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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 2014

2014 promises to be a year of excitement and change in Florence, with new exhibits at the museums and galleries, explosive growth in the number and variety of visitors, and the heady optimism of the new restaurants and shops opening all over town. January is the month for the residents of Florence to enjoy the quiet halls of the most popular tourist attractions. We wish you “enough” in the year to come, from SUZANNE, CORSO, BEI, LESLIE, VANNI, ANNA PIA, ANN and MARIO.



Six new rooms have opened at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, featuring paintings by Florentine artists of the 17th century. After the opening of the so-called “Blue Rooms” dedicated to foreign artists in December 2011, followed by the “Red Rooms” in June 2012 and six rooms in June 2013 dedicated to modern Mannerism, the six “Yellow Rooms” are the latest addition to the "New Uffizi" project, expanding and renovating the western wing of the Vasari complex on the first floor. To survive the experience of this gigantic museum, you must pause for a break and perhaps refreshment at the end of the top floor before descending to the colored rooms and any special exhibits that are added to the Uffizi experience (in January The Grand Prince Ferdinando De' Medici (1663 - 1713) Collector And Patron Of The Arts).

The new sunny halls can be reached after passing Caravaggio’s works. They are organized by subject rather than by artist or chronological order, displaying allegories, still lifes, landscapes, portraits and other themes by artists such as Justus Suttermans, Jacopo Chimenti called “Empoli”, Giovanni Bilivert and many more. The most significant works have a yellow panel behind them to recall the magnificence of baroque tapestries, thus the name given to the rooms. These halls used to house the Archives of the Uffizi until 1988 and were then used for temporary exhibitions. The New Uffizi project is intended to add more space to the permanent collections, as well as renovate the space with updated climate control and security measures.


Make your vacation stay perfect in this cozy place tucked away behind the Uffizi. The palazzo “Bartolommei-Bruschetti” is a seventeenth century building that is adjacent to the church of Santo Stefano al Ponte.

The elegant entrance to the palazzo has been kept in its original form with columns and statuary leading to the main staircase, with the elevator hidden to one side. The apartment is located on the first floor (with elevator) above ground level, and measures approx. 85 sq. mts. (850 sq. ft) and approx. 9 sq. mts (90 sq. ft) terrace (with table and chairs) and consists of a living room/dining room (table for 6 persons), fully furnished kitchen with access to an internal courtyard terrace, two bedrooms, (one with loft, one with access to the terrace), two bathrooms (both en-suite with shower stalls, one in loft area), and a guest powder room.

The neighborhood boasts one of the Michelin-starred restaurants (Ora del’Aria) and one of the oldest trattorias (Trattoria Antico Fattore) in Florence as well as a great gelateria (Carapina) and a fabulous panino shop (Ino).

For more information click this link.


If you find yourself near Santa Maria del Carmine around lunchtime you should try I'Brindellone (the brindellone is the cart of St. John which is used in an elaborate fireworks display after Easter mass).

I'Brindellone is an authentic Florentine trattoria with a two course lunch starting at 10€. It is located on the north side of the street in Piazza Piatellina, two minutes west of the Carmine church. Highlights are ravioli with butter and sage, penne all'amatriciana, osso bucco, and a succulent bistecca alla fiorentina as well as tasty desserts, especially tiramisu cream, with tiny cookies. The house red wine is great. The staff was very nice and they have some very interesting pictures on the walls of old Florence and the Calcio in Costume.

Piazza Piattellina 10-11/r
+39 055 21 78 79


It is easy to get into a rut with your favorite markets in a town full of markets so revisit a few this winter. Florence is full of bustling and colorful 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).

BEST BOOK FOR JANUARY – War in Val D'Orcia: An Italian War Diary by Iris Origo

A classic of World War II, and in its first American edition, War in Val d'Orcia is Iris Origo's elegantly simple chronicle of daily life at La Foce, a manor in a Tuscan no-man's land bracketed by foreign invasion and civil war.

With the immediacy only a diary can have, the book tells how the Marchesa Origo, an Anglo-American married to an Italian landowner, kept La Foce and its farms functioning while war threatened to overrun it and its people. She and her husband managed to protect their peasants, succor refugee children from Genoa and Turrin, hide escaped Allied prisoners of war-and somehow stand up to the Germans, who in dreaded due course occupied La Foce in 1944 and forced the Marchesa to retreat under a hot June sun.

Fleeing eight impossible miles on foot, along a mined road under shell fire, with sixty children in tow, she sheltered her flock in the dubious safety of a nearby village. A few days later, official Fascism disappeared, and La Foce was ransacked by the retreating Wehrmacht. Here, as the restoration of La Foce begins, her book ends.

Beyond praise and above mere documentary value, War in Val d'Orcia belongs to the literature of humanity.


BEST BOOKS FOR KIDS FOR JANUARY – The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers Book 1: The Medusa Plot
by Gordon Korman

Are you ready to save the world? The bestselling series returns with an adventure spanning 6 explosive books, 2 secret-filled card packs, and a website that places readers right in the action.

Thirteen-year-old Dan Cahill and his older sister, Amy, thought they belonged to the world's most powerful family. They thought the hunt for 39 Clues leading to the source of that power was over. They even thought they'd won. But Amy and Dan were wrong.

One by one, distress calls start coming in from around the globe. Cahills are being kidnapped by a shadowy group known only as the Vespers. Now Amy and Dan have only days to fulfill a bizarre ransom request or their captured friends will start dying. Amy and Dan don't know what the Vespers want or how to stop them. Only one thing is clear. The Vespers are playing to win, and if they get their hands on the Clues . . . the world will be their next hostage.

This new spinoff series from the original 39 Clues books starts off with an adventurous bang. Gordon Korman takes the lead novel and does an outstanding job with lots of excitement, nonstop action and more around-the-world quests. In the first book, he shoots Dan and Amy off to Florence, Italy, to hunt down the famous and grotesque painting of the severed Medusa head. He uses lots of vivid imagery to set the scenes, giving readers a unique look at the story. Dan and Amy are a bit older, with different hurdles to overcome and mountains to traverse; Amy is in a serious relationship, and Dan is struggling with some depression. This may explain why the humor is a bit keyed down here as compared to previous installments, though the story does have some funny parts.



On January 6, La Befana arrives in Florence. This is 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.

So party with your favorite kids and watch out for gift-giving old ladies in the streets of Florence.


BEST PARADE FOR JANUARY – The Three Kings Arrive in Florence

Epiphany, January 6, commemorates the arrival of the Three Kings in Bethlehem. 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.


LAST CHANCE – See These Soon

Pietro Annigoni: Presence Of An Artist – Free Exhibition

At the exhibit space Ente CRF one of the greatest Italian artists of the twentieth century, Pietro Annigoni, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his death (1988-2013) is the subject of a free exhibit. A selection of works was acquired by the Cassa di Risparmio Foundation in 2007, the last legacy of the artist.

Exhibition Area - Via Bufalini, 6

Mon-Fri 9am-7pm, Sat and Sun 10am-1pm/3-7pm

info 055 5384001


free admission

Until January 6

Izis – The Poet of Photography

Fondazione Alinari in collaboration with the Ville de Paris presents the work of Izis Bidermanas (1911-1980) one of the great humanist photographers of the last century, poet, picture, portrait artist and reporter (until January 5).

In the former convent of the Leopoldine nuns, the Alinari Museum of Photography. Two areas are for temporary shows and the actual museum, seven sections are for a fascinating voyage through the history of this art, from its origins to the avant-garde.

Alinari National Museum of Photography, Piazza S.M. Novella, 14a r - tel 055 216310 - 10am-6.30pm (Wed closed) - 9 euro/rid 7,50 - www.mnaf.it

Machiavelli At The National Library

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.

Impressionists At Palazzo Pitti

An exhibit of the painting of the Impressionists is at Palazzo Pitti exhibit in the Galleria d’Arte Moderna. Gathered in the ballroom of the Pitti Winter Apartments are twelve Impressionist masterpieces on loan from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, in addition to two works by Camille Pissarro and another by Alphonse Maureau permanently housed in Florence’s modern art collection.

The French works came to Florence through a cultural exchange between the two museums. The exhibit I Macchiaioli: Des impressionistes italiens at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris over the summer was enriched with several pieces from the Galleria d’Arte Moderna and explored the intriguing nexuses between the two movements.

The exhibition opens with ‘En plein air’: here are the landscapes, the light, the gardens and the water. Claude Monet’s La Seine à Port-Villez (c. 1890) is featured, one in the series of 18 canvases the artist painted of the area. A letter explains that Monet painted it one windy summer’s day after two months of bad weather. Also in this section is Auguste Renoir’s startling Étude: Torse de femme au soleil (1875–76).

The second section, ‘Interiors,’ features Degas’s ballerinas and Cézanne’s still-lifes, and La liseuse by Henri Fantin-Latour (1861). This section also includes quotes from leading French novelists of the time – Émile Zola, Honoré de Balzac and Guy de Maupassant – which capture something of the Impressionists’ spirit.

Impressionists at Palazzo Pitti

Until January 5, 2014

Galleria d’Arte Moderna

Unstable Territories: Boundaries and Identity in Contemporary Art

At the Center for Contemporary Culture Strozzina in Palazzo Strozzi, until 19 January ten international artists rethink the idea of territory in the contemporary world, characterized by an excess of concepts of nation and border, but also by a return to new nationalisms. Included: Kader Attia, Zanny Begg & Oliver Ressler, Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, Paolo Cirio, Tadashi Kawamata, Sigalit Landau, Richard Mosse, Paulo Nazareth, Jo Ractliffe, and The Cool Couple.

Russian Avant-Garde, Siberia And The East

Showing until 19 January 2014 at the Palazzo Strozzi

The Palazzo Strozzi, is hosting The Russian Avant-garde, Siberia and the East. It's the first international exhibition to examine the fundamental importance of the Oriental and Eurasian connection to Russian Modernism, follows the destinies of Russia’s self-proclaimed “Barbarians” in their search for new sources of artistic inspiration. Neolithic stone figures, Siberian shaman rituals, popular Chinese prints, Japanese engravings, Theosophical doctrine and Indian philosophy are some of the elements which inspired Russia’s new artists and writers as they developed their aesthetic and theoretical ideas just before and after the Revolution of October, 1917.

The exhibition demonstrates how modern Russian culture experienced a deep attraction to—and an apprehension of—the exotic, the unknown and the “other”, qualities which artists and writers identified with the spirit of the taiga, the virgin territories of desert and steppe and the “otherness” of Oriental culture.

Emphasizing the key role that radical Russian artists played in the development of Modern art over a century ago, the exhibition underscores their complex relationship with the Orient (both the Russian East and the Far East). Léon Bakst, Alexandre Benois, Pavel Filonov, Natalia Goncharova, Wassily Kandinsky, Mikhail Larionov, Kazimir Malevich and other prime movers of the avant-garde were deeply aware of the importance of the East and contributed to the rich debate (“West or East?”) which left a profound and permanent imprint upon their creative imagination. In addition to the heroes of the Russian Avant-garde, the exhibition also acquaints us with other, less familiar, but still original, artists of the time such as Nikolai Kalmakov, Sergei Konenkov and Vasilii Vatagin, many of whose works are being shown in the West for the first time.

See more: http://www.palazzostrozzi.org/Sezione.jsp?idSezione=1768

Tel. + 39 055 2645155

Opening times: Daily 9.00-20.00, Thursdays 9.00-23.00

Tickets sold until one hour before closing time.

Tickets: Full price € 10.00

OBUBBLEBESITY – Bubble Magic to Start the New Year

Take a journey through the magical world of bubbles with Marco Zoppi who creates shapes and stories through giant soap bubbles. A crowd pleaser for all ages.

9:30pm, Jan. 4; 4:30pm, Jan. 5 & 6, at Spazio Alfieri, via dell’Ulivo 6, www.spazioalfieri.it


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, itself, is strictly reserved for specialist buyers. (Check on line to see if you might qualify.) The web site – http://www.pittimmagine.com/en/corporate.html – is great and is the best place to great all of the detailed information for these exciting events. Here's what's on tap for January 2014:

PITTI UOMO 85 – From the 7th to the 10th January, Pitti Uomo will come back with its 83rd edition showcasing over 1000 men's brands at the Fortezza da Basso, plus another 100 women's collections at Pitti W12.

PITTI W13 – Pitti W 13 is the eleventh edition of the Pitti women's fair and is being held January 7 to 10 in the ex-Dogana adjacent to Fortezza del Basso. Over fifty brands are included in this edition of Pitti W, including daywear, eveningwear, accessories, coats and jackets, and sportswear. At the ex-Dogana, via Valfonda 25.

PITTI BIMBO 78 – From 16th to 18th, Pitti Bimbo will come back with its 78th fashion week full of events and shows dedicated to children's clothes. Over 500 collections are expected this year, including about 200 from abroad: the collections will be showcased through an area of 47.000 square meters.

PITTI FILATI 74 – From 22nd to 24th, Pitti Filati returns in its 74th edition. Pitti Filati is the fair for the excellence of knitting yarn and fabric at which all the new international trends are shown.


You don’t need to drive for hour for winter fun. Until January 27, in Florence, it will be possible to ski, to ice-skate at the FIRENZE WINTER PARK near to the OBIHALL, a few steps away from the Arno River. Inside the Florence Winter Park there are a wide ice rink (800 sq. meters) and a ski run of 80 meters. To enhance the Winter Park there are a bar, a restaurant, stands and entertainment activities for children.


From Monday to Friday from 10.00 A.M. to 12.00 P.M.

Saturday, Sunday and Holidays from 8.00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.


From Monday to Friday

- From 10.00 A.M. to 1.00 P.M.

- From 2.30 P.M. to 7.30 P.M.

- From 8.30 P.M. to 11.30 P.M.

Saturday, Sunday and Holidays

- From 08.00 A.M. to 10.00 A.M.

- From 10.30 A.M to 12.30 P.M

- From 1.00 P.M. to 3.00 P.M

- From 3.30 P.M. to 5.30 P.M

- From 6.00 P.M. to 8.00 P.M

- From 9.00 P.M. to 12.00 P.M


Available everyday

- From 2.00 P.M. to 6.00 P.M. (SNOW-TUBING)

- From 6.00 P.M. to 8.00 P.M. (SKI)

VINTAGE SELECTION 23 - The Vintage Clothing, Accessories & Designer Objects Fair

Feed your vintage habit at Stazione Leopolda from January 22 to 26. The 21st 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



Ice Skating at Parterre provides visitors with a season-long activity in a unique setting in front of the iconic arch of Piazza della Libertà. The large rink, which has a 200-person capacity, is open through February and has been a holiday custom since 1996. Skate rental at Ice Skating at Parterre is €6. The rink stays open until 1am on Saturdays and Sundays.


The Florentine has teamed up with Accademia d’Arte San Giovanni Firenze to offer an incredibly unique experience.

First up is a presentation on painting technique by two contemporary maestri, Fabrizio Lucchesi and Luca Viviani, who will illustrate the principals of ‘buon fresco’. Each participant will then try their hand at the ancient art with the completion of a small scene straight from Masaccio and Masolino’s Brancacci Chapel. We will then head over to the chapel itself for a guided visit of the fresco cycle that changed the course of western art.

Because the workshop will take place inside the artists’ bottega, space is limited (15 people max).

The price includes: two-hour fresco workshop (and artwork to take home!), entrance to the Brancacci Chapel, and the guided visit. As a special treat, a lunch at the uber-Tuscan trattoria I’Brindellone (15 euro for primo, secondo, water and wine).

Reserve now by emailing Alexandra Lawrence at a.lawrence@theflorentine.net

Fresco workshop + Brancacci Chapel

Saturday, January 25 at 10am

Meeting point: via San Giovanni, 23 (Oltrarno)

40 euro


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.)


The Fulgor is starting to make 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


The Odeon is done with 50 days of Cinema and the original language films (mostly in English are back. Stop by the cinema in Piazza Strozzi for a schedule. Some of the highlights include American Hustle (Jan. 4-8), The Immigrant (Jan. 9 – 12), The Wolf of Wall Street (Jan. 23 – 26) and Nebraska (Jan 27 – 31).

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, January 22, 2014. 20.00

Film: OSSESSIONE (1942)

Clara Calamai, Massimo Girotti

Wednesday, January 29, 2014. 20.00




Fishermen and women of Aci Trezza


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, January 15, 2014. 18.00

Theatrical reading: FESTA

Festa Theatre Company: a staged reading of Plan B: love stories gone wrong

FESTA (Florence English-speaking Theatre Artists) presents a staged reading of a fascinating new play about skewed relationships. Lasts 90 minutes.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014. 18.00

Lecture: James Douglas

The life and work of Luchino Visconti

James Douglas, organiser of Talking Pictures (see above), speaks about Luchino Visconti (1906-1976), the great opera, theatre and cinema director.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014. 18.00

Concert: Rebecca Dinwiddie (soprano) and Andrea Trovato (piano)

An evening of Scottish songs in celebration of Robert Burns

Celebrations of the Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796) are generally held on or near his birthday, 25 January; please note that ours is on a Tuesday, three days after this.



The Amici della Musica of Florence presents various concerts at the Teatro della Pergola. Works by Haydn, Schubert, Chopin, Liszt, and Beethoven 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


The Fabbio Accadi Quintet presents their new show Whispers. Come for energetic jazz music.

9:45pm, Jan. 11, located at Circolo Vie Nuove, viale Donato Giannotti 13, www.pinocchiojazz.it


The Orchestra della Toscanna with Gloria Campaner on the piano offers up an evening Schubert and Schumann at the Teatro Verdi.

9pm, Jan. 7, Teatro Verdi, via Ghibellina 99, www.teatroverdionline.it


The Maggio Musicale Festival will turn 77 this year! Check the schedule online at www.maggiofiorentino.com .

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 January and February:


At the interesting Palazzo Blu on Lungarno Gambacorti , 9 in Pisa, until February 2 the exhibit Andy Warhol. An American Story will pull large crowds. About 150 works will be on display, including 20 Polaroids, tracing the creative journey of the author, in collaboration with Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and some historical collections (galleries Sonnabend, Feldman, Goodman in New York, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Berardo Lisbon, Museum of Modern Art in Nice, the Albertina and the Mumok in Vienna).

Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat/Sun 10am-8pm - the ticket office closes an hour earlier.

Tickets: 10 euro

Info: 050 3198830



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 .


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.

SINALUNGA – 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. Departure from Santa Maria Novella (Florence) train station and arrival to San Piero a Sieve. A brunch and entertainment for children make the day extra special (if riding on a steam train was not enough excitement).

Train Schedule – January 6th, 2014

Firenze SMN lv.9.00

Firenze CM ar.9.08 lv.9.09 (via Pontassieve)

S. Piero a Sieve ar.11.04 lv.12.30 (via Vaglia)

S. Marco Vecchio ar.13.03 lv.13.04

Firenze SMN ar.13.14

Ticket: €20 (adults and children over 4 years old). Free seats for children under 4 years old.

Tickets on sale at the Firenze SMN and Firenze CM train station now.

For info: www.mugellotoscana.it and www.italvapore.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.


At the interesting Palazzo Blu on Lungarno Gambacorti , 9 in Pisa, until February 2 the exhibit Andy Warhol. An American Story will pull large crowds. About 150 works will be on display, including 20 Polaroids, tracing the creative journey of the author, in collaboration with Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and some historical collections (galleries Sonnabend, Feldman, Goodman in New York, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Berardo Lisbon, Museum of Modern Art in Nice, the Albertina and the Mumok in Vienna).

Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat/Sun 10am-8pm - the ticket office closes an hour earlier.

Tickets: 10 euro

Info: 050 3198830



TuscanTraveler’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.

ITALIAN FOOD RULE: Don’t Use Bottled Italian Salad Dressing

To dress a salad in Italy is simplicity itself: bring a bowl of salad greens (preferably one to three varieties of radicchio tossed together – that’s all) to the table, add some of the best extra-virgin olive oil available, a small splash of red-wine vinegar or lemon juice, a generous sprinkle of salt and a bit of fresh ground black pepper; toss again and serve on a salad plate (don’t infect the leafy greens with left-over pasta sauce or juice from the ossobuco).

Note that the ingredients are added to the salad greens sequentially, not shaken into a vinaigrette. The French invented vinaigrette.

Once you master the way to dress an Italian salad, the only debate left is whether inexpensive balsamic vinegar (not the costly traditional DOP ambrosia from Modena) is an acceptable substitute for red-wine vinegar. Purists would say emphatically, “No”, but the number of Florentine neighborhood restaurants that bring the sweeter version of vinegar to the table seems to argue for, at least, an acceptable option to the Food Rule.

Italian Dressing, known and loved in the United States (as well as Canada, the U.K. and most of the British colonies), is a vinaigrette-type salad dressing, consisting of water, vinegar or lemon juice, vegetable oil, chopped bell peppers, usually sugar or high fructose corn syrup, and various herbs and spices including oregano, fennel, dill, dried oleoresin paprika and salt. Onion and garlic are often added to intensify the dressing’s flavor. Usually it is bought bottled (containing also, xanthan gum, calcium disodium edta, and sulfiting agents) or prepared by mixing oil and vinegar with a packaged flavoring mix consisting of dehydrated vegetables and herbs.

North American-style Italian dressing, and especially Creamy Italian, which consists of the same ingredients, but with buttermilk or mayonnaise added to make it creamy, is not acceptable to the Italian palate. (”Che schifo” or Che esagerazione!” say Italians.) Don’t ask for it in a restaurant in Italy or, particularly, from the cook in an Italian home.

Italian Dressing is not sold in Italy. Needless to say, you will also not find the following dressings in any Italian kitchen: Thousand Island, Ranch, Blue Cheese, Russian, Louis, Honey Dijon, French, Ginger Honey, and, perhaps surprisingly, Caesar Salad Dressing.

Caesar Dressing is much more American than Italian. It is reported that Caesar Cardini created the salad and the dressing in Mexico. Caesar (born Cesare) came from near Lago Maggiore in northern Italy. He and his brother Alex emigrated to the U.S. after World War I. The Cardini family lived in San Diego, but operated a restaurant in Tijuana to circumvent Prohibition. Supposedly, on July 4th in 1924, the salad was created on a busy holiday weekend at Caesar’s Restaurant. Caesar was short of supplies, so he concocted this salad with what was on hand: romaine lettuce and croutons dressed with parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, egg, garlic, black pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. A bit of a showman, he prepared it at the table. This was the only thing truly Italian about Caesar Salad – a salad should be dressed at the table or right before it comes to the table.

Try being Italian for a while – leave the salad dressing bottles in the fridge and simply add a bit of extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to some fresh leafy salad greens. You will be surprised by what you taste for the very first time.


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 .


With a nod to the past and your old favorite haunts in Florence, we hope 2014 brings you surprises and joy of the new and innovative variety.

All the best,

Pitcher and Flaccomio