VIAREGGIO CARNIVAL HAS THREE MORE DAYS
For the most over the top fun in February you must leave Florence and go to Viareggio for at least one day of the Viareggio Carnival. (March 2,4, 9). The Viareggio Carnival started in 1873, when a number of local aristocrats decided to organize an extravagant parade on Shrove Tuesday (martedì grasso), before the 40-day austerity of Lent.
The 141st Viareggio Carnival promises to be one of the most exciting yet. There will be five masked parades through the seaside town, each with its own set of papier-mâché floats and puppets, which will parade along the famous viali a mare, down the seaside promenades, offering a wide program of entertainment and fun for children and adults. Bands and other performance groups come from all over the world to participate. At least 800,000 visitors enjoy the Viareggio Carnival each year.
Try to catch the sunniest day you can - Carnival is a drag in the rain. This Tuscan festa simply must be experienced. Pile the gang in a car or onto the train or Lazzi bus and head out for one crazy Sunday afternoon. Enormous floats parade along the boardwalk, peopled by hundreds of locals, dancing in front or animating the float itself. Leave your angst at home, wear clothes you don't care too much about, because it's a given that you'll end up sprayed with foam and sprinkled with confetti. Old, young, and everyone in-between, join in the silliness.
The floats are the true crowd-pleasers. They take an entire year to construct. The biggest floats, over 20 meters high and weighing 40 tons, will carry about 200 people in costume who will dance and throw confetti and candies. Other people will be inside the floats to maneuver the weights, the counter-weights and levers that will make the puppets move. The paper maché puppets satirize public and political figures, depict social issues, as well as fairy-tale heroes.
Noteworthy, is the program of related events including a large number of shows and cultural activities such as musical comedies in vernacular, a series of carnival menus available in the restaurants, festivals in the various neighborhoods, as well as numerous masked balls held in the most fashionable discotheques and ballrooms.
Starting times for parades: 3:00 pm. Ticket: 15 euro. Kids under 10 free, 11 to 13 years: 10 euro. Info: tel. 0584 962568, http://www.viareggio.ilcarnevale.com.
LIMONAIA OPEN AT BOBOLI GARDENS -- Wednesdays in March
This is a rare chance to view the Boboli citrus collection before the plants are dispersed throughout the gardens for the rest of the year. Each of the plants in the limonaia is descended from a Medici cultivar. From Italy Magazine: ”They include such rare varieties as the Citrus aurantium Canaliculata, introduced in Florence by Francesco I, or the Citrus aurantium bizzarria, which Ferdinando II used to enrich the collection at Boboli. They have a remarkable historic and botanical value.”
The collection features lemons, grapefruits, limes, oranges and more. Entry to Boboli isn’t free for everyone, but once you’re in, access to the limonaia is free – but only on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. For more details and dates:
TASTE N. 9
The name keeps it simple, but from Saturday, March 8 through Monday, March 10, at the Stazione Leopolda, there will be three days of sampling, discovering, buying, and events dedicated to excellence in taste and food lifestyles. TASTE N. 9 is the Italian fair dedicated to good eating and good living attended by the top figures in the international gastronomic and catering trade as well as an increasingly growing public of passionate foodies. Growing in popularity, TASTE N. 9 will present 250 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. This year, ten food bloggers will write about the events from beginning to end. Check out the interviews with the chosen bloggers on the website.
TASTE N. 8 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 protagonists of food culture, top experts and VIPs from the world of food, dedicated to the hottest and most curious food lifestyle themes, unexpected combinations between food and the various aspects of social, economic and cultural life.
Start here: http://www.pittimmagine.com/en/corporate/fairs/taste.html
Stazione Leopolda, V.le Fratelli Rosselli, 5. Hours: 1:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. (Monday 9.30 a.m. - 4.30 p.m.). Admission: 15 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. 9.)
PONTORMO AND ROSSO FIORENTINO – Diverging Paths of Mannerism
March 8 – July 20, 2014
Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi – Piazza Strozzi
Palazzo Strozzi is hosting a major exhibition entitled Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino. Diverging Paths of Mannerism, devoted to the work of Pontormo (1494-1557) and of Rosso Fiorentino (1494-1540), the two painters who were without question the most original and unconventional adepts of the new way of interpreting art during 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 favorite of 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.
This exhibition opts for a broad and multifaceted overview of the two great painters’ masterpieces, exemplifying the formal splendor 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 arranged in chronological order. 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.
Palazzo Strozzi is in Piazza Strozzi.
Tickets: €11, €9 reduced
Monday to Friday 9.00-13.00, 14.00-18.00
Tel. +39 055 2469600, Fax +39 055 244145, email@example.com
During the same period, 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.
ORIGINAL LANGUAGE FILMS – Fulgor Cinema
The Fulgor makes one of their theaters available for Original Sound movies, seven days a week, three show times a day. Call to find out what is showing in English. Via Maso Finiguerra – Tel. 055 238 1881
ORIGINAL LANGUAGE FILMS – Odeon Cinema
Located in Piazza Strozzi. See website for times: http://www.cinehall.it/pagine/odeon%20original%20sound.asp
12 YEARS A SLAVE
February 27–March 10
Oscar Award for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor, BAFTA award winner for Best Film and Best Actor, Steve McQueen’s third movie maintains the tradition of excellence established by the director with Hunger and Shame. This is the true story of Solomon Northrup, once a freeman, abducted off the streets of Washington in 1841 and sold into brutal servitude on a Louisiana plantation. A grueling epic of endurance and fortitude in the face of seemingly insurmountable oppression, the images remain long in the mind.
LA GRANDE BELLEZZA
March 11–13 (in Italian with English subtitles)
Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Paolo Sorrentino’s great international success. Amidst the glories and follies of ancient and modern Rome, disenchanted writer Jep observes the vacuousness and decadence of the debauched demimonde. A scathing attack on contemporary Italian culture and an exposure of the numbness and torpidity that age-old political and religious institutions have inculcated in the Italian mind through media manipulation, its referencing particularly of Fellini (La dolce vita, 1960 and Otto e mezzo, 1963) as both homage and parody is its main but by no means its only smartly executed conceit. Everything you wanted to know about post-Berlusconi Italy but were afraid to ask. ‘
A comment on our continuing love affair with technology. Theodore Twombly, heartbroken after the end of a long relationship, makes his living writing letters for other people. He becomes intrigued by and gradually falls in love with ‘Samantha,’ a new, advanced operating system. Set in a very near future with an original and rather enigmatic costume design, Spike Jonze’s important movie steers clear of the almost inevitable crassness of its premise and masterfully tunes into the zeitgeist with telling results.
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.
Nothing sums up better the contradictions, complexities and contentiousness in the character of the gay, Marxist aristocrat Luchino Visconti than his two great movie masterpieces Rocco e i suoi fratelli and Il gattopardo. In both, the disintegration of family life in the face of rapid political and economic change is juxtaposed with a disarmingly indulgent nostalgia for the values and manners of unsustainable traditions embedded in unjust and untenable social systems, be they within the peasantry of Basilicata or the aristocracy of Sicily. This blend of melodrama and realism is dispatched with an intensely felt zeal for genuine social reform based on a trenchant critique of society's ills, but also a feeling of resignation and a sad sense of the powerlessness of individuals to make a difference for themselves or for their successors.
A founding father of Neo-realism, Visconti in his early films embraces that movement's ethics and aesthetics with flair and compassion, but his broad canvas includes costume dramas and historical epics, where the potentially dry narration of historical events is infused with the passion of melodrama, and a languorous pace allows the viewer to take in the details of the meticulous historical recreation. The latter part of Visconti's film career was occupied with slow and beautiful meditations on intimations of mortality. A filmmaker whose grace and intensity, operatic theatricality and passionate commitment to social justice and individual self-realisation makes him one of Italy's most important twentieth-century cultural icons.
Wednesday, March 05, 20.00
Film: IL GATTOPARDO (Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, Claudia Cardinale)
Wednesday, March 12, 20.00
Film: VAGHE STELLE DELL'ORSA (Claudia Cardinale, Michael Craig, Jean Sorel)
Wednesday, March 19, 20.00
Film: LA CADUTA DEGLI DEI (Dirk Bogarde, Ingrid Thulin, Helmut Griem, Helmut Berger)
Wednesday, March 26, 20.00
Film: DEATH IN VENICE (Dirk Bogarde, Silvana Mangano, Bjorn Andresen)
BRITISH INSTITUE LECTURE & CONCERT SERIES
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.
Wednesday, March 05,18.00
Lecture: Julia Lacey Brooke
Julia Lacey-Brooke, who has a new book out on the subject, discusses the Italian influence on the Jacobean drama.
Wednesday, March 12, 18.00
Lecture: Christopher Smith
Christopher Smith, director of the British School at Rome, considers the after-life of the two most famous cities of Vesuvius, Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Wednesday, March 19, 18.00
Reading: Matthew Licht and Charles Lambert
Two exciting creative writers, Matthew Licht and Charles Lambert, engage in a kind of literary duel, structured on the theme of memory.
Wednesday, March 26, 18.00
Lecture: James Bradburne
The Canadian architect and museum director James Bradburne, director of the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, provides a personal account of his passion for books, reading and book-collecting.
AFTERNOON TEA PARTY AT THE BRITISH INSTITUTE
"When the girl returned, some hours later, she carried a tray, with a cup of fragrant tea steaming on it; and a plate piled up with very hot buttered toast, cut thick, very brown on both sides, with the butter running through the holes in great golden drops, like honey from the honeycomb. The smell of that buttered toast simply talked to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cosy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one's ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender, of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries." Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
Afternoon tea is served every Thursday from 16.30 until 18.00 at the British Institute library and features the delicious blends of the local tea house, Tealicious. Open to all. Minimum suggested donation €1.50, which goes towards supporting the library.
FLORENCE BIKE FESTIVAL
March 28-30 in the Cascine Park. Like to bike? The world of two wheels takes center stage at this must-go event for cycling fans. With new products and technologies on display, the chance to test bikes and accessories, bike jumping, exhibition spaces, workshops on bike repair, training sessions, conferences, lectures and a host of events for kids and families, bike owners and enthusiasts are sure to be entertained and discover new possibilities in the world of bicycles. See www.bicifi.it for the full program and to book tickets.
DARKEST GUIDE (eBook and App) FOR FLORENCE – The Dark and Bloody Guide to Florence (La Guida Nera di Firenze) by Stefano Sieni and Mario Spezi
Douglas Preston (author with Mario Sepziof Monster of Florence) writes: I wanted to bring you attention to a new iPad app and e-Book, published a few days ago, called The Dark and Bloody Guide to Florence. I don't think there's a travel app quite like it. Through maps, videos, walking tours, animations and pictures, it guides visitors through some of the most bizarre, harrowing, strange, and gruesome byways of Florentine history going back 2,000 years.
This app surveys the city’s streets and monuments stone by stone, narrating shocking stories related to each place: the horrors endured by gladiators, the slaughters of ancient and modern serial-killers, infamous crimes and assassinations, atrocities committed by judges and torturers, bloody conspiracies, burnings, mob riots, and executions. This is not your usual guidebook -- but then Florence is not your usual city. Despite my rather sensationalistic description, this app contains a great deal of fascinating and serious history.
I contributed the introduction to this app, and it is written by two Italian journalists, Stefano Sieni and Mario Spezi, co-author with me of The Monster of Florence, which spent 14 weeks on the Times bestseller list.
About the Book and App
This e-book is both a history and an interactive guide, a priceless tool for discovering Florence under a new light, or rather an ancient shadow. Special itineraries and maps, accompanied by a wealth of images, original films and animated sequences, guide the reader/visitor step-by-step through a thrilling adventure amid a thousand nightmares that become reality.
Florence, the cradle of art. And of monsters. A black soul breathes behind the "splendid" postcard image that every years attracts millions of tourists from all over the world. A soul made of blood, crime, poisoning, perversion of every kind, diabolical orgies, torture and death. A soul that has always been deemed shameful, furtive and unmentionable, but without which it is impossible to understand the essence of the other side, universally hailed as "splendid".
Only in a place consecrated to excess, for good or for evil, could there exist such a short-circuit between the opposing forces that gave life to the Renaissance and to a marvellous, unique civilization of art and culture. Without that ordinary, day-to-day depravity, without that ever-looming shadow of cruelty and death, such a wealth of masterpieces and geniuses would never have seen the light: from Dante to Leonardo, from Michelangelo to Botticelli. The flowers of evil?
Hence there is a thin red line, never broken, that links ancient madmen and murderers to the monster par excellence, the Monster of Florence, often compared to Jack the Ripper.
Not by chance have me and the expert in crime reporting Mario Spezi have written the best-seller The Monster of Florence, which has been translated the world over and is now being made into a film by Twentieth Century Fox with George Clooney as the star and co-producer.
It is an amazing “spectacle”, virtually unknown, never before presented to the public. Many stories, then, beyond the limits of the incredible and yet true, divided into chapters and subheadings according to a precise itinerary through the quarters of the city on both sides of the Arno. A stroll through horror, accompanied by the sinister shadow of Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula, who, according to some scholars, may have been linked in some way to Florence. This descent into Hell, the real one, includes some of the most shocking, tragic and mysterious crimes.
“The Dark and Bloody Guide to Florence (La Guida Nera di Firenze) which you have in hand will take you on a most extraordinary journey into the dark side of Florence, a city which is incapable of producing anything second rate: everything it does and represents is the very best. Including evil”.
BAROQUE PAINTINGS FROM THE MOLINARI PRADELLI COLLECTION
The Rooms Of The Muses at the Galleria degli Uffizi - 11 February – 11 May 2014
The famed orchestra conductor Francesco Molinari Pradelli (1911-1996), in the course of his numerous travels throughout his professional career, collected baroque art which is housed in the Bologna Molinari Pradelli Collection. This special exhibit is part of Un Anno ad Arte 2014.
Born in Bologna in 1911, he attended the “Gian Battista Martini” music school, studying piano under the guidance of Filippo Ivaldi and orchestra conducting under Cesare Nordio, and completing his musical training in Rome. In 1938, from his very first performances, the press defined him as a “conductor with a glowing future, while Arturo Toscanini commended him as a young man “with talent who will go places”. In Rome, he distinguished himself in conducting concertos with soloists like Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli and Wilhelm Kempff. In the 1940s, he performed on the podiums of Milan, Pesaro, Trieste, Bologna and Florence, directing in particular, works by Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Wagner. His international success began with a 1949 tour in Hungary and then on to the most important theatres in Europe and America, with a repertory of thirty-three concertos and twenty-eight operas, from 1938 to 1982.
In the 1950s, the Maestro began to cultivate a growing passion for painting, first for nineteenth-century works, and then discovering an interest for Baroque painting. He developed a very original attraction for still-life, a genre that was just then beginning to garner interest from scholars, in which he combined the pleasure of owning artwork, aesthetic appreciation and the desire for knowledge, stimulated by museum visits in the cities his professional career took him to.
His collection of some two-hundred paintings that in time lined the walls of his Bologna home and later, the Villa at Marano di Castenaso, was admired by the greatest art historians of the XX century, from both Europe and America. As the exhibition documents with a selection of one-hundred paintings, the Maestro rigorously preferred seventeenth- and eighteenth-century painting, collecting works from the various Italian schools.