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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 2012
WELCOME

Finally, after the snow (or threat thereof) we are on the road to Spring and Easter. The first sign is Carnival, so pull out your fancy dress, elegant mask and head to Viareggio (or Venice) for some serious partying.

We are wishing you a February filled with Chocolate (see below) and Carnival Celebrations from SUZANNE, CORSO, BEI, SANDRA, LORI, ANNA PIA, ANN and MARIO.

PITCHER & FLACCOMIO PICKS FOR FEBRUARY

BEST EXTRAVAGANZA FOR FEBRUARY – Carnival in Viareggio

For the most over the top fun in February you must leave Florence and go to Viareggio for at least one day of the Viareggio Carnival. (February 5, 12 19, 21, and 26) Try to catch the sunniest day you can - Carnival is a drag in the rain. This Tuscan festa (in its 139th year) simply must be experienced. Pile the gang in a car or onto the train or Lazzi bus and head out for one crazy Sunday afternoon. Enormous floats parade along the boardwalk, peopled by hundreds od locals, dancing in front or animating the float itself. Leave your angst at home, wear clothes you don't care too much about, because it's a given that you'll end up sprayed with foam and sprinkled with confetti. Old, young, and everyone in-between join in the silliness.

Viareggio Carnival is doubtless among the most famous carnivals in Italy, and one of the most important of Europe, with hundreds of thousand visitors from all over the world. Viareggio Carnival was born in 1873 as a folk event, and at present can be considered as a dynamic and lively show. The stars are the huge paper maché floats and puppets, which will parade along the famous viali a mare, down the seaside promenades, offering a wide program of entertainment and fun for children and adults. Bands and other performance groups come from all over the world to participate. At least 800,000 visitors enjoy the Viareggio Carnival each year.

The floats are the true crowd-pleasers. They take an entire year to construct. The biggest floats, over 20 meters high and weighing 40 tons, will carry about 200 people in costume who will dance and throw confetti and candies. Other people will be inside the floats to maneuver the weights, the counter-weights and levers that will make the puppets move. The paper maché puppets satirize public and political figures, depict social issues, as well as fairy-tale heroes. Florence Mayor Renzi is rumored to be one of this year's satiric figures

Noteworthy, is the program of related events including a large number of shows and cultural activities such as musical comedies in vernacular, a series of carnival menus available in the restaurants, festivals in the various neighborhoods, as well as numerous masked balls held in the most fashionable discotheques and ballrooms.

Starting times for parades: 3:00 pm. Ticket: 15 euro. Kids under 10 free, 11 to 13 years: 10 euro. Info: tel. 0584 962568, http://www.viareggio.ilcarnevale.com.


P&F PICK APARTMENT RENTAL FOR FEBRUARY – Above the city in Apartment Michelangelo

For those who think the crowds have ruined their favorite city on earth, the Apartment Michelangelo is the perfect place to stay for a week or a month. It's on the hillside above Piazzale Michelangelo and has balconies overlooking the Tuscan countryside as well as the city in the distance. There's room for three people with a double bedroom and a single room. Completely renovated in 2011, it has all that's needed with dishwasher, washer, satellite TV and internet access. The walk to the historic center takes only 30 minutes.

For more information, check this link.

MUSEUM FOR FEBRUARY – Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology

Founded in 1869 by the famous anthropologist Paolo Mantegazza, this was the first museum of its kind in Italy. It still has the dusty, musty feel of the late 19th century and thus, is perfect for the off-beat museum lover or kids of quirky imagination.

The displays relate to the habits and customs of the different parts of the world. There are weapons, household items (straw and wooden containers), necklaces and amulets, musical instruments, ceramics and idols from Asia and the Polynesian Isles, costumes and boats from China, New Guinea, the Indies and much, much more. Skulls from all over the world constitute the most important part of the anthropological collection.

Among the curiosities are the musical instruments assembled by the Tuscan painter Galileo Chini in the early 1900s. Chini was summoned by the King of Siam to decorate his palace and collected items during his travels in the Far East. There are also large exhibits dedicated to the cultures of India and Tibet.


Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology
Via del Proconsolo, 12 - Tel. 055 2396449

Admittance time. Weekdays: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 9 am-1 pm; Saturday 9 am - 5 pm; Holidays: 9 am - 1 pm; the ticket office closes 30 minutes before the museum closing time.

Closed on: Wednesday. December 25, January 1, Easter, May 1, August 15.

Entrance: € 4,00; reduced ticket € 2,00. Combined ticket for all museum sections € 6,00; reduced ticket € 3,00.


BEST MARKET FOR FEBRUARY – Chocolate, Chocolate, and more Chocolate

From Friday, February 10 to Sunday, February 19, Piazza della Repubbica will host the 8th 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.

In a seemingly odd pairing, this year the "Chocobike" will make an appearance. The Cooperativa Ulisse, a nonprofit group working with the psychological disadvantaged with progect that include the repair and renting of bicycles, will be presenting a few specially decorated bicycles to promote the pairing of chocolate and bike riding in the promotion of health.

Every day the establishments around the square are getting into the chocolate spirit. Bar Giubbe Rosse will be offering "futuristic" aperitivo with a chocolate base. Ristorante Pesca Rosso will follow their famed fish Cacciucco with a desert of chocolate souffle'.

Come on the weekends (11/12 & 18/19) 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


BEST RISTORANTE FOR FEBRUARY – La Maremma

La Maremma on Via Verdi has served up some of the finest Tuscan food at some of the most reasonable prices in Florence for 25 years by Enzo Ragazzini and his son, Luca. Their penne pasta with mushroom and truffle sauce is scrumptious and their grill works overtime producing great bistecca and veal chops. Even the simple grilled chicken breast is tender and flavorful. For a healthy lunch, pair it with a contorno of saute'ed spinach. Their fruit tiramisu is a refreshing take on an old favorite. Everything is cooked to order and the service is warm and friendly.

Ristorante La Maremma
Via Verdi, 16/r
055-244615
Closed Wednesday


FORZA VIOLA!! FOR FEBRUARY – Florentine Calcio

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

Forza Viola!.........Goodbye Gila; is it too harsh to relish Genoa’s heavy defeats since he joined them? Bad feeling is following bad results with hard-line “fans” barricading the team in their dressing room after the abysmal defeat to Lecce. When Jovetic doesn’t play, we look pedestrian – and now the club are having to deny rumours of a dressing-room rift. The solution is to start winning again and we need to augment our attack. As the transfer window eases shut, we hear that Amauri is coming to the Stadio; a centre-forward to have hope in! We hear that Cerci, Camporese, maybe others are about to leave. We will wait and see how much of the speculation turns out to have legs.

Fiorentina’s Results

Week 17: Novara-Fiorentina WON 3-0
Coppa Italia: Roma-Fiorentina LOST 0-3
Week 18: Fiorentina-Lecce LOST 0-1
Week 19: Cagliari-Fiorentina DREW 0-0

Primavera. There is no holding our young teams. The primavera side swatted Empoli and held Juve 2-2 in Turin; they stand second. The youth team and the boys are even more impressive, each heading their league and showing no sign of fatigue.

Serie A. Week 17 is good. Babbo Natale brings us Novara to play with. Newly-promoted, soon-to-be-relegated. They know it and the game is all Fiorentina. With Novara in sky-blue and the Viola in yellow, Boruc glories in his pink kit and never gets it dirty. We run a new 3-5-2 system (or is it 5-3-2? Or 3-2-5? Why do these formations never add up to eleven?). On 20 minutes, a shimmering Jovetic is hacked down and executes the perfect penalty. Montolivo scores a peach, turning his marker and curving the ball inside the far post. Then a combination that could become a fixture – Ljajic crosses, Jovetic catches it perfectly, their keeper retrieves the ball a third time. That’s it. It takes us up the table – but let’s not go wild! It’s only Novara.

Week 18 is bad. With a cruise ship foundering off the Tuscan coast, Fiorentina list to starboard and fall beneath Lecce, the no-hopers sitting right at the bottom of the league. We had 60% of possession. We had 12 shots at goal against their three. But they got the only goal – a 65th minute penalty. Only Jovetic looks really confident. Could this just be fall-out from the Roma cup defeat? Surely not; Rossi has corn to earn here!

Licking self-inflicted wounds, we venture south to Cagliari. “Dear Teacher, I am afraid Fiorentina cannot come out to play today”. Oh dear, no Jovetic and we look second-rate at best – but so do Cagliari (so maybe we should lighten up on our defence – and, certainly, Boruc has occasion to show the opposition that he cannot be beaten). We hardly have a shot. The millions of spectators who didn’t turn up must be feeling smug. This is not looking hopeful.

Coppa Italia. The Coppa is designed to engage everyone (ticking the “democracy” box) but structured so the usual suspects share the winning among themselves. We pursue this riddle to Roma. It’s an interesting game, Roma rankling after their league shaming at our hands (or feet). It is, as they say “a game of two halves”: early, we are sharp, decisive and could easily have been three or four goals ahead - but their keeper was in form and had luck on his side; Ljajic was a second too slow. That’s life – time wore on and any team with Totti in its ranks will put you under pressure. Roma were lucky with the opening goal but in the second half we lost the plot; no-one played to their ability. But who cares about the Coppa?

Next Month. The next month or so will be testing. We must see off Siena if just for the local bragging rights. We’ve already beaten Bologna and Parma this season but both have stayed nip-and-tuck with us. Udinese and Lazio have taken three points from us and both remain Scudetto challengers – as do Napoli, although the southerners are flagging of late. Unless Rossi boosts the squad, the pickings could be thin and February the month when we gave up thoughts of Europe and turned to building for the future...........Forza Viola!

THE FIORENTINA SCHEDULE:

We move from January into February with:
Week 20: 29 Jan/home Fiorentina-Siena
Week 21: 01 Feb/away Bologna-Fiorentina
Week 22: 05 Feb/home Fiorentina-Udinese
Week 23: 12 Feb/away Parma-Fiorentina
Week 24: 19 Feb/home Fiorentina-Napoli
Week 25: 26 Feb/away Lazio-Fiorentina

BUYING TICKETS

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 Dupre 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


BEST BOOK FOR FEBRUARY – Head Over Heel: Seduced by Southern Italy by Chris Harrison

A whitewashed fishing village, a shapely signorina and an infatuated young man - head over heels in the heel of the boot. After falling in love with la bella Daniela, Chris Harrison uproots his life to follow her to her small hometown on the coast of Puglia and live La Dolce Vita.

This award-winning book takes us on a vivid and hilarious journey into the heart of southern Italy, along the way introducing us to a cast of eccentric characters: a policeman who rearranges crimes to suit the necessary forms, a doctor who prescribes patients his homemade lemon liqueur, and Daniela's mother - the biggest challenge of all! Can their relationship possibly survive or will the sweet life turn sour? This is an enchanting tale of amore, Italian style.


BEST BOOK FOR KIDS FOR FEBRUARY – Madeline and the Cats of Rome by John Bemelmans Marciano

Kindergarten-Grade 2—In the first all-new Madeline book in almost 50 years, Ludwig Bemelmans's grandson tries his hand at re-creating the magic and charm of the boisterous little French girl. In this escapade, Miss Clavel and the girls escape the cold, rainy weather in Paris to enjoy spring in Rome. But when their camera is stolen, Madeline races off to catch the culprit. She tracks her down and discovers one of the hiding places of the famed cats of Rome.

When the thief, Caterina, lures Madeline into one of her schemes, both girls are taken to the police station. Madeline is reunited with her teacher and classmates and decides to help Caterina stage a "rescue operation" for the cats. After successfully finding homes for all of the felines, Miss Clavel, Madeline, and the girls bid a fond "Ciao!" to Italy. Marciano includes a list of Roman sites found in the illustrations. Missing, however, is a much-needed author's note explaining the history and significance of the more than 300,000 stray cats that live among the city's monuments and ruins. Nonetheless, the large Madeline fan base may want to include this new adventure alongside the originals.


ARTISAN FOR FEBRUARY – Ornella Aprosio

In a magical oasis on the edge of the noise and bustle of Florence's historic center, you can find a glittering green-blue seahorse hanging on a ribbon just a foot away from a pink calla lily lapel pin. Fiery chili pepper necklaces vie with ruby red cherry earrings and spotted ladybug pins. On the upholstered "husband" bench, beaded needlepoint pillows provide support for the viewing of one after another of the jewel-toned purses and evening clutches. This is the world of the Aprosio & Co., the dream child of designer Ornella Aprosio, master artisan of the tiniest of crystal and glass beads.

The art of beadwork was very popular at the beginning of the 20th century, reaching its height with the "flapper" styles of the 1920s, but with the worldwide depression of the 1930s the lighthearted designs disappeared and the artisans couldn't sell their creations. A Rome native, Ornella Aprosio began her career as a professional bead designer in 1993. Before that she was a restorer of antique clothing, including evening gowns dating back to the 1920s, thus giving her expertise in working with complex beadwork. There were no teachers for beaded jewelry, so she had to experiment with each of her early pieces.

Now, besides creating her own unique pieces, Ornella employs about thirty artisans. Her bi-level store with its ivy-covered courtyard is located in the Palazzo Frescobaldi on Via Santo Spirito. The shop is graced by the presence of Monsieur Maquis, Ornella's dog, and a suitably aloof cat. A couple of months ago she opened another location across the river on Via della Spada.

Although some of the simpler pieces are affordable to all, Aprosio's wares are not inexpensive. The prices reflect the skill and time required to produce each piece by hand, as well as the fine materials she personally chooses - Venice's Murano micro glass beads (known as conteria) from Venice and Bohemian crystal beads from the Czech Republic.

The different shapes, glitter (matte glass Italian conteria, sparkling Bohemian crystal seed beads) and colors of the beads highlight the details and expertise of the designs. Ranging from classic shapes - simple soft stretchy bracelets, a classic knotted necklace and brightly colored ball ear posts - to the more extravagant complex pieces - bumble bee pins, art deco evening bags, and orchid necklaces - that can take up to weeks to create, Aprosio has something for every taste.

Shop, showroom and office
Via Santo Spirito 11 (Palazzo Frescobaldi)
Tel:+39 055 2654077

Shop 2
Via della Spada, 38r
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 9.30 - 19.30, Saturday: 10.00 - 13.30 / 15.00 - 19.30


BEST GELATO FOR FEBRUARY – Il Re Gelato

Antonio Cafarelli, a Sicilian gelataio, opened at Il Re Gelato over near the Fortezza del Basso about 3 years ago and it was an immediate hit. His gelato and granita are different - the classic flavors are there, but he adds some of his own creative recipes (Greek yogurt with walnuts and figs, chocolate with rum) - and are simply delicious. His almonds, pistachios and hazelnuts are from Sicily. Fruit is pureed with skin and the flavors are strictly seasonal.

Antonio also serves Sicilian pastry, including small or large cannoli filled to order. In the glass display cases, you can also find a complete meal of tasty salty Sicilian specialties, including two or three types of arancini - friend rice balls with a surprise of meat, cheese or veggies at the very center.

Viale Filippo Strozzi, 8/r ; Closed Monday


BEST DEAL FOR FEBRUARY – Free Day at the Museums in Remembrance of Anna Maria Luisa

On Saturday, the 18th, 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 11 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.


BEST HOT CHOCOLATE FOR FEBRUUARY – Catinari at Arte del Cioccolato

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.

For February, head to Arte del Cioccolato for Roberto Catinari's cioccolata calda. First, there is the walk down the short paved alley off of Via Porta Rossa near Via Tornabuoni with its decorative trees and huge flickering candles. The tiny shop is paneled in dark wood with glass cases full of meticulously decorated chocolate candies. Two comfortable seats are inside and outside, heaters keep the small tables warm even in winter. Arte del Cioccolato serves either Fondente (dark chocolate) or Al Latte (milk chocolate) flavors, both made with chocolate from São Tomé, the small island in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Africa. A large ceramic cup is filled just over half way with thick hot hot chocolate, placed on a saucer with a spoon. The spoon is useful for cooling the first sips and capturing the last bit coating the sides of the cup. None should be missed.

A life devoted to chocolate – Roberto Catinari, now in his mid 70s, is credited with inspiring Tuscany’s young chocolatiers, who gave birth to the “Chocolate Valley” that runs from Florence through Prato and Pistoia and on to Lucca and Pisa. It is said that his love of chocolate began in Switzerland where the young Pistoian immigrant began work at seventeen as a dishwasher in a pastry shop. It was over ten years before he worked his way into the white coat of a pastry chef. He spent ten more years perfecting his craft.

In 1974, he returned to the mountains north of Pistoia and his mother’s house in the hamlet of Bardalone, to start a business with his wife. Six years later they moved to a more advantageous location in Agliana (between Pistoia and Prato) where the kitchen and shop continued until 2007 when he obtained a larger space nearby.

Catinari, with his flowing white beard, could be a chocolate wizard from a Harry Potter novel, but he looks at his work as a craft to be mastered. Over the past thirty years he has created a business where at first no one would pay for quality ingredients until today when chocolate-makers beg for a chance to spend time learning in his relatively small chocolate laboratory. He demands attention to detail, the best ingredients, and a passion for chocolate from all who work with him. Catinari keeps the facility small by choice – a way of valuing quality over quantity. His focus is on the value that hand-made attention to detail and the best raw ingredients bring to the final product.

Except for the shop in Agliana, there is only one other Cantinari Arte del Cioccolato shop and that is in Florence, down a specially decorated little alley at the bottom of Via Porta Rossa where it meets Via Tornabuoni. It’s easy to miss. Here the attention to the main ingredient is readily apparent and drinking cioccolata calda is a special experience.

Roberto Catinari, www.robertocatinari.it, www.artedelcioccolato.it . Arte del Cioccolato, Chiasso de Soldanieri, near the corner of Via Porta Rossa and Via Tornabuoni); +39-o55-217-136, also Via Provinciale, 378; Agliana; +39-0574-718-506; Open from 10:00am to 8:00pm

BEST OF THE REST FOR FEBRUARY

TAKE YOUR SWEETHEART TO A MUSEUM FOR VALENTINE'S DAY

Special offer!! Museum tickets will come "two for the price of one" on February 14. 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.



FIERUCOLINA DEI SEMI

On Sun. 19 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. www.lafierucola.org



DANZAINFIERA

From Thurs. 23 to Sun. 26, the Fortezza da Basso once again shakes with the 7th 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 .


GRACE ON WHEELS -- Artists of Roller Skating

Sat. 25 at 9pm and Sun. 26 at 3:30pm, at Florence's Mandela Forum the public shows of the World Roller Skating Grand Prix will take place. This prestigious artistic roller skating event is coming to Florence for the second time. Check for tickets at http://www.ticketone.com.


ORIGINAL LANGUAGE FILMS -- Odeon Cinema

THE IRON LADY
(UK 2011- 105')
By Phyllida Lloyd.

With Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Harry Lloyd, Anthony Head

Wed/Mer 1: 6.00- 8.30- 10.30 pm
Fri/Ven 3: 4.00- 6.00- 8.30- 10.30 pm
Sat/Sab 4: 4.00- 6.00- 8.30- 10.30 pm
Sun/Dom 5: 4.00- 6.00- 8.30- 10.30 pm
Wed/Mer 8: 4.00- 6.00- 8.30- 10.30 pm
Fri/Ven 10: 4.00- 6.00- 8.30- 10.30 pm
Sat/Sab 11: 4.00- 6.00- 8.30- 10.30 pm
Sun/Dom 12: 4.00- 6.00- 8.30- 10.30 pm
Wed/Mer 15: 4.00- 6.00- 8.30- 10.30 pm

“One’s life must matter, Denis.” Meryl Streep’s Margaret Thatcher will surely go down as one of the great performances, regardless of opinions on the politics of Britain’s first woman Prime Minister or the movie’s approach to her life on and off the world stage. ‘A biopic that values character over context’ (Hollywood Reporter).


THE HELP
(USA 2012- 137')
By Tate Taylor

With Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Mike Vogel

Mon/Lun 30: 4.00- 6.40- 9.30 pm
Tue/Mart 31: 3.00- 5.40- 10.30 pm

Mississippi in the 1960s. An aspiring author decides to write a book detailing African-American maids’ points of view on the white families they work for. ‘A stirring black-empowerment tale aimed squarely at white audiences’ (Variety).’ This is a good film, involving and wonderfully acted. I was drawn into the characters and quite moved’ (Roger Ebert).


BOBBY FISHER AGAINST THE WORLD
(USA, UK, Iceland 2011- 92')
By Liz Garbus

Wed/Mer 1: 4.00 pm

Bobby Fischer against the World is a feature documentary that uses the narrative tension of the 1972 match between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer to explore the nature of genius, madness, and the game of chess itself. This film tells the stranger-than-fiction story of the rise and fall of an Fischer, a true icon.



MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL

(USA 2011- 133')
By Brad Bird

With Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Jeremy Renner

Thu/Gio 2: 4.00- 6.40- 9.30 pm
Mon/Lun 6: 4.00- 6.40- 9.30 pm

In MI4 the IMF is shut down when it is implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, causing Ethan Hunt and his new team to go rogue to clear their organization's name. ‘Ghost Protocol brims with scenes that are exciting and amazing at the same time; they're brought off with such casual aplomb that they're funny, too’ (Entertainment Weekly)



THE MUPPETS
(USA 2011-109’)
By James Bobin

With Emily Blunt, Ricky Gervais, Amy Adams, Zach Galifianakis

Thu/Gio 9: 4.00- 6.00 pm
Thu/Gio 16: 4.00- 6.00 pm

On vacation in Los Angeles, Walter, the world’s biggest Muppet fan, and his friends Gary and Mary from Smalltown, USA, discover the nefarious plan of oilman Tex Richman to raze the Muppet Theater and drill for the oil recently discovered beneath the Muppets’ former stomping grounds. To stage The Greatest Muppet Telethon Ever and raise the $10 million needed to save the theater, Walter, Mary and Gary help Kermit reunite the Muppets.


THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATOO
(USA 2011- 158')
By David Fincher

With Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig, Stellan Skarsgård, Robin Wright, Christopher Plummer

Mon/Lun 13: 3.00- 6.00-9.00 pm
Tue/Mart 14: 3.00- 6.00 pm

David Fincher’s remake of the Swedish adaptation of the first of Stieg Larssen’s Millennium series follows the investigation into an old murder by journalist Blomqvist and Goth hacker Lisbeth Salander. ‘It moves like a mad dog, looks like a hi-def dream and is deliciously cast from top to bottom. Go and bask in the lushly photographed luridness’ (Time Out New York).


THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE
(USA 2009- 90')
By R.J. Cutler

Tue/Mart 14: 9.00 pm

Award-winning documentary following Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and the magazine’s preparations for the 2007 Fall issue. ‘A splendid study of the forces and passions behind the world's biggest fashion magazine’ (Empire). ‘Subversively entertaining’ (Rolling Stone). ‘Lusciously revealing’ (Entertainment Weekly).



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.

On the 200th anniversary of his birth in Portsea on 7 February 1812, enthusiasts around the world will be celebrating the life and work of one of Britain’s best loved novelists, Charles Dickens. Admired well beyond the Anglosphere for his unforgettable and inimitable chronicle of the highs and lows of life in all its variety in Victorian England, perhaps it is Dickens’s characters – often accused of being unrealistically eccentric and one-dimensional – that people most delight in. That this kaleidoscope of caricature, incident, comedy, tragedy, satire and irony would go unnoticed by the cinema is of course unthinkable, and adaptations of the novels (or parts of them) to the screen date from as early as 1901, only 30 odd years after the author’s death. Since then, there have been hundreds of adaptations (Dickens being second only to Shakespeare in this regard), and by the nature of Dickens extended style and convoluted plotting, many of these have found a natural home on television in numerous multi-part serials that not least cinematically are excellent and perhaps unrivalled visualisations of the Dickens oeuvre.

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1838-39) received a dutiful adaptation in 2002 with an enormous star cast attempting to do justice to Dickens’s ironic satire. Little Nell Trent and her grandfather are the protagonists of The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-41) with another fine ensemble cast in Brian Percival’s 2007 TV movie. Alastair Sim’s as Scrooge is a performance to be cherished in perhaps the definitive adaptation of A Christmas Carol (1843).

Wednesday, February 01, 2012. 20.00
Film: Oliver! 1968

Wednesday, February 08, 2012. 18.00
Werner Herzog's 'Fitzcarraldo' (note: Not part of the Dicken's series, see below for lecture and movie combo)
James Douglas in conversation with Ulrich Bergfelder.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012. 20.00
Film: Nicholas Nickleby 2002

Wednesday, February 22, 2012. 20.00
Film: The Old Curiosity Shop 2007


LECTURE SERIES - British Institute of Florence

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. The British Institute Library, Lungarno Guicciardini 9.


Wednesday, February 01, 2012, 18.00
Concert: Goffredo Orlandi

M° Goffredo Orlandi studied at the Conservatorio L. Cherubini in Florence and won several prizes, including the ‘premio speciale F. Liszt' in Lucca in 1987. He began writing music for television in 1991. In 2000 his Ave Maria Jubilaei was performed for Pope John Paul II. In this concert of piano music that has been used in some wonderful films, he plays pieces by Yann Tiersen, Michael Nyman, Claude Debussy, Ludwig van Beethoven, Michele Padovano, Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt and Williams/Orlandi.


Wednesday, February 08, 2012. 18.00
Ulrich Bergfelder in conversation with James Sholto Douglas

Production designer Ulrich Bergfelder has worked with the director Werner Herzog on several films, frequently involving exotic locations and enormous logistic difficulties. Fitzcarraldo (1978) tells the story not only of one man's obsession to bring opera to the Amazonian jungle but also of the director's parallel obsession to bring his vision to the screen. In this conversation with James Sholto Douglas, lecturer in film at the British Institute, Ulrich explains the fascinating background to this Herculean project.

18.00 – 19.00 Conversation
19.00 – 20.00 Buffet
20.00 – 22.30 Fitzcarraldo (in German with English subtitles) + Q&A.

Entrance is by ticket only, tickets cost €8 and are on sale at the library.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012, 18.00
Lecture: Andrea Galdy

The great collections of antiquities in early modern Europe are usually associated with male collectors, such as Roman cardinals. Isabella d'Este is probably the best known female collector of anticaglie in renaissance Italy, but she is often seen as the exception that proves the rule. There were in fact many other female collectors of ancient art in Italy and elsewhere in Europe and, while their efforts did not always have the same results as those of their male relatives, their desire to possess precious objects from the past was at least as strong. This illustrated talk looks at some of the less familiar female collectors, the objects they wished to own, and the rooms and pieces of furniture they used for display.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 18.00
Concert: Sayumi Yamazaki

Sayumi Yamazaki studied music at the European Music Academy in Como and has performed in Italy, Germany, Russia, Switzerland and Japan. This is her second concert at the British Institute, her début here being in January 2008. Our Bechstein mezzacoda was restored thanks to the generosity of Mrs Mary Foreman.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012, 18.00
Lecture: Harry Mount

In our speaker's view, 'For half a century, Latin has been placed on a dusty, imposing, ancient pedestal. This is quite wrong - Latin has an immediate, vivid, vital existence today. Even a passing knowledge of the language is a key to the modern world. It reveals not just the roots of English and Italian, but also provides the underpinning of Western art, architecture, history and philosophy. Best of all, though, it unlocks the beauties of Roman literature in the original language.' Harry Mount is the author of the best-selling Amo, amas, amat...and all that, published in 2006.


CATS, CATS, & MORE CATS – International Exposition for Cats and their Humans

On February 4 and 5, the Fortezza da Basso is the place to be if you are crazy about cats. Esposione Felina di Firenze will highlight the Burmese breed on Saturday and Persians and Exotic Shorthairs on Sunday. But both days you can shop for products and toys for you cats at home while viewing huge Main Coons, skinny Devon Rex, exotic Sphynx, and royal Abyssinians.

MUSIC IN FLORENCE FOR FEBRUARY

MAGGIO MUSICALE – Operas & Ballet At Teatro Comunale

Swan Lake - ballet with MaggioDanza and Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
4, 5, 7, 8 February
Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
info: 055 2779350 www.maggiofiorentino.com


Tosca - opera by Giacomo Puccini
Directed by Daniel Oren Orchestra and Chorus of MaggioMusicale Fiorentino
21, 22, 23, 25, 26 February
Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
info: 055 2779350 www.maggiofiorentino.com

See the calendar on the Maggio’s website: http://www.maggiofiorentino.com/?q=node/1852


AMICI DELLA MUSICA AT THE PERGOLA THEATER

Throughout the holiday season, the Amici della Musica of Florence present various concerts at the Teatro della Pergola.  Works by Haydn, Schumann, and Beethoven are only a small sample of what will be performed.  See the schedule for concerts at http://www.amicimusica.fi.it/ .


Amici della Musica - Concert Season
4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26 February
Teatro della Pergola
info: 055/609012 – 055 607440 - 055 2264333
www.amicimusica.fi.it


FREE BAROQUE MUSIC CONCERT

Camerata strumentale barocca - concert, music by L. Boccherini
9 February
Auditorium Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze
info: 055 5978548 - 055 2612012 - 055 2613288 www.scuolamusica.fiesole.fi.it



TAP DOGS – Tapping Toes and a Spectacular Show

On February 10 and 11 at 9:45pm and February 12 at 3:45pm, the spirit of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly will descend on the Teatro Verdi as this generation of energetic dancers.TAP DOGS are currently taking the world by storm with their unprecedented tap show that combines the strength and power of workmen with the precision and talent of tap dancing. The show started with six guys from a steel town north of Sydney, Australia. Olivier Award-winning choreographer Dein Perry headed the team with designer/director Nigel Triffitt, and composer Andrew Wilkie and created TAP DOGS; an 80 minute reinvention of tap for the New Millenium.

 


BUT WHAT IF I JUST GOT TO FLORENCE AND FEBRUARY IS ALMOST OVER?

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

THE TREASURE ROOMS OF FLORENCE

Le Stanze dei Tesori, the initiative links “The Small Great Museums” of Florence – eight museums for ten euro: Museo Stefano Bardini, Museo Stibbert, Museo Horne, Fondazione Salvatore Romano, Museo di Palazzo Davanzati, Museo Casa Rodolfo Siviero, and Museo Bandini. Each museum has its special collection, many of them the personal collections of antiques collectors from the 19th century, the treasures they decided to keep instead of selling or auctioning around the world. These collections now are part of small, separate museums such as the Horne, Bardini and Stibbert – all named after the collectors themselves.

Ongoing until April 15, the museums are showing off their collections with a special focus on the Florentine artistic craftsmanship and the golden era of when private antiques collectors in Florence were very active.

The exhibit at Palazzo Medici Riccardi presents a general summary of the era, while the Stibbert Museum offers an international exhibit of Florentine “maiolica” created by Ginori and Cantagalli. The Bardini museum reopens its Hall of Paintings, with the original setup Bardini used to display the works, at the center of which is the newly restored 13th century crucifix by Bernardo Daddi. The Horne museum offers a collection of designs from Raphael to Constable, while the Palazzo Davanzati exhibits photographs by Elia Volpi that document the original furnishings of the house before they were sold in a large auction in New York during the Great War.

A very special way to see many treasures in Florence, particularly since a special “Treasure Pass” has been created at just € 10 to allow you to visit all of the museums — a really good deal, since it also includes free entrance to the Fondazione Salvatore Romano, Bandini museum, Casa Rodolfo Siviero museum,  the Ceramic Museum in Montelupo and the Museo della Manifattura Galileo Chini and discounts on entry to Palazzo Vecchio, the Brancacci Chapel, the Santa Maria Novella museum and the Richard Ginori of Doccia Works Museum.

See the
website: http://www.stanzedeitesori.it for more information


Amerigo Vespucci and the Tuscan Navigators

While you are visiting the Treasure Rooms of the Palazzo Medici Riccari, be sure to stop in at the street-level FREE exhibit (from February 25 to March 4) Amerigo Vespucci and the Tuscan Navigators - documentary exhibition on the 500th anniversary of Amerigo Vespucci's death Paintings, documents, nautical instruments help to know the life of the explorer. One section shows the consequences that the discovery of the Americas had in botany and zoology with plants and animals arrived in Europe thanks to Amerigo.

The Galleria delle Carrozze (Hall of the Coaches) is a great place to drop by every few months to check out the new free exhibit. Sometimes it's great ... sometimes, not so great. You'll know it when you see it -- a block long walkway through the palazzo, connecting Via Cavour and Via Ginori.

Galleria delle Carrozze, Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Via Cavour, 5

info: 055 2760340 www.provincia.fi.it

Opening hours: 10am - 1pm and 3pm - 7pm - Closed on Wednesday


SONS OF ITALY - The Innocenti Institute and the founding of a national project for children

Children of Italy is an exhibition (open until March 18) about infancy is being hosted by the Florentine institution which most represents children: the Istituto degli Innocenti. Figli d’Italia, Children of Italy, looks at the first fifty years of Italy as a united nation from a new point of view. This was a time when themes related to children and their care became part of the newly-born social politics of the united nation. Through the biographies of some orphans who lived at the Innocenti and in other charitable Italian institutions between 1861 and 1911, and thanks to old photographs and documents from the archives, the exhibition describes the daily life of the children inside the Institute.

The exhibition is organized chronologically: from the last years of the use of the barred windows up to their closing, which in Florence happened in 1875, marking the end of anonymous abandonment and introducing new methods of reception of the babies. Brogi’s photographs, kept in the Archives of the Istituto degli Innocenti, illustrate the evolution of the spaces and functions of the Hospital. The historical events are presented side by side with the children’s biographies, telling stories not only of abandonment, but also of travel, reunion with their families and new ties of affection.

Museo degli Innocenti

Istituto degli Innocenti

Admission (museum included): € 5.00, concessions € 4.00

From Monday to Sunday from 10.00 am to 7.00 pm.

Info: 055 2037308 - 055 2037279

www.mudi.firenze.it


Duffy The Photographic Genius - Retrospective of Brian Duffy, famous fashion photographer

The Alinari National Museum of Photography in Florence presents the first Italian exhibition dedicated to Brian Duffy, a celebrated British artist from Swinging London, who is famous for immortalizing David Bowie on his record covers that caused a sensation, such as that of Aladdin Sane (1973), which depicts the singer with lightning-shaped make-up on the face, and which immediately became a pop icon image. Working with the most popular newspapers and magazines, Duffy revolutionized how fashion images are made, creating the cult of the fashion photographer by putting himself at the center of the runway with the models and the celebrities.

Since 1957, when he began working for British Vogue, Duffy shot the portraits of many artists, moving between film, music, advertising, fashion and literature. But, at the peak of his career in 1979, Duffy decided to round up most of his work and bring it to the garden behind the house, where he made a bonfire. After many years of research among archives and publications around the world, his son, Chris, has recovered 160 photographs, putting together a true catalog of cultural iconography from the ’60s and ’70s. This show features 80 photographs, selected from those retrieved by Chris Duffy, in an exhibition that can be said to have literally risen from the ashes.

The exhibit will run until March 25 and it’s open everyday from 10 am to 7:30 pm (closed Wednesday).

MNAF - Museo Nazionale Alinari della Fotografia, Piazza Santa Maria Novella, 14/r

For more information, see http://www.mnaf.it/mostre.php


GUIDED VISITS TO THE FRESCOES IN RESTORATION IN THE CAPPELLA MAGGIORE

For lovers of Italian art, it’s as close as you can come to ascending a stairway to heaven and looking angels in the eye. For the first time after a major restoration, the scaffolding that has shrouded the 850 sq m (9,150 sq ft) of frescoes of the Cappella Maggiore in Florence’s famed Santa Croce Basilica will not be dismantled immediately.

The scaffolding erected for the restoration will stay in place for another year or so, and small groups of visitors will be allowed to view the splendid work close up. Guided visits on the nine-level scaffolding, last for about 40 minutes.

The restoration of Agnolo Gaddi's fresco cycle is one of the most important projects in Italy. It was financed in part by Japanese businessman and patron of the arts, Tetsuya Kuroda, who donated almost 1.2 million euro; an equivalent sum was provided by the Opera di Santa Croce. The federal arts ministry provided 285,000 euro in funding, in addition to arranging for the assistance of restorers from the Opificio delle Pietre Dure.

Excellent instructions about the logistics (and there are quite a few), costs, and time schedule can be found at the following website: http://www.santacroce.firenze.it/english/informazioni/visite/

FUN, FESTIVALS AND FOOD OUTSIDE OF FLORENCE FOR FEBRUARY

CARNIVAL IN TUSCANY

Other slightly less-famous celebrations than the Viareggio Carnaval are held all around Tuscany. Check out Greve on Feb. 19, or Borgo San Lorenzo (Feb. 5, 12, 16, 19 & 21) 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 and Calenzano celebrate with medieval parades at 3:00 on Sun. Feb.19. The town of Paperino near Prato puts on a good show starting at 3:00 on Sun. Feb. 5, 12, & 19 and Tues., Feb. 21. (http://www.carnevaledipaperino.it). For kids' carnivals, check out Vicchio on the 11th, Vinci on the 5th, and Figline Valdarno on the 5th, 12th, 19th and 21st. For good parades with floats, go to Rufina (Feb. 12, 19, & 21), San Piero a Sieve (Feb. 18), and Sesto Fiorentino (Feb. 5, 12, 19 & 21).


CERTALDO -- Antique and Handicraft Market

On 19 February, you can celebrate Carnival in Certaldo while also enjoying the Antique and Handcrafts Market in

Piazza Boccaccio at Via 2 Giugno.

info: 0571 661276 www.comune.certaldo.fi.it


FIESOLE -- Chocolate Festival

On February 12, in Fiesole, the fourth edition of the Festival of Chocolate with its chocolate market and handcrafts fair will take place. Chocolatiers from all over Italy present their sweet creations. Throughout the day you can browse the booths and enjoy the aroma of a chocolate of the highest quality, thanks to the presence of the best craftsmen in the industry. Piazza Mino becomes the scene of one of the most mouth-watering events in Fiesole, a real journey in taste: from assorted pralines with hazelnut cream and chocolate, hot chocolate, and slabs of hazelnut, dark chocolate and milk chocolates. In between nibbling sweets, you can find something for your special Valentine at the local handcrafts fair.

If you haven't had enough chocolate (and who ever does) then go to Scandici on February 25 & 26, for another Chocolate Festival.


MERCATINO DI APRILANTE - Artisanal Crafts Market

Sun. 5 (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.


FIESOLE ANTIQUE MARKET

On Sun. 5, 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.


SCARPERIA -- Professional Motorbike Racing In The Mugello

In about an hour you can enjoy the roar of the engines and the cheer of the crowds at the Mugello Motor Fest - Bike edition on 25 and 26 February. Head to the Autodromo del Mugello and see professional motorcycle racing at its best.

info: 055 8499111 www.mugellomotorfest.it

MESSAGE TO NEWSLETTER READERS
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. We can’t promise to put every announcement in the newsletter , but we appreciate your support, interest and messages. Please send to info@pitcherflaccomio.com or newsletter@pitcherflaccomio.com .
FEBRUARY WISHES
February always brings a welcome quiet to the streets of Florence and the back roads of Tuscany. So dash into museums without a hint of a line, relax over meals of warming soups and stews, and remember … the only important holiday is San Valentino ... and this is our valentine to you.
All the best,

Staff
Pitcher and Flaccomio

http://www.pitcherflaccomio.com/
 
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