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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

The new year brings with it a fresh start, and a fresh voice for the P&F monthly newsletter. We bid farewell to Ann Reavis who has returned to life in the U.S. - we will miss her. She has passed the newsletter over to myself, Marisa Garreffa. I am a writer and actress living and working in Florence, playing Anna Maria Luisa de Medici in the theatre production The Medici Dynasty, and finishing my first book. I, like all of you, have been seduced by this city, and it is my pleasure to join the P&C team and bring you the events each month, starting with this January.

This is the time of year for residents, the halls of galleries and museums are peaceful, making it the ideal moment to linger over attractions that are usually crowded with tourists. Winter is also the season to travel into the hills for skiing and thermal baths, or immersing in the fashion events that take over the city centre. However you are starting your new year, we wish you peace and tranquility for 2016, from SUZANNE, CORSO, BEI, LESLIE, VANNI, ANNA PIA, MARISA, and MARIO.
BEST EXTRAVAGANZA FOR JANUARY –  Last Chance to see the Divine Beauty at Palazzo Strozzi!

Closing on the 24th of January, Palazzo Strozzi presents the outstanding exhibition: Divine Beauty from Van Gogh to Chagall and Fontana. I lost hours in this exhibit, returning to the beginning more than once to try and absorb the impact of this extraordinary collection of works. Expect to be inspired and intrigued by the contrasting visions of the divine on show. From the Palazzo Strozzi website:

“With over one hundred works by well known Italian and international artists, this exhibit sets out to explore the relationship between art and religion from the mid 19th to the mid 20th century. There are works by such major Italian artists as Domenico Morelli, Gaetano Previati, Felice Casorati, Gino Severini, Renato Guttuso, Lucio Fontana, and Emilio Vedova, together with works by such international masters as Vincent van Gogh, Jean-François Millet, Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Georges Rouault, and Henri Matisse.”

“The show’s star exhibits will include such celebrated works as Jean-François Millet’s Angelus, on exceptional loan from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, Vincent van Gogh’s Pietà from the Vatican Museums, Renato Guttuso’s Crucifixion from the collections of the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome and Marc Chagall’s White Crucifixion from the Art Institute of Chicago. With sections devoted to the crucial themes in the religious and artistic debate, Divine Beauty will provide visitors with a unique opportunity to compare extremely famous works of art observed in a new and different light, alongside pieces by artists whose work is perhaps less well-known today but who, in their own way, have helped to forge the rich and complex panorama of modern art; and this, not only in a religious environment.”

You can read more at: http://www.palazzostrozzi.org/mostre/divinebeauty/?lang=en

P&F APARTMENT RENTAL PICK FOR JANUARY –  Apartment in the heart of Florence centre.

Piazza Madonna degli Aldobrandini is located in the very center of town and is home to the famous Medici Chapel.  It is a few steps from the San Lorenzo church and market, the train station, the Dome Cathedral and a short distance from all of the monuments and museums. The area is abundant with shops and restaurants, not to mention the stands of the well-known San Lorenzo market. The apartment is furnished and decorated with antiques and the living room, dining room, master bedroom and study have frescoed ceilings, while the gallery is entirely frescoed.  The floors on the main level are tiled with terracotta, the loft has parquet.  The master en suite bathroom is white marble.  The guest bathroom has black and white tiles and white fixtures.  The loft bathroom has white tiles and a parquet floor.  The kitchen is modern with a 6 meter professionally equipped bench. The apartment is on the 1st floor with a lift and consists of: Entrance, Living room, Gallery, Study (3rd single bedroom), Dining room (table for 10, 2 tables for 4/6), Large storage room (built in wardrobes), Kitchen (table for 4/6), Master bedroom (large double bed in alcove), Loft with bedroom (twin beds), 3  bathrooms (2 en suite with shower stalls, 1 with tub), and a Laundry room. For more information click this link.


On January 6, La Befana arrives in Florence and 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 as 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 (or in modern apartments, through the 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 for 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 realised her mistake, her regret was so great that she continues to wander about Italy and on the Epiphany (January 6, when the Wise Men finally found the baby Jesus), begins rewarding good children and disappointing those who were bad.

So celebrate with your favourite children, 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. The procession begins at 14.15 from Palazzo Pitti.

EATERY PICK FOR JANUARY –  Osteria Personale

Osteria Personale is one of the hidden treasures of the Oltrano. A modern and stylish restaurant, with warm and minimal decor that allows the sensational food to be the focus. The dishes are seasonal and made from local ingredients, which chef Matteo Fantini transforms in surprising and inventive ways. While the courses are more petite than the traditionally generous Tuscan fare, the quality and flavour combinations make this a worthwhile sacrifice. Signature dishes are explained in chalk on blackboard diagrams that double as the wall artwork, and for those overwhelmed by choice, there are 4, 5, and 6 course tasting menus available. The winter menu includes Grilled Calamari with potato and lemon cream, sesame and rocket pesto; Beetroot Quinoa risotto with burrata cheese, lemon, olives, and caper powder, a Guinea Fowl “Caesar Salad”, and I am still dreaming about the heavenly Tiramisu “Personale”.

You can find their full wine and food menus on their website: http://www.io-osteriapersonale.it
Osteria Personale, Borgo San Frediano 167/R.


Florence is full of bustling markets that are a great place to find bargains, enjoy the atmosphere, or  spend the day browsing extraordinary antiques, artisan crafts, and delicious typical foods 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 are 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! Don’t be afraid to bargain for a better price.
When: 9:00 - 20.00. 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 centre 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. Now, on the upper floor is a cornucopia of shops making ready-to-eat specialties and is open from 10am to midnight.
When: 07:00 to 14:00?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, and was first known as the straw market. A smaller market, it is located beneath the loggia and sells leather goods, t-shirts, scarves, and souvenirs, though the prices are slightly higher than the Mercato of San Lorenzo. It is often referred to as the “Porcellino” market, for the famous bronze statue of a boar, “il Porcellino”, located on the south side. Legend has it that if you rub his snout and put a coin in his mouth, you will return to Florence. After years of rubbing, the bronze needed some cosmetic surgery after nose became too thin! You can see a brief and charming film about the new snout here.
When: Open everyday 08:00 to 19:00
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

Lungoungiorno + Fierucola Market at the Vecchio Conventino
The Fierucola was once held in Santo Spirito on the third Sunday of every month, but now has a new home at the Vecchio Conventino on the second Sunday of every month. It is the marriage of the traditional organic produce market, and an artistic event by The Foundation of Florence for Arts and Crafts. Located in the courtyard of the old convent, which is now used as studio and creative spaces for artists and performers. It is easy to pass the entire day here, between the market stalls, the live demonstrations by artisans, live music and theatre performances, a crafts showroom, and an open bar with food stalls. Resident artists often open up their studios for visitors, happy to converse about their craft and share their work. This is not to be missed!
When: On the second Sunday of the month
What to buy: Organic products, artisan made crafts, and original artworks.
Where: Vecchio Conventino - Space Arts and Crafts (Spazio SAM)

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 09:00 to 19:30 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 07:00 to14:00
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 –  When the World Answered: Florence, Women Artists and the 1966 Flood, by Jane Fortune and Linda Falcone.

“Florence is a city that never stops giving. This is a story of gifts: of artists and the paintings and sculptures they gave to a beloved city in a time of great need. In the wake of the disaster of the 1966 flood, which damaged countless works of art, the government of Florence called for donations of artworks to fulfill a dream of creating a “modern-day Uffizi” that would reclaim the city’s place at the forefront of the world’s art scene. And the world answered. Italy-loving artists from as far as Cuba, the United States, and Poland gave works to the city as a gesture of solidarity. Among them were numerous women whose stories and interviews offer a personal look at twentieth-century creativity in Italy. When the World Answered reveals their unsung art treasures and continues the Advancing Women Artists Foundation’s quest to reclaim the legacy of women artists in Florence, through publication, restoration and exhibition of their works.”

“This book is the subject of a documentary film by PBS, following the Emmy-award winning success of the same director’s documentary based on Jane Fortune’s last book about female artists, Invisible Women. The world premiere of this film was on October 20, 2015, at Florence’s Odeon Theatre.”

Read more here: http://www.theflorentinepress.com/product/when-the-world-answered-awa/


On the first Sunday of every month, Florence opens up all of its state museums free for residents of the city, or people born here. It’s a fantastic initiative to reward the people who call Florence home, and make it easier for them to enjoy the city’s treasures. Here’s a list of the state museums you could visit:
Museum of Palazzo Vecchio
Arnolfo Tower
Complex of Santa Maria Novella
Stefano Bardini Museum
Fondazione Salvatore Romano
Museo Novecento
Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine.
Make note that you still have to visit the ticket offices to collect a free ticket, and they close an hour before the museums close. Some offer special guided visits or tours, but you’ll need to reserve those in advance. You’ll find more information at: www.musefirenze.it.


After a long period of renovations, the train station complex is unveiling a major food court on the ground floor of nearby Palazzina Reale. It is now launching as an international food space named “Reale Firenze”. The new space will expand over the coming months to include outdoor seating in summer, and will host events and exhibitions. Early press reviews of the site compliment its modern design, the flood of natural light, and the quality of the food on offer. This is sure to transform the travel experience for both locals and visitors alike, bringing some elegance to the often unruly station area.

BODY WORLD – The Real World of Human Bodies, an Exhibition of Gunther von Hagens
Until March 2016.

Seen by more than 40 million visitors in more than 100 cities in the world, BODY WORLDS has now come to Florence. The exhibition was created by the German physician and scientist Gunther von Hagens and is dedicated to the "real world of the human body”. You will find the display in the Monumental Complex of Santo Stefano al Ponte, a stone's throw from Ponte Vecchio. This is a must-see, as evidenced by the record attendance, more than 40 million visitors in 100 cities in the world. This extraordinary exhibition of real human cadavers, preserved in detailed displays of the human anatomy, will allow you to experience the extraordinary synergy between the organs and anatomical apparatus’ that make life possible. The selection for this exhibition shows the installation entitled The Heart of Life, which is focused on the heart, the engine of life, and on the cardiovascular system. You see the systems preserved through the vision of whole plastinated bodies, a technique created by Von Hagens, which allows the perfect preservation of tissues and organs. Able to observe the real details of the preserved bodies, you are able to understand the simplicity and complexity in this extremely detailed exhibition.
You can find more information on the website: http://www.bodyworldsinthecity.it/

“IL RIGORE E LA GRAZIA” AT PALAZZO PITTI - A Lost Treasure of Recovered Artworks
Until May 7th.

The Rigour and the Grace is an exhibition of a little-known group of works, painted by great artists of the XVII century and carefully restored and returned to public use. The treasures kept in the exhibition come almost entirely from the assets of the company of St. Benedict White, who was one of the most important and prestigious Florentine lay groups. There are works by prestigious artists of the seventeenth century Florentine such as Cristofano Allori, Vincenzo Dandini, Matteo Rosselli, Agostino Melissi, Lorenzo Lippi, Ottavio Vannini, Jacopo Vignali, Giovanni Martinelli, Mario Balassi, and Simone Sprockets.
As of December, a new service of free guided tours of the exhibition was launched. The tours will be led by the curators of the exhibition themselves. This is an unmissable opportunity to enjoy even the opening of the Palatine Chapel of Palazzo Pitti, and the historical adjacent buildings that accommodate the exhibition.
The curators Alessandro Grassi, Michel and Giovanni Scipioni Serafini, will lead tours for exhibition visitors with pleasure on the following days in January:

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 at 15.00
Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 15.00

Until April 2016.

The Ferragamo Museum presents A PALACE AND THE CITY. With a vast display of sculptures, paintings, and installations, the exhibition offers through art the complex history of the palace that now houses Ferragamo. Read more information at: http://www.ferragamo.com/museo/en/usa/exhibitions/

“In 2015, Florence celebrates the 150th anniversary of the start of its tenure as the capital of Italy. This is, then, the ideal occasion to stage an exhibition and produce a catalogue on Palazzo Spini Feroni, which played host to the City Council and was, therefore, the place where those important decisions were taken that endowed the city with its current layout. The symbol of this exhibition is inspired by a 360° view of Florence from the turrets of Palazzo Spini Feroni originally engraved by Ramsay Richard Reinagle for the 1806 publication of “Journal des Luxus und der Moden” to be used as a diorama of the city for promotional purposes.”


On January 5th the Moscow Ballet will be performing the classic ballet, Swan Lake. With music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, and the lead roles danced by Evgenia Novikova and Andrey Shalin. Swan Lake is the most famous in the history of ballet, and this version by the Moscow Ballet recreates the choreography of the original work. This piece will bring 40 dancers to the stage to tell the love story of Odette and Prince Siegfried.

For more information and tickets: http://www.teatroverdionline.it/cartellone/danza-e-balletto/647-il_lago_dei_cigni_il_05_01_16.html


From the 15th to the 17th of January at Obihall is the annual Beer Festival, where 25 Italian breweries present over 100 different beers for tasting in order to win the title of Best Brewer of the year. You can enjoy beer tastings and a variety of street foods over the three day festival at Obihall. A must for all lovers of a great brew!


While some sales have already started, after the Epiphany of January 6th all the stores of Florence will begin their major sales to clear out their Autumn and Winter stock, in order to make room for the new season arrivals. You can expect savings of at least 50%, which often reach 70% towards the end of the month as stocks dwindle. It’s the perfect time to grab a few last minute winter coats to help survive the winter chill of January!


You don’t need to drive for hour for winter fun. Until March 6th in Florence, it will be possible to ski, ice-skate, and even snow-tube 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.

Open every day from now until March 6th, you can find the opening times and more information on the website here: http://www.firenzewinterpark.it/index.php/dove-e-quando

ICE SKATING AT PARTERRE - Until January 10th

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 until January 10th and has been a holiday custom since 1996. There are coloured lights and background music, creating a fun atmosphere. Skate rental and admission at Parterre is €6, or admission only is €4 for people with their own skates. The rink stays open until 1.00 am on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.


This year new Christmas markets have opened up in the Oltrano area, including the Village of Santa Claus in Piazza della Carmine, which was pedestrianised earlier this year in a new commitment to enlivening the piazzas of the Oltrano. The festive new Christmas market includes an outdoor ice rink, and can be enjoyed right up until the Epiphany on January 6th.  


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 folk. January is the month that fashion events, parties, and shows spill out of various venues in the historic centre, and is a heavenly time for people-watching in the streets. Look out for local bloggers covering the fashionistas and the mad styles on show as people travel to and from the events. 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 the best place to find detailed information on these exciting events.  Here's what's on tap for January 2016:

PITTI UOMO 89 – From the 11th to the 15th January, Pitti Uomo will come back with its 89th edition showcasing over 1000 men's brands at the Fortezza da Basso, plus another 100 women's collections at Pitti W15.

PITTI BIMBO 82 – From the 21st to 23rd, Pitti Bimbo will come back with its 82nd 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 78 – From 27th to 29th, Pitti Filati returns in its 78th edition. Pitti Filati is the fair for the excellence of knitting yarn and fabric at which all the new international trends are shown.

VINTAGE SELECTION 25 - The Vintage Clothing, Accessories & Designer Objects Fair

Feed your vintage habit at Stazione Leopolda from January 28th to February 1st. The Silver 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. This edition of Vintage Selection will fascinate exhibitors and visitors alike with a wealth of innovations to celebrate its 25th year. It will be a true Silver Anniversary Edition and a festival of vintage culture with lots of  surprises, entertainment and opportunities for shopping.

Stazione Leopolda, info: 055 212622, www.stazione-leopolda.com


The Odeon finishes its Film Festival season, and January sees the return of the Original Language films program. Once only screened on Monday nights, you can now find sessions for each film spread over several days. For session times you can collect a schedule from the cinema itself, or download the pdf online at: http://www.odeonfirenze.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Odeon-Origina-Sound-1-Gennaio-17-Febbraio-2016.pdf

January’s films include: Bridge of Spies, Macbeth, The Big Short, Carol, The Correspondence, and The Revenant.


A long held favourite of members of the British Institute! Held in the stunning Harold Acton Library, with its tall windows offering a sweeping view of the Arno River, the weekly afternoon tea will resume on Thursday 14th January. From 16.30 until 18.00, there will be tea and cakes served for the pleasure of members, as a great chance to catch up and meet people. It’s easy to join, and membership includes entrance to all lectures and concerts, library access, and borrowing rights for their large collection of books, CDs, and DVDs.


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

Wednesday, January 13
Concert by Carla Giometti (soprano) and Adriano Sebastiani (guitar)
The noted classical guitarist Adriano Sebastiani (who studied in Florence and Rome before taking his Laurea Magistrale at the conservatory in Naples) and the Lucchese soprano Carla Giometti (artistic director of the associations Belle Epoque and Musica Amica) perform music by Mauro Giuliano (1781-1829), Fernando Sor (1778-1839), Franz Schubert (1797-1828), John Dowland (1563-1626), Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) and Garcia Lorca (1898-1936).

Wednesday, January 20
Lecture by Ross Robins: Escape to Italy: D.H. Lawrence remembers his elopement with Frieda
This week’s speaker will introduce and read from Lawrence’s unfinished novel Mr Noon, based on the events of his turbulent life in the summer of 1912. Written long afterwards and forgotten for more than sixty years, the book reveals the fierce intimacy between Lawrence and Frieda Weekley (née von Richthofen) as they walked over the Alps on their way to a new life in Italy. Ross Robins taught literature and creative writing at the Cate School in Santa Barbara, California.

Wednesday, January 27
Lecture by Lisa Kaborycha: Nature’s secretaries: renaissance women and the art of writing artless letters
Pietro Aretino described the process of composing his celebrated letters as being ‘secretary to Nature herself.’ In this renaissance conceit, with sprezzatura the author simply writes down what Nature dictates. To a male writer, writing letters that appeared ‘natural’ and effortless could be considered the height of artistry, but how would a renaissance woman approach the creative process? This talk considers the letters written by renaissance women and explores how they chose to express themselves in their own words though their correspondence.


There are two matches coming up in January for the football fans amongst you:

January 10th: Fiorentina Vs Lazio
January 24th: Fiorentina Vs Torino


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 home of jazz in Florence, with a new program of documentary films added to the schedule this year. For all the event details, see: http://www.pinocchiojazz.it/

January 9th - The Huge Jazz Soul Festical with “Soul Full Soup” and special guest DJ Lucille Mancini
January 14th - An Homage to Ornette Coleman, an evening of documentary films
January 16th - Luca Mannutza presents Five Sounds
January 23rd - The Emanuele Parrini Quartet presents “The Blessed Prince”
January 28th - Jazz and Jewish Traditions - documentaries to celebrate the Day of Memory


Tucked away on Via dei Giraldi 11, a new cultural venue has opened, hosting live music, artistic workshops and exhibitions. The vibe is artistic and funky, while the drinks are cheap and delicious. On quiet nights through the week, it’s like a home away from home to come and sit on the lounges for a quiet drink. Every Thursday night, there is a live music performance. Past performances have included Funk and Hip Hop outfit Dre Love and the Band, as well as Jazz evenings. You can follow them on Facebook to keep posted about the weekly events.


From Blues to Mahler’s 5th Symphony, Teatro Verdi has a diverse line up of music acts from contemporary to classical through January. Enjoy the Orchestra of Toscana, The Blues Legends, and contemporary singer Carmen Consoli. For detailed dates and times see the online schedule at: www.teatroverdionline.it


If you haven’t yet been to Florence’s new Opera House, you must pay them a visit. A world class cultural complex, the auditorium holds 2000 people and the complex contains multiple spaces for music, opera, theatre, and concerts while including bars and restaurants and connecting to nearby La Cascine Park. Through the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Opera di Firenze presents an excellent range of aural treats in January, from Beethoven, to Opera, to a Ballet Opera. Featured in January:

January 10th: Beethoven’s Symphonies - with John Neschling and Mikhail Pletnev
January 22nd: La Voix Humaine/Suor Angelica - with Francis Poulec and Giacomo Puccini
January 23rd: El Amor Brujo/Goyescas - with Manuel de Falla and Enric Granados

Tickets on line: www.maggiofiorentino.com  or tickets@maggiofiorentino.com

Winter is the season to enjoy the range of beautiful hot springs located in Tuscany, both to warm you up and for all the rumoured health benefits! There are a number of different springs, some free and some with spa facilities designed to help you pass the entire day relaxing out of the city centre. Check out their websites to see which one you like, and don’t be afraid to try the plunge from the hot springs to the cold lakes - they swear it’s good for you! A list of Tuscan Thermal Baths:
Terme di Bagno Vignoni (Siena)
Grotta Giusti (Pistoia)
Terme di Gambassi Stabilimento Acqua di Pillo (Florence)
Terme di Firenze (Florence)
Terme di Montecatini (Pistoia)
Terme di San Casciano dei Bagni Fonteverde (Siena)
Terme di Saturnia (Grosseto)
Terme Calidario (Livorno)

PUCCINI FESTIVAL IN LUCCA - Celebrating the work of Giacomo Puccini

Lucca now has a permanent festival celebrating the life and works of Giacomo Puccini. The program is extensive and incredible, with concerts and tours running year round. In January you will find full program of evenings including: Puccini Opera Recital, Puccini and Verdi, Puccini and Mozart, and A Night at the Opera. You can read more at: http://www.puccinielasualucca.com/

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 restored old steam train with Befana through the Mugello. The train departs at 09.00 from Santa Maria Novella (Florence) train station, and arrives at San Piero a Sieve at 13.00, before making the return trip to Florence, arriving at 14.30. A brunch and entertainment for children make the day extra special (if riding on a steam train was not enough excitement).

Ticket:  €21 (adults and children over 4 years old) with family ticket packages available.
Tickets are on sale at the Firenze SMN and Firenze CM train station now.
For info: www.mugellotoscana.it  and  www.italvapore.it


Falò di Sant’Antonio - The Bonfire of Filattieria is every January 17th in honour of the Abbot Sant’Antonio. You’ll find this winter spectacle near the 12th century Malaspina Castle in Massa.

Disafeda dei Falò - Pontremoli hosts a celebration in honour of an old medieval rivalry. Come and see the parishes of San Niccolò and San Geminiano as they battle it out for who can build the biggest and best bonfire! The bonfires are held on January 17th (in Pontremoli) and January 31st (in San Geminiano).


On January 17th,  many Tuscan towns celebrate the festival of Sant’Antonio 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 – The Feast of San Gimignano

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.

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We hope that 2016 is a year of joy and surprises, bringing innovation and inspiration while also paying homage to the past and your old favourites.
All the best,

Pitcher and Flaccomio