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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 2014

February is the month for lovers – lovers of parades that is. Carnevale is front and center in Viareggio. Best wishes for flowers and chocolate, too, of course, from SUZANNE, CORSO, BEI, LESLIE, VANNI, 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 16, 23 and March 2,4, 9). 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 141st 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 not far from the Arno river on the south side of the city, in an off-the-beaten-path genuine Florentine neighborhood. It is approximately 15 minutes stroll up the hill to Piazzale Michelangelo and down the hill to the famous Old Bridge (the Ponte Vecchio) and the heart of Florence. A nearby gate in the old city wall, gives one immediate access to the surrounding countryside with olive trees and vineyards. The apartment measures approx. 110 square meters and is laid out on two levels: One enters on the ground floor (2 steps down from street level) which consists of acozy living room with working fireplace, a small kitchen (with table for 6), and small guest bathroom (toilet and sink) .

Both the kitchen and living room open to a patio with outdoor furniture and a gazebo. The table for 6 is excellent for outdoor dining. Twenty steps lead up to the first floor which consists of: two double bedrooms that share abathroom with shower and a master double bedroom (ensuite bathroom with shower). Off the stair landing is a small balcony overlooking the patio and rooftops of surrounding buildings. The apartment is tastefully furnished with antiques and modern pieces. It is equipped with internet access, air-conditioning units in the bedrooms, a television, washing machine on the patio, dishwasher, telephone and window screens. There are terra cotta floors throughout and wood beam ceilings in some of the rooms.

For more information click this link.


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

From Friday, February 7 to Sunday, February 16, Piazza Santa Maria Novella will host the 10th 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 GUIDE (eBook and App) FOR FEBRUARY – The Dark and Bloody Guide to Florence (La Guida Nera di Firenze) by Stefano Sieni and Mario Spezi

Douglas Preston (author with Mario Sepziof Monster of Florence) writes: I wanted to bring you attention to a new iPad app and e-Book, published a few days ago, called The Dark and Bloody Guide to Florence. I don't think there's a travel app quite like it. Through maps, videos, walking tours, animations and pictures, it guides visitors through some of the most bizarre, harrowing, strange, and gruesome byways of Florentine history going back 2,000 years.

This app surveys the city's streets and monuments stone by stone, narrating shocking stories related to each place: the horrors endured by gladiators, the slaughters of ancient and modern serial-killers, infamous crimes and assassinations, atrocities committed by judges and torturers, bloody conspiracies, burnings, mob riots, and executions. This is not your usual guidebook -- but then Florence is not your usual city. Despite my rather sensationalistic description, this app contains a great deal of fascinating and serious history.

I contributed the introduction to this app, and it is written by two Italian journalists, Stefano Sieni and Mario Spezi, co-author with me of The Monster of Florence, which spent 14 weeks on the Times bestseller list.

About the Book and App

This e-book is both a history and an interactive guide, a priceless tool for discovering Florence under a new light, or rather an ancient shadow. Special itineraries and maps, accompanied by a wealth of images, original films and animated sequences, guide the reader/visitor step-by-step through a thrilling adventure amid a thousand nightmares that become reality.

Florence, the cradle of art. And of monsters. A black soul breathes behind the "splendid" postcard image that every years attracts millions of tourists from all over the world. A soul made of blood, crime, poisoning, perversion of every kind, diabolical orgies, torture and death. A soul that has always been deemed shameful, furtive and unmentionable, but without which it is impossible to understand the essence of the other side, universally hailed as "splendid".

Only in a place consecrated to excess, for good or for evil, could there exist such a short-circuit between the opposing forces that gave life to the Renaissance and to a marvellous, unique civilization of art and culture. Without that ordinary, day-to-day depravity, without that ever-looming shadow of cruelty and death, such a wealth of masterpieces and geniuses would never have seen the light: from Dante to Leonardo, from Michelangelo to Botticelli. The flowers of evil?

Hence there is a thin red line, never broken, that links ancient madmen and murderers to the monster par excellence, the Monster of Florence, often compared to Jack the Ripper.

Not by chance have me and the expert in crime reporting Mario Spezi have written the best-seller The Monster of Florence, which has been translated the world over and is now being made into a film by Twentieth Century Fox with George Clooney as the star and co-producer.

It is an amazing "spectacle", virtually unknown, never before presented to the public. Many stories, then, beyond the limits of the incredible and yet true, divided into chapters and subheadings according to a precise itinerary through the quarters of the city on both sides of the Arno. A stroll through horror, accompanied by the sinister shadow of Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula, who, according to some scholars, may have been linked in some way to Florence. This descent into Hell, the real one, includes some of the most shocking, tragic and mysterious crimes.

"The Dark and Bloody Guide to Florence (La Guida Nera di Firenze) which you have in hand will take you on a most extraordinary journey into the dark side of Florence, a city which is incapable of producing anything second rate: everything it does and represents is the very best. Including evil".

Douglas Preston



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

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

Did the Florentine guest in your home turn pale when offered leftover pizza for breakfast? Did the fruit and vegetable vendor at the Mercato Centrale yell at you when you checked out the ripeness of his peaches or scooped up a handful of cherries?

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

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

Our own Ann Reavis wrote this book.

Link here for Amazon.com. Link here for Amazon.co.uk. Link here for Amazon.it.

BEST EATERY FOR FEBRUARY – Coquinarius has moved down the street to a bigger space

Coquinarius was a cosy little wine bar and café tucked away behind the Duomo, great for a quiet lunch or an informal evening meal: unusually, the full menu is available between noon and 11pm. Now, it is a much larger, but still comfy, place that is one of the few that is open at all hours but serves great food, not like the tourist traps that litter Florence.

Bare brick walls and soft jazz provide the background for good pastas (such as pecorino and pear ravioli), carpaccio, imaginative salads and platters of cheeses and meats. The home-made cakes are truly divine. The wine list is complete and interesting.

Via delle Oche, 11r See also: http://www.coquinarius.it/

BEST MAGIC FOR FEBRUARY— MagicFlorence At The Puccini Theater

The best six magicians of Florence and Tuscany converge at the Teatro Puccini on February 23 at 4:45pm. Bring the kids and the grandparents and be amazed at the illusions that may or may not be taking place before your eyes.

Info: http://www.teatroverdionline.it/cartellone/varieta/magicflorence.html

23/02/14 at 16.45 - Teatro Puccini

E-mail: info@teatroverdionline.it

Teatro Puccini, Via delle Cascine, 41


14 (Friday) – Valentine’s Day | 1 Billion Rising

Stop by Piazza Santa Maria Novella at 7 p.m. to participate in 1 Billion Rising, when 1 billion people worldwide are expected to stand up and dance in opposition to violence against women. The best thing you can do on a day of love.



Three archive documents concerning Michelangelo, a drawing by Raphael, the baptism certificate of Leonardo da Vinci and another text bearing his annotations, a lecture on Dante’s Inferno written by Galileo, are all part of a library fanatic’s dream exhibit that kicks off the “Un Anno ad Arte 2014” (A Year of Art 2014) with the show entitled, Once in a Lifetime. Treasures from the Archives and Libraries of Florence, on the calendar from 28 January to 27 April 2014 and hosted in the Sala Bianca in Palazzo Pitti.

The exhibition will bring some 133 items together, including manuscripts, books and drawings, which come from 33 city institutions. Its purpose is to offer a “unique” opportunity to admire treasures on paper, held in some of the most important cultural “treasure chests” of the city, including those from various archives and libraries and have never been seen by the public. The first among them concerns Michelangelo Buonarroti and is a sheet with Sketches of blocks of marble and a shape for a Crucifix: in practice, the instructions for “quarrying” stone blocks from the mountain, including one in the shape of a cross and ready to be sculpted. This document from the Archive of the Fondazione Casa Buonarroti has never been on public display in Italy

On the occasion of the Palazzo Pitti show, for the first time, visitors will be able to admire ancient manuscripts – including an anthem book from the XIII century – that come from the archives of institutions that had never made loans before. The books and documents on show will feature the first dictionary published by the Accademia della Crusca in 1612, an edition of Vasari’s Lives of the Artists dated 1568, the first Italian edition of Topolino (Mickey Mouse) dated 1932, a letter book that belonged to Bianca Cappello, half a dozen copies of the Divine Comedy(including one with illustrations by Alessandro Botticelli), the document with which Louis XI of France granted Piero de’ Medici permission to use the French lily in the coat of arms of the Tuscan dynasty, the law enacted by Pietro Leopoldo of Lorraine that in 1786 abolished capital punishment in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Libro di Montaperti, the Testamento of Folco Portinari, and a papyrus from the first century B.C.

As part of the show, the Accademia dei Georgofili will propose various archive pieces, including an inedited drawing (from a 1940s publication for children) by Sergio Tofano. The Biblioteca degli Uffizi will contribute numerous letters from the so-called “Carte Fedi” collection, including many letters – all of them unpublished – that Anna Franchi collected and that contain drawings and sketches by the most famous Macchiaioli painters, from Lega to Fattori to Signorini.

The exhibition opens with a panel bearing the letter Giovanni Fabbroni, in his capacity as representative of the provisional Government appointed by the Regency of Tuscany, wrote in 1800 to the then-first consul of France, Napoleon Bonaparte. In this letter, he requested “protection for the arts and science, entreating immunity and salvation for all the public establishments destined to education”.

In addition to the main visiting itinerary, a small section will be dedicated to the consequences that the archive and book patrimony of Florence suffered in two dramatic moments of its history: the flood of 1966 and the bombing of Via dei Georgofili in 1993. The showcase that closes the exhibition presents visitors with a close-up view of three articles from the archive and book patrimony damaged by the flood and not restored, in addition to a book that was practically destroyed in the bombing of 21 years ago.


On the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the death of Michelangelo Buonarroti, from January 8 to March 15, 2014, at the Museum of the Medici Chapels in Florence, will be the photographic exhibition Il potere dello sguardo (The Power of the Gaze). Aurelio Amendola, a photographer from Pistoia, has collected the details of the works of Michelangelo in 23 large format shots in black and white. Michelangelo’s subjects including sculptures of the New Sacristy of San Lorenzo and David and the Prisoners come to life and acquire new shades through the lights and shadows of the photograph.

The exhibition Il potere dello sguardo is made of a first group of 15 images in the central part of the Crypt of the Medici Chapels, a second group — four beautiful pictures of the David – is placed in the tribune on the right where you can find the tombs of Cosimo I and some of his family, while a third section, two photographs of Prisoners, is in the stand opposite the resting place of Ferdinand I and his wife and two sons.

In addition to the photographs visible in the crypt, Amendola exhibits two others which depict some details of the murals in the “secret room” where it is believed Michelangelo was hiding for some time during the siege of Florence in 1530. These two great images are on display in the Chapel to the right of the New Sacristy, with the crowning metal (designed by Michelangelo) that once stood at the top of the lantern, over the same Sacristy.


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



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

Feb. 1 - 2 The Wolf of Wall Street

Feb. 6 – 12 August: Osage County

Feb. 17 – 23 Inside Llewyn Davis

ITALIAN FILM FESTIVAL – Subtitled in English

February 17–March 10

Spazio Alfieri, via dell’Ulivo, 6, Florence

This free film festival explores the dynamics of modern-day Italian cinema. The four films, screened on February 17 and 24, on March 3 and 10, subtitled in English, target the question ‘What is Italian identity?’ as well as the stereotypes that accompany it. For more information, see www.spazioalfieri.it .

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.

Luchino Visconti


Nothing sums up better the contradictions, complexities and contentiousness in the character of the gay, Marxist aristocrat Luchino Visconti than his two great movie masterpieces Rocco e i suoi fratelli and Il gattopardo. In both, the disintegration of family life in the face of rapid political and economic change is juxtaposed with a disarmingly indulgent nostalgia for the values and manners of unsustainable traditions embedded in unjust and untenable social systems, be they within the peasantry of Basilicata or the aristocracy of Sicily. This blend of melodrama and realism is dispatched with an intensely felt zeal for genuine social reform based on a trenchant critique of society's ills, but also a feeling of resignation and a sad sense of the powerlessness of individuals to make a difference for themselves or for their successors.

A founding father of Neo-realism, Visconti in his early films embraces that movement's ethics and aesthetics with flair and compassion, but his broad canvas includes costume dramas and historical epics, where the potentially dry narration of historical events is infused with the passion of melodrama, and a languorous pace allows the viewer to take in the details of the meticulous historical recreation. The latter part of Visconti's film career was occupied with slow and beautiful meditations on intimations of mortality. A filmmaker whose grace and intensity, operatic theatricality and passionate commitment to social justice and individual self-realisation makes him one of Italy's most important twentieth-century cultural icons.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014. 20.00 Film: BELLISSIMA (Anna Magnani, Walter Chiari)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014. 20.00 Film: SENSO (Farley Granger, Alida Valli)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014. 20.00 Film: LE NOTTI BIANCHE (Maria Schell, Marcello Mastroianni, Jean Marais)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014. 20.00 Film: ROCCO E I SUOI FRATELLI (Alain Delon, Renato Salvatori, Annie Girardot).


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 05, 2014, 18.00 Lecture: Aidan Bellenger

The controversial church historian Francis Aidan Gasquet (1846-1929) is the subject of a lecture by the present Abbot of Downside, on the hundredth anniversary of his creation as Cardinal-Deacon of San Giorgio in Velabro in 1914.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 18.00 Lecture: Alessio Assionitis

The 16th-century Tuscan painter Fra Bartolomeo was immensely admired by the English Grand Tourists, though his reputation subsequently declined sharply; it has now revived again, and is discussed by Alessio Assionitis of the Medici Archive Project.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014, 18.00 Lecture: Giuseppe Albano

Giuseppe Albano, the Scottish curator of the Keats-Shelley House in Rome, examines the author of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley (née Wollstonecraft Godwin, 1797-1851), through her letters.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014. 18.00 Lecture: Sarah Dunant

Getting under their skins: art, history and fiction


Thursday, February 06, 2014, 16.30

Afternoon Tea Party

"When the girl returned, some hours later, she carried a tray, with a cup of fragrant tea steaming on it; and a plate piled up with very hot buttered toast, cut thick, very brown on both sides, with the butter running through the holes in great golden drops, like honey from the honeycomb. The smell of that buttered toast simply talked to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cosy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one's ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender, of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries." Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Afternoon tea is served every Thursday from 16.30 until 18.00 at the British Institute library and features the delicious blends of the local tea house, Tealicious. Open to all. Minimum suggested donation €1.50, which goes towards supporting the library.


The Costume Gallery at the Palazzo Pitti is celebrating hats. Entitled The Hat Between Art and Extravagance, the exhibit’s aim is to allow its visitors to appreciate a collection of the gallery’s lesser-known works, emphasizing the hat’s importance as an artistic creation and an expression of style. Many have been donated over the years, and the acquisitions that have augmented the collection include works from amongst the most important designers, such as Philip Treacy, Paulette, Givenchy, Jeanne Lanvin, Christian Dior, Balmain, Balenciaga and Pierre Cardin.

The exposition will exalt the ancient trade of “la modista (the designer),” while simultaneously presenting the work of the actual modern day companies that, like the gallery’s collection, uphold this historic tradition of hat making.

The exhibition will conclude on May 18, 2014.

For more information visit http://www.uffizi.firenze.it/musei/?m=costume .


It is the 500th year since Machiavelli was banished from Florence and worked out his boredom in San Casciano by writing The Prince. Through books, manuscripts, documents, maps, costumes and paintings, the Biblioteca Nazionale at Piazza Cavalleggeri will offer an illustration of the politician/writer’s life. Keep an eye out for other Machiavelli-related events throughout the month.

December 10 to Febrauary22; Mon-Fri 10am to 6pm, Sat. 10am to 1pm. Entrance free.


Looking for a way to have fun in the expat community? Join the Quilting Group at St James Church

Fridays at 10am, Downstairs Meeting Room, St. James Church, via Rucellai 9, T 335 6572367,

annebar@interfree.it (Check out the English book exchange shelves while you are there.)


Marco Martelli exhibits his hyper-realistic compositions of buildings, skies, landscapes and urban scenes. Usually lacking in human presence, this exhibit also includes two exquisite portraits of his aging grandmother. Until February 27. SACI Maidoff Gallery, Via Sant'Egidio, 14

See more at www.saci-florence.edu .



The Amici della Musica of Florence presents various concerts at the Teatro della Pergola. Works by Gershwin, Schubert, Chopin, Britten, Bach, Hayden and Mozart are only a small sample of what will be performed. See the schedule for concerts at http://www.amicimusica.fi.it/.

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


Go to the Museo La Sprecola on February 8 at 3pm (pop music) and February 23 at 11am (classical music) for a free concert in the museum. Info: http://www.msn.unifi.it/upload/sub/mostre/tempio%20muse/progr_muse.pdf


For part of Renato Zero’s ‘Grand Finale’ tour, the Italian singer puts on an elaborate show featuring songs from all of his albums, accompanied by an orchestra and his famous dance troupe. For more information, see www.mandelaforum.it .

February 10–11 at the Mandela Forum


The 77th 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. 6-13 Madam Butterfly by Puccini (opera)

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




The largest European dance event comes to Florence! With a packed program including all styles from classical to contemporary, jazz to tango, hip hop to country and ethnic to burlesque, there is something for everyone. For a full program and tickets, visit www.danzainfiera.it.

February 27–March 2

Fortezza da Basso


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

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 16, 23 and March 2,4, 9). 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 141st 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.


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).

THE WARM STATUES – Sculpture Body, Action

Until March 8 at the Marino Marini Museum

Focusing mainly on Italy, le statue calde investigates the relationship between sculpture, body, and action in post-war art, pursuing two ideas that complement each other: sculpture as an extension of the body, and the body as sculpture. It brings together works realized in a time span of almost seventy years, by artists from three generations these works were created to be handled, walked on and sat on, to be grasped and lifted, to be worn or even kicked.

The spectator is confronted with unassuming objects, often made with ordinary materials: a wooden platform, a bent brass tube, a small construction made with concrete blocks. they invite contact with a body, to which they offer themselves as supports, prostheses, and utensils. The platform then becomes a pedestal that "magically" turns anyone who climbs up on it into a sculpture; the tube reveals itself to be a unique tool - complete with instructions for use - for talking to oneself; the block construction can be used to show the act of doing pushups. While performing the planned actions, the body itself becomes sculpture, or rather, a statue: an animated statue, a "warm statue", in an ideal dialogue with the figurative sculptures by Marini.
For more details, see www.museomarinomarini.it .


The Rooms Of The Muses at the Galleria degli Uffizi - 11 February – 11 May 2014

The famed orchestra conductor Francesco Molinari Pradelli (1911-1996), in the course of his numerous travels throughout his professional career, collected baroque art which is housed in the Bologna Molinari Pradelli Collection. This special exhibit is part of Un Anno ad Arte 2014.

Born in Bologna in 1911, he attended the "Gian Battista Martini" music school, studying piano under the guidance of Filippo Ivaldi and orchestra conducting under Cesare Nordio, and completing his musical training in Rome. In 1938, from his very first performances, the press defined him as a "conductor with a glowing future, while Arturo Toscanini commended him as a young man "with talent who will go places". In Rome, he distinguished himself in conducting concertos with soloists like Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli and Wilhelm Kempff. In the 1940s, he performed on the podiums of Milan, Pesaro, Trieste, Bologna and Florence, directing in particular, works by Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Wagner. His international success began with a 1949 tour in Hungary and then on to the most important theatres in Europe and America, with a repertory of thirty-three concertos and twenty-eight operas, from 1938 to 1982.

In the 1950s, the Maestro began to cultivate a growing passion for painting, first for nineteenth-century works, and then discovering an interest for Baroque painting. He developed a very original attraction for still-life, a genre that was just then beginning to garner interest from scholars, in which he combined the pleasure of owning artwork, aesthetic appreciation and the desire for knowledge, stimulated by museum visits in the cities his professional career took him to.

His collection of some two-hundred paintings that in time lined the walls of his Bologna home and later, the Villa at Marano di Castenaso, was admired by the greatest art historians of the XX century, from both Europe and America. As the exhibition documents with a selection of one-hundred paintings, the Maestro rigorously preferred seventeenth- and eighteenth-century painting, collecting works from the various Italian schools.



February 9, 16, 23

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 9,16,23, March 2, 9

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 16, 23

Hosted in the municipality of Vinci, birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci, the Carnevale sulle Due Rive will celebrate its 21st 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 16, 23

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 .


Fashion designer Gianfranco Ferré was known as ‘the architect of fashion’ due to his unique ways of designing. This exhibition of 27 white shirts, sketches and videos explores the genius and creativity of Ferré. Until June 15 Museo del Tessuto, Via Puccetti 3, Prato

For more information: www.museodeltessuto.it .


ITALIAN LIFE RULE: No Wall-To-Wall Carpeting

It used to be that British and the French perpetuated the myth that the Italians were peasants, living in filth. Read books and essays published in the early 20th century and after WWII in England. Listen to the French, today, as they cross the border in Liguria.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Wall-to-wall carpets prove it.

Remember the shag carpets so popular in the 60s and 70s throughout Britain and the U.S.? Even now, most American and European homes have carpet in the bedrooms and livingrooms. The Swiss rank first in their disdain for wall-to-wall carpets. The Italians run a close second.

Few Italian families tolerate wall-to-wall carpeting because there is no control of the dirt clinging to a rug, especially one that can not be taken out, hung on a line and beaten clean. Not even the strongest vacuum cleaner, used every single day, can assure the Italian homemaker that what is lurking deep in the pile of a carpet has been sucked away.

The Germans argue that allowing the carpet to cling to dust and spores lessens allergic symptoms. They say the dirt on ceramic and wood floors swirls up into the air every time a door is opened or shut.

Italians declare that is much better to have floors that can be swept every day and mopped with hot soapy water every other day. To some, small washable throw rugs or shakeable area carpets are acceptable to break up the cold and noise of tile, marble and terra cotta floors.

In England and France, you will not see the lady of the house wash down the front stoop every day or store owners washing the sidewalk and street in front of the shop door. In Italy it is a common occurrence.

It is true that Italians are litterers and frequently fail to clean up after their dogs, which infuriates the Americans and the British, but not the French. Outside a radius of a couple of meters from their street door, Italians know that the world is a filthy place and there is nothing much they can do about it.

In the Italian home, however, with a ban on outside shoes, the use of pantofole (slippers) and no wall-to-wall carpets, the environment is dust and germ free.


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