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Palazzo Pitti

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Rent, Sell and Manage Properties in Florence and Tuscany
NEWSLETTER – July 2010
July – Florence and Tuscany have never been so summer beautiful. The rains of spring have kept things green and pretty. And now with the sun back, July is filled with the liveliness that invades our Tuscan summers. Warm evening air draws us outdoors where socializing comes naturally. The streets, piazzas and roof-top terraces shimmer with activity and a party atmosphere prevails. Life turns definitively toward vacation-mode, with weekends and weeknights spent outdoors at concerts, in the streets, and on our patios enjoying the cooler air of the hills surrounding the sweltering city.

Hopefully our newsletter will help to keep track of the new exhibits, jazz, rock and classical music festivals, plus the multitude of events that brighten our local scene during the warm season. We have news about gelato, roof-top views, and much more.

Celebrating one year in our cool, new office on Lungarno della Zecca Vecchia SUZANNE, CORSO, SANDRA, LORI, ANNA PIA, BEI, KIMBERLY and MARIO send all the best. And once again, we thank you for your helpful feedback regarding our newsletter, and welcome all future comments, ideas and suggestions.
Florence’s tourism office has put together an interesting collection of rooftop view suggestions. A number of the city’s hotels and restaurants are opening their doors to clients as well as passersby. All of July, August and September you are invited to explore Florence from above, from terraces that you may otherwise have missed. Most of the venues have a bar or restaurant for an aperitif, for a dinner enjoyed watching the sun set, or for after-dinner drinks under a star-filled sky. In some cases, you can also visit the terrace just to admire the view and take a few pictures. Choose your terrace from the list below and enjoy the beauty of Florence from above. Please note that in some cases you may need to book your visit beforehand.
ANTICA TORRE DI VIA TORNABUONI 1. Their beautiful roof-top terrace is surrounded by medieval crenellations. The terrace can be visited; and you are welcome to take pictures. No bar service. Open 7-10:30 pm. Via Tornabuoni 1, Tel. 055 2658161. www.tornabuoni1.com. Reservations: mrbellini@tornabuoni1.com
GRAND HOTEL BAGLIONI. A visit to the roof-top, multi-level terrace can be reserved, even if you only want to take pictures or have a panoramic view. Otherwise, take advantage of the classic bar service for an aperitif, dinner, or after-dinner drinks. Open 7-12 pm. Piazza dell’Unità Italiana 6. Tel. 055 23580. info@hotelbaglioni.it. www.hotelbaglioni.it. Reservations: 055 23588560.
GRAND HOTEL CAVOUR. Roof-top bar open 6-10 pm for an aperitif or after-dinner drinks. Via del Proconsolo 3. Tel. 055 266271. info@albergocavour.it. www.albergocavour.it. Reservations (required): 055 215521.
GRAND HOTEL MINERVA. A pool adds sparkle to this roof-top bar open for snacks or aperitifs from 11am-12pm. Piazza Santa Maria Novella 16. Tel. 055-27230. info@grandhotelminerva.com. www.grandhotelminerva.com
HOTEL BOSCOLO ASTORIA. Have a drink at the bar. Open 7-12 pm. Via del Giglio 9. Tel. 055 2398095. reception@astoria.boscolo.com, www.boscolohotels.com
HOTEL KRAFT The roof-top area is open 7-12 pm. Join them for a snack, aperitif, dinner, or for after-dinner drinks. Via Solferino 2. Tel. 055 284273. info@krafthotel.it. www.krafthotel.it.
HOTEL LAURUS AL DUOMO. Open from 4-11pm, enjoy a snack, aperitif or after-dinner drinks at the bar. Reservations required. Via Cerretani 54r. Tel. 055 2381752. reservations@florencehotellaurusalduomo.com. www.florencehotellaurusalduomo.com.
HOTEL SILLA. The Silla is open for a lovely aperitivo from 6-10 pm. Via de’ Renai 5. Tel. 0552342888. hotelsilla@hotelsilla.it
HOTEL TORNABUONI BEACCI. Charming and quaint, the Tornabuoni Beacci terrace is open 7-12 pm for a snack, aperitif, dinner or after-dinner drinks. The restaurant is closed on Mondays. Via Tornabuoni 3, Tel. 055 212645. info@tornabuonihotels.com, www.tornabuonihotels.com.
J.K. PLACE FIRENZE. Chic and trendy. The cozy roof-top bar is open 11 am- 11pm. Piazza Santa Maria Novella 7. Tel. 055 2645181. info@jkplace.com. www.jkplace.com.
PITTI PALACE AL PONTE VECCHIO. Look down on the Ponte Vecchio from this viewpoint bar. Open from 6-10.30 pm, you can order a snack, aperitif, dinner or after-dinner drinks. Reservations required. Borgo San Jacopo 3. Tel. 055 2398711, www.florencehotelpittipalacealpontevecchio.com
RELAIS CHATEAUX VILLA LA VEDETTA. A bit removed from the chaos of the city center, enjoy the park-like atmosphere at the Vedetta. Open all day for a snack, aperitif, dinner, after-dinner drinks and a swimming pool. Reservations required. Viale Michelangiolo 78. Tel. 055 681631. info@villalavedettahotel.com. www.villalavedettahotel.com.
RISTORANTE TERRAZZA BARDINI. Breezy and beautiful, this terrace is open for an aperitif or dinner from 7-12 pm; closed on Mondays. Via Costa San Giorgio 6. Tel. 055 2008444. info@moba.fi.it. www.moba.fi.it
TERRAZZA STENDHAL c/o GARAGE EUROPA. Unusually located on the roof of a parking garage… Open daily from 7-11 pm, plus every Thursday you will find a buffet aperitif starting from 7.30 pm, and dinner, after- dinner drinks, dj set & live music. Borgognissanti 96. Tel. 338 6733644 or 345 7431305. giorgio@wineffect.it, ilaria@wineffect.it. www.wineffectfirenze.com

We have our chapter meeting on Saturday July 17th - write to my email for details about venue (don't know yet) but it's from 11am-12:30pm Saturday. Write to cathleen.compton@gmail.com for more information.
Thanks! Cathleen
Democrats Abroad Italy, www.DemocratsAbroad.org.

Special Guided Tours – The Museo Galileo, which has just reopened following 2.5 years of major restoration work, and the Natural History Museum of Florence (The Specola) will be hosting weekends dedicated to children from July through December of 2010. The museums will offer a fun journey into the secrets of nature and world of science through a variety of laboratories, games and guided visits. Children will learn while having fun and being surrounded by ancient, scientific instruments, skeletons and animals. Their parents have the opportunity to leave them during the activities and visit other parts of the museum. The guided visits are offered in English one weekend a month (Saturday, July 24th (10.30 - 12.00), Sunday, July 25th (16.00-17.30) by St. James' own Karen Giacobassi. There is no extra charge, but reservations are required. Tel. 055 294883. Email: prenotazioni@operalaboratori.com. http://www.museogalileo.it/en/pressroom/enews/eflorencefamily.html
St James Church, via B. Rucellai 9, Phone/fax: 055 29 44 17 Email: info@stjames.it. www.stjames.it.

FOOTBAAAALLL!! by Simon Clark and Anne Brooks
Forza Viola!.......... A new manager! We thought we’d delivered our final copy of the season but it’s not over till the Serbian sings, dances or joins NATO. Fiorentina eventually admitted that, yes, Prandelli was talking to the authorities about becoming the next national manager. And Lo! It Came To Pass that he is taking on that role, rescinding his Viola contract and prompting an outpouring of gratitude from Florence plus an eloquent Cesare letter to the City:
“To those who met me in the street and called me Cesare, to those who experienced the sun, wind and rain at the Franchi stadium; to those who took their holidays at Folgaria, Castelrotto and Cortina, to those who cried at a missed penalty or for the joy of Anfield; to those who believed like I did and who got emotional at a single viola flag in a window; to those who thought that, despite my mistakes, I was still a good person; to those who tried to understand and appreciate the significance of silence; to those who travelled hundreds of miles to say ‘I was there too’, those at Verona and Turin and those who cried for joy with us; to those who waited at the airport sometimes in the middle of night to sing ‘forza Viola’; to those who shouted ‘Corri, corri!’ and those who have run; to those who’ve said to me (touching my soul each and every time) ‘ the mister – one of us’ or ‘when I speak with you it’s like I am speaking to a relative, brother, uncle, cousin, father’. To all of you, to Florence, with your elegance and sadness, with your diffidence and generosity, I have only two things to say: Thank you and I will carry you always in my heart. Cesare.”
Well, that’s him out of the way. Andrea Della Valle and Corvino took nano-seconds to wheel in the new “Mr”. Meet Sinisa Mihajlovic, 41-years old, former left back/midfielder, scorer of most goals from free kicks in Serie A. 63 caps for his country, including the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship finals, he won the European Cup (precursor of the Champions League) with Red Star Belgrade in 1991, leading to Roma, Sampdoria and then Lazio (with Sven-Goran Erikson) for a Scudetto, a Coppa Italia and the UEFA Cup Winners Cup (ancestor of the Europa League). He finished at Inter with his chum, Roberto Mancini for another Scudetto and two Italian cups. He knows about winning.
Sinisa (easier to spell) went straight into coaching at Inter with Mancini - now manager. On and up to most of a Bologna season - poor side, relegation threats, dressing-room rifts; he got the boot but bounced back with Catania and here laid out his credentials, assembling a team to challenge the best; they beat Juventus in Turin and this season took Inter apart 3-1. He comes to the Franchi with the proven ability to build teams to take on the Big Four. Which is just what we want! We have a pre-season friendly on 7 August against Tottenham Hotspur in London for an early view.
The World Cup is happening in South Africa. Success is measured according to how long teams retain a hotel booking. Italy needed the shortest (even the USA enjoyed room service longer). For the first time in a thousand years (according to the press), we failed to make the knock-out stages. The inquisition will feature the full range of torture implements. Gila came out of it with nothing (we can hang onto him) but Montolivo emerged with credit (Arsenal are reported to be interested but he’ll probably drown in the miasma of Italian defeat and have to stay). Per Kroldrup and our late player, Jorgensen, exited with Denmark – but they never expected to win. Bolatti (Argentina) may have the best chance of a winner’s medal.
Corvino is busy on the transfer market, nipping in for £4.5mn Gaetano D’Agostino from Udinese; he could be a perfect combination with Montolivo – not just in violet but at national level (back with Prandelli). The rest is rumour; there will be other purchases; there may be departures. We shall wait and see. Mutu is still here; it will be interesting to eavesdrop on his conversations with the new Mr – in 2003, Sinisa was in the Lazio side that played Chelsea in the Champions League and the Serb got an 8-match suspension for spitting at and kicking the Romanian!.....................Ale Viola!

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes - Serves 5
5 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 2/3 cups ricotta
a generous 1/2 cup flour
Whisk together the egg yolks, ricotta, sugar, and zest. Add flour and stir until just combined. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold stiff peaks. Whisk a dollop of egg whites into the ricotta mixture. Fold in the remaining whites gently but thoroughly.
Heat a griddle. Brush with melted butter if desired. Make pancakes using approx. 1/4 cup of batter each and cook til golden. Serve with maple syrup, sliced strawberries or fresh raspberry puree.

THUMBS UP – THUMBS DOWN “Our Readers Right”
Our “Thumbs up, Thumbs down” column is your chance to write us and share your own ideas and information, or to toot the horn of businesses, events and those Florentine situations that strike you as either wonderful or terrible. Please note: all opinions are (usually) those of our readers. Lend us your thoughts!

GELATO: AN OCCASIONAL PROMENADE (continued...... thanks to Anne and Simon)
As the air heats up, we become sluggish and reluctant to walk too far! Fortunately, within easy reach of the Fortezza are three oases with the necessary coolants for mind and body........
GELATERIA DE MEDICI (Via dello Statuto 3/5R. Tel: 055 475156) Between Piazza della Constituzione (north end of Fortezza de Basso) and Statuto railway station. Open 09.00-01.00 (closed Mondays) and what a cornucopia! A multiverse of chocolate but we can speak for chocolate & pear, a warming yoghurt & ginger (yes, a gelato that warms you up! Invigorating for winter), ricotta & pear, a striking Medici (crema and nutella and meringue and biscotti), an excellent raspberry or a yoghurt and chocolate! A real contender! See www.gelateriademedici.com.
GELATERIA DI ALBANA (via XX Settembre - by Giardino d’Orticultura.) A family-run enterprise tucked beside the entrance to the Giardino with its reconstructed glasshouse – a winning combination. It can take time to get served amid the flow of extended families and larger bunches bound for the park next door! Who’s in a hurry? Study the flavours! Punchy lemon with chunks in, tasty melon......Closed Tuesdays, otherwise 09.00 to 13.30 and 16.00 to 20.30 (later in summer).
REFRESCOS GELATERIA (Viale Spartaco Lavagnini 20/R). Time to ‘fess up; this has recently extended the Refrescos empire and it’s the gelateria nearest to our home! Ace chocolate and a great “Refresco’s spiced crema” – with canella. We are committed to tasting everything. Other Florence outlets at via Aretina 34, via san Stefano in Pane 15R and Piazza Tanucci 5/R. Open 11.00-20.00 every day. See www.gelateriarefrescos.com
Until Friday 9, Bram Stoker’s horror classic, Dracula is on at the Bargello Museum in English (with Italian subtitles). Put on by F.E.S.T.A., the performance is terrifying, funny, and – occasionally shocking, as directed by Shaun Loftus. Blood-curdling, action packed scenes come courtesy of renowned SFSD fight director Dan Lendzian, and the spine-chilling musical score is written by Florence’s own Alessio Riccio. The Bargello Museum’s beautiful yet eerie architecture and blood-soaked history creates a particularly stunning and haunting atmosphere ideal for the play. Bargello Museum, Via del Proconsolo 4. Shows at 9.15 p.m. Tickets available online at www.thedraculaproject.org, or www.boxol.it, or at BM Bookshop (Borgo Ognissanti 4/r -FI). Tickets: Adults € 25, Reduced/12-and-under € 17,50.

Starting Wednesday July 7th (until Sept. 7th), shops and stores in Florence and Tuscany are officially allowed to reduce prices on their spring/summer merchandise. Take advantage and stretch those euros.

PITTI FILATI 67th edition
From Tues. 6 to Thurs. 8, once again Florence’s Fortezza da Basso hosts the world preview of knitting yarn collections for the 2011/2012 fall-winter season. Anyone interested in getting a jump-start on the fashions, colors and textures for next-next season shouldn’t miss finding a way into this show. Over one hundred textile firms will display their latest inventions. Each year Pitti Filati exhibitors represent the high end of Italian and international yarn production for the knitting industry, and buyers arrive from the style offices of the most important names in fashion.
The year, a special research space “MOVE!” is dedicated to the most advanced technologies and services for the industry, presenting stitches selected from the historical archives of knitting mills and the great fashion houses, clothing and experiments in knits as well as washes, prints, embroideries, ornaments, and finishes furthering new trend development in ecological, ethical, fair trade and environmentally sustainable yarns.
Pitti Filati is also hosting “Feel the Yarn”, the first yarn training experience and design award for future knitwear designers, a competition for aspiring knitwear designers and the first specialization Master’s Degree in yarns. Seventeen young fashion designers from five international fashion schools will be presenting garments made using yarns from 12 Tuscan companies.
Fortezza da Basso. Open daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, and the last day until 4:00 pm. Entrance is allowed only for operators, so be prepared to show something that identifies you as “in the business”. filati@pittimmagine.com, Tel. 05536931 - www.pittimmagine.com.

From Tues. 6 to Sat. 10 visit the Stazione Leopolda for an incredible display of vintage clothing. Vintage shops from all around Italy bring their best-of-the-best to this popular annual show/market. Relive your youth, or your grandmother’s youth! The show annually fills with fashion designers looking for inspiration from the past. At this edition, Vintage Selection proposes new Luxury Collection and Sportswear Collection sections. And, given last January’s success, the Happy Kilo area will be back: a fun temporary store, with a series of selected items that will be sold by weight. Stazione Leopolda. Viale Fratelli Rosselli 5. Open 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. Ticket: 5.00 euro. Tel. 055/212622, info@stazione-leopolda.com, www.stazione-leopolda.com

Sun. 11 stroll the stands set up in Piazza Santo Spirito and enjoy the feel of a modern-day marketplace. Open all day.

Sun. 18 in Piazza Santo Spirito take advantage of this fair to enjoy all the goodies for one last time til September (since the usual Fierucolina remains on hold during August). Browse Piazza Santo Spirito and pick up all kinds of natural and organic products, from fresh cheeses, to jams, clothing, and handmade items of all sorts. Open 9 am - 7 pm.

Throughout the month there will be events, jazz and folk concerts and big-screen showings of the World Cup games in five of Florence’s piazzas. Piazza Beccaria will host DJ sets and World Cup games, Piazza del Mercato Centrale will be the site of numerous jazz and rock concerts and World Cup games, Largo Damiano Chiesa (in the Campo di Marte neighborhood) will have lots of danceable rock-and-roll. Piazza Dalmazia and the Polo Universitario at Novoli will also get swinging with rockabilly, blues, soul and surf concerts. … and World Cup games. There are events more than half the evenings of the month. In Piazza Beccaria watch for the Rockabilly fun of Quattro Gatti on Tuesday 13 and a Pareo Party DJ set on Sunday 18. In Piazza del Mercato Centrale listen to Marco Di Maggio (one of Italy’s best guitarists) on Wed. 14 and don’t miss the exotic belly-dancers on Sat. 24.
The events are free and most start at 9:30. See the full list of what is happening at: http://www.digispace.it/schedaevento.asp?id_evento=6352

Surfs up in sunny Florence! All summer long check out the beach scene Arno-style just below Piazza Poggi. Get a snack at the bar kiosk, and wander down to catch some rays on a sandy, new beach equipped with umbrellas and showers. Entry is free. The beach is open from 9:00 am til late afternoon, and the action then continues on the Terrazza di Piazza Poggi overlooking the Arno, with sunset music events, plus contemporary dance, cinema and more. Lungarno Serrestori. Tel. 335 6630341. Check their site for activities and upcoming events. www.piazzart.com

From July 15 to November 2, the Museum of the Medici Chapels links the Medici with Henry IV. Four hundred years after his assassination on May 14, 1610 in Paris, Florence celebrates the King of France and Navarre with a major exhibition. The fulcrum of the exhibition consists of 19 monochrome canvases that Cosimo II de' Medici commissioned to Florentine academic painters to celebrate a funeral service for Henry IV with great pomp on September 16, 1610 in the Basilica of San Lorenzo.
Having recently succeeded his father Ferdinando I to the throne, the new Grand Duke had an important funeral held in effigy for the "most Christian King". This decision was part of the consolidated practice that, as of the sixteenth century, saw the Medici family, rulers of Florence, show their political influence in Europe with dramatic productions tied to the family events of the principal dynasties: births, weddings and deaths. The paintings were arranged along the walls of the church, entirely decked in mourning, with elements evoking the King's triumphs and virtues, so as to perpetuate his glory beyond death.
Executed by an until-then little-known group of painters and artists, the paintings had subjects dictated by historians and men of letters, and dealt with episodes in which the Medici had played an important role.
A part of the exhibition is dedicated to the Medici and the family politics which saw Maria, granddaughter of Ferdinando I, marry Henry IV in 1600 and, following the assassination of the King, assume the regency of France for the dauphin. With the magnificence of the funeral ceremony celebrated in Florence, the Medici court emphasized the legitimacy of that regency and of the succession to the throne of Louis XIII. In addition to the paintings, the show will also present books, engravings and drawings for the celebration, the Medici family tree, medals of the principal figures tied to the episode, wedding documents, precious portraits of the King and Queen in painting and sculpture, and a magnificent drawing by Pieter Paul Rubens with Maria de' Medici Landing at Marseilles, executed as a model for the cycle in the Luxembourg Palace, which Maria commissioned the painter between 1622 and 1624.
Medici Chapel. Piazza di Madonna degli Aldobrandini 6. Tel. 055 2388602. Hours: 8:15 am – 1:50 pm. Closed on the second and fourth Sunday of the month; the first, third and fifth Monday of every month. Ticket: € 6,00.

From July 20 to May 15, 2011, the Museo degli Argenti at the Pitti Palace brings us closer to the history of wine. From Mesopotamia to our tables, from the rite of communion to avoidable drunkenness, from a distasteful habit to the gate of spirituality, wine and the grapevine are the protagonists of the exhibition. Original showpieces, sculptures, frescoes and mosaics, accompanied by multimedia and video installations will recount the millenarian history of the grapevine and of wine, and the important influence they exerted on the culture of the ancients.
The exhibition will illustrate the origin of wine-growing in the Near East, its full affirmation along with its related symbolic, religious and cultural significance in the Hellenic world, up to its production and large-scale diffusion practiced by the Romans. By virtue of the abundant archaeological remains of the Vesuvian cities, the particular case of the vineyards of Pompeii will be illustrated, while the exhibition will devote another section to the extraordinary contribution of the Phoenicians and the Etruscans, who played an essential role in spreading the cultivation of the vitis vinifera throughout the Mediterranean.
While inviting visitors to reflect on the evolution of cultivation techniques (reproduction and genetic improvement, plowing the land, bedding plants, tending the vineyard, theoretical principles and practical instructions for pruning and grafting), specially selected exhibits will also illustrate the religious and cultural values of the grapevine, expressed since the most remote epochs through a series of depictions which speak of the divinities, rituals and festivities of wine. Sculptures and painted vases will illustrate the birth and spreading of the cult of Dionysus, capable according to tradition of continuously changing form and substance. Moreover, elegant table-services will clarify how the consumption of wine represented one of the most important moments of conviviality among patricians. A cella vinaria where wine was stored, scenographically reconstructed based on precious finds uncovered at Pompeii and on the precise descriptions contained in Latin literature, will enable the visitor to delve into the reality of the past, as he walks amidst tools for the vineyard, wine amphorae and wooden barrels, baskets for harvesting, carts and all of the necessary equipment. The exhibition itinerary aims not only at scientifically documenting the entire cycle of wine, from harvest to consumption, but also at stimulating taste, smell and sight, the senses that have a close relationship with wine which emerge at different historical and social levels.

Until Oct. 11 the Casa Buonarroti museum hosts a show of works by Pietro da Cortona covering the decade 1637 to 1647. Pietro da Cortona was one of the foremost artists of the Baroque period in Rome but also in Florence. He worked in Florence for long periods on several occasions between 1637 and 1647, leaving his mark mainly as a fresco painter in the famous rooms of Palazzo Pitti. A key figure for Pietro da Cortona during his stays in Florence was Michelangelo the Younger, the owner of Casa Buonarroti, where the artist lived and where he left as a sign of gratitude to his generous friend and host, numerous examples of his art, the starting point for this exhibition.
The event is particularly important given its unusual, innovative layout, which helps to understand the artist’s role in Florence. The exhibition displays a selection of paintings and drawings from Italian and foreign museums, illustrating the decade in which Florence embraced the Baroque and began to follow the new directions indicated by Rome and destined to spread throughout Europe. Casa Buonarroti, via Ghibellina 70. Tickets: € 6,50. Hours: 9.30 a.m. - 4 p.m., closed on Tuesdays and on August 15th. Tel. 055 241752. www.casabuonarroti.it

Until Nov. 1 the Accademia Gallery is hosting an unusual show of furnishings and paintings of subjects focusing on marriage in the 1400’s. An entire array of objects, from wooden storage chests, to wall panels to headboards were often decorated with scenes meant to give advice to newlyweds on how to adopt an exemplary form of personal conduct. These “nuptial paintings” served the fundamental function of conveying messages of warning and encouragement to a couple, helping us today to better understand a mainstay of fifteenth-century Florentine culture: the role of the family and those of the husband and wife.
Drawing on classical mythology, the Bible, historical episodes and contemporary literature, many facets of love are depicted, along with the ensuing duties: from love triumphant over adverse circumstances (The Marriage of Thetis and Peleus), to the virtues of obedience and abnegation that a woman must pursue (The Legend of Griselda from Boccaccio's Decameron), to the courage of the heroines Lucretia and Virginia, who choose death as source of redemption.
An entire section illustrates the harmful consequences of love as sexual beguilement capable of totally subduing a man's will. We must not forget however, that marriage meant first and foremost to give life to new progeny and perpetuate the family. To this end, the last section of the exhibition is dedicated to family pride in stories that recount the foundation of famous families like those of Aeneas and David or that following the texts of Petrarch, celebrate the Triumphs of Fame, Time and Eternity.
The exhibit features works by Botticelli (Story of Virginia Romana, Bergamo, Accademia Carrara), Filippino Lippi (Story of Lucretia, Florence, Galleria Palatina), and Pesellino (Stories of Susanna, Avignon, Musée du Petit Palais), opening an extraordinary view onto the Florentine workshops that made the objects, and that enjoyed their greatest fortune precisely in the fifteenth century. The exhibition has been organized in collaboration with the Museo Horne of Florence. Galleria dell’Accademia, Via Ricasoli 58. Hours: Tues. to Sun – 8:15 to 6:50 pm. Beginning July 1 to Sept. 30, free entry on Thursday evenings from 7:00 to 10:00 pm. From July 6 to Sept. 28 the exhibit will be open Tuesday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00 pm (entry ticket required).

See above note from St. James for a fun guided tour, otherwise, discover on your own the world’s earliest scientific innovations using the latest, high technology. The Museo Galileo (ex-History of Science museum) just re-opened in June after a two-year renovation. A video guide, rentable at the museum box office will now walk with visitors through the vast collection of antique tools and instruments including two of Galileo’s original telescopes. Museo Galileo. Piazza dei Giudici 1. Tel. 55 265311. Hours: Mon, Wed. Thurs. and Fri from 9:30 to 5:00 pm. Tues. and Sat. from 9:30 to 1:00 pm. Closed Sunday. Ticket: 7 euro. www.imss.fi.it

Until October 10, three of Florence’s most important museums (the Pitti Palatine Gallery, the Uffizi and Villa Bardini) unite forces to offer a fascinating overview of the works and influence of one of Italy’s greatest masters Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.
Born in 1573 in the town of Caravaggio, this artist’s life is as turbulent as his personality. We know he had numerous run-ins with the law and was arrested on several occasions. For example, in 1606 a bet over a game of tennis led to an argument, at which point Caravaggio drew his sword and killed his opponent. We also know that Caravaggio's artistic influence was widespread: outside Italy he inspired painters as diverse as Georges de La Tour and members of the Utrecht School, e.g. Gerrit van Honthorst – artists who in turn later influenced Rembrandt. Caravaggio was particularly celebrated for his use of chiaroscuro, a technique using light and dark to achieve a 3-D effect.
While many aspects of this artist’s life remain a mystery, what we do know is that splendid paintings by Caravaggio - the Bacchus and the Medusa - reached the Uffizi towards the end of the XVI century. Others (two or three) were purchased by the Grand Dukes who proved to be early and staunch admirers - especially Cosimo II - of the controversial painter and of his followers. The presence of important artists in Florence such as Artemisia Gentileschi, Battistello Caracciolo and Theodoor Rombouts, and direct dealings with artists like Gerrit Honthorst, Bartolomeo Manfredi and Jusepe Ribera gave rise to an intense Caravaggesque "season" which left an extraordinary number of paintings in Florence itself.
Gerrit Honthorst (who painted the Adoration of the Shepherds, today in the Uffizi Gallery, though heavily damaged by the Via dei Georgofili bombing of 1993) was the protagonist of one of the most important episodes of the fortune of Caravaggesque painting outside of Rome; the unfinished decoration of the Guicciardini Chapel in the church of Santa Felicita. Honthorst was commissioned to execute the work with Cecco del Caravaggio and Spadarino. This exhibition presents a landmark virtual reconstruction of the work. In addition, on this the IV centennial of Caravaggio's death, the show will include more than one hundred paintings, both famous and less famous, in the light of research, with new attributions that have modified our view of this outstanding master. Galleria Palatina at the Pitti Palace, the Uffizi, Villa Bardini. Hours: the usual hours of each venue. Ticket: a cumulative ticket for the three venues will cost euro 25.00. For info and reservations: tel. 055 294883. www.unannoadarte.it.

Until July 18, Palazzo Strozzi hosts another fascinating exhibit. This time we get to explore the early years of the career of De Chirico and the influence of his first works on movements such as Surrealism and the Neue Sachlichkeit. De Chirico was born in 1888 in Greece and partly raised there, where his engineer father designed and built railway lines. Having studied in Munich, at the age of twenty-one and fascinated by the work of the Symbolist painter Arnold Böcklin, he began painting a series of strange and unusual cityscapes. Displayed in Paris after 1911 they were enthusiastically greeted by painters and poets from Picasso to Paul Éluard, and very soon De Chirico became one of the heroes of Surrealism. This phase of his work – the so-called metaphysical painting – lasted up to around 1918. Subsequently De Chirico changed direction. He had a prolific artistic career, and lived to 90, almost as long as Picasso. He died in 1978. Hours: Daily 9 am-8 pm, Thursday 9 a.m-11 p.m. Reservations: prenotazioni@cscsigma.it.

Odeon Theatre, Piazza Strozzi 2. Phone: 055 214 068. www.cinehall.it
Tue. 6 - THE TWILIGHT SAGA ECLIPSE – (original version with Italian subtitles) by David Slade with Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner. 6.00 – 9.00 p.m.
Wed 7 - THE TWILIGHT SAGA ECLIPSE – See above. 6.00 – 9.00 p.m.
Fri 9 - THE TWILIGHT SAGA ECLIPSE – See above. 4.20 – 6.40 – 9.00 p.m.
Sat 10 - THE TWILIGHT SAGA ECLIPSE – See above. 4.20 – 6.40 – 9.00 p.m.
Sun 11- THE TWILIGHT SAGA ECLIPSE – See above. 4.20 – 6.40 – 9.00 p.m.
Mon 12 - THE TWILIGHT SAGA ECLIPSE – See above. 6.00 – 9.00 p.m.
Tues 13- THE TWILIGHT SAGA ECLIPSE – See above. 6.00 – 9.00 p.m.
Wed 14- TOY STORY 3 - (with Italian subtitles) by Lee Unkrich – Animation. 4.30 – 6.15 – 8.30 – 10.30 p.m.
Thurs 15- TOY STORY 3 - (see above). 4.30 – 6.15 p.m.
Thurs 15- BOTTLE SHOCK - (original version with Italian subtitles) by Randalla Miller – with Alan Rickman, Chris Pine, Bill Pullman, Rachael Taylor, Freddy Rodriguez. 9.00 p.m.
Fri 16- TOY STORY 3 - (see above).. 4.30 – 6.15 – 8.30 – 10.30 p.m.
Sat 17- TOY STORY 3 - (see above).. 4.30 – 6.15 – 8.30 – 10.30 p.m.
Sun 18 - TOY STORY 3 - (see above).. 4.30 – 6.15 – 8.30 – 10.30 p.m

In THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE, Bella again finds herself surrounded by danger as Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings, and a revenge-seeking vampire.
BOTTLE SHOCK looks into the birth of California's Napa wine industry, and triumph of a Napa Valley wine over the French at the 1976 Paris Tastings.
TOY STORY 3 has garnered rave reviews as Woody, Buzz, Jessie, and the rest of the toys have their adventures in Disney Digital 3-D this time around.

Theatre info: Teatro Comunale, Via Solferino 15. Tel. 055 27791. Teatro della Pergola, Via della Pergola 12/32, Tel. 055 2479651. Teatro Verdi, Via Ghibellina 99, tel. 055 212320. Teatro Saschall, Lungarno Moro 3, tel. 055 6504112. Teatro Goldoni, Via Santa Maria 15. Tel. 055 229651. Teatro Romano, Fiesole, Tel. 055/59187. Mandela Forum, Viale Paoli 3, tel. 055 678841. Stazione Leopolda. Viale Fratelli Rosselli 5. St. Mark’s Church. Via Maggio 16. Tel. 055 294764. Church of Orsanmichele, Via dei Calzaiuoli. Tel. 055-210305. Teatro Puccini, via delle Cascine 41, tel 055 362067. Chiesa S. Stefano al Ponte Vecchio, piazza S. Stefano 5. Viper Theatre, Via Lombardia 1.055/318056, www.viperclub.eu. Auditorium FLOG, Via M. Mercati, 24/b, 055/210804, www.flog.it Sala Vanni, Piazza del Carmine 14. Teatro Everest, Via Volterrana 4/b, tel. 055. 23 21 754. info@teatroeverest.it, www.teatroeverest.it. Teatro Politeama Pratese, Via G. Garibaldi, 33 – Prato. Tel: 0574/603758, www.politeamapratese.com. Purchase tickets for theatre, concerts and other events at the following ticket agencies: BOX OFFICE: Via Alamanni, 39 (alongside the train station). Open Monday 3:30-7:30 pm, from Tuesday to Saturday 10:00-7:30 pm. Tel. 055/210804. ARGONAUTA VIAGGI, Lungarno Torrigiani 33/B, Tel.055/2342777. Many tickets can be pre-purchased via www.ticketone.it, www.boxol.it.

Monday 5
STEFANO BOLLANI & CHICK COREA (two jazz piano legends) - Teatro Romano, Fiesole. 9:30 pm.

Thursday 8
FUNKOFF – the amazing, Italian, funky marching jazz band. Pure, happy energy. Teatro Romano, Fiesole. 9:30.
THE MAGIC FLUTE- DIE ZAUBERFLOTE. An opera in two acts. Music by Mozart. OperaFestival orchestra and chorus. Boboli Gardens. 9:15 pm.

Friday 9
DON GIOVANNI. An opera in two acts. Music by Mozart. OperaFestival orchestra and chorus. San Galgano Abbey, Chiusdino – Siena. 9:00 pm.

Monday 12
MC COY TYNER & JOE LOVANO. You like John Coltrane, you will love these guys. Teatro Romano, Fiesole. 9: 30 pm.

Tuesday 13
LIGABUE. Stadio Franchi. 9:00 pm.
PATTY PRAVO. Boboli Gardens, Porta Romana. 9:15 pm.

Thursday 15
THE MAGIC FLUTE- DIE ZAUBERFLOTE. An opera in two acts. Music by Mozart. OperaFestival orchestra and chorus. Boboli Gardens, Porta Romana. 9:15 pm.
JETHRO TULL. Fortezza da Basso. 9:30 pm.

Saturday 17
DON GIOVANNI. An opera in two acts. Music by Mozart. OperaFestival orchestra and chorus. San Galgano Abbey, Chiusdino – Siena. 9:00 pm.

Monday 19
OTANGO COMPANY IN CINC’OTANGO. Presented by the Argentine Tango Company OTANGO. Boboli Gardens. 9:15 pm.

Tuesday 20
MALIKA AYANE. Come listen the velvet voice of one of Italy’s best. Teatro Romano. 9:30 pm.

Thursday 22
DON GIOVANNI. An opera in two acts. Music by Mozart. OperaFestival orchestra and chorus. Boboli Gardens. 9:30 pm.

Monday 26
MIKE PATTON. An American’s tribute to Gino Paoli, Fred Buscaglione, Ennio Morricone... Fortezza da Basso. 9:30 pm.

Thursday 29
DON GIOVANNI. An opera in two acts. Music by Mozart. OperaFestival orchestra and chorus. Boboli Gardens. 9:30 pm.
PATTI SMITH. Cittadella del Carnevale, Viareggio
Tues. 6 keep your eyes to the sky toward Fiesole. In celebration of the town’s patron saint San Romolo, at 7:00 pm a procession will take place, starting in Piazza Mino. At 9:00 pm there will be a concert in the piazzetta of the Cathedral (the Filarmonica “G. Verdi” of Fiesole) and at 10:30 pm. a spectacular display of fireworks will light the summer sky.

From Fri. 9 to Sun. 11 return to the past in the medieval hill town of Monteriggioni, near Siena. Enter through the ancient gates to find artisans, events, music and food. The festival features exhibitions recreating military techniques, daily life, arts and trades, while acrobats, travelling theatrical shows and jugglers add cheer and liveliness. Dine with soldiers armed for battle. Jesters and jugglers will vie for your attention. Tournaments, jousts, and mounted combats will take place The fun begins at 5:00 pm each evening, and goes until midnight or later. Tel. 0577 30484. www.monteriggionimedievale.com

From Wed. 14 to Sun 18 be a part of music history as Pistoia hosts one of the best music festivals in Italy. From 7:00 pm to late night Piazza del Duomo will rock-and-soul with notes from the likes of Astra, Porcupine Tree, The Jimmie Vaughan Band with Lou Ann Barton, and Dweezil Zappa with a tribute to his father Frank: "Dweezil Zappa plays Zappa". The festival also welcomes James Hunter, Labyrinth, Hammerfall, Gamma Ray and Queensryche, plus the Italianissimo Mario Biondi with his mix of blues, soul and jazz. See www.pistoiablues.com for tickets and info on concert times.

On Thurs. 17 spend the evening in Greve. At 6:00 pm, as the day cools to evening temperatures, Greve’s main piazza will come to life with a handicraft market and street performers. Filled with great places to eat, the small town shows its best side at night. Greve-in-Chianti. From 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Tel.

The official Linari classical concert season has begun. The Festival is based in the tiny, medieval village of Linari, situated between Florence and Siena. Linari is hilltop “borgo” in the Chianti Classico area, one of the most enchanting parts of Tuscany. This music festival presents a rich program of classical music, ranging from the Baroque Era to the Twentieth century executed by young and talented musicians from Australia, Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States, many of whom perform in some of the world's great orchestras. There are around ten concerts every summer, set in locations ranging from medieval castles and churches to town piazzas and private villas, the unique venues provide an extra dimension to a musical experience. Another special feature of the festival is the opportunity to join your friends and the performers over a meal at the end of most of the concerts.
The first festival was held in the summer of 2003 at the initiative of Airdrie Armstrong Terenghi, organizer and artistic director working with Joris van Rijn, music director. Tickets for concerts: Members - €12, non-Members - €15. Dinners: Dinners: €30. For updated information on the program please check: www.linariclassic.com. Bookings: Tel. 3278665955, linaribookings@gmail.com
MONDAY JULY 19th, 7:00pm - Pieve Sant'Appiano, Barberino Val d'Elsa*. Chopin, Mozart, Rachmaninov .
WEDNESDAY JULY 21st, 7:00pm - Villa Il Moro, Impruneta. Zenetti, Purcell, Baroque ensemble.
FRIDAY JULY 23rd, 7:00pm - Castello di Volpaia, Radda in Chianti**. Schumann, Saint-Saens, Stravinsky.
SATURDAY JULY 24th, 9:30pm - Piazza Barberini, Barberino Val d'Elsa. Piazzolla, Schubert, Rachmaninov, Viennese Music.
MONDAY JULY 26th, 7:00pm - Complesso Museale Santa Maria della Scala, Siena**. Chopin, Vivaldi, Bach, Martinu.
WEDNESDAY JULY 28th, 7:00pm - Villa Gamberaia, Colline di Settignano**. Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Schumann.
FRIDAY JULY 30th, 7:00pm - Villa del Cigliano, San Casciano in Val di Pesa*. Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert.
SUNDAY AUGUST 1st, 7:00pm - Pieve Sant'Appiano, Barberino Val d'Elsa*. Schoenberg, Saint Saens, Dohnanyi.
* Festival Dinner with musicians following the concert (Booking in advance required).
** Restaurant Dinner with musicians following the concert (Booking in advance required).

This July Lucca is once again burning up with music greats from around the world. Piazza Napoleone is THE place to be for a line-up that includes Seal, Mark Knopfler, ZZ Top, Paolo Nutini, Simply Red and Crosby Stills & Nash. Gates open at 7:30 pm and concerts begin around 9:30 pm. Tickets range in price. Pre-purchase via www.ticketone.it. For more info: www.summer-festival.com. Tel. 0583 464268.
2010 program:
Friday 9 - Paco De Lucia
Saturday 10 - Mark Knopfler
Tuesday 13 - ZZ Top with Jeff Beck
Friday 16 - Seal
Sunday 18 - Crosby Stills & Nash
Tuesday 20 - Paolo Nutini
Friday 23 - Simply Red
Sunday 25 - Karima
Tuesday 27 - Placebo

Until December 5 Viareggio is hosting a show celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Liberty (Art Nouveau) movement in Italy. One of the main figures of the period was Galileo Chini (born Florence 1873 – 1956). Painter, ceramicist and graphic designer, he combined art and artisanship, renewing a Tuscan tradition of the artisan workshop for the 20th century. Paintings, ceramics, drawings and furnishings all have a place in the show. His luminescent Tuscan landscapes, that reflect serene moments spent in Versilia, reflect against the darker works done during WW2. Chini is equally well known for his ceramic production and the exhibit is rich with vases, plates, tiles and more. He worked principally out of two spaces; L’Arte della Ceramica, founded in Florence in 1896 and the Fornaci San Lorenzo, founded in 1906 in Borgo San Lorenzo, where he created the incredible decorative tiles that we see throughout Tuscany today on a fantastic, few, Liberty-style homes and buildings.
Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea Lorenzo Viani, Palazzo delle Muse, Piazza Mazzini 22, Viareggio. Hours: July and August – Tues. to Sun. from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Tel. 0584966343. gamc@comune.viareggio.lu.it. www.gamc.it

Over five centuries ago, Filippo Lippi ascended three stories of scaffolding in the dark recesses of Prato’s cathedral. Today, the three-tiered frescoes, which cover the walls and vaults of the main chapel with stories of St. John the Baptist and St. Stephen, are visible in renewed splendor after seven years of restoration. Small, guided tours of the fresco cycle now allow the public to come face to face with Lippi. The restoration began in the upper reaches of the chapel ceiling. Four monumental images of the evangelists are incised within the arches of the groin vault. Below them flow the scenes from the lives of two saints: Stephen, Prato’s patron saint on the left, and John the Baptist, protector of nearby Florence on the right. From his birth in the top register to his death on the lower register, each saints’ life is a theatrical spectacle played out with vivid imagery.
Fra Filippo Lippi was quite an intriguing character; his behavior wasn’t exactly exemplary of the Carmelite order, (Fra indicates his religious title). The Carmelites ordained him and trained him as an artist, and by the time he reached Prato in 1452 he was among the most highly regarded and frequently commissioned painters of the early Renaissance. His trysts with various women had already gained him a somewhat sensational reputation, but it is the long-running romance with nun Lucrezia Buti, 25 years his junior, that has been most noted by history. Lucrezia modeled for many of the Lippi’s Madonnas, and is said to have been the inspiration for the enchanting Salomë, who dances through the final scene of John the Baptist’s fresco cycle, The Feast of Herod. The three-part banquet scene contains larger-than-life figures that feast and make merry around the dancing girl, whom many compare to the female figures in the later works of Lippi’s young apprentice Botticelli.
Prato Cathedral. Open Mon. to Sat. 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission: 4 euro with audio guide. Small, guided tours available by calling 0574/24112. www.restaurofilippolippi.it
All the best,

Pitcher and Flaccomio