Rent, Sell and Manage Properties in Florence and Tuscany
|NEWSLETTER – may 2009
The month of April in Italy was marked by the news of the
Abruzzo earthquake. In the last couple days, a few of the
tentopolis dwellers were allowed to move back into the first
homes deemed safe. Many others remain in tent villages. Our
thoughts are with them and below, you will find suggestions
from Democrats Abroad Florence on how to be of help.
Our Tuscan spring is arriving piano piano this
year. But the seemingly equal parts of sun and rain must be
a great recipe for blazingly vibrant greens and knockout purples;
wisteria, redbud, iris, even tiny blue-violet rosemary blossoms
are all in full bloom.
In this issue we cover the fabulous Mille Miglia vintage
car rally, plus sport and artisan events, food and flower
fairs, movies, lectures and more. Thanks to Simon and Anne
for their mention of a great Jazz festival, some gelato news
and their overview of the Ligabue exhibition Pontassieve.
Springtime good tidings from SUZANNE, CORSO, SANDRA, LORI,
ANNA PIA, KIMBERLY and MARIO.
& FLACCOMIO REPORT
MESSAGE FROM DEMOCRATS ABROAD FLORENCE
We are saddened and concerned for the victims of the earthquakes
in Abruzzo and have received many requests for information
on how to assist those in need. Below you will find a list
with contact information to make a contribution or volunteer.
With sincere thanks, Kristina Paccione, Secretary, Democrats
Abroad Florence. www.democratsabroad.org. The smallest
act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.
~ Oscar Wilde
DONATIONS - Via phone to tel. 48580. In collaboration with
the Dipartimento della Protezione Civile, Tim, Vodafone, Wind
and 3 Italia have activated a special number to collect funds
for the earthquake victims. Each SMS sent to 48580 will contribute
1 euro. Calls from Telecom Italia fixed lines will contribute
2 euro. Monetary donations can be made directly to the Italian
Red Cross and Caritas Italiana:
ITALIAN RED CROSS:
- Post Office using Conto corrente bancario n. 218020 presso:
Banca Nazionale del Lavoro - Filiale di Roma Bissolati - Tesoreria
- Via San Nicola da Tolentino 67 - Roma made out to Croce
Rossa Italiana Via Toscana, 12 - 00187 Roma;
- Wire transfer to Croce Rossa Italiana, via Toscana 12 -
00187 Roma, Causale: pro terremoto Abruzzo using one of the
following IBAN accounts: IT66 - C010 0503 3820 0000 0218020
or Codice Iban: IT24 - X076 0103 2000 0000 0300 004;
- Online at www.cri.it/donazioni.html
- Post Office C/C POSTALE N. 347013
- Wire transfer to Caritas Italiana, UNICREDIT BANCA DI ROMA
S.P.A. IBAN IT38 K03002 05206 000401120727. (causale "TERREMOTO
THE OFFICE FOR THE DISABLED in Montesilvano has put out a
call for wheelchairs and crutches for the disabled and elderly.
Contact info can be found on their website: www.ufficiodisabili.it
VOLUNTEERING: THE DIPARTIMENTO DELLA PROTEZIONE CIVILE asks
that volunteers work exclusively through the following organizations:
* Associazione Nazionale Pubbliche Assistenze (ANPAS); www.anpas.org
* Confederazione Nazionale delle Misericordie; www.misericordie.org
* ARCI Servizio Civile, nelle sue componenti PROCIV ARCI e
* Croce Rossa Italiana. www.cri.it
Volunteers from anywhere in Italy can contact the Protezione
Civile at tel: 06.68201. For further information on offers
of assistance, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
OFFERS OF HOUSING: If you have friends with summer homes or
apartments in Abruzzo who can assist with housing, offers
can be made to: PROTEZIONE CIVILE DELLA REGIONE ABRUZZO Tel:
800861016 and 800860146. Student organizations are searching
for accommodations: Tel 06.43411763, write to email@example.com
and firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.udu.it and www.retedeglistudenti.it.
You can also write to email@example.com
or call the Movimento Italiano Genitori at 800.090.119 which
has set up a call center in collaboration with the Ministero
From May 9 to 31, Italy hosts the historic 100th edition of
the Giro dItalia, one of the world's most famous cycling
events. To celebrate, organizers of the three-week race have
prepared a special route this year passing through many of
Italy's major cities, from the first days team time
trial along Venice's beach front, to the last days individual
race against the clock in Rome.
Lance Armstrong has confirmed that he will participate, a
first for Armstrong in the Italian classic, considered cycling's
second-most important race after the Tour de France. Australian
sprinter Robbie McEwen also confirmed his spot. Tuscany (and
Liguria) will be the theatre of events on Thurs. 21(Cinque
Terre), Fri. 22 (from Lido di Camaiore to Florence) and Sat.
23 (from Campi Bisenzio, to finish in Bologna). Info: www.ilgiroditalia.it.
MILLE MIGLIA: VINTAGE CAR RALLY.
On Sat. 16, listen for the roar of powerful motors and the
applause of the crowd as Tuscany hosts a leg of the fabulous
Mille Miglia vintage car rally. Towns like Pienza, Montalcino,
Castellina, Panzano, Greve, Impruneta, Florence, Vaglia and
Barberino will become a moving car museum.
Eighty years after its inception, the Mille Miglia epitomises
the passion people hold for cars in the pursuit of adventure,
excitement and discovery. It is also the easiest and most
fun vintage car show ever attended. You can sit in one spot
and enjoy the noisy, colourful show going by. This year more
than 380 automobiles are registered including Alfa Romeos,
BMWs, Aston Martins, Maseratis, Jags, Ferraris and more; each
beauty from 30 to 80 years old. On Saturday, watch for the
classic Freccia Rossa sign (a red arrow with 1000 Miglia written
on it) marking the route, and find yourself a good observation
spot. The rally should hit Pienza at 10:00 am, Montalcino
at 10:30, they are expected in Piazza del Duomo of Siena at
11:00, 1:00 in Castellina-in-Chianti, Panzano around 1:30,
and 2:00 in Florence, then on to Vaglia and Barberino di Mugello.
The first cars in Florence will travel along Via San Felice
a Ema, Viale del Poggio Imperiale, Viale Torricelli, Piazzale
Galileo and Viale Macchiavelli. They will enter the historical
centre at Porta Romana, Piazza della Calza, Via Romana, Piazza
San Felice, Via Maggio, Piazza Frescobaldi, Ponte a Santa
Trinità, Lungarno degli Acciaioli, Via Por Santa Maria,
Via Vacchereccia, Piazza della Signoria, Via dei Calzaioli,
Piazza San Giovanni, Via de Martelli, Via Cavour, Piazza
San Marco, Piazza Libertà, Via Don Minzoni, Via G.
Pascoli, Ponte Rosso, and out along the SS 65 Via Bolognese.
It was Enzo Ferrari who defined it "the world's greatest
road race". From the starting line in Brescia, to the
much-awaited appointment with Rome, and finishing with arrival
back in Brescia, the Mille Miglia rally meets the enthusiasm
of the cities it passes through and the fervour of the crowds
lining the streets.
The Maggio Musicale Fiorentino programme for the season features
the last work in the Ring cycle, Götterdämmerung
- with the award-winning pair MehtaFura dels Baus. Mehta
again, directs the complete set of Beethovens Concertos
for Piano and Orchestra. The oldest music festival in Italy,
and one of the most famous, the Maggio Musicale in Florence
was founded in 1933 and features two months of opera and concerts
(see ONSTAGE SELECTIONS below). For full details of the programme,
please visit the Maggio Musicale website. http://www.maggiofiorentino.com
THE MONTH OF MAY AT ST. JAMES
Wednesday, May 6 - Thrift Shop: 10am-noon. Location: Undercroft.
Please join us for this monthly 'happening' where you can
find the best bargains in Florence! Gently-used clothing,
books, toys, household items and more... All proceeds from
the sale are divided between the Food Bank and a local shelter
run by Mother Theresa's nuns.
Friday, May 8 - Second Looks at Favorite Books. 6:30 pm. Location:
Rectory. Second Looks at Favorite Books will meet in the Rectory
to discuss Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time (Square Fish
edition). Copies are available at Paperback Exchange. Contact
firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Sunday, May 10 - Music at St. James presents The Barber of
Seville. 8:30pm. Admission: 25 euro for adults; 15 euro for
students, seniors and Amici di St James.
Saturday, May 16 - Music at St. James presents La Boheme.
8:30pm. Admission: 25 euro for adults; 15 euro for students,
seniors and Amici di St James.
Saturday, May 16 - HEALTH FAIR AT ST. JAMES - 2:00pm-6:00pm.
Location: St. James undercroft. Information and sample treatments
will be available for chiropractic, massage, shiatsu, yoga
and more! Natural products and snacks will be available on
sale, with a portion of the proceeds to benefit our Food Bank.
Sunday, May 17 - Malawi Children's Project Benefit Lunch -
12:30. Location: undercroft. Please join us for a parish lunch
to benefit our mission in Malawi, directly following our 11am
service. St. James has a long relationship with a school in
a Malawian village. We have contributed to the building of
the school, to the digging of a well and are now committed
to assisting the village with putting a roof on the building.
Haswell Beni will be speaking at this luncheon about life
in one of the poorest countries in the world, and how our
church can help. Free-will donations will be collected - suggested
minimum €5 per person, but more is better!
Sunday, May 17 - GOSPEL EVENSONG - 6:30pm. Nehemiah H. Brown
and the Florence Gospel Choir will provide musical offerings
during this very special worship service. Come, and make a
joyful noise to the Lord!
Friday, May 22 - Ostrava Choir Concert. 6:00pm. Location:
Church. The concert will be followed by a reception to meet
the artists. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Saturday, May 23 - Music at St. James presents Tosca 8:30pm.
Admission: 25 euro for adults; 15 euro for students, seniors
and Amici di St James.
Sunday, May 24 - Gala Inaugural Festival for our New Willis
Organ from 2:00-9:00pm - come and go as you please.
St James now has the finest new organ in Europe, and we will
celebrate this amazing instrument and its creator, Henry Willis
& Sons in Liverpool, in an afternoon of music with some
of the organ world's preeminent performers, including David
Hurd and Gregory Eaton from New York City, Frederic Blanc
from Paris, and others to be announced. Music begins at 2:00pm,
and continues until 5:30, when an aperitivo in the Rectory
Garden will be enjoyed by all. At 7:30, the Samford University
Choir will perform. Admission is free, but an offering will
Monday, May 25 - An Evening of Chopin with Wen-Yee Ho. 9:00pm.
Location: Church. Music at St. James is proud to present Wen-Yee
Ho in concert. Don't miss what promises to be an unforgettable
Sunday, May 31 - Car Wash to Benefit our Sunday School Program.
Time: directly following our 11am service. Location: Front
garden. Buy your tickets after the Sunday service -- even
if you don't intend to have your car washed, even if you don't
HAVE a car! 5 euro each.
Every Wednesday evening through May 13: Student Dinners at
6:30pm. Location: St. James undercroft. Every Wednesday evening
in our undercroft, American university students from study
abroad programs throughout Florence gather for a short Italy-related
presentation followed by a full-course meal - all for just
€5! Gates open at 6:30pm. Great food, great company.
Bring a friend!
Every Thursday morning through June 25: Spice Lab - 11:30-1:30.
Location: St. James kitchen. Treat your taste buds to a world
tour! Indian and Thai cooking classes. Cook first, eat later!
Babysitting available. 25 euro, lunch included. Contact Melanie
at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 3454087209.
Tuesdays and Fridays through June 26: Watercolor Course. Time:
9:30-12:30. Location: St. James choir loft and various sites
in Florence and Tuscany. This course is designed to introduce
the student to the different aspects of drawing and painting
in the open field, regardless of previous experience or level
of technical capability. The approach to teaching is academic
utilizing practical as well as traditional methods, therefore
the course will commence with an introduction to basic drawing,
concurrent to the capability and development of each student's
skill in observing and rendering. The instructor is Robert
B. Reed. Please reserve your place by contacting email@example.com
or calling 3496790358.
The church is always looking for volunteers to help out and
get to know people in a variety of ways, as well as people
who just love fun, food, singing, friends and service to the
world. Visit our website at www.stjames.it or join us on facebook
-- St. James American Church!
FOOTBAAAALLL!! by Simon Clark and Anne Brooks
Facci Largo Roma!......April is the cruellest month
Its a little-known fantasy that T S Eliot was alluding
to the football season. This month, weve been honing
our brink-person-ship skills but, looking to May, the only
show in town is the duel with Genoa for that fourth Champions
League spot - following our contemptuous whipping of the mighty
Roma, Francesco Totti and all:
Week 30: Atalanta-Fiorentina
Week 31: Fiorentina-Cagliari
Week 32: Udinese-Fiorentina
Week 33 Fiorentina-Roma
!!! WON 4-1 !!!
Serie A. To Atalanta in week 30, praying its a happy
hunting ground for Prandelli, former player and coach there.
Even for the first half but they went ahead just after the
break; we got a penalty, they lost a player as the referee
waved his red card and Jovetic scored from the spot (his first
Serie A goal - the keeper nearly saved but that didnt
dampen Jovetics delight). Then it was all Viola, near
miss after near miss, nails bitten to the quick until Gilardino
produced a trademark last-gasp tap-in; 2-1 to us and a tricky
fixture survived. Then a home game against a Cagliari who
could still make the Europa League. Well be missing
Mutu for a month but its a key week and the deal is
this we win, Juventus beat Genoa and we climb into
the prized 4th spot!
The first half was all Viola. Dainelli and Gamberini were
the best central defensive pairing in Europe, squeezing hope,
ambition and life out of their attack; at the other end, Gila
& Co peppered the Cagliari goal but the half-time
score was 0-0. After the restart, Pasqual slotted in his first
goal in three years, smacked in from the edge of the penalty
area. Cagliari promptly had a man sent off; hed been
mauling Gila all game and deserved to walk. A goal up and
playing ten men, we went to pieces! Suddenly, our defence
wore boots of lead; Cagliari missed an open goal; Frey had
to make three critical saves within five minutes. Then a brilliant
counter swept up the pitch and Vargas struck his first Serie
A goal. We are home & dry, 2-0 up and only nine minutes
to go. Huh! We gift a goal to the Sardinians; we stood and
watched! Another red card; we are playing nine men who seem
to know more about the game of calcio than we do!. Tense but
we hung on to the points. Later, Genoa changed the script,
beating Juventus 3-2 to stay ahead of us; they looked alarmingly
good! Roma lose and drop further behind.
The final stages of this championship are not for the faint-hearted.
Week 32 took us to Udinese, dumped out of the UEFA Cup by
Werder Bremen. This is a BIG ONE; Genoa lost the previous
evening but weve a long list of injuries (savaged by
the opposition) and suspensions (who should have known better);
the squad is a little patchwork. How better to get going than
to watch a superb solo opening goal for Udinese in the tenth
minute! This was just to put ourselves on the back foot before
the referee gave then a penalty and a second goal. We were
under the cosh. Dainelli headed in to put us back in the game
but Udinese produced a top-class free kick for a 3-1 win;
once behind, we werent quite good enough. A bad week;
we failed to capitalise on Genoas slip and Roma gobbled
up the deficit to lie three points behind us. From a different
angle, the results meant no change its
still us, Genoa and Roma for that fourth spot. But week 33
is looking more and more critical
Week 33. At home. Roma! No trouble! Prandelli &
Corvino have assembled a squad who, when they get it right,
get it very right indeed. We eviscerated Roma to the tune
of 4-1. Some may argue that the game was closer than the score
suggests but they are kidding themselves; the effective football
came from Fiorentina. When we shot, the ball tended to finish
up in the net; when Roma tried, they shot wide, Frey was a
bomb-proof wall or Gamberini, Dainelli & Co were in the
right place. Montolivo was brilliant, Jovetic outstanding
(deserving his standing ovation), Vargas a diamond and Gilardino
played like Roberto Baggio; the rest of the team were merely
Vargas, relishing a shift into midfield, opened the scoring
with a 30-metre thunderbolt after 6 minutes. Clocked at 109
kph, it looked faster. For the rest of the first half, with
chances at both ends, it was Fiorentina who had the bit between
their teeth Roma looked as though they knew The Force
was not with them and the second half was ours. Just after
the break, a superb team move flowed from a Jovetic volley
to a perfect Semioli cross to Gilardino leaving three defenders
for dead as he nodded in for 2-0. Roma were not reacting well
to the pressure; Pizarro was red-carded after an hour. Experience
has taught us how to handle a ten-man opposition. On 67 minutes,
Gilas delicate control (shades of Roby Baggio) bamboozled
Romas punch-drunk defenders and its 3-0. Six minutes
later and its 4-0; Artur, in the Roma goal, parried
Gilas hat-trick-bound header but Gobbi fired the rebound
into the net. Some Roma players were still trying and the
energetic Baptista fired in a solo consolation goal but it
was all over long before that. We were awesome! The icing
on the cake was an away defeat for Genoa at Bologna
their second defeat in a row. If Genoa are running out of
form at the same time as we realise our potential, then Aprils
final cut of cruelty is aimed at Genoa, not Viola!
Five more games. Weve seen off Roma; its us or
Genoa - one gets the Champions League, the other the Europa
League. We have three at home, four against teams we might
expect to beat. We host Torino (whom we beat 4-1 away earlier
in the season), travel to Catania (form drooping), entertain
Sampdoria (another away win but that was before we gave them
Pazzini) and visit Lecce, the second-bottom team but to whom
we contrived to lose a while ago. Then the last possibly
crucial - game of the season at home to the superstars of
Milan, superstars who edged a 1-0 lucky victory back when.
We can never write off Roma but it looks as though Aprils
cruelty fell most harshly on Genoa!....Forza Viola!
Ticket information is available from the biglietteria
section of the clubs website [www.acffiorentina.it].
There is a plan of the stadium seating areas, prices and a
list of ticket outlets in Florence, including:
CHIOSCO DEGLI SPORTIVI, via degli Anselmi (between the Pzza
Repubblica post office and the Odeon cinema). Tel 055 292363.
BAR MARISA, via Carnesecchi 1. Tel 055 572723.
BAR STADIO, viale Manfredo Fanti 3r. Tel 055 576169.
ASS. SPOTIVA COLLETTIVO AUTONOMO VIOLA 1978, via Lungo lAffrico
10r. Tel 055 672580.
BAR H9, via dellAriento (south side of the central market).
ACF OFFICIAL TICKET-OFFICE, via Dupre 28 (corner of via Settesanti).
NUOVO BOX OFFICE, via Luigi Alamanni 39 (close to SMN station).
Tel 055 264321
THE FIORENTINA SCHEDULE:
Week 34: (Florence): 3 May: Fiorentina-Torino
Week 35 10 May: Catania-Fiorentina
Week 36: (Florence): 17 May: Fiorentina-Sampdoria
Week 37: 24 May: Lecce-Fiorentina
Week 38: (Florence): 31 May: Fiorentina-Milan
GLASGOW INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL - (Word from the editor:
we know Glasgow is not in Tuscany, but we merit this festival
is well worth knowing about).
Jazz is more than you think it can be; jazz in
Scotland is something special. Anyone considering taking a
break in Britain and exploiting the UKs currency weakness
might want to think about hitting Glasgow in June. From the
19th to the 30th, one of the United Kingdoms top jazz
festivals (the other one happens in London) amazes in its
23rd year with the distinctive atmosphere of the Merchant
Theres something for everyone. Top of the bill, we have
Chick Coreas only UK gig on his current world tour;
veteran John Mayall for blues fans; the evergreen Neil Sedaka.
Hear Kyle Eastwood leading his band and talking about composing
for his dads films; enjoy an Italian connection as Tommy
Smith and Arild Anderson get together with Paolo Vinaccia.
We have sax legend Bobby Wellins, Andy Shepherd with Kuiljit
Bhamra and Art Themen guesting with the BBC Big Band. Theres
the Young Jazz Musician of the Year plus last years
winner, Joe Wright, playing with Julian Arguilles. Our Homegrown
Showcase contains a treasure trove of fresh names like Ryan
Quigley, Colin Steels and Paul Towndrow see them before
they go global. And if youve any late-evening energy
left, take in the James Taylor Quartet, Bugge Wesseltoft or
MOBO winner Yolanda Brown. Check it out on www.jazzfest.co.uk
(There are inexpensive flights available between Glasgow and
both Pisa and Florence airports.)
READERS REVIEW RESTAURANTS
We invite your comments for our Readers Review Restaurants
section. Use this forum to spread the word about restaurants
that merit recognition for their great food and good service.
The contents will reflect our readers points of view
(though we reserve the right to agree or disagree). Send your
input to firstname.lastname@example.org.
GELATO: AN OCCASIONAL PROMENADE by Simon Clark and Anne Brooks
Italian ice-cream is not a summer confection; its a
food and therefore a part of life. Like all Italian foods,
you can if you wish consume the mass-produced
variety or you can seek out the craftspeople who may be making
it on (propria produzione) or off (artigianale) the retail
premises. As with all Italian craft-foods, everyone has their
own ideas of where to get the best. It is true that Tre Scalini
in Rome produces chocolate gelato from heaven but we would
argue that, as a general principle, the real ice-cream you
can buy in Firenze is as good as gelato gets.
Far be it from us to suggest a best shop [that
sounds like a Pitcher-Flaccomio competition in the making]
but, if you were visiting an exhibition at the Fortezza or
lounging in Piazza Independenza, you wouldnt go wrong
with either of these, both just northwards of the entrance
to the Fortezza:
ALPINA [Viale Filippo Strozzi 12R. Tel 055 496 677.]
Founded by Virgilio Arnoldo in 1929, still in the family and
still adored by Florentines. The really sweet-toothed should
know that they make their own chocolates as well as ice cream.
The gelato is brilliant - smashing, smoky crema, tangy yoghurt,
superb pannacotta, interesting pinolata and a chocolate well
up to city standards. They close on Christmas and New Years
Days, for a holiday in the middle of August and on Tuesdays.
Otherwise, they open from 07.00-21.00 in winter and 07.00-24.00
in the summer;
RE DE GELATO [Viale Filippo Strozzi 8R. Tel 055 495
939.] By way of contrast in more ways than one
a relatively new enterprise (but swiftly establishing a formidable
reputation). A block south of Alpina, formerly a branch held
by the Robiglio family (who still have a cafe over the road).
Open every day, from noon to 20.00, think of this as a piece
of Sicily in the city; not only do we have ice cream but Sicilian
cannoli and other delicacies. For the gelato, drool over those
citrus flavours and dream of the south!
THUMBS UP THUMBS DOWN Our Readers Right
Our Thumbs up, Thumbs down column is your chance
to write us and share your own ideas and information, or to
toot the horn of businesses, events and those Florentine situations
that strike you as either wonderful or terrible. Please note:
all opinions are (usually) strictly those of our readers.
Lend us your thoughts!
I have to write a quick note of gratitude for your excellent
newsletter. I always read it immediately when it arrives in
my mailbox. You have accomplished a writing style and format
which gives me an good "month-at-a-glance" knowledge
of events and programs. It is essential reporting and easy
to read - not a simple task! Complimenti e buon lavoro.
Cindy Wilson D'Alimonte
RECIPE OF THE MONTH - Carciofi Fritti (fried artichokes)
by Judy Witts Francini
8 small, young artichokes
2 eggs, beaten with pinch of salt
1/2 cup flour
Oil for frying
Clean artichokes. Place in a bowl of water and lemon juice
to prevent turning black. Remove from water, dry, and place
in a bowl. Add the beaten eggs and salt. Stir to cover well.
Add flour to artichokes and mix well. Place one by one in
hot oil. Fry until golden. Season with salt and serve with
Judys first book of recipes is just out: Secrets from
My Tuscan Kitchen - www.divinacucina.com/code/secrets.html
Until May 20th , dont miss the Iris Garden off a nearly
hidden corner of Piazzale Michelangelo. This is your chance
to visit one of Florences loveliest undiscovered treasures,
where nearly 3,000 iris, collected and nurtured over the last
50 years by the Italian Iris Society, blast into bloom each
The iris link to Florence goes way back. The white iris
against a red background was the citys symbol until
1250 when the Guelph party came to power. To emphasise that
a political change had occurred in Florence, the Guelphs inverted
the colour scheme: the white iris became bright red on a white
field, creating the citys coat-of-arms, still used today.
Piazzale Michelangelo. Open daily including Sundays, 10:00
am - 12:30 pm, 3:00 7:00 pm. info: 055 483112 www.irisfirenze.it.
Until Sunday 17, the entire region of Tuscany offers a special
series of hours, visits and openings in museums and historical
workshops. From Siena, to Arezzo, Prato, Pisa, Lucca and beyond,
civic and sacred art museums in tiny towns, ancient flour
mills, villas and churches will open their doors to the public
for a peek at their hidden treasures. Consult the site www.turismo.intoscana.it
for indepth information abou the province that interests you
I PROFUMI DI BOBOLI
From Thurs. 7 to Sun. 10 enjoy a stroll through the Boboli
Gardens Orto della Botanica Inferiore, smelling the
scents and perfumes of flowers and all things flowery. This
will be the third edition of the Flower and Scent show and
Market, featuring cosmetics, essential oils, soaps and candles
plus food, drinks and bling for the home. Entry to the show
includes visits to the Garden, the Silver museum, Costume
museum and Porcelain museum, and to the Bardini Gardens.
Boboli Garden, Orto della Botanica Inferiore. Open 1:30 to
6:30 pm Thursday, open 9:30 to 6:30 pm the other days.
On Sun. 10, starting at 9:30 am in Piazza del Duomo, take
part in the 37th edition of the Guardafirenze marathon/walkathon.
There will be a 3, a 6 and a 10 km route, each of which meanders
through historical downtown Florence. The paths all start
and end at the Duomo, touching on Porta Romana, Piazza della
Signoria, the Ponte Vecchio and even allowing for the drop
dead view from Piazzale Michelangelo. Sign-ups open until
May 8. For further info contact: Firenze Marathon, Tel: 055/5522957,
ARTIGIANATO E PALAZZO
From Fri. 15 to Sun. 17, the Corsini Garden on Via della Scala
will once again host a myriad of artisans and their wares.
This fair does not feature simple kiosks where you can view
and purchase the final products, but it aims to show, to tell,
to demonstrate the steps involved in producing some of the
worlds finest crafts. Over 80, carefully chosen master
craftsmen and women, from Tuscany, Italy and beyond, gather
in this the 15th edition. You will meet furniture restorers,
cameo and mosaic makers, silk weavers, a Japanese ceramicist,
soap makers, bijoux creators. Should you wish to linger, you
can dine in an open-air restaurant, or enjoy afternoon tea
in one of the prettiest, hidden gardens of town. Well worth
Giardino Corsini. Via della Scala 117. Open 10:00 am to 8:30
pm. Ticket: 8 euro. www.artigianatoepalazzo.it
FABBRICA EUROPA 2009
From Tues. 5 to Sat. 23 Florence once again turns the focus
on intercultural contemporary exchange through a series of
events and projects involving artists from Europe, Argentina,
Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and more. This is
an investigation into the intercultural dialogue made possible
by art. On stages represented by music, dance, theatrical
events, installations, workshops and meetings between artists
and professionals from more than 20 countries, Fabbrica Europa
seeks common roots, encounters and clashes, exchanges and
migrations. The events will take place at Stazione Leopolda
and other spaces. Viale Fratelli Rosselli 5, Porta al Prato.
Open 7:00 pm to 1:00 am. Admission ranges from 10-20 euro.
Visit www.fabbricaeuropa.net for the latest info on scheduling
From May 15 to May 24 celebrate centuries of Florentine genius
with one hundred events planned in the name of Il Genio Fiorentino
by the Province of Florence. This years theme is Genius
we are born. We become original. See how various locales
carry this out by watching for evening fun at Il Rifrullo
on Via San Niccolò, Dolcevita on Piazza del Carmine,
Moyo on Via dei Benci, ChiaroScuro on Via del Corso and Negroni
on Via dei Renai. The Genio Fiorentino schedule offers a truly
mixed calendar of events divided into 12 categories: from
art to film, from music to science, from history to innovations,
including a series of events designed to uncover the city
Among the happenings planned this year the Genio Fiorentino
with show homage to Francesco Nuti with a day ( May 23rd)
dedicated to the actor/director including a book inauguration
Francesco Nuti: the true story of a great talent.
Art events include the exhibition Clemente VII and Florence.
Faith, politics and art from 1513 to 1543 (May 24),
featuring the famed Medici Pope. Also scheduled (May 16) the
rediscovery of a Florentine musical genius, Giovanni Battista
Lulli, with performances from the comedy-ballet by Lulli-Moliere
by the Orchestra Barocco Modo Antiquo.
Dedicated to Leonardos Gioconda, a conference in which
scholars and artists will compare their ideas about the Vinci
exhibition that will touch on the origins, the fortune and
the mysteries of the Mona Lisa. Even the Divine Comedy makes
a show of itself with And all of a sudden
100 songs for Florence, with more than 600 performers
spouting Dante around the city. The genius in places
of faith (May 15-24) offers the opening of some of the
most beautiful Florentine churches during the evening. For
further information about the events: http://www.geniofiorentino.it/.
SALMAN RUSHDIE IN FLORENCE
Tuesday 19, author Salman Rushdie will present his new novel
The Enchantress of Florence at the Palagio di Parte Guelfa.
Rushdies work presents the story of a woman attempting
to command her own destiny in a mans world. It is the
story of two cities, at the height of their powersthe
hedonistic Mughal capital, in which Akbar the Great wrestles
daily with questions of belief, desire, and the treachery
of his sons, and the equally sensual city of Florence during
the High Renaissance, where Niccolò Machiavelli takes
a starring role as he learns, the hard way, about the true
brutality of power. Palagio di Parte Guelfa, Via Pelliceria.
Sat. 23 come enjoy a great show and competition in Piazza
della Signoria, between Italys best sbandieratori
flag bearing teams. The Sbandieratori del Corteo Storico
della Repubblica Fiorentina are hosting this trophy
challenge, and are integrally connected to the history of
Florence. They carry flags which once represented the principal
magistracies and legal offices of the powerful 16th century
Florentine Republic. Their competitions involve originality
and stunning performances. The origin of flag waving is found
in the job of the flag-bearer in ancient militaries. These
flag-waving forbearers were highly athletic, following a regimen
of manoeuvres and throws in perfect harmony with each other.
From these strictly military displays, flag waving came to
be performed at important celebrations where the intense routines
with colourful flags would give a taste of the spectacular
to a feast. The flag-bearer must have fluid and elastic movements
while performing a variety of twirls and throws with style
and elegance. Some of the names given to these movements include:
"Velata", "Molinello", "il Salto
del Fiocco", "Scambio diritto ed incrociato",
"il Rovescio", "Passaggio sottogamba ed intorno
al collo ed alla vita", "Onda": all these are
traditional base configurations which you see reoccurring
throughout all flag waving performances. Piazza della Signoria.
LA FIORITA: CELEBRATING THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF FRA
On the 23rd day of each May (Saturday), Florence remembers
Fra Savonarola with a solemn mass held in the Capella dei
Priori in Palazzo Vecchio. After the ten oclock mass,
a small parade of civil and religious authorities, move out
to Piazza della Signoria where a round stone plaque marks
the spot where Savonarola and his cohorts where hung, then
burned. Palm fronds and rose petals are laid on the plaque,
before the group moves on to the Arno, where more flowers
are tossed in memory of one of Florences most infamous
leaders. Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria, from 10:00
FESTA DEL GRILLO
On Sun: 24, the Cascine Park hosts a morning to evening Cricket
Fair. Welcome spring with an ancient Florentine tradition.
Come to the Cascine, browse the kiosks and stands, and take
part in a festival that goes back 8 centuries. Though you
may be hard put to find a live cricket in a cage (sold until
a few years ago as a good luck charm), you will find lots
of household goods and Tuscan food specialties. The market
is open from approx. 9:00 am to 7:00 pm.
EXHIBITS AROUND FLORENCE
FERDINANDO I de'MEDICI: Maiestate Tantum
Until Nov. 1, the Museum of the Medici Chapels will host
Grand Duke Ferdinando I (1549 1609), one of the eminent
figures of the Medici dynasty. He is commemorated in the fourth
centennial of his death with an exhibition jointly promoted
by the Polo Museale Fiorentino and the Opificio delle Pietre
Dure, which he founded. The exhibition is titled after Ferdinando
Is personal motto (Maiestate tantum), and will concentrate
on two emblematic events tied to the politics of dynastic
affirmation which guided his reign; his wedding with Christina
of Lorraine, from the family of the royals of France, and
the Princes Chapel, chosen as the exhibition venue.
The section dedicated to the wedding (celebrated with great
pomp and splendour in Florence in 1589) evokes the sumptuous
displays which changed the appearance of the city and the
cathedral for the occasion, for the first time presenting
the large scenographic canvases painted by the Medici court
artists, and several surviving elements of the sculptural
decoration that adorned Santa Maria del Fiore.
The Chapel of Ferdinando I, presents portraits of the married
couple and their coats of arms, plus the dowry
of rare precious objects that Catherine inherited from her
ancestor, Catherine de Medici Queen of France, and brought
with her to Florence. The heart of the exhibition is the altar
of the Princes Chapel, a mythical temple of semiprecious
stones and precious metals, that Ferdinando loved but left
Museum of Medici Chapels. Open daily: 8:15 am - 4:50 pm. The
ticket office closes at 4:20 pm. Closed on the 2nd and 4th
Sunday and 1st, 3rd and 5th Monday of each month. Ticket:
GALLERIA POGGIALI E FORCONI: DAVID LACHAPELLE
Until May 6th the Galleria Poggiali e Forconi on Via della
Scala hosts a one man show of the multi-faceted American photographer
David LaChapelle. About 10 years after his last show in Italy,
LaChapelle has chosen to return to a private gallery. The
exhibition is a tribute to the artist, a celebration of his
career, consisting of 39 works and a video.
The display features four sections: Deluge, Recollections
in America, Star System and Heaven to Hell, presenting a transversal
show focused on the lesser known recent works of the artist
alongside the works for which LaChapelle is famous: his Pietà
with Courtney Love, Hi Bitch and Bye Bitch with Paris Hilton
and Bon Apetite with Naomi Campbell, displayed in different
areas of the gallery.
The photographs of the section Recollections in America date
to the Seventies and portray groups of friends gathered for
family parties and other occasions. After buying them, LaChapelle
manipulated them via the insertion of objects and figures
extraneous to the original context, such as flags, weapons
and symbols of American power. The protagonist of Star System
is public image, the most important visiting card for every
celebrity, from Paris Hilton to Courtney Love. The artist
grasps the aspects of personality that capture the narcissistic
nature and exhibitionist attitudes of those belonging to the
star system. Normality is ruled out, because the real attraction
is every conceivable form of excess. Each of these portraits
underscores how the icons of the star system morph into an
alter ego to which they entrust their identity.
The section Heaven to Hell presents a series of three photos
addressing the theme of death that grazes us or strikes us
every day. Two of the images show a raging fire as it destroys
the decor of an interior; the third is a contemporary Pietà
interpreted by Courtney Love holding in her arms the dead
body of a young drug addict. The drama of grief for the loss
of a loved one, is condensed in the historic iconography of
the Pietà, and extends to embrace the whole of humanity,
giving shape to a sentiment of empathy that feeds on influences
deriving from LaChapelles profound passion for the history
of art. Galleria Poggiali e Forconi until May 6. Via della
Scala, 35/a. Open Monday to Saturday, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
and 3:30 to 7:00 pm. Closed on Sunday. Tel. 055 287748. www.poggialieforconi.it.
email@example.com. Free entry.
ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE: LA PERFEZIONE NELLA FORMA
From May 26 until Sept. 27, ninety-one photographs by Robert
Mapplethorpe will live side-by-side with Michelangelos
David, demonstrating that there has been no true break between
the classical and the contemporary. Twenty years after the
death of this renowned artist, Mapplethorpes works are
celebrated in Florences major monument to grace and
Accademia Museum. Open: 8:15 am to 6:50 pm. Closed Mondays.
GALILEO. IMAGES OF THE UNIVERSE FROM ANTIQUITY TO THE TELESCOPE
Until August 30, at Palazzo Strozzi, Florence has decided
to pay homage to the human and intellectual epic of one of
its most ingenious sons. Galileos first celestial discoveries
date to exactly 400 years ago, and to mark this fourth centenary
the United Nations has declared 2009 the International Year
of Astronomy. The exhibition proposes a journey through time
and space that begins with the mystical and poetic visions
of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. It moves on to the Greek
cosmogonies, characterised by the ingenious homocentric spheres
of Eudoxus, through the planetary architectures of Ptolemy
and Arab astronomy, revoking the Christian interpretations
and finally arriving at the heliocentric theories of Copernicus
that inspired Galileo and Kepler, the scholars who
together with Newton made a decisive contribution to
the definitive consolidation of the new concept of the universe.
Enhanced by informative videos, the itinerary is illustrated
by archaeological finds, beautifully-fashioned scientific
instruments, celestial atlases, paintings (spectacular frescoes
from Pompeii never shown before, in addition to Botticelli,
Rubens and Guercino), sculptures, precious illuminated codices
and specially-built working cosmological models. Among the
most spectacular exhibits are the monumental astronomical
tapestry of Toledo, the Farnese Atlas, the mysterious painting
Linder Gallery Interior, displayed here for the first time,
and Galileos telescope.
Palazzo Strozzi, Piazza Strozzi. Until August 30. Open daily
9:00 am 8:00 pm, Thursday until 11:00 pm. Tickets:
€ 10.00. Tel. 055 2645155. For bookings: tel. 055 2469600.
PIETRO BENVENUTI AT THE COURT OF NAPOLEON AND OF THE LORRAINES.
Until June 21, the Palatine and Modern Art Galleries of the
Pitti Palace host Pietro Benvenuti. Pietro Benvenuti (Arezzo,
1769 Florence, 1844) was the leading protagonist of
Tuscan art in the years that marked the passage from neoclassicism
to romanticism. He studied at the Fine Arts Academy of Florence
and completed his training in Rome where he painted his first
important studio trials: the Judith for the Cathedral of Arezzo
and the Martyrdom of the Blessed Signoretto Alliata for the
Cathedral of Pisa.
Elisa Baciocchi (whose brother Napoleon Bonaparte received
the principality of Lucca and Piombino, and then the government
of the entire Tuscany) appointed Benvenuti court painter,
and in 1807 she summoned him to direct the Academy of Florence,
an office he maintained until his death. The Napoleonic parenthesis
was the period of several monumental compositions (The Death
of Priam, The Oath of the Saxons, Elisa and the Artists),
which precluded to the great decorative undertakings planned
to modernise the Pitti Palace, the Room of Hercules in particular
(in the wing today occupied by the Palatine Gallery), terminated
during the Restoration.
Benvenuti was also an extraordinary portraitist. In Tuscany,
he represents the style that prevailed in the middle-European
ambit, both in bringing the character of the personages into
focus, and in the setting. His classicist vocation is fully
expressed in the composition of mythological themes, which
the painter prepared with exquisite drawings that often assume
the value of autonomous works. Leopold II of Lorraine commissioned
him to complete the decorations in the dome of the Chapel
of the Princes in the Church of San Lorenzo.
So the exhibition illustrates Benvenutis artistic history,
presents his most important works, and compares them with
those of his early teachers, and those by Italian and foreign
artists (from Giani to Sabatelli to Thorvaldsen), encountered
in Rome in the eccentric and experimental Accademia dei Pensieri
(Academy of Thought). The Sala Bianca of the Gallery of Modern
Art presents the paintings of the Napoleonic years (mainly
portraits and mythological themes). The set up revolves around
the large painting of Pyrrhus, presented to the public for
the first time after a long and complex restoration that has
revealed its stylistic components drawn from the study of
David and Canova.
The exhibition itinerary also includes the Room of Hercules
and ends with a section dedicated to the paintings of the
years of the Restoration, genre paintings for the most part
of a historical-literary matrix with inflections of a troubadour
flavour. The particular interest of these works emerges from
the comparison with several paintings with an explicit romantic
adhesion by contemporaries Luigi Sabatelli and Giuseppe Bezzuoli.
They are the proof that the classicist maestro Benvenuti at
least in part shared the instances of truthfulness advanced
by the next generation of the moderns, especially
the Macchiaioli. Palatine Gallery and the Modern Art Gallery,
Piazza Pitti 1. Hours: 8:15 to 6:50 pm. Closed Monday. www.polomuseale.firenze.it.
Info: 055 294883.
MEMORIES OF ANTIQUITY IN TWENTIETH-CENTURY ART
Until July 12, the Pitti Palace Silver Museum hosts a show
featuring the art of antiquity reflected in twentieth-century
and present-day art. Paintings and sculptures that have passed
through the centuries (from the Etruscans to the Classical
Age, from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance), are proposed
in comparison with Picasso and Dali, Modigliani and De Chirico,
Soffici, Marino Marini, Vangi, Mitoraj, Theimer, Guadagnucci
and Franco Angeli.
The more than 130 works on show include a series of significant
parallels of the applied arts: between the glass manufactures
by Ercole Barovier and Carlo Scarpa and extraordinary pieces
from the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, between
ceramics by Giò Ponti and those from the National Archaeological
Museums of Florence and Rome, between twentieth-century jewels
and several wonders from antiquity and the Medici collections
in the Pitti Palace.
The exhibition visually represents the innovative force and
great expressiveness of twentieth-century art, juxtaposed
with an historical Neoclassicism. Already present in Picassos
works from the early XX century (the exhibition presents the
Repas Frugal from the Victoria and Albert Museum of London),
the return to origin became a creative drive also for a generation
of Italian artists. After the disruptive experiences of the
turn of the century, Carrà, Severini, Soffici, De Chirico,
Morandi, and Modigliani chose this road to reconnect with
roots and traditions. Even foreign artists were influenced
by the allure of our past: in the Birth of Liquid Desires
dated 1931-32, and on loan from the Guggenheim Museum of Venice,
Salvador Dalì presents a surreal atmosphere, and literally
cites the famous Cornelian with Apollo, Marsias and Olympus,
which once belonged to Lorenzo the Magnificent.
Silver Museum. Palazzo Pitti. Piazza Pitti 1. Hours: 8:15
to 5.30 pm. Closed Monday. www.polomuseale.firenze.it. Info:
CARLO MOLLINO PHOTOGRAPHER
Until June 14, the Alinari National Museum of Photography
hosts works by Carlo Mollino, Italian architect and designer
whose skill as a photographer was only rediscovered some years
after his death in 1973. Mollino held photography in high
esteem, it was a great passion and favourite means of expression.
He was a photographer who advocated retouching, as documented
in his treatise The Message from the Dark Room. Mollino often
painted on his photos or negatives.
Alinari National Museum of Photography. Piazza Santa Maria
Novella. Open from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. Closed Wednesday.
Entry: euro 6. www.firenzeperfattori.it, www.alinarifondazione.it.
ANNIGONI AT VILLA BARDINI.
This ongoing show at the newly restored Villa Bardini, features
Pietro Annigoni, who died in 1988, leaving a legacy that we
can now begin to explore in depth. A selected portion of the
6000 works of art recently donated by the artists family
will be on show, changing annually to enable his public to
eventually view the entire collection. Painting in a Renaissance
style, Annigonis portraits graced the cover of Time
magazine five times during his life. Visit the museum today,
to enjoy an introduction to the artists works, as this
year we will be shown paintings (and lithographs, designs
and memorabilia) dating to the beginning of his career.
Villa Bardini, Costa San Giorgio 2 and Via dei Bardi 1r. Museum
hours: October 1 through March 31: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Wednesday through Sunday. From April 1 through September 30:
10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Tel. 055-2638599.
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. Marks 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. Teatro Politeama
Pratese, Via G. Garibaldi, 33 Prato. Tel: 0574/603758.
Purchase tickets for theatre, concerts and other events at
the following ticket agencies: BOX OFFICE: Via Alamanni, 39
(alongside the train station). Open Monday 15,30-19,30, from
Tuesday to Saturday 10,00-19,30. Tel: 055/210804. Fax: 055/213112,
INTERNATIONAL STUDIO, Chiasso de Soldanieri, Tel. 055/293393,
ARGONAUTA VIAGGI, Lungarno Torrigiani 33/B, 055/2342777.9187.
Many tickets can be pre-purchased via www.ticketone.it or
www.boxol.it or www.classictic.com/en or www.festivalopera.it.
GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG (Twilight of the Gods) - The last
work in the Ring cycle, Götterdämmerung - in the
production with the award-winning pair MehtaFura dels
Baus (Abbiati Prize for Italian music criticism for the previous
Das Rheingold and Die Walküre) - is performed first in
Florence, ahead of Valencia, with whom it has been co-produced.
It features Lance Ryans new interpretation of Siegfried
alongside Jennifer Wilsons acclaimed Brünnhilde.
Teatro Comunale. 3:00 pm.
ZUBIN MEHTA RUDOLF BUCHBINDER (II) - The complete set
of Beethovens Concertos for Piano and Orchestra performed
with Zubin Mehta on the podium and Rudolf Buchbinder at the
piano concludes with an incredible tour de force by the two
musicians and the Maggio Musicale Orchestra: there are, in
fact, three Concertos offered on this second evening. Its
been all of twenty years since the complete set of Beethoven
Piano Concertos featured on the Teatro del Maggio programme.
Teatro Comunale. 8:30.
PINO DANIELE Electric Jam 09 European tour. Tickets:
27 to 40 euro. Teatro Saschall. 9:00 pm.
GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG (Twilight of the Gods). 6:00 pm.
See Monday 4.
GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG (Twilight of the Gods). 6:00 pm.
See Monday 4.
MARCO MASINI. Tickets: 15 to 25 euro. Mandela Forum. 9:00
LEO MACFALL - A pupil of the Sibelius Academy of Finland and
assistant to Bernard Haitink, this conductor came into the
limelight in the prestigious Tanglewood courses and, still
in his twenties, makes his debut on the stage alongside the
Maggio Musicale Orchestra and Choir with the rare Meeresstille
und glückliche Fahrt (Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage)
op. 112 by Beethoven, together with two very famous compositions:
the symphonic poem Don Juan by Richard Strauss and Dvóøaks
Symphony From the New World. Teatro Comunale. 8:30.
GIORGIA Spirito Libero Tour. Tickets: 25 to 40 euro.
Teatro Saschall. 9:00 pm.
ALEXANDER LONQUICH - The German, and now naturalised Italian,
pianist returns to the Teatro del Maggio after a period of
almost thirty years since his only performances in the double
role of conductor and pianist. At the piano, he will play
Mozarts D minor Concerto K. 466, one of the best known
and best-loved of the 27 concertos composed by Mozart and
on the podium; he will conduct the Maggio Orchestra in Schuberts
Great C Major Symphony, one of the mainstays of Viennese symphonic
pre-Romanticism. Teatro Comunale. 8:30 pm.
PATTO DI SANGUE - Another jewel in the Festivals crown
this year is the first performance of this contemporary opera
by Matteo DAmico with a libretto by Sandro Cappelletto.
Its a black comedy freely adapted from Ramón
María del Valle-Inclán Spains Pirandello
and a continuation of the project in which the Maggio
is committed to presenting each year a new operatic work commissioned
from an Italian author or being performed for the first time
in Italy. Patto di sangue is conducted by Marcello
Panni with Daniele Abbado directing, scenery by Graziano Gregari
and costumes by Carla Teti. Teatro Goldoni. 8:30 pm.
ELIO IS FRANKENSTEIN Maggio OFF - Once again, Elio skilfully
crosses the frontiers of his genre, performing the neo-Gothic
opera Frankenstein!! Pan-demonium for chansonnier and
ensemble by Heinz Carl Gruber. The second part of the
concert is an amusing revival of some of the great successes
of Elio e le Storie Tese, which lead the audience into the
enchanted garden where anything is possible. Teatro
Comunale. 9:15 pm.
PATTO DI SANGUE (See Friday 22.)
OMAR SOSA QUARTET Maggio OFF - Omar Sosa brings together
musicians from Africa, Cuba, Brazil and France to celebrate
the rich heritage of African music and comparing it with jazz
and Latin music. Sosas arrangements combine folklore
and modernity, both ancestral and urban. The voices of the
spirits and percussions from Africa and South America blend
with the lyrical, bold style of Sosas piano. Piccolo
Teatro (Comunale) 9:15 pm.
WINTERREISE - The tenor Ian Bostridge, who makes his long-awaited
debut at the Festival, and the pianist Julius Drake are the
protagonists of a new production of Schuberts Winterreise
by the director Roberto Andò, who turns this well-known
cycle of Lieder into an elegant show with scenery by Gianni
Carluccio and videos by Luca Scarzella, exclusively for the
Maggio festival. Teatro Comunale. 8:30 pm.
CONTEMPOARTENSEMBLE - Paying tribute to Sir Peter Maxwell
Davies, who celebrates his 75th birthday in 2009, the Festival
brings to the stage a group that specialises in contemporary
music - the Contempoartensemble, directed by Mauro Ceccanti
with the participation of the pianist Bruno Canino and the
musicologist Quirino Principe as reciting voice. As well as
the Missa Super lHomme Armé, the
programme includes three first Italian performances. Teatro
Goldoni. 8:30 pm.
ORIGINAL LANGUAGE CINEMA
Odeon Theatre, Piazza Strozzi 2 (across from Colle Beretto
Bar). Phone: 055 214 068.
Monday 4 - State of Play by Kevin Macdonald with Russell Crowe,
Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren. 5.30 8.20
Tuesday 5 - Earth by Alastair Fothergill, Mark Linfield (Documentary)
5.00 6.50 8.40 10.30 p.m.
Thursday 7 - Gran Torino by Clint Eastwood (Italian subtitles)
with Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Ahney Her, Christopher Carley,
Austin Douglas Smith. 5.30 8.20 10.30 p.m.
Monday 11 Che: Part One by Steven Soderbergh (Italian
subtitles) with Benicio Del Toro, Demiàn Bichir, Santiago
Cabrera, Elvira Mínguez. 5.30 - 8.15 - 10.30 p.m.
Tuesday 12 - Two Lovers by James Gray with Gwyneth Paltrow,
Joaquin Phoenix, Vinessa Shaw, Isabella Rossellini. 5.00
6.55 8.45 10.35 p.m.
Thursday 14 - Star Trek XI by J.J. Abrams with Chris Pine,
Zachary Quinto, Eric Bana, Simon Pegg, Winona Ryder. 5.30
8.20 10.30 p.m.
Monday 18 - Angels & Demons by Ron Howard with Tom Hanks,
Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer, Stellan Skarsgård, Pierfrancesco
Favino. 5.30 8.00 10.30 p.m.
Tuesday 19 - Angels & Demons - 5.30 8.00
Thursday 21 - Angels & Demons - 4.30 - 7.00 - 9.30 p.m.
Monday 25 - RocknRolla by Guy Ritchie with Gerard Butler,
Jeremy Piven, T. Newton, G. Arterton, Tom Wilkinson. 5.30
8.20 10.30 p.m.
Tuesday 26 - State of Play by Kevin Macdonald with Russell
Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren. 5.30
8.20 10.30 p.m.
Thursday 28 - Special Event: ORSON WELLES MACBETH. In original
language with aperitif presented by FESTA Theatre as part
of this Seasons Macbeth cycle. For more information see www.themacbethproject.org
The movie version of the BBCs celebrated TV series State
of Play relocates the action from London to Washington DC
but retains the thriller aspect as investigators uncover the
connections in the murky worlds of business and politics.
Another BBC triumph was David Attenboroughs Planet Earth,
and Earth is a condensation of that series now narrated by
Patrick Stewart (WINNER BOGEY AWARD IN GOLD 2008). The damage
to wildlife and the environment is the focus of this brilliantly
photographed feature-length documentary on the consequences
of global warming.
Another solid performance as both star and director comes
from Clint Eastwood in his Gran Torino, a challenging story
of racism and crime and the difficult road to multicultural
Steven Soderberghs movie Che will be shown in separate
parts (Part One: The Argentine, Part Two: Guerrilla) and in
one marathon screening (to be held in June). Benicio Del Toro
stars as Che Guevara in a controversial biopic that neither
glorifies nor demonises the South American revolutionary (BENICIO
DEL TORO WINNER CANNES FESTIVAL 2008 BEST ACTOR.)
Two Lovers is an intense New York set romantic drama that
has something new and inspiring to say on the age-old subjects
of love and lovers (1 NOMINATION CANNES FESTIVAL 2008 - GOLDEN
J J Abrams Star Trek (aka Star Trek XI) is a brilliant
example of how intelligence and sensitivity can rejuvenate
an old franchise. Both die-hard Trekkies and the uninitiated
will be transported by this story of the young Captain Kirk
and the crew of the USS Enterprise.
Ron Howard (director of The Da Vinci Code 2006) also directs
Angels and Demons, an adaptation of Dan Browns novel
written before The Da Vinci Code but actually a sequel about
a plot to destroy the Vatican City with antimatter.
Guy Ritchies fast-paced Brit gangster movie RocknRolla
is a comedy crime drama set in the East End underworld where
there is no honour amongst thieves (WINNER BEST BRITISH FILM
BLACK REEL AWARDS 2009).
British Institute Library. Palazzo Lanfredini, Lungarno
Guicciardini 9. All lectures begin at 6 pm. Free admission.
Wednesday 6: Tania String - Myth and memory in representations
of Henry VIII, 1509-2009. This year marks the 500th anniversary
of Henrys accession to the throne at the age of seventeen.
In her talk Tania String explains how the kings image
has mutated in the last five centuries. Tania String is Head
of the History of Art department at the University of Bristol
and has recently published Art and Communication in the Reign
of Henry VIII (Ashgate, 2008). Her forthcoming study Projecting
Masculinity: Henry VIIIs Codpiece will appear
this year in Henry VIII and his Afterlives (Cambridge University
Wednesday 13: John McCourt and Maria Anita Stefanelli - Two
Irish writers: Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney. John McCourt,
who teaches at the Università Roma Tre and directs
the Trieste Joyce School (Università di Trieste), presents
two new books edited by Maria Anita Stefanelli and published
in Florence by Centro Di, each devoted to a Nobel Prize-winning
Irish writer. Tullio Pericolis Many Becketts focuses
on the portraits of the great dramatist made over many years
by the Italian artist Pericoli, while Italian Heaney concentrates
on Italian translations of Seamus Heaneys poetry.
Wednesday 20: Lynn Catterson - A 2nd-century Roman sarcophagus
recarved by Donatello. Lynn Catterson was a student and friend
of the late Professor James Beck, and like her mentor she
lectures on renaissance art at Columbia and tackles controversial
issues head-on. Recently she has argued that the celebrated
sculptural group known as the Laocoön is a forgery by
the young Michelangelo (and her arguments have not been refuted).
In this talk she examines a Roman marble sarcophagus in Cortona
that she believes to have been completely recarved by another
Tuscan sculptural genius, Donatello.
Wednesday 27: Peter Maxwell Davies - Master of the Queens
Music: Is it possible today? Sir Peter Maxwell Davies is known
internationally as a brilliant conductor and prolific composer.
In this talk he will consider the role of Master of the Queens
Music, to which he was appointed in 2004, and the challenges
it presents in todays world. His most recent piece,
A Hymn to the Spirit of Fire, was commissioned by the Liverpool
Metropolitan Cathedral Concerts Society as the culmination
of the citys Capital of Culture year 2008 and was given
its world première at the cathedral on 13 December.
FESTA DEL PANE
On Sat. 9 and Sun. 10 delve into the secret world of Tuscan
bread. The town of Altopascio, not far from Lucca, is renowned
for its saltless, yet flavourful bread. The 12 remaining local
forni will be offering tastes and sales of their famous products.
Find hot focaccia, chestnut, corn and potato flour loaves,
plus honey, wine, cheeses and entertainment for children as
well. Info: 0583 216525.
ALLA CORTE DEL VINO
On Sat. 23 and Sun. 24, the historical Villa le Corti in San
Casciano Val di Pesa will host wine producers and wine lovers,
joining together to celebrate, taste and toast the art of
winemaking. Representatives from over 80 vineyards will pour
more than 400 different wines ranging from Chianti to Bordeaux,
France. The event features many Tuscan labels; of the Chianti
region, the classic Brunello di Montalcino as well as Vino
Nobile di Montepulciano. Strolling from table to table at
Villa Le Corti, visitors can freely taste, and talk with the
producers themselves. As an opportunity to learn more about
Italian wine production, luncheons and on-site seminars will
be offered. For those who would like to make a day of it,
there will be a restaurant serving the Pleasures of
the Tuscan Table. Villa le Corti, San Casciano Val di
Pesa Open 11 am - 8 pm. Ticket: 18 Euro. Tel 055/829301 for
PRATOLINO, VILLA DEMIDOFF RURALIA
From Friday 22 to Sunday 24, grab the kids and head a short
twenty minutes northwest of Florence along the Via Bolognese
to the park of Villa Demidoff, which each May is populated
with a county fair, Tuscan-style. Sheep and lambs, enormous
cattle, horses of every shape and size, plus hawks, dogs,
food, sun and fun will delight the kiddies and adults alike.
Bus 25 from Piazza San Marco will get you there and back.
For info call 055 500241.
On Sun. 24, in a town known world-wide for its handmade knife
production, one might not expect a celebration involving flowers.
But on this Sunday in May, the streets and piazzas are literally
carpeted with floral mosaics of multicoloured petals and leaves.
The entire town including kids from local schools, shopkeepers
and businessmen all participate in the fun. Plus
23, hit the Campo Sportivo for a dinner of tortelli mugellani
with potato filling, grilled meats and good Chianti (menu
available again Sunday at lunch and dinner).
Scarperia historical centre (Mugello). All day long.
IL PAGLIAIO DI GREVE
Sunday 24, Greve in Chianti hosts their monthly organic food
fair Il Pagliaio. Mays fair features honey and honey
making. From morning through the afternoon, the main piazza
of Greve will be filled with kiosks of every kind, selling
not only honey, bees wax candles and royal jelly, but
also cheese, bread, wine, olive oil, jams, sweets and all
sorts of natural, handmade fare. Greve in Chianti, Piazza
100 KM DEL PASSATORE, 37th Annual Run.
Saturday 30 and Sun. 31, watch for the race that Franco Chiavegatti,
reporter of the Corriere della Sera baptised as
the Olympic games of the foolish. The 100 km del
Passatore was born on a cold morning of January 1973. Today,
in its 37th edition, the race starts on Saturday at 3 p.m.
in Piazza della Signoria, and finishes in Faenza, Piazza del
Popolo, with a deadline (finish line) of 11:00
a.m. on Sunday. The race officially covers a distance of 100
km, along paved country and state roads from Florence through
Fiesole, Borgo San Lorenzo, Marradi, and Brisighella to Faenza.
For info: tel. 0546 664603. www.100kmdelpassatore.it.
WINE DAY (Cantine Aperte)
On Sun. 31 take advantage of this special day to experience
free guided tours and wine tasting at many Tuscan vineyards
located in the wine-producing areas of Chianti Classico, Carmignano,
Rufina, San Gimignano, Montalcino, Montepulciano, Maremma
and others. On this festive day, all Italian wine lovers unite.
From the Alps to Sicily, almost one thousand wineries welcome
wine tourists to see their vines, barrels and barriques. To
name just a few of the visitable wineries in Tuscany:
Castello del Trebbio, Via Santa Brigida 9, Loc. Santa Brigida
(FI). Tel: 055 8304900. www.vinoturismo.it
Castello di Verrazzano, Via S. Martino in Valle 12, Greve
in Chianti (FI). Tel. 055 854243. www.verrazzano.com
Villa Vignamaggio, Via Petrolio 5. Greve in Chianti (FI).
Tel: 055 854661 www.vignamaggio.it
Barone Ricasoli, Cantine del Castello di Brolio, Gaiole in
Chianti (SI). Tel: 0577 7301 www.ricasoli.it
Banfi, Castello di Poggio alle Mura. Montalcino (SI). Tel:
0577 840111. www.castellobanfi.com
And just in case you wish to check out one of the few grappa
producers in Tuscany: Distillerie Bonollo, Via Citille 43/C,
Greve in Chianti (FI). Tel: 055 8544466. www.bonollo.com.
Most wineries will be open 10 am - 1 pm, 3 - 7 pm. Call 055/854243
for information or visit the website: www.movimentoturismovino.it
EXHIBITS AROUND TUSCANY
ART, GENIUS, FOLLY: The Night and Day of the Artist.
Until May 25, Sienas Museum Santa Maria della Scala
will host an exhibition of works by Ernst, Dix, Van Gogh,
Kirchner, Munch, Guttuso, Mafai, Ligabue and more (do you
feel the angst?). The show highlights the results of research
from both artistic and scientific viewpoints, on the rapport
between artistic production and mental disturbances that have
touched art over time. More than 300 works, both paintings
and sculpture, have been chosen to illustrate this complex
Siena, Museo di Santa Maria della Scala. Open: every day including
holidays from 10:30 am/7:30 pm., Ticket: 8.00 euro. Tel. 0577
ANTONIO LIGABUE: His Tiger Roars between Pontassieve and
Until June 7, the new exhibition space in Pontassieves
Palazzo Municipale hosts a fascinating show of 49 works by
Antonio Ligabue, one of Italys most important 20th century
Naive artists. Ligabue was born in Switzerland but lived most
of his life in Reggio Emilio, where he died in 1966. During
a life spent in and out of psychiatric hospital wards and
touring the countryside on his red motorcycle (featured in
the exhibition), he taught himself to paint. His natural talent
emerged through wild colours, an empathy with animals rather
than people and a haunting obsession with self-portraits (123
in all with three of them staring out at Pontassieve visitors).
The show includes sketches, paintings and sculptures. There
is a striking and intriguing difference between the style
of his paintings reflecting Rousseau and with hints
of Van Gogh and the remarkable simpatico of his bronzes;
the horses walk, the calves suckle, the panther hisses and
strikes at you.
Its an easy, regular train ride from Santa Maria Novella
(20-25 minutes) but at Pontassieve exit northwards, signed
towards Piazza Stazione, to make sure of hitting the old town
centre and the short climb to the charming municipal square.
Pontassieve, Palazzo Municipale. Sala delle Colonne. Open:
9:30 to 12:30 and from 3 to 7:00 pm. On Fridays, afternoons
only. Closed Mondays. Ticket: 5 euro. Info: tel. 055 8360346
THE DELLA ROBBIA: A Renaissance Dialogue Between the Arts.
Until June 7, Arezzos Museum of Medieval and Modern
art of Arezzo presents the industrious Della Robbia family.
From the early 1400's to near the end of the 1500's, this
family produces glazed earthenware works that still speak
to us today, with grace, charm and silent sweetness.
Starting with Luca della Robbia, through the ingenious, secret
formula for creating and glazing the terra cotta masterpieces
attributed to this family, sculpture, architecture and painting
dialogue with the so-called "decorative arts (gold-smithing,
glasswork, enamels, etc). In order to better explain this
moment in art history of sharing and comparing that bred genius,
alongside the Della Robbian production, will be works by artists
contemporary to the family (Donatello, Ghiberti, Andrea del
Verrocchio, Filippo Lippi, Ghirlandaio, Perugino, Desiderio
da Settignano and others).
Arezzo, Museo Statale dArte Medievale e Moderna, Via
San Lorentino 8. Open: daily from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. Ticket:
10.00 euro. For info: www.mostradellarobbia.it
GENIUS & PASSION, THE RESTORATION OF LIPPI'S FRESCOES
Over five centuries ago, Filippo Lippi ascended three stories
of scaffolding in the dark recesses of Pratos cathedral.
Today, the three-tiered frescoes, which cover the walls and
vaults of the main chapel with stories of St. John the Baptist
and St. Stephen, are visible in renewed splendour after seven
years of restoration. Small, guided tours of the fresco cycle
now allow the public to come face to face with Lippi. Prato
Cathedral. Open Mon. ¬ Sat. 10:00 am ¬ 5:00 pm. Admission:
4 euro with audio guide. Small, guided tours available by
All our best,
The Staff of Pitcher and Flaccomio
Newsletter compiled by Kim Wicks
Pitcher & Flaccomio Newsletter Copyright 2009
Direttore responsabile Mario Spezi - Pubblicazione con
iscrizione n. 5697 del 23\01\09 presso il Tribunale di Firenze