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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 January 2012

January kicks off with the three wise men and Befana, moves on to the sales and the streets filled with the Pitti fashionistas, and ends with a desire for the sun and flowers and primavera in Tuscany.

We are wishing you a month filled with gifts from the Befana and great shopping to get what she forgot and a Happy New Year from SUZANNE, CORSO, BEI, SANDRA, LORI, ANNA PIA, ANN and MARIO.


BEST EXTRAVAGANZA FOR JANUARY – The Three Kings and Befana Arrive in Florence on January 6

Epiphany, January 6, commemorates the arrival of the Three Kings in Bethlehem. It also marks La Befana, Italy's traditional day of gift giving.

The name Befana appeared historically for the first time in writing in a poem by Agnolo Firenzuola in 1549. She is portrayed like an old ugly woman dressed in dark rags, who during the night between 5th and 6th January flies over the houses riding her broom and entering through the chimneys (in modern apartments through a keyhole). Into the socks that children left hanging near the fireplace she leaves candies and gifts for good children, black coal (actually black sugar today), garlic and onions to the bad ones. Parents of course would always include some coal over the gifts, to trick their children. And the night before the family leaves some wine and cakes for the old lady.

In the Christian tradition the name "Befana" is a popular version of the Greek term "Epiphany" which was the festivity following Christmas, commemorating the visit of the Magi. According to the legend the three wise men on their journey were stopped by an old woman with a broom who asked them where they were going. They told her that they were following a star that would lead them to a newborn baby, and invited her to come along. But she replied that she was busy sweeping and cleaning and did not go. When she realized her mistake, her regret was so great that she continues to wander about Italy and at the Epiphany (January 6, when the Wise Men finally found the baby Jesus), begins rewarding good children and disappointing those who were bad.

In celebration of the Epiphany, a "Cavalcade of the Three Kings" takes place in downtown Florence on the morning of January 6. The event is a commemoration of an ancient celebration taking place in the city as far back as 1400 of the arrival of the three kings to the manger where Jesus was born. On this special occasion, a parade in beautiful Renaissance costumes starts from Palazzo Pitti and winds its way through the city, passing by Piazza della Signoria and arriving at the Cathedral and Baptistery in Piazza del Duomo. The Sbandieratori, or flag-throwing company, of the Uffizi also participates in the event, enchanting the public with their skill in throwing, exchanging and waving their flags in Piazza della Signoria.

P&F PICK APARTMENT RENTAL FOR JANUARY – Living in Galileo’s Neighborhood

Galileo put his observatory in this lovely country side above Florence in a tiny hamlet called Pian dei Giullari. This apartment, known as “Ortensie”, is a portion of a nearby villa, a cozy romantic one-bedroom hide-a-way for two. It is about 10 minutes by car and 45 minutes by foot to the historic center of town. (A car is necessary.) Omero (the favorite local restaurant of Julia Child), a café and small grocery store for convenient shopping are within walking distance. For more information, check this link.

MUSEUM FOR JANUARY – Opificio delle Pietre Dure

"Art and nature" could be the motto of this extraordinary museum dedicated to semi-precious stone inlays, where artistic talent competes only with the splendor of the materials employed. It was the passion of the Medici for this precious form of art that led Grand Duke Ferdinando I de' Medici to establish in 1588 a court laboratory specialized in semi-precious mosaics and inlays. This grand ducal institution, which remained active for down three centuries, was the core of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, established at the end of the 19th century, which still has its seat in the original location chosen in 1798 for the laboratories formerly housed in the Uffizi.

The Florentine production was lavish and very prestigious and is today represented by the fine examples preserved both in Florentine and foreign museums. Yet, this small museum is the only institution that focuses only on this theme and offers therefore the opportunity of fully understanding this suggestive chapter of Florentine history. The collection is arranged by themes in chronological order. The first section is dedicated to the first Grand dukes and semi-precious stone. This section displays porphyry sculptures dating back to the age of Cosimo I de' Medici, who had a special predilection for this ancient and precious material, enriched by sophisticated furniture pieces in semi-precious stones made for his sons Francesco I and Ferdinando 1. The so-called late 16th century "Florentine brand" would continue to be for centuries the pride of the laboratory and consists in a very imaginative mosaic technique that used natural colors and precious stones, cut in sections and skillfully matched to form a larger image.

“Stone flowers” is the section dedicated to the very trendy theme of flowers that flourished between the 17th and 18th centuries. Flowers were often matched with fruit and birds and were used in particular to decorate table tops or crown chests. From the early years of the 17th century, the laboratory also contributed to the monumental project of the Chapel of the Princes (Church of San Lorenzo) – the mausoleum of the Medici family erected in 1604 by Ferdinando I, who had planned to entirely decorate it with semi-precious stones.

The Opificio delle Pietre Dure after the unification of Italy experienced a financial decline. Although it artistic level remained very high, its products were sold to bourgeois customers and comprised table tops, small refined objects, small sculptures in semi-precious stones, all caracterised by an impeccable style and an extraodinary taste in the matching of colours.The itinerary of the Museum ends with a section dedicated to art painting on stone and scagliola – a kind of artistic production that was very fashionable between the 17th and 18th centuries.

Opificio delle Pietre Dure
Via Alfani, 78, tel: (39) 055.26511 fax: (39) 055.287123
Open Monday to Saturday 8:15am to 2:00pm, Ticket: 4 euro (check for joint Accademia/Opificio dele Pietre Dure ticket for 7 euro)


Trattoria Sergio Gozzi, hidden behind the stalls in the San Lorenzo market, known by locals simply as ‘Da Sergio,' has been serving traditional Tuscan fare since 1915. This is a place where the potatoes are peeled and sliced fresh daily, where the same locals eat lunch every day, and where fourth-generation Gozzi brothers, Andrea and Alessandro, run the entire show, the former from the kitchen and the latter from the bustling dining area.

They’ve kept the lunchtime-only hours because that’s the way it’s always been – it’s a life-style choice. A one-minute walk from the central food market ensures that everything in the kitchen is fresh and locally sourced. Although famous for its soups (try the ribollita or passata di verdure), Andrea and his team in the kitchen make a classic veal chop, a great stuffed rabbit, trippa alla fiorentina, braciola fritta with tomato sauce, veal stew with onions, and, of course, a thick bistecca alla fiorentina. (Also, never pass up the fried potatoes.)

Trattoria Sergio Gozzi
Piazza San Lorenzo, 8r
Monday to Saturday, 12:30pm to 2:30pm

BEST MARKETS FOR JANUARY – Antiques and Handicrafts


On Saturday 21 and Sunday 22, the park and gardens of the Fortezza da Basso once again host Florence's most important, monthly antiques fair. Come browse the booths and stands selling antique tables, chairs, armoires, plus frames and paintings and all sorts of odds and ends. Fortezza da Basso gardens. Open from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm each day. Phone for further information: tel. 055 27051


On Sun. 15 don't miss the chance to stroll around Piazza Santo Spirito and admire the crafts and organic food fair. Your will find hand-woven dresses and ponchos, beeswax candles, naturally scented soaps and oils, home-baked bread and cakes, ceramics, wine, olive oil, olive wood salad bowls and more.

FORZA VIOLA!! FOR JANUARY – Florentine Calcio (2011-2012)

P&F Sports Reporters Simon Clark & Anne Brooks bring you December 2011’s Florentine Calcio results and the upcoming schedule for January 2012.

Forza Viola! ... Fiorentina are still under-performing but, staying positive, we only lost one game this month. Being less positive, we ought to have one the two that turned out as draws. However, while there is Jovetic there is hope and there is a feeling of increased confidence around the squad. If Rossi can surround Jo-Jo with the right blend of youth and experience, we could yet challenge for Europe. Forza Viola!

Fiorentina’s Results

Week 14: Fiorentina-Roma WON 3-0
Week 15: Inter-Fiorentina LOST 0-2
Week 16: Fiorentina-Atalanta DREW 2-2
Week 1: Siena-Fiorentina DREW 0-0

Primavera. The future looks great. The youth team stay second and are through to the cup semi-finals. The Under-16 side has dropped to 3rd but has a game in hand. The boys roll on – 11 victories and one defeat and first place in their league!

Serie A. Cocky Roma come to the Franchi. We attack immediately but they take control of midfield. Neither side looks confident of victory and the downpour hampers stylish play. Then the marvellous Jovetic is scythed down - an automatic red card; Roma are down to ten and Jo-Jo slots the penalty home. On the brink of half-time, Gamberini rams home a beguiling Montolivo corner and the heavens open still further; we adjourn below-stand! After the break, Roma still think they can escape but a flashing Viola move opens them up; Jovetic is laid flat and now there are only nine Romans on the pitch. We press and another shot is handled on the line so another Roman goes for an early bath. We pass the ball to Santiago Silva, perhaps to settle his Viola future. Wham! 3-0! Cue a final ten minutes of a happy Viola and subdued Roma playing out time. We celebrate; they shrink back to the capital. Men of the match – Jo-Jo, Montolivo and Behrami.

Having seen off Roma, the prospect of Inter seems OK but we lost Cerci and Montolivo and then Jovetic took to his sick bed. Those remaining lack heart. With Gilardino on his lonesome up-front and a patchwork midfield without bite, we had little to delay Inter and their forwards poured down on our goal for most of the game. It was, naturally, old-boy Pazzini who put them in front; the second goal was a nonsensical ricochet. This was a match that must have left Rossi in no doubt about the difficulty he faces.

Then 90 Saturday night minutes on the Viola rollercoaster as we share the points with Atalanta. The Mr has responded to the showing at Inter by bringing on Primavera youngsters; Nastasic and Salifu start, Babacar will come on as a substitute. On 8 minutes, we see the old one-two in action as Vargas crosses and Gila steals in front of his marker to glance in his second goal of the season. We look bouncy and have chances for a second; a Behrami rocket needs goalkeeper’s fingers and the woodwork to keep it out – but Gamberini & Co are having difficulty shackling the Atalanta forwards. Sure ‘nuff, as we enter the final 15 frantic minutes, we fail to clear and Atalanta equalise; Boruc will not relish the video replays. Worse, they take the lead as our entire defence goes AWOL; nothing Boruc could do about that one. The 8th minute glister is turning to dust. But on 89 minutes, De Silvestri beats the offside trap and crosses to a goalmouth that holds only their keeper and four Fiorentina shirts. Jovetic (new haircut and everything) knocks it in acrobatically. The crowd are exhausted!

Finally this month, the rearranged game from the opening of the season (remember that strike?) against local rivals Siena. This wasn’t over-inspiring, especially as our defence is getting too slack too often. We were lucky Boruc was having a “they shall not pass” evening, showing off a couple of fine saves in the dying minutes. We had all the shots but it was Siena who hit the bar. They will be happier with the result than Fiorentina.

Next Month. Probably the best month we will get for recovering our position; we play three of the clubs in the bottom four – Novara, Lecce and Siena. If we harbour residual ambitions of European qualification, we have to win all three. The other Serie A game is away to Cagliari; they are matching us and we don’t travel well to the south – a draw will be fine. And we really couldn’t care less about the cup.........Forza Viola!


We start 2012 with:

Week 17: 08 Jan/away Novara-Fiorentina
Coppa Italia: 11 Jan/away Roma-Fiorentina

Week 18: 15 Jan/home Fiorentina-Lecce

Week 19: 22 Jan/away Cagliari-Fiorentina

Week 20: 29 Jan/home Fiorentina-Siena


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, 50122 Firenze, Italy (inside the Murate). Tel 055 264321
FELTRINELLI FIRENZE, Via de' Cerretani 39/32R

BEST BOOK FOR JANUARY – Mediterranean Women Stay Slim, Too: Eating to Be Sexy, Fit, and Fabulous! by Melissa Kelly and Eve Adamson

Just in time for those New Year’s resolution! For centuries, Mediterranean women - from classic beauty Helen of Troy to our own Sophia Loren - have known the secret of healthy eating, living, and being. Mediterranean women have long embraced a natural vitality, sensual earthiness, grace, and warmth that allows them to be authentically themselves, to live long, spiritually rewarding—and thin!—lives, freed from empty calories, empty diet promises, impossible standards, and a "say no to food" mentality.

Thanks to the influence of cooking lessons in her Italian grandmother's kitchen, Melissa Kelly, co-owner and executive chef of Primo Restaurant, revels in sharing how every woman can extract the essence of the Mediterranean spirit and make it uniquely her own. From the cuisines of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, women learn how to maintain a healthy weight even as they discover and delight in the Mediterranean approach to food: the joy of the colors, textures, aromas, and flavors.

In addition, science now confirms that eating the Mediterranean way, getting most of the fat in your diet from olive oil instead of from meat and other sources of animal fats, is heart-healthy, immune-boosting, and, yes, slimming, too! Mediterranean is a way of living, a celebration of family and togetherness woven with pleasure, laughter, and sensual delight. Flavor, variety, abundance, love of family, and soulful adventure are what Mediterranean women embody.

BEST BOOK FOR KIDS FOR JANUARYTake Me With You by Carolyn Marsden

Marsden, who has written about children in Asia and Africa, now goes somewhere different, both in place and time: Italy after World War II. Pina and Susanna have lived at their Naples orphanage since they were babies. Best friends, they tolerate the nuns, find pleasure where they can, and hope fervently that one day they’ll be adopted into loving families. Pina, pretty and blond, should have been adopted long ago. She is sure the nuns tell prospective parents she is bad. Susanna has her own challenge. She is the daughter of an Italian woman and a black American sailor, a nero; no one looks like her. Then two very different parents come into the girls’ lives. One appears, the other is found, and both satisfy the girls’ dreams in unexpected ways. Marsden often puts crafts like sewing or crocheting into her stories, and in many respects she is like a master craftsman, using words instead of stitches for her deceptively simple design. The embellishments come in the details of life in the orphanage, on the street, and with the particulars of religious life. There is even a touch of mysticism when the orphans attend a mass conducted by the sainted Padre Pio. Perhaps it is he who performs Pina’s miracle; in any case his well-known philosophic statement beautifully sums up this book: “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.” Grades 4-7. (Ilene Cooper, *Starred Review* from Book List)


Le Parigine on via dei Servi – look out for the cow! – is a supernova in the gelato firmament, less than 100 metres from the Duomo. This fabulous gelato is based on organic milk from Maremma, faithful to traditional methods of production and maintenance (gelato recipes kept in time-honoured banks …). Like Rivareno in borgo degli Albizi, it’s a little more expensive than the general run, but rewards with an extra blast of flavour! The fragola is fab, the cannella (cinnamon) great, the Greek yoghurt is exactly what it promises and in summer the pink grapefruit is … better than a pink grapefruit! (Note from the editor: Thanks to Anne and Simon for doing the work…)


After Epiphany, January 6, Winter Sales Season starts. For about a month almost every store will offer 30% to 50% off Fall and Winter merchandise to make way for Spring inventory.


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.

A treat for the sweet-tooth, a torment for those who are always in diet and a cure for those who are in need of affection: hot chocolate is part of the Italian cioccolata calda tradition, but unfortunately has been more than often ruined by the use of thickeners or of low quality cocoa giving a "burnt" flavor.

Grom gives you a choice of three flavors: Bacio, Al Latte and Fondente.

Fresh milk, dark chocolate of the best "crus" around the world, a few drops of cream for the hot milk chocolate and the Tonda Gentile Trilobata hazelnuts for the Bacio hot chocolate: this is recipe of Grom’s hot chocolate, naturally dense for the wealth of ingredients we use, without thickeners and heated on the spot for not weakening the complex flavors of the great chocolates they use.

Ocumare – made of dark chocolate, fresh whole milk, a touch of cocoa powder, white cane sugar, and voilà - a great hot chocolate, naturally thick, lingering and full-bodied. Whether enjoyed on its own, as the most fanatic dark chocolate enthusiasts advocate or, for the more wicked appetites, accompanied by Grom vanilla gelato topped with whipped cream, hot fondente chocolate is one of Grom's cult products.

A slight touch of cream and the use of a more delicate-flavored aromatic chocolate like Teyuna of Colombia – this is the difference between dark and milk chocolate. Naturally thick and sweet without being cloying, this al latte hot chocolate has been created for those who prefer flavors that are more subtle and delicate but no less appealing; enjoy it with a Meliga di Battifollo biscuit, or indulge in a sensational affogato with Tonda Gentile hazelnut gelato.

Via del Campanile at Via delle Oche - Ph. +39 055.216158- Open from 10:30am to 11:00pm



Although all of the Pitti Immagine productions ( See: http://www.pittimmagine.com/en/corporate.html) are aimed at specialist fashion buyers (you may be one), Florence knows they are here because the streets are full of fashionable folks and events, parties, and shows a just falling out of various venues in the historic center. The fair is strictly reserved for specialist buyers. (Check on line to see if you might qualify.) Here's what's on tap for January 2012:

PITTI UOMO 81 – From the 10th to the13th January, Pitti Uomo will come back with its 81st edition showcasing 1072 men's brands at the Fortezza da Basso, plus another 70 women's collections at Pitti W9 (see below). The fair will be extends over an area of 59,000 square meters will take the attendee through the world of men's fashion. Pitti Uomo is confirmed to be a key reference on the international fashion scene: the last winter  edition of Pitti Uomo welcomed more than 30,000 visitors, more than 23,100 buyers at the last winter edition of which the 7,700 buyers (33.3% of total) from abroad, representing all major shops and department stores worldwide. 
January 10-13, 2012
Fortezza da Basso, 
viale F. Strozzi 1, Florence
The price is € 25 for the entire fair. Exhibition times: 9 am – 6 pm

PITTI W9 – Pitti W 9 is the ninth edition of the Pitti women's fair and is being held January 10-13, 2012 in the ex-Dogana.  Over fifty brands are included in this edition of Pitti W, including daywear, eveningwear, accessories, coats and jackets, and sportswear.
Olympia Le-Tan, the young French fashion designer who has created some of the most eccentric and highly admired collections of bags and accessories over the past few seasons, will be the special guest at Pitti W9. Olympia's highly original creations have attracted the attention of magazines, celebrities and collectors all over the world, quickly becoming cult items. 

PITTI W9: The Women's Collection 9 – January 10-13, 2012
Dogana, via Valfonda 25

PITTI BIMBO 74 – From 19th to 21st January 2012 Pitti Bimbo will come back with its 74th fashion week full of events and shows dedicated to children's clothes. Over 510 collections are expected this year, including about 200 from abroad: the collections will be showcased through an area of 47.000 square meters.

The route in the world of children's fashion is scattered in 8 stages: Pitti Bimbo, Sport Generation, New View, Kids' Design, SuperStreet, EcoEthic, Apartment, Pop Up Stores. 8,300 buyers and a total of over 10,000 visitors: these are the data from the last winter edition.

19-21 January 2012
Fortezza da Basso,
viale F. Strozzi 1

PITTI FILATI 70 – From 25th to 27th January 2012, Pitti Filati returns in its 70th edition. Pitti Filati is the reference fair in the excellence of knitting yarn and fabric at which all the new international trends in the industry converge. A main international event for professionals, as evidenced by the numbers of last winter edition: More than 4,000 buyers, of which 1,500 (43% of total) buyers from abroad from markets such as Germany, Great Britain, France, Switzerland, USA, Spain, Japan, Holland, Turkey, Russia, Sweden and Hong Kong. 85 brands are expected in the Fortezza da Basso, including 5 from abroad, in addition to the 20 exhibitors in the special "Fashion At Work" exhibit.

25 – 27 January,
Fortezza da Basso,
viale F. Strozzi 1, Firenze

ST. MARK'S ENGLISH CHURCH – An Exploration Of Ethiopian Orthodox Churches

On Friday, January 13, 7:30pm, St Mark's Church, Via Maggio, 16, the Reverend David McKeeman temporary chaplain at St Marks English church will give an illustrated lecture on his visit to Ethiopia in October 2011. The Ethiopian Church is a very distinct and isolated form of Orthodoxy which has created a unique church architecture, and iconography of wall paintings, in the midst of outstanding scenery. Among its churches are many which are not built but carved directly into the rock. The Italians Alessandro Augusto Monti Della Corte, and Lino Bianchi Barriviera made seminal contributions to the study of the Lalibela rock churches in the mid 20th century. The lecture will be in the Salone of St Marks English Church and will be followed by an informal shared supper.


For the 15th year in a row, from now until January 8, you can ice skate in downtown Florence. The skating rink is open to the public daily from 10:00 am to midnight at the Parterre near Piazza della Libertá. Entry fee including skate rental: 6 euro. If you love skating, think of spending New Year's Eve on ice ... they have a special party planned. Call for info: 055 0517447 or 3356749849.

VINTAGE SELECTION 19 - The Vintage Clothing, Accessories & Designer Objects Fair

Feed your vintage habit at Stazione Leopolda from January 25 to 29. The 19th edition of Vintage Selection is not only a chance to buy retro clothes, accessories and decorative items, there will be food music and events to make this a true walk through the past.
Stazione Leopolda, info: 055 212622, www.stazione-leopolda.com


Until January 10 at the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana there will be the exhibition "Consilioque manuque: Surgery in the Manuscripts of the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana" Consilioque manuque is the motto of the Académie Royale de Chirurgie, founded in Paris in 1731, which paved the way for surgery as an academic discipline. Through the Laurentian manuscripts, the exhibition itinerary, arranged in chronological order, bears witness to the development of surgery, from traumatology in ancient Greece, discussed in Homer's poems, to the treatises of the Corpus Hippocraticum, Roman surgery with Celsus' De medicina and Pliny's Naturalis Historia, moving on to the Mediterranean basin and the works translated of Avicenna and Albucasis, translated from Arabic.

The exhibition features a number of fascinating works such as the 4th-century papyrus with a fragment of Soranus' De morbis muliebribus, the manuscript with the collection of Nicetas' surgical texts, compiled in Constantinople and purchased for the library by Lorenzo the Magnificent, Avicenna's Canon medicinae, richly illuminated in Ferrara in the mid-15th century, and the French manuscript of the Chirurgia magna by Lanfranc of Milan.

The manuscript production has been supplemented by printed works on loan from the Biomedical Library of the University of Florence, which originally were from the School of Surgery of the Florentine Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova, and by the printed works and instruments of the private collection of Piero Conti.

Info: 055 210760/211590


PALAZZO STROZZI EXHIBIT – Money and Beauty. Bankers, Botticelli and the Bonfire of the Vanities

Masterpieces by Botticelli, Beato Angelico, Piero del Pollaiolo, and the Della Robbia family – the cream of Renaissance artists – show how the modern banking system developed in parallel alongside the most important artistic flowering in the history of the Western world. The exhibition also explores the links between that unique interweave of high finance, economy and art, and the religious and political upheavals of the time. Money and Beauty. Bankers, Botticelli and the Bonfire of the Vanities at the Palazzo Strozzi recounts the birth of our modern banking system and of the economic boom that it triggered, providing a reconstruction of European life and the continent's economy from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance.

Info: +39 055 2645155 E-mail:  http://www.palazzostrozzi.org/SezioneDenaro.jsp?idSezione=1214
Opening times: Daily 9.00-20.00, Thursday 9.00-23.00
Tickets sold until one hour before closing time.

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. 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 about 30 years after the author's death. Several classic versions of Dickens are themselves cinema classics; others less well known but equally worthy of the originals. This Talking Pictures season presents a small selection of adaptations in the chronological order of the writing of the novels, giving us a range of production designs, costume designs and of course performances that at least attempt to capture some of the Dickens magic. Inevitably, due to the scale of Dickens's irrepressible imagination, compression and compaction are the main issues facing screenwriters, and some efforts are less successful than others within the feature film span of roughly two hours. Whatever the outcome, these films testify to the respect and affection for Dickens and the natural desire to bring the characters even further to life on the big screen.

The Posthumous Papers of The Pickwick Club (1836-37) was Dickens's first serialized novel. A tour of coaching inns and adventures in the English countryside introduce Samuel Pickwick himself, Sam Weller, Nathaniel Winkle, Alfred Jingle and Augustus Snodgrass in Noel Langley's 1952 adaptation. The Adventures of Oliver Twist (1837-39) has had several adaptations: the classic 1948 David Lean version and the 1968 musical with its memorable melodies.

Wednesday, January 18, 20:00
Film: The Pickwick Papers (1952)

Wednesday, January 25, 20:00
Film: Oliver Twist (1948)

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, January 18, 18.00
Lecture: Jonathan Nelson
A letter sent to the Duke of Milan in 1493 distinguishes, in rather surprising ways, between the styles of four painters then active in Florence. This not only provides a rare opportunity to see how Botticelli, Filippino, Perugino, and Ghirlandaio were seen by their contemporaries: the astute observations by the Renaissance author also help us to see both Botticelli and Filippino in a new light, and to appreciate some important but overlooked qualities of their art. Jonathan K. Nelson is Assistant Director for Academic Programs and Publications at the Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, Villa I Tatti.

Wednesday, January 25, 18:00
Lecture: Anna Pelagotti
Ms. Pelagotti has a degree in Electronic Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Florence and a Diploma of Restorer of Paintings at the Istituto per l'Arte e il Restauro of Florence. From 2006 she is specialized in the study of all the aspects connected with the diagnostic the acquisition, the treatment and video processing of multi-spectral images and data. She works in the field of the research of new technologies of diagnostic applied to cultural heritage. She wrote many handbooks and publication and she currently works as lecturer in various high formative courses.


With no end to the pot-holes in sight, bicyclists in Florence are always in search of a great repairman. P&F has found him. Giovanni Becucci has operated his workshop in narrow Via del Corno (toward the river from Piazza Firenze, behind the Hotel Bernini) for years. His work is precise and better yet he will get you back out on the cobblestones in a timely manner.

Giovanni Becucci
Via del Corno, 12/R+50122 Firenze
tel. 055 2398005
hours 9 to 13; 14 to 18.30
Friday Sat Sunday closed.


Want to brush up on your Italian since your last visit to Florence? Want to know what to say at the market, the trattoria and the shops? Want to keep your kids busy for an hour a day before they start the school year at the International School? Francesca Carboni teaches Italian at very competitive prices. Her students love her. She will come to you home (or home away from home) and is a good teacher for the whole family. Francesca may be reached at 3932852661 or francescacarboni@libero.it


14 January, 16:00
Angela Hewitt, Piano
J.S. BACH: Suite Francese n.1 in re minore BWV 812; Toccata in re maggiore BWV 912; Suite Francese n.2 in do minore BWV 813; 15 Invenzioni a due voci BWV 772-786; Suite Francese n.3 in si minore BWV 814.

15 January, 21:00
King's Singers
L’arte del Canto (XXVII) Royal Rhymes and Rounds
HENRY VIII: Pastime with good companie. W. CORNISH: Ah Robin, gentle Robin; Blow thy horn, hunter. HENRY VIII: It is to me a right great joy. ANONIMO (XVI sec.): Hey Trolly Lolly Lo! J. HILTON: Fair Oriana, beauty’s Queen. J. DOWLAND: Flow, o my tears. J. BENNET: Weep, o mine eyes.O. GIBBONS: The Silver Swan. T. WEELKES: As Vesta was descending. A.M. GOODHART: Lady on the silver throne. H. PARRY: Who call dwell with greatness? J. STAINER: Flora’s Queen. E. ELGAR: To her beneath whose stedfast star. W. PARRATT: The Triumph of Victoria. B. BRITTEN: Choral Dances da Gloriana. P. DRAYTON: Monarchs of England/Britain.

16 January, 21:00
Emanuele Arciuli, Piano
Stephen Genz, Baritone
L’arte del Canto (XXVIII)
C. IVES: Walking; Serenity; Thoreau; Du alte Mutter; Weil’auf mir; Ich grolle nicht; Feldeinsamkeit; The things our fathers loved; The Housatonic at Stockbridge; Swimmers; Tom Sails Away; Charlie Rutlage. Sonata per pianoforte n.2 “Concord”.

21 January, 16:00
Accademia Degli Astrusi
Federico Ferri
Sara Mingardo, Contralto
Baroque Harmonies (VI)
G.B. MARTINI: Sinfonia in re maggiore. G.F. HÄNDEL: “Cara sposa, amato bene”, Aria da Rinaldo; “Perfido! Di’ a quell’empio tiranno”, Aria da Radamisto; Orlando, Sinfonia; “Ombra cara di mia sposa”, Aria da Radamisto; Amadigi, Sinfonia; “Tiranni miei pensieri”, Arioso da Tolomeo; “Se un solo è quel core”, Aria da Tolomeo; Orlando, Sinfonia (atto III); “Inumano fratel”, Recitativo accompagnato da Tolomeo; “Stille amare”, Aria da Tolomeo.B. GALUPPI: Concerto a 4 in sol minore; “La scusa”, cantata per voce sola.A. VIVALDI: “Cessate, omai cessate”, cantata per alto solo, archi e basso continuo RV 684

For more information: http://www.amicimusica.fi.it/ .


On 6 January, 5:30pm, at Basilica di San Miniato al Monte, there will be a concert of Gregorian Chants. The Viri Galilaei Choir was formed in 1985 by the actual director, Enzo Ventroni, as part of an important initiative led by Franciscan friar Father Galileo Babbini. Educational in nature, this initiative provides individual support for youth and families.

Gregorian Chant, which has its roots in primitive forms of religious expression of Christianity, is the official chant of the Catholic Liturgy which has passed down through the centuries. The 20th Century and in particular the years following the Second Vatican Council have witnessed an important revival of interest in Gregorian Chant within the Christian Community.

The 20 members of "Viri Galilaei" (which takes its name from the beginning of the Introit of the Ascension Mass) initially dedicated their attentions to Liturgical Services. To this day they accompany the Sunday Evening Mass in the Basilica of San Salvatore al Monte in Florence. In addition, the choir is frequently invited to sing for special Liturgical celebrations in many important churches, like the Cathedrals of Florence and Fiesole, the Basilicas of San Miniato al Monte and Santa Trinita.

Info: 3280427031, www.gregoriano-virigalilaei.it

THE JOURNEY TO REIMS – Opera by Rossini

Il viaggio a Reims, an opera by Gioacchino Rossini, directed by Daniele Rustioni, presented by the Orchestra and Chorus of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino will be presented on 18, 20, 21, 22, and 24 January at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

info: 055 2779350 www.maggiofiorentino.com


The Orchestra and Chorus of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino will be in concert with Daniil Trifonov on 28 and 29 January at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

info: 055 2779350 www.maggiofiorentino.com


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


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


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/

CRYSTALS AT LA SPECOLA MUSEUM – The World's Most Dazzling Exhibition

Until June 30, the exhibition "Crystals - world's most dazzling exhibition" will take place at La Specola Museum. The show displays more than 500 pieces of Giazotto collection. Giazotto is one of the most important and famous collection of crystals, thanks to its extraordinary variety and aesthetic richness of items arriving from all over the world. Among the wonderful pieces of this peculiar collection, you can find crystals of tourmaline, aquamarine, topaz and quartz surprising for their colors and nuances, agglomerates of eccentric shapes that evocate living creatures or suggest the idea of motion.

The collection’s creator, a particle physicist, head of important scientific projects and globe-trotter, Adalberto Giazotto was enraptured by the magic of crystals since childhood and, like many other children, began a collection that in the course of time became a “wonderful” obsession. Looking for the “beautiful” and the “unique”, he expended much of his energy, travelling the entire world to find the rare item.

Opening time: Tuesday to Sunday 9.30 am - 4.30 pm, Closed on Monday
More information: Ph.: +39 055.2346760 email: info@mostracristallifirenze.it
Web: http://www.mostracristallifirenze.it
Address: Via Romana, 17, 50125 Florence (FI)

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


PIANCASTAGNAIO – Befanate Befanotti
On the night between 5 and 6 January, groups of men go from poderi to poderi and the villages offering a begging song. They are the "befanotti", dressed in old clothes and with their faces dirty with soot. The text of the song describes the character of the befana, who promises gifts for everyone, and ends with requests for offerings. The gifts collected, usually food, are eaten in a meal shared among the befanotti or are sold for division of the proceeds. This festival also takes place in the Maremma villages of Alberese, Braccagni, Poderi di Montemerano and Monterotondo, and in the area of Monte Amiata in the villages of Saragiolo, Bagnore, Bagnolo and Marroneto.

GREVE – Fiera dell'Epifania
On January 6, Sinalunga sees the arrival of the Three Wise Men and a town fair for Epiphany (Befana will certainly be there, too). Also, find similar parades and festivals in: Greve, Impruneta, Incisa (look for the purple Befana), Matione, San Casciano, Sinalunga, Borgo San Lorenzo and Figline Valdarno.

SAN PIERO A SIEVE – Befana Arrives by Train
On January 6, you too can ride the steam train with Befana through the Mugello. For info: www.mugellotoscana.it

On January 17 many Tuscan towns celebrate the festival of St. Anthony the Abbot with blessings of grain, bread and animals. There will be parades and fairs in the following locations: Abbadia San Salvadore, Castiglione d'Orcia, Campiglia d'Orcia, Piancastagnaio, Radicofani, Torrita di Siena, among others

SAN GIMIGNANO – Festa e Fiera
On January 31, San Gimignano is the place to be for a grand Festival and Fair. The fair is held in Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Cistern. There is the offering of the church candle and blessing of the city. The relic of Saint Geminianus, the bishop saint from Modena, is in the Collegiate Church, dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption and situated on the west side of the Piazza del Duomo in San Gimignano, (one of the most important examples of Romanesque architecture in Tuscany), kept in an altar dedicated to him, and his feast day is January 31.

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 .
2012 is shaping up to be a challenging year for Florence, Tuscany and Italy. But the sights, sounds, events, music, books and interests of visitors and residents keep on coming, so we will continue to happily serve up as much information as we can fit in these pages. May you have a happy and healthy New Year.
All the best,

Pitcher and Flaccomio