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IMPORTANT INFORMATION » Our Monthly Newsletter ITA -

Palazzo Pitti

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Rent, Sell and Manage Properties in Florence and Tuscany
NEWSLETTER February 2011

February - for those of us lucky enough to be in Florence and Tuscany for this quietest month, we have the streets to ourselves, we have museums with open doors and no lines (sometimes even free entry). We have restaurants and shops that give the warmest of welcomes. Throw in the year's most amazing sunsets and most romantic holiday and you don't get any complaints for that occasional damp, gray day. Life is good.

In this issue we give you the scoop on Carnival celebrations, exhibitions, classical concerts, dance events, plus lectures, movies in English and of course.. Footbaaalll.



From Feb. 2 to April 15 the city is giving us another fleeting chance to see the Vasari corridor. Keep in mind that the Vasari Corridor was not conceived as a museum to be visited by the public, but as a private passageway for the Medici family, so that there are technical problems of access and transit that make it difficult to open to large numbers of people. Strike while the iron is hot. Six visits per week will be conducted on Wednesdays and Fridays (2:00 and 4:30 pm) and on Thursdays (at 9:00 and 11:30 am), in the form of guided tours in Italian only (but don't let that hold you back from taking advantage of seeing the Corridor from the inside). The initiative is aimed principally at individual visitors and family groups. For this reason reservations for a maximum of five people at a time will be accepted. Tickets: 10.50 to 14.00 euro. Phone 055 294883 for info and reservations.

A beautiful fresco painted between 1493 and 1496 by Perugino depicting the "Crucifixion and Saints" has been unveiled after a recent restoration. The work is truly one of Florence's hidden treasures, located in the Sala Capitolare of the ex-convent of Santa Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi. The main entrance for the church and cloister is on Borgo Pinti, but the Perugino fresco is only accessible through the ex-convent entry, now disguised as the main door of the Liceo Michelangelo on Via della Colonna 9. Frankly, it is an interesting chance to kill two birds with one stone, see a lovely work of art and peek into the everyday life of a Florentine high school. Open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30 to 5:30 pm. Via della Colonna 9.

Sale season continues until March 7.

Valentine Dinner & Dance - FAWCO Fundraiser - Come be my valentine! On Saturday, February 12, at 7.30 PM in the St. James Undercroft, kick up your heels and be whisked away to a dreamy evening of 'Ragtime' - this is an occasion you will not want to miss! Dances to be explained and taught by Donald Francis and the students of the 'L'Atelier de Danse' in Florence. We promise you an evening of fun, dancing, music, and good company. A delicious buffet dinner with wine and water and entertainment, the compelling beat of the music ... you will not be able to sit still !!! Your enjoyment will be enhanced by the knowledge that you are helping to contribute to AILO's commitment to the FAWCO Development Grant 'Skills for Life,' which will help a chosen organization in the world to enable women to achieve an education or gain skills which will in turn give them economic freedom, something we all value. The other project we are supporting is the 'Wells for Clean Water' (Cambodia) FAWCO Target project, which aims to provide potable water to families whose access to safe water was destroyed during the Pol Pot years. Tickets, are €25 each. Reserve yours as soon as possible as there is a cutoff number. Your husbands, wives, partners, friends, and lovers are all welcome! To book individually, as a couple, or as a table, please contact Jocelyn jocelyn.f@tiscalinet.it or Deirdre ddpirro@gmail.com.
Adult Forum - Time: 10:00 - 11:00 - Sunday, February 13, Professor Brunetto Chiarelli will present the topic of "Human Evolution: a Darwinian Approach - The history of humanity in broader perspective." Prof. Chiarelli teaches anthropology at the University of Florence. Sometime President of the European Anthropological Association, he is currently President of the European Association of Global Bioethics, Vice President of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, and the founder and editor of several scientific journals. On the occasion of the anniversary of Darwin's birthday (Feb. 12), Prof. Chiarelli will talk to us about the relevance of Darwin's scientific hypothesis on the origins of humanity and about the changes brought about in modern consciousness by looking at humanity as a work-in-progress. Grab a cappuccino and join us in the meeting room.
St. James Church, Florence. Via B. Rucellai, 9. Email: info@stjames.it, friends@stjames.it or call the church office at 055 294417.

FOOTBAAAALLL!! by Simon Clark and Anne Brooks
Forza Viola!..........Adrian Mutu has delivered the off-field drama this month as his final screw seemed to come loose. He stormed out of training because he wasn't going to get a free transfer so the club froze him out; later, he prostrated himself and the word is that he has been forgiven - and we need him, what with fans getting rebellious after the defeat at Lazio! The transfer window has just closed on another period of smoke & mirrors. We signed Albanian-born Swiss international midfielder Valon Behrami from West Ham, goalkeeper Norbeto Neto (a member of the Brazilian national squad) plus Amidu Salifu from Vicenza; out go Felipe (Cesena) and Zanetti (loan to Brescia). Frey is still here. Vargas, too - so much for the press rumours!

January Results
Week 18: Bologna-Fiorentina DREW 1-1
Week 19: Fiorentina-Brescia WON 3-2
Week 20: Napoli-Fiorentina DREW 0-0
Week 21: Fiorentina-Lecce DREW 1-1
Week 22: Lazio-Fiorentina LOST 0-2

Serie A. Week 18, shaken and stirred by Mutu's antics, we make the short trip to Bologna, a club rescued over the weekend from the threat of bankruptcy. We are further disturbed into allowing the amazingly consistent Marco Di Vaio to stay second in the scorers' table with a fifth-minute free header; our defence is imitating a colander! We dominate thereafter but find it hard, holding our own but relying on young Babacar to provide our menace. Fortunately, an inspired Mihajlovic substitution brings on Santana to score immediately. After that, we press even more and spurn two great chances to win - Gila heading just over, Ljajic shooting just wide. Two points lost.
Next, a home game against Brescia. They lie in the relegation zone so what sort of 0-2 nightmare are we staring at come half-time? Admittedly, Brescia got those two goals as right as they will get any all season - why against us? But what we have is talent and grit. On 72 minutes (how the curva must have been nibbling at fingernails by then) Gila reminds us of what Gila excels at, accelerating in front of their defence to glance a Montolivo cross past the keeper; now we are in with a chance. It's 85 minutes and a pinball episodes around the penalty area finishes with the on-fire Santana stuffing in the equaliser. Phew! Two minutes later, class pays off as Gila sets up Ljajic to take the winner splendidly. All of this masks the superb contribution from Babacar, a thoroughbred replacement for the antic Mutu!
Hey! Who says we can't cut the mustard against the top teams? Into the San Paolo cauldron for Napoli, second in the league, the in-form team who just clobbered Juventus - and we hold them in their lair. Nor do we cower; we douse their fire in an even game; for every attack they make, we respond. We feel relieved at the final whistle but also pleased. Fiorentina played throughout with great discipline and probably had the better chances to win it; our defence was well-organised in front of the solid Boruc and reduced high-flying Napoli (who, the following week, lashed four past Sampdoria) to looking ordinary.
Another week, another draw - but not one to be pleased about this time. Lecce have beaten Lazio and held Milan but they are well below us and this should have been three points in the bag, not a struggle to get one. We start brightly, perhaps too brightly; our early attacks seem to dazzle our own defence and Lecce rip us open for the opening goal. Gamberini & Co are so embarrassed that they allow Di Michele a free run at goal before bringing him down - the first penalty against us this season. We get lucky; they hit the bar! The Viola dressing room at half time probably hears some "expletives deleted" from the coach. It works; within ten minutes of the restart a Montolivo cross and a Gamberini assist lead to a crisp Gila header. We scratch around for the rest of the game, in control but always a metre short of a winner. Two more points lost but, with other results going our way, we're consolidating in mid-table.
A really tough one to round off the month - away to Lazio. They always give us a tough time but their form has been fading of late and we are ready for them with a neat, well-marshalled defence and a pack of attackers who look more likely to score. Unfortunately, this holds good for only 70 minutes, at which point, a Lazio player trips over the ball and the referee absent-mindedly gives the Romans a penalty. Boruc has no chance. We are so stunned that we immediately back-pedal before their next attack until a sublime cross takes out Boruc and an unmarked Lazio forward knocks in the killer goal. Game over and thoughts already turning to the Genoa game - a match that is becoming a must-win!
Fiorentina lost only one game this month; that was away against one of the season's pace-setters. Sinisa has turned the shambles of late last season into the semblance of mid-table order. The future agenda is clear - we lie 13th with the 13th worst scoring record in the league but the 7th meanest defence. Gila & Co must score more goals. February will be a challenge. We open with a trio of games against teams either underperforming close by (Genoa, Parma) or slumping towards us (Palermo) before our rearranged fixture at the Stadio against Inter; this is our in-hand game and the result is open. Then we host Sampdoria (we are strong at home) and travel to the bottom club, Bari. We need this month to see us marching up the table......................Alé Viola!
THE FIORENTINA SCHEDULE: These are the February games, including the rescheduled match against Inter:
Week 23: 02 Feb/home Fiorentina-Genoa
Week 24: 06 Feb/away Parma-Fiorentina
Week 25: 13 Feb/away Palermo-Fiorentina
Week 17: 16 Feb/home Fiorentina-Inter
Week 26: 20 Feb/home Fiorentina-Sampdoria
Week 27: 27 Feb/away Bari-Fiorentina

BUYING TICKETS - Ticket information - seating plan, prices, and ticket outlets - is on the "biglietteria" section of the club's website [http://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 (between Piazza Repubblica and the Odeon). 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 Dupre 28 (corner of via Settesanti).
NUOVO BOX OFFICE, via Luigi Alamanni 39 (close to SMN station). Tel 055 264321

RECIPE OF THE MONTH - Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup ricotta cheese
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
butter or oil for greasing griddle

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients with a fork until blended, without over-mixing. Warm up a lightly-greased griddle over medium-high heat. For each pancake, pour approx. 1/4 cup batter on the griddle and cook (3-4 minutes per side) until golden brown. Serve pancakes warm, with pure maple syrup, or powdered sugar and fresh raspberries, blueberries or sliced strawberries.



From Friday 4 to Sunday 13, Piazza Santa Croce will host the 7th edition of La Fiera del Cioccolato Artigianale, Florence's annual Chocolate fair. Discover the work of over 30 Italian artisan chocolatiers. Next to some of Florence's best chocolate artisans (Becagli Art Cioccolato, Boutique del Cioccolato) you will find Turingiandiuia of Torino and Austrian Susse Oase, to name a few. On Sat. 5 and 12 be in the Piazza for 2:30 pm shows by the Gruppo Sbandieratori Città di Firenze (historical flag-waving athletes). Or come on Sat. 4 and Sun. 5 (12:00 to 5:00 pm) dressed for Carnival fun. A "best-dressed group" contest will be held, with winners announced by La Nazione newspaper on Sat. 12 and prizes will be awarded in CHOCOLATE. The fair is open from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm daily. Free entry. For further info: tel. 055 414497, http://www.fieradelcioccolato.it

Special offer!! Museum tickets will come "two for the price of one" on Sat. 12 and Sun. 13. To celebrate San Valentino you will find the following Florentine sites adhering to the plan: visit Last Suppers at the Cenacolo del Fuligno, Cenacolo del Ghirlandaio (Ognissanti) and at the Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia on Via XXVII Aprile. Overdose at the Pitti: Galleria del Costume, Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Museo degli Argenti, Museo delle Porcellane. See the Museo della Casa Fiorentina Antica at Palazzo Davanzati, or stroll through the Museo di San Marco and the Museo Nazionale del Bargello.

On Fri. 18 visit Florence's museums gratis. And give thanks to Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici, the last of the Medici dynasty, who died the night of February 17th, 1743. Anna Maria Luisa lived her life in the Medici pomp of Florence, except for the period of her marriage to Johann Welhelm von der Pfalz, Elector Palatine of Dusseldorf. Returning to the city, her father Cosimo III attempted to verify her as Grand Duchess in case none of the remaining Medici males produced an heir (indeed, with the weakened blood line, no heirs were produced). She was not made Grand Duchess, but nonetheless, she did create the "Patto di Famiglia", a testament signed on October 31, 1737. With this single gesture, she willed all the personal property of the Medici family (jewels, statues, paintings, libraries and galleries) to the Florentine state, with the explicit condition to any future ruler of Florence, that none of the Medici artistic patrimony was ever to be removed from the city.
Florence, in honor of perhaps its most important benefactor, dedicates February 18th to Anna Maria Luisa as a day of celebration. If things go as they did last year, starting at 10:40 am, a historical parade will depart from the Piazzetta di Parte Guelfa, and travel to the Medici Chapel to lay a wreath of flowers on her tomb. City hall confirms (as of Feb. 1) that some of the communal museums (see list below) will be open free of charge on February 18th in honor of Anna Maria Luisa, and also... perhaps.... the State Museums (see other list below, but take it with a grain of salt as this list is not confirmed). In any case, offering free entry on this special day, to commemorate this special woman would seem the least they could do!
MUSEI COMUNALI: Palazzo Vecchio - Quartieri monumentali, S. Maria Novella - Museo e Chiostri monumentali, Museo Bardini, Cappella Brancacci.
MUSEI STATALI: Cappelle Medicee, San Marco, Museo Archeologico, Cenacolo di Andrea del Sarto, Palazzo Davanzati, Uffizi, Accademia, Bargello, Palazzo Pitti (all Pitti museums), Opificio delle Pietre Dure. For info check in at tel. 055 055.

On Saturday 19 and Sunday 20, the park and gardens of the Fortezza da Basso once again host Florence's most important, monthly antiques fair. Come browse the booths and stands selling antique tables, chairs, armoires, plus frames and paintings and all sorts of odds and ends. Fortezza da Basso gardens. Open from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm each day. Phone for further information: tel. 055 27051 .

On Sun. 20 pop around to Piazza Santo Spirito and admire the crafts and organic food fair. Your will find handmade ceramic whistles for kids, antiques, food, hand-woven dresses and linens, beeswax candles, naturally scented soaps and oils, home-baked bread and cakes, ceramics, wine, olive oil, hand-carved wooden salad bowls and more.

From Thurs. 24 to Sun. 27 the Fortezza da Basso once again shakes with the 6th edition of Italy's biggest international Dance Fair. This year there will be shows of every kind of dance style and discipline including participation by dance companies and groups from abroad for an eclectic mix of energy and talent, grace and harmony, depth and lightness of expression. Gain insight into the multi-faceted world of dance as exhibitors and participants put on a program of over 500 events ranging from traditional to contemporary dance exhibitions, performances by dance schools, associations and companies, dance competitions, dancewear and costume displays and shows, and meetings with prominent figures from the dance and arts world. As each past year, the show features job casting and classes with national and international teachers of Classical, Modern Jazz, Contemporary, Tango, Hip Hop and more.
Danzainfiera. Hours: Thursday 3:00 pm - 9:00 pm, Friday - Saturday 10:00 am - 9:00 pm, Sunday 10:00 am - 8:00 pm. Tickets: 1-day pass - 15 euro, children 8 to 12 - 10 euro, under 8 - free. 4-day pass - 40 euro. For info: tel. 0574 575618 or email: info@danzainfiera.it http://www.danzainfiera.it.

Sat. 26 and Sun. 27 Florence's Mandela Forum will be the site of the World Roller Skating Grand Prix. This prestigious figure skating event is a first for Florence. Check for tickets at http://www.ticketone.com.

Until May 1 Palazzo Vecchio will be showing the much ballyhooed, diamond-studded skull by controversial artist Damien Hirst. Cast in platinum from an original human skull found in a London taxidermy shop, the piece apparently elicited the comment "for the love of God" from Hirst's mother when she saw what he was working on. The skull includes 8601 pavé-laid diamonds (and real teeth from the original skull) for a total of 1,106.18 carats, including the centrally-place star diamond which alone measures 52.40 carats. The work took 18 months to complete and has been touring the world.
Rather unusual show regulations read: For security reasons the visit to Damien Hirst's work For the Love of God and the Palazzo Vecchio Studiolo is limited to groups of a maximum of 12 people. Each group will first enter the Studiolo of Francesco I, where it can stay for three minutes before entering the Camera del Duca where the work is displayed. The group can stay in this room for a further three minutes. Visitors are informed that they will be seeing the work For the Love of God in a completely dark room. At the end of the visit you will be able to visit the Palazzo Vecchio museum. Visitors cannot access the museum more than once with the same ticket, but while they are in the museum they may make repeated return visits to the exhibition For the Love of God. Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria 1. Hours: every day 9:00 am - 12:00 am, Thursdays 9:00 am - 2:00 pm. The ticket office closes one hour before the exhibition. Ticket: 10 euro. Info: tel. 055055

VINUM NOSTRUM - Art, science and myths of wine in ancient Mediterranean civilizations
Until May 14 the Museo degli Argenti hosts Vinum Nostrum. From Mesopotamia to our tables, from the rite of communion to avoidable drunkenness, from distasteful habit to the gate of spirituality, wines and vines are the protagonists of this exhibit. Original showpieces, sculptures, frescoes and mosaics, accompanied by multimedia and video installations tell the millenarian history of the grapevine and of wine, and the important influence they exerted on ancient cultures. Following a chronological development, the exhibition illustrates the origin of wine-growing in the Near East, its full affirmation along with its related symbolic, religious and cultural significance in the Hellenic world, up to the wine production and large-scale diffusion practiced by the Romans.
By virtue of the abundant archaeological remains of the Vesuvian cities, the particular case of Pompeii's vineyards is illustrated, while the exhibition devotes another section to the contribution of the Phoenicians and the Etruscans, who played an essential role in spreading vitis vinifera throughout the Mediterranean. While inviting visitors to reflect on the evolution of cultivation techniques (reproduction and genetic improvement, plowing the land, tending the vineyard, theoretical principles and practical instructions for pruning and grafting), specially selected exhibits also illustrate the religious and cultural values of the grapevine, expressed through a series of depictions regarding the divinities, rituals and festivities of wine. Sculptures and painted vases illustrate the cult of Dionysus. Elegant table-services clarify how the consumption of wine represented one of the most important moments of conviviality among patricians. A cella vinaria where wine was stored, reconstructed based on finds uncovered at Pompeii and on the precise descriptions contained in Latin literature, enable the visitor to delve into the reality of the past, through tools for the vineyard, wine amphorae and wooden barrels, baskets for harvesting, carts and more.
The exhibition itinerary aims not only at scientifically documenting the entire cycle of wine, from harvest to consumption, but also by stimulating the visitor's senses of taste, smell and sight. Museo degli Argenti, Palazzo Pitti. Hours: 8:15 am to 6:50 pm. Ticket: € 10.00. Closed on the 1st and the last Monday of each month. Info: Tel. 055294883

The British Institute Weekly Cultural Programme. Every Wednesday at 6:00 pm, the Sala Ferragamo in the Institute's Harold Acton Library hosts a free lecture, concert or other event, followed by an informal reception. British Institute Library, Lungarno Guicciardini 9.
Wednesday 9 - The lovely, clever and entertaining Mary Westerman presents: All dressed up with nowhere to go: display techniques of historic costumes.
A correct fit and proper support of historic dress on display are essential for both its interpretation and preservation. In this talk, textile and costume conservator Mary Westerman Bulgarella will illustrate the techniques employed when displaying historic costumes in museums, highlighting some of the more significant and challenging projects in which she has been involved. She collaborated with the Galleria del Costume at Palazzo Pitti for over 20 years where she not only helped with numerous dress exhibitions but also conserved the Medici burial garments. More recently she has joined forces with her colleagues at the Stibbert Museum where, among many installations, she prepared Napoleon's coronation attire for display.
Wednesday 16 - Readings for St Valentine's day: The rose's red, the violet's blue, The honey's sweet, and so are you.
The Roman martyr St Valentine met his end on 14 February 269. The tradition that birds began to sing at this time gave rise in medieval times to a belief, attested by Geoffrey Chaucer, that they chose their mates on 14 February; the association of this time of year with the spring renewal of fertility goes back to the Roman festival of Lupercalia. The amorous behaviour passed from birds to human beings. Our programme will bring together readings, music and art with a romantic theme.
Wednesday 23 - Gert Jan van der Smam: Art is long, time is fleeting: images of Giovanna degli Albizzi Tornabuoni.
In 1486 Giovanna di Maso degli Albizzi married Lorenzo Tornabuoni. Their marriage was celebrated most lavishly, and their wedding occasioned the production of important works of art, notably the frescoes by Botticelli that are now in the Louvre. Giovanna soon gave birth to a son, but in October 1488 she died at the age of nineteen. Two posthumous portraits were painted by Domenico Ghirlandaio, including the much celebrated portrait on panel in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, through which Giovanna has become an icon of Renaissance beauty. Gert Jan van der Sman, head of the library at the Istituto Universitario Olandese di Storia dell'Arte in Florence (Utrecht University) and Professor of the History of Drawing and Printmaking at Leiden University, unravels the story behind the painted images of Giovanna degli Albizzi.
Wednesday March 2 - Andrea Rizzi: A Florentine diplomat at the court of Queen Elizabeth I.
This lecture presents and discusses two translations of admiral Howard's account of the 1588 English victory over the Spanish Armada. The first one was made by Petruccio Ubaldini and is in Italian, while the second is an English version of Ubaldini. Taken together the three texts (the English manuscript account of the war, Ubaldini's translation into Italian and the printed and English version) show that the circulation of an official report on the defeat of the Spanish armada was seen as paramount by the English court. But why did the Elizabethan court ask for an English translation of the Italian translation? Why was the first English version not published instead? By studying these three interconnected versions of the same account, Andrea Rizzi, current Villa I Tatti Fellow and Assistant Professor at the University of Melbourne, will try to answer these questions and reveal the role played by the Italian language at the court of Elizabeth I.

Theatre info: Teatro Comunale, Via Solferino 15. Tel. 055 27791. Teatro della Pergola, Via della Pergola 12/32, Tel. 055 2479651. Teatro Verdi, Via Ghibellina 99, tel. 055 212320. Teatro Saschall, Lungarno Moro 3, tel. 055 6504112. Teatro Goldoni, Via Santa Maria 15. Tel. 055 229651. Teatro Romano, Fiesole, Tel. 055/59187. Mandela Forum, Viale Paoli 3, tel. 055 678841. Stazione Leopolda. Viale Fratelli Rosselli 5. St. Mark's Church. Via Maggio 16. Tel. 055 294764. Church of Orsanmichele, Via dei Calzaiuoli. Tel. 055-210305. Teatro Puccini, via delle Cascine 41, Tel 055 362067. Chiesa S. Stefano al Ponte Vecchio, piazza S. Stefano 5. Viper Theatre, Via Lombardia 1.055/318056, http://www.viperclub.eu. Auditorium FLOG, Via M. Mercati, 24/b, 055/210804, http://www.flog.it Sala Vanni, Piazza del Carmine 14. Teatro Everest, Via Volterrana 4/b, tel. 055. 23 21 754. info@teatroeverest.it, http://www.teatroeverest.it. Teatro Politeama Pratese, Via G. Garibaldi, 33 - Prato. Tel: 0574/603758, http://www.politeamapratese.com. Purchase tickets for theatre, concerts and other events at the following ticket agencies: BOX OFFICE: Via delle Vecchie Carceri, 1 (near S. Ambrogio ), open M-F 9:30 to 7:00 pm, and Sat. 9:30 to 2:00 pm.. ARGONAUTA VIAGGI, Lungarno Torrigiani 33/B, Tel.055/2342777. Many tickets can be pre-purchased via http://www.ticketone.it, http://www.boxol.it.

Friday 4
RENZO ARBORE - with a 15 piece orchestra, the affable Arbore presents Neapolitan classics. But watch for touches of country, reggae, blues and rock. Teatro Verdi. 8:45 pm
THE MAGIC FLUTE - The Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio and vocalist Petra Magoni, present their new project dedicated to Mozart's masterpiece. Saschall. :15 pm.
JURAJ VALCUHA CONDUCTS - Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, music of Webern, Haydn, Strauss. Teatro Comunale. 8:30 pm.

Saturday 5
LIGABUE - This Italian rock icon is back in town with three much- awaited (and already sold-out) dates. Saschall. 9:00 pm.
MORGAN - Love him or hate him, he is no doubt the most controversial musician in Italy today. Here he performs his "Morgan Piano Solo" works. San Paolo della Croce, via Colle Ramole, Certosa. http://www.jazzato.com, tel.055.2373684
ALEXEI VOLODIN (piano) - Music by Haydn, Beethoven, Chopin. Teatro della Pergola. 4:00 pm.

Sunday 6
LIGABUE - This Italian rock icon is back in town with three much- awaited (and already sold-out) dates. Teatro Verdi. 9:00 pm.
MORGAN - Love him or hate him, he is no doubt the most controversial musician in Italy today. Here he performs his "Morgan Piano Solo" works. San Paolo della Croce, via Colle Ramole, Certosa. http://www.jazzato.com, tel.055.2373684
LAURA VEIRS - Sweet, shy and inspired. An American artist to experience. Sala Vanni, piazza del Carmine 14 . 9:30 pm.

Monday 7
LIGABUE - This Italian rock icon is back in town with three much- awaited (and already sold-out) dates. Teatro della Pergola. 9:00 pm.

Friday 11
ALBERTO BOCINI (Bass) - ALESSANDRO CAVICCHI (Piano) - Genesis in Concerto. Monash University, via Pugliesi 26 Prato. 9:00 pm. Tel.

Saturday 12
KOLJA BLACHER (Violin) - Music by Bach, Bartok, Berio. Teatro della Pergola. 4:00 pm.

Friday 18
MANON LESCAUT by GIACOMO PUCCINI - Bruno Bartoletti conducts. Directed by Olivier Tambosi. Teatro Comunale. 8:30 pm.

Sunday 20
TURTLE ISLAND QUARTET - The Art of Groove: a Musical voyage from Vivaldi to Jazz. Teatro della Pergola. 9:00 pm.
MANON LESCAUT by GIACOMO PUCCINI - Bruno Bartoletti conducts. Directed by Olivier Tambosi. Teatro Comunale. 3:30 pm.

Tuesday 22
MANON LESCAUT by GIACOMO PUCCINI - Bruno Bartoletti conducts. Directed by Olivier Tambosi. Teatro Comunale. 8:30 pm.

Wednesday 23
MANTOVA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA - Carlo Fabiano conducts. Viktoria Mullova (violin). Music by Poulenc, Mozart, Ibert. Teatro Verdi. 9:00 pm.

Thursday 24
MANON LESCAUT by GIACOMO PUCCINI - Bruno Bartoletti conducts. Directed by Olivier Tambosi. Teatro Comunale. 8:30 pm.
DALLA + De GREGORI - No introduction necessary. Teatro Goldoni di Livorno, via Goldoni 83, Livorno. 9:00 pm. http://www.goldoniteatro.it, tel: 0586204290.

Friday 25
OLEG CAETANI CONDUCTS - Ingeborg Danz (mezzo-soprano), Maximilian Schmitt (tenor), Stephan Loges (baritone). Music by Mendelssohn. Teatro Comunale. 8:30 pm.

Saturday 26
MANON LESCAUT by GIACOMO PUCCINI - Bruno Bartoletti conducts. Directed by Olivier Tambosi. Teatro Comunale. 8:30 pm.

Odeon Theatre, Piazza Strozzi 2. Phone: 055 214 068. http://www.cinehall.it
Check the Odeon site for upcoming show times for TRON: LEGACY, AWAY WE GO and TAMARA DREWE.
Tuesday 8 - BIUTIFUL (with Italian subtitles) by Alejandro González Iñárritu. 4.00 - 6.30 - 9.30 pm
Wednesday 9 - BIUTIFUL (with Italian subtitles) by Alejandro González Iñárritu. 4.00 - 6.30 - 9.30 pm
Thursday 10 - BARNEY'S VERSION (with Italian subtitles) by Richard J. Lewis. 3.00 - 5.30 - 8.00 -10.20 pm
Friday 11 - BIUTIFUL (with Italian subtitles) by Alejandro González Iñárritu. 4.00 - 6.30 - 9.30 pm
Saturday 12 - BIUTIFUL (with Italian subtitles) by Alejandro González Iñárritu. 6.30 - 9.30 pm
Sunday 13 - BIUTIFUL (with Italian subtitles) by Alejandro González Iñárritu. 4.00 - 6.30 - 9.30 pm
Monday 14 - AWAY WE GO (with Italian subtitles) by Sam Mendes. 3.00 - 4.50 - 6.30 pm
Tuesday 15 - AWAY WE GO (with Italian subtitles) by Sam Mendes. 4.00 - 6.00 pm
Wednesday 16 - BIUTIFUL (with Italian subtitles) by Alejandro González Iñárritu. 6.30 - 9.30 pm
Thursday 17 - SURPRISE FILM: Special screening or repetition of a successful movie. For shows check http://www.cinehall.it.
Friday 18 - TRUE GRIT (with Italian subtitles) by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen. 4.00 - 6.00 - 8.30 -10.30 pm
Saturday 19 - TRUE GRIT (with Italian subtitles) by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen. 4.00 - 6.00 - 8.30 -10.30 pm
Sunday 20 - TRUE GRIT (with Italian subtitles) by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen. 4.00 - 6.00 - 8.30 -10.30 pm
Monday 21 - TRUE GRIT (with Italian subtitles) by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen. 6.00 - 8.30 -10.30 pm
Wednesday 23 - TRUE GRIT (with Italian subtitles) by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen.4.00 - 6.00 - 8.30 -10.30 pm
Thursday 24 - THE KING'S SPEECH by Tom Hooper. 4.00 - 6.00 - 8.30 -10.30 pm
Friday 25 - TRUE GRIT (with Italian subtitles) by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen. 4.00 - 6.00 - 8.30 -10.30 pm
Saturday 26 - TRUE GRIT (with Italian subtitles) by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen. 4.00 - 6.00 - 8.30 -10.30 pm
Sunday 27- TRUE GRIT (with Italian subtitles) by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen. 4.00 - 6.00 - 8.30 -10.30 pm

BIUTIFUL is a love story between a father and his children. This is the journey of Uxbal (masterfully played by Javier Bardem), a conflicted man who struggles to reconcile fatherhood, love, spirituality, crime, guilt and mortality amidst the dangerous underworld of modern Barcelona.
BARNEY'S VERSION gives us a glimpse into the life and times of Barney Panofsky, a hard-drinking, cigar-smoking, foulmouthed 65-year old hockey fanatic and television producer. Join the fun with Paul Giamatti as Barney, plus Dustin Hoffman and Minnie Driver.
In AWAY WE GO Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jeff Daniels, John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph star in the story of a couple who, expecting their first child, travel around the U.S. in search of the perfect place to start their family.
TRUE GRIT stars Jeff Bridges as a gritty U.S. Marshal helping a stubborn young woman (the unstoppable young Hailee Steinfeld) track down her father's murderer. Also starring Josh Brolin and Matt Damon.
Based on the true story of King George VI, THE KING'S SPEECH follows the Royal Monarch's quest to find his voice. After the death of his father King George V and the scandalous abdication of King Edward VIII, Bertie (Colin Firth) who has suffered from a debilitating speech impediment all his life, is suddenly crowned King George VI of England. With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), the future Queen Mother, arranges for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). After a rough start, the two delve into an unorthodox course of treatment and eventually form an unbreakable bond.



MERCATINO DI APRILANTE - Artisan wares market
Sun. 6 (morning to afternoon) visit Panzano-in-Chianti. The first Sunday of each month the weekly town market held in Panzano is expanded with artisan booths of all sorts. Depending on which vendors show up, you'll find honey and pecorino (sheep's milk) cheese makers, hand-embroidered linen makers, boutique wineries and antique dealers and much more. To visit Panzano by car from Florence or Siena, take Route 222, the "Chiantigiana" highway passing through the Chianti wine area. From the west, there is a road connecting with the highway at Tavarnelle or S. Donato. This pretty road passes the monastery of Badia a Passignano. It is also possible to reach Panzano by SITA bus from Florence. The trip takes about one hour.

On Sun. 6, as on every first Sunday of the month, from 8 am to sunset, you can enjoy a visit to Fiesole with the added fun of perusing the stands filled with bric-brac and antiques. Piazza Mino. For info phone 0555978373.


Chocolate chocolate everywhere! Check out the FESTA DEL CIOCCOLATO in Fiesole in Piazza Mino on Sun. 13 to find some of Italy's best chocolate makers and their wares. Whoever is not in Fiesole will be in Piazza Cavour of Livorno from Fri. 11 to Sun. 13 (from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm) serving up the "Black Gold" in a myriad of ways at CIOCCOLANDIA (info: tel. 347 6357063, http://www.spazio-eventi.it). If you still haven't had enough chocolate, then check out Piazza Matteotti in Scandicci on Sat. 26 and Sun. 27 from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm for more.

From Sun. 20, and proceeding through each of the next three Sundays (so Sunday 27, and Sundays March 6 and 13 plus Fat Tuesday March 8), seaside Viareggio is transformed into a mind-blowing party scene. This Tuscan festa (in its 138th year) simply MUST be experienced. Pile the gang in a car or onto the train and head out for one crazy Sunday afternoon. ENORMOUS floats parade along the boardwalk, peopled by hundreds of townsfolk each, dancing in front or animating the float itself. Leave your angst at home, wear clothes you don't care too much about, because it is a given that you'll end up sprayed with foam and sprinkled with confetti. Old, young, and everyone in-between joins in the silliness. Viareggio. Starting times for parades: 3:00 pm (except Fat Tuesday at 9:00 pm and Sunday 13 March at 5:00 pm). Ticket: 15 euro. Kids under 10 free, 11 to 13: 10 euro. Info: tel. 0584 962568, http://www.viareggio.ilcarnevale.com.
Other slightly less-famous celebrations are held all around Tuscany. Check out Pietrasanta on Sun. 20 and 27 and March 6 (http://www.comune.pietrasanta.lu.it), or Borgo San Lorenzo on Sundays 13, 20 and 27, and March 6 (3:00 pm) where they do a nice, home-spun style town party aimed primarily at kids, with floats you can jump up onto and ride along. San Casciano Val di Pesa celebrates with a medieval parade at 3:00 on Sun. March 6 starting at 2:00 pm. The town of Paperino near Prato puts on a good show starting at 3:00 on Sun. 20, 27 and March 6 and 8 (http://www.carnevaledipaperino.it). Look for fun these same dates in San Gimignano, Buonconvento, Chiusi, Pescia, Bientina, Arezzo and Foiano della Chiana.

Sun. 20, the prettily restored Piazza Mino in Fiesole will host a craft market. Many of the artisans attending this monthly fair bring their wares as well as their craft, often working on the spot. Hours: 10:00 am to 7:30 pm. For info phone: 055 598720.

IL PAGLIAIO - Organic products market
Sun 27, the lovely main piazza of Greve-in-Chianti will fill with vendors of all things organic. From 10:00 am to 7:00 pm you can browse past booths selling organic vegetables, honey, cheese, fabrics, wine, baskets and more. Info: 055 8545271.

Until May 8 the Medici Villa of Poggio a Caiano will display The Hunts of the Grand Dukes, two tapestries from a celebrated series made for the Villa. The exhibition displays one recently restored large tapestry made to a design by Alessandro Allori showing the "Swan Hunt", and another of the "Wild Goose Hunt", again to a design by Alessandro Allori. For this occasion, the Swan tapestry which is part of the Villa patrimony, is joined by the second, usually conserved in the Tapestries Repository of Palazzo Pitti, which is managed by the Costume Gallery of Florence. Both were part of a famous series commissioned by Grand Dukes Cosimo I and Francesco I to adorn the Villa. Free admission. Hours: 8:15 - 4:30 pm (February), 8:15 - 5:30 pm (March), and 8:15 - 6:30 pm (April, May). Villa Medicea di Poggio a Caiano. Piazza de' Medici 14, Poggio a Caiano (Po).

GHIRLANDAIO - The Ghirlandaio Family. Renaissance Painters in Florence and Scandicci,
Until May 1 a widespread series of locales host one of Florence's most interesting artistic dynasties. Though always used in the singular, the name Ghirlandaio is actually the trademark of a family dynasty of artists and entrepreneurs, who, beginning in the second half of the 15th century, dominated the scene of the Florentine Renaissance for a century. Domenico (1449-1494) was the first artist in the Ghirlandaio family, which included his brothers David (1452-1525) and Benedetto (1458-1497), his half-brother Giovambattista, his brother-in-law Bastiano, and his son Ridolfo (1483-1561). In addition to family members, numerous other artists who were apprenticed to their school (Michelangelo and Granacci being the most renowned) contributed to spreading their fame throughout Italy and Europe. The Ghirlandaio workshop was extremely productive and organized according to quite modern criteria as to skills and roles. Within the workshop Domenico and Ridolfo were the creative masters of colour, others were extremely good at painting, and others still, were expert in workshop management.
This well-balanced, prolific and long-lived clan is now the focus of an exhibition, the first one dedicated to the family in its entirety, involving an area spreading from Florence to Scandicci. This is the zone where the Ghirlandaio family lived and worked, rarely leaving, filling it with masterpieces, and creating a spectacular and diffused museum.
The actual surname of Domenico Ghirlandaio was Bigordi, and he and his brothers ended up being identified with the nickname of their father, an excellent goldsmith renowned for his special skill in making garlands (ghirlanda in Italian). From Scandicci, their homeland, they moved to Florence in the first half of the 15th century, and their workshop, in the then world capital of art, was established in the second half of the century.
The exhibition tour starts from Scandicci, in the Castello dell'Acciaiolo. The Castello showcases a famous painting by Domenico (Saints James, Stephen and Peter), a beautiful Madonna by Ridolfo (from the Fuligno Refectory) and 14 other works loaned by various museums in Florence.
Two different Ghirlandaio exhibition itineraries "depart" from Scandicci. The one in Florence includes the frescoes in the Sala dei Gigli of the Palazzo Vecchio, the Sassetti Chapel and the Tornabuoni Chapel - respectively in the churches of Santa Trinita and Santa Maria Novella - and the Adoration of the Magi at the Museo degli Innocenti. The other includes the area north-west of Florence, on both sides of the Arno, abounding in works of art that the Ghirlandaio family created and left in two family homes; in San Martino and Colleramole, in the Church of Sant'Andrea in Campi Bisenzio, the Sacred Art Museums of San Donnino and San Martino. And also Mosciano, Giogoli, San Martino alla Palma, and San Colombano.
It is a fascinating journey into the Florentine Renaissance which offers guided visits, educational workshops, as well as a prize for students and artisans. Moreover, you can buy or taste typical products in restaurants and shops participating in the initiative. Show locations: CASTELLO DELL'ACCIAIOLO, Via Pantin, Scandicci. BADIA DI SAN SALVATORE E SAN LORENZO A SETTIMO, Scandicci. MUSEO DI ARTE SACRA DI SAN MARTINO A GANGALANDI, Lastra a Signa. MUSEO DI ARTE SACRA DI SAN DONNINO, Campi Bisenzio. MUSEO DEGLI INNOCENTI, Florence. PALAZZO MEDICI RICCARDI, Florence. Hours: Thursdays to Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. For information and bookings: 055.2340742, http://www.ghirlandaio.it.

Over five centuries ago, Filippo Lippi ascended three stories of scaffolding in the dark recesses of Prato's cathedral. Today, the three-tiered frescoes, which cover the walls and vaults of the main chapel with stories of St. John the Baptist and St. Stephen, are visible in renewed splendor after seven years of restoration. Small, guided tours of the fresco cycle now allow the public to come face to face with Lippi. The restoration began in the upper reaches of the chapel ceiling. Four monumental images of the evangelists are incised within the arches of the groin vault. Below them flow the scenes from the lives of two saints: Stephen, Prato's patron saint on the left, and John the Baptist, protector of nearby Florence on the right. From his birth in the top register to his death on the lower register, each saints' life is a theatrical spectacle played out with vivid imagery.
Fra Filippo Lippi was quite an intriguing character; his behavior wasn't exactly exemplary of the Carmelite order, (Fra indicates his religious title). The Carmelites ordained him and trained him as an artist, and by the time he reached Prato in 1452 he was among the most highly regarded and frequently commissioned painters of the early Renaissance. His trysts with various women had already gained him a somewhat sensational reputation, but it is the long-running romance with nun Lucrezia Buti, 25 years his junior, that has been most noted by history. Lucrezia modeled for many of the Lippi's Madonnas, and is said to have been the inspiration for the enchanting Salome, who dances through the final scene of John the Baptist's fresco cycle, The Feast of Herod. The three-part banquet scene contains larger-than-life figures that feast and make merry around the dancing girl, whom many compare to the female figures in the later works of Lippi's young apprentice Botticelli.
Prato Cathedral. Open Mon. to Sat. 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission: 4 euro with audio guide. Small, guided tours available by calling 0574/24112. http://www.restaurofilippolippi.it


All the best,

Pitcher and Flaccomio