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IMPORTANT INFORMATION » Our Monthly Newsletter ITA -

Palazzo Pitti

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Rent, Sell and Manage Properties in Florence and Tuscany
NEWSLETTER October 2010
October … the Tuscan morning air now has a distinct chill. But all coats and sweaters are shed by noon, and the golden warmth of our afternoon sun feels like a gift from heaven. The last of the grapes are being pulled off their vines. Wine is fermenting in the cellars. Bright green oval globes of ripening olives hang heavy on the groves of trees. And our thoughts turn to truffles, and mushrooms and to chestnut sweets…

The October calendar of events is chock full of music, exhibitions, concerts, dance, original language movies, food fairs and markets in the countryside and more.

From a golden-glowing Lungarno della Zecca Vecchia SUZANNE, CORSO, BEI, SANDRA, LORI, ANNA PIA, KIMBERLY and MARIO simply send our best.

The Gods were looking down on us for this the 8th edition of Corri LaVita. It rained before and rained after, but during there was brilliant sunshine with a slight breeze. 20,000 T-shirts were given away with the first enrolled participants, and about 1,500 people signed-up on the morning without receiving anything. It went beyond our wildest expectations. The amount of money raised will be known a little later on.
I'll keep you informed. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who participated. It turned out to be a very joyous event and not only a show of solidarity.
I'd also like to thank the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi for letting Corri La Vita participants visit the Bronzino exhibition. As you know we chose the painting of Eleonora di Toledo and her son Giovanni as our poster for this year, and anyone wearing our distinctive purple T-shirt was given access to the show on the day of the event. Many people took this offer up and like myself thoroughly enjoyed it. I can't recommend the show enough (also for children).
We at Pitcher and Flaccomio have a very happy event to announce. On Monday September 27th, Kimberly Wicks, our Newsletter editor, married Dario Cecchini in a very unusual ceremony (as to be expected from such a couple). The wedding was celebrated in Panzano, the home base of the Cecchini dynasty. The bride and groom with their respective families, high above the crowd on a balcony over the now world-famous butcher's shop, celebrated their union to enthusiastic cries of mazal tov, while Dario stomped on the glass of good luck. Poems written by friends, that would have made Dante cry for joy, were read. It was a potluck wedding breakfast with wine and homemade beer flowing along with dancing to music by “Klezmerata Fiorentina” in the tiny streets of this medieval hilltop town.
Kimberly and I started working together about seventeen years ago when she flashed into my life with great enthusiasm to help me with my real estate agency. Now it is Dario who is reaping all the love and wisdom that Kimberly so generously gives to everyone. I, like all the others here at Pitcher and Flaccomio, wish her and Dario the finest things that life can offer.
With love and admiration,

What an unusual wedding, one that I never would have imagined! I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
The celebration of Kim and Dario's wedding seemed like a perfect reflection of their personalities - joyous and sincere, bold and unconventional - and it was a special gift to participate in the day. I was deeply touched by the spontaneity of emotion and creativity in the festivities and wish Kim and Dario an abundance of all these qualities in their life together.
Hugs and best wishes,

I knew Kim since I was quite a young boy, seeing her help my mother Suzanne in their small office, and assisting them in sending faxes in the night to the U.S. because of the time change. Kim has always been a kind and happy woman which I believe she will always be, even in this new adventure with Dario. All the best to her, her family and the new family of Dario’s.

Dario & Kim, who is very sweet
One day met discussing meat
His charm she beguiled
They fell in love “Chianti” style
Decided to make plans more concrete

So the Panzano butcher of note
And his darling he did dearly devote
They met on the street
For their vows to complete
With music and poems wrote to dote

Family & friends gathered near
Drank wine and Cecchini beer
Despite all the rain
The crowed couldn’t constrain
To share the “Chianti” love and good cheer!

With much affection - Sandra

While I know Kim less than my colleagues, I do know that she is an effervescent and positive person and applies her enthusiasm to everything she does. I'm sure she'll bring these qualities to her marriage with Dario and I'd like to join the rest of P&F in wishing them a life of happiness.
Best wishes,
Anna Pia

A Festival Evening in Florence: For an alternative way to spend time in Florence, the Arteviva Festival is presented by Italian Princes and Counts, aristocrats, brilliant literati, gifted artists, famous authors, artisans and wine makers. Each event begins with “Meet Artists and Writers” – enjoy a glass of bubbly with world-renowned author Lisa Clifford, who presents her new book Death in the Mountains. On Tuesdays, meet Prince Duccio Corsini and on Thursdays, Count Niccolò Capponi, who present “Italy Explained”. Find out what makes Italy’s culture so unique, fascinating and fabulous; the “bella figura”, the Slow Food Movement and more. The grand finale is the “Wine Salon”, a unique way to appreciate and enjoy wine – learn how to taste with the Prince or the Count as they present their own Tuscan wines.
October dates: Tuesday 5, Friday 8, Tuesday 12, Tuesday 19, Friday 22, Tuesday 26 and Friday 29 at 5.30 pm to 8:00 pm. Cost: 10 euro per person if you mention this newsletter. Location: The festival is held in the Arteviva large salon space on Via Sassetti 1. For reservations and enquiries contact Arteviva via email (staff@artviva.com) or telephone (+39 055 264 5033) or visit Via Sassetti, 1. Website: www.italy.artviva.com

On Sundays at 11:00 am, an exciting, new Children's Sunday school program has begun. This year, we will be piggy-backing with the theme of the Adult Forum: Knowing Ourselves and Others through Story. We will explore our individual stories and how they connect to our ancestral faith stories, present community and the world community.
The Thrift Shop will resume its regular schedule, the first Wednesday of every month. The first Thrift Shop will be held on Wednesday morning, October 6, opening at 10 AM. You can find all sorts of marvels - gently used clothing and accessories, house wares, and more. Satisfy the shopping itch, save some money, and support a great cause - there's no downside! See you there! Time: 10 am - 12 noon, Location: St. James undercroft.
On Sunday, October 10, all the various ministries and organizations of St. James Church are being asked to set up tables on the Front Portico with information and sign-up sheets for new members and volunteers. Think about what ministries you are being called to, and sign up. St. James needs you! And join everyone after the 11 o'clock Eucharist for a free cookout with music, dancing, and fun. Time: 10:00 AM and after the 11:00 AM Eucharist. Location: St. James portico.
Robert Reed is offering new watercolor classes. Local artist Robert Reed is offering his watercolor classes on Tuesday and Friday mornings from 9:30-12:23 am., and on Wednesday and Friday afternoons from 2:30-5:30 pm. For more information, contact: robert-b-reed@libero.it, Tel. 349 679 0358. This is a wonderful opportunity for those who already love to paint, or have always wanted to learn! Location: St. James, upstairs loft.
"Coffee & Chaos" The Methodist Church (Chiesa Evangelica Metodista) is hosting an informal, nonprofit, multi-lingual playgroup (primarily English and Italian) for children 0-3 years old and their attenders (parents, grandparents, caregivers). Usually a session will include an informal craft activity, story, and songs, along with time to play with your child or encourage them to play independently. Drop in anytime on Thursdays between 10 AM - 12 noon. Everyone is welcome, no need to make a reservation. There is a €1 charge per family to cover coffee, drinks, snacks (fruit, cookies) and other materials. The Methodist Church is located at Via de' Benci 9, Florence. Tel 055-288143. www.firenzeplaygroup.blogspot.com
Christmas Gala - December 3 - Save the Date! Plans are underway for our famous Christmas Gala. Reserve the date and tell all your family and friends. Once again Erica O'Keefe will chair this festive fund-raiser and holiday extravaganza. Be on the lookout for more news. St James Church, via B. Rucellai 9, Phone/fax: 055 29 44 17 Email: info@stjames.it. www.stjames.it.

October has always been a busy month in Florence, to say the least. On Oct. 14th, 1579 a host of Venetians traveled to Florence to attend the wedding of Grand Duke Francesco to Bianca Capello. It was October 19th in 1587 that both the Grand Duke and Bianca Capello died in the villa of Poggio a Caiano.
On Oct. 19th, 1608, Cosimo, heir of the previous Grand Duke, married Maria Maddalena d’Austria, daughter of the Archduke of Austria. The same month, statues representing the Four Seasons were put in place on the Ponte Santa Trinità (the works of Pietro Francavilla, Giovanni Caccini and Taddeo Landini).
On Oct. 22 1717, Anna Maria, daughter of Cosimo III, returned to Florence following the death of her Austrian husband. On the 31st of October, 1723, Cosimo III died and was succeeded by Giangastone, the last Grand Duke. Although he died on July 9, it wasn’t until October 9, 1737 that the official funeral in the memory of Giangastone Medici was held. And on October 31 of the same year, an agreement passed the leadership of Tuscany from Anna Maria to Francesco Stefano di Lorena.
More recently, October 28, 1940 marks a meeting between Hitler and Mussolini in Florence.

FOOTBAAAALLL!! by Simon Clark and Anne Brooks
Forza Viola!.......... The usual weird start to the season. Roma, everyone’s tip for the Scudetto this year, are floundering; Juve are all over the place; Milan have had the jitters and Inter have been beaten once already; newly-promoted teams are rattling all-comers. Fiorentina have so far managed 5 points; we sit 15th - only 4 points off the target Champions League position. It’s no “crisis” yet. We finished last season with the depression of two draws and five defeats – the blues of this season are part of a longer curve. We believe the Viola will re-discover the spark that Sinisa feels they need; the trend of two defeats, a draw and a win suggest thus might be so? But why so few spectators at the Parma game? Maybe the upward curve will be propelled by the presence in the Stadio of Cesare Prandelli and Firenze’s mayor, Signor Renzi, the man who makes olive oil look dull.

September Results
Week 2: Lecce-Fiorentina LOST 1-0
Week 3: Fiorentina-Lazio LOST 1-2
Week 4: Genoa-Fiorentina DREW 1-1
Week 5: Fiorentina-Parma WON 2-0

Serie A. The week 2 trip to Lecce should have been a walkover but their red-and-yellow-striped shirts are hard on the eye – especially on linesmen’s eyes as the Viola had one goal and one Gila-on-keeper chance denied for offsides that weren’t. We cocked up horrendously in defence in three minutes and that was that as some Lecce stroller tucked it away. It was a game that never caught fire between two sides that couldn’t capture their best. We have to question whether the Italian football system – and, thus, the Fiorentina system – is fully up to the modern mark in getting ready for a new season. A 1-0 defeat was definitely a “tail between the legs” event; the Viola have not leapt from the starting gate and are making a habit of starting sluggishly.
Week 3 saw the ever-dangerous Lazio visit the Stadio and mug us for the points. Fiorentina are coping well with a lengthening list of absentees and we started brightly. Cerci was obstructed in the Lazio penalty area; for once the referee sided with us and Ljajic slotted home his opening Serie A goal from the spot. It looked a good start as we were holding territorial possession and monopolising corners......but football is, as we all know, about goals and they went the other way. Just over the half-hour and Frey was left helpless from a deflection. We continued to run the show but – setting aside a “goal” disallowed for a very tight offside decision – the Fates were still looking for an upset and on 67 minutes we saw a Lazio breakaway and although Frey saved, Lazio were faster to the rebound (though one might query the whereabouts of our defenders) and that was it – a 1-2 defeat at home. It’s no consolation that Lazio are in early form and joint league-leaders with Inter at the end of the month.
Off to Genoa, one of our rivals for the prize of usurping the Inter-Milan-Juve-Roma monopoly on whatever’s going. In fact, Genoa have sought to make themselves the main rival – recently elbowing us aside in pursuit of Crespo – and they field former Viola stalwarts Toni and Dainelli . This is the game we expected to draw so a 1-1 result is not to be sniffed at. Even better, we saw Gila breaking his drought and putting us into the lead with a real poacher’s goal. True, Frey spent much of the rest of the game showing why he is our first-choice keeper but we weren’t beaten and it was Cerci who nearly won it for us as his shot curved against the post. Other results continue to favour us! We have every reason to feel positive.......
.....And the home game against Parma rewards our faith – though not everyone’s faith as the crowd was sparse for the Ducali game. Truth to tell, it wasn’t a nail-biter. We were generally on top but reached half-time with no goals. After the break, Gilardino was dragged down in the penalty area and young Ljajic took his second successful penalty – slotting it straight down the middle with remarkable confidence. Frey was his usual secure self when any danger threatened but Fiorentina were clearly the better team. On 76 minutes, Di Silvestre scored a second – it benefited from a deflection but that takes nothing away from the score; that’s his second Serie A goal for us and he is looking like a smart signing. And Montolivo should have made it three at the death – we’ll excuse him on grounds of pain-killing injections to enable him to play at all. How appropriate that the referee should have been Signor Romeo!
October will be an intriguing month. Palermo at home should be manageable since they sit equal with us. Similarly, Sampdoria away might be tough but they, too, are struggling. Then we take on Bari at home and Catania away; both southern teams have started well but they really are not in our class when we believe! In between, we begin our cup campaign against Empoli; we must win that – or be banished from Tuscany for ever.....................Ale Viola!

THE FIORENTINA SCHEDULE: These are the October fixtures.
Week 6: 03 Oct/home Fiorentina-Palermo
Week 7: 17 Oct/away Sampdoria-Fiorentina
Week 8: 24 Oct/home Fiorentina-Bari
Coppa Italia: 27 Oct/home Fiorentina-Empoli
Week 9: 31 Oct/away Catania-Fiorentina

BUYING TICKETS - Ticket information – seating plan, prices, ticket outlets – is on the “biglietteria” section of the club’s website [www.it.violachannel.tv ]. Tickets can be purchased at official box offices and holders of TicketOne lottery franchises. Sources include:
CHIOSCO DEGLI SPORTIVI, via degli Anselmi (between P.za Repubblica/Odeon cinema). Tel 055 292363.
BAR MARISA, viale Manfredo Fanti 41. Tel 055 572723.
BAR STADIO, viale Manfredo Fanti 3r. Tel 055 576169.
ACF OFFICIAL TICKET-OFFICE, via Dupre 28 (corner of via Settesanti).
NUOVO BOX OFFICE, Via delle Vecchie Carceri, 1 (near S. Ambrogio), open M-F 9:30 to 7:00 pm, and Sat. 9:30 to 2:00 pm. Tel 055 264321
FELTRINELLI FIRENZE, Via de’ Cerretani 39/32R

Pasta con Sugo di Pomodoro - Serves 4 to 6.

As we have now say good-bye to summer-ripe tomatoes, we turn to our great quality canned tomatoes for the flavours we miss. This is one of the quickest ways possible, to get food on the table for hungry kids (or adults).

450 gms. pasta (approximately)
one half onion, coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 can Italian peeled tomatoes
1 tsp. salt

- Over medium heat, sauté onion in olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes until translucent. Add tomatoes and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 8 to 10 minutes, using a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes.
- In the meantime, start a large pot of water heating. When water comes to a boil, add a small handful of salt and cook pasta for the suggested time (or until done to your liking). Drain pasta, mix with the sauce and serve immediately. Grate fresh Parmesan cheese over pasta at the table.
- If you like, add any of the following to make variations on your simple sauce: fresh herbs (shredded basil or oregano), chopped garlic, crushed chili peppers or chopped and sautéed pancetta or vegetables.
- Suzanne cuts a ball of fresh mozzarella into small chunks, and puts them in the freezer for 5 minutes to firm up before tossing into the hot pasta.
- Try adding 4 anchovy fillets, a pinch of peperoncino, a spoonful of capers, two tbs. of black olives to the basic recipe, and the sauce is called puttanesca.
- For a Salsa Rosa, at the end of the cooking time, add 100 g. of cream (and 1/2 of a bunch of fresh chopped basil leaves or arugula if you like).

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) those of our readers. Lend us your thoughts!

From Tues. 12 to Mon. 18 the Logge Uffizi Corti is hosting a painting exhibit called “Il Paesaggio Toscano Visto da un Pittore Inglese”. Brian Johnson is an accomplished artist who specializes in landscapes. He has lived in the Maremma for many years, and had exhibitions in England and Italy. Logge Uffizi Corti. Free entry. Hours: 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daily.
Thank you.
Fiona Allen

Suzanne recently went to a good restaurant called Donnabenci (Via dei Benci, 34r. tel. 055 241927, 3348479058). She recounts: This new locale has been open for three months. There are a few places outside on the foot path, the traffic and buses can be a little bit daunting, but the service was pleasant and the menu quite exciting. Prices are about average for a sophisticated place. I personally ate 2 starters rather than a main course. The house wine was excellent. You will spend approx. 35/40 euro.

The promenade is eternal but not constant. By early autumn even gelaterie are looking forward to a break. October is still warm enough to wander out and visit an outlet not tasted before. Here are three on the circumference of the old city that will not disappoint – each close to other attractions:
RE DE GELATO (viale Filippo Strozzi 8r). Opposite the Fortezza, a relatively new enterprise but already with a solid reputation. Open every day bar Mondays, from noon to 20.00 (later in summer), 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! More recent visits highlight the feta & pear and a combination of canella & the orange/lemon agrumi. If you walk fast, you can make it to a seat in Piazza Indipendenza before the ice melts.
VENETA (Piazza Beccaria 7r). We can’t understand why we haven’t cited Veneta before now. Superb little café outlet with a very friendly atmosphere and some terrific ices. You’ll find it west of Santa Croce at the Piazza on the ring road, by the terminus for the ecological buses. It’s closed on Tuesdays; otherwise, summer hours are 08.00-midnight, winter 08.00-20.00. (Amazing cake shop next door.)
LA CARRAIA (Piazza Nazario Sauro 25r). At Ponte alla Carraia on the Oltrarno side of the bridge. Clean, efficient and well-organised. Rich, creamy flavours; pear & ricotta, crème caramel, coffee and dark chocolate all exciting. Also at La Carraia2 at 24/R Via Benci, a branch with highly engaging service along with a nicely crunchy biscotti and a crema al’arancia with an exquisite undertaste. See www.lacarraiagroup.eu Open daily 10.00-23.00. Catch it going to or from Santo Spirito!

Friday. 8 watch for a solemn procession through town. In one of Florence’s most ancient traditions, this celebration harks back to a historical victory of the Florentines over the Goths in 406 AD. Each year, Florence for a moment, remembers its Roman/early Christian past. Starting out just after 5:00 pm from the Palagio di Parte Guelfa, a parade of historical figures will carry special candle offerings to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo) in honor of Santa Reparata. A ceremony and mass will take place inside the cathedral a little before 6:00 pm...

Sun. 10, from morning to early evening, visit a neighborhood fair in Piazza Santo Spirito and find foods, gifts, hand-crafted goods of all kinds. Celebrate life with the locals.

Don’t miss the chance to enjoy a concert at the Accademia Bartolomeo Cristofori. In the Oltrarno neighborhood you will find a lovely, small theatre presenting a series of concerts highlighting the fortepiano, and featuring a display of these historical instruments. The fortepiano is an early version of the piano, invented by Italian instrument maker Bartolomeo Cristofori around 1700. It has leather-covered hammers, harpsichord-like strings and a much lighter case construction than the modern piano. The range of the fortepiano was about four octaves at the time of its invention and gradually increased. Mozart (1756-1791) wrote his piano music for instruments of about five octaves. The piano works of Beethoven (1770-1827) reflect a gradually expanding range; his last compositions are for an instrument of about six octaves. (The range of most modern pianos, attained in the 19th century, is 7 1/3 octaves.)
Like the modern piano, the fortepiano can vary the sound volume of each note, depending on the player's touch. The tone of the fortepiano is quite different from that of the modern piano; softer, with less sustain. The first reliable record of a fortepiano appears in the inventory of the Medici family (who were Cristofori's patrons) dated 1700. Cristofori continued to develop the instrument until the 1720's, the time from which the surviving three Cristofori instruments date. Cristofori's instrument spread at first quite slowly, probably because, being more elaborate and harder to build than a harpsichord, it was very expensive. For a time, the fortepiano was the instrument of royalty, with Cristofori instruments played in the courts of Portugal and Spain. Several were owned by Queen Maria Barbara of Spain, who was the pupil of the composer Domenico Scarlatti. One of the first private individuals to own a fortepiano was the castrato Farinelli, who inherited one from Maria Barbara on her death. (Wikipedia). ACCADEMIA BARTOLOMEO CRISTOFORI, via di Camaldoli 7/R, tel. 055 22.16.46. Ticket: 10.00 euro. www.accademiacristofori.it.
October concerts:
Tues. 12: RICCARDO RISALITI in a special piano concert. 9:00 pm.
Wed. 20: THOMAS ALBERTUS IRNBERGER violin, ATTILIA KYOKO CERNITORI cello, JIN JU fortepiano Pleyel 1849. Music by Schumann and Chopin. 9:00 pm.
Tues. 26: FRANCESCO GIORGETTI fortepiano Pleyel 1849, FRANCESCO GABELLIERI cello. Music by Hummel and Chopin. 9:00 pm.

FORTEZZA ANTIQUARIA – Monthly Antiques Fair
Sat. 16 and Sun. 17 the gardens surrounding the Fortezza da Basso bloom with kiosks selling every sort of antique including furniture, kitchen tools, books, etc.

Sun. 17, from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, stroll amongst the kiosks in Piazza Santo Spirito and find handmade goods, from jams, to shawls, to beads and bobbles. This is one more way that Florence celebrates its organic food producers, sustainable agriculture and artisan crafts.

FRANCE ODEON – French Film Festival
From Thurs. 21 to Sun. 24, the Odeon theatre hosts France Odeon, the most important French film festival in Italy. The festival proposes the best of contemporary French cinema, starting with the art house films and including all the other genres: comedy, detective, animation and horror. The successful formula of the first edition in 2009, shone with the presence of illustrious guests such as Charles Aznavour, Claude Miller, Martin Provost, Anne Novion, Jacques-Rémy Girerd, Ana?s Demoustier, Judith Henry and Caterina Murino. These guests brought the films to life by dialoguing with the public. Scheduled to run a whole day longer than last year, 2010’s festival promises an even richer array of films, guests and surprises. Please visit www.franceodeon.com for updates and info. Film schedule not available at press time.

On Mon. 25… take Sting, take the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, rearrange some of Sting’s best-known melodies into symphonic works… and you have quite an event. Sting’s greatest hits will be reinterpreted with brand new orchestrations arranged by Jorge Calandrelli, David Hartley, Michel Legrand, Rob Mathes, Vince Mendoza, Steven Mercurio, Bill Ross, Robert Sadin, and Nicola Tescari. Selections, created especially for this tour, will include fan-favorites such as “Roxanne,” “Next To You,” “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” and “Every Breath You Take,” and notable songs from Sting’s enduring solo career – “Englishman in New York,” “Fragile,” “Russians,” “Fields of Gold,” and “Desert Rose.” For further info see ONSTAGE SELECTION below, and www.sting.com - www.livenation.com

Until January 10 the Bargello National Museum hosts the first exhibition ever dedicated to Giovanfrancesco Rustici. Born in Florence in 1475, the sculptor trained in the celebrated Garden of San Marco under the protection of Lorenzo the Magnificent, and was the heir of Andrea del Verrocchio and Benedetto da Maiano. Close to Leonardo, whose student and assistant he was, Giovanfrancesco was also friend of Andrea del Sarto, Jacopo Sansovino, Domenico Puligo and Baccio Bandinelli, and preceded Rosso Fiorentino and Benvenuto Cellini in accepting the invitation of Francis I - king of France tied to the birth of the so-called Fontainebleau School - in 1528 moving to France, where he died in 1554.
The focal point of the exhibition is Rustici's masterpiece, the Sermon of Saint John the Baptist. This group sculpture of three grandiose bronze figures, designed and executed with the participation of Leonardo da Vinci, was placed over the North Door of the Baptistery of Florence in 1511. The challenging restoration it was subjected to has restored the splendor of material and conception: an undertaking supported by the Opera del Duomo di Firenze and the generous contribution of the "Friends of Florence". The presence in the show of the monumental group sculpture constitutes an unmissable twofold opportunity: on one hand, to show Leonardo's contribution in its creation through the comparison with Leonardesque autographic works and, on the other hand, to reconstruct for the first time Rustici's artistic personality, which the latest studies have shed light on.
The show will indeed present a practically complete review of his works (glazed ware, marbles, terracottas, paintings and other bronze sculptures of middle to small dimensions) which testify to his great technical versatility and the features of his style. Alongside Rustici's works from the Bargello - such as the monumental Della Robbian Noli Me Tangere altarpiece or the Struggle of Horses and Horsemen in terracotta, inspired by Leonardo's Battle of Anghiari - the exhibition will be completed by the most significant pieces attributed to his hand, and today divided among the major museums in Europe and the United States. Bargello National Museum. Hours: Monday to Sunday, 8:15 – 5:.00 pm. Closed 2nd, 4th Monday of each month, 1st, 3rd, 5th Sunday of each month, New Year’s Day, May 1st and Christmas Day. Ticket: euro 4.00

Until January 23 Palazzo Strozzi presents one of the greatest painters of the sixteenth century, Agnolo di Cosimo, known as Bronzino (1503-1572). Bronzino embodied the fullness of the ‘modern manner’ in the years of the government of Cosimo I de’ Medici. Florence is clearly the preferential location for a monographic exhibition on Bronzino, since the majority of his paintings are still conserved here, above all in the Uffizi, but also in other city museums and in the churches. This exhibition, the first devoted to Agnolo’s pictorial work, will also avail of loans from the most important museums all over the world.
The exhibition comprises a selection of works of the very highest level: autograph works by Bronzino and other artists connected with him – such as Pontormo and Alessandro Allori. The idea is, through direct comparisons made possible for the first time, to enable a broad public to admire and comprehend the unrivalled poetic heights achieved by the artist. Finally, it will be possible to study and compare several works, most of them attributed with certainty to Bronzino, displayed to the public for the first time. The exhibition will be divided into chapters devoted to crucial phases, episodes or genres in Bronzino’s work. The show will present a wide variety of Bronzino’s masterpieces, some of them displayed together for the first time, in addition to a selection of drawings originating from the greatest museums in the world. Alongside the works conserved in the Uffizi, will be Venus, Cupid and Jealousy from the Szépmuvészeti Múzeum in Budapest, the Portrait of Young Man with a Book from the Metropolitan Museum of New York and the Holy Family and Saint John, in the version of the Louvre (Paris) and of the Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna. Palazzo Strozzi, Piazza Strozzi. Hours: daily 9 am-8 pm, Thursday 9 am-11 pm. Info: 055 2645155

VINUM NOSTRUM - Art, science and myths of wine in ancient Mediterranean civilizations
Until May 14 the Museo degli Argenti hosts Vinum Nostrum. From Mesopotamia to our tables, from the rite of communion to avoidable drunkenness, from distasteful habit to the gate of spirituality, wines and vines are the protagonists of this exhibit. Original showpieces, sculptures, frescoes and mosaics, accompanied by multimedia and video installations tell the millenarian history of the grapevine and of wine, and the important influence they exerted on ancient cultures. Following a chronological development, the exhibition illustrates the origin of wine-growing in the Near East, its full affirmation along with its related symbolic, religious and cultural significance in the Hellenic world, up to the wine production and large-scale diffusion practiced by the Romans.
By virtue of the abundant archaeological remains of the Vesuvian cities, the particular case of Pompeii’s vineyards is illustrated, while the exhibition devotes another section to the contribution of the Phoenicians and the Etruscans, who played an essential role in spreading vitis vinifera throughout the Mediterranean. While inviting visitors to reflect on the evolution of cultivation techniques (reproduction and genetic improvement, plowing the land, tending the vineyard, theoretical principles and practical instructions for pruning and grafting), specially selected exhibits also illustrate the religious and cultural values of the grapevine, expressed through a series of depictions regarding the divinities, rituals and festivities of wine. Sculptures and painted vases illustrate the cult of Dionysus. Elegant table-services clarify how the consumption of wine represented one of the most important moments of conviviality among patricians. A cella vinaria where wine was stored, reconstructed based on finds uncovered at Pompeii and on the precise descriptions contained in Latin literature, enable the visitor to delve into the reality of the past, through tools for the vineyard, wine amphorae and wooden barrels, baskets for harvesting, carts and more.
The exhibition itinerary aims not only at scientifically documenting the entire cycle of wine, from harvest to consumption, but also by stimulating the visitor’s senses of taste, smell and sight. Museo degli Argenti, Palazzo Pitti. Hours: 8:15 am to 6:50 pm. Ticket: € 10.00. Closed on the 1st and the last Monday of each month. Info: Tel. 055294883

Until November 2, the Museum of the Medici Chapels links the Medici with Henry IV. Four hundred years after his assassination on May 14, 1610 in Paris, Florence celebrates the King of France and Navarre with a major exhibition. The fulcrum of the exhibition consists of 19 monochrome canvases that Cosimo II de' Medici commissioned to Florentine academic painters to celebrate a funeral service for Henry IV with great pomp on September 16, 1610 in the Basilica of San Lorenzo.
Having recently succeeded his father Ferdinando I to the throne, the new Grand Duke had an important funeral held in effigy for the "most Christian King". This decision was part of the consolidated practice that, as of the sixteenth century, saw the Medici family, rulers of Florence, show their political influence in Europe with dramatic productions tied to the family events of the principal dynasties: births, weddings and deaths. The paintings were arranged along the walls of the church, entirely decked in mourning, with elements evoking the King's triumphs and virtues, so as to perpetuate his glory beyond death. Executed by an until-then little-known group of painters and artists, the paintings had subjects dictated by historians and men of letters, and dealt with episodes in which the Medici had played an important role.
A part of the exhibition is dedicated to the Medici and the family politics which saw Maria, granddaughter of Ferdinando I, marry Henry IV in 1600 and, following the assassination of the King, assume the regency of France for the dauphin. With the magnificence of the funeral ceremony celebrated in Florence, the Medici court emphasized the legitimacy of that regency and of the succession to the throne of Louis XIII. In addition to the paintings, the show will also present books, engravings and drawings for the celebration, the Medici family tree, medals of the principal figures tied to the episode, wedding documents, precious portraits of the King and Queen in painting and sculpture, and a magnificent drawing by Pieter Paul Rubens with Maria de' Medici Landing at Marseilles, executed as a model for the cycle in the Luxembourg Palace, which Maria commissioned the painter between 1622 and 1624.
Medici Chapel. Piazza di Madonna degli Aldobrandini 6. Tel. 055 2388602. Hours: 8:15 am – 1:50 pm. Closed on the second and fourth Sunday of the month; the first, third and fifth Monday of every month. Ticket: € 6,00.

Until Oct. 11 the Casa Buonarroti museum hosts a show of works by Pietro da Cortona covering the decade 1637 to 1647. Pietro da Cortona was one of the foremost artists of the Baroque period in Rome but also in Florence. He worked in Florence for long periods on several occasions between 1637 and 1647, leaving his mark mainly as a fresco painter in the famous rooms of Palazzo Pitti. A key figure for Pietro da Cortona during his stays in Florence was Michelangelo the Younger, the owner of Casa Buonarroti, where the artist lived and where he left as a sign of gratitude to his generous friend and host, numerous examples of his art, the starting point for this exhibition.
The event is particularly important given its unusual, innovative layout, which helps to understand the artist’s role in Florence. The exhibition displays a selection of paintings and drawings from Italian and foreign museums, illustrating the decade in which Florence embraced the Baroque and began to follow the new directions indicated by Rome and destined to spread throughout Europe. Casa Buonarroti, via Ghibellina 70. Tickets: € 6,50. Hours: 9.30 a.m. - 4 p.m., closed on Tuesdays and on August 15th. Tel. 055 241752. www.casabuonarroti.it

Until Nov. 1 the Accademia Gallery is hosting an unusual show of furnishings and paintings of subjects focusing on marriage in the 1400’s. An entire array of objects, from wooden storage chests, to wall panels to headboards were often decorated with scenes meant to give advice to newlyweds on how to adopt an exemplary form of personal conduct. These “nuptial paintings” served the fundamental function of conveying messages of warning and encouragement to a couple, helping us today to better understand a mainstay of fifteenth-century Florentine culture: the role of the family and those of the husband and wife.
Drawing on classical mythology, the Bible, historical episodes and contemporary literature, many facets of love are depicted, along with the ensuing duties: from love triumphant over adverse circumstances (The Marriage of Thetis and Peleus), to the virtues of obedience and abnegation that a woman must pursue (The Legend of Griselda from Boccaccio's Decameron), to the courage of the heroines Lucretia and Virginia, who choose death as source of redemption.
An entire section illustrates the harmful consequences of love as sexual beguilement capable of totally subduing a man's will. We must not forget however, that marriage meant first and foremost to give life to new progeny and perpetuate the family. To this end, the last section of the exhibition is dedicated to family pride in stories that recount the foundation of famous families like those of Aeneas and David or that following the texts of Petrarch, celebrate the Triumphs of Fame, Time and Eternity. The exhibit features works by Botticelli (Story of Virginia Romana, Bergamo, Accademia Carrara), Filippino Lippi (Story of Lucretia, Florence, Galleria Palatina), and Pesellino (Stories of Susanna, Avignon, Musée du Petit Palais), opening an extraordinary view onto the Florentine workshops that made the objects, and that enjoyed their greatest fortune precisely in the fifteenth century. The exhibition has been organized in collaboration with the Museo Horne of Florence. Galleria dell’Accademia, Via Ricasoli 58. Hours: Tues. to Sun – 8:15 to 6:50 pm. Until Sept. 30, free entry on Thursday evenings from 7:00 to 10:00 pm. And up to Sept. 28 the exhibit will be open Tuesday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00 pm (entry ticket required).

Until October 10, three of Florence’s most important museums (the Pitti Palatine Gallery, the Uffizi and Villa Bardini) unite forces to offer a fascinating overview of the works and influence of one of Italy’s greatest masters Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.
Born in 1573 in the town of Caravaggio, this artist’s life is as turbulent as his personality. We know he had numerous run-ins with the law and was arrested on several occasions. For example, in 1606 a bet over a game of tennis led to an argument, at which point Caravaggio drew his sword and killed his opponent. We also know that Caravaggio's artistic influence was widespread: outside Italy he inspired painters as diverse as Georges de La Tour and members of the Utrecht School, e.g. Gerrit van Honthorst – artists who in turn later influenced Rembrandt. Caravaggio was particularly celebrated for his use of chiaroscuro, a technique using light and dark to achieve a 3-D effect.
While many aspects of this artist’s life remain a mystery, what we do know is that splendid paintings by Caravaggio - the Bacchus and the Medusa - reached the Uffizi towards the end of the XVI century. Others (two or three) were purchased by the Grand Dukes who proved to be early and staunch admirers - especially Cosimo II - of the controversial painter and of his followers. The presence of important artists in Florence such as Artemisia Gentileschi, Battistello Caracciolo and Theodoor Rombouts, and direct dealings with artists like Gerrit Honthorst, Bartolomeo Manfredi and Jusepe Ribera gave rise to an intense Caravaggesque "season" which left an extraordinary number of paintings in Florence itself.
Gerrit Honthorst (who painted the Adoration of the Shepherds, today in the Uffizi Gallery, though heavily damaged by the Via dei Georgofili bombing of 1993) was the protagonist of one of the most important episodes of the fortune of Caravaggesque painting outside of Rome; the unfinished decoration of the Guicciardini Chapel in the church of Santa Felicita. Honthorst was commissioned to execute the work with Cecco del Caravaggio and Spadarino. This exhibition presents a landmark virtual reconstruction of the work. In addition, on this the IV centennial of Caravaggio's death, the show will include more than one hundred paintings, both famous and less famous, in the light of research, with new attributions that have modified our view of this outstanding master. Galleria Palatina at the Pitti Palace, the Uffizi, Villa Bardini. Hours: the usual hours of each venue. Ticket: a cumulative ticket for the three venues will cost euro 25.00. For info and reservations: tel. 055 294883. www.unannoadarte.it.

Odeon Theatre, Piazza Strozzi 2. Phone: 055 214 068. www.cinehall.it

Monday 4 - INCEPTION by Christopher Nolan. 6.15- 9.00 pm
Tuesday 5 - INCEPTION 6.15- 9.00 pm
Thursday 7 – LEAVES OF GRASS by Tim Blake Nelson. 4.00- 6.00 – 8.20 - 10.30 pm
Monday 11 - at the cinema ASTRA 2 (Piazza Beccaria) – EAT PRAY LOVE by Ryan Murphy. 3.00 – 5.30 – 8.00 – 10.30 pm
Tuesday 12 - at the cinema ASTRA 2 (Piazza Beccaria) – EAT PRAY LOVE 3.00 – 5.30 – 8.00 – 10.30 pm
Tuesday 12 – TIM ROBBINS IN CONCERT (See ONSTAGE below). 9.00 p.m.
Thursday 14 - THE TOWN (with Italian subtitles) by Ben Affleck. 3.00 – 5.30 – 8.00 p.m.
Thursday 14 - BURIED (with Italian subtitles) by Rodrigo Cortés. PREVIEW. 10.30 p.m.
Friday 15 - BURIED (with Italian subtitles) 6.00 p.m.
Saturday 16 - BURIED (with Italian subtitles) 8.30 – 10.30 p.m.
Sunday 17 - BURIED (with Italian subtitles) 4.30 – 6.30 – 8.30 – 10.30 p.m.
Monday 18 - BURIED (with Italian subtitles) 6.30 – 8.30 – 10.30
Monday 18 - at the cinema ASTRA 2 (Piazza Beccaria) THE CITY OF YOUR FINAL DESTINATION by James Ivory. 3.45 - 6.00 - 8.15 - 10.30 pm
Tuesday 19, BURIED (with Italian subtitles) 4.30 – 6.30 – 8.30 – 10.30 p.m.
Wednesday 20 BURIED (with Italian subtitles) 4.30 – 6.30 – 8.30 – 10.30 p.m.
From October 21 the English Original Sound program continues at Astra 2 Cinema (Piazza Beccaria) while Odeon hosts the 50 Days of International Cinema in Florence. (See ODEON FRANCE above).
Monday 25 - SOMEWHERE (with Italian subtitles) by Sofia Coppola. 4.30 – 6.30 – 8.30 – 10.30 p.m.
Tuesday 26 - SOMEWHERE (with Italian subtitles) 4.30 – 6.30 – 8.30 – 10.30 p.m.

Inception shows us a world where technology exists to enter the human mind through dream invasion, and a highly skilled thief is given a chance at redemption that involves executing his toughest job to date.
In Leaves of Grass an Ivy League professor is lured back to his Oklahoma hometown, where his twin brother, a small-time pot grower, has concocted a scheme to take down a local drug lord.
Eat Pray Love: based on the memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert, follow Julia Roberts on a round-the-world journey of self-discovery.
The Town is the tale of four men -- thieves, rivals and friends -- being hunted through the streets of Boston by a tenacious FBI agent and a woman who might destroy them all. The book won the 2005 Hammett Prize for excellence in crime writing.
In Buried, Paul Conroy wakes up 6 feet underground with no idea of who put him there or why. Buried with only a cell phone and a lighter, his contact with the outside world and ability to piece together clues that could help him discover his location are maddeningly limited. Poor reception, a rapidly draining battery, and a dwindling oxygen supply become his worst enemies in a race against time- fighting panic, despair and delirium.
In The City of Your Final Destination, a 28-year-old Kansas University doctoral student has won a grant to write the biography of Latin American writer Jules Gund. He must get through to three people who were close to Gund - his brother, widow, and younger mistress – for authorization to write the biography
Somewhere will come out in the States in December. The film gives us a look into the orbit of actor Johnny Marco (played by Stephen Dorff). Johnny is living at the legendary Chateau Marmont hotel in Hollywood. He has a Ferrari to drive around in, and a constant stream of girls and pills to stay in with. Comfortably numbed, Johnny drifts along. Then, 11-year-old daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning) from his failed marriage arrives unexpectedly at the Chateau. Their encounters encourage Johnny to face up to where he is in life and confront the question that we all must: which path in life will you take? Frankly, when he finally gets there, you might be ready to go home.

The British Institute Weekly Cultural Programme. Every Wednesday (usually) at 6:00 pm, the Sala Ferragamo in the Institute’s Harold Acton Library hosts a free lecture, concert or other event, followed by an informal drinks reception. British Institute Library, Lungarno Guicciardini 9.
Wednesday 6 - Victor Lodato - Inventing the world: the power and appeal of young narrators in contemporary fiction. For both reader and writer, young narrators offer the possibility of dismantling the world as we know it, and building it anew. Often recklessly unreliable, morally complex, and emotionally charged, such voices can accommodate huge passions and riotous imaginations. Novelist and playwright Victor Lodato, recent winner of the prestigious PEN USA prize, will discuss the pleasures of child and adolescent-driven fiction and will read from his recently published novel, Mathilda Savitch.
Wednesday 13 – Concert - Eclectic genius of early-twentieth-century British music. This concert is a commemoration in music of two British composers who died fifty years ago: Arthur Benjamin and Cecil Armstrong Gibbs. The programme features Benjamin's arresting Viola Sonata and includes songs by both anniversary composers as well as two others of the same generation: Francis Toye (who was Director of the British Institute of Florence 1939-1958 and died in Florence on 13 October 1964) and Frank Bridge. Performed by Giusi Del Nord (soprano), Salvatore Randazzo (viola) and James Gray (pianoforte).
Wednesday 20 - James Bradburne - Bronzino: the making of a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition. This talk looks at the behind-the-scenes organisation of a major art exhibition, and the ups and downs of creating the first monographic exhibition of the Italian Mannerist painter Agnolo di Cosimo, known as Bronzino (1503-1572). It will also explore the ways in which the exhibition serves as a platform for reaching out to new audiences in new ways, linking the city's cultural institutions to make Florence ‘the city of Bronzino' from September 2010 to January 2011. James Bradburne is Director of the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi.
Wednesday 27 - Cristina Acidini - Caravaggio and the Caravaggeschi. It is not certain that Caravaggio ever visited Florence, though in Rome he certainly frequented Palazzo Firenze, and his two splendid paintings of Bacchus and Medusa are known to have reached the Uffizi before the end of the 16th century. Moreover, he had many followers in Florence. To mark the 400th anniversary of this great and disquieting painter's death, a major exhibition is currently showing in Florence (extended until the end of December), divided between the Uffizi and the Palatine Gallery in Palazzo Pitti. The distinguished art historian Cristina Acidini is Superintendent for the Historic, Artistic and Ethnoanthropological Patrimony of the city of Florence, and head of the Polo Museale.

Theatre info: Teatro Comunale, Via Solferino 15. Tel. 055 27791. Teatro della Pergola, Via della Pergola 12/32, Tel. 055 2479651. Teatro Verdi, Via Ghibellina 99, tel. 055 212320. Teatro Saschall, Lungarno Moro 3, tel. 055 6504112. Teatro Goldoni, Via Santa Maria 15. Tel. 055 229651. Teatro Romano, Fiesole, Tel. 055/59187. Mandela Forum, Viale Paoli 3, tel. 055 678841. Stazione Leopolda. Viale Fratelli Rosselli 5. St. Mark’s Church. Via Maggio 16. Tel. 055 294764. Church of Orsanmichele, Via dei Calzaiuoli. Tel. 055-210305. Teatro Puccini, via delle Cascine 41, Tel 055 362067. Chiesa S. Stefano al Ponte Vecchio, piazza S. Stefano 5. Viper Theatre, Via Lombardia 1.055/318056, www.viperclub.eu. Auditorium FLOG, Via M. Mercati, 24/b, 055/210804, www.flog.it Sala Vanni, Piazza del Carmine 14. Teatro Everest, Via Volterrana 4/b, tel. 055. 23 21 754. info@teatroeverest.it, www.teatroeverest.it. Teatro Politeama Pratese, Via G. Garibaldi, 33 – Prato. Tel: 0574/603758, www.politeamapratese.com. Purchase tickets for theatre, concerts and other events at the following ticket agencies: BOX OFFICE: Via delle Vecchie Carceri, 1 (near S. Ambrogio ), open M-F 9:30 to 7:00 pm, and Sat. 9:30 to 2:00 pm.. ARGONAUTA VIAGGI, Lungarno Torrigiani 33/B, Tel.055/2342777. Many tickets can be pre-purchased via www.ticketone.it, www.boxol.it.

Thursday 7
SALOME - an opera in one act. Conducted by Ralf Weikert. Music: Richard Strauss. From the moment Narraboth gazes from a terrace in Herod's palace at the beautiful Princess Salome; he is in love with her. When she hears Jochanaan cursing her mother (Herodias), Salome's curiosity is piqued and she teasingly works on Narraboth to bring Jochanaan before her. Despite the orders he has received from Herod, Narraboth finally gives in after she promises to smile at him. Upon seeing Jochanaan, Salome is filled with an overwhelming desire for him. She finally begs for a kiss from Jochanaan's lips, and Narraboth, who cannot bear to hear this, kills himself. Herod enters, followed by his wife and court. He slips in Narraboth's blood and starts hallucinating. Herod asks for Salome to eat with him, drink with him; indolently, she twice refuses, saying she is not hungry or thirsty. Herod then begs Salome to dance for him, though her mother objects. He promises to reward her with her heart's desire — even if it were one-half of his kingdom. She prepares for the Dance of the Seven Veils. This dance has her slowly removing her seven veils, until she lies naked at his feet. Salome then demands the head of the prophet on a silver platter. Salome remains firm in her demand for Jochanaan's head, forcing Herod to concede to her demands. After a desperate monologue by Salome, the head of the prophet is brought up out of the well and presented to Salome as she requested. Salome declares her love to the severed head, finally kissing the prophet's lips passionately. Disgusted, the terrified and superstitious Herod then orders his soldiers to kill Salome. Teatro Comunale. 8:30 pm.

Sunday 10
SALOME – see Thurs. 7. Teatro Comunale. 3:30 pm.
GIUSEPPE ANDALORO & THE ORCHESTRA DA CAMERA FIORENTINA – conducted by Giuseppe Lanzetta. Musica by Giglioni, Mozart. Chiesa di Orsanmichele. 9:00 pm.

Monday 11
GIUSEPPE ANDALORO & THE ORCHESTRA DA CAMERA FIORENTINA – see Sun. 10. Chiesa di Orsanmichele. 9:00 pm.

Tuesday 12
TIM ROBBINS AND THE ROGUE GALLERY BAND – In his first musical tour ever, the actor, writer and director (and Oscar winner) will pick up his guitar and play. His American folk/gypsy style shines through in works like "Moment In The Sun". Cinema Odeon, piazza Strozzi 2. 9:15 pm.
VASCO ROSSI – already sold out, but what else would you expert from the Italian King of Rock?. Nelson Mandela Forum. 9:00 pm.
SALOME – see Thurs. 7. Teatro Comunale. 8:30 pm.

Wednesday 13
VASCO ROSSI – See Tues. 12. Nelson Mandela Forum. 9:00 pm.
TROIS HISTOIRES - MAGGIODANZA - Choreography by Fabrizio Monteverde. ERA ETERNA: music Franz Schubert, POLTRONDAMORE: Music Johann Sebastian Bach, BOLERO: Music Maurice Ravel. Teatro Goldoni. 8:30 pm.

Thursday 14
JAMES CONLON CONDUCTS - Luba Orgonášová (soprano), Alexandra Petersamer (mezzosoprano), Pavel Cernoch (tenor). Music by Dvorak. Teatro Comunale. 8:30 pm.

Friday 15
RYOJI IKEDA – Presenting his “datamatics [ver.2.0]”, Ikeda shows an adept balance between the visual and musical arts. His powerful work combines abstract and realistic ideals, with time, spatial and numerical influences. Teatro della Pergola. 9:15 pm.
SALOME – see Thurs. 7. Teatro Comunale. 8:30 pm.

Saturday 16
PIOTR ANDERSZEWSKI (piano) – music by Bach, Schumann. Teatro della Pergola. 4:00 pm.

Sunday 17
VASCO ROSSI – See Tues. 12. Nelson Mandela Forum. 9:00 pm.

Monday 18
VASCO ROSSI – See Tues. 12. Nelson Mandela Forum. 9:00 pm.

Tuesday 19
LANG LANG (piano) - Teatro della Pergola. Music of Beethoven, Albeniz, Prokofiev.

Friday 22
POLLICINO - a musical fable. Conducted by Francesc Bonnín. Music by Hans Werner Henze. Piccolo Teatro, Teatro Comunale. 8:30 pm.

Saturday 23
POLLICINO – See Fri. 22. Piccolo Teatro, Teatro Comunale. 3:30 pm.

Monday 25
STING – See FLORENCE NEWS above. Teatro Verdi. 8:30 pm.

Friday 29
POLLICINO - See Fri. 22. Piccolo Teatro, Teatro Comunale. 8:30 pm.

Up to Oct. 31 is your chance to discover the etched and inlaid marble floor of Siena’s Cathedral. The fabulous designs (created between the 1300 and 1800’s) are kept covered most of the year so SEE it NOW! Duomo di Siena, Piazza Duomo, Siena. Hours: 10:30 am to 8:00 pm. Ticket: 6 euro.

On Sat. 9 and Sun. 10 take a gastronomic voyage to Certaldo Alto where the October weekend will be animated with cooking lessons, Tuscan food tastings, special dinners and demonstrations. Chocolate, grappa, cheeses, wine and much more, will be offered and sold from booths in the streets, courtyards and gardens of the medieval hill town above Certaldo. Ticket: 5.00 euro (kids under 12: free). Hours: Saturday from 11:00 am. to 10:00 pm and Sunday from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. For detailed information and reservations phone: 0571-663384, www.boccaccesca.it.

On Sat. 9 and Sunday 10, in the little town of Balconevisi, near San Miniato (Pisa), an unusual Palio (where the race competitors are ducks) has taken place annually since 1982. It pits the town boroughs of Il Borgo, Fondo di Scesa, Buecchio and Fornacino in an animated race. The contestants waddle past each other at as great a speed as they can muster, cheered on by enthusiastic locals. Prior to the race there is a parade, plus food stalls will be serving up local specialties (funghi and white truffles) for the length of the weekend. www.balconevisi.it/il-palio-del-papero

So many festivals and fairs celebrating the chestnut take place in Tuscany each fall, that we will simply list a few of the details here, with websites and other contacts for further information:
Sun. 10, 17, 24, 31: Marradi – Sagra delle Castagne - Located in the upper Mugello, Marradi has one of the biggest and best chestnut festivals, including a special steam train from Florence on the weekends of the 10th and 17th. Open: 9 am – 7 pm. Phone 055 8045170 or see www.sagradellecastagne.it for information & train times.
Sun. 10 and 17: Vicchio – Festa del Marrone – Mugello Valley, in Vicchio you will find music, fun for kids, foods to taste and buy based on the nutty, brown chestnut. www.comune.vicchio.fi.it
Sat. 9, Sun 10 and Sat. 16, Sun 17: Ronta – Sagra della Polenta e delle Castagne – Mugello again, for a hearty chestnut polenta served with meaty ragu. Join in for a special dinner on Saturday, and lunch and dinner on Sunday. Phone 055 8403386 for info.

On Sat. 16 and Sun. 17 return to Balconevisi for their white truffle festival. All the local restaurants celebrate the precious tuber with special menus and festivities. Plus you will find the opportunity to taste and buy fab olive oil, cheeses, salumi, wine and more. www.balconevisi.it

From Sat. 16 to Sun. 24, Impruneta is the place to be for everything from a horse race to a donkey race, from cattle and chicken competitions, to food, crafts, wine and fireworks. All week long a craft fair will run in the center piazza of town. On Thursday at 2:00, watch the Palio di San Luca horse race, and stay until 10:30 pm for a fab fireworks display. Friday evening at 9:30 cheer on the town teams in a tug-of-war, winners take all. For info call 055 2313729, 055 2036627.

Sat. 23 and Sun. 24, plus Sat. 30, Sun. 31 and Mon. Nov. 1 make your way out to Volterra. You will find an entire town focused on the bounty of their land. The nearby hills of San Miniato are one of Italy’s riches fonts of white truffles. There will be stands set up in the town’s historical homes and courtyards, dispensing folklore and food, wisdom and wine. Don’t miss the fun. www.volterragusto.com, info@volterragusto.com, Tel. 0588-86099.

JOAN MIRO’ - Myths of the Mediterranean at Palazzo Blu - Pisa
From Fri. 8 until January 23, Pisa’s Palazzo Blu hosts “Joan Miró. I miti del Mediterraneo", a retrospective exhibit of the works of this Spanish (Catalan) master. The show presents over 100 pieces ranging from sculpture and drawings, to paintings and illustrations.
Born in Barcelona, Mirò died in 1983, having earned international acclaim as a Surrealist. His style was in fact, surely also influenced by Dadaism, by his frequent visits to Paris, and by his relationships with printer Fernand Mourlot and the artists he often shared shows with; Chagall, Giacometti, Brach, Cesar, Ubac, and Tal-Coat. Palazzo Blu, Lungarno Gambacorti, 9. 56125 Pisa. Tel: 199 28514. Ticket: 8 euro. Hours: Tuesday thru Friday: from 10:00 am. to 7:00 pm. Saturday and Sunday: from 10:00 am. to 8:00 pm. Closed Monday. www.palazzoblu.org

Until Nov. 14, Santa Maria della Scala in Siena hosts a fascinating collection of drawings, poetry and letters that outline the life and artistic journey of Michelangelo Buonarroti. Follow the artist through his time in Florence, his trips to Rome, and his search for the best blocks of marble from Carrara and Pietrasanta in the mountains near the Tuscan coast. The show takes us all the way into the period that Michelangelo spent working for the Pope on St. Peter’s. Santa Maria della Scala, Piazza Duomo 1, Siena. Hours: 10:30 am to 7:30 pm. Ticket: 6 euro.

SILVANO CAMPEGGI: Toward Campaldino, from Pian di Ripoli to the Battle
Until Oct. 17, the Oratory of Santa Caterina in Bagno a Ripoli once again hosts Silvano “Nano” Campeggi; one of Tuscany’s best known artists, who has painted over 50 works depicting the epic battle that took place at Campaldino on June 11, 1289. On that day twenty-three thousand soldiers took to the field, and soon 2000 lay dead, the price of victory for the Florentine Guelphs against the Aretine Ghibelines. Campeggi, long-time resident of Bagno a Ripoli, took inspiration from the hills surrounding his home base.
Bagno a Ripoli/Ponte a Ema, Oratorio di Santa Caterina, Via del Carota. Hours: Fri. and Sat from 3:30 to 6:30, Sunday from 10 to 12:30 and 3:30 to 6:30 pm. www.oratoriodisantacaterina.it.

Until December 5 Viareggio is hosting a show celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Liberty (Art Nouveau) movement in Italy. One of the main figures of the period was Galileo Chini (born Florence 1873 – 1956). Painter, ceramicist and graphic designer, he combined art and artisanship, renewing a Tuscan tradition of the artisan workshop for the 20th century. Paintings, ceramics, drawings and furnishings all have a place in the show. His luminescent Tuscan landscapes, that reflect serene moments spent in Versilia, reflect against the darker works done during WW2. Chini is equally well known for his ceramic production and the exhibit is rich with vases, plates, tiles and more. He worked principally out of two spaces; L’Arte della Ceramica, founded in Florence in 1896 and the Fornaci San Lorenzo, founded in 1906 in Borgo San Lorenzo, where he created the incredible decorative tiles that we see throughout Tuscany today on a fantastic, few, Liberty-style homes and buildings.
Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea Lorenzo Viani, Palazzo delle Muse, Piazza Mazzini 22, Viareggio. Hours: Tues. to Fri. from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm., and Thurs. to Sun. 3:30 to 7:30 pm. Closed Monday. Tel. 0584966343. gamc@comune.viareggio.lu.it. www.gamc.it

Over five centuries ago, Filippo Lippi ascended three stories of scaffolding in the dark recesses of Prato’s 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 splendor after seven years of restoration. Small, guided tours of the fresco cycle now allow the public to come face to face with Lippi. The restoration began in the upper reaches of the chapel ceiling. Four monumental images of the evangelists are incised within the arches of the groin vault. Below them flow the scenes from the lives of two saints: Stephen, Prato’s patron saint on the left, and John the Baptist, protector of nearby Florence on the right. From his birth in the top register to his death on the lower register, each saints’ life is a theatrical spectacle played out with vivid imagery.
Fra Filippo Lippi was quite an intriguing character; his behavior wasn’t exactly exemplary of the Carmelite order, (Fra indicates his religious title). The Carmelites ordained him and trained him as an artist, and by the time he reached Prato in 1452 he was among the most highly regarded and frequently commissioned painters of the early Renaissance. His trysts with various women had already gained him a somewhat sensational reputation, but it is the long-running romance with nun Lucrezia Buti, 25 years his junior, that has been most noted by history. Lucrezia modeled for many of the Lippi’s Madonnas, and is said to have been the inspiration for the enchanting Salome, who dances through the final scene of John the Baptist’s fresco cycle, The Feast of Herod. The three-part banquet scene contains larger-than-life figures that feast and make merry around the dancing girl, whom many compare to the female figures in the later works of Lippi’s young apprentice Botticelli.
Prato Cathedral. Open Mon. to Sat. 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission: 4 euro with audio guide. Small, guided tours available by calling 0574/24112. www.restaurofilippolippi.it

All the best,

Pitcher and Flaccomio