BEST EXTRAVAGANZA FOR MAY
Drinks on Top of the Uffizi! Would you like to enjoy a very special aperitivo in Florence this spring with your friends high above the Piazza Signoria? And then how about an extra added special visit to a new gallery opening especially for you?
Called “Aperitivo ad Arte“, the Uffizi Gallery is offering special evening openings of the museum on Thursdays, starting this April 26 (and continuing through the end of June) that allows you to enjoy an aperitivo on the Uffizi terrace over Loggia dei Lanzi enjoying an amazing view of Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio together with a visit to the new Blue Rooms of the Uffizi dedicated to foreign artists, which was inaugurated last December.
Visits to the the Blue Rooms will be at your leisure throughout the evening – the combination of the visit and the particular setting makes this a truly unique occasion to enjoy art together with an evening out with friends in a very particular setting not generally offered.
The aperitif starts at 7pm and continues through 9:30pm. Entrance is through the new stairs located to the right of the Uffizi, right behind the Loggia dei Lanzi. A buffet is included and the cost is 10 euro per person.
It is possible (and recommended) you reserve either through the call center at the following numbers: 800.424.500 or 055.294.883 if you’re calling from a land line phone, or 199-104245 if you’re calling from a cellphone.
Clet Again! In March we highlighted the street art of Clet Abraham. He’s back again because on May 6, he will be placing a large wooden nose (30 feet high) on the Torre di San Niccolò (along the Lungarno, below Piazzale Michelangelo) in an homage of the statues on Easter Island. Music will be provided in the evening by Ginevra Di Marco.
P&F PICK APARTMENT RENTAL FOR MAY – The perfect Summer Apartment
Located on Lungarno Torrigiani, the street running along the south side of the Arno river to the Ponte Vecchio, this two bedroom apartment is the perfect summer place (with both a terrace with view of the Arno and a private patio for late evening suppers). It is only available from June 1 to September 15. The neighborhood is famous for its many artisans’ workshops, antique stores, and good restaurants. Built on two levels, it has a tasteful mix of modern and antique furniture. Reserve it now, this one is going to be snapped up fast.
For more information click this link.
MUSEUM FOR MAY – Casa Martelli
The Museum Casa Martelli is an interesting example of an 18th-century nobleman's home and of the family's tastes in collecting. It’s one of the newest museums to open in Florence and thus, one of the least visited. Only open on Tursdays, you may be lucky to enjoy a concert by a quartet during your visit.
In 1738 Niccolò and Giuseppe Maria Martelli employed the architect Bernardo Ciurini to transform several houses into the present palace. The interior was decorated in the taste of the period with paintings by Vincenzo Meucci, Bernardo Minozzi and Niccolò Conestabile, and stucco ornamentation by Giovan Martino Portogalli. The fine collection of art works belonging to the family was arranged in a specially designed suite of rooms. This is the last example of an 18th-century Florentine collection, with the exception of the Corsini collection, that has been preserved intact.
The paintings include works by Piero di Cosimo, Beccafumi, Salvator Rosa, Luca Giordano and Netherlandish painting of the 17th century.
The Museum is open for guided tours on Thursday and you must have a reservation (€3 - but the "ticket" is free), made by calling 055 294883. You can not walk up and enter without a prior reservation. Via Zannetti is a small side street less than five minutes from the Duomo.
Casa Martelli Museum
Via Ferdinando Zannetti, 8
50123 Florence, Italy
+39 055 294883
BEST GELATO FOR MAY – The Festival of Gelato
From Wednesday 23 to Sunday 27 Florence will be the world’s Gelato Capital, as the city is transformed into an open-air “maxi gelateria”. This is the Third Annual Firenze Gelato Festival and it is the biggest ever. Stroll through Piazza S.S. Annunziata and over to Piazza della Repubblica accompanied by tastes of the best frozen wares that Italy’s gelatai have to offer. Be sure to sign up for gelato-making lessons at the Gelato University, sponsored by Carpigiani.
Entry is (obviously) free, and a tasting card can be purchased for 10 euros (ten tastes). Confronting the gelato question from every side, both artisan and industrial treats will be presented. And given that the average Italian family apparently spends 82 euros a year on gelato, given that gelato is a part of Florence’s history; invented they say by the architect Buontalenti for the court of Cosimo il Primo, and most of all… given that it is widely known to be “un alimento perfetto, perfetto per tutte le diete”, we say Bring it On!
Since conferences will be held in Palazzo Vecchio, a Gelato Village and Gelato University will inhabit Piazza S.S. Annunziata, Piazza Pitti with both Piazza Strozzi and Piazza della Repubblica involved, it might actually be difficult to miss the fun. Each day watch for Gelato events, clowns and street bands from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm throughout the center.
Special dinners, events, workshops and classes can be booked through the official website at www.firenzegelatofestival.it/
BEST TIME FOR THE KIDS IN MAY – DINOSAURS IN THE FLESH!
A fascinating world comes to life in Giardino dei Semplici (Florence’s Botanical Garden).
The Natural History Museum of Florence will showcase the fascinating world of dinosaurs. Until September 2, through an informative, educational and fun exhibition, Dinosaurs in the Flesh and Bones will bring the public one of the most fascinating of aspects of science that will be a kind of laboratory in 'continuous evolution.'
"Dinosaurs in the Flesh" is a cultural event entirely Made in Italy and expresses Italian excellence in the Sciences and Paleontology, which has traditionally been predominant among the Anglo-Saxon cultures.
At the Giardino dei Semplici and between the palaeontological collections of the Natural History Museum visitors can admire life-size prehistoric animals, created by internationally recognized Italian artists of the field. A recreated dinosaur habitat emerges with copies of the Tyrannosaurus and Spinosauri, and using the fossil skeletal remains of the museum, other dinosaurs will be on display, among them the Glyptodon and Thylacinus.
The exhibition features 40 hyper-realistic reconstructions on a 1:1 scale of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals, some of them colossal in size. Also, as part of the exhibition, there are 9 murals with prehistoric animals and paleoenvironmental reconstructions; 110 illustrated information panels; 120 works by internationally renowned Italian illustrators of paleontology art; and the exhibition of fossils, molds and tools needed to build the reproduction of a dinosaur, and a 3D paleontology aquarium
In conjunction with the exhibition are an array of cultural events, such as guided tours, informational lectures, and conferences with special initiatives.
Florence Museum of Natural History
March 1 to September 2
FULL PRICE € 10
FAMILY TICKET € 22
two adults and up to two children aged 4-18
REDUCED PRICE € 8
children aged 11-18; senior (over 65)
FURTHER REDUCED PRICE € 4
children aged 4-10; students
children under 4; disabled people and their accompanists;
3 teachers/accompanists per class.
The entrance fee is cumulative for access to the exhibition, the Geology and Paleontology Section and the Botanic Garden Section.
Geology and Paleontology Section , Via G. La Pira, 4
BOTANICAL GARDEN Section on P.A. Micheli, 3
FORZA VIOLA!! FOR MAY – Florentine Calcio
P&F Sports Reporters Simon Clark & Anne Brooks bring you April’s Florentine Calcio results and the upcoming schedule for May.
Forza Viola!.........Time and again, we have rubbished the Italian media’s rush to describe our club’s plight as a crisi; time and again we have been proved right. This month, performances and results have proved us right again! Mathematically, we still need another three points to avoid relegation; in reality we may not need so many.
Week 30: Fiorentina-Chievo LOST 1-2
Week 31: Milan-Fiorentina WON 2-1
Week 32: Fiorentina-Palermo DREW 0-0
Week 34: Fiorentina-Inter DREW 0-0
Week 33: Roma-Fiorentina WON 2-1
Week 35: Atalanta-Fiorentina LOST 0-2
Primavera. Our Primavera squad is coping with losing members to the senior side. We finished third, a point behind Torino and good enough for the play-offs. Already we have seen off Genoa 2-0; it’ll likely be Juve in the final. The juniors stand second, a point behind Empoli. The boys roll on, biffing everyone; it’s us or Empoli – third-place Cesena are 17 points behind.
Serie A. Chievo at the Stadio. Question: how can we not love a side known as the Flying Donkeys? Answer: when they come here and win. On 24 minutes, Natali forgot which team he was playing for and passed to a Chievo forward, leaving Boruc helpless. We made nothing of our domination till the second half when Amauri made way for Adam Ljajic who promptly “curled a magnificent free kick into the near top corner from the edge of the box” (football-italia.net). We can win this but on 88 minutes the defense lies down and that’s it. Delio Rossi’s laid the blame at the fans’ door – apparently we are frightening the players. Eh?
Hercules’ 13th Labour – a visit to the San Siro and Milan, favourites for the Scudetto - until they meet us! With Jovetic (convict haircut) back and Boruc in Berlin Wall mode, how else could it end? Except with maximum drama. A first half give-away penalty (two boys falling over each other, a referee not knowing what to do) put them ahead. Then Jo-Jo breaks the off-side trap and we are equal. Who could have predicted a Milan last-minutes fading away to allow Jo-Jo and Amauri to exchange passes and the Brazilian, still part-owned by Juventus, scoring his first Fiorentina goal and allowing our hated rivals to creep above Milan?
Home for Palermo. A small crowd and no goals but the energy is returning. Palermo are riding high and are much more than a bunch of pink shirts. We could have won this but a draw is very creditable; Boruc didn’t have to make a save. If Amauri’s astonishing back-heel flick had not been acrobatically saved by their keeper, it would have been a candidate for goal of the century! Unfortunately, the referee spotted him later knocking a “goal” in with his hand and he’ll be suspended for Inter. Jovetic, Pasqual, Natali, Nastasic and Behrami all came close but no-one won a cigar. The balance of the side is better when Jo-Jo is playing – but we need more than that....And we are going to get it......
The shape of things to come? Vargas is injured, Montolivo (definitely leaving) warming the bench beside Gamberini, Amauri suspended, Jovetic ill. How will we withstand Inter? With energy, organisation and youth. That’s how. Man for man, Inter are more experienced, more skilled technically; as a team, they have lost their way and lack imagination. Rossi fields teenagers and near-teenagers – Nastasic, Camporese, Ljajic, Acosty, Salifu - and gets Cerci to scare the pants off their defenders with his pace. It works. Boruc has one (simple) save to make all game such is the performance of the mobile wall in front of him. Inter are happy to escape with a point. We replay Cesar’s penalty save from Ljajic and wonder “what if?”.......
Look at this, friends, countrymen and Romans! Morosini’s on-field death meant the delay of week 33 and our game against Roma but the return of Jovetic to amaze with a 2nd-minute goal. Great cross from Lazzari. It’s our half as Jo-Jo is within inches of doubling our lead and the rest of the team pepper their goal. Roma come back strongly after the break and on 70 minutes lucky Totti deflects an equaliser that leaves Boruc helpless. But we’ve learned from giving away all those last-minute goals; 92 minutes and their keeper can only beat away a Ljajic missile; Lazzari controls and fires home. First win at Roma in 20 years!
The long month closes at Atalanta. They came up last year, lugging a 6-point corruption penalty; we should see them off but these are not normal times. Atalanta are punching above their weight while injuries and suspensions force Rossi to put out not just a young team but a young reserve team. On 11 minutes, our old failing – inept offside trap – puts us behind. When Behrami goes off injured, the deck is stacking further against us; Atalanta grab a second early in the second half. The key moment came in the 67th minute as Jovetic’s penalty kick was saved. After that, the game rather fizzled out on his fallibility.
Next Month. The final countdown won’t be easy. Novarra and Lecce are mired in trouble but not yet doomed; they will be fighting hard. Cagliari are happily ensconced in mid-table but they are building a reputation as one of our bogey teams. The simple approach would be to beat Novarra and not lose at Lecce..............Forza Viola!
THE FIORENTINA SCHEDULE: May brings our last three games:
Week 36: 02 May/home Fiorentina-Novarra
Week 37: 06 May/away Lecce-Fiorentina
Week 38: 13 May/home Fiorentina-Cagliari
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 1. 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 Duprè 28 (corner of via Settesanti).
NUOVO BOX OFFICE, Via delle Vecchie Carceri, 1, (inside the Murate). Tel 055 264321
FELTRINELLI FIRENZE, Via de' Cerretani 39/32R
BEST BOOK FOR MAY – The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani
The majestic and haunting beauty of the Italian Alps is the setting of the first meeting of Enza, a practical beauty, and Ciro, a strapping mountain boy, who meet as teenagers, despite growing up in villages just a few miles apart. At the turn of the last century, when Ciro catches the local priest in a scandal, he is banished from his village and sent to hide in America as an apprentice to a shoemaker in Little Italy. Without explanation, he leaves a bereft Enza behind. Soon, Enza's family faces disaster and she, too, is forced to go to America with her father to secure their future.
Unbeknownst to one another, they both build fledgling lives in America, Ciro masters shoemaking and Enza takes a factory job in Hoboken until fate intervenes and reunites them. But it is too late: Ciro has volunteered to serve in World War I and Enza, determined to forge a life without him, begins her impressive career as a seamstress at the Metropolitan Opera House that will sweep her into the glamorous salons of Manhattan and into the life of the international singing sensation, Enrico Caruso.
From the stately mansions of Carnegie Hill, to the cobblestone streets of Little Italy, over the perilous cliffs of northern Italy, to the white-capped lakes of northern Minnesota, these star-crossed lovers meet and separate, until, finally, the power of their love changes both of their lives forever.
Lush and evocative, told in tantalizing detail and enriched with lovable, unforgettable characters, The Shoemaker's Wife is a portrait of the times, the places and the people who defined the immigrant experience, claiming their portion of the American dream with ambition and resolve, cutting it to fit their needs like the finest Italian silk.
This riveting historical epic of love and family, war and loss, risk and destiny is the novel Adriana Trigiani was born to write, one inspired by her own family history and the love of tradition that has propelled her body of bestselling novels to international acclaim. The Shoemaker's Wife defines an era with clarity and splendor, with operatic scope and a vivid cast of characters who will live on in the imaginations of readers for years to come.
BEST BOOK FOR KIDS FOR MAY – Florence: Just Add Water by M. Fintoni, S. Frasca & A. Paoletti
Need the perfect guide to get your 8- to 13-year-old interested in an ancient city? This is it! A colorful and entertaining survival kit for teenagers visiting in Florence. Here is all a young reader needs to wear out his shoes, as he follows in the footsteps of Philip and his eccentric guides.
BEST MUSIC AND DANCE FOR MAY – The Maggio Musicale Festival 75
The Maggio Musicale Festival turns 75 this year! The 75th season of Florence's historic opera company promises to be the best yet. Held in collaboration with the Pergola Theatre, the Festival del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino's program this year is dedicated to Amerigo Vespucci, marking the 500th anniversary of the Italian explorer's death. Between May 4 and June 7, over 90 events – operas, ballets, concerts, exhibitions, conferences, open rehearsals and workshops – 200 guest performers, 42 collaborating institutions at 23 venues thoughout Florence, explore the theme of voyage.
The Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra, founded in 1928 by Vittorio Gui as the Stabile Orchestrale Fiorentina. One of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious opera, symphonic music and ballet festival, along with Bayreuth and Salzburg festivals. Its year of birth is 1933.
First established as a three-year event, in 1937 it became a yearly festival held in the month of May as a tribute to and in memory of the ancient Calendimaggio festivity, when Firenze (the ancient Fiorenza, the flower city) celebrated the month of flowers with dancing, music and plays, and the streets were decorated with laurel festoons and garlands of flowers (Dante saw Beatrice for the first time during the 1274 Calendimaggio “dressed in the noblest color”).
The first home of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Festival, which is made up of an orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta since 1986, a chorus and MaggioDanza ballet company, was the Comunale Theatre. This will be the last year: the Teatro Comunale will close and the Maggio Festival will be held at the new opera theater, Nuovo Teatro dell’Opera di Firenze.
Among the names who have participated in the festival over the years are von Karajan and Muti, Maria Callas, Pietro Mascagni and Richard Strauss, Igor Stravinskij, and stage designers of the caliber of Luchino Visconti, Franco Zeffirelli and Giorgio De Chirico.
This year the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Festival (May 4 – June 10 2012) celebrates its 75th anniversary with a programm devoted to early twentieth-century Mitteleuropa. It opens with the opera by Richard Strauss, Der Rosenkavalier (May 4-11). Following, as per tradition, is an opera commissioned for the Maggio festival: The Metamorphosis (May 22-25), by young Italian composer Silvia Colasanti, based on the book by Franz Kafka. From May 31 to June 5, two masterpieces by Béla Bartók: Il mandarino meraviglioso and Il Castello del Duca Barbablù, directed by Peter Eötvös. The MaggioDanza creations are performed within this repertoire inspired by the events of the early 1900s: the first within the Mandarino meraviglioso, the second on the occasion of Die vier Temperamente (May 17-20, at the Pergola Theatre), music by Paul Hindemith, choreography by George Balanchine, inspired by Verklärte Nacht, music by Arnold Schönberg and choreography by Susanne Linke.
See the calendar on the Maggio’s website: http://www.maggiofiorentino.com/?q=node/1852
BEST GARDEN FOR MAY – INTERNATIONAL IRIS GARDEN
From May 7 to 12 you should spend part of every day in the Iris Garden above Florence, breathing in fresh air, avoiding the crowds and restoring your spirits. It’s free. Expect beautiful flowers, meticulously refined over generations by the careful hands of their keepers. Even if you're not passionate about flowers it should be a refreshing splash of early summer color in a beautiful city. In May, gardeners from all over the world flock to Florence to admire stunning blooms, as the renowned Iris Garden opens its gates to the public for the International Iris Competition. The closing prize-giving ceremony is held at Palazzo Vecchio.
The Iris Garden of Piazzale Michelangelo was created in 1954. The Garden, initially designed by the architect G. Zetti, was inaugurated in May 1957. It was enriched, in the meantime, by donations made by numerous foreign growers and also by a large collection of historic Irises from the Presby Memorial Garden of Montclair (New Jersey), USA. In 1967, a small lake was constructed in the lower area of the garden to allow cultivation of the Japanese and Louisiana irises in the surrounding boggy land. Specialists, botanists, hybridizers and horticulturists from different foreign nations visit and work in the Garden because of the scientific interest it has as an important stock of germ plasma of the Iris family.
The Florence Council, in collaboration the Italian Iris Society, have held a famed International Iris Competition for tall and bearded irises every year since 1954. Over 150 new varieties are on display. The Competition is 'anonymous', that is, each plant entered is labelled with initials so that the Jury knows the name of the variety and of the hybridizer only after having finished judging. A classification of merit is established and some special prizes are awarded, on the basis of particular characteristics of the individual variety. The winner of the first prize receives a Gold Fiorin. A Special prize offered by the Florence Council is awarded to the red variety, which is most similar to the Iris depicted on the banner of the City.
Ph. +39 055 483 112
7 - 12 May
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-12.30pm & 3pm-7pm
BEST PARADE IN MAY – La Fiorita
Join the commemoration of Savonarola's death, May 23, in Piazza della Signoria and parade in historic center, 10am to noon. The annual commemoration of Fra' Girolamo Savonarola's death with La Fiorita, a floral ceremony, will begin with mass at 10am in the priori chapel of Palazzo Vecchio and continue with a traditional costume parade that will loop the historic center and return to Piazza della Signoria at 11am. After a brief speech on this Florentine tradition, flowers will be left on Savonarola's tomb, and the parade will proceed to the Arno, where flowers will be symbolically thrown into the river.
Girolamo Savonarola Dominican friar and puritan fanatic, became moral dictator of the city of Florence when the Medici were temporarily driven out in 1494. Sent to Florence originally a dozen years before, he made a reputation for austerity and learning, and became prior of the convent of St Mark (where his rooms can still be seen). A visionary, prophet and formidably effective hellfire preacher, obsessed with human wickedness and convinced that the wrath of God was about to fall upon the earth, he detested practically every form of pleasure and relaxation.
His opponents called Savonarola and his followers ‘Snivellers’ and he grimly disapproved of jokes and frivolity, of poetry and inns, of sex (especially the homosexual variety), of gambling, of fine clothes and jewellery and luxury of every sort. He denounced the works of Boccaccio, nude paintings, pictures of pagan deities and the whole humanistic culture of the Italian Renaissance. He called for laws against vice and laxity. He put an end to the carnivals and festivals the Florentines traditionally enjoyed, substituting religious festivals instead, and employed street urchins as a junior gestapo to sniff out luxurious and suspect items. In the famous ‘bonfire of the vanities’ in 1497 he had gaming tables and packs of cards, carnival masks, mirrors, ornaments, nude statues and supposedly indecent books and pictures burned in the street. The friar also disapproved of profiteering financiers and businessmen.
Not surprisingly, Savonarola made many powerful enemies. Among them was the Borgia pope, Alexander VI, who had good reason to feel uncomfortable with the Dominican’s denunciation of the laxity and luxury of the Church and its leaders, and who eventually excommunicated the rigorous friar. On Palm Sunday in 1498 St Mark’s was attacked by a screaming mob and Savonarola was arrested by the Florentine authorities with two friars who were among his most ardent followers, Fra’ Domenico and Fra’ Salvestro. All three were cruelly tortured before being condemned as heretics and handed over to the secular arm by two papal commissioners, who came hotfoot from Rome for the purpose on May 19th. ‘We shall have a fine bonfire,’ the senior commissioner remarked genially on arrival, ‘for I have the sentence of condemnation with me.’
On the morning of May 23rd a crowd of Florentines gathered in the Piazza della Signoria, where a scaffold had been erected on a platform (a plaque marks the spot today). From the heavy beam dangled three halters, to hang the friars, and three chains, to support their bodies while they were subsequently burned to ashes. Wood for the burning was heaped up below. Some of the crowd screamed abuse at Savonarola and his two companions, who were formally unfrocked and left in their under-tunics with bare feet and their hands tied, before their faces were shaved, as was the custom. It is said that a priest standing near asked Savonarola what he felt about this approaching martyrdom. He answered, ‘The Lord has suffered as much for me,’ and these were his last recorded words.
Fra’ Salvestro and Fra’ Domenico were hanged first, slowly and painfully, before Savonarola climbed the ladder to the place between them. The executioner made cruel fun of him and then apparently tried to delay his demise so that the flames would reach him before he was quite dead, but failed, and Savonarola died of strangulation at about 10am. He was forty-five years old. With the piles of wood below the scaffold set alight, the flames quickly engulfed the three dangling bodies while a trick of the heat made Savonarola’s right hand move so that he seemed to be blessing the spectators. Some of them burst into tears, but others, including excited children, sang and danced delightedly around the pyre and threw stones at the corpses. What little was left of the three Dominicans was thrown into the River Arno. (www.historytoday.com)