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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 2013

February is the month for lovers – lovers of art, that is. New exhibits and free days abound, so take someone you love to the museums. Best wishes for flowers and chocolate, too, of course, from SUZANNE, CORSO, BEI, SANDRA, LORI, ANNA PIA, ANN and MARIO.



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 3, 10, 12 17, and March 3). The Viareggio Carnival started in 1873, when a number of local aristocrats decided to organize an extravagant parade on Shrove Tuesday (martedì grasso), before the 40-day austerity of Lent.

The 140th Viareggio Carnival promises to be one of the most exciting yet. There will be five masked parades through the seaside town, each with its own set of papier-mâché 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.

Try to catch the sunniest day you can - Carnival is a drag in the rain. This Tuscan festa 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 of 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.

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.

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.


This apartment is situated in a 15th century palace located on the south side of the Arno river (Oltrarno) on Via dei Bardi, literally a stone’s throw from the Ponte Vecchio (Florence's famous Old Bridge), and around the corner from Palazzo Pitti. But you have to be in shape because there is no elevator and 55 stairs to climb. Once you are there though there are beautiful traditional elements such as high, wood-beam ceilings, pietra serena and brick details, and parquet floors. One bedroom, only, at a very reasonable rent, makes it perfect place for a couple to spend a few weeks in the spring in Florence. For more information click this link.


This stylishly osteria on the Oltrarno side of Ponte alla Carraia, is ever popular with locals and in-the-know tourists. The cuisine is known for its commitment to carefully-sourced, healthy seasonal produce, but surprisingly gourmet for what looks at first sight like a 19th century drinking den. The offerings range from the traditional veggie soup to a unique risotto with cauliflower and quail.

Il Santino (055 230 2820), next door, is the restaurant’s wine bar offshoot. There you can find Tuscan antipasti and meal-sized small plates, each one paired with a different wine by the glass.

Address: Via Santo Spirito 64r/66r, 50125 Firenze.

Contact: 055 211 264, www.ilsantobevitore.com

Prices: Allow €35-€40 a head with wine.

Opening times: Closed Sun lunch.

Reservations: Recommended in the evening.

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

From Friday, February 8 to Sunday, February 17, Piazza Santa Maria Novella will host the 9th edition of La Fiera del Cioccolato Artigianale, Florence's annual Chocolate Fair.

Mountains of chocolate truffles, cascading chocolate fountains, luscious chocolate liqueurs or giant slabs of chocolate spiked with fruits and nuts, are only a small part of the event. The products of artisan chocolatiers are a feast for the eyes, a gift for the nose and … well, you know … a treat for the taste buds. This year the fair includes a chocolate treasure hunt for kids throughout the center of Florence, as well as chocolate quizzes and workshops for the adults. A tasting session pairing chocolate and grappa is probably the most unique offering this year.

Come on the weekends dressed for Carnival fun. 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 BOOK FOR FEBRUARY – Carnival For the Dead by David Hewson

Novelist David Hewson brings Byzantine and dreamlike Venice vividly to life in this dark and deftly plotted mystery that hearkens back to the spellbinding tales of Donna Leon and M. R. James.

For as long as she can remember, Teresa Lupo has envied her aunt Sofia. After all, she is everything Teresa is not: beautiful, adventurous, and wildly creative. While Sofia enjoyed passionate love affairs and traveled the world, thoughtful, methodical Teresa stayed close to home, working her way through the civil-service system to become Rome’s senior police forensic specialist. So when Sofia encounters “a few problems” at her new home in Venice, it is Teresa to whom she turns for help—only to vanish abruptly on the eve of Carnival.

Teresa’s only clues to her aunt’s whereabouts are a mysterious letter, a bouquet of flowers, and a series of short stories by an unknown author, stories in which Sofia and Teresa inexplicably appear. The bizarre narratives create a complex puzzle, one Teresa can solve only by immersing herself in the art and history of Venice and the fantastic spectacle that is Carnival. But the deeper she ventures into the shadowy spirit of the festival, the more Teresa comes to realize that nothing in the magical city is as it seems.

BEST BOOKS FOR KIDS FOR FEBRUARY – Carnival at Candlelight by Mary Pope Osborne

Merlin has asked Jack and Annie to help on another Merlin Mission. This time they head back into history to Venice, Italy. With the help of a research book, a book of magic rhymes, and a set of mysterious instructions from Merlin, the heroes will save the beautiful city from a flood! Here’s another Magic Tree House book that will engage kids with history, magic, and nonstop action from beginning to end.

BEST FLASH MOB FOR FEBRUARY – Demonstrate in Opposition to Violence Against Women

Stop by Piazza Repubblica at 3 p.m. on Valentine’s Day to participate in 1 Billion Rising, when one billion people worldwide are expected to stand up and dance in opposition to violence against women. Those who wish to participate by dancing can learn the steps by watching the video at http://tinyurl.com/apoylwq, while those who wish to attend but not dance are asked to wear black with pink or red.

Whether you dance or watch, show your support and contribute a donation to the Florence-based women's crisis centre Artemisia. The event, organized in collaboration with the Global Theatre Project, the American consulate, the Equal Opportunities Department of the City of Florence and the Robert Kennedy Foundation, aims to involve those of all nationalities in Florence, including the many American students studying here.

The One Billion Rising campaign, which involves more than 182 countries, was initiated by activist and playwright Eve Ensler, famous for her play The Vagina Monologues. February 14 marks the 15th anniversary of her V-day movement, an initiative that uses plays, films and festivals to raise money and awareness to benefit female victims of violence and sexual abuse.

One Billion Rising: www.onebillionrising.org

Florence flash mob: http://tinyurl.com/arsjwpu (Facebook)

V-day movement: www.vday.org

Artemisia: http://tinyurl.com/ac6yo5h

The Global Theatre Project: www.theglobaltheatreproject.org

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! January – not one victory. After the break, it’s like starting the season again except that benchmarks have been set. Montella is handling things well, reminding the world that we’re re-building this year - and setting a record for shots against the woodwork. Nearly all the leading sides have wobbled, including one-time runaway leaders Juventus, and that is keeping us in the hunt for Europe. But Juve had a big lead, Napoli are looking smooth, Milan may be recovering their brio, Inter never lie down. We’re still sixth but Pizarro sets the rhythm of the side and we need him back. Forza Montella!

Fiorentina’s Results

Week 19: Fiorentina-Pescara LOST 0-2

Week 20: Udinese-Fiorentina LOST 1-3

Coppa Italia Fiorentina-Roma LOST 0-1

Week 21: Fiorentina-Napoli DREW 1-1

Week 22: Catania-Fiorentina LOST 1-2

Serie A. We had our headline ready in advance – “High-riding Viola trash lowly Delfini”. Pescara hadn’t read the script. Everything was going to plan with our usual dominance of play, pouring a torrent of shots onto their goal. Except Pescara cheated. It was quite clear that their goalkeeper had installed some kind of force-field, probably designed by the US military, to keep us out. And it worked. The goal that settled the game was their first and some questions have to be asked of our statuesque defenders; by their late second we were all in their penalty area and it didn’t really matter. Now we have to get back in the saddle.

Udinese warmed up for us by bashing Inter but we had beaten them on their own turf in the cup. In most respects, this was a tight match with neither side getting much sight of goal. Things looked good when Roncaglia crashed a mighty header onto the bar and into the net via the back of their keeper’s head. Then officialdom turned against us. A Udinese forward took a dive and won a penalty that Di Natale converted with aplomb just before half-time. Shortly afterwards, he grabbed a second from a blatantly offside position. A minute later and Neto dropped a clanger. We seem to have fallen over the other side of the horse.

Crunch-time versus Napoli, a team bursting with confidence (our pre-season tip for the Scudetto). We start fluently, take control and go ahead with a joke of a goal. Roncaglia passes long into their box where everyone, especially their keeper, misjudges its flight. The ball arcs slowly into the net; Toni thinks about claiming he touched it; Ron looks embarrassed about his third Viola goal. Napoli are packed with class and a thunderous Cavani header puts them level on the break. On the restart, our backs are to the wall and Neto delivers three terrific saves but by the end we are threatening to grab a winner. It was not to be but this was a fine game between two top teams. It looks like we’re cantering again......

.....But we fell off again. Catania are a sprightly side but we contained them and went ahead with Migliaccio’s header on 20 minutes. Ominously, Neto wasn’t having one of his more impressive days, the ball slipping from his hands once or twice; he was slow coming for the cross that provided their equaliser (he wasn’t the only one caught out in our “defence”!). Even without Pizarro, we were dominating; Llajic’s free kick hit the bar; a Cuadrado header hit the underside of the bar and bounced out. How unlucky can we get. Very, it seems, as Aquilani was harshly sent off for nothing in particular. Montella would have settled for a point but we lost momentary concentration – allowing an attacker to put in a header that a top goalkeeper would have saved. Sebastien Frey (remember him?) would have gobbled it up.

Coppa Italia. We lose to Roma by a solitary goal deep in extra time. A sizeable Franchi crowd saw two strong teams giving everything and keeping tempers under control until the last five minutes. Aquilani struck the bar, Borja Valero rapped the post, Cuadrado did likewise and, as the ball bounced straight back at him, saw his header touched aside. Mind you, Neto redeemed his Udinese blunder with a world-class save and, when he was beaten, Savic headed off the line. The goal was a messy, rushed affair, bodies everywhere in the penalty area, and came in a flurry of red cards as two Romans and Cuadrado got their marching orders for swinging their handbags. We’ll just have to concentrate on the league!

There are no easy months. We expect three points against Parma at the Franchi and anyone should be able to beat Bologna anywhere. In between these fixtures, we travel to Turin for Juve and host Inter. This could be the month that decides whether or not we will be playing in a European competition or not. Forza Vincenzo!


There are four fixtures in February:

Week 23: 3 Feb/home Fiorentina-Parma

Week 24: 10 Feb/away Juventus-Fiorentina

Week 25: 17 Feb/home Fiorentina-Inter

Week 26: 24 Feb/away Bologna-Fiorentina


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

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

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

BEST ART DAYS FOR FEBRUARY – Free or Discounted Days at the Museums

Light Displays and Tour of Florence

On February 9, at 5:30pm, join a tour of Florence and the Palazzo Vecchio for the F-Light – Florence Light Festival. Certain historic building around town will be lit by Sylphides lighting company. The tour is called Traces of Florence. It is sponsored by the Palazzo Vecchio Children’s Museum. Traces of Florence illustrates not only the social and political changes that the city has undergone, but the consequences that these changes had on the fabric of the city as well. Sketches, prints, photographs and engravings map the city throughout its history allowing the visitor to understand the transformation of the streets and palazzi over the centuries. Tickets cost only 2 euro and include entry to the Palazzo Vecchio Museum. Reservations are necessary.

See http://www.unbacioneafirenze.net/ and http://www.palazzovecchio-museoragazzi.it/ for details or stop by the ticket offices on the ground floor of the Palazzo Vecchio.

Music in the Natural History Museums

Throughout the spring, music lovers and natural history enthusiasts alike might enjoy free concerts at the Natural History Museums of Florence. Start at La Specola (Via Romana, 17) on Sunday, February 10, when at 11am the concert features a trio (guitar, flute and cello) in the Skeleton Room. On February 24, again at 11am, you will find tap dancing in the Fireplace Room of the Museum of Anthropology on Via Proconsolo, 12. You only get to see a part of each museum, but they are inexpensive, so buy a ticket and see the rest of each museum. For full dates, times, and details: http://www.msn.unifi.it/Article697.html

Valentines Day Treat

The Italian Ministry of Culture is feeling the love this year so on February 14 all of the state museums (Accademia and Uffizi, included, among all of the others) are offering couples two tickets for the price of one (not including any booking fees).

Marini and Rucellai Chapel for Free

The Marino Marini Museum is free on February 17 (expect a long line) with an extra special treat. Now open is the Rucellai Chapel, which houses Leon Battista Alberti's jewel-like, miniature-scale copy of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Located in a chapel that is part of the church of San Pancrazio, it shares a wall with the Marino Marini museum, and now will be accessible with that museum's entry ticket and during its hours. Starting February 17, when it will be free for the special occasion, hours will be daily from 10am to 5pm, with entry every half hour.

Touring for Free

In celebration of International Tourist Guide Day, visitors can receive free guided tours (in Italian) to some of our favorite (but often lesser visited) museums: Sant’ Apollonia, Chiostro dello Scalzo, San Salvi’s Last Supper, Museo Casa Rodolfo Siviero, and the Abbey of San Salvatore (in Settimo). The idea is to encourage sustainable tourism by drawing visitors to smaller museums. One tour is of the historic movie theaters in town. The walk starts at the Odeon and then moves to the Gambrinus, an old cinema that’s better known today as the Hard Rock Café. For more info see: http://www.polomuseale.firenze.it/en/eventi/evento.php?t=5100263df1c3bc3813000001 If you’re interested in any, be sure to make a reservation by February 12.


WEIGHTS & MEASURES – A Unique Exhibit of Historical Scales

Until March 15 at the Spazio Mostre dell’Ente Cassa (Via Bufalini, 6 there is a unique free exhibit of the history of scales and weighing systems. Probably one of the largest exhibits of its kind, the collection has 130 pieces, containing a selection of rich and unusual collection of a private collector, Joseph Pinto, who has spent the last 30 years amassing the items. The exhibition: “We Weigh History – Scales and weighing systems from the 17th to the 20th century” is one of the ongoing series of exhibits of the little-known private collectors.

Bring the kids to see a prototype (1930) for the measurement of gravity, an elegant Argentinian crystal scale, an Italian scale to weigh salt with a dish that is made of crystal (any other material would erode with contact with salt), a rare Italian model to weigh precious metals (early 20th century), a portable market scale (17th century), a curious French dynamometer that looks like a pen (40s-50s) and the very special American scale used to weigh the rations of the soldiers at the front during the First World War, which, when closed, looks like a trunk.

The passion to collect scales came to Joseph Pinto, an employee of the City of Florence, now retired, who is also a marathon runner, started in the 1980s when his brother gave him an old scale belonging to their grandmother. Since then, Pinto has never stopped collecting. For more information, please visit www.beppepinto.com The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog (Polistampa), containing, in addition to images of the exhibition, texts on the history and different types of scales and the various meanings these objects represent in the collective imagination, literature, and mythology.

Pesiamo La Storia – Bilance E Sistemi Di Peso Dal Seicento Al Novecento

Spazio Mostre Ente CRF, Via Bufalini, 6

Dates: 15 Jan. – 15 March

Hours: Mon. – Fri. 9-19; Sat. & Sun. 10-13/15-19

Free Entry

Info: 055.5384001; www.entecarifirenze.it

ALCHEMY OF COLOR – Scagliola from Bianco Bianchi

After visiting the antique scale collection, cross the hall to see a fabulous collection of Scagliola from the studio of Bianco Bianchi (http://www.biancobianchi.com/eng/news.htm). The Scagliola technique came into fashion in 17th-century Tuscany as an effective substitute for costly marble inlays, the pietra dura works created for the Medici family in Florence.

Today as in the past, Scagliola comes from a mineral, Selenite, a variety of gypsum that in its natural state appears in the form of thin plates or scales (thus the name "scagliola", from the Italian word "scaglia" or “scale”). After the mineral is cooked and ground to a fine powder, it is mixed with pigments of colored minerals and with animal glues formed into a thick paste. The original design is traced onto a slab of marble or scagliola, and then carved into the slab with hammer and chisel.

The colored paste is applied into the design and after hardening is flattened with water and pumice stone. Then the slab is ready to be incised again and a new color applied. For elaborate decorative motifs, as developed in the nineteenth century, subtle gradations of color are added in diluted scagliola, applied by hand with a fine paintbrush. Lastly, the slab is polished with polishing stones, and wax, and lacquer create the luster.

There are close to seventy pieces on display and a short English-language documentary about the history and process of the art.

Alchimie di colori. L’arte della Scagliola - La collezione Bianco Bianchi di antiche scagliole dal XVII al XIX secolo

Spazio Mostre Ente CRF, Via Bufalini 6 – 15 Jan. – 15 March

Hours: Mon. – Fri. 9-19; Sat. & Sun. 10-13/15-19

Free Entry

Info: 055.5384001; www.entecarifirenze.it


As the weather gets warmer you may want to hike in the hills around Florence, but may be a bit concerned about navigating the terrain on your own. Go with Fiesole Bike and they will provide you with a guide for a reasonable price (5 hour tour at 25 euro/person). They offer a wonderful hiking itinerary, which gives a good snapshot of the richness and beauty of the countryside surrounding Florence, far from the bustle of the city and the pollution.

You will relax amidst nature on a path that goes through country roads, green trails and remote country routes immersed in a unique landscape. You will see the town and the hills of Fiesole, with its villas and magnificent panorama overlooking Florence, through olive groves and vineyards, secular cypress trees, neo-gothic castles, farmhouses and ancient villas. You will pass by Montececeri, the hill from which Leonardo da Vinci plausibly launched his “first human flight”. The views of Florence and the Arno valley are classic.

When: Everyday, times to be agreed upon

Meeting point-departure: (transfer by public bus) Piazza Santa Maria Novella or Piazza S. Marco

Arrival: Fiesole, Piazza Mino, bus terminal ATAF # 7

Total length: 10 km

Duration: 5 hours

Level of difficulty: medium

Fee for professional tour leader: € 25 per person (minimum 7 persons), includes olive oil and wine tasting).

Transfer by public bus not included in the price (one way ticket € 1.20).

RECOMMENDED: at least 1/2 liter of water per person, packed lunch (not included in the price), hiking shoes, long socks to the knee or long trousers. According to the season, a jacket or a hat may be useful to protect yourself from the sunshine.

Web Site: http://www.fiesolebike.it/fiesole-and-florence-ancient-harmony-between-man-and-nature/

Phone: 055 535 9721


More than 100 works by Salvador Dalí, the master of surrealism, are displayed in this exhibit on the ground floor of the Palazzo Medici Ricardi. Among them are lesser-known and as-yet-poorly understood works, such as great bronze sculptures, rare graphics, surrealist furniture and glass objects, as well as Dalí's illustrations and reinterpretations of surrealist literary texts.

February 1-May 25, Palazzo Medici, Via Cavour 3, Florence

Exhibit website: www.thedaliuniverse.com, for more information.


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


Feb. 14-20 FLIGHT




Located in Piazza Strozzi. See website for times: http://www.cinehall.it/pagine/odeon%20original%20sound.asp

LES MISERABLES (UK 2013 – 152’) By Tom Hooper Feb. 1-3, 6-10, 26

In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole, agrees to care for factory worker Fantine's daughter, Cosette. The fateful decision changes their lives forever.

DJANGO UNCHAINED (USA 2013 – 165’) By Quentin Tarantino Feb. 4-5

With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.

LINCOLN (USA, India 2012 – 150’) by Steven Spielberg Feb. 11-13

As the Civil War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield and as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.

THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER (USA 2012 – 102’) by Stephen Chbosky Feb. 14-17, 20

An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world.

LIFE OF PI (Chi, USA 2013 – 127’) by Ang Lee Feb. 18-19

A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery and he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor ... a fearsome Bengal tiger.

PROMISED LAND (USA 2013 – 109’) by Gus Van Sant Feb. 21-24

A salesman for a natural gas company experiences life-changing events after arriving in a small town, where his corporation wants to tap into the available resources.

ARGO (USA 2012 – 120’) by Ben Affleck Feb. 25

A dramatization of the 1980 joint CIA-Canadian secret operation to extract six fugitive America diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran.

ORIGINAL LANGUAGE FILMS – Talking Movies at the British Institute

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

On the occasion of his 90th birthday, Talking Pictures presents an array of Franco Zeffirelli's work in his various guises as film producer, film director, stage designer, production designer, costume designer, and screenwriter. Zeffirelli is most acclaimed for his work in theatre and opera, his literary adaptations, most notably Shakespeare but also Charlotte Bronte, and his autobiographical film Tea With Mussolini. In opera, Zeffirelli often collaborated with Placido Domingo and the tenor features in all of the opera films, both those filmed as theatrical productions and those made as films in their own right. From the verismo of Leoncavallo's Pagliacci and Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana, to the romantic drama of Verdi's La Traviata and Otello, to Puccini's modernist shabby little shocker Tosca, Zeffirelli's talents in all departments of opera production will be on show. (from official website)

Wednesday, February 06, 20.00

Cavalliera Rusticana, Pagliacci

(1982) (filmed theatrical performance) Plácido Domingo, Renato Bruson/Plácido Domingo, Teresa Stratas, Juan Pons, Georges Prêtre, Teatro alla Scala.

Wednesday, February 13, 20.00

Film: La Traviata

(1982) (feature film) Plácido Domingo, Teresa Stratas, James Levine, Metropolitan Opera

Wednesday, February 20, 20.00

Film: Tosca

(1986) (filmed theatrical performance), Hildegard Behrens, Placido Domingo, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Metropolitan Opera

Wednesday, February 27, 20.00

Film: Otello

(1986) (feature film), Plácido Domingo, Katia Ricciarelli, Lorin Maazel, Teatro alla Scala


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

Wednesday, February 06, 18.00

Lecture: Lucy Riall

Under the volcano: Great Britain and the Sicilian Revolution of 1860

Thursday, February 07, 16.30

Afternoon Tea Party

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

Wednesday, February 13, 18.00

Lecture: James Douglas, John Hoenig and Matteo Sansone

A celebration of Franco Zeffirelli's work in film, theatre and opera

Wednesday, February 20, 18.00

Lecture: Kate Lowe and Eugene McLaughlin

‘Caution! The bread is poisoned': the Hong Kong mass poisoning of 1857

Wednesday, February 27, 18.00

Lecture: Hendrika Foster

The Laocoön, 1506: its rediscovery and re-interpretation


Citizens, residents, and (probably) students (with a student card) of Florence there is a relatively new offering by the city’s cultural office in the Palazzo Vecchio. It’s call Un Bacione a Firenze (A Big Kiss to Florence). It offers free and discounted entry to cultural events in the Renaissance City

For instance: Sunday, February 10th, you can gain free entry to the Palazzo Vecchio, the Stefano Bardini Museum, the Fondazione Salvatore Romano Museum, the Santa Maria Novella Museum, and the Brancacci Chapel at Santa Maria del Carmine. (Thanks to http://florenceforfree.wordpress.com for the heads up.)

You have to do a couple of things first:

1. Go to one of these places (see http://www.unbacioneafirenze.net/dove-ritirare-la-card/ for list) around the city and register for a Un Bacione a Firenze card (remember, you have to be a citizen or resident of Florence, but most students should qualify). It’s free to sign up.

2. Check out this list of tours and activities happening at participating museums. Pick your favorites and make a reservation (required) for your chosen events. Space is limited so we recommend you move quickly!

4. Finally, don’t lose your Bacione card. These Sundays occur once almost every month throughout the year, giving you more opportunities to see the sights.

For information see: http://www.unbacioneafirenze.net/

GOTTA SING? – Join the St Mark’s Concert Choir

Located on via Maggio, St. Mark's Anglican church is looking for local talents to join its new concert choir, which will operate independently from the church (but will most likely sing, on occasion, at masses). Anyone who likes to sing, from all age groups and levels of experience, is welcome to join. The first meeting will be on February 7 at 5pm at St Mark's church. Those interested can expect to take part in weekly practice every Thursday, starting immediately. The first concert is scheduled on March 10.

For more information or to sign up, contact:

St. Mark's Director of Music, Giovanna Riboli, at directorofmusic@stmarksitaly.com



The Amici della Musica of Florence presents various concerts at the Teatro della Pergola. Works by Haydn, Schubert, Chopin, Liszt, and Rihm 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 Highlights for February:

Sat. 2: Yuja Wang (piano)

Sun. 3: Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin)

Sat. 9: Jonathan Biss (piano)

Sun. 10: Music of composer Rihm

Mon. 11: Alessandro Carbonare (jazz clarinet)

Sat. 16: Gidon Kremer (violin)

Sun. 17: Tackacs Quartet

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

MUSEO IN MUSICA – Classical Music at the Palazzo Pitti

On the 13th at 5pm in the Sala di Bona della Galleria Palatina Palazzo Pitti, the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole will present the following classical music in concert:

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Sonata n. 5 in re maggiore op. 102 n.2 for cello and piano

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

Danze ungheresi n. 1 e n. 4

Richard Strauss (1864-1949)

Sonata in la maggiore op. 6

Peter Krause, cello

Giuliano Graniti, piano

Entry is free with reservations: galleriapalatina@polomuseale.firenze.it

CONCERTS AT THE VIPER THEATRE – Thechno, Rock, & Heavy Metal

Sat. 9: Carnaval Électrique with Etienne De Crecy (“Freak Show”)

Sat. 16: Kernel Panik Full Show

Fri. 22: Glen Hansard

Sat. 23: Fritz Kalkbrenner Live,Sick Travellin` World Tour 2013

Sun. 24: BRAD featuring Stone Gossard from Pearl Jam and Shawn Smith + New Killer Shoes

Viper Theatre, via Pistoiese, Florence, www.viperclub.eu


Come see My Fair Lady sung in Italian for a new take on the old classic. Shows from February 21 to 24.

Teatro Verdi, Via Ghibellina, 99

Info: http://www.teatroverdionline.it/cartellone/musical/my-fair-lady-dal-21-02-13-al-24-02-13.html


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

Feb. 3-10 Don Giovanni by Mozart (opera)

Feb. 8 Carmina Burana by Orff (concert with Zubin Mehta conducting)

Feb. 16-17 Mozart & Haydn (concert with Ton Koopman conducting)

Ticket Office Teatro Comunale

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

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

Tickets on line




Not to worry! … Here are a bunch of events or exhibits that will still be happening in late February and March:
UFFIZI GALLERY AND ITS RED ROOMS – New Home of Michelangelo's Doni Tondo

In January 2013, the Uffizi moved the only Michelangelo painting in its collection from the west wing where it had hung for decades and gave it a new home on a red wall of the Sale Rosse. The Doni Tondo now keeps company with the early 16th century painters Potormo, Bronzino and Raphael.

The Sale Rosse are a suite of nine rooms (56–66) on the piano nobile of the Uffizi, opened in June 2012. The rooms display some ancient Roman sculpture and Florentine paintings from the early 16th century, most of which was formerly displayed elsewhere in the gallery. They overlook the courtyard and have large windows providing excellent lighting. Each room has a bright red wall on which the most important works are displayed.

The first room, the only one entirely painted crimson, has an impressive display of early-Imperial Roman replicas of famous Hellenistic sculptures. They include a marble replica of the Capitoline Spinario, the Farnese Hercules, and the Gaddi torso. They have been exhibited here to underline the influence that they had on Florentine painters of the early 16th century, notably Andrea del Sarto, whose works are hung in the first two rooms. His three chiaroscuro scenes, on show for the first time, show his skill and interest in representing the Classical style.

Rosso Fiorentino is for the first time given a room to himself (60) and the portraits by Pontormo are now in Room 61, including his famed portrait of Cosimo il Vecchio, dressed from head to foot in crimson, which used to hang in the Tribuna, and his very fine portrait of Maria Salviati, the mother of Cosimo I. Maria was widowed at the age of 27 and devoutly dressed as a nun for the rest of her life, hence her portrayal as such here.

Rooms 64 and 65 display all the great Medici family portraits by Bronzino, which include his masterpieces, most of which were formerly in the Tribuna – here they can be seen in a far better light. Amongst them are the newly restored refined portraits of Bartolomeo Panciatichi and his wife Lucrezia, fittingly displayed on either side of the "Panciatichi" Holy Family. Eleanor of Toledo, in a splendid velvet dress with her son Giovanni, is well known to all, whereas the delightful young Medici children are the crowd pleasers. The highlight for young and old is the full-length nude portrait of the dwarf Morgante, which was such a hit at the Strozzi's exhibition of Bronzino last year (the painter's masterful answer to whether sculpture or painting is the most versatile and thus, "nobler" art), is displayed in the center of Room 65.

The last room (66) has a superb group of paintings by the greatest master of this period, Raphael. His famous portrait of the first Medici pope, Leo X, with his two cousins whom he created cardinals, hangs beside his self-portrait and his court portraits of the Gonzaga and Della Rovere. The most evocative painting of all in this set of rooms is his famous Madonna del Cardellino ("Madonna of the Goldfinch"), which was restored a few years ago.


One of the best ways to get to know Florence is to visit its many markets. Bustling and colorful the city's markets that provide a great place to find bargains, enjoy the exciting atmosphere, or to spend the day browsing at the unique and extraordinary antiques, artisan crafts, and delicious typical food that Florence has to offer. Florence's markets are an integral part of local life and can be found throughout the many districts of the city. Here is a list of some of the most frequented markets in town:

San Lorenzo Market
The San Lorenzo market has it all, but is best known for its selection of leather accessories such as hand-bound journals, wallets, belts, and larger leather items such as hand crafted jackets and fur.
The San Lorenzo Market also has a great selection of souvenir clothing, stationary, ceramics, shoes, vintage clothing, and scarves. If you are looking for a deal it is most likely that you will find it here!
When: 9:00am - 8:00pm The hours may vary slightly depending on the weather and season.
What to buy: Leather goods, jackets, scarves, stationary
Where: Piazza San Lorenzo

Mercato Centrale
Florence's central market, Mercato Centrale, was once the main shopping center in Florence and today it is still the place to find the freshest products and produce. There are stands selling everything from all kinds of fowl, meats (including wild boar), fish and Tuscan products including wine, biscotti, cheese, and salami. Mercato Centrale also has a handful of restaurants located inside that offer fantastic fresh meals at very inexpensive prices.
When: 7:00am to 2:00pm
Closed Sundays and public holidays
What to buy: Food (both raw ingredients and prepared dishes to take away or eat at the market)
Where: Piazza del Mercato Centrale, San Lorenzo neighborhood (Also check out the smaller, but similar, Sant Ambrogio Market across town.)

Mercato Nuovo and the Porcellino
Mercato Nuovo has been around since the 11th century – it was known as the straw market. It is a small market located just under the loggia and sells leather goods, t-shirts, scarves, and souvenirs. As prices go, the Mercato of San Lorenzo is a bit cheaper, but the market is still worth a look.
Just outside the stalls to the south is a statue of a boar that is known as il Porcellino. Legend is that if you rub his snout and put a coin in his mouth, you'll return to Florence.
When: Open everyday 8:00 am to 7:00 pm
Where: Loggia del Mercato Nuovo

Santo Spirito Antique Market
If you are looking for antiques and house wares this is a great place to look!
When: The second Sunday of every month Spirito flea market.
What to buy: Antiques
Where: Piazza Santo Spirito

Fierucola Farmer's Market in Santo Spirito
The Fierucola is not just your typical farmers market, it features artisan crafts, as well as organic produce, oils, jams, wines, and baked goods. The Fierucola market is a feast for all of the senses and is definitely worth visiting!
When: On the third Sunday of the month
What to buy: Organic products sold by local merchants
Where: Piazza Santo Spirito

Piazza dei Ciompi Flea Market
If you're lucky enough to go there on the last Sunday of every month, the stalls extend into the surrounding streets. Here you can find furniture and vintage objects from the past like prints, coins and jewelry. It's worth a trip if only to get insights on Italy's past through the artifacts displayed in these cluttered stalls.
When: Monday through Saturday 9:00 am to 7:30 pm and on the last Sunday of the month.
Where: Piazza Ciompi in the Sant'Ambrogio neighborhood

Le Cascine Flea Market
Le Cascine market is situated in the very beautiful Cascine Park, and is worth a visit just to admire the beautiful views. After a day of walking through the cobblestone streets and awing at the amazing architecture it is hard to believe that a green park such as the Cascine exists so close to the city center. The Cascine Market is the biggest and cheapest market in town! If you're searching for fruits, vegetables, clothing, house ware stands, antiquities, shoes, vintage, or anything lese you can think of, this is the place to come!
When: Tuesdays from 7:00am to 2:00pm
Where: Viale Lincoln in the Cascine Park
How to get there: The easiest way to access the Cascine from the city center is by taking the Tramvia (from the Santa Maria Novella Station). It is the second stop and takes all of 5 minutes; the stop is "Cascine" so there is no confusion. If you would like to walk to the Cascine from the city center just follow the Arno River down past Ponte della Vittoria bridge and you have arrived (takes about 25 minutes).




February 3, 10, 12

The municipality of Sesto Fiorentino offers perhaps the closest carnival celebration to Florence. The theme of Pinnochio will be celebrated in masked parades on both February 3 and February 10, between 2:30 and 5:30pm, culminating in Piazza Vittorio Veneto. The parades will be accompanied by music from the local municipal band and a number of stands will line the streets, offering traditional carnival sweets, including cenci (fried and sugared dough), schiacciata alla fiorentina (citrus sponge cake) and fritelle di riso (flavored rice cakes).

For more information, please visit www.sestoidee.it.


February 3, 10, 17, March 3

The small agricultural town of Foiano della Chiana boasts one of the most varied carnivals, tracing its origins back to 1539. The four districts of the town compete for the best float prize. Spectators of the parades traditionally throw fruit and vegetables at the people on the floats. The protagonist of this Carnival is King Giocondo, whose effigy is burnt every year in the main square. This year, the 474th burning of King Giocondo will take place on March 3 at 6:30pm.

For more information, visit www.carnevaledifoiano.it.


February 3, 10, 12

Hosted in the municipality of Vinci, birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci, the Carnevale sulle Due Rive will celebrate its 20th edition. The parade on February 3 is particularly for children, who will celebrate this year’s theme “Super Heros” and enjoy the many floats and attractions. A nocturnal parade for the adults will take to the streets at 10:30pm on Shrove Tuesday (February 12), and will be followed by a fireworks display.

For details, visit www.carnevalesulleduerive.it.


February 3, 10

In Piazza Dante of Borgo San Lorenzo, the Mugellano Carnival traces its origins back to Medicean Tuscany and the sixteenth century. Amongst the masks and floats, confetti and streamers, entertainment for all will be offered from 3pm on both Sundays. Satirical floats, traditional music and market stands add to the Carnival atmosphere.

For more information, click www.comune.borgo-san-lorenzo.fi.it.

VISIT PRATO FOR VINTAGE FASHION – The Irresistible Charm Of Past

At the Prato Textile Museum, you can enjoy the walk down memory lane in fashion. The exhibition is dedicated to the issue of fashion vintage. It offers a journey into the world and history of one of the most contemporary trends of fashion. The exhibition explains how the re-use of garments in the past gave to second hand clothing an irresistible charm, generating a proper fashion phenomenon.

Opened in 1975 in Tullio Buzzi Technical Institute, Prato Textile Museum has the cultural mission of providing an extensive permanent collection of items testifying to the history of local textile production since the beginning of the 12th century. Prato Textile Museum is now a flourishing center for the promotion of the local industrial district, a district that comprises around 8,000 companies and employs over 40,000 people. Since May 2003 Prato Textile Museum has been housed in the converted Campolmi textile mill, a symbol of the local textile manufacturing industry, located in the center of the city of Prato.

Prato Textile Museum

Via Puccetti 3 59100 Prato (PO) Italy

Phone: +39 0574 611503

Fax +39 0574 444585

Opening hours:

Tuesday - Friday: 10am-6pm

Saturday - Sunday: 10am - 7pm

Closed on Monday

Last entrance 45 minutes before closure time


Tuscan Traveler’s Italian Food Rules written by Ann Reavis has been published! Find a copy at The Paperback Exchange at Via delle Oche, 4r, or at BM Bookshop, Borgo Ognissante, 4.


Tea drinkers of the U.K. and the U.S. might as well give up the idea of a good “cuppa” in Italy. Italians only drink tea when they are sick – at home.

You can ask for, and receive, hot tea in a coffee bar. First, the barista will give you a searching glance from a distance to see if you are obviously infectious. Then, he will run some hot water out of the coffee machine into a cappuccino-cup. The water will be unfiltered tap water, which may taste great, but in Florence, for example, is highly mineralized, a taste hidden easily by coffee, but not by tea. And, having passed through the coffee machine, the water will have the odor, if not the taste, of stale coffee.

The water may or may not be of sufficient temperature to brew tea from the generic tea bag (or, perhaps, Liptons in an upscale bar), still wrapped in its paper cover, resting in the saucer of the rapidly cooling cup of water.

If you go out to dinner at the home of an Italian friend, carry your own tea bags. Their cupboards will only contain chamomile tea bags or tisane della salute. Also, be prepared for the sympathetic look and an inquiry about how long you have been feeling “under the weather.” Finally, they may not have cups for tea, only tiny cups for espresso. A water glass can substitute for a teacup, but don’t fill it too full; only the top edge will stay cool enough to touch.

As for your own vacation rental in Italy: plan to bring an electric kettle, a Brita pitcher with filters, and your favorite tea. In cities, specialty grocery stores will carry good tea, but at high prices.

To avoid those sympathetic looks and the defensive self-doubt that will grow each time an Italian asks “Prendiamo un caffè?", think up a snappy reply. As a foreigner, you will be given a pass. Imagine a tea-loving, coffee-hating Italian – his life would be like being a vegetarian at a Texas barbeque ... every single day of the year.


Invitation to Newsletter Readers & Friends:

The Pitcher & Flaccomio Newsletter would like to invite readers and friends of readers to submit announcements of upcoming events that may be of interest to visitors and residents of Florence and Tuscany, provide shopping tips, and/or comments on what’s “right” or “wrong” in Florence (or the Newsletter). We can’t promise to put every announcement in the newsletter, but we appreciate your support, interest and messages.

Please send an email to info@pitcherflaccomio.com or newsletter@pitcherflaccomio.com .


Start of the month with Carnival and then catch a few of the winter museum offerings. By the end of February we will see signs that spring is on its way.

All the best,

Pitcher and Flaccomio