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Palazzo Pitti

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Rent, Sell and Manage Properties in Florence and Tuscany

June brings the festive saint’s day of San Giovanni with its parades, historical soccer, and fireworks along with best wishes, from SUZANNE, CORSO, BEI, LESLIE, ANNA PIA, VANNI, ANN and MARIO.


BEST EXTRAVAGANZA FOR JUNE – Calcio Storico (Historical Soccer)

Testosterone abounds when four teams of 27 players apiece face each other during the Calcio Storico. This entertaining 15th-century-style tournament of fighting and football is held in Florence's Piazza Santa Croce. The game itself is said to originate from an ancient Roman ball sport, which became the sport of princes and noblemen in the golden age of the Tuscan capital.

Today, it is fiercely fought between the four Florentine quarters: San Giovanni (Green), Santa Maria Novella (Red), Santo Spirito (White) and Santa Croce (Blue). Clad in medieval garters and pantaloons, players seem more preoccupied with attacking each other than putting the ball anywhere, though the rules of the game are fairly complex. The aim is to seize the ball and put it in the net (which runs the entire width of the pitch) by whatever means available. Precision is everything, as misses and interceptions provide points for the other team.

Following the semi-finals, the final match takes place on 24 June and winners are rewarded with a mass of steaks equivalent in weight to the more traditional prize of a white calf or bistecca alla fiorentina, which was historically butchered for the occasion. (Text from http://www.whatsonwhen.com)

See the official website: http://www.calciostoricofiorentino.it/en/

14 June Azzurri (S.Croce) - Bianchi (S.Spirito)

15 June Verdi (S.Giovanni) - Rossi (S.Maria Novella)

The winners of these two matches will play for the Victory on June 24, Festa del Patrono San Giovanni (St. John’s Day).

Tickets (prices 2013): Central Grandstand € 52 (+ € 7 presale fee), Side Grandstand € 42 (+ € 7 presale fee), Numbered grandstand € 27 (+ € 7 presale fee), Curved sectors € 21 (+ € 7 presale fee) Tickets are available at Box Office Via delle Vecchie Carceri, 1, (inside the Murate) with info at: www.boxol.it


The gorgeous pietra serena fireplace draws the eye in the salon of this recently renovated apartment is situated on the south side of the city in the Oltrarno. It is approximately ten minutes walk to the Ponte Vecchio) and the historic center, so is a bit out of the teeming crowds. Five minutes in the opposite direction is Piazza Poggi, the starting point for a wonderful stroll up the hill to Piazzale Michelangelo (from which one has a commanding view of the whole city).

This spacious apartment is situated on Via Bardi, on the 3rd (top) floor with elevator and two bedrooms. The large kitchen is great for making dinners for six guests in the formal dining room. The apartment (approx. 145 sq meters) is furnished with a mixture of antiques and modern pieces and has terracotta floors and pietra serena details. It is equipped with air-conditioning in the bedrooms, washing machine, dishwasher, kitchenware, and linens.

For more information click this link.



PICK EATERY FOR JUNE – Primo Piano del Mercato Centrale

The first floor above the food market, called PRIMO PIANO DEL MERCATO CENTRALE, is the best new food find in Florence. The best thing about it is that you can get great food, beer and wine there from 10am in the morning to mid-night seven days a week. No more bad cafeteria food from the self-serve touristy places when you want to eat outside the traditional Italian mealtimes.

Imagine a fancy food court, combining tasting stands, shops and a cooking school. 3000 square meters with 500 seats (including a bank & Fiorentina shop) and twelve different food stands;. The décor is modern with clean lines in the 150-year-old market. The stands serve Italy’s favorites: mozzarella di bufala, pizza from the south, a Chianti wine tasting corner, a beer stand, a gelato & chocolate stand, veggie stand where you can get freshly squeezed juice and vegetable soup puree, fresh seafood, fresh pasta, bread and much more. There is also a library. The pizza was perfectly crispy, asparagus risotto bursting with flavor and the coccoli (fried bread) perfectly crispy and steaming. You can even spy on the chefs in action and ask for advice.

Soon there is also going to be a cooking school with scheduled classes.

BEST BOOK FOR JUNE – A Vineyard in Tuscany: A Wine Lover's Dream by Ferenc Máté

Hungarian-Canadian author and sailor Máté (The Hills of Tuscany) recounts in wry, candid detail how he rebuilt a Tuscan ruin into a world-class winery. Living in Tuscany with his artist wife and son while savoring the landscape, food and pleasant neighbors wasn't enough for Máté, who admits he thrives on adversity. He wanted his own castle and finagles the purchase of a 13th-century friary in Montalcino, with a proper forno (oven), a forest crammed with porcini and 60 acres of land—15 of which he fashions over three hard years of work into a vineyard sprouting robust harvests of Sangiovese, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and Syrah grapes.

His diary of sorts regales the reader on the process of restoring the ancient ruin, called La Colombaio: first by detailing how an Etruscan house was constructed, then by observing how the various workmen were hired (and what they ate for lunch). While hacking in the forest, he finds the remains of a 3,000-year-old city, inviting the interest of archeologists. Máté breaks from the construction and excavation for treks through the Dolomites before returning to prepare for the toilsome but ultimately satisfying vendemmia (harvest).

BEST BOOK FOR KIDS FOR JUNE – Bodies From the Ash: Life and Death in Ancient Pompeii by James M. Deem

Grade 4-8–In A.D. 79, Mount Vesuvius erupted and within 24 hours, ash, pumice, and volcanic rubble had covered, and annihilated, the city of Pompeii. It was not until the 18th century that workers began to uncover the remains of this nearly forgotten, except in legend, city and its inhabitants. In this well-researched account, Deem retells the story of this devastating eruption, combining a lively text with photographs of the bones and artifacts that have been unearthed through the years.

In 1863, an excavator discovered a fascinating way to study human remains. As bodies covered in hot ash and enveloped by volcanic material decayed, spaces were left around the skeletons. After the hollow areas were filled with plaster, the surrounding debris was chipped away, resulting in detailed plaster casts that preserved imprints of the people's dying moments, showing their facial expressions and body positions as well as their clothing and possessions. Deem explains how scientists have used these molds and other evidence to piece together the life styles and final moments of some of the victims, and conveys these heart-wrenching tales.

Dramatic photographs of the casts capture the horror of this event and help readers to envision day-to-day life in this civilization. With incredibly engrossing images and narrative, this is a powerful and poignant piece of nonfiction.

BEST SUMMER PROGRAM – The Season at La Pietra

Villa La Pietra is the outstanding historical villa and home of the New York University Florence program. Bequeathed to NYU in 1994 by Sir Harold Acton, the Florentine study abroad campus consists of 5 historic villas and 57 acres of gardens and olive groves. Villa La Pietra, the Acton Collection, and the Garden are maintained as they were by the Acton family and serve as an inspiration to all whom live and study on the campus. Villa La Pietra also has one of the best summer programs for students and visitors alike. It’s called The Season.

The Season is a summer celebration of creative collaboration and exploration conducted throughout the grounds of Villa la Pietra and its extraordinary and scenographic gardens. Artists, writers, musicians, poets, actors and public intellectuals are given time and space to nurture and hone their craft, experiment, collaborate across disciplines, and to create and present new works or the reinterpretation of classics. Well-known figures and emerging talents work together, in classes and workshops or experimental laboratories, and present their work before an audience of Italians and Americans invited to the gardens of Villa la Pietra for a surprising and elegant evening.

The intimacy and immediacy of the interaction between audience and artist contributes to the creative process and provides a unique experience for both. Performances often end with an open dialogue and the conversation between performers and the public continues at a reception in the gardens under the stars. The Season explores the creative process in all its forms, inviting selected artists to reflect on their craft in special dialogues with students and the public.

High production quality, innovation and the intimacy of the Season's Community have played a vital role in the incubation of new talent and the celebration of culture, which has been part of the City of Florence's identity for centuries. It has also been the source of new innovative and cutting-edge work that has traveled from La Pietra to New York and around the world.

Check out the schedule at: http://www.nyu.edu/global/lapietra/season/ or call 055 500 7212 and ask to have a brochure sent to you. Email: lapietra.reply@nyu.edu


The patron saint of Florence, John the Baptist, is celebrated on June 24. There is a parade to the Baptistry in the morning and another before the Historic Soccer (Calcio Storico) game (see above) in the afternoon.

The grandest of the parades starts at 4.00 pm – The Parade of the Florentine Republic starts from Piazza Santa Maria Novella passing through Via dei Banchi, Via Rondinelli, Via Tornabuoni, Via Strozzi, Piazza della Repubblica, Via degli Speziali, Via Calzaiuoli, Piazza della Signoria, Via della Ninna, Via de’ Neri, Borgo Santa Croce up to Piazza Santa Croce.

At 5.00 pm - Florentine Traditional Football match starts in Piazza Santa Croce with the parade continuing in the arena (even if you don’t have tickets, go and see if there is extra space, usually there are last-minute deals for the empty seats).

At 10:00 pm the fireworks begin from Piazalle Michelangelo. Stand along the Arno for the best view.


FESTA DELLA CULTURA – The Third Annual Festa della Cultura, San Giovanni Battista

Saturday 14 - Thursday 26 June 2014

The festival Festa della Cultura, San Giovanni Battista is dedicated to the people of Florence in celebrating the feast day of the city’s patron saint on 24th June. The last two years’ programmes have offered a wide variety of events including contemporary sacred art exhibitions, interdisciplinary conferences and a symposium, several concerts of early Florentine music plus guided visits to locations venerating John the Baptist in the historic centre. This year’s festival will in addition bring new events to involve and engage the community.

The Festival is a voluntary non-profit initiative designed to provide a forum for Florentine artists, musicians and academics - and to benefit in real terms the venues in which the events take place. The primary mission is to bring together Florentines and visitors in celebrating the inspiration of the city's Patron Saint through communal cultural appreciation.

The festival is presented by the evolving collective i Buontalenti and is grateful for the patrocinio and support of the Comune di Firenze, The British Institute of Florence, Studio Art Centers International and The Florentine.


Once again there will be a sacred art exhibition “il passato è presente III” at the Jules Maidoff Gallery - with thanks to the generous sponsorship of SACI The third edition will run for an entire month from 29th May to 26th June and includes works by contemporary Florentine painters Antonio Ciccone, Alessandro Vannini, Caroline Jervis, Helen Bayley, Luca Rafanelli, Olivia Santiago and sculptor Jason Arkles.


The annual conference is on 20th June “Preparing the Way III - representing John the Baptist”. This interdisciplinary event at The British Institute of Florence will include guest speakers restorer Roberta Lapucci PhD, art historian Jeremy Boudreau, MA, church archivist Penny Mittler MA, author Lisa Clifford and screenings of works by filmmaker David Battistella and Maestro Federico Maria Sardelli.


On Saturday 21st June, there will be an evening of seicento Florentine music with the Cappella di Santa Maria degli Angiolini directed by Maestro Gian Luca Lastraioli presented in a venue rarely open to the public thanks to the gracious generosity of the Conservatorio di Santa Maria degli Angeli.

The festival closes on Thursday 26th June with “Currents: Music in Flux”. Cellist Judith Glyde and pianist/composer Antonio Artese join forces for a multi-sensorial program of classical gems and a suite of original compositions inspired by the primordial element of water. This will be presented at the Museo Stefano Bardini with participation of Master Perfumer Sileno Cheloni of Aqua Flor, Florence.


Community events will include guided visits and practical workshop activities at the Accademia d’Arte San Giovanni in San Frediano, private visits with master sculptors to view 700 years of restoration and reproduction at the Bottega dell'Opera del Duomo - and a guided visit to the Battistero & Orsanmichele with Alexandra Lawrence from The Florentine.

The spirituality of the Baptist will be celebrated in a Mass of the Solemnity of the Blessed Trinity with Fr. Scott Murphy LC in the Cappella degli Artisti (San Luca) at Basilica della Santissima Annunziata on Sunday 15th June.

We sincerely hope that you will join us in celebrating the continuing artistic and spiritual heritage of this unique city. For further information and bookings please visit the new Festival website: www.festacultura.org

John Hoenig FRSA, Fondatore e Direttore Artistico

Festa della Cultura San Giovanni Battista

Firenze, Italia

Email: info@festacultura.org

Follow on Twitter: @FestaCultura

Web site: http://www.festacultura.org/SGB/2014_Festival.html


Special Events for the Pitti Fashion Week.

Monday, June 16 at 7:00pm Andrea Bocelli will officially open “Firenze Hometown of Fashion” singing in a unique concert with the Cameristi del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino at 7.00 p.m., Monday, 16 June at the Opera di Firenze, the new opera house in the Parco della Musica e della Cultura.

“Andrea Bocelli is a person of extraordinary humanity. An artist who conveys the finest image of Italy and represents us as a true ambassador of the qualities that maintain our country’s reputation. I asked him to open this extraordinary program, Firenze Hometown of Fashion, as a gift, that I personally felt duty-bound to offer to our international guests from the world of fashion”. said Stefano Ricci, president of the Florentine fashion company that bears his name.

The concert by Andrea Bocelli, with the 70 piece Cameristi del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and soprano Patrizia Orciani, will be directed by Eugene Kohn, one of the most famous orchestra conductors who has accompanied both Mr. Bocelli (including his first performance at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, 2011) and Placido Domingo on several world tours.

Mr. Kohn began his career at a young age, as the piano accompanist to opera stars such as Maria Callas, Luciano Pavarotti, Franco Corelli and Renata Tebaldi. During his career he has conducted in some of the world’s principal theaters: Wiener Staatsoper, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Under den Linden in Berlin, the Deutsche Oper in Berlin and the Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona. He has been a frequent guest-conductor of the Washington Opera, where among many productions he conducted I Pagliacci, Tosca, La Bohème, Un Ballo in Maschera, Fedora, Andrea Chénier and Madama Butterfly.

In her long and prestigious career, Patrizia Orciani has performed on some of the most important stages in the world, such as Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the Wiener Staatsoper, the Operhnaus in Zurich, the Teatro Real in Madrid, the Arena di Verona, the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino under batons of conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Gustav Kuhn, Lorin Mazel and Daniel Oren. A sublime Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) and magnificent Maddalena (Andrea Chénier) she recently obtained a great success with her first performance as Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera. She will be back with the Maggio Musicale in September for Il Campiello.

June 16 10pm Ponte Vecchio Light Show

On the occasion of "Firenze Hometown of Fashion", Stefano Ricci will enhance Florence with the new lighting of Ponte Vecchio, celebrating this donation with a great water show on the Arno river. To accompany the new lighting of Ponte Vecchio, a symbol of the city, there will be “Fous de Bassin”, the aquatic show on the Arno river realized by French artists "Ilotopie" who will involve the Florentines and international guests in a unique evening.

June 17 Gucci Museum Open Day – come to the Gucci Museum in Piazza Signoria for free and see the contemporary art exhibit Femminilita Radicale.

June 18 6:30pm to 9pm Salvatore Ferragamo Museum (by invitation) Equilibrium, inauguration the new exhibit.

June 19 11am to June 22. Vintage Cars at Forte Belvedere. In the extraordinary setting of Forte Belvedere, the exhibition will showcase sixteen vintage cars from the Lopresto Collection, which is dedicated to one-of-a-kind or extremely limited edition Italian automobiles. An extraordinary group of “one-of-a-kind” cars: masterpieces of design from the 1950s and ‘60s, the golden age of the Italian automobile industry, when some cars were still being custom-crafted to the client’s wishes, will be flanked by some incredible autos from the 1930s to show how design and technology evolved over the years.

The sixteen masterpieces on display belong to Corrado Lopresto, architect by profession, collector by passion, and the winner of more than 150 international competitions, including 35 Best in Show, and the only person to have taken the Coppa d’Oro [Gold Cup] three times at the Villa d’Este elegance competition. He is also – and rightfully – proud of being the only four-time winner, with four different cars, in his class at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance the world’s major competition for vintage cars. With the help and support of Italian master craftsmen, using period tools and techniques, Mr. Lopresto has conducted conservation work to restore these unique, historically important and very valuable cars to their original splendor.

The autos on display include: a 1939 Alfa Romeo 2500 Sport bodied by Carrozzeria Touring , a Lancia Aprilia bodied by Carrozzeria Touring, an Isotta Fraschini 8A SS Castagna from 1930, a Lancia Florida from 1955 and a 1953 Lancia Aurelia Vignale.

“I am truly proud to be able to show the cars from my collection on the occasion of such an important event”, said Corrado Lopresto. “The exhibition will present prototypes and one-of-a-kind vehicles by Italian car-body builders who contributed to bringing out the works of designers unknown to the general public such as Revelli, Michelotti, Tom Tjaarda, Brovarone and Gandini, just to mention a few who worked with and helped build the legend of names like Pininfarina, Bertone, Touring and Zagato”.

Opened on Thursday 19 June, at 11.00 a.m., The exhibition, “Il design automobilistico italiano degli anni ’50 e ’60” will be open to the public with free admission until Sunday, 22 June (from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.).

FIND OUT ABOUT THE MEDICI “FAMILY PACT” – Anna Maria de’Medici’s Gift to Florence

Until November 2, 2014 at the Museo delle Cappelle Medicee. There are many reasons for paying due tribute to the Electress Palatine, the last descendent of the Grand-ducal branch of the Medici dynasty, Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici. Indeed the last years of her life – following the death of her brother the last Medici Grand Duke Gian Gastone – were intimately bound up with the present and future life of her State, for the safeguarding of which she drafted the “Family Pact”, the fundamental document that guaranteed the protection and conservation of the heritage of the Medici within their city and their State.

The idea for the exhibition stemmed from a 2012 project organised in collaboration between the REM museums of Mannheim – which wished to honour the memory of the Electress who lived and reigned in Germany following her marriage to the Elector Palatine Johann Wilhelm von Pfalz Neuburg, from 1691 to 1716 - the Museum of the Medici Chapels, the Faculty of Medical Surgery of the University of Florence and the Superintendencies for the Archaeological Heritage of Tuscany, for the Architectural, Landscape, Historic, Artistic and Ethno-Anthropological Heritage of the Province of Florence and the Opificio delle Pietre Dure.

The Museum of the Medici Chapels decided to illustrate to the public the results of this research and restoration by organising this exhibition, centred in particular on the last years of life of the Electress. Among the outcomes of the control of the tomb and the remains of the last descendent of the Medici, the show displays to the public for the first time two gold medals, two coins and the dedicatory plaque. In addition, the exhibition is also intended to cast light on what Anna Maria Luisa did for art and politics in Florence from 1737, when her brother Gian Gastone died up to the year of her own death in 1743.

The show is divided into four sections designed to introduce the heterogeneous public of the Museum of the Medici Chapels to the personality of the Princess. The first, Childhood and the adolescent years at Poggio Imperiale, briefly illustrates her education and the years of her early youth that she spent at the Medici Villa of Poggio Imperiale with her brothers Ferdinando and Gian Gastone, her uncle Francesco Maria and her grandmother Vittoria della Rovere.

The second section, Youth and marriage, opens with the fine portrait of Anna Maria Luisa as Flora by Antonio Franchi and deals with the period of her marriage to the Elector Palatine of the Rhine, Johann Wilhelm, celebrated in 1691, and her long sojourn in Germany where the couple were intensely engaged in artistic patronage, well-represented by the works commissioned from Bartolomeo Van Douven, whose famous Allegory of the Electors Palatine as Patrons of the Arts can be admired at the exhibition. The third section, The return to Florence and the commitment to the family church, constitutes the core of the exhibition, illustrating the years immediately following the return to Florence of the Electress after the death of her husband in 1716.

The events of these years significantly affected the complex of San Lorenzo, which was enhanced by important commissions made by Anna Maria Luisa, presented here in the light of new “political” documents. Following the “Family Pact” of 1737, the Princess indeed launched the final season of Medici patronage in the great complex of San Lorenzo: “Anna Maria set in motion a wide-ranging series of commission initiatives which were focused on San Lorenzo, comprising the construction of the bell-tower, the painting of the cupola of the basilica, the project for the decoration of the ceiling of the Chapel of the Princes (never carried through): it was clearly an attempt on her part to conclude the extensive cycle of operations begun by her distant ancestor Giovanni di Bicci three centuries earlier, in the service of the famous basilica and the public magnificence of the family” (Cristina Acidini).

The show ends with the fifth section, Death, which took place on 18 February 1743, where period engravings and publications illustrate the ceremonies connected with the event. Also displayed in this section are the three-dimensional cast of the head of the Electress, the medals and the other objects found in her tomb.

NIGHT OF ST. JOHN MARATHON – Not Exactly on St. John’s Day

On Saturday, June 21 at 9pm the Night of St. John Marathon will kick off in Piazza del Duomo. This will be a 10K passing all of the major monuments. For details check www.firenzemarathon.it and click on “Eventi”.


On Sun. 1, pop around to Piazza S.S. Annunziata and admire the crafts and organic food fair. This one, Arti and Mestieri as the name suggests will provide all of your art and gift needs. Your will also find handmade ceramic whistles for kids, antiques, food, hand-woven dresses and linens, beeswax candles, naturally scented soaps and oils, home-baked bread and cakes, ceramics, wine, olive oil, hand-carved wooden salad bowls and more. www.lafierucola.org.

There are Fieruculinas on other June Sundays: Piazza Santo Spirito on June 15 and at the Vecchio Conventino, Via Giano della Bella, 20 on June 9 (5pm to midnight) See also: http://www.fondazioneartigianato.it/lungoungiorno-fierucola_speciale-estate%21-8-giugno%2C-17-24.html .


The Odeon is still presenting original sound movies, but with less frequency. Visit the web site or stop by the theater for the most recent schedule. www.odeonfirenze.com

Piazza Strozzi, Firenze

Tel. +39.055.214068 or +39.055.295051

ORIGINAL LANGUAGE FILMS – Talking Movies at the British Institute

The Talking Movies Series at the British Institute Library: Every Wednesday at 8:00 pm, the Sala Ferragamo in the Institute's Harold Acton Library hosts a film, followed by discussion. The British Institute Library, Lungarno Guicciardini 9. Check the web site at www.britishinstitute.it/en/events/default.asp for times, dates, and detailed information or stop by the library for a brochure.

BOGIE – An American cultural icon, voted by the American Film Institute as the greatest star in American cinema, and winner of an Academy Award, Humphrey Bogart stands head and shoulders above any competition heading in his direction. With his unique hard-boiled style, this most romantic of cynics captivated audiences across the globe, gracing many a noir with his inimitable presence, but avoiding the kind of typecasting that was an ever present danger for practitioners of his craft. He made each role his own in a career spanning thirty years and some eighty movies, and is remembered with a fondness rare in movie history. With Nicholas Ray directing, Bogart's screenwriter Dixon Steele in IN A LONELY PLACE (1950) revisited noir territory with impressive results. The series ends with one of his last films, THE CAINE MUTINY (1954), in which his Captain Queeg of the USS Caine has to fight for his sanity. "Himself, he never took too seriously-his work most seriously. He regarded the somewhat gaudy figure of Bogart, the star, with an amused cynicism; Bogart, the actor, he held in deep respect... In each of the fountains at Versailles there is a pike which keeps all the carp active; otherwise they would grow overfat and die. Bogie took rare delight in performing a similar duty in the fountains of Hollywood. Yet his victims seldom bore him any malice, and when they did, not for long. His shafts were fashioned only to stick into the outer layer of complacency, and not to penetrate through to the regions of the spirit where real injuries are done... He is quite irreplaceable. There will never be another like him" (John Huston's eulogy at Bogart's funeral in 1957).

* Note: starting time for all movies is 8.00 pm unless otherwise stated.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014. 20.00


Wednesday, June 11, 2014. 20.00


Wednesday, June 18, 2014. 18.00



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

Tuesday, June 03, 2014, 17.00

Book Launch & Reception

Finding, Fixing, Faking, Making, Supplying Sculpture in ‘400 Florence by Lynn Catterson. Compared to painters of ‘400 Florence, the costs of materials and production for sculptors were significantly higher. Much has been written about demand and the taste of the patron as reflected in the types of projects they commissioned. Yet there must have been the equal but opposing force of supply. To mitigate the high cost of materials, labor and transport, sculptors had to choose materials and seek production processes that increased profit margins and reduced the labor required of the master's hand. While personal passion and commission competition are among the motivators normally seen to engender innovation, there evidently was the less lofty concern for the cost effectiveness of production. And this in turn would stimulate the craving for, and the evolution of, new technologies, and by the end of the ‘400, a keen savvy for branding and marketing the objects of supply. Using examples from the practice of Ghiberti, Donatello, Luca della Robbia and Michelangelo, this is an examination of the ways in which ‘400 sculptors successfully negotiated the emergent art-as-commodity market.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014, 18.00

Lecture: Mark Roberts

The reign of Sylvester I, pope from 314 to 315, saw the establishment of Christianity as a state religion, the building of St Peter’s and the First Council of Constantinople; he had a posthumous reputation as a magician, was the subject of a notorious forgery, and was portrayed in frescoes by Maso di Banco.

Monday, June 16, 2014, 17.00


Join us in a celebration of James Joyce for Bloomsday when we will read the ‘Proteus' chapter from Ulysses.

Friday, June 20, 2014, 10.00

Third Festa della Cultura, San Giovanni Battista, Florence 2014

The annual conference on 20 June from 10.00 to 16.00 is part of the third Festa della Cultura, San Giovanni Battista - once again presented by i Buontalenti in association with the British Institute of Florence. This interdisciplinary event in the Sala Ferragamo will include the following guest speakers:

Roberta Lapucci PhD, Storica dell'arte e restauratrice, Studio Art Centers International.

"Restoration as a philological moment: significance of St John for Florence and Malta, at the time of Caravaggio".

Jeremy Boudreau, MA, Head of History of Art, British Institute of Florence

"Representations of the Festa di San Giovanni Battista in Florentine Renaissance Art."

Penny Mittler MA, Church of England Reader in Florence & Manchester, Archivist for St. Mark's English Church, Florence

"A Diet of Locusts and Wild Honey - who was John the Baptist?"

Lisa Clifford, author: The Promise, Death In the Mountains

"Inspired by Florence... giving fiction and non-fiction a pure Florentine sense of place."

There will also be screenings of works by filmmaker David Battistella and Maestro Federico Maria Sardelli.

Tickets will be on sale at the library from 5th May:

€20 full price including morning tea and buffet lunch,

€15 Harold Acton library members, students & over 60s.

Places can be booked only at the time of ticket purchase. No reservation without payment of the ticket. Payment in cash only.

Proceeds will benefit the Cultural Programme of The British Institute. The event will be in English.

For further information please visit the festival website: www.festacultura.org

Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 18.00

Lecture: John Law

The political opinions of the Scottish national poet Robert Burns are the subject of a talk by the historian John Law.



Parco Sculpture del Chianti kicks off its 2014 Musical Evenings at the Amphitheatre on Tuesdays from 4 June through 26 August, 19:00

See http://www.chiantisculpturepark.it/program2013.htm for the program of the 2013 season concerts


The 77th Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Festival, with our own conductor Zubin Mehta, will host numerous star players, as well as a program that includes masterpieces such as Carmen, Orfeo ed Eurdice and L’amour des trios oranges. More than 70 events, with a stimulating and multi-disciplinary offer including operas, concerts, ballets, cinematographic works, books, conferences, publications and children's activities. It’s an extraordinary international exhibition. Go to the website at www.maggiofiorentino.com for all of the details.

Ticket Office Teatro Comunale

Corso Italia 16 - Firenze - fax: +39 055 287222 Tues. - Fri. 10:00-16:30 & Sat. 10:00-13:00

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

FIESOLE – Estate Fiesolana

Estate Fiesolana-Music, Dance, Theater, and art come together at perhaps the best-known festival in the area and is famous for its rich calendar of events and international star lineup. Part of the Estate Fiesolana, is the jazz lineup with Jazzsonic, Pino Marino and Frida Neri. The summer program celebrating music, theater, dance and art includes Pat Mtheny and Tommy the Rock Opera. Be sure to attend at least one event, if only to enjoy the amphitheater and a cool breeze on a summer evening. From June 02 to July 31; see www.estatefiesolana.it for more information. Events are held in Fiesole, Pratolino and Girone.


The Lucca Summer Music Fest is one of the most famous in Tuscany, pulling big names from all over the world. There is a little something for everyone. The Eagles, Jeff Beck, Stevie Wonder, the Backstreet Boys, and more, from July 2 to July 26. For details, see www.summer-festival.com .


Not to worry! … Here are a bunch of events or exhibits that will still be happening in late June and July:


Until September 21 at the Bargello Museum, via del Proconsolo 4, Florence

The courtyard of the beautiful Bargello Museum will be filled with musical, dance and theatre performances all summer. There are about 80 events of classical and jazz music, dance, and theater. The schedule can be obtained by dropping by and tourist office or the Bargello or checking the very disorganized Italian language website:

See http://www.uffizi.firenze.it/it/eventi/evento.php?t=5384a7e5f1c3bc500e000000 for details.


This exhibit, lead and organized by the Associazione Osservatorio dei Mestieri d’Arte at the Ente Cassa di Risparmio in Florence, presents the artistic creations of Tuscan goldsmiths and foreigners who work in the region. Another section, housed at the Horne Museum, will instead see certain works of this tradition “converse” with the works of the Herbert Horne collection. The many provocative and unusual displays are all meant to shed a new and unique light on both the contemporary and the antique.

The attention of the two shows focuses, in particular, on these artists that create jewelry as a wearable sculpture, as an artistic expression; the artists whose work is unrepeatable, and who desires a continuous search for the secret to beauty, sensibility, and innovation.

The exhibit will run until October 15, 2014 at the Exhibition Space of the Ente Cassa di Risparmio on Via Bufalini, 6 (free); and at the Horne Museum on via de’ Benci, 6 (ticket).

For more information, see http://www.entecarifirenze.it/ and http://www.museohorne.it/


Until 20 July 2014

Palazzo Strozzi is hosting Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino. Diverging Paths of Mannerism until 20 July 2014, a major exhibition devoted to the work of Pontormo and of Rosso Fiorentino, the two painters who were without question the most original and unconventional adepts of the new way of interpreting art in that season of the Italian Cinquecento which Giorgio Vasari called the 'modern manner'.

Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino trained under Andrea del Sarto while maintaining a strongly independent approach and enormous freedom of expression. Pontormo, always a favourite with the Medici, was a painter open to stylistic variety and to a renewal of the traditional approach to composition. Rosso Fiorentino, on the other hand, was more tightly bound to tradition, yet at the same time he was fully capable of flights of originality and innovation, influenced also by Cabalistic literature and esoteric works.

Mirroring the precepts underlying the Bronzino exhibition, this exhibition opted for a broad and multifaceted overview of the two great painters' masterpieces, according priority to the formal splendour and lofty poetry of Pontormo and of Rosso Fiorentino so that the exhibition appeals in its clarity not only to the specialist but also to a wider audience thanks to themed sections set out in chronological order.

Introducing the exhibit, in the first room of Palazzo Strozzi, are three overwhelmingly large frescos, supported by deep maroon arched temporary walls that create the effect of walking into a dimly lit basilica. The three frescos, of equally large proportions, create a closed space, with two flanking the sides and one looming opposite the entrance. Del Sarto painted the first fresco in 1511; Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino completed the other two shortly after in 1513 and 1514. All three were made for SS. Annunziata, thusly the ecclesiastical atmosphere is fitting. Spotlighting illuminates the frescos dramatically, increasing the feeling of being in a religious setting, which these images were originally produced for.

The second room is dedicated to the workshop of Del Sarto, including images produced by Pontormo, Rosso Fiorentino and Fra Bartolomeo. Already, the divergence of styles between the two protagonists is visible.

The following rooms are dedicated solely to the individuality of the artists, Pontormo and Rosso and the wall texts comment on their evolved styles. One of the final rooms, titled Rosso and Pontormo between the sack of Rome and the Siege of Florence, opens to the beautifully conserved masterpiece by Pontormo The Visitation or Visitazione painted between 1528 and 1529. Clearly, this painting is one of the most important of the exhibition. Since its drastic restoration, it revealed Pontormo’s vibrant use of color and elements that had been lost.

The final room exhibits three large and beautiful tapestries, modeled after designs by Rosso and Pontormo. The largest, Combat of the Centaurs and the Lapiths 1539 to 1544, rests on a slanted surface, allows the textiles to rest but also reflects the light off of the detailed and intricately woven gold and silver wefts.

The exhibition design combines the contemporary concept of simplicity through the dramatic spotlighting and the comfort and feel of a traditional museum. Dark and muted altar-like structures are beneath the works, suggesting to the visitor the ecclesiastical connotation of the majority of the works. The bold maroon, which serves as a backdrop for the paintings, almost reminds the viewer of a textile background that compliments the Renaissance culture.

A unique and unrepeatable event bringing together for the very first time a selection of masterpieces by the two artists in Italian and foreign collections, many of them specially restored for the occasion.

You can download a pdf of an English language guide to the exhibition here:


Monday to Friday

9.00-13.00; 14.00-18.00

Tel. +39 055 2469600

Fax +39 055 244145


While you are at Palazzo Strozzi don’t miss: The Palazzo Strozzi unveils Family Matters: Portraits and Experiences of Family Today (CCC Strozzina, 14 March-20 July 2014), which presents the works by contemporary artists that encourage an investigation into the images and dynamics of family in the contemporary world.

And there is still more: The Greeting by Bill Viola

The Greeting, a video which the artist first presented at the Venice Biennale in 1995, will be on show at Palazzo Strozzi alongside the work of art that inspired it, Pontormo's Visitation from the church of San Michele Arcangelo in Carmignano. The event will mark the return of this great contemporary artist to Palazzo Strozzi after the CCC Strozzina's first exhibition, Emotional Systems, in 2007, in which his Observance (2002) played an extremely important role.

The Greeting is the first work in which the artist relates directly to the work of the old masters. His aim is not to recreate Pontormo's Visitation (which depicts the meeting between Mary, who is pregnant with Jesus, and St. Elisabeth, who is pregnant with St. John the Baptist) but to use the Florentine master as "a guide for doing something new." Viola has created a choreography of contemporary characters interpreting a scene from traditional Christian iconography using these great masterpieces of the past as his models. The figures are stripped of their religious symbolism and provided with a new context in a new dimension. What we see here is neither a literal transposition of the story from the Gospel of Luke nor yet Pontormo's interpretation of that story, but a touching and original vision of a meeting that becomes a timeless and universally poetic metaphor for the very essence of the human condition.


The Festival delle Colline, celebrating its 34th year, from July 3 to July 31, this popular festival in Prato features internationally renowned artists performing all'aperto. Music ranges from African rhythms to orchestral sounds. Find the complete schedule at www.festivaldellecolline.com .


The Lucca Summer Music Fest is one of the most famous in Tuscany, pulling big names from all over the world. There is a little something for everyone from July 2 to July 26. For details, see www.summer-festival.com .


Parco Sculture del Chianti kicks off its 2013 Musical Evenings at the Amphitheatre on Tuesdays from 4 June through 27 August, 19:00 See http://www.chiantisculpturepark.it/program2014.htm for the program of the 2014 season concerts.


This fabulous music festival runs through July, but has its first night on June 29 (7:30pm) at Pieve Sant Appiano in Barberino Val d’Elsa presenting Joris van Rijn on violin, Henk Neven, baritone, and Hans Eijsacker on piano, with works by Schmann, Beethoven and Wolf. More info: www.linariclassic.com .


PISA – Patron Saint’s Feast Day

On the eve of the patron saint’s feast day (June 16) Pisa transforms the lungarni (banks of the Arno) into a phantasmagoric fairy-tale setting. The architectural details of the palaces – windows, cornices, balconies – the parapets of the river and the bridges glow in the reflected light of over 70,000 ‘lumini’ (small glass lamps burning oil or wax) while thousands of lighted candles float on the waters of the Arno. Sham architecture (‘machines’) and a firework spectacle at the Cittadella Vecchia make this event, which dates back to 1688, even more fascinating.

Also in Pisa enjoy classical music in the classical setting of the cloisters of Pisa's Museo dell'Opera del Duomo at Music Under the Tower. Usually runs from the end of June to early July; check full schedule at www.opapisa.it

MONTELUPO – The Best Ceramic Festival in the World

Montelupo is the center of the Tuscan ceramic world, both from industrial production to individual artisans. The annual Festa Internazionale della Ceramica is not to be missed. Full of events, shows, lectures, films, it draws in ceramic artisans from all over the world.

For info: www.festaceramica.it


Estate Fiesolana-Music, Dance, Theater, and art come together at perhaps the best-known festival in the area and is famous for its rich calendar of events and international star lineup. Part of the Estate Fiesolana, is the jazz lineup with Jazzsonic, Pino Marino and Frida Neri. The summer program celebrating music, theater, dance and art includes Johanna Knauf, Pat Mtheny and Tommy the Rock Opera. Be sure to attend at least one event, if only to enjoy the amphitheater and a cool breeze on a summer evening. From June 02 to July 31; see www.estatefiesolana.it for more information.Events are held in Fiesole, Pratolino and Girone.


On June 7 and 8, the small fortified village of Malmantile (near Lastra Signa), you will be immersed in medieval atmosphere with dames and knights, artists, and artisans will relive the magic of the times that were. There are archery competitions and grand cavalcades of knights on horseback. All of the trattorias and osterias in the town go all out with medieval flavors. This is the 20th Festa Mediovale in Malmantile.

See http://www.festamedioevalemalmantile.it/index.php for the schedule of events.


Melodia Del Vino is a series of beautiful classical music concerts accompanied by fine wines in some of the most lovely and architecturally interesting wineries of the region. Festival runs from June 26 to July 6. The wineries include Suvereto near Livorno and the new Antinori Winery in Bargino near Florence. If you have to choose just one, don't miss the final event at Petra in Suvereto. See more at www.melodiadelvino.it .


The Lucca Summer Music Fest is one of the most famous in Tuscany, pulling big names from all over the world. There is a little something for everyone. The Eagles, Jeff Beck, Stevie Wonder, the Backstreet Boys, and more, from July 2 to July 26. For details, see www.summer-festival.com .

MERCATINO DI APRILANTE - Artisanal Crafts Market

Sun. 1 (morning to afternoon) visit Panzano-in-Chianti. The first Sunday of each month the weekly town market held in Panzano is expanded with artisan booths of all sorts. Depending on which vendors show up, you'll find honey and pecorino (sheep's milk) cheese makers, hand-embroidered linen makers, boutique wineries and 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 or S. Donato. 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.


On Sun. 1, as on every first Sunday of the month, from 8 am to sunset, you can enjoy a visit to Fiesole with the added fun of perusing the stands filled with bric-brac and antiques. Piazza Mino. For info phone 0555978373.


Tuscan Traveler’s Italian Food Rules written by Ann Reavis has been published! Find a copy at The Paperback Exchange at Via delle Oche, 4r, or at BM Bookshop, Borgo Ognissante, 4. Italian Life Rules will be published in July 2014.


Who would have thought an innocent gesture of goodwill could cause so much confusion among friends, family and associates? When to kiss, how many kisses, left cheek, right cheek, both cheeks, lips or not? Visitors to Italy often have cheek-kissing anxiety.

Have you ever greeted an Italian by going for a cheek kiss only to have them extend an arm for a hearty handshake and a cheery, "Buongiorno" or “Piacere?” Regions and cultures often dictate kissing rules, but the bottom line to the kissing dilemma is this: When in doubt, don’t!

Some things to consider before offering a cheek include how well you know the person, whether it is a business or social occasion, and your own motive behind the gesture. Keep in mind that much of this depends on the personality of the kisser. Most Italians are warm and demonstrative. They particularly enjoy bestowing their kisses on close friends and family, but for new acquaintances (potential future friends), in business settings, and with strangers, a handshake is the greeting of choice.

Don’t kiss someone you have never met before. Be a consistent kisser. If you greet someone with a kiss, don’t forget to do the same to say, "Arrivederci." Offering your hand for a handshake after a hello kiss sends a confusing message.

If you have a sufficiently close cheek-to-cheek relationship, then start on the right and graze the cheek of the other person with your own, refrain from making the "Moi, Moi" or any other sound into the other person’s ear. Then switch to the left cheek and repeat. Not to make this difficult, but you may find that in some parts of Italy they start left cheek first and then right. When in doubt, pause and follow the lead of your Italian friend.

Stop at a kiss to each check. Unlike in France or Russia, a third pass is extremely rare in Italy. Don’t actually kiss the cheek unless it is a very, very close friend or family member. If your kiss includes a hug, make it brief, a few short taps on the back are appropriate, avoid pounding the back of the other person.

Usually the cheek kissing routine is between women and women and men and women, but there are regions in Italy, mostly in the south, where men greet one another with kisses on either cheek. Some suggest that Italian women who wanted their men to sympathize with their suffering when brushing up against scruffy, unshaven beards started this. The safest route for a man visiting Italy is to offer a handshake to greet other men. After that follow the lead of those Italian metrosexual friends. As a general rule, women have the universal power to dictate proximity. The woman has to take charge to avoid any awkwardness.

Ironically, the number one situation most fraught with danger is when a foreigner meets a fellow expat. If the person is a friend, or a friend of a friend, do you stay with the custom of Italy or fall back on the etiquette of the homeland? It’s probably safest to stay with the handshake until your relationship rises to the level of closeness that calls for kisses.


Inquiry About La Foce:

Dear P & F,

Thank you for your response about La Foce. Apparently they open the gardens for tours each Wednesday afternoon for 45 minute tours starting at 3pm. We definitely will do the tour.

I have been reading Iris Origo's memoirs & autobiography and would love to meet her daughter or daughters. I have suggested her books to my book club and we will be studying her and La Foce for our August meeting. I'm a great admirer of hers. I never knew about her until I read the P&F newsletter which suggested reading her War on Val D'Orcia. My fascination and admiration for Iris Origo started with that.

There was also an excellent article in the Sunday New York Times on May 11th of Iris Origo and La Foce.

Please let me know if a meeting can be accomplished.

Thank you so much. Best regards to you and Suzanne.


Dear Andrea,

The family (Iris Origo’s descendants) doesn’t live at La Foce for most of the year so a meeting will not be possible, but a visit to the gardens (Visits (only guided tours) from March 19 to November 2, 2014:Every Wednesday afternoon at 3, 4, 5, and 6 pm. Every weekend and national holiday (April 21 and 25, May 1, June 2, August 15, December 26, and January 1 2015) ) with information to be found on the web site:

http://www.lafoce.com/index.php?vedi=contenuti&id=24&m=lafoce is always very informative.

Be sure to take the walk down to the family cemetery below the gardens.

Also, in July from the 18th to the 27 be sure to check out Incontri in Terra di Siena, a music festival that is directed by Iris Origo’s grandson.

Incontri in Terra di Siena is a not-for-profit cultural association, based in Tuscany, Italy and founded in 1989 in memory of Antonio Origo and his wife Iris, the well-known Anglo-American writer. After moving to the area in 1924, the Origos dedicated their lives to the development and progress of the Val d'Orcia and its people.

Based at Villa La Foce and the nearby medieval castle, Castelluccio, Incontri's aim is to spread the appreciation of music and art through concerts, meetings, and artistic events held in the many beautiful neighbouring towns that include Pienza, Radicofani, Cetona, Città della Pieve and San Quirico d'Orcia. Art and music is a meeting ground for the awareness of many issues, from the understanding and collaboration between peoples to increased cultural interaction between America and Europe and the challenge of musical and literary education for the young.

The Avalon String Quartet with pianist Alexandros Kapelis

Antonio Lysy, grandson of Antonio and Iris Origo, is both an internationally-acclaimed cellist and current professor at UCLA, as well as being Incontri's Artistic Director and its principal founder. In past seasons, he has invited renowned artists Pascal Rogé and Kathryn Stott to be guest Music Directors while musicians such as Charles Dutoit, Maurizio Pollini, Vladimir Ashkenazy and Hans Werner Henze are on the Incontri's Honorary Board. Some of the most interesting and talented artists on the international musical scene (Louis Lortie, Jeremy Menuhin, Daniel Phillips, Ani Kavafian, Anthony Marwood, Barry Douglas, Mark Kaplan, Lucy Shelton, Stephan Genz, Steven Isserlis, Carter Brey, Barbara Westphal, Colin Carr, Antony Pay, James Campbell, Thomas Adès and Diane Reeves) have performed at past Incontri festivals along with chamber groups such as the Orpheus and Schidlof Quartets, Quartetto Foné, the Goldberg Ensemble, the Amadeus and Kremlin chamber orchestras, the Tallis Scholars, Red Priest, L'Arpeggiata, Paquito d'Rivera and Synchronicity and the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto under Vladimir Ashkenazy.

Contemporary art exhibitions are held during the summer months in the halls, courtyard and gardens of Castelluccio while seminars, conferences, and round tables concerning environmental issues and sustainable agriculture are often organized in its capacious Granary. During 2002-2003, a symposium and exhibition celebrated the 100th anniversary of Iris Origo, the much-admired writer who is best known for her books The Merchant of Prato and War in Val d'Orcia.

Incontri has an American 501(c) 3 Corporation, Friends of Incontri in Terra di Siena, Inc., through which donors are able to inspire new programs with their appreciation and support, as well as covering the ongoing, yearly running costs of the festival which amount to about $200,000. Many opportunities exist at every level for friends to contribute to Incontri's success, from underwriting a "Serata Toscana", to dedicating a concert or sponsoring an artist or an exhibition. Americans can send their tax deductible donation to:

Friends of Incontri in Terra di Siena, Inc.

938 3rd St., #105

Santa Monica, CA 90403.

Web Site: http://www.itslafoce.org/?action=home

See also: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/11/travel/echoes-of-history-at-a-tuscan-estate.html?_r=0

With best wishes,


Invitation to Newsletter Readers & Friends:

The Pitcher & Flaccomio Newsletter would like to invite readers and friends of readers to submit announcements of upcoming events that may be of interest to visitors and residents of Florence and Tuscany, provide shopping tips, and/or comments on what’s “right” or “wrong” in Florence (or the Newsletter). We can’t promise to put every announcement in the newsletter, but we appreciate your support, interest and messages.

Please send an email to info@pitcherflaccomio.com or newsletter@pitcherflaccomio.com .


June is the month where Florence shines. Get outside and enjoy the music, the pageantry and the food.

All the best,

Pitcher and Flaccomio