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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 – july 2011

The sun is back with a vengeance, but July is filled with the liveliness that characterizes Tuscan summers. Warm evenings draw 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 terraces enjoying the cooler air of the hills surrounding the sweltering city. And the Italians head to the beach...
Celebrating two years in our cool new office on Lungarno della Zecca Vecchia, we are wishing you a July that starts with fireworks and ends at the beach (on the Arno, that is) to all from SUZANNE, CORSO, BEI, SANDRA, LORI, ANNA PIA, ANN and MARIO.


BEST EXTRAVAGANZA FOR JULY – 4th of July (on the 2nd & 3rd)
What better way to spend a weekend with the family than celebrating American Independence Day in true Western style? Grab your cowboy hat and head out to Parco d’Arte Pazzagli on July 2 and 3!
This year the Tuscan American Association goes beyond the traditional hamburgers, hot dogs and sports (of course, there still will be a lot of those, too) to bring you a truly unique and spectacular event. 
Various community groups (the professional English language theater company, Performance International, the children's activity and learning center, Creative Corner, Pro Loco, an artistic and cultural organization) have come together to create something extraordinary. With something for everyone, this year's 4th of July (celebrated on July 2nd and 3rd!) is the "can't miss event" for 2011.

2 July
6 pm/18:00- Opening of the park and Stands
* SPECIAL EVENT: Arturo di Modica's New York Bull Statue will be unveiled in the park*
7 pm/19:00-"Star Spangled Banner" Competition Finalists are presented
8 pm/20:00- Country music with "Aces Wild"
9 pm/21:00- Live music

3 July
5 pm/ 17:00- Opening of the park and stands
6 pm/ 18:00- Official opening with the Bersaglieri and greetings from our Elected Officials and Patrons 
7:30 pm/ 19:30- The winner of the "Star Spangled Banner" Contest will perform
8 pm/ 20:00- Country music with Aces Wild
9 pm/ 21:00- Live music with "Passogigante"
10 pm/ 22:00- Who will win the super lottery?
10: 30 pm/ 23:00- Fireworks! Thanks to Villa la Massa followed by more "Passogigante"

P&F PICK APARTMENT RENTAL FOR JULY – Sant'Ambrogio Terrace with Apartment Attached
Just what you need for July’s balmy evenings – a roof with a view. This 2 bedroom 2 bathroom apartment has a delightful contemporary style – plus a terrace. It is handy to the Sant'Ambrogio food market, the Piazza d’Azeglio children's park, and an easy walk to the historic center. Piazza Ghiberti, close to Sant'Ambrogio, offers outdoor dining and concerts in the summer months, and a safe open place for children to play.


The most fashionable beaches in Europe are in Florence, on the banks of Arno river. They are open till September 15 – go find the San Niccolò beach with free sun chairs, umbrellas, shower and a beach volley space and the umbrellas on the embankment at the Cestello – the two Arno beaches for sun-bathing, food and drinks and music in Florence.

Following the example of amazing cities like Paris, Florence has its own beaches along the Arno River. Naturally, bathing is strictly forbidden, but for those of you who don't like to go to the swimming pool or to seashore, this is a fun alternative.

The first one was the beach in San Niccolò where you can find umbrellas, sun loungers and other wooden gazebos. And if the heat is unbearable you can have a refreshing shower at the WC facilities. On the upper part of the beach there is the "Easy Living" kiosk for food and drinks.

In the San Frediano district, on one of the embankments of the Arno River called "pescaia" there is another "beach resort" called Palco d'Autore. Umbrellas, sun loungers laid down a synthetic green field with a small swimming pool. There is also a restaurant, a lounge bar with concerts by Italian musicians.

BEST EXHIBIT FOR JULY – Bartolini Exhibit at the Accademia

Florence's Academia Gallery is presently showing a special exhibit dedicated to Lorenzo Bartolini (1777-1850), the artist whose works plays a central role in the development of sculpture in the 1800s in Italy, Europe and the United States. The exhibition, which draws inspiration from the gallery's plaster models on display in the Gipsoteca, will illustrate the excellence with which Bartolini worked.

The exhibit is divided into three sections, which are dedicated to the following: his neoclassical period and his work for Bonaparte; national commissions and the move toward the new values of Purism; his exploration into the truth that Nature holds. The Accademia already houses the contents of Bartolini's studio – mostly plaster models of sculptures on show throughout Florence in the major piazzas, museums, churches and graveyards.
Bartolini was also the go-to guy for the glitterati of the 1800s who wanted to be remembered in stone. From the likes of Napoleon's sister Elisa, he carved the likenesses of a range of artists and important figures throughout Europe at the time, from musicians to writers and politicians to bankers.
The show pays tribute to Bartolini's artistic style with the over 70 works on display, many of which have never before been on public display in Florence. Noteworthy artworks include a bronzes of Napoleon I (Paris, Louvre) and the aforementioned sculpture of Elisa Napoleon with her dog (Rennes, Musée des Beaux Arts), among more. Running until Nov 6, 2011.

MUSEUM FOR JULY – Stibbert Museum

The "house-museum" dedicated to Frederick Stibbert (1838-1906), an English citizen born in Florence of British father and Florentine mother, who himself remodeled the house in the form of a neo-Gothic castle, offers the visitor a view of the extraordinary collections put together by its owner over the course of an intense life made of world-wide travels. Those journeys and research were dedicated to his vast interests in the exotic and the applied arts – in a breath-taking variety that ranges from armor to porcelain to furniture and from European men's and women's clothing to Islamic civil and military costume and costumes of the Far East. Especially intriguing, in this singular context, is the clear testimony to Stibbert's late 19th-century eclectic taste provided by theatrical arrangement of the objects in rooms themselves evoking different styles of the past, from the Middle Ages to the Napoleonic period.

Best known is the Sala della Cavalcata (Hall of the Cavalcade), the reconstruction of the splendid armor of the Islamic world, from North Africa to central Asia, and India moghul. The cavalcade of men and horses is watched over by an impressive carving of St. George battling his dragon. The armory section is completed by the elegance and colors of the Japanese warriors in the rooms that take their names, where the costumes and most significant objects from this refined culture create a nucleus which for the abundance and quality of its items is considered one of the world's most significant.

Behind the villa is the vast garden that mirrors the house, with suggestive corners and many references to things ancient and eccentric. It's a great place to take the kids for a picnic after they've been amazed by the knights in shining armor.

Mueso Stibbert
Via Frederick Stibbert 26 (outside the historic center; take a taxi or the ATAF #4)

Mon.-Wed. 10-14 (ticket office closes at 13:00)
Fri.-Sun 10-18
Closed Thurs. 

Tickets: 6 EUR
Reduced: 4EUR (under 12 and over 65 years)

Web Site: http://www.museostibbert.it/main/dove-siamo.html

GARDEN FOR JULY – Giardino delle Rose (the Rose Garden)

Climb up the hillside below Piazzale Michelangelo to the Giardino delle Rose for one of the loveliest views in Florence. The garden, which has been closed for two years, was developed in the late 1800's, when architect Giuseppe Poggi was designing numerous public spaces to celebrate Florence as the new capital of Italy. The terraced site was chosen specifically for its drop-dead wonderful vistas of Palazzo Vecchio, the Duomo, the Arno and the entire historic center. There are over 1000 varieties of roses, plus other flowering plants.

Access the garden by strolling up from the San Niccolò neighborhood through the medieval San Miniato gate. At the base of a long staircase called Via San Salvatore al Monte, you can enter the garden at the lower gate directly on your left, or two hundred yards up, halfway to the Piazzale Michelangelo. Other gates are accessible from the zigzagging Viale Giuseppe Poggi which connects Piazzale Michelangelo and Piazza Poggi at the Arno.
Viale Giuseppe Poggi 2, tel. 055 262 5305.
Hours: seven days a week from 8 am – 8 pm. Free entry.

GELATERIA FOR JULY – Gelateria Le Dame

Right in the centre, then just off-centre, Gelateria Le Dame opened up quietly a few years ago. No fuss, no PR, but channeling a heady Iranian influence to establish custom and a fine reputation for innovative gelato. It's a pebble's throw east of the Mercato Centrale: stand with your back to ZaZa's restaurant and scan the opposing facade until you come to the corner of Borgo la Noce. There it is at 41R in the Piazza (telephone 338 6425997).

Anyone who strolled around this year's Gelato Festival may have spotted the Dame canopy; those who tasted there will want find their home-base. It's a small place – just another shop front with a cramped interior – but there the restrictions end. The staff are keen, attentive and knowledgeable. Recognising its tiny internal space, it has extended to some sheltered seating on the Piazza. Nothing is too much trouble, but what we want is quality gelato – and Le Dame delivers. We love the thirst-quenching citrus flavours and the chocolate is Up There! But taste the Persian mix of pistachio and rosewater and you feel the added-value! Open till midnight, according to our youthful spies. (Simon Clark & Anne Brooks once again bring their gelato-tasting expertise to the P&F Newsletter – thanks!)


This sandwich/wine bar, hidden in a tiny lane between the Uffizi Gallery and the Ponte Vecchio, is a great spot for lunch after a morning spent overdosing on art. Owner Alessandro Frassica's forte is gourmet panini with ingredients like gorgonzola and radicchio, served inside focaccia baked in a wood-fired oven and accompanied with a glass of wine from a solid regional list. But 'ino (the tail-end of panino) is also a high-class deli where you can buy top-quality artisanal food products from all over Italy, from Piedmontese sausages to Sicilian pistachios to the meltingly delicious fondant chocolate made by Florentine chocolatier Andrea Bianchini. Watch for the occasional Friday evening "panino d'autore" events, when a top chef is invited to create his or her own specialty riff on the humble panino.

Just inside the entrance on the left is a list of handwritten ideas for panini (sandwiches), all of which contain prodotti tipici and locali (typical local products from Tuscany). Local salumi, prosciutti, and cheeses are served in a number of permutations on crusty bread with soft, spongy insides. You can mix and match. One of the best is a panino with pecorino (sheep's milk cheese) and sweet pepper preserves. A large and tasty sandwich and a glass of cold beer cost around 6/8 euros.

via dei Georgofili 3r/7r
Mon-Sat 11am-8pm, Sun noon-5pm

FORZA VIOLA!! FOR JULY – Florentine Calcio Season Wrap-Up

P&F Sports Reporters Simon Clark & Anne Brooks bring you the good, the bad, and the ugly of the season.

Forza Viola! ... As Calcio A flops onto the end-of-season beach, our trophy table is freighted by the juniors. Our youth team won the Primavera Cup and reached their Championship semi-finals; our under-15s won the Giovanissimi Nazionale competition, thumping Napoli 3-0 in the final. Lots of talent pressing the seniors. The transfer window slid open; Inter wanted our coach, but Sinisa is staying; we say "bravo"! There's a new scandal – "scommessopoli" - an alleged betting ring (see below): one of the suspected games involved Fiorentina; the club are sphinx-like, the della Valle brothers being more in evidence denying rumours of a takeover by Red Bull or Qatar Airways! Back on planet earth, Milan clinched the Scudetto and enter the Champions League with Inter, Napoli and Udinese; the capital double act of Lazio and Roma take the Europa places with Palermo (losing Tim Cup finalists). "Arrivederci" to Bari, Brescia and Sampdoria; "salve" to Siena, Atalanta and Novara (subject to scommessopoli!)

The Fiorentina Season? We made the quarter-finals of the Tim Cup. In Serie A, we finished 9th on 51 points, 31 behind the champions, 12 adrift of European competition, 2 below the median – a slight improvement on last year. We had the 6th best defense (losing 44 goals), the 9th best attack (49 goals) and the 8th best goal difference. We drew 15 games (more than anyone else); we weren't good enough at home where we won 65% of our points; we rue the draws we should have won! Only Brescia and Catania won fewer away games. That's football – score goals (especially at the Stadio), win games! Mihajlovic inherited the aftershocks from Prandelli's prolonged exit and Mutu's suspension; his options dwindled as the first team limped to the treatment room. The upside concerned the stand-ins; Camporese, Babacar and Ljajic are terrific prospects. After 7 weeks, we were bottom; we then climbed the league with increasing confidence. The highlight was the 5-2 demolition of Udinese, Champions League pretenders! Not enough goals. Last year, Gilardino hit 20; this year he netted 10 for 12th in the rankings. He and we are disappointed. Next was Cerci at 35th in the list; he caught fire in the second half of the season with 7 goals (we need midfielders to contribute 10-12 goals a season). D'Agostino scored 5, mostly top-drawer; Mutu, Vargas and Santana 4 each, Ljajic three. No-one else made the top 100.

Plaudits. Early in the season, the fans bemoaned Mihajlovic's obstinacy in picking the floundering Cerci; now they compare him with Barca's Messi. That's OTT but he's fast, has great positional sense and scores with precision. Camporese was flung into Milan's San Siro maelstrom and floated. Cool and polished, what he lacks in speed he makes up with the gift of timing; great players seem to have more time and he looks like a great player in the making. How we missed Vargas while injured; how good to see that booming left leg in action again – but how will he feel as bosom-pal, Santana departs? And Boruc, who came with a reputation to make and caused us not to miss Frey at all!

Under-performers. Gila at 29 should have fuel in the tank; he says he wants to stay. The missed chances - at times he's looked as though he's lost a metre of pace. Montolivo wants away. Riccardo is Fiorentina's greatest under-performer, maybe Prandelli's key failure. In 2009-10, Montolivo gave a solo master-class as he ran Roma ragged; nothing else has come close. We needed Gamberini to show his worth but he's turned in too many average performances as wins have become draws. Talented as he is, it would be no surprise if Corvino sought a new central defender to partner Camporese!

Calciomercato. The window's open. Santana's off to Napoli. Mutu's away to Cesena; weighed down by the Chelsea bill, he's taken a pay-cut. It's harsh but Adrian is passing his sell-by-date and calcio is a world forever moving on. Donadel, 28, has been a valiant warrior; the word is that he is off to Napoli. We've lost D'Agostino, a case of co-ownership; Italy ends these cases through blind auctions - the co-owners bid in sealed envelopes. Udinese won. Frey has elected to stay rather than join Genoa. Corvino will be seeking recruits for the next campaign but we can see a new heartbeat emerging already. Prandelli's skill lay in building team-spirit; Mihajlovic is about building teams that win; he needs players who deliver. A midfield from Cerci, Vargas, Behrami and Marchionni need not feel demeaned by the loss of Santana, Donadel (both gone) or Montolivo (no bids yet!) And Jovetic will be back next season! ... Il calcio non finisce mai!

Scommessopoli – Calcio woke up on 1 June to a new scandal - an illegal betting scam known as "scommessopoli". But you are going to have to wait until August to get the details. And they are juicy…

BEST BOOKS FOR JULY – The Dogs of Rome & The Fatal Touch by Conor Fitzgerald

Conor Fitzgerald's 2010 debut thriller, The Dogs of Rome, confidently introduces an intriguing new hero of crime fiction. Alec Blume, born of American parents, is a Chief Inspector in the Roman police, yet is fated to be a constant foreigner, a constant observer. Like many a hard-boiled detective/sheriff/western hero, he will negotiate his own moral course, but not without mistakes and doubts. Blume is called on to investigate the atrocious killing of an animals' rights activist during the hottest days of the summer. The victim is also the husband of an important Italian politician, and Blume is reminded that even a murder inquiry has to follow the lines of political convenience. In a world where compromise rules and the rules are compromised, Blume must risk his reputation and safety to bring the killer to justice. In doing so, he discovers some uncomfortable truths about himself and his own past.

The Fatal Touch, the 2011 second book in the Alec Blume series, opens in the early hours of a Saturday morning when a body is discovered in Rome's Piazza de' Renzi. If it was just a simple fall that killed him, why is a senior Carabiniere officer so interested? Commissioner Alec Blume is immediately curious and the discovery of the dead man's notebooks reveals that there is a great deal more at stake. Why are the authorities so intent on blocking Blume's investigations? A mystery of art and artists, fakes and forgeries, and families, friends and foes. Satisfying to the end.

Born in Cambridge in 1964, Conor Fitzgerald Deane has resided in Italy since 1989. In 1990-91, he collaborated in the translation and annotation of Scritti Italiani by James Joyce. These consist of lectures and essays in Italian written by Joyce while in Trieste and Rome, and were included in James Joyce Occasional, Critical and Political Writing (Oxford World's Classics, Oxford 2000). In 1992, he began to write a daily English- and French-language journal on Italian political and economic affairs, which he continued to produce throughout the entire Mani Pulite period of political upheaval in Italy which lasted until 1998. In 2001, he co-founded a translation agency (Makeperfect) specializing in institutional and financial translations. More recently, he has taught translation and interpreting at the Scuola Superiore per Traduttori e Interpreti in Ostia.

Ask for these books at The Paperback Exchange, Via delle Oche, 4R - Florence (http://www.papex.it/)

RECIPE FOR JULY – Francesca's Florentine Food: Fancy Sorbets

Francesca Boni, cooking instructor at FriendInFlorence (www.friendinflorence.com), says, "As Artusi wrote 110 years ago: "You will almost surely please all of your dinner guests, especially in the summer, if at the end of the meal you offer them sorbet or gelato. These desserts, in addition to satisfying one's palate, also aid digestion by recalling heat to the stomach."

Sorbetto al limone e menta
Lemon sorbet with mint

250 grams of lemon sorbet
Fresh peppermint leaves

Work the sorbet with a fork until soft. Cut a few peppermint leaves in strips. Add the mint to the sorbet. Spoon it in small cups. Put the filled cups back in the freezer until ready to serve.

This is also a great palate cleanser, so you can mix it with either fresh mint or fresh rosemary and serve it between dishes.

Sorbetto di Pesca al Negroni
Peach sorbet with Negroni

250 grams of peach (or orange) sorbet
Negroni cocktail*

NEGRONI (Old Fashioned glass)
3.0 cl Gin
3.0 cl Campari
3.0 cl Sweet Red Vermouth
Pour all ingredients directly into Old Fashioned glasses filled with ice. Stir gently. Garnish with half orange slice.

Work the sorbet with a fork until soft,
Add the cocktail to the sorbet. Spoon it in small cups.
Put back in the freezer until ready to serve.
Before serving decorate it with little squares of fresh peaches.

* This cocktail was invented in Florence, in 1919, at Caffè Casoni, now called Caffè Giacosa. Count Camillo Negroni asked the bartender, Fosco Scarselli, to strengthen his favorite cocktail, the Americano, by adding gin rather than the normal soda water. The bartender also added an orange garnish rather than the typical lemon garnish of the Americano to signify that it was a different drink.


Florence has long had the reputation as the most polluted city in Italy. This is the reason Mayor Renzi is using to turn the historic center into a pedestrian zone. The first area to go completely car-free was the ring around the Duomo. As of June 24, 2011, the following parts of the city will be completely car free: 1) Piazza Pitti and Via Guicciardini (between the Ponte Vecchio and Piazza Pitti (taxis and buses still allowed); and 2) fashionable Via Tornabuoni where you'll find the shops such as Gucci, Prada and Armani. (Click here for a map of the city's new pedestrian zones.)

These new walking zones are basically good news for visitors, EXCEPT when they want to drive in to their hotels or paying a cab the cost of dinner for two for a ride from the station to Santa Croce or if they are renting long-term in the historic center and can't get the delivery services they expect. Also, there is the learning curve as Florentines learn how to navigate the city with its new one-way streets that now go the other way.

So watch your step, take nothing for granted, and enjoy the mayor's new Renaissance Disneyland.

BEST PARADE IN JULY – Palio Parade in Siena

On July 2nd, either join the sweltering crowd in Siena or sit in front of your television in air-conditioned comfort and watch the corteo of the Palio horses, costumed dignitaries and the Palio flag itsef march into the Campo. The festivities start in the early afternoon with the procession beginning at 4:30pm and the race kicking off (or attempting to, as those of you who have seen it before know the the line up for the race will take longer than the race itself) at around 5:30 pm. See this very informative web site: http://www.ilpalio.org/palio_schedules.htm




To see modern and classical dance in the evocative setting of the Bargello Museum is not to be missed. Florence Dance Festival 2011, part of the Bargello's summer lineup, has the theme of ‘Made in Italy,' and the festival proposes an all-Italian line-up. There is something for every taste, from classical ballet (performances with music by Stravinsky on July 15 and 16) to modern New-York inspired dance by the Maktub Noir Dance Company (July 13) and even, a celebratory tango (July 11). For info, phone 055.289276 or see www.florencedance.org; to purchase tickets www.boxol.it or at the venue. All shows are at 9:30pm and cost 25 euro (full), 20 reduced price or 15 for students. Until July 19, Museo del Bargello, via del Proconsolo.


The new Hard Rock Cafe Florence is opening with a summer celebration on July 4th in the piazza outside its front door. Put on your dancing shoes (flats of course, beware of the piazza pot-holes) and turn up at 7pm for the festivities.


Florence finally has two competing museum cards. TuscanTraveler.com performed an analysis of the relative worth of the Firenze Card and the Amici degli Uffizi Card, which if you click on the foregoing links you will have a chance to read, in detail, about both cards. The analysis determined which museum card, if any, should be bought by: 1) a lone traveler with a larger than normal interest in Renaissance art and history; 2) a couple (related by family (i.e. sisters), married, or domestic partners) with an interest in only seeing the David and the Birth of Venus; 3) a couple who are interested in seeing at least four museums; 4) a family of four (parents, two children) with only an interest in seeing the David; 4) a family of four interested in seeing the David and the Birth of Venus; and 5) a family of four interested in seeing more than those two museums, and also gardens, churches or Medici villas. Finally, Tuscan Traveler added the variables of: a) a three day stay in Florence, or b) a more than three day stay in Florence. (Spoiler Alert: get the Amici degli Uffizi Card)

Assumptions: Assumption (not proven): both cards are equally easy to purchase and to use at all qualifying museums. Assumption (proven): both cards are accepted at the Accademia and the Uffizi. Assumption (proven): if you do not want to wait hours in line, you must have reservations (4 euro extra per ticket for a reserved entry time) to the Uffizi and the Accademia. All of the other museums you can walk into within minutes. Assumption:  1 euro = $1.42

Firenze Card
Cost: 50 euro ($72) per person
Free access to 30 major museums, villas and historical gardens in Florence
Admission to museums is granted by showing the card at the entrance, with no reservation requirements
Free travel on public transports: ATAF&Linea buses and trams
Free access to museums and public transport for EU citizens under the age of 18 who are accompanying you (Note to U.S. families: this does not include you.)
Time Limit: 72 hours (3 days) from the first use of the card

Amici degli Uffizi Card
Cost: Individual – 60 euro ($86); family of maximum two adults and two children (under 18 years) – 100 euro ($142); or “young people” (up to 26 years) – 40 euro ($57)
Free access to 22 major museums, villas and historical gardens in Florence
Admission to museums is granted by showing the card at the entrance, with no reservation requirements
Reduced price tickets for concerts of the Teatro Comunale
Reduced price (15%) tickets for concerts of the Orchestra della Toscana at Teatro Verdi
Discount (20%)on price ticket for premières and Saturday performances at Teatro della Pergola
Time Limit: calendar year – January 1 to December 31 (i.e. 3 days, if you buy it on December 29)

Individual: One person who is in Florence for 3 days and wants to see two museums per day, including the Accademia and the Uffizi (for example, also the Bargello, San Marco, Boboli Gardens and Palatine Gallery (Pitti Palace)

Museum Ticket Prices
Uffizi – 15 euro ($22) (remember this includes the 4 euro surcharge for reservations)
Accademia – 14 euro ($20) (surcharge added); Bargello – 4 euro ($6); San Marco – 4 euro ($6); Boboli Gardens – 6 euro ($9); Palatine Gallery (incl. Modern Art Museum) – 8.50 euro ($12)

Cost for an Individual
Firenze Card:  50 euro ($72)
Amici degli Uffizi Card:  60 euro ($86)
No card:  51.50 euro ($74)
Winner: Firenze Card (unless this person is either a) under 27 years of age; or b) a music lover (see Amici degli Uffizi discounts))

But if this person is in Florence for more than three days and/or wants to see more museums, villas, or gardens than those listed above, the Amici degli Uffizi Card is a better choice,

Couple or Two Related People: (see Amici degli Uffizi “Family” definition above)

a) A couple who are in Florence for 3 days and only want to see the Birth of Venus and the David
Museum Ticket Prices
Uffizi – 30 euro ($43) (remember this includes the 4 euro surcharge for reservations)
Accademia – 28 euro ($40) (ditto)
Cost for a Couple or Two Related People
Firenze Card:  100 euro ($142)
Amici degli Uffizi Card:  100 euro ($142) (Family Membership)
No card:  58 euro ($83)
Winner: No card (remember to make reservations well in advance (call +39 055 292883)

b) A couple who are in Florence for 3 days and want to see four or more museums.
Winner: Tie between Firenze Card and Amici degli Uffizi Card (do the math yourself)

c) A couple staying in Florence for more than 3 days or want to see more than 2 museums, but not all in a three-day period.
Winner: Amici degli Uffizi Card

Family: 2 parents and 2 kids (not EU citizens)
a) Family is in Florence for 3 days and only wants to see David
Museum Ticket Prices
Accademia – 56 euro ($80) (remember this includes the 4 euro surcharge for reservations)
Cost for a Family
Firenze Card:  200 euro ($287)
Amici degli Uffizi Card:  100 euro ($142)
No card:  56 euro ($80)
Winner: No Card

b) Family is in Florence for 3 days and only wants to see David and the Birth of Venus
Museum Ticket Prices
Uffizi – 60 euro ($86) (remember this includes the 4 euro surcharge for reservations)
Accademia – 56 euro ($80) (ditto)
Cost for a Family
Firenze Card:  200 euro ($287)
Amici degli Uffizi Card:  100 euro ($142)
No card:  116 euro ($166)
Winner: Amici degli Uffizi Card

c) Family is in Florence for more than three days and seeing everything
If you’ve made it this far, you know that the Amici degli Uffizi Card wins for families staying in Florence for longer than 3 days and if they want to see more than just the Uffizi and Accademia museums.

If you have any questions about this analysis or about the museum cards, please send an email to the Newsletter.

ST. JAMES’ EVENTS – Childrens’ Lending Library Open in July

The Children’s Lending Library of Florence is a non-denominational, non-profit organization run by a volunteer committee and housed as “guests” of St. James Church.
The Library opened its doors in 1973 in light of a need for a point of reference for English-speaking families that enabled them to meet and share information in their own language. The library is geared to facilitating communication and reading in English as well as to celebrating culturally important festivities such as Easter, Halloween and Christmas.
The library has many 1000’s of quality books (ranging from board books for toddlers through Junior Fiction and non-Fiction) as well as a large video library.
Sundays 10am - 1pm,
Mondays 11am- 12pm, download metal man
Wednesdays 11am - 1.30pm and 4pm - 6pm.
It is opened by appointment only in July and August. For more information, the Website is: www.childrenslibrary.altervista.org

UFFIZI GALLERY – Inauguration of New Exhibit: Giorgio Vasari, the Uffizi, and the Duke
On June 14, the Uffizi inaugurated the show “Vasari, the Uffizi, and the Duke” (Vasari, gli Uffizi, il Duca), a retrospective on the 5th centenary of the birth of Giorgio Vasari and his role in the building of the Uffizi with Duke Cosimo I de Medici.
The purpose of this exhibition, during the 500th anniversary of the birth of Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574), is the foundation of the Uffizi (1559-1560): more than a building (uffizi = offices), it was conceived as an urban system – the result of the close collaboration between Cosimo I d‘Medici, and Vasari, his favorite architect and artist. The complex is located in the heart of the city due to the centralized and absolutist policy of Grand Duke Cosimo I. All the administrative institutions of government, (the Guilds or Arti), bowed to the will and direct control of the young duke and were placed in this extraordinary building.

The exhibition takes as its starting point the personalities responsible for this complex: the Duke and his artist. Great attention is given to the urban juxtaposition between the Palazzo Vecchio and the Arno River before construction of the Uffizi, and then it illustrates the stages of planning and construction of complex whose which was the largest and most expensive in Florence during the sixteenth century.

Exhibition website: Vasari, the Uffizi and the Duke (website only in Italian)


Since 2004, the Opera Festival, the lyrical festival of Tuscany, has offered performances in many different cities within the Region. This year at the Boboli Gardens and the San Galgano Abbey:

The Boboli Gardens are located in the ancient and treasured heart of the city of Florence. It is a monumental garden covering five hectares of land. It is situated behind the Pitti Place and it constitutes its private gardens, the ideal prolongation of Ammannati’s inner courtyard. Boboli Gardens are possibly the world’s greatest example of Italian-style garden. On this occasion, Boboli shall transform itself into a theater, which shall occupy the area of the Column Field, right in front of Neptune’s Fountain, and will seat over 3000 viewers. (The entrance shall be in the Porta Romana Square).

The varied Opera festival performance program shall find its natural expression of the San Galgano Abbey near Siena. A theater seating about 800 viewers shall be arranged within the Abbey, preserving the historical and architectural worth of this magnificent place. The stage shall be placed within the apse, while the public shall occupy the central nave.

CARMINA BURANA by C.Orff in the emotional version for 2 pianos, percussions, soloists, chorus and white voice chorus. Boboli Garden July 12 / San Galgano Abbey July 16, August 5

LA TRAVIATA by G. Verdi will open the new season with a spectacular production.
Boboli Garden July 14, 21, August 3 / San Galgano Abbey July 30, August 6, 13

LE STAGIONI by A. Vivaldi with Lorenzo Fuoco's solo violin.
San Galgano Abbey July 29, August 12 / Boboli Garden August 2

The programme also pays tribute to classic ballet with two among the most celebrated titles, both performed by the dancers of the Macedonian Opera and Ballet, with the choreography of V. Yaremenko:

SWAN LAKE music by Pëtr Il'ic Cajkovskij at San Galgano Abbey July 23

DON CHISCIOTTE by L.Minkus at Boboli Garden July 19

LE CIRQUE INVISIBLE by Victoria Chaplin e Jean Baptiste Thierrèe, a beautiful and poetic show with two extraordinary artists capable of creating joy and magic enchanting both children and adults. Boboli Garden July 25,26,27,28

LUDOVICO EINAUDI in The Solo Concert: music from the piano pieces of the famous composer-performer, under the magical sky of San Galgano Abbey. San Galgano Abbey July 24

ANTONIO REZZA, in Double Identity, a show written with Flavia Mastrella, for the first time in Florence: one of the most amusing, intelligent, talented and outrageous Italian actors. Boboli Garden July 20

For information: Tel. (+39) 055 59.78.309 - fax (+39) 055 59.79.687
Email: prenotazioni@festivalopera.it
Web Site: www.festivalopera.it


The Maggio Musicale Chorus and Orchestra send us into summer at 9:30pm on July 2 with a free concert in Piazza Signoria. Zubin Mehta will be conducting. See www.maggiofiorentino.com .

From May 20th to July 17th, 201, the CCC Strozzina (Contemporary Culture Centre) at Palazzo Strozzi (downstairs) presents the exihibition Virtual Identities: the thematic approach of the exhibition fosters an analysis of the term ‘identity’ in times in with the growing role of digital technologies and new forms of communication. The exhibition presents works and installations by international artists designed to trigger a reflection on the political, social and cultural implications – but also on the impact on personal life – of the new relationship between man and technology under the guise of the “virtual identity” with which we increasingly confront reality, at times without even realizing it.

Opening hours:
from Tuesday to Sunday: 10.00am-8.00pm
Thursday 6.00pm-11.00pm: special free entrance
For any further info, please go to website www.strozzina.org/identitavirtuali


Odeon Movie Theater
Original Language Series – Odeon Theatre, Piazza Strozzi 2. Phone: 055 214 068. www.cinehall.it

JULY – HARRY POTTER comes to the Odeon!!
Cars 2 by Brad Lewis & John Lasseter (Usa 2011)
Mon 4th - 5.00 - 7.00 - 9.30 pm
Tue 5th - 5.00 - 7.00
Thu 7th - Harry Potter Marathon – Part 1
4.00 pm
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by Chris Columbus (Usa 2001, 151’)
7.00 pm
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by Chris Columbus (Usa 2002, 159’)
10.00 pm
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by Alfonso Cuarón (Usa 2004, 136’)
Mon 11th - Harry Potter Marathon – Part 2
4.00 pm
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by Mike Newell (Usa/Gb 2005, 153’)
7.00 pm
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by David Yates (Usa/Gb 2007, 130’)
9.30 pm
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by David Yates (Usa/Gb 2009, 153’)
Wed 13th - Harry Potter Marathon – Part 3
3.00 pm
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I by David Yates (Usa/Gb 2010, 146’)
5.40 pm
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II by David Yates (Usa/Gb 2011, 135’)
8.30 pm
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I by David Yates (Usa/Gb 2010, 146’)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II by David Yates (Usa/Gb 2011, 135’)
From Thu 14th to Sunday 31st  
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II by David Yates (Usa/Gb 2011, 135’)
5.00 - 8.00 - 10.40 pm
only Fri 22th, Tue 26th and Sun 31st  - 5.00 pm
no screenings 18th , 19th , 28th
The Adjustment Bureau by George Nolfi (Usa 2011, 106')
Mon 18th  - 5.30 - 8.15 - 10.30 pm
Tue 19th - 5.30

The Odeon Cinema: Celebrating its 89th anniversary, the Odeon Cinema is housed in a 15th century building in the heart of Florence. Built in 1462, Palazzo Strozzino is considered one of the most interesting example of Renaissance architecture. Palazzo Strozzino was renovated at the beginning of the 20th century by the architect Piacentini who transformed the back and the courtyard into an elegant art nouveau cinema-theatre which was opened in 1922. To this day the Odeon retains the original sculptures, tapestries, and the wonderful period stained glass cupola. Over the years some of the most glamorous names in show business have appeared in this jewel in the heart of Florence, musicians such as Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, actresses such as Isabelle Adjani and Anjelica Huston, and directors such as Bertolucci, Branagh, Salvatores, Benigni, Verdone and many Italian stars. Each autumn it has hosted the 50days of International Cinema in Florence. 


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. (Written by Kim Wicks in July, 2010, still applicable in 2011, but check to see if private parties haven’t reserved the space before you go.)

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 7-10:30pm. 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 7pm-12am. Piazza dell’Unità Italiana 6. Tel. 055 23580. info@hotelbaglioni.it. www.hotelbaglioni.it. Reservations: 055 23588560.

CONTINENTALE HOTEL. Roof-top bar open 6pm-12am for an aperitif or after-dinner drinks. Great view over the Ponte Vecchio and Arno River. Vicolo dell’Oro, 6r, Tel. 055 27262
continentale@lungarnohotels.com, http://www.lungarnohotels.com/en/firenze-continentale/hotels-38

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 and www.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

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. 055 8068022 and http://www.linariclassic.com/booknow.php?lang=en .

Dinner Members only
Pieve Sant'Appiano, Barberino Val d'Elsa
Rudolf Koelman and the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste Strings
J.S. Bach, Brandenburg concerto No.3 in G major for strings and basso continuo BWV 1048
Antonio Vivaldi, Concerto for 2 cellos, strings, and basso continuo in E minor RV 531 No.3
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 'Eine kleine Nachtmusik' KV 525 Serenade Nr.13 in G major
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Octet for Strings Op.20 in E-flat major

Castello di Volpaia, Radda in Chianti 7:30 PM
The Dudok String Quartet
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, String Quartet K465 in C major 'Dissonance'
Sergej Prokofiev, String Quartet no. 2 op.92
Ludwig van Beethoven, String Quartet op. 127 in E-flat major

Certosa di Pontignano, Castelnuovo Berardenga 7:30 PM
Jeffrey Smart Birthday Concert
Linari Festival Musicians
Helen Sherman - mezzo soprano
Robert Schumann, String Quartet op. 41 no. 1 in A minor
Richard Wagner, Wesendonck Lieder
Oliver Messiaen, 'Quartet for the End of Time'

Pieve Sant'Appiano, Barberino Val d'Elsa 7:30 PM
Linari Festival Musicians
Helen Sherman - mezzo soprano
Ludwig van Beethoven, Trio in B Flat Major, Op. 11 'Gassenhauer'
Johannes Brahms, Songs for Alto, Viola and Piano, Op. 91
Claude Debussy, Syrinx
Benjamin Britten, 'Fantasy' Quartet for String Trio and Oboe
Ottorino Respighi, 'Il Tramonto' for String Quartet and Mezzo Soprano

Laticastelli Country Relais, Rapolano Terme 7:30 PM
Linari Festival Musicians
Maurice Ravel, Piano Trio
Francis Poulenc, Sextet for Piano and Wind
Malcolm Arnold, Quintet for Violin, Viola, Flute, Horn and Bassoon op.7
Astor Piazzolla, 'Le Grand Tango'George Gershwin, 'Rhapsody in Blue'


From July 8 to 10, in front of the Pistoia cathedral, blues and rock & roll reign supreme. Established over 30 years ago, it has hosted musicians from Dylan to Zappa. This year, Skunk Anansie, Lou Reed, and Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of the Doors headline. The main piazza of Pistoia sings the blues until early morn. During the three days of the festival there are not only concerts, but also talks, market stalls and more. Go by train, with Piazza Duomo within walking distance; just be sure to check the return train schedule! Purchase tickets via www.ticketone.it, full schedule available at www.pistoiablues.com.

In Boccaccio's hometown a medieval festival, the Mercantia, brings medieval Tuscany alive from July 13 to 17. It is one of the most important street artists and buskers festivals in Europe. For five days, this small walled town transforms into a magical land in which you become not spectator, but also a participant. Fun for kids and adults, alike. Go to Certaldo by train (direction Siena) from Florence, and the historical center is a short walk and a funicular away. For information, see www.mercantiacertaldo.it.

Fireworks in Fiesole on July 6! The festivities begin at 4pm with music in Piazza Mino, followed by the procession of the relics of San Romolo at 6pm. At 9pm, there is concert in the piazza in front of the cathedral by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Fiesole, and the grand finale is the fireworks at 10:30pm. Walk up the hill towards San Francesco and secure a spot along the wall for the best view of the pyrotechnics.


Elton John , Liza Minnelli, Joe Cocker and B.B. King are showing up in July at the Lucca Summer Festival 2011. Amy Winehouse has cancelled out. Check the web site at http://www.summer-festival.com/ for all of the happenings this July in Lucca.

Ann Reavis has recently joined the Pitcher & Flaccomio team as the author/compiler of the Newsletter. Ann has spent much of the last twelve years in Florence (she rented her first three apartments from P&F). She is taking over from Kim Wicks, who prepared the newsletter for the past three years. Kim is spending more time out of Florence than in it and has handed the reins to Ann, who readily admits to cribbing off of Kim’s past efforts (and outright copying as can be seen by “A Roof With A View” in this issue). Ann also writes on a semi-weekly basis for her own site – TuscanTraveler.com.


TWe hope that you are able to catch a cooling breeze on the banks of the Arno or on a roof with a view as we head into the summer months. We plan to find the best air-conditioned dining recommendations for the August issue.

All the best,

Pitcher and Flaccomio