the middle of the table to dip into your coffee, stop and think of the number of Italian Food Rules you are about to break – eating after coffee, putting crumbs in coffee, and perhaps, drinking cappuccino after 10am.

First, Italians consider coffee as both a palate cleanser and a digestivo. Biscotti (cantuccini) and Vin Santo are dessert and made for each other. Cantuccini by themselves will put your teeth in peril. Dunking them in Vin Santo is the perfect solution. The flavors match perfectly and the best sip is the last containing all of the delicious biscotti crumbs.



Dear Friends and Readers of the P&F Newsletter,

For the next two newsletters I wish to talk to you about CORRI LA VITA so you “save the day” – October 13, 2012 – to walk and run with the 30,000 people who support this fabulous charity. As you all know, I am very involved in this walk/run/race since its inception and it is very close to my heart and I want to share it with all of you.

CORRI LA VITA's goal is to make people aware of cancer, especially breast cancer. This year is our 11th anniversary and in recognition of this, we hope the mayor will again agree that all the museums of Florence (state museums) will be free of charge for all CORRI LA VITA participants (wearing their YELLOW t-shirts, of course). The CORRI LA VITA committee is also organizing a free concert in Piazza della Signoria as a closing event for the day. See the September Newsletter for details.

So my dear friends, especially those of you who have been to Florence and those who participated in CORRI LA VITA in the past and especially those who will walk or run with us this year, please help us to continue this wonderful work by sending a donation. Cheques should be made to “L.I.L.T. sezione Firenze” (which means La Lega Italiana per la Lotta conto i Tumori - cancer society - Florence section). I really hope you will see your way to writing a few zeros after the number! You may send your cheques to our office and we will see that they get to the right place.

Ciao, arrivederci, a presto!



For all of those Australian and New Zealand expat residents or visitors to Florence, who want to know what is going on in the community, join Victor Caulfield, President of Australians & New Zealanders In Florence (ANZIF), for one of their monthly events. If you would like to get their eNewsletter, send an email to: australians.florence@gmail.com

Invitation to Newsletter Readers & Friends:

The Pitcher & Flaccomio Newsletter would like to invite readers and friends of readers to submit announcements of upcoming events that may be of interest to visitors and residents of Florence and Tuscany, provide shopping tips, and/or comments on what’s “right” or “wrong” in Florence (or the Newsletter). We can’t promise to put every announcement in the newsletter, but we appreciate your support, interest and messages.

Please send an email to info@pitcherflaccomio.com or newsletter@pitcherflaccomio.com .


Even though the normally cool churches and museums are heating up (note to self: next year write about air-conditioned museums), there are still many ways to beat the summer heat in Florence. In an emergency, take the train to the mountains or the sea for the day, like the Florentines do.

All the best,

Pitcher and Flaccomio