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Palazzo Pitti

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Rent, Sell and Manage Properties in Florence and Tuscany
NEWSLETTER December 2013

Florence is at her glittery best in December as most neighborhoods sparkle with tiny holiday lights. We hope that you spend December in the warm circle of family and friends. And with them, spend some time strolling through the streets of Florence after dusk to see everything in a new light and enjoy welcoming the New Year while appreciating the past year. Happy Holiday wishes from SUZANNE, CORSO, BEI, LESLIE, VANNI, ANNA PIA, ANN and MARIO.



On December 8th each year the American International League of Florence Onlus (AILO), founded in 1975, organizes a bazaar, which is held at the Scuderie Reali (Le Pagliere) near Porta Romana. There will be all types of clothing – evening gowns, cocktail dresses, casual attire, coats, kid’s togs – plus purses, gloves, scarves, jewelry (diamonds, or not) and hats. Toys for children should also be on your shopping list.

Once again there is a lottery full of wonderful prizes with tickets already flying out the door, so call any member of the AILO or phone Pitcher & Flaccomio at 0552343354 for tickets or purchase them at the door. This year there will also be a fabulous Silent Auction, so bid early and often.

There will, of course, also be food and drink galore! Bring the kids, too; there will be games and activities. Everyone at P&F is looking forward to seeing you on Saturday, December 8. We’ll be there early (10am) for the best selection. The fun will end all too soon at 5pm.

The Christmas Bazaar is actually a yearlong project for league members, with lots of organization behind it! Members propose charities and their needs, which are then voted on in a certain order. There is no question that decisions in 2012 are difficult, as there is more need than ever. Over the years, AILO has raised over €1,000,000 for Florentine charities.

Please do your best to help them reach their goals. Open: 10:00am to 5:00pm.


This is the apartment with a VIEW. A portion of the roof is glass with unusual views of the church of Santa Croce, in addition to the view of the Duomo (from the bedroom) in the distance. This was once an artist’s studio and some of the original features have been maintained. The bamboo furniture with cotton soft furnishings and comfortable, casual and bright. This is not a formal apartment, but a place to kick back and enjoy being in the middle of Florence. There are lots of built-in closets and original terracotta floors. The kitchen is divided from the living/dining areas by a bench which has stools for accommodating people while cooking.

The entire apartment is light and sunny. There is an elevator (but 12 steps to the apartment) and it is close to parking (across the piazza). The bedroom overlooks the piazza (possible noise) providing great views and "free" access to any events/concerts during the month of July and historic football matches during the month of June.

For more information click this link.


The Carmelite order at the Monestary Santa Maria del Carmine al Morrocco invite you to enjoy Christmas music and tea at their church in Loc. Morrocco near Tavarnelle just outside of Florence. On Sunday, December 15, at 4pm this annual event at the 15th century church is one of the most popular ways to start your celebration of the holiday season.

HIGH TEA FOR DECEMBER – Holiday Tea at the St Regis

Every afternoon from December 12 through Epiphany, enjoy a holiday high tea in the luxurious courtyard of the St. Regis Hotel. A wide choice of refined Damman Freres Teas are selected by the Tea Sommelier, macarons, sandwiches and scones are served for those who appreciate the finest things in life and know that a slow afternoon during the hectic holidays is good for the mind and soul.

Euro 16 per person.

BEST CONVERSATION FOR DECEMBER – Street Art in Florence: Politics and Practices

Clet and the No Dump collective will be at NYU’s La Pietra Dialogues on December 5.

Clet Abraham (creator of those fabulous altered streets signs seen all over Florence and the Every Man walking off the Ponte Alle Grazie) and members of No Dump collective, artists creating works in the public spaces of Florence, will engage in a conversation about their artistic practices and their perspective on the political and cultural context in which they work.

Date: Thursday, 5 December

Location: Villa Sassetti

Time: 6:00 PM

Confirmation for any event is required as spaces are limited: lapietra.reply@nyu.edu


Hot mulled wine, great beer and a salty, smoky wurstel – all can be found right now in Piazza Santa Croce. The Mercato Tedesco di Natale (German Christmas Market) that started in late November and runs until December 19. Traditional German food and craft products fill the square, there are also seventeen other countries represented in fifty stands. Don’t forget to try the apple strudel and the hot mulled wine!

Fierucolina Dell'immacolata on December 8, from 9 am - 7 pm, Piazza SS Annunziata will be alive with a can't-miss crafts and organic food countryside Christmas fair. You will find hand-woven dresses and ponchos, Christmas wreaths, beeswax candles, naturally scented soaps and oils, home-baked bread and cakes, ceramics, wine, olive oil, olive wood salad bowls and more. Head on over after shopping at the AILO Holiday Bazaar for a bit of gift buying with a Tuscan flair.

Fierucolina Di Natale on Sun. 15 between 9am - 7pm take yourself down to Piazza Santo Spirito and find what Santa (or his faithful helpers) has been handcrafting for very good children. You can find all kind of stands offering foods, ceramics, hand-knit sweaters, carved wooden toys, and unique gifts, especially if you are shopping for kids.

Mercatino in a Palazzo: Gourmet products and gift ideas, with proceeds going toward the non-profit organization FILE's palliative care support. December 6 to 8, 10am-7pm, Palazzo Corsini, Lungarno Corsini 8. See www.leniterapia.it for information.

For high quality artisanal crafts to make a special holiday gift, go to the market at the Old Conventino at Via Giano della Bella 20/1, 200 meters from Piazza Tasso. Open Sunday, December 8 from 10am to 7pm.

If you want to get out of town for a day, go to Siena. On December 1, the program "Christmas in Siena" will officially be launched with the opening of the lights and the ice rink and the Christmas village to the gardens of "La Lizza." But best of all, from Saturday 15 to Sunday, December 16, the market in Piazza del Campo will take place. Famed as Il Mercato nel Campo, it comunal piazza will be full and festive with its special bowl design and the historic pageantry adding to this special market experience.

BEST BOOKS FOR DECEMBER – The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

The name Niccolo Machiavelli is synonymous with political deceit, cynicism and the ruthless use of power. The Italian Renaissance writer called his most famous work, The Prince, a handbook for statesmen. We are now celebrating the 500th anniversary of what is still considered one of the most influential political essays in Western literature. Even today, The Prince continues to both fascinate and stir controversy.

The Catholic Church was the book's first detractor, but despite the ban, copies and translations of The Prince spread quickly throughout the known world of the time. It's the most translated book from the Italian language — beating even Dante's Divine Comedy.

A politician, historian and philosopher in Renaissance Florence, Machiavelli wrote The Prince while he was virtually under house arrest. He had served in the Florentine Republic in key positions, as a diplomat and the official in charge of the city's military defense, until the Medici princes were restored to power in 1512. Later accused of conspiracy, he was arrested and tortured in prison. After he was released to his country home, politics remained Machiavelli's passion and he wrote what many scholars say is the first modern treatise on political science.

Here are some of his suggestions on how political rulers can stay in power:

— "My view is that it is desirable to be both loved and feared; but it is difficult to achieve both and, if one of them has to be lacking, it is much safer to be feared than loved."

— "The promise given was a necessity of the past; the word broken is a necessity of the present."

— "Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception."

Some are convinced The Prince was a warning to men of what tyrants were capable of; Francis Bacon thought Machiavelli a realist unfettered by Utopian fantasies; Karl Marx considered Machiavelli's work a genuine masterpiece. Bertrand Russell called The Prince a handbook for gangsters. The Elizabethan view of Machiavelli as the symbol of evil — Shakespeare's Iago for example — has filtered down to contemporary popular culture.

In the most famous video game in the world, Assassins Creed, the Machiavelli character is not a political thinker but a killer, the head of a sect of assassins.

These items are the latest sign of the enduring impact of a man some scholars describe as — for good or ill — the herald of the modern political era.

Former Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato says the Florentine writer has been wrongly described as the bard of cynicism. "He is misrepresented and misunderstood because he said politics has to find its own ethics and its own values, disentangling politics from religion and other sets of values." (Text: NPR.org)


Regular readers will know that the staff of the P&F Newsletter has a serious gelato addiction. But now that the weather is turning colder (or might turn colder) we have the perfect excuse to indulge in another favorite Italian treat – hot chocolate, known as cioccolata calda. For those of you who think of a powdered and microwaveable mix when you hear the words “hot chocolate,” forget it! True Italian hot chocolate is closer to the pudding end of the spectrum, some of it being so thick so as to maintain a lightweight spoon in an upright position. This stuff is almost as much a meal, as it is a beverage.

The most famous place to drink cioccolata calda is at Rivoire in Piazza Signoria. Don’t sit down because you will have to take out a mortgage to pay the bill. Have your incredibly rich hot chocolate standing at the bar and take a while to sip it from a spoon because the clientele are people-watching-worthy. Feeling like an extra treat? Have cioccolata calda con panna – the barely sweet whipped cream is a good counterpoint to the intense chocolate.

The best place for cioccolata calda is Vestri, the Italian chocolate shop at 11 Borgo degli Albizi. Here, for a reasonable price, you can get hot chocolate made by the chocolate-maker, himself. There are two types of chocolate to choose from and you can get very creative with cinnamon or hot chili pepper powder. But when the gelato and hot chocolate craving hit at the same time, the Affogato is the way to go. First Leonardo pours in the hot chocolate (at your desired strength) and then scoops in the gelato of your choice. The most decadent choice must be 75% Venezuela Cru with Stracciatella (chocolate chip) gelato – first there is the hot chocolate hit followed by a spoon of creamy vanilla with chocolate bits. And at the end the gelato is gone, but there is a spoon or two of dark liquid hot chocolate with a couple of Vestri’s artisanal dark chocolate chips that makes you love that the season’s change.

Another Tuscan chocolate-maker, Catinari has recently moved to Via Sant’ Elisabetta offering two styles of creamy hot chocolate, and finish out your tasting at the new place, Venchi (from Torino), across from the loggia with La Fontana del Porcellino, the wild boar statue.



A rare (every two years) to enjoy contemporary art in Florence for nine event-packed days when 450 artists from 50 countries when they convene in Florence to show their art and take part in exhibitions covering a wide range of media, as well as performances, educational programs, workshops, seminars and meetings. This year’s theme is Ethics: DNA of Art, and the festival promises a reflection on the relationship between art and ethics and the role of the arts today.

November 30–December 8 at Fortezza da Basso.

Visit www.florencebiennale.org for more information.


At the exhibit space Ente CRF one of the greatest Italian artists of the twentieth century, Pietro Annigoni, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his death (1988-2013) is the subject of a free exhibit. A selection of works was acquired by the Cassa di Risparmio Foundation in 2007, the last legacy of the artist.

Exhibition Area - Via Bufalini, 6

Mon-Fri 9am-7pm, Sat and Sun 10am-1pm/3-7pm

info 055 5384001


free admission

Until January 6


The St. James American Church Parish Seasonal Lunch will take place immediately following the Service of Advent Lessons and Carols on Sunday, December 15. The cost will be 10 Euro for adults – kids come free. There will also be a raffle.

The St. Mark’s Advent schedule is not out yet, but check online for upcoming festivities.

St. Mark's English Church, Via Maggio, 16; www.stmarksitaly.com

An evening of festive readings with music by St Mark’s Concert Choir at the British Institute on Wednesday 18th December at 6.00pm (directed by Giovanna Riboli).

IZIS – The Poet of Photography

Fondazione Alinari in collaboration with the Ville de Paris presents the work of Izis Bidermanas (1911-1980) one of the great humanist photographers of the last century, poet, picture, portrait artist and reporter (until January 5).

In the former convent of the Leopoldine nuns, the Alinari Museum of Photography. Two areas are for temporary shows and the actual museum, seven sections are for a fascinating voyage through the history of this art, from its origins to the avant-garde.

Alinari National Museum of Photography, Piazza S.M. Novella, 14a r - tel 055 216310 - 10am-6.30pm (Wed closed) - 9 euro/rid 7,50 - www.mnaf.it


Join The Florentine in celebrating literature, art and cultural heritage with TF editor Alexandra Lawrence on two consecutive Saturdays. On December 7, discover one of Florence’s hidden gems, the Horne Museum, and on December 14 take a guided tour of the exhibition The Renaissance from Florence to Paris and back at Villa Bardini. Reservations are required: e-mail a.lawrence@theflorentine.net.


It is the 500th year since Machiavelli was banished from Florence and worked out his boredom in San Casciano by writing The Prince. Through books, manuscripts, documents, maps, costumes and paintings, the Biblioteca Nazionale at Piazza Cavalleggeri will offer an illustration of the politician/writer’s life. The exhibit will be inaugurated on December 10. Keep an eye out for other Machiavelli-related events throughout the month.

December 10 to Febrauary22; Mon-Fri 10am to 6pm, Sat. 10am to 1pm. Entrance free.


A new exhibit of the painting of the Impressionists is at Palazzo Pitti exhibit in the Galleria d’Arte Moderna. Gathered in the ballroom of the Pitti Winter Apartments are twelve Impressionist masterpieces on loan from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, in addition to two works by Camille Pissarro and another by Alphonse Maureau permanently housed in Florence’s modern art collection.

The French works came to Florence through a cultural exchange between the two museums. The exhibit I Macchiaioli: Des impressionistes italiens at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris over the summer was enriched with several pieces from the Galleria d’Arte Moderna and explored the intriguing nexuses between the two movements.

The exhibition opens with ‘En plein air’: here are the landscapes, the light, the gardens and the water. Claude Monet’s La Seine à Port-Villez (c. 1890) is featured, one in the series of 18 canvases the artist painted of the area. A letter explains that Monet painted it one windy summer’s day after two months of bad weather. Also in this section is Auguste Renoir’s startling Étude: Torse de femme au soleil (1875–76).

The second section, ‘Interiors,’ features Degas’s ballerinas and Cézanne’s still-lifes, and La liseuse by Henri Fantin-Latour (1861). This section also includes quotes from leading French novelists of the time – Émile Zola, Honoré de Balzac and Guy de Maupassant – which capture something of the Impressionists’ spirit.

Impressionists at Palazzo Pitti

Until January 5, 2014

Galleria d’Arte Moderna


A SHORT VISIT OF ITALIAN ART ON LOAN FROM PARIS – Sold by Bardini, Now Shown at His Villa

Most visitors do not know where Villa Bardini is located, but this November and December they should take a energetic walk up through the Bardini Garden to the villa at the top (of course, you can also hike up Costa San Giorgio and skip the cost of the garden ticket). An excellent exhibit awaits. Until December 31, 2013, Il Rinascimento da Firenze a Parigi: Andata e ritorno (The Renaissance from Florence to Paris: To and From) contains thirty works that form the Italian nucleus of the Jacquemart-André museum in Paris. They were sold to Nélie Jacquemart at the end of the nineteenth century by the antiquarian Stefano Bardini, and this is the first time they have returned to Florence. Mantegna, Botticelli, Paolo Uccello and other big names are part of this exquisitely displayed temporary show. Bardini was one of the turn of the century art dealers that is responsible for a great loss of Italy’s artistic patrimony to France, England and the United States.

A highlight of the collection is St. George and the Dragon by Paolo Uccello. It depicts the saint on a bucking horse, driving a lance into a dragon while a not particularly distressed damsel looks on. As art historian Alexandra Korey says, “Uccello was obsessed with perspective, and here he uses plots of farmed land to create a perspectival grid and give a (rather artificial) sense of depth. Look closely and you will spot, in the background, a cardinal (in red) speaking animatedly with two other figures.”

One room in this small exhibit is dedicated to these works of Botticelli, including a large tondo of the Virgin and Child and a panel from 1510 representing the Flight into Egypt.

Just four small rooms hold these works of art, but the admission price of 8 euro (6 euro for members of various associations, including those with a Coop card) also gains you access to the Capucci artistic clothing design exhibit on the top of the villa.

Villa Bardini, Costa San Giorgio 2, www.bardinipeyron.it

WHILE YOU ARE AT VILLA BARDINI – See Roberto Capucci’s Fabulous Fashions

The Capucci Museum at Villa Bardini, Costa San Giorgio 2

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.

MODERN ART – Unstable Territories: Boundaries and Identity in Contemporary Art

At the Center for Contemporary Culture Strozzina in Palazzo Strozzi, until 19 January ten international artists rethink the idea of territory in the contemporary world, characterized by an excess of concepts of nation and border, but also by a return to new nationalisms. Included: Kader Attia, Zanny Begg & Oliver Ressler, Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, Paolo Cirio, Tadashi Kawamata, Sigalit Landau, Richard Mosse, Paulo Nazareth, Jo Ractliffe, and The Cool Couple.

MUST-SEE EXHIBIT FOR 2013 Russian Avant-Garde, Siberia And The East

Showing until 19 January 2014 at the Palazzo Strozzi

The Palazzo Strozzi, is hosting The Russian Avant-garde, Siberia and the East. It's the first international exhibition to examine the fundamental importance of the Oriental and Eurasian connection to Russian Modernism, follows the destinies of Russia’s self-proclaimed “Barbarians” in their search for new sources of artistic inspiration. Neolithic stone figures, Siberian shaman rituals, popular Chinese prints, Japanese engravings, Theosophical doctrine and Indian philosophy are some of the elements which inspired Russia’s new artists and writers as they developed their aesthetic and theoretical ideas just before and after the Revolution of October, 1917.

The exhibition demonstrates how modern Russian culture experienced a deep attraction to—and an apprehension of—the exotic, the unknown and the “other”, qualities which artists and writers identified with the spirit of the taiga, the virgin territories of desert and steppe and the “otherness” of Oriental culture.

Emphasizing the key role that radical Russian artists played in the development of Modern art over a century ago, the exhibition underscores their complex relationship with the Orient (both the Russian East and the Far East). Léon Bakst, Alexandre Benois, Pavel Filonov, Natalia Goncharova, Wassily Kandinsky, Mikhail Larionov, Kazimir Malevich and other prime movers of the avant-garde were deeply aware of the importance of the East and contributed to the rich debate (“West or East?”) which left a profound and permanent imprint upon their creative imagination. In addition to the heroes of the Russian Avant-garde, the exhibition also acquaints us with other, less familiar, but still original, artists of the time such as Nikolai Kalmakov, Sergei Konenkov and Vasilii Vatagin, many of whose works are being shown in the West for the first time.

See more: http://www.palazzostrozzi.org/Sezione.jsp?idSezione=1768

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 € 10.00


The Fulgor is starting to make one of their theaters available for Original Sound movies , seven days a week, three show times a day. Call to find out what is showing in English. Via Maso Finiguerra – Tel. 055 238 1881


The Odeon Cinema is still in the midst of its great festival of film: 50 Days of Cinema. Festival dei Popoli runs from November 30–December 7: Take your pick from 100 documentary films from around the world. Highlights include a screening of the beautiful black-and-white French film Études sur Paris (December 3) and Elvis Costello: Mystery Dance (December 4). Visit www.festivaldeipopoli.org for more.

After the 7th the regular schedule will start again with original language films. Stop by for a program.

ORIGINAL LANGUAGE FILMS – Talking Movies at the British Institute

The Talking Movies Series at the British Institute Library. Every Wednesday at 8:00 pm, the Sala Ferragamo in the Institute's Harold Acton Library hosts a film, followed by discussion. The British Institute Library, Lungarno Guicciardini 9. Check the web site at www.britishinstitute.it/en/events/default.asp for times, dates, and detailed information or stop by the library for a brochure.

The international success of movies from Australia and New Zealand is a relatively new development in the countries' long histories of cinema production, and the Post-Modern, Post-Colonial ethos of the 1970s seems to have resulted in something of a flowering of directorial, as well as acting talent. Australian and New Zealand actors in particular are nowadays household names. The Tolkien adaptations of recent years have also made stars of antipodean landscapes. But landscapes are only a part of the rich cultural heritage of Australia's Aboriginal, and New Zealand's Maori, pasts, and filmmakers in the last 40 years or so have chosen to investigate the difficult and sometimes traumatic social and cultural interface between the diverse inhabitants of the region.

Jane Campion's The Piano gives us yet another glimpse into the colonial past in a well-received and memorable film. The undeniable talent of Baz Luhrmann is first aired in what may be his best film to date, Strictly Ballroom, some of the glitz of which is transferred to the riotous The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, with its star turn from Terence Stamp. On the more serious side, social disharmony is in full view in Once Were Warriors, and the recent wave of crime thrillers has its origins perhaps in Lantana.


December 4, 8pm RABBIT-PROOF FENCE

Historical adventure drama. Government policy dictated that half-castes be separated from their families and be indentured as domestic servants. In 1931, three girls escape from the gulag and set off on a trek across the outback. True story. ‘A chillingly arrogant quasi-eugenic experiment, carried out in the name of Her Majesty the Queen until the early 1970s, is what is denounced by this heartfelt, though somewhat heavy-footed movie’ (The Guardian). ‘The spic-and-span wholesomeness of “Rabbit-Proof Fence” ultimately makes its sting all the sharper. Its portrait of people who see themselves as decent, self-righteously trying to eradicate another culture, has the impact of a swift, hard slap in the face’ (New York Times).

December 11, 8pm WOLF CREEK

Horror. Stranded backpackers in the outback are given a helping hand by a local bushman who offers to fix their car but may have other ideas. Based on true events. ‘Swaggeringly nasty, self-assured piece of ordeal horror ... This is the best Australian movie since Lantana, and deserves an audience outside the horror fanbase’ (The Guardian). ‘For all its vaunted freshness, Wolf Creek is ultimately just another exercise in woman-in-peril sadism that’s good for a few screams but has little to say’ (BBCi).

December 18, 8pm MARY AND MAX

Finally, what many regard as a masterpiece of cinema in general, the brilliant tragi-comic and sadly almost unseen Mary and Max animation 'romance' rounds off the roller-coaster ride. Claymation comedy-drama. Asperger's Syndrome is the subtext of this touching tale of the friendship between unlikely pen pals Mary, a lonely, eight-year-old girl from Melbourne, and Max, forty-four-year old New Yorker with issues. Fasten your seatbelts: it's going to be bumpy...


Every Wednesday at 18.00 from September to June there is a lecture, concert or other event in the Sala Ferragamo in the Harold Acton Library followed by an informal drinks reception.

Wednesday, December 04, 18.00

Lecture: Lucy Riall – The ghost of Italy Past: history and the making of modern Italy

The brilliant historian Lucy Riall returns to discuss modern Italy’s troubled and ambivalent relationship with its distant and not so distant past.

Wednesday, December 11, 18.00

Lecture: Kamin Mohammadi –‘Abe-roo’ and ‘Bella figura’: some points of contact between Iranian and Italian culture

British-Iranian author, journalist and broadcaster Kamin Mohammadi, author of The Cypress Tree, considers the notion of saving face, as understood in the cultures of her native and of her adoptive land.

Wednesday, December 18, 18.00

Christmas Event

Festive readings, with carols by the St Mark’s Concert Choir directed by Giovanna Riboli

Other Events

Thursday, December 05, 16.30

Afternoon Tea Party

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. ~ C.S. Lewis

Friday, December 06, 17.00

A Children's Reading

The Cats' Magician and the Masked Dog

Friday, December 13, 15.00 - 18.00

Christmas Fair

Arts, crafts, books, gifts and food. Start the festive season by coming to the annual Harold Acton Library Christmas Fair. Afternoon tea will be served by Tealicious.

Once again they have a delicious Fortnum & Mason food hamper to be won and Salvatore Ferragamo have kindly donated silk ties and scarves. Tickets to win these luxury items are on sale at the library.

All proceeds will support the Library.


The announcement hasn’t been made but we believe after two years of success the Four Seasons Hotel will continue the tradition so do not miss this! We believe that on Sunday 15, from 10:00 am. to 4:00 pm. the Four Seasons Hotel will open its lovely and extensive private garden to the public again, offering roasted chestnuts, vin brulè and hot chocolate to all. With this initiative the new Four Seasons hotel has begun a Christmastime tradition that benefits the Istituto degli Innocenti.

The one euro symbolic entry donation (and any extra) goes directly to the Istituto which was founded with funds donated nearly 600 years ago by Francesco Datini, a merchant from the nearby town of Prato. In 1416 Datini left the princely sum of 1,000 florins to the silk guild (Arte della Seta), money with which the guild officers were able to raise many more florins for Datini's chosen cause. The guild oversaw construction of the famous building, a masterpiece designed by Brunelleschi. In 1445 the institute opened its doors and took in 62 abandoned children, the first of many thousands to come.

IF THIS EVENT IS SET the park may be accessed from the main gates located at Via Gino Capponi 54 and Borgo Pinti 97 and Piazzale Donatello 12. Call the Four Seasons Hotel for further info: 05526261 or http://www.istitutodeglinnocenti.it


Tuesday, December 31, put your warmest coat over your fanciest clothes (and perhaps some long undies) and head to central Florence for at least three free outdoor concerts. While the final schedule is yet to be announced, traditionally Piazza della Signora hosts a classical concert starting around 11:15 pm. This year look for jazz, pop and rock to be happening in Piazza della Repubblica, Piazza della Stazione, Piazza Santa Maria Novella and Piazza SS. Annunziata.

Ring in the New Year at the Fortezza da Basso at a celebration from 10 p.m. on December 31 to 8 a.m. on the first day of 2013. With different rooms of the center featuring different music styles and international DJs and performers, you choose the ambience right for you to celebrate the New Year in Florence.



Throughout the holiday season, the Amici della Musica of Florence presents various concerts at the Teatro della Pergola. Featured artists will include the Leonidas Kavakos (violin) and Yuja Wang (piano), Christian Gerhaher (baritone) and Gerold Huber (piano), and The King’s Singers.

The December schedule includes a lot of Christmas music (probably the Pergola is the best place to fill you holiday music desires.) Works F. Poulenc, G. Gershwin, I. Stravinskijj, Widmann, K.Weill/A. Priolo, W.A. Mozart , C. Debussy, L. Janacek, F. Mendelssohn, and F. Schubert are only a small sample of what will be performed.

See the schedule for concerts at http://www.amicimusica.fi.it/.

Teatro della Pergola, Via della Pergola, info: 055/609012 – 055 607440 - 055 2264333, and www.amicimusica.fi.it


The Maggio Musicale Festival turned 75 this year! The 76th season of Florence's historic opera company has been one of the best yet. The New Florence Opera House, opened last December, only makes the experience better.

Ticket Office Teatro Comunale

Corso Italia 16 - Firenze - fax: +39 055 287222

Tues. - Fri. 10:00-16:30 & Sat. 10:00-13:00

Tickets on line




December 5 at 9pm at Obihall Theatre, via F. De Andrè at Lungarno A. Moro, F, the Afro-soul singer from France has hit the charts with her single You Will Never Know and in this concert will perform tracks from her album The Shape of a Broken Heart She explores her African roots and the new identity she has carved for herself as an independent woman and free spirit. Find more info at www.obihall.it .


On December 12, Ludvico Einaudi, jazz pianist and composer from Turin, returns to his roots of minimalism summarized in his latest album, In a Time Lapse. See www.bitconcerti.it

Not to worry! … here are a bunch of events or exhibits that will still be happening in late December and January:


November 28–March 2, 2014

Go skiing, ice skating and tobogganing on the banks of the Arno at Obihall. After heading down the 80-metre piste on skis or a snowboard or trying your luck on the ice rink, indulge in some après-ski at the bars, enjoy a hearty meal at the restaurant or join in the many children’s activities. The park will remain open over the Christmas period (and on Christmas Day from 2:30pm); see www.firenzewinterpark.it for details.


Inspired by the Corri La Vita, Firenze Corre has be created so that every Wednesday a group will run or walk through Florence. The first outing was on October 16, meeting at 7:30pm at Piazza del Duomo and returning back there at 9pm. It and the following runs were more and more popular.

You understood that right – get off your tush every Wednesday until 11 June 2014. “No matter how slow your pace, you will always be faster than those who remain on the couch” is the motto of Firenze Corre. Find out more information on the web site at: www.firenzecorre.it . Or stop by Universo Sport in Piazza del Duomo. There is a fee for participation.


At the interesting Palazzo Blu on Lungarno Gambacorti , 9 in Pisa, until February 2 the exhibit Andy Warhol. An American Story will pull large crowds. About 150 works will be on display, including 20 Polaroids, tracing the creative journey of the author, in collaboration with Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and some historical collections (galleries Sonnabend, Feldman, Goodman in New York, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Berardo Lisbon, Museum of Modern Art in Nice, the Albertina and the Mumok in Vienna).

Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat/Sun 10am-8pm - the ticket office closes an hour earlier.

Tickets: 10 euro

Info: 050 3198830




The Virgin Mary's belt, given, legend has it, to the Apostle Thomas when she ascended to heaven, is kept in a magnificent reliquary (Maso di Bartolomeo 1406–1456) housed in the equally beautiful "Pulpit of the Sacred Girdle" (Donatello and Michelozzo) on the external façade the Duomo. It is taken out five times a year amid much religious pomp and mediaeval drum rolling to be shown to the crowds amassed in the piazza. These occasions include 8 September (celebration of the nativity of the Virgin Mary) and December 25 and 26. The story of how the girdle arrived in Prato is illustrated in the chapel immediately to the left of the entrance of the Duomo in Agnolo Gaddi's fresco cycle of "The Legend of the Holy Girdle (1392-95)".


Olio: Sapore, Sapere, Salute is a Festival of all things related to Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. December 8 in Piazza Vassallo in Greve go taste, buy and learn about the special qualities of the green Tuscan olive oil of the Chianti Classico region.


In Empoli, until March 2nd, three locations will celebrate one of the most renowned artists of the Italian Renaissance: Casa del Pontormo in Pontorme, Church of San Michele and Compagnia di San Michele in Empoli

Tue to Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 2pm-6pm, Mon closed (open: 8 December and 6 January 2pm-6pm, 24 and 31 December 10am -1pm - closed 25 December and 1 January )

Tickets: 6 euro, reductions –



The Piazza del Campo will be full and festive due to its special bowl design. The historic pageantry adds to this special holiday market that runs from Saturday, December 14 and Sunday, December 15. Famed as Il Mercato nel Campo, this holiday market is one of the picturesque in Tuscany.


Next year the Chianti Sculpture Park will be ten years old. For the first time since it was opened, the Park will increase the price of admission. From January 2014 tickets will cost 10 Euro (currently €7.50). However, tickets for children under sixteen, will remain unchanged at 5 Euro.

The Park wishes to point out that it has never received any public funding, and that all entrance fees go to the non-profit cultural association AMICI DEL PARCO for maintenance and promotional activities.

For groups of at least 12 people the entrance fee includes the guided tour in Italian, English, German or French. For individual visitors or small groups a multimedia guide can be rented at 3 Euro. Alternatively, the visitors can download the application ChiantiPark directly on their mobile phone or tablet from Apple Store and Google Play Store.

There is one more reason that makes a trip to Pievasciata even more interesting for tourists: the project Pievasciata, hamlet of contemporary art. It shows the installation of a dozen art works in areas surrounding the Park. Eight sculptures have already been installed.

For photos and descriptions click here: www.chiantisculpturepark.it/pievasciatabac.htm

Check the web site for all the details: www.chiantisculpturepark.it


TuscanTraveler’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 Ognissanti, 4.

Italian Food Rule: Don’t Ask For Half & Half Or Soy Milk For Your Coffee

Is it a sign of the end of culture when the choices, or individual demands, get too numerous? The babel of maladies, desires, and requests bombard us – “I’m lactose intolerant. Do you have lactose-free milk or soy?” “I want just the essence of coffee, can you add more cream, or, better yet, whipped cream?” “I’m on a diet – skim milk, please.” “I want whole milk – cold.” “I want Half & Half – do you know what that is – like, half cream, half milk. It sometimes comes in a tiny plastic container back home?”

Coffee is simple in Italy. You can find it the following ways in any coffee bar:

un caffè – this is a single-shot espresso, but don’t call it espresso, no Italian does. Do not order un caffè doppio – a double espresso – wait a couple of hours, like the Italians, for your next dose;

cappuccino and caffelatte – before 10am;

caffè macchiato or latte macchiato – an espresso with a dash of milk or a hot milk with a dash of coffee (remember, mornings only);

caffè corretto – the Italian male’s (gender specific and usually of the blue–collar variety) early morning pick-me-up, an espresso "corrected" with a shot of brandy or grappa;

caffè freddo or cappuccino freddo (iced espresso or cappuccino) – possibly with sugar added by the barista;

un caffè lungo or un caffè ristretto (more or less water in an espresso) – don’t ask for an Americano if you want the traditional cup o’ joe.

There are a couple of regional exceptions. In Naples, the locals order un caffè alla nocciola – a frothy espresso with hazelnut cream. In Milan the fashionistas ask for un marocchino, an upside-down cappuccino, served in a small glass that is first sprinkled with cocoa powder, then hit with a bit of frothed milk, then finished off with a shot of espresso.


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 .


We hope that you spend December in the warm circle of family and friends.

All the best,

Pitcher and Flaccomio