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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

March Madness kicks off with a bang - the last week of the official sales season - look for 90% discounts! Just as you are catching your breath the next Sunday is Carnival and you are off to Viareggio for the parade! You thought it was time to shelter from the late winter storms, but Italy is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its Unification on the 17th, a brand new National Holiday! Okay, enough! No - don't breathe yet - Florence celebrates its very own New Year on March 25th!

Maybe you can rest in April...



BEST PARTY FOR MARCH - Viareggio Carnival

Outside of Italy when Carnival is mentioned people think of Venice, New Orleans, or Rio. But Italians know that one of the most surprising, energetic, colorful carnivals is held in the small seaside town of Viareggio. The Viareggio Carnival is 138 years old and is one of the most important in Europe, attended by hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world. First celebrated in 1873 as a folk event and masked tax protest, the stars of today's spectacular are the huge papier-mâché floats and puppets, which will parade along the famous viali a mare, down the seaside promenades, delighting children and adults, alike.

More than a dozen huge floats - the biggest ones are 60 feet high, 42 feet wide, weighing about 40 tons each - and elaborate ‘masquerades' - groups of eight individuals clad in nine foot high papier-mâché costumes - will entertain the crowds, rain or shine. Inside the floats, specialists maneuver the weights, counter-weights and levers that will make the gigantic puppets almost come to life by the moving arms, opening and closing mouths and rolling eyes. The floats are true works of art to which the local float makers dedicate an entire year of workmanship and there is not one politician, entertainer, or other famous or infamous person, who has not been honored or dishonored by these master craftsmen.

Pile the gang in a car or, or better yet, into a Lazzi bus or onto the train and head out for one crazy Sunday afternoon. Leave your angst at home, wear clothes you don't care too much about because it is a given that you'll end up sprayed with foam and sprinkled with confetti. Old, young, and everyone in-between joins in the silliness. Starting times for parades: 3:00 pm (except Fat Tuesday (March 8) at 9:00 pm and Sunday, March 13 at 5:00 pm).

DATES: March 6, 8 and 13, 2011
TICKETS: 15 euro. Kids under 10 free, 11 to 13 are 10 euro.
WEBSITE: www.viareggio.ilcarnevale.com
TRANSPORTATION: From Florence take either the Lazzi Bus (Piazza Stazione, 3r) to Piazza D'Azeglio in Viareggio or take the train from Florence to Viareggio and follow the crowds to the seaside promenade.

BEST OFFER FOR MARCH - Free Museum Entry

Free Entry for Women! On Friday, March 8 - Women's Day - Italy is offering women free entry into all state-run museums. So celebrate the wonderful women in your life. Follow tradition and give them a sprig of yellow mimosa, and be sure to also spring for champagne and something glittery or silky.

Free Entry for Everyone! This year for the first time in 150 years, March 17 has been declared a national holiday - National Unification Day. So banks and post offices will be closed but the museums will be open and all over Italy they will be free.

For all of these free days take advantage and check off some hot spots that have been on your list: Cappelle Medicee, the Uffizi, the Accademia, Museo dell'Opificio delle Pietre Dure (Via degli Alfani, 78), Museo di San Marco (Piazza San Marco, 3), and the Museo Nazionale del Bargello. Or take a peek into some of the off-the-beaten track gems like Florence's Last Suppers: Cenacolo del Fuligno on via Faenza 40/42, Cenacolo del Ghirlandaio on Borgo Ognissanti, 42, Cenacolo di Andrea del Sarto (Via di San Salvi 16, tel: 055 2388603), and Cenacolo di Sant'Apollonia (Via XXVII Aprile 1, tel: 055 2388607). See Orsammichele, or cruise through the Pitti complex (Galleria Palatina e Appartamenti Monumentali, the Galleria del Costume, Museo degli Argenti, Museo delle Porcellane, Galleria d'Arte Moderna di Firenze and Boboli.

OSTERIA FOR MARCH - L'Osteria di Giovanni

For over half a century in Florence, the name Latini has been associated with classic Tuscan food and wine.  Giovanni Latini and his family, however, have created something completely different from the old family trattoria.  Modern art on the walls, widely spaced tables dressed in fine linen, a sophisticated wine list, and Tuscan cuisine with an up-dated concept make this a restaurant to savor and enjoy. 
Giovanni is a welcoming host, who serves as many native Florentines as he does visitors from abroad. A plate of tiny mouth-watering warm fried bread coccoli (cuddles) and cold flutes of Prosecco are placed on the table immediately for munching and sipping while perusing the menu where every dish has a helpful description in English or Italian.
Caterina, Giovanni's daughter, attended L'Ecole des Arts Culinaires and the French Culinary Institute of New York. Caterina insists on the freshest ingredients as well as adding a refined modern interpretation to traditional recipes. Popular dishes include salmon cured with pink peppercorns, served with sour cream and melon, tortelli stuffed with pear and pecorino with leek and paprika sauce, pici with sausage and kale, and lamb slow-cooked with artichokes.
Although there are a couple of traditional desserts on the ever-changing seasonal menu, Giovanni's wife Carol has delighted everyone by introducing a warm citrus cake and a light pineapple carpaccio with red peppercorns. Dinner will average 40 to 50 euro per person, depending on the choice of wine.
L'Osteria di Giovanni, Via del Moro, 22, Tel. +39 055 284897, www.osteriadigiovanni.com
Open for lunch Friday through Monday and seven evenings a week for dinner.
Reservations recommended.
MUSEUM FOR MARCH - The Russian Museum comes to Palazzo Pitti

Visitors to Florence expect to view masterpieces from the Italian Renaissance - these are easy to find. And most of those same visitors will never set foot in St. Petersburg or Moscow. Now there is an excellent opportunity to view an exhibit of modern Russian art, of which most pieces have not been seen outside of that country. The exhibit, at Palazzo Pitti, entitled From Icon to Malevich: Masterpieces of Russian Art, demonstrates that Italian art directly influenced Russian art of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The exhibit, which runs throughout March, in the Andito degli Angiolini Gallery, found between the Palatina Gallery and the Galleria d'Arte Moderna of the Palazzo Pitti, is the first Florentine manifestation of a yearlong cultural exchange between Russia and Italy. The show contains 40 masterpieces. Among them here are the 16th century icon Christ the Pantocrator on Throne (in Majesty), the portraits by the artists of the 18th century - I. Nikitin, D. Levitsky, V. Borovikovsky - and the works created by such outstanding artists of the border of the 19th and the 20th centuries V. Serov and M. Vrubel, and also the works by N. Goncharova, M. Larionov, V. Kandinsky, P. Filonov, K. Malevich, who are the greatest masters of the Russian Avant-Garde.

Two superb videos provide an introduction to the museums and architectural treasures of St. Petersburg as well as a historical context to the paintings on display for the first time in Florence.


Simone Taddei's workshop/store, directly across the alley from Dante's Church in Florence, should be visited when you have plenty of time. Not only are there elegant burnished leather boxes, picture frames, desk sets and other leather gift items to be examined, admired and purchased, but Simone is an enthusiastic interesting man, who loves to talk not only about his work, but also about his worldview. He is the third in a line of Master Craftsmen, specializing in fine leather work.

Simone's boxes are completely made of leather. On average there are thirty-two steps and twenty days of work in each small and medium-sized box.  The large and baroque-style boxes require forty steps and fifty days because of the extra layers of leather and the complexity of the design. Each box starts with a wooden form on which dampened rawhide is bound and allowed to dry. Where the edges meet, Simone must shave the leather thin so that no joint is visible. Once the thick leather is completely dry, a thin supple layer of beige calfskin is attached with a natural paste and the edges are again shaved with a knife so that no seam shows. Finally, each creation is dyed, burnished and polished to a deep rich sheen.

Simone is that rare character, a Renaissance man, descendant from generations of Florentines. He is a philosopher, an observer of history and politics, a family man, but above all, he is an artisan.

Taddei,Via Santa Margherita, 11(directly across from "Dante's Church), Tel: +, open Mon. - Sat. 8am-7pm; closed Sun. & August

RECIPE FOR MARCH - Francesca's Florentine Food: Ribolita

Francesca Boni, cooking instructor at FriendInFlorence (www.friendinflorence.com), says, "This is the REAL recipe certified by a Notary Act on May 24, 2001, by the Florence Delegation of the Accademia Italiana della Cucina. It is the final version born after long studies and discussions among Florentine cooks and chefs, after numerous trials, tastings and comparisons. There are, of course, 'family' variations (white bread vs. dark - tomatoes vs. tomato paste, etc)."

Ribolita - Bread and vegetable soup

400 grams/1 lb of whole wheat bread at least 2 days old
400 grams of dry cannellini beans
½ Savoy cabbage (cavolo verza) finely chopped
1 bunch (400 grams) of black cabbage (without ribs and well washed) cut into pieces
A small bunch of Swiss chard (bietola) (400grams)
2 medium potatoes
Tomato paste 1 spoon
1 red onion and 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
2 sticks of celery
2 carrots
A sprig of thyme
8 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Cook the dry beans (after having soaked them overnight) for 1 hour in 2 liters of cold water in a large heavy pot. Set aside ¼ of the cooked beans. Puree the remaining ¾ of the beans, using a food mill or sieve and then return the bean puree to the cooking broth. Sauté the garlic and onion with the chopped celery and carrots over a low flame, and then add the other vegetables, thyme, salt and pepper. Add the vegetables to the pureed beans and stock. Simmer for 60 to 90 minutes, stirring well. A few minutes before removing from the heat add the remaining whole beans. Cut the bread in thin slices and add to the soup. Stir and remove from the heat.
Let the soup rest overnight.
Re-boil it (thus the name RI-BOLLITA), adding salt and pepper to taste and water as needed.
Serve with a trickle of extra virgin olive oil and NO cheese.

GELATERIA FOR MARCH - Gelateria Carraia

Ice cream is an important part of the American culture, but here in Italy, it is a religion. On a weekly basis more Italians enter a gelateria than a church. They argue about gelato more than religion, too. Florentines, especially, can debate long and hard about their favorite gelateria:  describing the benefits of local gelato-masters vs. the new "foreigners" (from Turin or Bologna or Sicily); asserting that creamy cioccolato fondente is better than cioccolato extra noir that lacks both eggs and cream; and despairing that not only do foreigners commit the sins of eating semifreddo in the summer, granita in the winter, but the tourists also request a 5 euro cone (way too big) from any so-called gelato stand that stacks the factory-made blocks of ice cream, sculpts them into a hill, and drapes fruit all over the mountainous mass.

This month be sure to try at least two or three of your favorite flavors at Gelateria Carraia in Piazza Nazario Sauro, 25r on the Oltrarno side of Ponte alla Carraia (Carraia Bridge). Owned and operated by the Florentine Innocenti family, it produces the creamiest gelato in Florence and has the best tangy yogurt-flavored gelato. The one euro cone heaped high is the best value in town. Try: Yogurt, Pistacchio, and Nutella

FORZA VIOLA!! FOR MARCH - Florentine Calcio

P&F Sports Reporters Simon Clark & Anne Brooks bring you February's Florentine Calcio results and the upcoming schedule for March.

Forza Viola! ... Let's hear it for the kids! The celebrity spotlight always falls on the seniors but our youth team, on the up for several seasons, is shining spectacularly in this year's "Coppa Italia Primavera". They brushed aside Milan in the semi-final and now face Roma over a two-legged final; a first piece of silverware for years is in prospect! And quite a month for our Big Boys as the wounded start walking again and we begin to look like a REAL football team once more:

Fiorentina's Results
Week 23: Fiorentina-Genoa WON 1-0
Week 24: Parma-Fiorentina DREW 1-1
Week 25: Palermo-Fiorentina WON 4-2
Week 17: Fiorentina-Inter LOST 1-2
Week 26: Fiorentina-Sampdoria DREW 0-0

Serie A. Genoa have been lurking only a point or two beneath us but history was on our side; they hadn't won at the Stadio since 1977. The Viola started brightly, as we tend to do these days, Gila ballooning over the bar when he should have done better, their defence then getting in a last-ditch block. The other thing we tend to do these days is concede a goal after that sprightly beginning. Today, Boruc is having none of that; we can hear his (unrepeatable) advice to sloppy defenders and he's a big man! On 40 minutes, we get the goal. Yes, their keeper let a cross slip from his grasp but Santana still had a lot to do - control the ball, evade a recovering keeper and onrushing defenders AND lash the ball into the net - all done with style before sprinting to the touchline to embrace the watching Vargas. Cerci missed the chance to kill the game; Boruc had nailed planks of wood across his goal; goodbye Genoa!
To Parma for week 24. As expected, a penitent Mutu is on the bench; not so expected, Montolivo on the bench next to him - not fully fit? Contractual problems? Sulking? The usual bright start with a Behrami strike coming back of the post and Gila's rebound ruled offside. Then, Boruc notwithstanding, Parma deliver step two - Amauri's overhead kick was magnificent and the Brazilian went on to torment our defence all afternoon. Our true grit came into play. Straight after the break, Camporese was hauled down in the penalty area and D'Agostino equalised with aplomb from the spot. Mutu came on for the last 10 minutes, instantly forcing a save; we need his goals.
Amid signs of recovery, here is a challenge away to high-flying Palermo; the Rosanero are on a run of 7 home wins, 11 points ahead of us. Our defence granted them an opening goal in just 7 minutes but, after a couple of near things, Gila showed his lethal anticipation as he nodded the equaliser from a fantastic Behrami lob. Into the second half and Palermo re-again the lead. But we have a Montolivo corner looping through to Camporese for the youngster's first Serie A goal. Then Monto smacks the post from fully 30 metres before Ljajic flashes in an unplayable cross that the Palermo defence can only turn into their own goal. We are on fire and Ljajic runs down the wing to turn the ball for Montolivo to slot in the fourth with Palermo dead and buried! The media see the result as a shock but it's Sinisa bringing the Viola back to form.
The re-arranged game with Inter was our first home defeat since last October but coach Mihajlovic was smiling afterwards. He reckoned we'd played well and had been unlucky to lose - an accurate synopsis as the Viola continued the energetic style displayed at Palermo. On six minutes, as Eto'o banged in a cross, there was nothing Camporese or Boruc could do as it ricocheted off the former and past the latter. We equalised on the half-hour with another odd goal - Pasqual's cross sweeping straight into the net as the Inter defence and Gila concentrated on each other rather than the ball! Fiorentina were in charge, with Gila, Mutu, Montolivo and Ljajic all threatening. And then a spot of loose defending allows ex-Viola starlet Pazzini to tap in the winner. When he played for us, he used to put such chances over the bar!
Week 26 and welcome the imploding Sampdoria. This should have been a straightforward win. Boring. Boring day, boring game, boring polo-neck worn by Della Valle. Two sides vying with each other to show which could miss the most chances. We always start brightly; why, for once, can't we score an early goal? No goals at all. Two points down the drain and with useless Roma throwing away a 3-0 lead, Genoa move above us. Boruc is playing well, Behrami is looking a good purchase and Gila needs to understand that no-one else is going to buy him if he keeps on sending the ball wide of the mark. Nice to see Vargas coming on...........at last, we may be able to fill a first team!
Four more games before the next international break. Next, a trip to woeful Bari (bottom of the league, 7 points adrift of the next club); that must be tre punti. Then we entertain Catania, also rooted in the relegation scramble; travel to Chievo, lurking behind us and showing good form at the moment; take on Roma at the Stadio - they are showing distinct signs of stress. We need points, at least ten from these games......................Alé Viola!

Ticket information - seating plan, prices, and ticket outlets - is on the "biglietteria" section of the club's website [www.it.violachannel.tv]. Tickets can be purchased at official box offices and holders of TicketOne lottery franchises. Sources include:

CHIOSCO DEGLI SPORTIVI, via degli Anselmi (between Piazza Repubblica 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 26432
FELTRINELLI FIRENZE, Via de' Carreiani 39/32R

Upcoming Fixtures
Week 27: 27 Feb/away Bari-Fiorentina
Week 28: 06 Mar/home Fiorentina-Catania
Week 29: 13 Mar/away Chievo-Fiorentina
Week 30: 20 Mar/home Fiorentina-Roma

Besides these four games, don't forget the youth team against Roma - 16 March at the Stadio and then 30 March in Rome.

BEST PARADE IN MARCH - Happy Florentine New Year!

Most of the world parties on January 1st, and the Chinese New Year happens between late January and mid-February, but Florence has its own New Year on March 25 every year. Until 1750, in Florence the beginning of the calendar year fell on March 25 and roughly coincided with the arrival of spring. This date also indicated the day of Christ's conception with the Annunciation of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, exactly nine months before the birth of Jesus. Although the Gregorian calendar was introduced in 1502, the Florentines continued to celebrate Capodanno Fiorentino on March 25 for another two centuries and still today, celebrations begin in the early afternoon (3pm), with costumed dignitaries and flag-waving groups parading through the streets of the city carrying the emblem of Florence, a red lily on a white field. The procession starts at the Palagio di Parte Guelfa and continues to the church of the Santissima Annunziata where all the citizens and the authorities pay tribute to the Madonna. A market runs all day in the square outside the church.



The name is uninspired, but from Saturday, March 12 through Monday, March 14, at the Stazione Leopolda, there will be three days of sampling, discovering, buying, and events dedicated to "taste". Pitti Immagine presents the sixth edition of TASTE with the theme In Viaggio Con Le Diversità Del Gusto - A Trip With the Diversities of Taste - a fair dedicated to excellence in taste and food lifestyles.

Growing in popularity, Taste No. 6 will present 240 specialist and niche companies presenting their products to the public, as well as the exhibition spaces, which will fill the Alcatraz area of the Stazione Leopolda, with a series of special projects and events. Taste is an amusing and absorbing experience for members of the gastronomic and catering trade as well as the general public, who can embark on a multi-sensorial journey to discover the myriad ways in which we express and experiment with taste today:

Taste Tour: an itinerary that gives visitors a chance to sample Made In Italy products to learn more about the gastronomic treasures of the country: from cream of black truffle soup to fish matriciana, from Chianti salame to tuna bresaola, from handmade dry egg pasta drawn through gold dies, to Pecorino cheese with saffron, balsamic vinegar chocolates and Taggiasche olive jam;

Taste Tools: view the most modern food and kitchen design utensils, clothing and technical/professional equipment for the table and kitchen;

Taste Shop: a shopping area where you can buy everything that you see and taste during the tour - a kind of department store of exclusive food products; and

Taste Ring: a series of talk shows and meetings with the luminaries of contemporary food culture, dedicated to the hottest and most curious food lifestyle themes, interpreting the current situation and anticipating future trends.

Stazione Leopolda, V.le Fratelli Rosselli, 5. Hours: 10.30 a.m. - 8.00 p.m. (Monday 9.30 a.m. - 4.30 p.m.). Admission: 10 euro. For general information visit:. www.tastefirenze.it (Also click on the link for Fuori di Taste (‘Beyond Taste' but also a pun on fuori di testa or ‘out of your mind') to obtain information about the dozens of events that precede and compliment Taste N.6.)

IRLANDA IN FESTA - The Color and Taste of Ireland

Wednesday, March 15, 17 (St. Patrick's Day) and18, starting at 7:30pm, at Saschall promises some good Irish fun. This year the Celtic fair will feature the music of WHISKY TRAIL, CISCO and DIARMAID MOYNIHAN. Irish culture, food, music and dancing are presented each night. Join the festivities - everyone is a bit Irish on St Patrick's Day.

Saschall, Lungarno Moro. Admission: 12 to 15 euro. Info: www.saschall.it. Tel. 055 6503068.

VINUM NOSTRUM - Art, science and myths of wine in ancient Mediterranean civilizations

Until May 14 the Museo degli Argenti hosts Vinum Nostrum. From Mesopotamia to our tables, from the rite of communion to avoidable drunkenness, from distasteful habit to the gate of spirituality, wines and vines are the protagonists of this exhibit. Original showpieces, sculptures, frescoes and mosaics, accompanied by multimedia and video installations tell the millenarian history of the grapevine and of wine, and the important influence they exerted on ancient cultures. Following a chronological development, the exhibition illustrates the origin of wine-growing in the Near East, its full affirmation along with its related symbolic, religious and cultural significance in the Hellenic world, up to the wine production and large-scale diffusion practiced by the Romans.

By virtue of the abundant archaeological remains of the Vesuvian cities, the particular case of Pompeii's vineyards is illustrated, while the exhibition devotes another section to the contribution of the Phoenicians and the Etruscans, who played an essential role in spreading vitis vinifera throughout the Mediterranean. While inviting visitors to reflect on the evolution of cultivation techniques (reproduction and genetic improvement, plowing the land, tending the vineyard, theoretical principles and practical instructions for pruning and grafting), specially selected exhibits also illustrate the religious and cultural values of the grapevine, expressed through a series of depictions regarding the divinities, rituals and festivities of wine. The exhibition itinerary aims not only at scientifically documenting the entire cycle of wine, from harvest to consumption, but also by stimulating the visitor's senses of taste, smell and sight.

Museo degli Argenti, Palazzo Pitti. Hours: 8:15 am to 6:50 pm. Ticket: € 10.00. Closed on the 1st and the last Monday of each month. Info: Tel. 055294883

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD by Damien Hirst

Until May 1 Palazzo Vecchio will be showing the much ballyhooed, diamond-studded skull by controversial artist Damien Hirst. Cast in platinum from an original human skull found in a London taxidermy shop, the piece apparently elicited the comment "for the love of God" from Hirst's mother when she saw what he was working on. The skull includes 8601 pavé-laid diamonds (and real teeth from the original skull) for a total of 1,106.18 carats, including the centrally-place star diamond which alone measures 52.40 carats. The work took 18 months to complete and has been touring the world.

Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria 1. Hours: every day 9:00 am - 12:00 am, Thursdays 9:00 am - 2:00 pm. The ticket office closes one hour before the exhibition. Ticket: 10 euro. Info: tel. 055055


An evening filled with disco-fabulous colors, music and choreography sure to make you jump out of your seat and become a Dancing Queen. Featuring the timeless tunes of the Blues Brothers, ABBA, Gloria Gaynor, as well as the funk of Earth Wind and Fire and Barry White - this is 2 ½ hours of live music by a travelling troupe of 70's inspired performers. Visions of Travolta will flash through your head with the disco of Donna Summer and the tunes from Grease. The fun starts at 10:00pm with the live show hitting the stage at 10:30pm.

Saschall, Lungarno Moro. Admission: 20 euro. Info: www.saschall.it. Tel. 055 6503068.


The British Institute Weekly Cultural Programme. Every Wednesday 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 reception. British Institute Library, Lungarno Guicciardini 9.

March 2 A Florentine diplomat at the court of Queen Elizabeth I

Andrea Rizzi, current Villa I Tatti Fellow and Assistant Professor at the University of Melbourne, presents and discusses two translations of Admiral Howard's account of the 1588 English victory over the Spanish Armada. The first one was made by Petruccio Ubaldini and is in Italian, while the second is an English version of Ubaldini. Taken together the three texts (the English manuscript account of the war, Ubaldini's translation into Italian and the printed and English version) show that the circulation of an official report on the defeat of the Spanish armada was seen as paramount by the English court.

March 9 Beyond Communism, beyond Fascism: Marinetti's tactile panels

Frank Nero discusses poet/artist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1876-1944), who founded the Futurist Political Party in 1918. This was anti-clerical, anti-monarchist, nationalist movement and proposed left-wing policies. Mussolini used its support in his rise to power in 1922, even though policy differences quickly appeared. Marinetti continued to support Fascism, even though the regime favored a classical figurative style of art, which most of the first generation of Futurist artists adopted. Marinetti, however, persisted in promoting Futurist ideas and art. In 1920, Marinetti constructed his first Free-word Tactile Tables, which anticipated the ‘poem-objects' of Dada and Surrealism, and in 1921 he published the ‘Manifeste du tactilisme'. In 1925 he moved to Rome where he continued to direct the Futurist movement, which had its headquarters in his house.

March 16 A Bloomsbury marriage: Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant at Charleston

The Charleston Trust farmhouse, sheltered by the Sussex Downs, is the most complete surviving example of an interior designed and executed by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. It encapsulates their long careers as artists and designers and acts as a cipher for their intriguing private lives as members of the Bloomsbury group. This talk will use Charleston to examine Bell's and Grant's life together and the art they produced as well as comparing their relationship to other non-conventional pairings in their social circle. Darren Clarke has worked for the Charleston Trust for eight years.

March 23 Two painters and a horse: the Florentine poetry of the Brownings

Joel Kaplan, former Chair of the Department of Theatre Arts at Birmingham University, will consider the role played by Florentine artists in the work of poets Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning. Beginning with Elizabeth Barrett's political use of painters and sculptors in "Casa Guidi Windows," he will then look at the very different roles such figures played in Robert Browning's development of the dramatic monologue, and his attempts to articulate a 19th-century relationship between art and life.


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. British Institute Library, Lungarno Guicciardini 9.

March 2
Forbidden Planet
USA, dir. Fred M. Wilcox, 1956 with Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis and Leslie Nielsen
"The best of the science-fiction interstellar productions of the 50s lifted its plot and atmosphere from Shakespeare: the magical island of The Tempest becomes the planet Altair-4, where the sky is green and the sand is pink and there are two moons. The magician Prospero becomes the mad scientist Morbius; Prospero's daughter Miranda, who knows no man except her father, is Altaira; and (though this is less clear) the sprite Ariel becomes Robby, the friendly robot. Caliban has become a marvellously flamboyant monster out of Freud - pure id." (Pauline Kael).

March 9
Mrs. Dalloway
UK, dir. Marleen Gorris, 1997 with Vanessa Redgrave, Natascha McElhone, Rupert Graves and Michael Kitchen
Director Marleen Gorris, who hails from the Netherlands, filmed Mrs. Dalloway, an adaptation of Virginia Woolf's classic novel. Because of its strong leading character and female-oriented themes, it is a powerful feminist statement. In conjunction with Vanessa Redgrave, the director paints a probing-but-flawed portrait of a thoughtful woman in the course of a single day in 1923.

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

March 1, 2
The King's Speech by Tom Hooper (GB, Aus 2010, 111') 
4.10 - 6.20 - 10.45 pm
Based on the true story of King George VI, the film follows the Royal Monarch's quest to find his voice. After the death of his father King George V and the scandalous abdication of King Edward VIII, Bertie who has suffered from a debilitating speech impediment all his life, is suddenly crowned King George VI of England. With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth, the future Queen Mother, arranges for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist, Lionel Logue. After a rough start, the two delve into an unorthodox course of treatment and eventually form an unbreakable bond.

March 3
Love and Other Drugs by Edward Zwick (Usa 2010, 113')
4.10 - 6.20 - 8.30 - 10.30 pm
Maggie is an alluring free spirit who won't let anyone - or anything - tie her down. But she meets her match in Jamie, whose relentless and nearly infallible charm serve him well with the ladies and in the cutthroat world of pharmaceutical sales. Maggie and Jamie's evolving relationship takes them both by surprise, as they find themselves under the influence of the ultimate drug: love.

March 8
Made in Dagenham by Nigel Cole (GB 2010, 113')
4.10 - 6.20 - 8.30 - 10.30 pm
A dramatization of the 1968 strike at the Ford Dagenham car plant, where female workers walked out in protest against sexual discrimination.

March 9
The Kids are All Right by Lisa Cholodenko (Usa 2010, 104')
4.30 - 6.30 - 8.30 - 10.30 pm
Two children conceived by artificial insemination bring their birth father into their family life.

March 14, 15
Black Swan by Darren Aronofsky (Usa 2010, 110')
4.10 - 6.20 - 8.30 - 10.30 pm
A ballet dancer wins the lead in "Swan Lake" and is perfect for the role of the delicate White Swan - Princess Odette - but slowly loses her mind as she becomes more and more like Odette's evil sister, Odile, the Black Swan.

March 21
Another Year by Mike Leigh (GB 2010, 129')
3.30 - 5.50 - 8.15 - 10.30 pm
A look at four seasons in the lives of a happily married couple and their relationships with their family and friends.

March 22
Unknown by Jaume Collet-Serra (Usa 2011, 115')
4.10 - 6.20 - 8.30 - 10.30 pm
A man awakens from a coma, only to discover that someone has taken on his identity and that no one, (not even his wife), believes him. With the help of a young woman, he sets out to prove who he is.

Monday 28 (at the Cinema Astra2, pzza. Beccheria)
 Morning Glory by Roger Michell (Usa 2010, 102')
4.30 - 6.30 - 8.30 - 10.30 pm
An upstart television producer accepts the challenge of reviving a struggling morning show program with warring co-hosts.
March 29 (at the Cinema Astra2, pzza. Beccheria) 
Rango by Gore Verbinski (Usa 2011) Animated
4.30 - 6.30 - 8.30 - 10.30 pm
A chameleon (voiced by Johnny Depp) who aspires to be a swashbuckling hero finds himself in a Western town plagued by bandits and is forced to literally play the role in order to protect it.


Originally founded in 1973 to cater to the children of the English-speaking community, today the Library's resources of books, videos and DVDs in English are utilized by the Florentine children and their parents, as well. The library is open to the public from mid September through June On Monday from 11am to 12pm,Wednesdays from 11am to 1:30pm and 4pm to 6pm, and Sundays from 10.00am to 1pm.
Located in the undercroft of the St. James American Church, Via B. Rucellai, 9. Tel. 328.328.2757

March 5, 4:00pm
March 6, 9:00pm
J.S. Bach, L. van Beethoven, J. Brahms, R. Schumann, and F. Chopin
March 12, 4:00pm
J. S. Bach, A. Schönberg, F. Mendelssohn, and L. van Beethoven
March 13, 9:00pm
W.A. Mozart, G. Kurtag, and L. van Beethoven 
March 19, 4:00pm
An afternoon of W. A. Mozart
March 20, 9:00pm
An evening of W. A. Mozart
March 26, 4:00pm
W.A. Mozart, J. Françaix, and F. Schubert
March 27, 9:00pm
Suites of J.S. Bach for solo cello
March28, 9:00pm
Suites of J.S. Bach for solo cello
Teatro della Pergola, Via della Pergola 12/32, Tel. 055 2479651. See the Amici della Musica website at http://www.amicimusica.fi.it/amuspro.htm

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 delle Vecchie Carceri, 1 (near S. Ambrogio inside the Murate complex), open M-F 9:30 to 7:00 pm, and Sat. 9:30 to 2:00 pm.. ARGONAUTA VIAGGI, Lungarno Torrigiani 33/B, Tel.055/2342777. Many tickets can be pre-purchased via www.ticketone.it, www.boxol.it.


Florence's Roster Tepidarium of Horticulture is once again open. What that mean? It's time to have tea with the Butterflies. Visitors can have a glass of prosecco or cup of tea while watching some of the world's most beautiful butterfly species as they fly freely in the 19th-century glass-walled trepidarium, the largest in Italy. Live music every night and tango on Wednesdays add to the fun. The 10 euro entrances fee gets you one drink and an aperitivo buffet.
Located in the Horticultural Garden at Vittorio Emanuele 4. Parking is available at the Parterre car park. Open Wednesday through Sunday, starting at 7pm. Reservations for groups and for private events can be made by calling 055 499334.


Saturday March, 26th 10am-4pm a Mercato will take place at the Methodist Church. Ethnic artifacts, jewelry, dolls, dolls, bric-a-brac and more for sale with all proceeds going to various beneficial causes; plus activities for children. For more information, contact Tina Carrari (tcarrari@gmail.com),
Methodist Church, via dei Benci, 9. Tel. 349 391 8196.



Visit Panzano-in-Chianti onSunday, March 6 (morning to afternoon). 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.


In honor of St. Joseph's Day (March 19), the small Chianti Classico Region hill town of Montefioralle is throwing the tastiest festival (sagra) around - Festa della Frittelle. Fritelle are tiny sweet fried rice balls and are traditional fare during the Carnival season. Only to be eaten piping hot - they are being served up on March 19 and 20 in Montefioralle.

The village of Montefioralle is probably one of the most ancient in Chianti and is still today enclosed within its original walls. These were initially two circuits, but houses now fill the space between the original structures. The walls were octagonal in outline, with four gates, modifications of which still exist. During the Middle Ages it was one of the largest military and administrative centers of the area. The first notice of the settlement is from 1085.


On Sunday, March 6, 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-a-brac and antiques. Piazza Mino. Tel. 0555978373.


Other slightly less-famous celebrations that those at Viareggio, are held all around Tuscany. Check out Pietrasanta on March 6 (http://www.comune.pietrasanta.lu.it), or Borgo San Lorenzo on March 6 (3:00 pm) where they do a nice, home-spun style town party aimed primarily at kids, with floats you can jump up onto and ride along. San Casciano Val di Pesa celebrates with a medieval parade at 2:00pm on Sun. March 6. The town of Paperino near Prato puts on a good show starting at 3:00 on March 6 and 8 (www.carnevaledipaperino.it). Look for fun these same dates in San Gimignano, Buonconvento, Chiusi, Pescia, Bientina, Arezzo and Foiano della Chiana.

GRANDUCAL HUNTS - Medici Tapestries in a Medici Villa

Until May 8 the Medici Villa of Poggio a Caiano will display The Hunts of the Grand Dukes, two tapestries from a celebrated series made for the Villa. The exhibition displays one recently restored large tapestry made to a design by Alessandro Allori showing the "Swan Hunt", and another of the "Wild Goose Hunt", again to a design by Alessandro Allori. For this occasion, the Swan tapestry which is part of the Villa patrimony, is joined by the second, usually conserved in the Tapestries Repository of Palazzo Pitti, which is managed by the Costume Gallery of Florence. Both were part of a famous series commissioned by Grand Dukes Cosimo I and Francesco I to adorn the Villa. Free admission. Hours: 8:15 - 4:30 pm (February), 8:15 - 5:30 pm (March), and 8:15 - 6:30 pm (April, May). Villa Medicea di Poggio a Caiano. Piazza de' Medici 14, Poggio a Caiano (Po).

GHIRLANDAIO - The Ghirlandaio Family. Renaissance Painters in Florence and Scandicci

Until May 1 a widespread series of locales host one of Florence's most interesting artistic dynasties. Though always used in the singular, the name Ghirlandaio is actually the trademark of a family dynasty of artists and entrepreneurs, who, beginning in the second half of the 15th century, dominated the scene of the Florentine Renaissance for a century. Domenico (1449-1494) was the first artist in the Ghirlandaio family, which included his brothers David (1452-1525) and Benedetto (1458-1497), his half-brother Giovambattista, his brother-in-law Bastiano, and his son Ridolfo (1483-1561). The Ghirlandaio workshop was extremely productive and organized according to quite modern criteria as to skills and roles. Within the workshop Domenico and Ridolfo were the creative masters of colour, others were extremely good at painting, and others still, were expert in workshop management. This well-balanced, prolific and long-lived clan is now the focus of an exhibition, the first one dedicated to the family in its entirety, involving an area spreading from Florence to Scandicci.

The exhibition tour starts from Scandicci, in the Castello dell'Acciaiolo. The Castello showcases a famous painting by Domenico (Saints James, Stephen and Peter), a beautiful Madonna by Ridolfo (from the Fuligno Refectory) and 14 other works loaned by various museums in Florence. Two different Ghirlandaio exhibition itineraries "depart" from Scandicci. The one in Florence includes the frescoes in the Sala dei Gigli of the Palazzo Vecchio, the Sassetti Chapel and the Tornabuoni Chapel - respectively in the churches of Santa Trinita and Santa Maria Novella - and the Adoration of the Magi at the Museo degli Innocenti. The other includes the area north-west of Florence, on both sides of the Arno, abounding in works of art that the Ghirlandaio family created and left in two family homes; in San Martino and Colleramole, in the Church of Sant'Andrea in Campi Bisenzio, the Sacred Art Museums of San Donnino and San Martino. And also Mosciano, Giogoli, San Martino alla Palma, and San Colombano.

It is a fascinating journey into the Florentine Renaissance which offers guided visits, educational workshops, as well as a prize for students and artisans. Moreover, you can buy or taste typical products in restaurants and shops participating in the initiative.

Show locations: CASTELLO DELL'ACCIAIOLO, Via Pantin, Scandicci. BADIA DI SAN SALVATORE E SAN LORENZO A SETTIMO, Scandicci. MUSEO DI ARTE SACRA DI SAN MARTINO A GANGALANDI, Lastra a Signa. MUSEO DI ARTE SACRA DI SAN DONNINO, Campi Bisenzio. MUSEO DEGLI INNOCENTI, Florence. PALAZZO MEDICI RICCARDI, Florence. Hours: Thursdays to Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. For information and bookings: 055.2340742, www.ghirlandaio.it.

Remember Saturday, March 5, is the LAST DAY of SALES!!

All the best,

Pitcher and Flaccomio