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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 – June 2010
June – This year June presents us the lushest green hills ever, with yellow scotch broom sending out bright shoots, and chains of multi-colored climbing roses invading balconies and garden gates. School is out, and Florence starts blooming into its summer self with restaurants and bars setting up street-side seating. June 24th is a holiday (in Florence only) celebrating the city’s patron saint San Giovanni.

In this issue, fashion, fashion, fashion, plus new exhibitions, wine fairs, movies, opera, music and this month we feature a new enoteca review.

SUZANNE, CORSO, BEI, SANDRA, LORI, ANNA PIA, KIMBERLY and MARIO send a warm summer embrace.
Carol Webster Passeri died quite unexpectedly on May 9 from leukemia. It obviously was a very ferocious form of Leukemia as she didn't have a lot of time. I am putting this in my newsletter because Carol was a friend of mine for over 40 years, from February 1967 when I first came to Florence after the flood in November 1966. Carol was actually here before the flood and then came back after it. She was for me a very firm point of reference in this world of ex pats...with no family around (of course until one got married...then you got the full impact of an Italian family). Carol and I both married Italians and had our respective children about the same time, so we were very supportive of each other during this period of our lives.

Carol was a splendid, loving, generous person who leaves behind Colombo her husband, daughter Julie and two grandchildren Michael and Margarita. I have to believe that she is in a better place having a great time with all the people she loves. My heartfelt condolences to her family and friends...we have all lost something very special.
With love, Suzanne
The Vallombrosa - Gregor von Rezzori Prize is awarded to the best contemporary literary work in the field of foreign literature, with the aim of introducing the work to Italian readers. Every year, the prize recognizes the author of a foreign narrative work translated into Italian. The Premio VGvR also gives an award every year to the best Italian translation of a foreign work. The prize originated in the prestigious literary award Premio Vallombrosa, which was recently renamed to honor the memory of Gregor von Rezzori, the great European writer who lived and happily worked for more than 30 years in his house in Valdarno, near Vallombrosa. Events this year include on Wed. 16 at 9:00 pm, a Dante reading in English by Ralph Fiennes at the Odeon theatre. For info contact: tel. 055 2347273 - www.premiovallombrosa.org.
We will hold our June chapter meeting from 11am-12:30pm at Cal State (via Leopardi 12) on Saturday, June 19th. Write cathleen.compton@gmail.com for more information. Thanks! Cathleen Democrats Abroad Italy, www.DemocratsAbroad.org.
FOOTBAAAALLL!! by Simon Clark and Anne Brooks
Forza Viola!..........Pooh! And double-pooh! The 2009-10 glass is half-full. We reached the semi-final of the Coppa Italia, losing narrowly to the eventual winners and 5th-time Scudetto champions Inter; no shame there. We strode into the Champions League knock-out stages, rolling over Liverpool twice, beating Lyons and Bayern Munich at the Stadio and bowing to Bayern by dint only of a world-record offside “goal” in Germany. In the league, we matched Inter step for step in the 2-2 draw at the Stadio, gave Roma a roasting before losing to a last-minute goal, did the same to Juventus and outclassed Sampdoria – who ultimately took fourth spot. For 60% of the season, we matched anyone.
Montolivo grew into the captaincy; he deserves his place alongside Gilardino in the Azzurri world cup squad. Frey astounds, Gila had a lean spell and still finished 5th top scorer in Serie A, Vargas astonished – did we really buy him as a full-back? Di Silvestre, Babacar and Ljajic look great prospects, Santana showed his class and Zanetti and Marchionni ran the team when they were fit.
Or, the glass is half-empty. We last won on 28 March, when we trounced Udinese; we went through April and May without a victory as the season didn’t so much fall away as collapse beneath our feet. We finished 10th: no European football next season. We ran out of steam. We didn’t have the depth of resources to compete on so many fronts but there is more to it than that and it maybe boils down to two factors. First, we are one world-class player away from turning that Roma roasting into 3 points; Mutu’s suspension was a blow. It remains to be seen what happens to Il Fenomeno; if he goes, how will we replace him? Second, something went awry behind the scenes in March as the friction between Diego Della Valle and Prandelli erupted into public meltdown; volcanic ash over the Stadio! The final proof lies in the late-May official admission that Prandelli is in discussion with the authorities about taking over as manager of the national team after the World Cup. If things have gone this far, they will surely go all the way; Fiorentina are said to be canvassing possible replacements.

May Results
Week 36: Milan-Fiorentina LOST 0-1
Week 37: Fiorentina-Siena DREW 1-1
Week 38: Bari-Fiorentina LOST 0-2

Serie A. Once again, the fag-end of the season pits us against Milan. A team struggling for its best form, discontent among the fans, snapping and sniping between owner and coach, doubts about the coach’s future – we could be talking of either club (although it’s Milan’s coach who is walking). They like us at Milan. We go there, trade shots and goalmouth scrambles, watch Sebastien Frey pull off 3 - no,4 – no, 5 amazing saves (the man can fly!), embarrass the referee into sending off the opposition’s skipper and still they know that the ref will give them a penalty. Sure ‘nuff, on 78 minutes, he finds an excuse and Ronaldinho bangs it away. It was never a penalty; it’s the calciopoli effect – some people can buy whatever they want, Fiorentina believe in a meritocracy. We don’t leave Milan empty-handed......
.....We get certainty; we won’t be competing in Europe next year! By the final home game against a Siena already doomed to Serie B, things are going so well that we call a news blackout until the end of the season! The Siena players know they are in the shop window and take the lead within three minutes, our defence like rabbits in a Fiat Punto’s headlights. We look sluggish but Jovetic isn’t happy, weaves into their penalty area and crosses for Marchionni to slide in the equaliser on 18 minutes. Either side could have won and Siena hit a post at the death. No-one cares; the games that mattered were taking place somewhere else.
So to the final game of the season. We go to Bari, who have raced with us for a nondescript mid-table place. For teams like Bari, mid-table is respectable; it puts them on a par with also-rans like Blackburn Rovers (England), Viking Stavanger (Norway) or Mainz (wherever they are) - teams whose name provokes a quizzical “have I heard of them” from football fans around the world. And now the Galletti finish above us. How embarrassing.
We were decimated by injury and (in Kroldrup’s case) suspension; Frey rested since the game mattered little and Avramov started in goal – but eight first-team regulars missing at the start, then Gobbi stretchered off after a savage tackle. We started brightly, with Jovetic – converted to centre-forward – “scoring” after 11 minutes but ruled offside and the new boy, Adem Ljajic, looking impressive. Once again, we squandered chances before Bari took the lead on 36 minutes with an assist from Castillo (we signed him at the start of the season, hardly used him and offloaded him at a high rate of knots; here he gets the traditional revenge!). After that it wasn’t very interesting – despite a Montolivo screamer just wide – until the end. We played 5 minutes of extra time; during these five minutes Gamberini lost his entire cool and poked the referee in the chest with his finger – so he’s off – and then Bari scored a second and soft goal. Beh!
A lot of people around the Stadio, within the club and among the fans, will be thinking “thank goodness that’s over”. Some forms of misery can’t be cured; they have to be stopped. There is a lot to be done. Cesare Prandelli looks like he’s on his way; one day we will know the full story but, meantime, we wish him well (clinging still to a faint hope that he might stay alongside a parallel feeling that maybe he had done all he could and that we need a change of “Mr”). President Andrea Della Valle and Corvine will have to find the next “Mr” to join with them in recreating the collective spirit that has been driving club and team over the last few years. Pantaleo Corvine has to plug the gaps (as, for example, a bid for Vargas, our nuclear option, comes in already from the restructuring Juventus) and find us someone to emulate Mutu, Rui Costa, or Batistuta. Everyone needs to examine their commitment to the Viola shirt. Enjoy the close season and let’s hope Italy win the World Cup...........................Ale Viola!

BUYING TICKETS - Ticket information – seating plan, prices, ticket outlets – is on the “biglietteria” section of the club’s website [www.it.violachannel.tv ]. Basically, tickets can be purchased at official box offices and holders of TicketOne lottery franchises. Sources include:
CHIOSCO DEGLI SPORTIVI, via degli Anselmi (between the Piazza Repubblica post office and the Odeon cinema). Tel 055 292363.
BAR MARISA, viale Manfredo Fanti 41. Tel 055 572723.
BAR STADIO, viale Manfredo Fanti 3r. Tel 055 576169.
ACF OFFICIAL TICKET-OFFICE, via Dupre 28 (corner of via Settesanti).
NUOVO BOX OFFICE, via Luigi Alamanni 39 (close to SMN station). Tel 055 264321
FELTRINELLI FIRENZE, Via de’ Cerretani 39/32R

BRUSCHETTA – serves 4 to 6
Great for summer gatherings when the flavors of tomatoes and basil are at their best.

4 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 clove garlic minced
one half cup loosely packed basil leaves, thinly sliced
3 or 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
country style Tuscan bread, sliced and toasted

Combine diced tomatoes, minced garlic, sliced basil, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Allow to sit a ½ hour or so to let the juices and flavours blend. Top toasted bread slices with the tomato compote and enjoy

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!

Two from Suzanne:

LA BOTTA ....enoteca intelligente.... is a lovely place for wine tasting, with a modern wine storage/dispensing system that works through the purchase of a “wine credit card” allowing you to try tastes from any of the 64 wines available. The food menu offers crostone with mozzerella, pomodoro, fresh basil and pesto €5.00, crostone with mozzarella, funghi porcini and crema di tartufo €7.00, panini caldi of all sorts (like salsiccia di cinta senese) for about €4.00 each. There is Pappa al Pomodoro (Tuscan tomato stew) for €5.00, Peposo beef stew about €11.00 and sliced salumi and formaggi from €5.00 to 12.00. Anyway it is not so expensive. I spent 10 euro for a wine card and 10 euro for food and it was just fine. Nice ambience, service good although slow...you can drink more I spose.... La Botta. Via San Giuseppe, 18R. tel. 0552476420. www.enotecaintelligente.com (nothing there at present!!!).

FLOREART - Found a super duper florist called Floreart. Sara and Claudia are just wonderful, patient and kind… plus not so expensive. Via Vittorio Emanuele 11, 28R. - tel. 3382927525. www.floreart.it

GELATO: AN OCCASIONAL PROMENADE (continued...... thanks to Anne and Simon) CARABE (via Ricasoli 60r. Tel: 055 289 476.) Just off Annunziata, this is a cosy, homely outlet which opened up the Sicilian taste in granite, cannoli, cassata and brioche (Sicilian ice cream sandwich). Fantastic citrus fruits – lemon, orange, melon etc; they do what Opal Fruits claimed! [I.e. “make your mouth water” – for younger readers!] Go to www.gelatocarabe.com/code/coupon.html for an upgrade on your choice of size – cone or cup! Open daily from 09.00 through to 01.00. LE PARIGINE (via dei Servi 41r. Tel: 055 2398470.) Top Ten with a bullet! New star in the gelato firmament, less than 100 metres from the Duomo. Based on organic milk from Maremma, faithful to traditional methods of production and maintenance with gelato kept in time-honoured banks. A tad more expensive than the general run but rewards with an extra blast of flavour! The fragola is fab, the canella great, the Greek yoghurt is exactly what it promises and the pink grapefruit is..........better than a pink grapefruit! Open daily, eleven till eleven.
GELATERIA RIVARENO (via Borgo degli Albizi 46/R. Tel: 055 0118039.) New for Spring 2010 and a stoater [Stoater: a Scottish word suggesting extreme excellence]. If the prices look steep, forza gelato! It’s value for money! The dark chocolate is heavenly; the San Luca – white chocolate & puffed rice – is nectar; the lampone is up there and the Leonardo (pine nuts AND toasted pine nuts) gets this year’s award for innovation and quality. Free chocolate syrup if desired. What a place. Open daily, 13.00 to 23.00; closed Tuesdays. See www.rivareno.com

   Throughout the month there will be events, concerts and big-screen showings of the World Cup games in a number of Florence’s big and small 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) 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.  Most events start at 9:30.  Entry is free. http://www.digispace.it/schedaevento.asp?id_evento=6352

   Surfs up again 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.
   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.  On June 24th, for the San Giovanni Festival fireworks, take advantage of their Riverside Picnic plan and reserve your picnic basket complete with a towel to lay on to watch the fireworks explode overhead.  Lungarno Serrestori. Tel. 335 6630341. Check their site for activities and upcoming events. www.piazzart.com

    Until June 16th, climb up the hillside below Piazzale Michelangelo to the Giardino delle Rose for one of the loveliest views in Florence. The garden 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 garden site was chosen specifically for its drop-dead wonderful vistas of Palazzo Vecchio, the Duomo, Arno and the entire historical centre. 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. Open until June 16 (and maybe longer). Viale Giuseppe Poggi 2, tel. 055 262 5305. Hours: seven days a week from 8 am – 8 pm. Free entry.

     From Sat 12 to Sunday 20 a new collaboration between Polimoda International Institute for Fashion Design & Marketing and the most prestigious boutiques, historical venues and exhibition spaces in Florence will light up the city with a series of fashion installations, exhibitions, conferences and shows.  Following the great success of the first edition, Polimoda Fashion Week is taking place again, at the same time as Pitti Uomo. The event transforms Florence into a stage set where fashion, creativity, talent and culture mingle, providing an “open air” showcase that enlivens the streets of the city. The event is preceded on June 9 by the Polimoda Fashion Show 2010, the final fashion show of the collections made by students graduating in Fashion design, a double date at the Saschall Theatre, at 6.30 pm and 9.30 pm.
     “The first edition of Polimoda Fashion Week – says Linda Loppa, Director of Polimoda – met with great public and critical acclaim, and so we immediately started to organize the second edition intending that it would be even more exciting for the city and would help to communicate the new vision of fashion that our institute offers. This initiative aims at creating a strong link between young and former students of Polimoda, the big names of fashion and shopkeepers, in order to bring the students closer to the city and stimulate them to understand and appreciate its intrinsic value, not only as a place of art, but also as a creative and cultural centre. At the same time we hope to create a meeting point where the events and initiatives that are part of Polimoda Fashion Week can be enjoyed by all.”
     The theme of the 2010 edition is emblematic - “Incontri/Meetings” - seen from many points of view and with many different aspects: the students of Polimoda meet the fashion houses, the city of Florence meets the world of Polimoda through the events, lectures and student output, young people meet the students of Polimoda to swap ideas and opinions about their educational experiences. But Incontri/Meetings also represents an encounter between reality and professionals of the sector: thus in this special situation, marketing meets design, the pattern maker meets the designer, the museum meets business, the city meets young designers, Florence meets Prato, and the world of fashion is discussed from the interesting aspect of encounter.
     The shop windows of Via Tornabuoni and Via Maggio in the city centre will again be the stars of Polimoda Fashion Week, a special setting where the creative talent of the Polimoda students will be on show.  “Polimoda Fashion Week – states Linda Loppa – is an important showcase for the students who we can describe as the “new talents” of fashion tomorrow. During this week our students will have the opportunity to show their abilities and talent at the final fashion show and will be present in the shop windows of the foremost fashion brands of the city. This event is also a way of providing special support to the students who, having finished their training, are now seeking a job and this opportunity to be seen can help them to realize their professional ambitions.”
    On 9 June, open to all, the Fashion Show will be held twice, at 6.30 pm and 9.30 pm.  Tickets are available on the Box Office circuit. Check out the schedule of events for Polimoda Fashion Week at www.polimoda.com.

   From Tues. 15 to Fri. 18 Florence is the place to be, as she opens her doors once again to the “beautiful people” of the men’s fashion world. Pitti Immagine Uomo (now in its 78th edition) is the world’s most important men’s fashion fair, used by the best firms to launch their collections and global strategies worldwide. Design Watching will be the theme of this summer edition, the world of fashion will foray into the world of design through the ideas and visual-acoustic-verbal notes gathered by a platoon of “design watchers”.  This year the international community of Pitti Uomo buyers, journalists and opinion leaders will include Roberta Valentini from Penelope, Giusi Ferré, Max Kibardin, Jorge Koch and Stefano Roncato.  In addition to the main events located at the Fortezza da Basso we will see the launch of a new collection by Roberto Menichetti for Brema; the debut of international cult brand GCW; a new special project by Brembo; a new look at the historic English brand, Daks; and the international debut of Seventy Pulse.  The firms represented will include: Brunello Cucinelli, Church’s, Kiton, Bagutta, Allegri, Hackett, Herno, Marina Yachting, Barbour, Lardini, LBM 1911, Cruciani, Brooks Brothers, Gant, Marlboro Classics, Fred Perry, Car Shoe, Peuterey, Blauer, Lacoste, Woolrich, Roy Rogers’s…to name just a few. 
    Shows, cocktail parties and special events will also take place all around the city (at the Stazione Leopolda, the Pagliere, Galleria Poggiali e Forconi, Fratelli Alinari Photography Library, the Riva Lofts Florence, the Circolo Canottieri along the river Arno, at the Luisa Via Roma concept store and in the splendid setting of the Four Seasons Hotel.
   The exhibitions are reserved to dedicated fashion buyers. In order to get an entrance card it is necessary to show your official invitation at the Reception desk. If you do not have an invite you can fill out a registration form and show an official document certifying your business activity. Fortezza da Basso and other locales. Tues. 15 to Fri. 18. Open from 9 am- 8 pm. www.pittimmagine.com.

     The sixth edition of Pitti W_Woman Precollection, the Pitti Immagine fair-event devoted to women’s collections will be held in Florence at the Ex-Dogana on Via Valfonda, concomitantly with Pitti Uomo 78. A selected group of about 60 international brands will present exclusive previews of their 2011 spring-summer collections in the Dogana on via Valfonda.  Pitti W is chosen by exhibitors for preview launches, for capsule collections and for specific projects linked to new approaches to female elegance. In recent years Pitti W offerings are widening – with more space in the sections dedicated to vintage items and fragrances.  Some of the brands participating in Pitti W n.6 will include: A.N.G.E.L.O., Barbara Boner, BHcrafts, Bibi Chemnitz, BP Studio, Cut It Out, Dominique Aurientis, Fabi, Get U, Gherardini, Peridot London, Pinkmemories, V.Level, Veronica Bettini Mood. Ex-Dogana _ Via Valfonda. For information: mailing@pittimmagine.com, pr.visitatori@pittimmagine.com.
Tel. 055.3693223/222.  Same entry info as above.

     On Sat. 19 Florence’s 71st annual nighttime 10 kilometer run will start and end in the beautiful Piazza San Giovanni at the Duomo. Race into the Florentine night, past the city’s major monuments. At 9:00 pm take off on either the competitive 10k run or a non-competitive 4k Family Run. Participants receive a T-shirt commemorating the event. Admission: 10K - 10 euro; 4K - 8 euro. Registration and payment must be submitted by June 18 to the Società di San Giovanni Battista, via del Corso 1, open 10.00 – 12.00 and 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm from Monday to Friday. Tel. 055/294174. e-mail: sangiovannibattista@interfree.it.  You may also contact: Firenze Marathon, Tel:055/5522957.  staff@firenzemarathon.it

   Sun. 20 in Piazza Santo Spirito take advantage of this “extra” fair to enjoy all the goodies for one last time til September (since the usual Fierucolina remains on hold during the months of July and 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.

   To celebrate St. John’s day, Thursday June 24 is a local holiday in Florence (only). Banks and such will be closed. To make up for it, the city puts on a spectacular display of fireworks. Find a spot that gives you a good view toward Piazzale Michelangelo before the 10:00 pm starting time, and enjoy the show. Other events during the day include a morning (9:00 am start) stroll of costumed figures through the historical center, a river race on the Arno (afternoon), and the Calcio Storico Big Game in Piazza Santa Croce (5:00 pm).

     From Thurs. 24 to Sat. 26, kids will have a fashion showcase of their own at Pitti Bimbo, the world preview of children’s clothing, accessory and design collections for the 2011 spring/summer season. With more than 400 firms vying for display space, Pitti Bimbo is growing and becoming ever more international. Amongst the new features and special projects lets mention the children’s fashion debut of the prestigious Fendi brand, the absolute preview of the Hackett London kids line, the launch of the new Hitch-Hiker project from Monnalisa, the return of brands such as Patrizia Pepe, B Lav, 7Teen and Brooksfield Junior, plus the new entries of children’s collections from names like Re-Hash, Daniel Cremieux and Pineider confirming the event's weight in the world of junior fashions. Same ticketing plan as for Pitti Uomo above. Thurs. 24 to Sat. 26. Fortezza da Basso and other venues around town. Open from 9 am- 8 pm. www.pittimmagine.com.

'NOTTARNO” Notte Bianca (White Night in the Oltrarno)
   On Sat. 26 why not wander through the Oltrarno neighborhood of Florence. It is going to be ALIVE all night long (or nearly). From 9:00 pm to 3:00 am, the streets and squares will be filled with fun as restaurants, bars and shops keep doors wide open to host special events, shows, and tastings. Radiating out from Piazza Santo Spirito, you’ll find action from San Niccolo’ to San Frediano to Piazza Tasso and back. Florence Dance will perform in Piazza Pitti, there will be live music in Piazza Santo Spirito with “Superstitions” and the “Majakovich Quartet”.  Watch for more music and mortadella in Piazza della Calza, plus boiled octopus in Piazza Tasso.

   From Saturday 26 to July 9, Bram Stoker’s horror classic, Dracula will be performed at the Bargello Museum in English (with Italian subtitles). This summer, theatergoers are promised a treat as F.E.S.T.A. brings Dracula to Florence. Terrifying, funny, and – occasionally shocking, the play is 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.

  From June 8 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).  

     Discover the world’s earliest scientific innovations using the latest, high technology.  The Museo Galileo (ex-History of Science museum) will re-open on Friday 11 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.

DIAITA: Heath rules in the manuscripts of the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana
     Until June 26 the historic Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Piazza San Lorenzo, hosts an exhibition concerning lifestyle and diet as strategies to ensure physical and mental well-being; the type of knowledge that has often survived in the realm of traditional medicine.  The concept of a ‘life regime’ in the classical world was expressed by the term díaita/diaeta, whose meaning was far broader than our “diet” of today, encompassing areas not determined automatically by nature, that humans could plan of their own accord such as one’s relationship with air and water, food and drink, motion and rest, sleep and wakefulness, sexuality, love and passion.
     The theme is as fashionable today as it was in the past.  During the Italian age of princely courts and wealthy merchants, the elite’s interest in preserving their health inspired the Regimina sanitatis - an offspring of the classical tradition enriched by contact with the Arab world – that is contained in the manuscripts on display, all from the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, in Latin, Greek or Italian Vernacular and dating from the XII to the XVI centuries.  Some are particularly interesting: the Treatise on Cooking by Apicius that witnesses the specific importance of eating; the Tacuinum sanitatis by Ibn Butlan; and the Regime del Corpo by Aldobrandino da Siena. Important among others is the Compendium of the Nature and Properties of Food by Barnaba from Reggio in a parchment manuscript copied between the 13th and 14th century.  Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Piazza San Lorenzo 9.  Hours:  Monday-Saturday: 9:30 am -1:30 pm.  Info: tel. 055 210760, bmleventi@beniculturali.it. For guided tours: tel. 055290184, eventi@operadarte.net.

     Running to June 27, the Museo degli Argenti at the Pitti Palace hosts an exhibition illustrating the Medici family passion for gem collecting, a fascinating aspect of the rediscovery of antiquity which characterized the Renaissance.  The complex history of this collection, starting from its formation by Cosimo, Piero and, especially, Lorenzo de’ Medici, was celebrated and admired by a host of men of letters and artists.
    Beginning in the first half of the XV century, cameos and intaglios were much sought after by popes, princes and cardinals, on several occasions giving rise to disputes between collectors ready to spend large sums to secure themselves a desired piece. The art of carving gems required the use of rare and costly materials, as well as master artisans with extraordinary technical capabilities, considering that the slightest error could nullify months or even years of hard work.  Secondly, special magical and mysterious virtues were attributed to cameos and intaglios depending on the type of material utilized and on the subject.  Moreover, their small dimensions and ease of transport made them ideal gifts for illustrious personages and an excellent form of investment; capital to draw on in moments of difficulty. It is no wonder that in the XV century the Medici developed a fixation for carvings on precious and semiprecious stones, which they sought out, forming one of the most important collections in history, a source of great prestige for the family.
     Alongside the gems in the show, are a variety of illuminated codices, medals, drawings, paintings and sculptures, which show the great fortune enjoyed by the specimens that belonged to the Medici. Lorenzo Ghiberti, Donatello and Sandro Botticelli are just a few of the artists who found inspiration in the depictions found on the Medici gems.  In many cases, these are faithful translations of the models, but there are also works in which the elements drawn from the carved stones are enriched with totally new aspects, as we can find in several drawings by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti who in the Medici gems not only found a repertory of forms but also an instrument for the recovery of the sense of balance and the measure of proportions characteristic of classical art.  Museo degli Argenti - Pitti Palace.  Hours: 8:15 am – 5:30 pm (March), 8.15 – 6:30 pm (April, May, June). Closed 1st and last Monday of each month. Tickets: 7 euro. www.unannoadarte.it

DE CHIRICO, MAX ERNST, MAGRITTE, BALTHUS:  A look into the Invisible
     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.

   The British Institute Weekly Cultural Programme.  Every Wednesday (usually) at 6:00 pm, the Sala Ferragamo in the Institute’s Harold Acton Library hosts a free lecture, concert or other event, followed by an informal drinks reception. British Institute Library, Lungarno Guicciardini 9. http://www.britishinstitute.it/en/index.asp.
   Thursday 3 - Graham Avery - Sigeric: an Anglo-Saxon Archbishop in Tuscany.  Archbishop Sigeric passed through Tuscany on his way from Rome to Canterbury in the year 990. His itinerary, recorded in a MS in the British Library, is the earliest account of the Via Francigena, the medieval route to Rome from Northern Europe. Following its designation as a European Cultural Route, many guide-books and local way-marks refer to Sigeric - in fact, he is better known in Italy than in his native land. Graham Avery, Visiting Fellow at the European University Institute, explains why Sigeric went to Rome, which places he passed in Tuscany, and the historical significance of the Via Francigena.
   Wednesday 9 - Alexandra Richardson - Alexander Hardcastle and the Greek temples of Agrigento.  For every ten people who know about Austin Layard, Arthur Evans and Howard Carter, perhaps only one has heard of Alexander Hardcastle (1872-1933). Yet as Alexandra Richardson shows in her recent biography Passionate Patron, Hardcastle holds a high place among these rich, self-taught and passionately dedicated amateurs, whose money and enterprise opened up a golden age of archaeology. She tells the moving story of a life traumatised by war service in South Africa, precariously rebuilt among the almond groves and ruined temples of Agrigento, then cruelly torn apart by the stock market crash of 1929.
   Wednesday  16 - Bloomsday lecture: Jeremy Lane - ‘Waking the dead': the Hades episode in Joyce's Ulysses.  For Bloomsday this year we concentrate on the sixth chapter of James Joyce's Ulysses, generally known by its Homeric title ‘Hades', which we will read in its entirety during the afternoon. In this talk Jeremy Lane considers the importance of death in Joyce's fiction, and relates the episode to Ulysses more widely, providing an entry to a broader attempt at understanding this ‘novel to end all novels'. Jeremy Lane is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Sussex.
   Wednesday  2 - Daniel Waissbein - Literary Anglomania or Anglophilia? The case of J.L. Borges.  By an irony of fate, the great Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) is less well known in Britain than elsewhere. Yet not only was he brought up by an English grandmother and an English-speaking father, but he read deeply and omnivorously in the field of English literature and philosophy, and lived all his life in a mental universe that was largely that of a late-Victorian savant. This talk explores this aspect of Borges's oeuvre, which though widely acknowledged has never been given its due.
   Wednesday 30 - Michael John Angel - Pietro Annigoni: English portraits and Tuscan frescoes.  This year marks the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Pietro Annigoni (1910-1988), the portraitist and fresco painter who was catapulted to world fame after painting Queen Elizabeth II in 1954. Michael John Angel, who knew Annigoni well, is a figurative painter who since 1997 has run the Angel Academy of Art in Via Fiesolana, Florence. This illustrated talk focuses on Annigoni's English portraits, while not overlooking the frescoes painted here in Tuscany.

Odeon Theatre, Piazza Strozzi 2. Phone: 055 214 068.  www.cinehall.it
Tuesday 1 – The Back-up Plan (with Italian subtitles) by Alan Poul. With Jennifer Lopez, Alex O'Loughlin, Michaela Watkins, Eric Christian Olsen.  4.30 - 6.30 - 8.30 - 10.30 pm
Wednesday 2 – Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (with Italian subtitles) by Mike Newell. With Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Kingsley, Gemma Arterton, Toby Kebbell, Alfred Molina.  3.45 - 6.00 - 8.15 - 10.30 pm
Friday 4 - Sex and the City 2 (with Italian subtitles) by Michael Patrick King. With Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Chris North. 5.15 – 8.00 - 10.45 pm
Saturday 5 - Sex and the City 2 - 5.15 – 8.00 - 10.45 pm
Sunday 6 - Sex and the City 2 - 4.00-6.45- 9.30 pm
Monday 7 - Sex and the City 2 - 6.45 – 9.30 pm
Tuesday 8 - Sex and the City 2 - 6.45- 9.30 pm
Wednesday 9 - Sex and the City 2 - 6.45- 9.30 pm
Thursday 10 - Sex and the City 2 - 6.00 pm
Friday 11 - Sex and the City 2 - 6.00pm
Saturday 12 - Sex and the City 2 - 4.00 – 6.45 - 9.30 pm
Sunday 13 - Sex and the City 2 - 4.00 – 6.45 - 9.30 pm
Monday 14 - Agorà (with Italian subtitles) by Alejandro Amenábar. With Rachel Weisz, Max Minghella, Oscar Isaac, Ashraf Barhom, Michael Lonsdale. 5.30-8.00- 10.30 pm
Tuesday 15 - Sex and the City 2 -  6.45 - 9.30 pm
Thursday 17 - Sex and the City 2 -  6.45 - 9.30 pm
Tuesday 22 - Inglorius Basterds (with Italian subtitles) by Quentin Tarantino. With Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Eli Roth, Mélanie Laurent, Diane Kruger. 5.00
Quel Maledetto Treno Blindato (Italian original version with English subtitles) (Italia 1978) by Enzo Girolami Castellari. With Peter Hooten, Bo Svenson, Fred Williamson, Ian Bannen, Michel Constantin. 9.00 pm. With the presence of Director Enzo G. Castellari.
Thursday 24 - The Last Station (Germany 2009) by Michael Hoffman. With Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer, James McAvoy, Paul Giamatti, Anne-Marie Duff. 6.00-8.15-10.30 pm
Monday 28 - The Road (with Italian subtitles) by John Hillcoat. With Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce. 6.00-8.15-10.30 pm
Tuesday 29 - The Road (with Italian subtitles) -  6.00 pm
Wednesday 30 - The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (with Italian subtitles) by David Slade. With Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Peter Facinelli. 4.20 -6.40-9.00 pm

In THE BACK UP PLAN a single woman opts for artificial insemination after dating for years and failing to find the right guy, only to see the man of her dreams breeze into her life just as she learns she's pregnant.
In PRINCE OF PERSIA video-game-character Dastan joins forces with the mysterious princess Tamina and together, they race against dark forces to safeguard an ancient dagger capable of releasing the Sands of Time—a gift from the gods that can reverse time and allow its possessor to rule the world.
SEX AND THE CITY 2 brings back the fun, fashion and folly of life in The Big Apple--and beyond.
AGORA’ sets Oscar-winning actress Rachel Weisz fourth-century Alexandria, Egypt, showcasing a historical uprising, the love of a slave for his mistress and the perils of religious intolerance.
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS…. 10 Oscar nominations…
THE ROAD is set in a bare, post-apocalyptic America, where a father and son struggle to survive.
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.

     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.

Saturday 5
OMER MEIR WELLBER – The Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino will be conducted by this young (29 year old) Israeli rising star.  Music of Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Dvorák.  Teatro Comunale. 8:30 pm. 

Sunday 6
DUO ANYSE’E – Enzo Filippetti (saxophone), Antonella de Vinco (piano)  Music by Demerssmann, Milhaud, Muczynski, De Rivera, Piazzolla, Chiesa di Orsanmichele. 9:00 pm. 

Monday 7
LE CIRQUE INVISIBLE - Victoria Chaplin, the sixth daughter of Charlie Chaplin and Oona O'Neill Chaplin, together with her husband Jean-Baptiste Thiérrée created Le Cirque Invisible, a modern circus, some say the inspiration for the Cirque du Soleil. Boboli Gardens. 9:15 pm. 
DUO DI TOSCANA CLASSICA - Mayumi Kuroki (Soprano), Nicola Mottaran (Piano).  Music by  Bach, Stradella, Mozart, Schubert. Chiesa di Orsanmichele.  9:00 pm.

Tuesday 8
LE CIRQUE INVISIBLE – See above. Boboli Gardens. 9:15 pm. 
ANOUSHKA SHANKAR & BAND -  Don’t miss the spiritual melodies from Shankar’s Sitar.  Young but already renowned, Anoushka is the daughter of Sitar master Ravi Shanker. Chiesa di Santo Stefano al Ponte
CECILIA CHAILLY – This writer, photographer, painter is said to be the most eclectic, imaginative harpist of our day.  Teatro Comunale.  9:30 pm.

Wednesday 9
LE CIRQUE INVISIBLE – See above. Boboli Gardens. 9:15 pm. 
GIDON KREMER (violin) – music of Vivaldi, Šerkšnyte, Tabakova, Raskatov, and Desyatnikov. Teatro Comunale. 8:30 pm.

Thursday 10
LE CIRQUE INVISIBLE – See above. Boboli Gardens. 9:15 pm. 

Friday 11
CHRISTOPHER HOGWOOD CONDUCTS – a much-awaited return for the English conductor who will present the Second Lobgesang Symphony by Mendelssohn.  Ingrid Kaiserfeld (soprano), Klara Ek (soprano), Steve Davislim (tenor).  Teatro Comunale. 8:30 pm.

Wednesday 16
DIEGO MATHEUZ CONDUCTS – Sergey Khachatryan (violin).   Music of Šostakovic, Beethoven. Teatro Comunale.  8:30 pm.
EVITA – lyrics by Tim Rice, music Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on the story of Maria Eva Duarte de Peron - the charismatic first lady of Argentina, loved and revered by her people.  Boboli Gardens.  9:15 pm. 

Thursday 17
EVITA – See above.  Boboli Gardens.  9:15 pm. 

Friday 18
EVITA – See above.  Boboli Gardens.  9:15 pm. 

Saturday 19
EVITA – See above.  Boboli Gardens.  9:15 pm. 

Sunday 20
EVITA – See above.  Boboli Gardens.  9:15 pm. 

Tuesday 22
KURT MASUR CONDUCTS – The traditional closing concert of the Maggio Musicale will be held for the public, free of charge, in Piazza della Signoria. Adrianne Pieczonka (soprano), Birgit Remmert (mezzosoprano), John Daszak (tenor), Matthias Goerne (basso).  Piazza della Signoria. 9:30 pm.  

Wednesday 23
KENNY WHITE – Well-known American singer-songwriter hits the lovely small venue of Florence’s Teatro del Sale on Via de´ Macci 111r.  9:00 pm. 

Friday 25
ELIO E LE STORIE TESE – Benefit concert show by this entertaining Italian pop-rock-goof band in the sports stadium of Arezzo.  Campo sportivo di Indicatore, Arezzo. 8:30 pm.  

Saturday 26
DON GIOVANNI – Lyrics by Lorenzo da Ponte, music by W.A. Mozart.  Put on in the incredibly beautiful setting of San Galgano Abbey, Chiusdino – Siena.  9:00 pm.  

Wednesday 30
DALLA-DE GREGORI – An unmissable concert by two of the pillars of Italian contemporary music.  Piazza Santa Croce. 9:15 pm.


     Until Saturday 5, the Chianti Classico wine region opens its heart to the world.  There will be tastings for wine experts and wine-lovers, exhibits, music, cultural itineraries and open cellar doors.  This is a great chance to visit places usually closed to the public.
     A “Chianti Classico Passport” lists the different wineries offering tastings and collateral events during event.  Each time you visit a winery your passport will be stamped.  The passport will also be stamped for participating in "outside" events (DegustaZone, winery dinners, etc.).  At the end of the fair, the visitor (or visitors) with the most stamps will win a two-person stay in Chianti and a kit of Chianti Classico items. Events include six tastings guided by leading Italian wine journalists, and a "Driven to dinner" project providing bus service to participating restaurants. Buses will leave from Florence and Siena and re-accompany guests after dinner. The service will enable you to enjoy dining in the Florentine and Sienese Chianti zone without having to worry about breathalyzer tests on the way back.
     For further details and reservations see www.clasico-e.it.  Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico.  Tel. 055 8228522.

    From Friday 4 to Sun. 6 the pretty hillside village of Lamole, in the heart of the Chianti wine region invites you to come enjoy the scents of Lamole (I Profumi di Lamole) in an event exalting their local wines and wineries with the wine and olive oil producers available to explain their art and wares.  Participants include: Castellinuzza e Piuca,  I Fabbri, Le Masse di Lamole, Podere Castellinuzza, Castelli del Grevepesa, Fattoria di Lamole-Castello delle Stinche, and the Tenimenti Pile e Lamole.   From 5:00 to 7:00 pm on Friday there will be wine tasting stands and an art exhibit.  Saturday and Sunday there will be events, food and fun throughout the day (11:00 am to 10:00 pm).  Join in on Leonado Romanelli’s wine seminar at 5:00 pm on Saturday, on Sunday there will be an olive oil and Tuscan pasta tasting also at 5:00.   For further info phone the Comune di Greve in Chianti – tel. 055-8545271

   Held in Fiesole on Sunday 6 (the first Sunday of each month), an open-air market celebrates antiquities and vintage objects in the newly reopened central piazza of this pretty hilltop town. Sun. 7. Piazza Mino, Fiesole. Open: 8:00 am to sundown. Info: Tel. 055.055. www.comune.fiesole.fi.it.

   Sun. 6 (morning to afternoon). Panzano-in-Chianti hosts an artisan wares market. The first Sunday of each month the weekly town market held in Panzano is expanded with artisan booths of all sorts. You’ll find honey and pecorino (sheep’s milk) cheese makers, hand-embroidered linens, boutique wineries, antique dealers and much more. To visit Panzano by car from Florence or Siena, take Route 222, the "Chiantigiana" highway passing through the Chianti wine area. From the west, there is a road connecting with the highway at Tavarnelle. This pretty road passes the monastery of Badia a Passignano. It is also possible to reach Panzano by SITA bus from Florence. The trip takes about one hour.

    Every year on the night of June 16th (Wednesday), the streets running alongside the river Arno through Pisa are lit with the enchanting glow of 70,000 candles. On this, the eve of the feast day of Pisan patron saint, San Ranieri, candles are set afloat on the Arno and fixed onto wood frames that accentuate the lines of the palazzi, bridges, churches and towers reflecting off the slowly moving river. Oil lamps light the Leaning Tower and crenulations of the city walls surrounding the Piazza dei Miracoli as well. Top the evening off with a spectacular fireworks display, and you have a pretty magical reason to visit Pisa.

    Thurs. 17 stroll the artisan booths set up Piazza Matteoti in Greve-in-Chianti for a special summer evening fair.  Music, food and a bit of a show will be available from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Info: 055 8545271. www.comune.greve-in-chianti.fi.it

   On Sat. 19 in Piazza Mino, Fiesole meet the hands that forged our past. Artisans and artisanal food producers present their wares for sale. From 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.

   From Sat. 19 to Sunday 27, the town of Montelupo Fiorentino celebrates the past and present of its most important industry: ceramics. For one week in June, the streets fill with ceramicists and artists demonstrating their trade. Music and food round out the agenda. In the 1400 and 1500’s the city was the centre of ceramic production for Florence and beyond. In recent years, Montelupo inaugurated a wonderful Ceramics Museum. Daily from 6:00 pm to midnight. Sunday 10:00 am to midnight. For info on how to get to Montelupo and much more: http://www.festaceramica.it/

  Sat. 26 and Sun. 27 the pretty village of Torrita di Siena will ring with cool Blues.  For the last 22 years, Torrita has produced an ever more popular Blues festival with music from the likes of Taj Mahal, John Mayall, Robben Ford, Roy Rogers, Bettye Lavette, Popa Chubby, Canned Heat, Luther Allison, Charlie Musselwhite and  James Cotton.  This year a special guest is Peter Green of the historic band Fleetwood Mac.  Other artists include Eugene Hideaway Bridges and Eric Sardinas. The festival takes place in the beautiful Piazza Matteotti, a setting surrounded by medieval walls.  Tickets: 12 and 15 euro.  Get to Torrita by car (85 km from Florence), or by train (the Torrita di Siena station is on the Chiusi-Siena line.  For info: Associazione Culturale Torrita Blues, tel. 0577 687572.  info@torritablues.it, www.torritablues.it, www.prolocotorritadisiena.it

 IL PAGLIAIO - Organic products market
    Sun 27, the lovely main piazza of Greve-in-Chianti will fill with vendors of all things organic. From 10:00 am to 7:00 pm you can fill browse the booths selling vegetables, honey, bread, cheese, fabrics, wine, baskets and more. Info: 055 8545271. www.comune.greve-in-chianti.fi.it

SILVANO CAMPEGGI: Toward Campaldino, from Pian di Ripoli to the Battle
    Until June 20, the Oratory of Santa Caterina in Bagno a Ripoli hosts Silvano “Nano” Campeggi; one of Tuscany’s best known artists, who has painted over 50 works depicting the epic battle that took place at Campaldino on June 11, 1289.  Twenty-three thousand soldiers took to the field, and soon 2000 lay dead, the price of victory for the Florentine Guelphs against the Aretine Ghibelines.  Campeggi, long-time resident of Bagno a Ripoli, took inspiration from the hills surrounding his home base.
     Bagno a Ripoli/Ponte a Ema, Oratorio di Santa Caterina, Via del Carota.  Hours: Fri. and Sat from 3:30 to 6:30, Sunday from 10 to 12:30 and 3:30 to 6:30 pm.

    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