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Palazzo Pitti

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Rent, Sell and Manage Properties in Florence and Tuscany
NEWSLETTER December 2012

Florence is at her glittery best in December as most neighborhoods sparkle with tiny holiday lights. November ended in a deluge of rain, but we have hopes of dry holiday shopping (but lots of snow for the skiers in Abetone) before the New Year celebrations. Happy Holiday wishes from SUZANNE, CORSO, BEI, SANDRA, LORI, 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. The following are only a few of the offering in the Silent Auction:

A week in an apartment in Camogli Liguria

5 days in a spa drift wood beach Club Malindi Kenya

A ticket for the winter season at the Comunale theatre

1 week B&B in a family home in Inverness in Scotland for 2

A barn in Chianti for 5 persons for one week

A wine and olive oil tour and tasting for 6 persons

One hour therapeutic massage

Gold earrings

And many more....

(Winners of each auctioned item will, thanks to Servizio Fabbrica Palazzo Vecchio, also get a special tour of the restoration project of the Grand Duke’s private bathroom 16th century frescoes in the Palazzo Vecchio (not accessible to the general public)!

There will, of course, also be food and drink galore! Bring the kids, too; there will be games and activities. Suzanne and everyone at P&F look 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.

P&F PICK APARTMENT RENTAL FOR DECEMBER – Ponte Santa Trinita Long Term Beauty

Want to spend a few months in Florence next Spring with the family. This exciting apartment near the Santa Trinita Bridge will be newly restored, redecorated and ready for you. It has over 2,000 square feet of gracious living space with two living rooms, four bedrooms and four bathrooms.

You will be living in splendor with frescoed ceilings, parquet wood floors and a semi-enclosed porch that gives on to views of the Arno River and the Tuscan hills beyond.

For more information click this link.

PICK EATERY FOR DECEMBER – Osteria Vini e Vecchi Sapori

Suzanne and Kim had a wonderful lunch the other day at Osteria Vini e Vecchi Sapori on Via dei Magazzini, just off Piazza della Signoria, and share the following:

This tiny (five or six tables for a total of 20 seats) eatery serves a little bit of joy along with good, solid Tuscan specialties. But first, two warnings: go somewhere else you plan to linger over your meal. A place this small needs to turn tables to survive, plus the growing crowd of waiting diners outside will dissuade you from a leisurely meal. And, don't bother if you "need your space". Here you'll snuggle up to your fellow diners, as well as the strangers also seated at your table. That said, you will likely meet some nice folk.

We started our lunch with a perfect salad of rucola, thin-sliced raw artichokes and fat flakes of shaved Grana Padano cheese. The playful waiter gave each plate a drizzle of good olive oil and a grind of fresh pepper at the table.

We tried the cornmeal-thickened soup, perfect for a cold winter day, laced with leaves of kale. The Stinco di Maiale roast pork shank was moist and flavorful, served with bright green broccoli. And the Polpette con Puree brought two light and tender, lightly spiced meatballs in tomato sauce, with a mound of golden mashed potatoes.

Desserts were generous and fresh. We had a perfect version of Meringato (a frozen cake of crisp meringue, whipped cream and chunks of dark chocolate) and we spotted an equally delicious-looking slice of Millefoglie that our neighbors seemed to quite enjoy. Coffee is brought tableside in a home-style, traditional pot.

Kudos to the genteel waiter who doesn't miss a chance to call you by name once he knows it. Prices reasonable.

Vini e Vecchi Sapori, via dei Magazzini 3red. Tel 055293045.

Reservations suggested.


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 on November 28 and runs for two weeks. Traditional German food and craft products fill the square. Don’t forget to try the apple strudel.

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

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 – Perfect Florence-Themed Gift Set for the Holidays

The local, relatively new, publisher, The Florentine Press, offers two gift sets that are perfect for holiday giving. These can be purchased at the English-language bookstores of Florence and online at:


Set of Three Books by Linda Falcone

Author Linda Falcone guides us through the many mysteries of Italian turns of phrases that reveal much about this culture in her two books “Italians Dance” and “If they were Roses.” Her third book is a work of fiction that will ring home to anyone who has ever moved, or dreamed of moving, to another country. This gift set combines all three books by Linda.

Italians Dance and I’m a Wallflower

Though the title may sound like an outsider’s complaint, it betrays the whimsical name of the book’s tongue-in-cheek humor. Italians Dance and I’m a Wallflower: Adventures in Italian expression is, in fact, ‘Italy from the inside-out’—product of the author’s fifteen years of permanent Italian living. Linda Falcone’s irreverent, affectionate vignettes spotlight the mentality, temperament and identity of a country whose citizens truly ‘step into speech.’

If They Were Roses

Don’t miss the joys of intercultural friendship and the trails of international living in this exhilarating celebration of the Italians and their way with words. Part promise and part condition, If They Are Roses is for those who love language and those who love, period.

Moving Days

Feisty but fragile Emma left without apology and Tommaso finally fell silent about feeling betrayed. To a woman who considers running away an art form, Venice’s watery mazes seemed to offer the perfect route of escape. Her childhood home would offer comfort; her glass master friend would welcome her, even if he had already seen Emma pack too many bags. Tommaso hopes she’ll find it: the place that will want to make her stay. In a love story that connects two cities and bridges two countries, Emma strives to understand which mistakes must be packed away and which lessons pave the road to life’s most cherished journeys.

Set of Two Books on Women Artists

This holiday season give the gift of women artists often hidden from view, especially in Florence. This gift set includes one copy of Jane Fortune’s Invisible Women, and one copy of a newly published book, Irene Parenti Duclos, a more in-depth look by many essayists of one of the artists made visible in the first book.

Invisible Women: Forgotten artists of Florence

Invisible works. Remarkable artists. Who were these extraordinary women painters and why are many of their works still hidden from the public eye? Jane Fortune, author, art collector and founder of two associations aimed at the recuperation and rediscovery of art by women in the Florence museums, takes the reader on the trail of women artists whose talent and courage represent a fundamental part of the city’s artistic identity. Which unique challenges spurred their creative journeys and what unique episodes propelled their lives and times? And, most importantly, what can be done today to reclaim this captivating yet unfamiliar part of Florence’s cultural heritage?

Irene Parenti Duclos: A Work Restored, an Artist Revealed

Irene Parenti Duclos (c. 1754–1795) was active as a painter in Florence from 1773 to 1793. One of the ‘hidden women artists’ mentioned in Jane Fortune’s book Invisible Women, the restoration of one of her masterpieces has provided an opportunity to take a closer look at the artist, her time, and her art.

The Advancing Women Artists Foundation (AWA) has sponsored the restoration of the large painting by Duclos that is a copy of Andrea del Sarto’s Madonna del Sacco in the Church of Santissima Annunziata in Florence. The large canvas by Duclos is just eight centimeters smaller than the fresco by Andrea del Sarto, and, as Rosella Lari demonstrates, was executed by the artist actually climbing up scaffolding (a rare feat for an 18th-century woman), tracing the original onto translucent paper, and painting while still perched high up in the cloister of the church. In this way, the copy is very faithful.

FORZA VIOLA!! FOR DECEMBER – Florentine Calcio

P&F Sports Reporters Simon Clark & Anne Brooks bring you November’s Florentine Calcio results and the upcoming schedule for December.

Forza Viola! This is intoxicating; maybe we’ll wake up shortly and find it’s all been another Southfork dream. A third of the way through what’s supposed to be an interim, rebuilding season and Vincenzo is assuring us, after a paltry draw, that we are still in with a shout for the Scudetto! The fantastic thing is – he’s right. Juve don’t look authoritative; Inter aren’t the real deal; Milan are struggling. Mind you, if this column felt like betting, our euros would go on Napoli, with Fiorentina tucked in a Champions League position..... Forza Montella!

Fiorentina’s Results

Week 10: Genoa-Fiorentina WON 1-0

Week 11: Fiorentina-Cagliari WON 4-1

Week 12 Milan-Fiorentina WON 3-1

Week 13: Fiorentina-Atalanta WON 4-1

Week 14: Torino-Fiorentina DREW 2-2

Coppa Italia Fiorentina-Juve Stabia WON 2-0

Serie A. The rivalry with Genoa niggles; several times they’ve brandished handfuls of cash to coax players away from us - as if trying to buy supremacy over us. Well, get thee behind us! A splendid away win – our first of the season – lifts us into the elite pack treading on Juve’s heels. A superb long pass from Rodriguez allowed Pasqual’s pace, judgement and delicate lob to collect the points. Ex-Viola keeper Frey had to be on sensational form to stop us adding more; at the other end, Viviano hardly had to make a meaningful save. The players look hungry. Montella scores on footwear but his raincoat isn’t snappy enough.

Stay calm. We’re rebuilding. Here come Cagliari on an impressive run. Here comes Rodriguez with a header straight out of the manual; here comes Jovetic smacking in a second; here comes a scintillating pitch-length move started by Borja Valero refusing to panic in his own penalty area and ending with Toni smartly netting a Jo-Jo cross; here comes Cuadrado, curling in perfectly from the edge of the box. Goals? No problem! Somewhere in the first half, we conceded one; even the referee was confused over the offside rule – who can blame him? Most of the Cagliari side were camped on our goal-line but they weren’t in Viviano’s line of sight. So that’s alright then. We go 4th, a Europa spot. Deep breaths. We’re rebuilding.

November’s big match; Milan in the San Siro; our anti-Berlusconi club in the Cavaliere’s den – and we roll right over them with another away-win. Within ten minutes, Aquilani ghosts through the penalty area and raps the ball past their keeper with an air of studied insouciance. Before the break, Milan waste a penalty then Borjo Valero wiggles through their defence and makes it 2-0. A shot ricochets off our post and Pazzini is on hand to get one back but then we attack again. Cassani smacks the woodwork before Hamdaoui curls in a beautiful third. We stay 4th and in the group of five lifting away. Keep calm.

Light relief to host Atalanta, another side on a run until they meet the Force of Montella’s Viola! 5 minutes and Rodriguez, on the end of a free kick, fires home off the underside of the bar. They equalise as the referee suspends the offside rule. No matter; the game is about Fiorentina. Aquilani’s sublime free kick puts us ahead; he’s ecstatic, we’re ecstatic. Atalanta go down to ten men on half-time for a diabolical assault on Cuadrado. Within 6 minutes of the restart we have the points sown up; the ubiquitous Aquilani nabs a second, flicking in from a corner, then crossing for Toni to head our fourth; Luca is looking in good shape. Eleven goals in our last three matches, we rise to share third place with Napoli. Calcio magistrale!

It can’t go on. A trip to Torino rolls Fortune’s dice; the Force is not quite with us and on-loan Viola chum, Cerci, has a point to make! No Pizarro; early on, we lose Aquilani and Toni so our balance is upset. We dominate until Cerci shows why the curva came to love him, smashing in past Viviano’s grasp. We batter for half an hour until Cuadrado is dumped in their area; Rodriguez demonstrates how to take a penalty. Only for a defensive lapse to allow a Torino cross to drift into the net. Ouch! We are not accustomed to ceding so many in a single game. But it’s still us banging in the shots. Cuadrado sets up El Hamdaoui for the equaliser – the Moroccan sure knows where the goal is! Montella rightly commented that “anyone could have won this” but he’ll be thinking about how to make sure it’s us in future.

Coppa Italia. Excellent team selection by the Mr for lowly Juve Stabia. He fields an effective blend of strength and youth that eases us through. Second half goals from Seferovic and Hegazy plus Tomovic blasts against the post. Juve lose a man to a red card late on and we can look forward to visiting Udinese in the last 16.

Five games before Christmas. We should maintain our Top Four position – provided we don’t get cocky and can keep bodies fit (Llajic has joined Jo-Jo on the sidelines and Toni is recovering from concussion). Samdoria, Siena and Palermo will all be tough but, in each case, we should prevail. The important question is how Roma cope (or not) with the new Fiorentina as L’aeroplano returns to the scene of many triumphs as a player. Forza Vincenzo!


The December programme looks like this:

Week 15: 2 Dec/home Fiorentina-Sampdoria

Week 16: 9 Dec/away Roma-Fiorentina

Week 17: 16 Dec/home Fiorentina-Siena

Coppa Italia: 18 Dec/away Udinese-Fiorentina

Week 18: 23 Dec/away Palermo-Fiorentina


Ticket information - seating plan, prices, and ticket outlets - is on the "biglietteria" section of the club's website [www.it.violachannel.tv ]. Tickets can be purchased at official box offices and holders of TicketOne lottery franchises. Sources include:

CHIOSCO DEGLI SPORTIVI, via degli Anselmi 1. Tel 055 292363.

BAR MARISA, viale Manfredo Fanti 41. Tel 055 572723.
BAR STADIO, viale Manfredo Fanti 3r. Tel 055 576169.
ACF OFFICIAL TICKET-OFFICE, via Duprè 28 (corner of via Settesanti).
NUOVO BOX OFFICE, Via delle Vecchie Carceri, 1, (inside the Murate). Tel 055 264321
FELTRINELLI FIRENZE, Via de' Cerretani 39/32R


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.


REMEMBERING THE VICTIMS – Concert on 1st Anniversary of Senegalese Shootings

On December 13, exactly a year after the shooting of two Senegalese men, Mor Diop and Modou Samb, and the wounding of others in piazza Dalmatia and in the San Lorenzo area, the City of Florence is organizing a concert at the Mandela Forum to remember the victims and raise money for their families.

Great names in both Italian and Senegalese music, such as Super Diamono, one of the most popular Senegalese bands, will perform together on stage at the concert, which will be attended by Italy's minister of International Cooperation and the Minister of Culture of Senegal (also, he is one of the country's most popular artists).

The Florence City government believes a musical event would be the most suitable way to pay tribute to the victims and their families. 'By organizing this event, we want to offer the city of Florence a chance to reaffirm, in a collective manner, that we have not forgotten and we wanted to do this through music.'

The concert is called Jokko, which means 'communication' and 'dialogue' in Wolof, a language of Senegal.

Tickets cost 10 euro (from www.comune.fi.it/jokko), and the proceeds will go entirely to the families of the victims.

On the morning of the concert, the Senegalese Association of Florence will hold a conference focusing on the elimination of racism and xenophobia, and it is asking for a moment of silent reflection in local schools. See www.mandelaforum.it for concert details.


Every Friday until February 1, 2013, at 7pm at Palazzo Davanzati (via Porta Rossa 13) Aperitivo ad Arte has it next incarnation (previous sites in the rotation were the Uffizi and Bargello). Sip a glass of wine in the historic rooms of Palazzo Davanzati and explore the museum after hours with the added attraction of historical re-enactments. Reservations are recommended; call 055/294883.


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.

GATTOMANIA! – International Cat Show At Fortezza Del Basso

If you love cats, there will be gatti galore at Fortezza del Basso on December 8 and 9. But for those who favor the Main Coon, Persian or Exotics there will be even more to rave about because this edition is highlighting these breeds.

The show is open to the public from 10am to 7pm. Tickets cost 7.50 euro.


On Sun. 16 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.

EVERYTHING FLOWS – International Exhibition of Contemporary Art

From the 4th to 9th December 2012 at Le Murate – Spazio SUC, Piazza delle Murate -

“EVERYTHING FLOWS” is an exhibition in which the three Macedonian artists Biljana Angeleska, Stevcho Naumoski and Eli Ainoska will show, for the first time in Italy, their works: “The Heart of the Artist”, "The Pulse of the Lake" and “Foreign Landscapes”. (Exhibition by DAY ONE – www.dayone-art.com)

Biljana Angeleska – The spatial installation “The Heart of the Artist” offers several various interpretations of the term “heart”; interpretations which are looked at from a number of complex aspects – physiological-existentialist, philosophical, and of course, artistic.

Stevcho Naumoski – The set of photographs titled “The Pulse of the Lake” represents the changes of the life cycles by creating a parallel between the man/woman and the lake. \

Eli Ainoska – In “Foreign Landscapes” perceive the preoccupation of the author, which starts with the basic idea of the existence of an artificial object set in a given open and natural ambient – a complex assembly of different types of media (objects, spatial interventions, photography of the process of art work creation, sound).

Info: info@dayone-art.com - www.dayone-art.com


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 16, 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


From Fri. 14 to Sun. 16, don't be shocked if you spy a golf ball flying off the oldest bridge in Florence. For three days the Arno River turns into a golf course. Twelve players from 12 countries tee off from the Ponte Vecchio toward four floating greens anchored in the Arno. This year, the most unique golf course in the world, open just three days a year, will see defending champion Jan-Are Larsen return to the bridge after back-to-back victories in 2008 and 2009. Film and sports stars will also give it a go, among the 500 other guests who get to take a whack. Most of the action will take place daily between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. The unusual rules and regulations read as follows:

FORMAT - The Championship will be decided by Match Play, contested by 12 players representing 12 different countries, with the first round played to the ROUND ROBIN MEDAL format. The 12 players will be drawn into FOUR groups each of FOUR players who will play against each of the other players in their group in the First Round. The players will play to three floating greens positioned at varying distances on the River Arno. The 'greens' will each have a point's value as follows: 'green 1' (nearest the Bridge) 4 points, 'green 2' 7 points, 'green 3' (furthest from the Bridge 10 points).

ROUND ONE - Each group of THREE players will hit TEN balls (one ball at a time, alternately). To earn points, a ball must land and remain on the respective 'green'. No player is allowed to score more than four times from the same green. If a player scores four times from the same green he shall hit the ball to another green otherwise the score of the ball will be void. The player accumulating the most points from the ten balls shall be declared the winner of the group. The winner of each GROUP goes forward to the Quarter Finals. In addition to the group winners, the four players with the most accumulated points after the winners, will also go forward to the Quarter Finals.

SUBSEQUENT ROUNDS - The Quarter Final draw will be as follows: 1. Winner of Group 1 plays 4th Best Runner Up Score, 2. Winner of Group 2 plays 3rd Best Runner Up Score, 3. Winner of Group 3 plays 2nd Best Runner Up Score, 4. Winner of Group 4 plays Best Runner Up Score. The winners of the first two Quarter Final matches will contest the first Semi Final match, with the winners of the third and fourth Quarter Final matches going through to contest the second Semi Final. The two Semi Final winners will then meet in the Final. A match will consist of each player hitting SIX ball (TEN on the Final), with each player hitting one ball alternately. The player accumulating the most points from the six shots shall be declared the winner.

PRIZE MONEY - Winner Euros 15,000, Runner Up 10,000, Semi Final Losers 3,000, Quarter Final Losers 3,000, First Round Losers 3,000. Check the website for details. Tel. 0552768506. www.pontevecchiochallenge.it .


The St. James American Church Parish Seasonal Lunch will take place immediately following the Service of Advent Lessons and Carols on Sunday, December 16. 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


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. From December 1st to the 5th see films in the International Festival of Cinema and Women and from the 7th to the 13th the twelfth edition of the famed River to River Festival of Films from India, celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema.

Cinema and Women: http://www.50giornidicinema.com/#!festival-internazionale-cinema-e-donne/cj4d

River to River: http://www.50giornidicinema.com/#!river-to-river/c1zam



MON 3 3.45 – 6.00 – 8.15 – 10.30 pm

TUE 4 3.45 – 6.00 – 8.15 – 10.30 pm

Part Two of the last chapter of the Stephenie Meyer saga. After the birth of Renesmee, the Cullens gather other vampire clans in order to protect the child from a false allegation that puts the family at risk of attack from the Volturi. A final showdown is inevitable. The leads are back in their customary roles for the finale.

TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE (USA 2012 – ) By Robert Lorenz.

MON 10 5.00 – 8.10 – 10.30 pm

TUE 11 5.00 – 8.10 – 10.30 pm

For his first time in front of the camera since 1993 Clint Eastwood plays a declining baseball coach who with the aid of his high-flying daughter can finally come to terms with the realities of life. ' A defiantly analog rejoinder to last year's tech-savvy baseball drama, "Moneyball," Robert Lorenz's square but sturdy directing debut rests on the wonderfully spiky chemistry between Eastwood and Amy Adams (Variety). 'Eastwood is vastly entertaining as an old-fashioned scout who disdains computers and fancy statistical charts in favor of his own time-tested instincts' (Hollywood Reporter).

MOONRISE KINGDOM (USA 2012 – 94'). By Wes Anderson.

MON 17 5.15 – 8.30 – 10.30 pm

TUE 18 5.15 – 8.30 – 10.30 pm

Wes Anderson’s highly acclaimed movie tells the story set on an island off the coast of New England in the summer of 1965 of two 12-year-olds who fall in love, make a secret pact, and run away together into the wilderness. The adult world intrudes as it must on their idyll. ‘Moonrise Kingdom breezes along with a beautifully coordinated admixture of droll humor, deadpan and slapstick. Like all of Mr. Anderson's films, though, there's a deep, pervasive melancholia here too’ (New York Times). ‘Rapturous and hilarious’ (salon.com).

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 Autumn 2012 Edition of Talking Movies highlights the work of Ken Russell, who died last year after a long and controversial career as an all-round filmmaker. Regarded by some as one of British cinema's greatest talents, he is also derided, denigrated and even discounted by others. His interests - for his critics, obsessions - were mainly in the areas of sex and religion, but he was praised too for his insights into creativity in music and art, his extravagance and joie de vivre often receiving as many bouquets as brickbats.

In a career spanning 50 years, 18 feature films were made as well as numerous television movies and shorts. This commemorative retrospective is incomplete but it gives a flavour of the highlights (and perhaps lowlights) of Russell's work. Starting with Russell's famed adaptation of D H Lawrence's Women in Love (1969) the series includes Russell's 'biopics' of Pyotr Tchaikovsky (The Music Lovers), Gustav Mahler, Franz Liszt (Lisztomania) and sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (Savage Messiah). Altered States with its psychedelic and hallucinatory questing for the origins of life is disturbing and profound. The other 'American movie' is Crimes of Passion, a shocking satire on American sexual mores. Russell's unusual take on the creation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (Gothic) and his daring adaptation of Oscar Wilde's Salome (Salome's Last Dance) are complemented by Gothic horror/thriller The Lair of the White Worm, an adaptation of a Bram Stoker story and, to conclude, his second adaptation of D H Lawrence, the Women in Love 'sequel' The Rainbow. The season promises to be an adventure ride that is never dull and always stimulating, where taste is sometimes questionable, images disturbing and truths unpalatable but in which Russell's flair for free, expressive cinema, excessive or not, is celebrated. (text from the official web site)

Wednesday, December 05, 20.00

Salome’s Last Dance 1988

Wednesday, December 12, 20.00

The Lair of the White Worm 1988

Wednesday, December 19, 2012. 20.00

The Rainbow 1989


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 05, 18.00

Lecture: Anchise Tempestini

Antony van Dyck is known to have painted a ‘Continence of Scipio', widely believed to be the well known picture now in the Christ Church gallery, Oxford. Yet there a cogent reasons for identifying it with a quite different picture, in a private Florentine collection.

Wednesday, December 12, 18.00

Lecture: William Blacker

When William Blacker first entered northern Romania he discovered an almost medieval world of pastoral delight. Drawn to the Gypsies, he was warned by the locals to stay clear but decided to ignore their advice completely.

Wednesday, December 19, 18.00

Lecture: Mark Roberts

This exploration of a little-regarded theme in medieval iconography is our Christmas offering, to be followed by hot wine and mince pies.


Monday, December 31, put your warmest coat over your fanciest clothes 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.


NEXTECH FESTIVAL – Electronic Music for a New Age

December 7, at 8pm, at Fortezza da Basso, the air will vibrate with this dynamic electronic music that is sure to keep everyone’s ears ringing till the early hours. With beats from some of the best international electronic artists, such as Jeff Mills, Joseph Capriati and Speedy J, this is an unmissable event for lovers of techno, IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) and revolutionary modern sounds. See www.nextechfestival.com .


Throughout the holiday season, the Amici della Musica of Florence presents various concerts at the Teatro della Pergola. Featured artists will include the Jordi Savall Ensemble, The King’s Singers, the EUBO youth orchestra, Christian Tetzlaff and Leif Ove Andsnes, and the Tallis Scholars Chorus. Works by Gesualdo, Britten, and Poulec, as well as Baroque and Christmas music 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 75th 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.

On the 2nd, 4th and 5th, see Puccini’s opera Turandot (New Florence Opera House). From the 19th to the 23rd enjoy the ballet Wizard of Oz by Gianni Schicchi (at the Comunale Theater).

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 20 at the gorgeous Teatro Goldoni: Music by Weber and Mendelssohn played by the Orchestra della Toscana and the choir of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. Teatro Goldoni, via Santa Maria 15, Florence, www.goldoniteatro.it

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

MUST-SEE EXHIBIT AT PALAZZO STROZZIThe Thirties: The Arts in Italy Beyond Fascism

Do not miss Anni ’30 at the Strozzi Palazzo. This challenging, beautifully presented show may be one of the first of its kind, showing a thoughtful look at the arts created during a challenging time in Italy’s history.

Italy in the 1930s, when Fascism held sway, was the scene of an extremely vigorous artistic battle in which every style from classicism to Futurism, from expressionism to abstract art, and from monumental art to decorative painting for the bourgeois home was involved. The situation was further complicated by the arrival on the scene of design and mass communication—posters, radio, the cinema and the first illustrated magazine—which stole numerous ideas from the "fine" arts and transmitted them to a broader audience. It was this complex and lively workshop, open to the international scene that introduced the concept of modernity to Italy.

The exhibition explores the 1930s through the masterpieces of over forty leading artists of the period, including Mario Sironi, Giorgio de Chirico, Alberto Savinio, Achille Funi, Carlo Carrà, Corrado Cagli, Arturo Nathan, Achille Lega, Ottone Rosai, Ardengo Soffici, Giorgio Morandi, Ram, Thayaht, Antonio Donghi, Marino Marini, Renato Guttuso,Ivanhoe Gambini, Carlo Levi, Filippo de Pisis, Scipione, Antonio Maraini and Lucio Fontana (99 paintings, 17 sculptures and 20 objects of design). They tell the story of a crucial era characterised by an extremely vibrant and innovative arts scene. The 1930s also witnessed the increasing mass production of household objects, which led to dramatic changes in people's lifestyle, allowing ordinary families to live out a dream of modernity surrounded by designer objects, a practice that continues to this day. It was the era that defined what we might call "the Italian path to modernity" in architecture, design, painting and sculpture through an original interpretation of the stimuli coming from the broader European context (from France and Germany, but also from Scandinavia and Russia) together with the return to an Italian (14th and 15th century) tradition.

The Thirties. The Arts in Italy Beyond Fascism provides us with another opportunity to show the strong bond linking Palazzo Strozzi with the history of this country and of this city, but at the same time it perfectly reflects our determination to ensure that the visitor in Palazzo Strozzi isn't passive but active... in fact interactive! A series of special areas allow visitors to explore some of the key issues addressed in the exhibition, such as mass communication (the Radio Studio, the Reading Room ), industrial design (the Design section) and artistic creativity (interactive touch-table) in an involving and stimulating manner. And like all our exhibitions, this one also has a broad programme of educational activities held in the Palazzo, collateral events involving the city and the region, and a full set of publications linked to the exhibition. (text from official exhibit website)

Website: http://www.palazzostrozzi.org/SezioneAnni30.jsp?idSezione=1853

Tel. + 39 055 2645155

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

Tickets sold until one hour before closing time.


Full price € 10.00

Concessions € 8.50, 8.00, 7.50

Schools € 4.00

EMBODIMENTS – Artistic Interpretation of 200-Year-Old Anatomical Models

From December 1 to January 31, 2013, at Museum of Natural History La Specola (Via Romana 17) view a special art exhibit. Embodiments: Medicine, Metaphor and Metaphysics allows you to travel through space and time with New York artist Janice Gordon whose art focuses on the elements, both medical and metaphorical, that makeup the human body. Inspired by La Specola’s historical anatomical wax collection, Embodiments takes the viewer on a metaphorical journey into and out of the human body, and from the perception of the body in ancient times to the perception of it in our contemporary world. The works in the exhibition rest in that space between medical practices and the poetics of the body; between matter and spirit, and between the external and the internal. Implicit in the work is the question: “What is embodied?” Explore the perceptions of the body through her beautiful anatomical sculptures, made using everything from shells and old dolls to catheters. Then, go visit the early 19th century wax anatomical models, created for the Grand Duke of Tuscany that are on permanent exhibit in the La Specola museum. For details, visit www.janicegordon.net.



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.


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 15 and Sunday, December 16. Famed as Il Mercato nel Campo, this holiday market is one of the picturesque in Tuscany.


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 Ognissante, 4.

ITALIAN FOOD RULE: No Pizza for Lunch

Mangiare la pizza prima delle nove mi fa tristeza,” say Italians everywhere – “To eat pizza before 9pm makes me sad.”

Pizza is eaten in the U.S. at any time of the day – even cold for breakfast in dorm rooms on every college campus. Italians refuse to eat food served any which way, at any time of day or night.

According to the Italian Food Rule pizza is to be eaten at a pizzeria at night because: 1) pizza must be made to order (no frozen pizza); 2) pizza must be eaten immediately after it comes out of the pizza oven (no take out); 3) pizza must be made by an expert - not a generic cook – a pizzaiolo (preferably born in Naples), who 4) is using a wood-burning pizza oven.

A wood-burning pizza oven takes a long time to get to the proper temperature (485º C or 905º F), so it will not produce the perfect pizza before 8:30 or 9 in the evening and it is usually considered a waste of time and energy (as well as a violation of the Food Rule) to fire it up for lunch. Pizzerias stay open until midnight or later, so a pizzaiolo gets in a full shift of work from prep at 7pm to clean up at 1am.

Another reason for the Food Rule is that pizza, unlike pasta, is considered a social food – a food for lovers and friends, not family. Pasta is associated with home cooking. Traditionally, Italians were expected home for lunch for pasta. When both parents started working outside the home, the pasta meal moved to dinner.

Since the perfect pizza can’t be made at home (no kitchen oven reaches 485º C and most of the private wood-burning pizza ovens built in Italy are installed at the request of foreigners who want a “true Italian experience” at their vacation villa or Tuscan farm house), it becomes a social event. Pizzerias provide an upbeat, carefree, casual environment where the a wood-burning pizza oven is on display, as is the pizzaiolo, adding to the festive atmosphere.

Related Italian Food Rules:

One pizza per person

Eat pizza with a fork and knife.

Drink beer or acqua frizzante with pizza (Coke and Fanta, if you are under 25 years old).

Uneaten pizza is left, not taken home.

Do not ask for grated Parmesan for pizza.

In Italian, pepperoni is bell pepper. For spicy salami, ask for salami piccanti.

Hot chili pepper (peperoncino) in oil or as powdered flakes is the only acceptable condiment.

Pizza may be eaten by the slice, late at night, while standing, in a pizza al taglio place.

It is sad to eat pizza alone.


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. Remember to spend some time strolling through the glittery streets of Florence after dusk and enjoy welcoming the New Year while appreciating the past year.

All the best,

Pitcher and Flaccomio