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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

In some ways December is a time of reflection for what has been done and left undone in the year before, but it is also a period of anticipation for the adventures ahead.




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 Christmas 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. The book table is a special treat with books for both youngsters and oldsters. Also, toys for children can fill those holiday wishes 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. The lottery prizes will include jewelry, clothing, dinners at fine restaurants, wine, gift cards, handbags, furniture, spa treatments, cooking classes, and so much more. 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 2015 were 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.






To step into this three-bedroom Oltrarno apartment is like entering a magical space that leads to a secret garden. In the middle of frantic Florence this will be your quiet oasis. After touring through the gray-stone streets of the city, you will relax in a private world of green.


The living room and sitting room of this ground floor apartment have access to a large tree-filled private garden. Both the master bedroom and the kitchen have windows overlooking an inner courtyard. The large garden windows face south, making the apartment light and sunny. There are terra cotta floors, arched doorways and windows, and traditional wood-beam ceilings.


For more information click this link.





The Carmelite order at the Monastery 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 13, 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 Hotel


Every afternoon from December 11 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.





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 20. 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 - 8 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. 20 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 18 to 20, 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 6 from 10am to 7pm.

If you want to get out of town for a day, go to Siena. On December 5 and 6, the program "Natale Mercato del Campo" will officially be launched. 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. There is also the opening of the lights and the ice rink and the Christmas village in the gardens of "La Lizza" in Piazza Gramsci, running until January 2, 2016.



BEST BOOKS FOR DECEMBER – Italian Food Rules and Italian Life Rules by Ann Reavis


Our own newsletter author has written the perfect stocking-stuffer book for anyone who plans to spend the New Year’s Eve or any part of 2016 in Italy. P&F has shared many of the Italian Food & Life Rules in the newsletter over the past couple of years and these little books are the perfect place to find them all together.


Italian Food Rules can help you and those you love in the following situations:


Did the waiter in Rome sneer when you asked for butter for the bread or for a cappuccino after dinner?

Did your Venetian grandmother slap your hand when you reached for the Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on her spaghetti alle vongole?

Did the Florentine guest in your home turn pale when offered leftover pizza for breakfast?

Did the fruit and vegetable vendor at the Mercato Centrale yell at you when you checked out the ripeness of his peaches or scooped up a handful of cherries?


In Italy, they love making rules, although they seem to obey very few. When it comes to the national cuisine, however, the Italian Food Rules may as well be carved in marble. They will not change and are strictly followed. Visitors to Italy violate them at their peril.


When in Italy, enjoy being Italian for a few days, weeks or months, by learning the Italian Food Rules, taking them to heart, and obeying each and every one of them.


Italians have spent a thousand years perfecting a certain way of living. In a country with a reputation of not obeying rules, there are some hard and fast Italian Life Rules, which are known and followed. Italian Life Rules can help you spot the habits and traditions that will make you Italian for a bit. Here are some highlights:


You should never greet some people in Italy with a cheery “Ciao!” Why?

Italian women can stride across cobblestones wearing stilettos with five-inch heels. How?

Studies show that Italians tip less than other Europeans. Why?

Tourists can’t go to just any Italian beach and spread a picnic lunch out on the sand during some months. When?

It seems like every shopkeeper in Italy demands exact change. Why?


Before traveling to Italy, read about the Italian Life Rules to heighten your anticipation of Italian life and to prepare you for the inevitable joys and pitfalls of your visit. When in Italy, enjoy being Italian for a few days, weeks or months, by learning first-hand the Italian Life Rules for a greater appreciation of what it means to be Italian.


You can buy the Ann’s books at the Paperback Exchange in Florence and on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and Amazon.it.



BEST BOOK FOR KIDS FOR DECEMBER – Adriano, il Cane di Pompei - Hadrian, the Dog of Pompeii by Matthew Frederick


A delightful story of a special dog and the magical place he calls home. Follow Hadrian the Dog of Pompeii amid famous ruins and friendly tourists, and experience the adventure that changed his life. Discover more about Pompeii in the historical sections of the book and the location map. Suitable for all children with a love of animals, and for parents and educators seeking an entertaining way to introduce the subjects of travel, history, archeology, and geography. The Italian text followed by the English translation on every page make the book a fun tool for language students and teachers as well.




In 2014 an innovative project was hatched to boost the vitality of the Mercato Centrale. Umberto Montano renovated the first floor of the complex and created a gastronomic center where customers can shop for high-quality ingredients, but also stop and enjoy a delicious meal. 12 shops, 500 seats, 3,000 square meters of space for foodies and lovers of Italian cuisine to enjoy at the new ‘primo piano’ (first floor) above Florence’s central market in the San Lorenzo area.


Designed by Archea Associati, the 19th century space has been refurbished and modernized employing simple materials such as cast iron, rope and wood to enhance the space. The food on offer is very varied, and the many different stands offer all kinds of food, from pasta and pizza, to fish or meat, freshly made mozzarella, typical Tuscan lampredotto (of the tripe family), and even ice cream. Everything is made out of ingredients found in the Mercato itself, ensuring freshness and authenticity in a fabulous setting where everyone can gather around a single table and enjoy a meal of choice in the purest Italian tradition.


If you’ve never visited or haven’t been back since 2014, it’s time to return because everything is changing and being improved. The newest addition is La Friggitoria, the creation of Pasquale Torrente and his son Gaetano (famed from their work with Eataly). The menu is extremely ranges from the meatballs (some made with lampredotto) to fried vegetarian rice balls; calzone stuffed with tripe; a sandwich stuffed with fried meatballs; and more (with the promise of seasonal changes several times during the year).


Take a virtual tour through Primo Piano:




Historical Note: The Mercato Centrale was built in the 1870s to house the city’s most important market after the Old Market in what is now Piazza della Repubblica was demolished. It was designed by famous architect Giuseppe Mengoni, who also built the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan. Mengoni took his inspiration from Les Halles in Paris, and following the industrial trend of the time, used iron and glass as his main materials.





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 caldacon 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 in 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.




December 8 in Italy is a national holiday that celebrates the Immaculate Conception. This day of festivity unofficially starts the countdown to Christmas as many Italian families traditionally use this day to set up and decorate their Christmas tree and Nativity scene in their homes.


On December 8 in Florence's historic center the large Christmas tree is set up in Piazza del Duomo. The lighting of the Christmas tree is accompanied by an official public ceremony with the participation of Florence's Mayor. Also in Piazza del Duomo, the impressive Nativity Scene is built in the front and left of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. The Nativity has life-sized beautiful statues made in terracotta by an artisan of Impruneta. Both the Christmas tree and the Nativity scene are up until January 6, the day of Epiphany.


In the Cathedral of Florence, the traditional Christmas Eve Mass is celebrated by the Cardinal of Florence at midnight (Vigil prayers start at 11pm). On Christmas morning, the Mass is celebrated at 10:30am, in conjunction with the Pope blessing in Rome.





Until December 11, the SACI Gallery welcomes from Australia ninety artists whose work concentrates on drawing.

In addition to this exhibition, Global Drawings: Works on Paper by students from Australia, China (Hong Kong), and the United Arab Emirates (Dubai) will be on display in SACI's Clayton Hubbs Lecture Hall (Palazzo dei Cartelloni). Both exhibitions curated by Dr. Irene Barberis.


SACI Gallery

Palazzo dei Cartelloni, Via Sant'Antonino, 11

T 055 289 948

Open: Monday - Friday, 9am - 7pm; Saturday & Sunday 1pm-7pm

Admission is free





In 1865 Florence was inaugurated as the capital of the recently established Kingdom of Italy, which it remained until 1871. The exhibition Firenze Capitale 1865-2015, I Doni e le Collezioni del Re (the King’s Gifts and Collections) at the Palazzo Pitti marks the 150th anniversary of the inauguration.


The exhibition spotlights King Vittorio Emanuele II, in particular his sojourn in the Florentine palace, which in 1865 became the home of the Savoy family, the third largest reigning dynasty after that of the Medici and Lorena families. The first sovereign of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II, came to the throne in 1849 following his annexation of Tuscany to Piedmont.


In 1863, the king visited the Accademia di Firenze and commissioned six young artists to create grand paintings of historic subject matter, which were later used to furnish the king’s rooms in the Pitti Palace. Here, in the Sala del Fiorino, these heritage pieces are called, simply, the King’s gifts.


The exhibition is held on the first and second floors of Palazzo Pitti, in the Palatine Gallery and Royal Apartments, in the Modern Art Gallery and the Costume Gallery.





The sound of Christmas carols will be heard around St. Mark’s on two Sunday evenings. On December 13 starting at 5:45pm there will be caroling around the Oltrarno followed by a sumptuous feast of mince pies and Gluhwein. On December 20, at 6pm there will be the Nine Lessons and Carols followed by more mince pies and Gluhwein.

St. Mark's English Church, Via Maggio, 16; and check out the fabulous new website: www.stmarksitaly.com





Following a successful production in York. England, East Field Land Productions are performing, in English, ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens, at St Mark’s Church in Firenze on December 21 and 22, 2015 at 7pm (Via Maggio, 16).


The play is an uplifting story of a man who is forced to confront the errors of his past and is then offered an opportunity to make amends.


A Christmas Carol” offers a helpful insight into English culture and many of the traditions of the Christmas season have their origins in this classic story. With music, drama and humour the play provides a seasonal treat for all the family.


Tickets available at http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/a-christmas-carol-tickets-17846994842

Or contact dunningtonpanto@live.com for more information


See more at:






The Odeon Cinema is still in the midst of its great festival of film: 50 Days of Cinema.The Festival continues into December with documentaries in the Festival dei Popoli(November 28 to December 4).


Take your pick from 100 documentary films from around the world. Visit www.festivaldeipopoli.org for more info.


After the 4th (and a little rest) the regular schedule will start again with original language films. And blockbusters are the name of the game: Hunger Games on December 14-15 and Star Wars from December 16 to 31.





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.


Baret Magarian

9 December 2015 - 18:00

The Anglo-Armenian poet and composer Baret Magarian has a PhD from the University of Durham and is currently writing and teaching in Florence. His freelance journalism has appeared in The Times, The Guardian, The Independent and The TLS. On this occasion he reads and performs his recent compositions.


La Liberazione della Donna: music, theatre and sexual politics in early Seicento Florence

2 December 2015 - 18:00

Following on from Buontalenti's designs for the Intermedi of 1589 through to the Birth of Opera in Florence in 1600 - and the work of the designers and composers who collaborated on these productions - John continues his research for the third phase of his journey into early modern Florentine ephemeral events.


Moving into the first decades of the 17th century, one encounters an intriguing period uniquely distinguished by female patrons of female artists (visual, literary and musical). Significant proponents of this were singer and composer Francesca Caccini and Medici grand-duchesses Christina of Lorraine and Maria Maddalena of Austria. However, these will be placed in a broader context from Lucrezia Tornabuoni through to Vittoria della Rovere.


The Procession of the Three Kings

16 December 2015 - 18:00

Benozzo Gozzoli's celebrated fresco of the Cavalcade of the Magi in Palazzo Medici-Riccardi had its parallel in the real-life processions organised in 15th-century Florence. Mark Roberts presents numerous examples of pictorial treatment of the Three Kings in Italian and Flemish art, investigating by-ways historical, legendary and iconographic.





Thursday 10 December at 5 pm: Reading, animated film and workshop – The Snowman by Raymond Briggs.


A Christmassy adventure, come with us to the North Pole and meet Santa Claus! Following the reading you will decorate a finger puppet with a snowman. All welcome to the Library Afternoon Tea from 4.30 to 6 pm. For ages 3 to 5, but all ages welcome!

No booking is required, but spaces are limited.







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 13, 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





Wednesday, 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 2015. 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.


The December schedule includes music every weekend (the Pergola is the most festive venue to fill you holiday music desires.) Works Bach, Beethoven and Schubert are only a small sample of what will be performed. Andras Schiff performs works by Hayden, Mozart and Schubert on December 12. Sisters Katia and Mariella Labeque lead off the month (December 5) on dueling pianos.

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


Teatro della Pergola, Via della Pergola, info: 055/609012 – 055 607440 - 055 2264333.





December is one of the busiest months for the Maggio Musicale. Go online to see the details for the opera Rigoletto by Verdi at the Opera House, Angelic Voices and Harps at the Teatro Goldoni, and the Maggio’s Children’s Chorus concert (December 13), and much more, ending with the New Year’s Eve Concert and Gala Dinner.


Tickets on line







December 5 and January 5, 2015 at the Teatro Verdi, via Ghibellina 99, festive seasons gets its start and its end with the most magical show. Starting with Gulliver’s Travels in shadow by the Teatro d’Ombre, and then The Nutcracker, performed by the Royal Moscow Ballet Company on December 7. Pinocchio arrives on December 12 and 13 and the Charleston Gospel Mass Choir on the 17th. Finally, violinist Andrea Tacchi plays Back on December 24.


The theater is transformed into the winter setting of Swan Lake on January 5, for two shows at 4.45pm and again at 8.45pm.


For tickets, see the website www.teatroverdionline.it

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




On the day of Epiphany, January 6, the Catholic Church celebrates the arrival of the Magi to Bethlehem and the delivery of their gifts to Jesus. In Italy it is a feast day.


Every year on January 6 Florence celebrates Epiphany with the "Cavalcade of the Magi", a grand parade in the historical center which evokes the journey of the Magi and the delivery of the gifts to baby Jesus at the presepio in front of the Duomo.


If you're in Florence during the Christmas holidays you may visit the marvelous Chapel of the Magi by Benozzo Gozzoli, inside Palazzo Medici Riccardi. It is a small and precious frescoed chapel which traces the journey of the Three Wise Men. It's of course open all the year, but in this season it is a must-see.






Florence's cathedral museum housing the world's largest collection of Florentine Mediaeval and Renaissance sculpture reopened to the public on October 29 after an expansion and renovation project lasting two years.


The gallery contains over 750 marble, bronze and silver sculptures and reliefs including works by Michelangelo, Donatello, Arnolfo di Cambio, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Andrea Pisano, Antonio del Pollaiolo, Luca della Robbia and Andrea del Verrocchio among others.


The new display includes Donatello's Maddalena, the original north doors created by Lorenzo Ghiberti for the Florence baptistery and 27 silk and gold embroidered panels designed by Antonio del Pollaiolo. Visitors can also see many works previously held in museum storage, including 15 14th-century statues and almost 70 fragments of the cathedral's original mediaeval façade.


The new museum occupies two adjoining buildings, one hosting the museum founded in 1881 and the other bought by Florence Cathedral Works, the oversight body, for the purpose of expanding the original premises in 1997. It boasts 25 rooms on three floors covering a total of nearly 6,000 sqm, including a room containing a 1:1 scale model of the mediaeval cathedral façade created by Arnolfo di Cambio from 1296, which was subsequently destroyed.


Rarely has the restoration and expansion of a museum been so anticipated at that of the Museo re-opening of the Museum of the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore after its closure a couple of years ago for renovations. Opening just in time for next month’s Fifth National Congress of the Italian Church and upcoming visit to Florence by the Pope, the project is under creative direction by Monsignor Timothy Verdon, an American.


Take a virtual tour: www.youtube.com/watch?v=mS5k5CAwt5o





Palazzo Strozzi presents an exhibition entitled Divine Beauty from Van Gogh to Chagall and Fontana until 24 January 2016. This outstanding show, with over one hundred works by well-known Italian and international artists, sets out to explore the relationship between art and religion from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. The exhibition will be hosting work by such major Italian artists as Domenico Morelli, Gaetano Previati, Felice Casorati, Gino Severini, Renato Guttuso, Lucio Fontana and Emilio Vedova, together with works by such international masters as Vincent van Gogh, Jean-François Millet, Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Stanley Spencer, Georges Rouault and Henri Matisse.


From Morelli’s Realist painting to Vedova’s Informal Art and from Previati’s Divisionism to Redon’s Symbolism and Munch’s Expressionism, or to the experimental approach proper to Futurism, the exhibition analyses and sets in context a century of modern religious art, highlighting different takes on modernity, trends and occasionally even clashes in the relationship between art and religious sentiment.


The show’s star exhibits will include such celebrated works as Jean-François Millet’s Angelus, on exceptional loan from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, Vincent van Gogh’s Pietà from the Vatican Museums, Renato Guttuso’s Crucifixion from the collections of the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome and Marc Chagall’s White Crucifixion from the Art Institute of Chicago. With sections devoted to the crucial themes in the religious and artistic debate, Divine Beauty will provide visitors with a unique opportunity to compare extremely famous works of art observed in a new and different light, alongside pieces by artists whose work is perhaps less well-known today but who, in their own way, have helped to forge the rich and complex panorama of modern art; and this, not only in a religious environment.


The exhibition, which is the product of a joint venture between the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, the former Soprintendenza Speciale per il Patrimonio Storico, Artistico ed Etnoantropologico e per il Polo Museale della città di Firenze, the Archdiocese of Florence and the Vatican Museums, is part of a programme of events devised to run concurrently with the Fifth National Bishops Conference. Pope Francis will also attend the conference, to be held in Florence from 9 to 13 November.


See: www.palazzostrozzi.org/?lang=en


Tel. + 39 055 2645155

Opening times: Daily 9.00-20.00, Thursdays 9.00-23.00

Tickets sold until one hour before closing time.





November 28, 2015–March 6, 2016


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.





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)".





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 5 and Sunday, December 6. Famed as Il Mercato nel Campo, this holiday market is one of the picturesque in Tuscany.


Italian Food Rules and Italian Life Rules written by Ann Reavis has been published! Find a copy at The Paperback Exchange at Via delle Oche, 4r.


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. Also, have a fabulous New Year.

All the best,

Pitcher and Flaccomio