BALAGAN CAFÉ AT THE SYNAGOGUE
Select Thursdays (6th and 27th) in August
In 18th- and 19th-century Russia, the word Balagan referred to pop-up theatres in city squares where folk performances took place. At Florence Synagogue’s Balagan Café, the Hebrew hub opens its doors for apericene, concerts and talks (in Italian) in its magnificent garden, offering a chance to sample delicious traditional Jewish foods and explore varied components of Jewish culture. Highlights include a July 30 concert by New York trumpeter Frank London, a key figure in the klezmer musical tradition originating in Eastern Europe.
For more information and the full lineup, see www.balagancafe.it.
Florence Synagogue garden, via Luigi Carlo Farini 6
ANTIQUE MARKET IN THE HISTORIC CENTER
One of the typical things to do in Florence in August for locals is to stroll around the downtown flea market in Piazza dei Ciompi, in the heart of the city. The stalls are open all month, but at the end of August the vendors double, triple or even quadruple as the stands open out onto the streets and sidewalks too.
The Ciompi market is a true antiques market, with a special emphasis on furniture and household items such as traditional lamp fixtures, old-fashioned stereos and similar goods.
Sunday 30 August, all day, in the streets around Piazza dei Ciompi
MUSEUM EXHIBITS FOR SUMMER
Piazza della Signoria - Mon-Fri 10-19, Sat 10-14 - www.expo2015firenze.it
Until 31 October I_Dome - Multimedia dome that reproduces Brunelleschi's Dome. Within a concentrated technological know-how at the service of the Florentine.
Galleria degli Uffizi
Piazzale degli Uffizi, 1-055 2388651 - 8.15-18.50 (closed Mon) - 12.50 euro/ 8 (without exhibits) - www.unannoadarte.it
Until September 27 Piero di Cosimo (1462-1522) - First exhibition dedicated to an eccentric genius of the Florentine Renaissance, a painter almost unknown, despite the appreciation shown by the critics and the many masterpieces in museums and collections around the world. The first major retrospective exhibition ever presented of paintings by the imaginative Italian Renaissance master Piero di Cosimo (1462–1522) premiered at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC a this spring and now travels to the Uffizi.
With themes ranging from the pagan to the divine, the works include loans from churches in Italy and one of his greatest masterpieces, Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints Elizabeth of Hungary, Catherine of Alexandria, Peter, and John the Evangelist with Angels (completed by 1493), from the Museo degli Innocenti, Florence. Several important paintings will undergo conservation treatment before the exhibition, including the Gallery's Visitation with Saints Nicholas of Bari and Anthony Abbot (c. 1489–1490)—one of the artist's largest surviving works.
"We are delighted to share the brilliance of Piero di Cosimo—the Renaissance's most spellbinding storyteller—with our visitors," said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art, Washington. "This is also the first time the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence has co-organized a paintings exhibition with another museum and we look forward to many more projects with our Italian partners."
A different version of the exhibition, including work by Piero's contemporaries, will be on view at the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence from June 23 through September 27, 2015, entitled Piero di Cosimo (1462–1522): Pittore fiorentino "eccentrico" fra Rinascimento e Maniera.
"No artist has given the world more rare and singular inventions while remaining in the shadow of the Renaissance greats of his time than Piero di Cosimo," said Cristina Acidini, Superintendent of Cultural Heritage for the City and the Museums of Florence. "His beguiling pictorial creations will linger in the imagination of all those who see the exhibition."
Forte di Belvedere
Via San Leonardo, 1 - 055 2768224 - Tue-Sun 10am-8pm (last entry at 7pm), closed Mon, bar open until 9.30pm - free admission - www.gormleyfirenze.it
Until September 27 Antony Gormley Human
On the battlements of Fort Belvedere 100 human figures by Sir Antony Gormley, a great contemporary master, considered among the most popular living sculptors. British sculptor Gormley’s exhibition ‘Human’ explores the connections between art, anatomy and space. Winner of the 1994 Turner Prize and knighted in 2014, Gormley chose Forte di Belvedere for its powerful past and defensive functions. The show features life-size sculptures widely and purposefully dispersed throughout the site, ‘encouraging the viewer to think again about who they are and how they negotiate the spaces around them’—as Gormley intended. For more information, call 055/2768558.
Piazza Strozzi - 055 2645155 - Tue-Sun 10am-8pm - 5 euro, rid 4, 3 schools, Thu 6-11pm free entry - www.strozzina.org
Until July 26 Sculptures also die - a reflection on the facets of contemporary sculpture through works and new productions of thirteen Italian and international artists.
Via Ricasoli, 60-055 2388609 - 8.15am to 6.50pm (closed Mon) - 12.50 euro/8 (without exhibits) - www.unannoadarte.it
Until October 11 The art of Francis. Masterpieces of art and lands of Asia from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century.
The Franciscan friars and their vocation as inspiring high art from 1200 to 1400.
Until September 28 Hero-David - The personal interpretation of Michelangelo's masterpiece by architect and designer Antonio Pio Saracino.
Via Ghibellina, 70 - 055 241752 - 10am-5pm (closed Tues.) - 6.50 euro (combined ticket Chiesa S. Croce: 8.50 euro, valid for 7 days)
Until October 30 The force of Myth. Plans for the facade of the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence, from Michelangelo to the Competition 1900.
Spazio Mostre Ente CRF
Via Bufalini, 6 - 055 5384001 - Mon-Fri 9am-7pm, Sat and Sun 10am-1pm/ 3-7pm - Free admission
Until July 15 Ceramics. Florentine manufactures 1880-1920. Collection Caini - A digression in the Florentine ceramic art of the century. 139 objects of various types (tableware, furniture, dishes parade, vases, jars, sculptures).
A ROOF WITH A VIEW
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.
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: email@example.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. firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
GRAND HOTEL CAVOUR. Roof-top bar open 6-10 pm for an aperitif or after-dinner drinks. Via del Proconsolo 3. Tel. 055 266271. email@example.com. 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.
HOTEL BOSCOLO ASTORIA. Have a drink at the bar. Open 7-12 pm. Via del Giglio 9. Tel. 055 2398095. firstname.lastname@example.org, 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. email@example.com. 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.
HOTEL SILLA. The Silla is open for a lovely aperitivo from 6-10 pm. Via de’ Renai 5. Tel. 0552342888. firstname.lastname@example.org 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. email@example.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. firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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. email@example.com. www.moba.fi.it
VEGETARIAN RESTAURANTS IN FLORENCE
Florence has many more vegetarian restaurants (and more restaurants offering vegetarian options) than was the case not that many years ago, when finding vegetarian fare seemed an exercise in futility. Here are just a few restaurants with a good selection of vegetarian options.
Il Vegetariano is a little hard to find, which might explain why it’s mostly full of locals. The simple, pretty décor extends to a small outdoor seating space. The tortiglioni with vegetarian ragù is delicious. For dessert, the vegan and peach and pear tart is absolutely ambrosial. Prices are extremely low: you can eat a full meal, including a coffee, for 7 euros.
Via delle Ruote 30R
Tuesday to Friday - lunch and dinner; Saturday and Sunday – dinner only
Located near the Synagogue, center of Jewish culture in Florence, Ruth’s offers not only simple and delicious food but a cultural experience too. Enjoy eastern Mediterranean flavors and dishes such as the tasty falafel and scrumptious apple cake.
Via Luigi Carlo Farini, 2A
Sunday to Thursday, lunch and dinner, Friday: lunch only, Saturday: dinner only
Il Sedano Allegro
Il Sedano Allego’s dishes are creative and flavourful. Enjoy the relaxed, jovial atmosphere and tuck into a delicate strawberry risotto or a seitan filet with cream of balsamic vinegar and parmesan.
Via Luigi Carlo Farini, 1
Monday through Saturday, lunch and dinner; closed Sundays
Hidden in the heart of Florence, this intimate, quirky place is perfect for a glass of wine, aperitivo and vegetarian or vegan food. Try the piatto unico, a sampler of salad, a rice or pasta dish and one of the delicious breads—all composed of your choice from the menu. Libreria Brac is very popular, so book in advance.
Via dei Vagellai, 18r
Monday through Saturday, lunch and dinner; Sunday, dinner only
This small, self-service restaurant serves top-notch vegan and raw food. Fill up on homemade ravioli, tortelli, gnocchi, tagliatelle, or lasagne with seitan, all made with fresh and organic ingredients. To finish, the cakes are a must: try the raw food almond mousse.
Via San Gallo, 92r
Open daily for lunch and dinner, except Tuesdays
La Raccolta is a sustainable and eco-friendly bar, market and restaurant. Organic, zero km ingredients make for delicious, healthy vegan and vegetarian food. Stop in for a soy cappuccino and a vegan or wholemeal brioche for breakfast, for some locally sourced food shopping or some artichoke lasagna.
Via G.Leopardi, 2r
Monday through Saturday, breakfast, lunch and dinner; closed Sundays
Not vegetarian, but offering some fantastic vegetarian options, Madame takes a contemporary approach to Italian food, with charming décor and Sunday brunch. Try the borlotti bean and red rice burger with skinny fries and eggplant cream, served with homemade ketchup.
Via Pisana, 82
Open at lunch and dinner, closed Mondays
LATE NIGHT MUSEUM OPENINGS
Go in the evening to beat the crowds and the heat!
Three highly popular tourist attractions in Florence, including the Uffizi Gallery, will be open Saturday nights. The Italian Culture Ministry announced on Monday the Uffizi, the Accademia Gallery and the Bargello National Museum, starting this week, will be open Saturdays from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. The special initiative runs until Dec. 19.
ORIGINAL LANGUAGE FILMS – Odeon Cinema
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.
BBQ AL FRESCO AT VILLA CORA
Every Sunday offers one of the best evenings in August: a fish and meat barbecue around the swimming pool of the magnificent Villa Cora in the hills near Florence.
Villa Cora is a 19th century mansion which has been renovated to a luxurious hotel. Located on the hilly tree-lined road heading up to Piazzale Michelangelo, the ambience is truly one-of-a-kind.
Sunday nights in summer the villa cooks up a BBQ dinner of the highest order: only seafood, shell fish and tender Tuscan meats on the grill. Vintage wines, Chianti classico and prosecco add to the special event. 75 euros a person all inclusive.
reservations: 055 22 87 90
Viale Machiavelli no. 18 from 7,30 pm onwards every Sunday