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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 2012

In October, life mellows a bit in Florence. It’s time to take an indoor/outdoor approach with lunch in the piazza in the sun and the afternoons and evenings at the new art exhibits and classical music concerts. Out in Tuscany the harvest festivals are bursting with truffles, new oil, and chestnuts. Best wishes for a fun-filled October from SUZANNE, CORSO, BEI, SANDRA, LORI, ANNA PIA, ANN and MARIO.



Dear Friends,

The sun shone just long enough for a fantastic running 10th edition of Corri La Vita. And what a day it was. Over 27,000 excited participants (including the 2,000 who signed up on the day of the event) had the most scenic route ever devised for the run/walk – through both the Boboli and the Bardini Gardens.

As happened last year, Florence was rocked with thunder and doused with rain soon after the race. But Mother Nature provided brilliant sunshine with a slight breeze for the event. 25,000 bright blue T-shirts were given away to the first enrolled participants (donated by Ferragamo) and they provided Kodak moments of the blue masses throughout the day. It was beyond our wildest expectations.

First estimates on the Corri La Vita website hold that over 350,000 euros were raised for the worthy services for women’s health and breast cancer care. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who participated. As always, it was a very joyous event, not only a show of solidarity.

I'd also like to thank the Mayor for his efforts to get the museums open for free entry by the Corri La Vita participants, as well as the Ferragamo Museum, with its fabulous Marilyn Monroe exhibit, the Gucci Museum, and the Palazzo Strozzi Museum, which has a new exhibit of The Thirties, Art in Italy Beyond Fascism, a thought-provoking show. It seemed as if all of Florence opened her arms to the Corri La Vita cause for the day.

I look forward to see all of you again next year.





Golf courses aren’t what you always associate with Italy, but one of the most beautiful two bedroom rental properties is very near the gorgeous Ugolino Golf Course. Come for a month of golf (18 holes), tennis and swimming in the crisp fall air or plan ahead for a beautiful spring stay. The grounds of this ex-fienile (renovated barn) border on hole number 11 of the golf course. The surrounding countryside is characteristically Tuscan (the views from the spacious kitchen are evocative) and the property is situated at only 4 km from the town of Grassina, a main shopping centre for the area. There is a public bus service with a bus stop on the main road right outside the gate of this property, very convenient for visiting Florence, but a car is also necessary.

For more information click this link.


EXHIBIT FOR OCTOBER – Anni ’30 – The Thirties: The Arts in Italy Beyond Fascism

Do not miss Anni ’30 at the Strozzi Palazzo. This challenging, beautifully presented show may be one of the first of its kind, showing a thoughtful look at the arts created during a challenging time in Italy’s history.

Italy in the 1930s, when Fascism held sway, was the scene of an extremely vigorous artistic battle in which every style from classicism to Futurism, from expressionism to abstract art, and from monumental art to decorative painting for the bourgeois home was involved. The situation was further complicated by the arrival on the scene of design and mass communication—posters, radio, the cinema and the first illustrated magazine—which stole numerous ideas from the "fine" arts and transmitted them to a broader audience. It was this complex and lively workshop, open to the international scene that introduced the concept of modernity to Italy.

The exhibition explores the 1930s through the masterpieces of over forty leading artists of the period, including Mario Sironi, Giorgio de Chirico, Alberto Savinio, Achille Funi, Carlo Carrà, Corrado Cagli, Arturo Nathan, Achille Lega, Ottone Rosai, Ardengo Soffici, Giorgio Morandi, Ram, Thayaht, Antonio Donghi, Marino Marini, Renato Guttuso,Ivanhoe Gambini, Carlo Levi, Filippo de Pisis, Scipione, Antonio Maraini and Lucio Fontana (99 paintings, 17 sculptures and 20 objects of design). They tell the story of a crucial era characterised by an extremely vibrant and innovative arts scene. The 1930s also witnessed the increasing mass production of household objects, which led to dramatic changes in people's lifestyle, allowing ordinary families to live out a dream of modernity surrounded by designer objects, a practice that continues to this day. It was the era that defined what we might call "the Italian path to modernity" in architecture, design, painting and sculpture through an original interpretation of the stimuli coming from the broader European context (from France and Germany, but also from Scandinavia and Russia) together with the return to an Italian (14th and 15th century) tradition.

The Thirties. The Arts in Italy Beyond Fascism provides us with another opportunity to show the strong bond linking Palazzo Strozzi with the history of this country and of this city, but at the same time it perfectly reflects our determination to ensure that the visitor in Palazzo Strozzi isn't passive but active... in fact interactive! A series of special areas allow visitors to explore some of the key issues addressed in the exhibition, such as mass communication (the Radio Studio, the Reading Room ), industrial design (the Design section) and artistic creativity (interactive touch-table) in an involving and stimulating manner. And like all our exhibitions, this one also has a broad programme of educational activities held in the Palazzo, collateral events involving the city and the region, and a full set of publications linked to the exhibition. (text from official exhibit website)

Website: http://www.palazzostrozzi.org/SezioneAnni30.jsp?idSezione=1853

Tel. + 39 055 2645155

Opening times: Daily 9.00-20.00, Thursdays 9.00-23.00

Tickets sold until one hour before closing time.


Full price € 10.00
Concessions € 8.50, 8.00, 7.50
Schools € 4.00


Named for a hunch-backed goblin monk (he’s right inside the entrance), who brings good (or bad) luck, this exotic place invites diners to look around as they walk through the heavily decorated main dining room covered in twinkling lights, vines of flowers and statues of baby cherubs. You are immediately immersed in the warmth and creativity of Naples. The pizzaiolo stokes his fires and bakers (yes, they make their own bread here) roll their dough beneath tiny balconies where laundry hangs out to dry. A huge angel flies over it all. The walls draped with garlic and chili peppers and boxes of lemons and oranges add to the color.

The tables have long stem candlesticks and the place mats are an old Neapolitan game. This space was once used by the ex-convent in Santo Spirito as a stables and for parking carriages, explaining the high arched ceilings.

Even though it is all about the pizza, cooked in wood-burning ovens, there is a variety of antipasti and fish – either fried or in a tastey salad. Good wines at reasonable prices are a plus. O’Munaciello is only open for dinner and for cocktail hour. It is important to reserve a table especially on the weekends since it is always booked.

tel: +39 055 287198

Address: Via Maffia, 31

Hours: 8pm to 2am (Closed Monday)

BEST BOOK FOR OCTOBER – Leonardo and the Last Supper by Ross King

Early in 1495, Leonardo da Vinci began work in Milan on what would become one of history's most influential and beloved works of art-The Last Supper. After a dozen years at the court of Lodovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, Leonardo was at a low point personally and professionally: at forty-three, in an era when he had almost reached the average life expectancy, he had failed, despite a number of prestigious commissions, to complete anything that truly fulfilled his astonishing promise. His latest failure was a giant bronze horse to honor Sforza's father: His 75 tons of bronze had been expropriated to be turned into cannons to help repel a French invasion of Italy.

The commission to paint The Last Supper in the refectory of a Dominican convent was a small compensation, and his odds of completing it were not promising: Not only had he never worked on a painting of such a large size-15' high x 30' wide-but he had no experience in the extremely difficult medium of fresco. In his compelling new book, Ross King explores how-amid war and the political and religious turmoil around him, and beset by his own insecurities and frustrations-Leonardo created the masterpiece that would forever define him.

King unveils dozens of stories that are embedded in the painting. Examining who served as the models for the Apostles, he makes a unique claim: that Leonardo modeled two of them on himself. Reviewing Leonardo's religious beliefs, King paints a much more complex picture than the received wisdom that he was a heretic. The food that Leonardo, a famous vegetarian, placed on the table reveals as much as do the numerous hand gestures of those at Christ's banquet. As King explains, many of the myths that have grown up around The Last Supper are wrong, but its true story is ever more interesting. Bringing to life a fascinating period in European history, Ross King presents an original portrait of one of the world's greatest geniuses through the lens of his most famous work.

Ross King is the highly praised author of Brunelleschi's Dome (the Book Sense Nonfiction Book of the Year in 2000), Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling (on the New York Times extended bestseller list).

BEST BOOKS FOR KIDS FOR OCTOBER – Leonardo da Vinci for Kids by Janis Herbert

A lively biography of the ultimate Renaissance man. Herbert describes Leonardo's life while also providing a good deal of historical information about Italy and background about art. She explains how Leonardo used the artistic techniques and materials available during his lifetime, as well as his own unique ideas, to create masterpieces. However, youngsters will also gain insight into Leonardo as a scientist, inventor, and humanist. Presented for consideration are his detailed sketches of human anatomy (the first of their kind), maps drawn from a bird's-eye view, and designs for such things as diving suits and hang gliders that weren't invented until hundreds of years later.

A few projects are also included. Youngsters can make a kite based on Leonardo's drawing of a parachute, cook up his favorite meal of minestrone soup, or grow a Renaissance herb garden. The high-quality reproductions of the artist's sketches and paintings coupled with an interesting text give readers a full picture of this truly amazing man.

FORZA VIOLA!! FOR OCTOBER – Florentine Calcio

Forza Viola! The atmosphere is feverish. A workman-like win over Catania kindled an explosion of fervour; the game with Juve sold out in hours amid a growing certainty that we would win and go on to lift the Scudetto, take the Champions League, bring peace to the world and eliminate poverty. In the quiet centre of the storm, Montella is focused on what colour shoes to wear for the next game. He will also be thinking about the January transfer window. Nostalgia is wonderful but Luca Toni is not the answer!

Fiorentina’s Results

Week 2: Napoli-Fiorentina LOST 1-2

Week 3: Fiorentina-Catania WON 2-0

Week 4: Parma-Fiorentina DREW 1-1

Week 5: Fiorentina-Juventus DREW 0-0

Week 6: Inter-Fiorentina LOST 1-2

Who’s in, who’s out? A flurry as the transfer window slammed shut. Jovetic is still here so that’s settled until January! Cerci has gone to Torino, Vargas to Genoa in return for Tomovic; we have the better of that as Vargas was approaching his sell-by date. Furore as our deal to sign Berbatov from Manchester United turned sour, Juventus allegedly gazumping us only for them to be gazumped in turn by England’s Fulham. Bereft of alternative centre-forwards, we carried on strengthening the midfield with Migliaccio coming in from Palermo and then made one of the most remarkable signings of the pre-season. Welcome back Luca Toni, erstwhile Stadio hero and a free agent after a spell in the Middle East. [Let us, in the interests of second sight, recall this from last month’s newsletter – “.....chances that would have been gobbled up by Luca Toni or Gilardino in their pomp – just makes us glad that Montella is in charge....”.]

Serie A. The trip to Napoli was always going to be a reality check but we did OK. Napoli are a class act but we fought a goalless first half on a pitch resembling a First World War battlefield. In the second half, Hamsik came out to play and was instrumental in fashioning what has to go down as an own goal. The second was an unstoppable volley from open play but we were looking tired until, late on, Jovetic produced a sublime piece of placing to get one back. No disgrace and plenty of good things to look forward to.

The media did their best to whip up interest in the visit of Montella’s previous team, Catania, but they had little to offer. Mind you, it was hardly the “calcio totale” animating the fans as they bounced home. The first half was a sputtering affair, illuminated only by Llajic’s late assist to set up Jovetic’s precise opener. Vincenzo tinkered with tactics at the interval and we were all over them; Pizzaro – the ball seemingly glued to his toes – and Valero ran the show. On the hour, Toni came on and immediately found himself alone in front of goal with Jovetic placing the ball in friont of him – 2-0! Our midfield looked in good hands and our defence solid but we still need to convert chances into goals, especially.......

.....when awarded penalties at Parma. They are not a team to be underestimated, but Montella had selected a side to undo them. In a throbbing first half, Roncaglia thundered in from 25 metres; with Vargas away, we have replaced a Peruvian with an Argentine missile-launcher (though Roncaglia is eligible for Italy!). We assume Fiorentina have the appropriate arms licence. Parma hit our post; Roncaglia surfaced in their penalty area and hit theirs. Then disaster! Man of the match so far, Roncaglia had a rush of blood to the head and ceded a daft penalty; Viviano showed his mettle and stopped a softish shot from Valdes. The second half – less exciting, more tense – stretched towards full-time and a Viola victory, surely in the bag as Cassani was hacked down, the culprit sent off and Jovetic lined up with a penalty on 87 minutes. No! Another poor penalty. Jo-Jo’s art is precision and now he tried to be smart and it didn’t come off. But we still lead and it’s nearly over. Then Toni, of all people, handles and Valdes rehabilitates himself with the Parma fans by lashing this one beyond Viviano and depriving us of two points. We have only ourselves to blame.

The Stadio is rocking for the evening game against Juventus, Scudetto-holders, league-leaders yet to drop a point this year, stuffed with internationals fresh from holding Chelsea to a draw in their own back yard. It might have been better if we had won a tight tussle than dominate so conclusively in a goalless draw. We were superior in every department and we kept it up for the whole game aside from a short spell at the start of the second half when concentration seemed to wobble. Jovetic rapped the bar with Buffon beaten; Cuadrado drilled just wide; Roncaglia ghosted past a two Juve players and rifled past the post; Llajic slalomed into the penalty area only to shoot wide; Pasqual’s header left Buffon grasping air but drifted past the post. Through all this, Viviano had not a single serious save to make; it was that stark. This is beginning to look like a good team. The defence was rock-solid but Valero took man of the match in a tireless midfield. We just need to crack the goal-scoring department!

A tough end to a tough month – a visit to Milan and Inter where we lost to the referee. And we didn’t have a great first half. A dubious penalty decision gave them an early lead but we went AWOL for their second. Romulo’s header on 40 minutes put us back in the game and Pizzaro & Co started to crank up the pressure. It all came to nothing when the referee opted to reduce us to ten men, sending Rodrigues off. Mind you, the rest of the game allowed Viviano to show what a fine goalkeeper he is. We’ll put this one down to experience and paranoia!

An encouraging start. October will be fascinating. If we really harbour European ambitions, then we should clean up here; a minimum of ten points from the four games. Extra spice will stem from the number of former Viola stars booted out in the direction of Genoa and Bologna; there will be points to prove, noses to grind in the dust! Forza Vincenzo!

The Fiorentina Schedule:

Here are October’s Serie A games:

Week 7: 07 Oct/home Fiorentina-Bologna

Week 8: 21 Oct/away Chievo-Fiorentina

Week 9: 28 Oct/home Fiorentina-Lazio

Week 10: 31 Oct/away Genoa-Fiorentina


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


"Take some more tea," the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.

"I've had nothing yet," Alice replied in an offended tone: "so I can't take more."

"You mean you can't take less," said the Hatter: "it's very easy to take more than nothing."

(Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.)

Commencing on Thursday, October 4, Afternoon Tea is to be served every Thursday from 15.00 until 18.00 at the British Institute library. For those who come early there might even be cake and biscuits! Open to all, donations welcome.

"Under certain circumstances, there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea." (The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James)



Fifty years after her death, an exhibition “Marilyn,” is currently running at the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, where a visitor can see that the Florentine shoemaker made the star’s shoes for many of her most famous movies, including a pair of red stilettos covered in Swarovski crystals.

Ferragamo once wrote that the “women who come to me can be divided into the Cinderella, the Aristocrat, and the Venus ... Venus is usually a great beauty, of glamour and sophistication, yet under a glittering exterior she is often a homebody, loving simple things.” Monroe, who wore a size 6, was definitely in the Venus category. The exhibit contains not only her shoes but also the costumes she wore in many of her movies and dresses designed (not by Ferragamo) for special events. The film clips, alone are worth the price of admission.

The most interesting room of the exhibition seeks to show the close connection between Marilyn and Florentine Renaissance culture. There is Stern’s famous picture of Marilyn standing on the beach wearing a cardigan, her bare legs slightly crossed, alongside a reproduction of Botticelli’s La Primavera. There is the Roman marble bust of the dying Alexander, which the photographer Cecil Beaton drew upon in his quest to represent the “spiritual intensity” of Marilyn’s face. Parallels are drawn between images of Monroe and the sensuous nudes of Canova and Boucher. Then there is an extraordinary pairing of Tom Kelley’s famous Playboy nude of Monroe against a red satin background and the penitent Magdalene by the 17th-century Florentine painter Francesco Furini, both women holding a similar pose and an air of languid sensuality.

Entrance fee € 5,00
Hours: open Wednesday to Monday, 10 am-6pm
closed Tuesday, 1 January, 1 May, 15 August, and 25 December.

Salvatore Ferragamo Museum
Via dei Tornabuoni 2
Tel 055 35621

MEMOIRS FROM THE MOSH PIT – The Music Photography of David Corio 1977-1987

SACI, the American art institute in Florence, is delighted to present an exhibition of renowned music photography by David Corio, (October 1-31) in the Maidoff Gallery, Via Sant’Egidio. Memoirs from the Mosh Pit includes a collection of images of U2, Bob Marley, Debbie Harry, Grace Jones, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, Miles Davis, James Brown, Nick Cave, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Nina Simone, Marianne Faithful, Peter Tosh, Depeche Mode, Joe Strummer, and more. David Corio was born in London, England, in 1960.

Corio began his professional career in 1978 taking photographs for New Musical Express, followed by The Face, Time Out, and Black Echoes, covering a wide range of music and portraiture. After a stint as a music writer at City Limits, he worked as a freelance photographer for the Daily Telegraph, The Times, Q, Theatre Royal Stratford, and Greensleeves Records, among others.

MAIDOFF Gallery is open Monday to Friday 9am-7pm, Saturday & Sunday 1-7pm.

SACI's Jules Maidoff Gallery in via Sant'Egidio 14


Come for the aperitivo and go home with a necklace, a hand-died scarf, or a one-of-a-kind purse. On October 11 at 6:30pm the Women Supporting Women charitable event supported by the American League of Florence and Artemisia (helping abused women and children since 1991). Tickets for the opening show are 10 euro (30% goes to the charity) and are available at Paperback Exchange (Via dei Oche, 4r). Ten percent of the proceeds from wearable art bought at the two-day show also go to the charity. Right near the Duomo on Vicolo di Santa Maria Maggiore, 1r, come to meet the artists and start buying your holiday gifts. October 11 and 12.

FLORENCE QUEER FESTIVAL 2012 – Film, Art, Literature and Music

2012 marks the Tenth Edition of the Florence Queer Festival, which is packed full of film, art, theater and literature with LGBT themes. This year’s directors are Bruno Casini and Roberta Vannucci.

Highlights of the Queer Film Festival (October 25 – 31) include:

1) the European film premiere of Out Loud by director Samer Daboul, set in contemporary Lebanon where the new generation is fighting against ancient taboos and cultural heritage, in the name of equality;

2) with Swan Lake 3D, prepare to be mesmerized by this beautiful and incomparable tale of love brought to the screen by director-choreographer Matthew Bourne (Mary Poppins, Oliver!). Presented in stunning 3D, Bourne’s contemporary and controversial gender-bending interpretation of the beloved Russian classic includes a revised Tchaikovsky score and a flock of gorgeous swans. The stage production completed four world tours, won over 30 prestigious awards (including a Tony), and was the longest-running ballet on Broadway;

3) the documentary, Jobriath AD by Kieran Turner, is about the ill-fated career of Jobriath, the first openly gay rock star. Jobriath’s legacy delves deeper than the labels hung upon him. His reign was brief – two years and two albums. Sabotaged by a publicity machine run amok, shunned by the gay community and dismissed by critics, Jobriath was excommunicated from the music business, and became an early casualty of AIDS. Now, new generations of fans have discovered him through acts like The Pet Shop Boys, Joe Elliott of Def Leppard, Siouxsie Sioux, and Morrissey, all of whom cite Jobriath as a groundbreaking influence. Through interviews, archival material and animation, experience the heartbreaking, unbelievable story of the one, the only, Jobriath;

4) In The Perfect Family, directed by Anne Renton, suburban supermom Eileen Cleary (Kathleen Turner) is the ultimate Catholic, and when she’s nominated for the coveted Catholic Woman of the Year Award at her local parish, it looks like she’s about to get the plaque to prove it. Only one final test remains – introducing her family to the church board for the seal of approval. Now, she must finally face the truth about her nonconformist family – a truth she has been glossing over for years. Her gay daughter, Shannon (Emily Deschanel), is about to marry her life partner. Her unhappily married son Frank Jr. (Jason Ritter) is having an affair with the local manicurist. And Eileen’s own marriage to a recovered alcoholic is pulling at the seams….

The Queer Book 2012 festival runs from October 18 to November 24 with events at the IBS Bookstore, via dé Cerretani 16/R (Tel: 055287339) or at the Ireos Centre, Via dei Serragli, 3. See for the schedule of events (most are only in Italian): 1 http://www.florencequeerfestival.it/?p=3809

In Queer Art 2012, internationally known lesbian photographer and ARTivist, South African Zanele Muholi shows new portraits in this ongoing series, which offers an insider’s perspective on the lives of the black lesbians and transmen she has met on her journeys as an activist. Collectively, the portraits are at once a visual statement and an archive: marking, mapping and preserving an often-invisible community for posterity. Muholi writes: In the face of all the challenges our community encounters daily, I embarked on a journey of visual activism to ensure that there is black queer visibility. Faces and Phases is about our histories and the struggles that we face. Faces express the person, and Phases signify the transition from one stage of sexuality or gender expression and experience to another. Faces is also about the face-to-face confrontation between myself as the photographer/activist and the many lesbians, women and transmen I have interacted with from different places. Photographs in this series traverse spaces from Gauteng, Cape Town, Mafikeng and Botswana to Sweden.

Muholi’s photographs will be displayed at Spazio CID/Arti Visive, Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci – Viale della Repubblica – Prato. Open from 8.00 to 19.00 (closed Tuesday) – Free entrance

Also, the photographs of Filippo Milani, Queer Faces, will be shown at the IBS Bookshop, Via dé Cerretani 16/R, from October 13 to November 18. From October 25 to 31 his work will also appear at the Odeon Cinema – Queer Faces – Second Time.

The Closing Party of the Florence Queer Festival will take place at the Viper Theater on Via Lombardia, on November 1, starting at 9:30pm with a concert by lead-in act The Half of Mary, followed by Fabio Cinti. At midnight the party goes on with a DJ and the Staff of QueerAboard.

For all of the details see the Festival website at http://www.florencequeerfestival.it/


The Fulgor is starting to make one of their theaters available for Original Sound movies , seven days a week, three show times a day. Call to find out what is showing in English. Via Maso Finiguerra – Tel. 055 238 1881


Check the web site http://www.cinehall.it/ for updated information or stop by the theater for a brochure. The Fifty Days of Film festival starts at the end of October. Located in Piazza Strozzi.

TED (USA 2012 – 106'). By Seth MacFarlane.


Mon 8 17.00

Tue 9 16.00 – 18.00

Thu 11 16.00 – 18.00

Seth MacFarlanes’ teddy bear comedy is not as cute and cuddly as it may seem. Ted comes to life for his owner John Bennett and a certain amount of outrageous chaos ensues. ‘A fabulous first live-action effort, combining R-rated hilarity with skilled storytelling as it slips some real heart into the stuffing of a toy bear (Total Film).

THE ELEPHANT MAN (Gran Bretagna/USA 1980 – 125'). By David Lynch. (free entry)

Tue 9 20.30

A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a sideshow freak. Behind his monstrous facade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity. 'Director David Lynch has created an eerily compelling atmosphere in recounting a hideously deformed man's perilous life in Victorian England.' (Variety)

HOPE SPRINGS (USA 2012 – 110'). By David Frankel.

Thu 18 16.30 - 18.30 - 20.40 - 22.45

Fri 19 16.30 - 18.30 - 20.40 - 22.45

Sun 21 16.00 - 18.15 - 20.30 - 22.45

Mon 22 16.30

Tue 23 16.00 – 18.15 – 22.50

Wed 24 16.00 - 18.15 - 20.30 - 22.45

Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones are Kay and Arnold, married 30 years and in need of counseling in David Frankel’s comedy drama. ‘Hope Springs dares viewers to look closely at the remarkable sight of naked adult intimacy and its discontents’ (Entertainment Weekly). ‘A genuinely sweet, perfectly acted, remarkably brave little movie that should make audiences swoon for something they thought was gone - a smart “dramedy” for grown-ups’ (New York Daily News).

ORIGINAL LANGUAGE FILMS – Talking Movies at the British Institute

The Talking Movies Series at the British Institute Library. Every Wednesday at 8:00 pm, the Sala Ferragamo in the Institute's Harold Acton Library hosts a film, followed by discussion. The British Institute Library, Lungarno Guicciardini 9. Check the web site at www.britishinstitute.it/en/events/default.asp for times, dates, and detailed information or stop by the library for a brochure.

The Autumn 2012 Edition of Talking Movies highlights the work of Ken Russell, who died last year after a long and controversial career as an all-round filmmaker. Regarded by some as one of British cinema's greatest talents, he is also derided, denigrated and even discounted by others. His interests - for his critics, obsessions - were mainly in the areas of sex and religion, but he was praised too for his insights into creativity in music and art, his extravagance and joie de vivre often receiving as many bouquets as brickbats.

In a career spanning 50 years, 18 feature films were made as well as numerous television movies and shorts. This commemorative retrospective is incomplete but it gives a flavour of the highlights (and perhaps lowlights) of Russell's work. Starting with Russell's famed adaptation of D H Lawrence's Women in Love (1969) the series includes Russell's 'biopics' of Pyotr Tchaikovsky (The Music Lovers), Gustav Mahler, Franz Liszt (Lisztomania) and sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (Savage Messiah). The Devils is perhaps Russell's most notorious work on the sexuality of religious excess, or the religiosity of sexual excess, and it can finally be seen in an unabridged and uncensored version. Russell shrewdly cast Twiggy in the delightful musical spoof The Boy Friend. The Who's 1975 'rock opera' Tommy with Pinball Wizard Elton John and Acid Queen Tina Turner continues to shock and thrill, and Altered States with its psychedelic and hallucinatory questing for the origins of life is disturbing and profound. (text from official website)

Wednesday, October 03, 20.00 The Devils (1971)

Wednesday, October 10, 20.00 The Boy Friend (1971)

Wednesday, October 17, 20.00 Savage Messiah (1972)

Wednesday, October 24, 20.00 Mahler (1974)

Wednesday, October 31, 20.00 Tommy (1975)


Every Wednesday at 18.00 from September to June there is a lecture, concert or other event in the Sala Ferragamo in the Harold Acton Library followed by an informal drinks reception.

Wednesday, October 03. 18.00

Lecture: James Bradburne – Talking History – The Making of The Thirties. The arts in Italy beyond Fascism

The President of the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi explains the background to the major new exhibition that runs from 22 September until 27 January. In 1930s Italy a vigorous artistic battle was waged, involving every style and trend, from Classicism to Futurism, from Expressionism to Abstraction, from monumental art to salon painting.

Wednesday, October 10. 18.00

Lecture: Federico Romeo – What brought the Cold War to its End?

Professor of History of Post-War European Cooperation and Integration at the EUI, Federico Romeo is the author of Storia guerra fredda, published by Einaudi in 2009.

Wednesday, October 17. 18.00

Lecture: Lino Pertile – Dante and Gluttony

The Director of the Harvard Center for Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti, Professor Lino Pertile, looks at overeating in Trecento Florence, and Dante's treatment of it in the Divine Comedy.

Wednesday, October 24. 18.00

Concert: The Richmond Duo

Margaret Bruce (pianoforte) and Moshe Friedman (violoncello) play music by Ludwig van Beethoven, Antonín Tu?apský, Bohuslav Martin? and Ástor Piazzolla

Wednesday, October 31. 18.00

Lecture: Richard Serrin – The unknown early life of Giotto

Remarkably little is known about the early life of Giotto di Bondone, and even his date of birth is uncertain. In this illustrated talk the painter Richard Serrin demolishes several misconceptions.



The Amici della Musica of Florence presents various concerts at the Teatro della Pergola. Works by Haydn, Schumann, Copland, Mozart and Beethoven are only a small sample of what will be performed. See the schedule for concerts at http://www.amicimusica.fi.it/.

Amici della Musica - Concert Season Highlight – October 20, 16:00 – The Art of the Canto, H. WOLF: Spanisches Liederbuch, (tenor, soprano, and piano)

Teatro della Pergola, Via della Pergola, info: 055/609012 – 055 607440 - 055 2264333, and www.amicimusica.fi.it


The Maggio Musicale Festival turned 75 this year! The 75th season of Florence's historic opera company has been one of the best yet. The Maggio Musicale Fiorentino's program this year is dedicated to Amerigo Vespucci, marking the 500th anniversary of the Italian explorer's death. In honor of the explorer’s travels the Maggio spent the summer in South America, receiving rave reviews everywhere the orchestra and chorus performed. The New Florence Opera House, opened last December, only makes the experience better.

Friday 5
New Florence Opera House 20.30

Sunday 7
New Florence Opera House 16.30

Friday 12
New Florence Opera House 20.30

Sunday 14
New Florence Opera House 16.30

Friday 19
New Florence Opera House 20.30

Sunday 21
New Florence Opera House 16.30

Friday 26
New Florence Opera House 20.30

Sunday 28
New Florence Opera House 16.30

Ticket Office Teatro Comunale
Corso Italia 16 - Firenze - fax: +39 055 287222
Tues. - Fri. 10:00-16:30 & Sat. 10:00-13:00

Tickets on line




Not to worry! … here are a bunch of events or exhibits that will still be happening in late October and November:


The Renaissance bronze and gold doors of the Florence Baptistry – a masterpiece known as the Gates of Paradise – were unveiled in September after a 27-year restoration. Hidden away in 1943 during World War II and damaged by the flood of 1966, the doors were replaced by a copy in 1990 mainly because of the damage done by vehicle emissions over the previous 50 years. Now the priceless doors have been restored to their former glory are on display in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, located behind the cathedral, not hanging in their former home on the Baptistry.

The doors are 5.2 meters (16.7 feet) by 3.1 meters and are 11 centimeters thick and were built between 1426 and 1456 by the artist Lorenzo Ghiberti. Ironically, the restoration took almost as long as they took to make. The story goes that when the work was unveiled, Michelangelo was so struck by the beauty of the doors that he said that the Gates of Paradise could not be more wondrous than Ghiberti’s doors.

The doors are divided up into 10 panels, each with a story from the Old Testament. Each panel is itself surrounded by a border with 48 tiny images, including a self-portrait of the artist and representations of the prophets. The doors are kept in a transparent display case to keep the humidity low so as to avoid the formation of various salts that could damage the thin covering of gold on the different panels. Innovative lighting shows them in all their glory.

Museo dell’Opera del Duomo

Piazza del Duomo, 9

Web site: www.operaduomo.firenze.it

CLIMBING IN FLORENCE – Palazzo Vecchio and Duomo

Palazzo Vecchio

A couple of months ago the bell tower on the Palazzo Vecchio was opened to visitors. Literally "towering" over Florence, the 95 mt. high Tower of Palazzo Vecchio is one of the city's unmistakable symbols and focal points. It is also one of the oldest parts of the building built between 1299 and the early 14th century, possibly to a design by Arnolfo di Cambio, as the seat of the city's government. The interior of the tower was witness to many important historical events, as it was the home to the Alberghetto, which was the cell that held such state prisoners as Cosimo the Elder before his exile and Girolamo Savonarola before his execution.

Ticket Office inside courtyard of Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza Signoria (tel. 055 276 8325)

Tickets: €6.50 to climb the tower or €10 if you combine it with a visit to the Palazzo Vecchio. It’s open every day from 9am to 9pm, except on Thursdays when it closes at 2pm. There’s no need to book tickets in advance. Web Site: http://www.palazzovecchio-familymuseum.it/


There are two climbs at the Duomo. First, climb the 348-foot-high dome (la cupola del Duomo), both for the great panorama across the city you get from the top and to see, from the inside, Brunelleschi's architectural marvel. You will climb up 463 steps between the dome's two layers – and in the process get some great up-close views of the frescoes of Vasari. The dome actually presented something of an engineering conundrum for the cathedral authorities in the early 15th century. A yawning space had been left open for a dome that – at 45m (150 feet) wide – would be far larger than any attempted since antiquity. Only Brunelleschi was skilled enough to create the largest freestanding dome to date, a masterpiece of architecture and engineering.

To the right of the cathedral facade is what's known as Giotto's Bell Tower, even though that early Renaissance fresco painter only designed and built the first two levels of it. Several architects and styles later, it emerged as "The Lily of Florence," a 277-foot-high pillar of marble pierced with slender windows and ringed by marble reliefs. 414 steps!

Brunelleschi's Dome (€8)

Campanile di Giotto (Giotto's Bell Tower) (€6)

Piazza del Duomo/Piazza San Giovanni

tel. +39-055-230-2885


Open daily 8:30am–7:30pm


SEE THE SIGHTS AND SUPPORT HUMAN RIGHTS! In support of the Robert F. Kennedy Thanksgiving Weekend in Florence, Artviva is offering two special not-for-profit guided tours on 22nd November. First is the Robert F. Kennedy Special Florence

Walk and Accademia Tour. Over three hours, hear the fascinating stories behind the charming Florence city centre. Then, visit the Accademia Gallery to view heroic David, plus Michelangelo’s Slaves composition. Pass by Florence’s oldest building, Il Bargello, whose history has passed from a dark place of corruption to a National Museum holding the world’s greatest collection of Italian gothic and Renaissance sculptures.

Uffizi Gallery & Vasari Corridor Tour. Experience the greatest highlights of the Uffizi, being entertained by our guides renowned for their ability to bring the past to life. Hear fascinating stories behind the masterpieces and their famous artists. Then experience a private-entry viewing of the Vasari Corridor, seeing the world’s most unique collection of portraits by famous master artists. (text provided by Artviva)

The cost is 50 euro per person for the Florence Walk and Accademia Tour, and 89 euro per person for the Uffizi and Vasari Tour. All museum costs and reservation fees included.

Email staff@artviva.com for more information or to reserve places.

The RFK Center is a non-profit organisation established in 1968 to fight for human rights internationally and to defend the environment and law. Focus is on projects concerning the power of the individual to generate change, specifically through collaboration with other individuals/organisations.

Visit http://rfkcenter.org/rfk-thanksgiving-weekend-in-florence?lang=en for more information.



On October 6, 7, 13 & 14, take a gastronomic voyage to Certaldo Alto where the October weekends will be animated with cooking lessons, Tuscan food tastings, special dinners and demonstrations. This is the 14th edition of the Boccaccesca. 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


Traditional Mushroom and Chestnut Festival at Vivo d’Orcia takes place on October 14, 20 and 21. Food stands will offer mushrooms, roasted chestnuts, jams and other typical farm products; also, a mushroom exhibition along a nature path will allow you to take historical and nature hikes in the striking chestnut groves. (The guided hike starts at 3pm) Moreover, the Woodsman’s Palio will take place on Sunday, October 21, pitting two neighborhoods against each other.


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. 7, 14, 21 & 28: 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 (Campo di Marti train station) on every Sunday in October. Open: 9 am – 7 pm. Phone 055 8045170, 055 80442363 or see www.sagradellecastagne.it or www.promarradi.it for information & train times.

Sun. 14 and 21: 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. 20 and Sun 21: 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.

Sat. 20 and Sun. 21: Lucolena – Festa delle Castagne – near Greve in the Chianti Classico region – info: 055 8546299 - 055 8545271 – www.comune.greve-in-chianti.fi.it


From Sat. 13 to Sun. 21, 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 fabulous 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.


Pievasciata, a tiny village in the heart of the Chianti region, has been transformed into a contemporary art center. The focal point, the Chianti Sculpture Park, a permanent exhibition of sculptures and installations, is an integral part of a mystical wooded area.

There are three distinctive characteristics of the Park: integration of art and nature; diversity of cultures, represented by artists from all over the world; and a variety of materials. Each artist has been invited to visit the wood in order to choose a location and subsequently submit a site-specific proposal. This accounts for the harmony of the sculptures with the trees, the sounds, the colors, the light, and other elements of the wood. In fact, these man-made works do not extend beyond the limits of nature; rather, they integrate with it and enhance it. Inside the Park an Amphitheatre has also been created to offer visitors a rich program of concerts and cultural events.

The Chianti Sculpture Park is an indispensable stop not only for art lovers, but also for anyone who wishes to experience the delights of a walk through nature while admiring fascinating works of art. The visit is suitable for persons of every age on foot along a walking path of 1 km, but is also accessible with a child’s pushchair or a wheelchair.

Parco Sculture del Chianti, S.P. 9, Loc. La Fornace 48/49, 53010 Pievasciata (Siena); Tel. +39 0577 357151

Fabulous web site: http://www.chiantisculpturepark.it/, http://www.chiantisculpturepark.it/en-index.htm

Email: info@chiantisculpturepark.it


Head to Volterra on October 20, 21, 27, 28 and 31, for an unique Festival celebrating a delicious treasure of earth, the White Truffle. The 15th Edition of Voterragusto, makes cheese, wine, chocolate and white truffles the focus of the theme weekends that will be based in Piazza XX Settembre of the famous Etruscan Tuscan town. Exibitions, lectures, tasting... White Truffle for all your desire!

Hours: 11:45 am - 7:45 pm

For more information: +39 058887257

Web site: http://www.volterragusto.com


ITALIAN FOOD RULE: Spaghetti Is Not Served With Meatballs

"Mamma, mia, thatsa spicy meatball," the red-faced "Italian" man said each time his stereotypical wife plunked down a steaming plate of spaghetti and meatballs ... until the antacid commercial hit its punch line. "Spaghetti and meatballs, now that’s Italian!" is found in the script of many a B-movie. Even Lady and the Tramp have their first kiss over spaghetti and meatballs served up by Tony, the mustachioed Italian singing cook, in the 1955 movie.

The Italian Food Rule holds that there will be no meatballs on top of spaghetti. Spaghetti with meatballs is not an authentic Italian dish. (To find "spaghetti with meatballs" on a menu anywhere in Italy means that you are eating in a tourist trap.)

If you inquire about the dish in Italy, your waiter may laugh, but more likely sneer. If pasta and meatballs are served in the same meal, the two ingredients will be served separately – the spaghetti as a primo and the meatballs (polpette) as a secondo.

Spaghetti served with "red sauce" and topped with meatballs is an American creation. The pasta recipe probably made its first appearance in New York or New Jersey in the late 1800, most likely as a reaction to the socio-economic conditions experienced by a wave of Italian immigrants who arrived at the turn of the 20th century. They left Italy poor and started lives in America poor. Meat was costly. For special occasions, when meat was served, the portions were small – too embarrassing to offer alone on the plate. But as a topping for cheap pasta and thin tomato sauce, meatballs the size of walnuts made the platter a celebration.

In the 1930s, the jolly Chef Boyardee was celebrated from coast to coast in the U.S. for his spaghetti and meatballs. Ettore Boiardi left Piacenza in 1915 at age 17 to land a job in the kitchen at the Plaza Hotel in NYC. By 1928, he had invented a meatball-making machine. Like Tony in Lady and the Tramp, Ettore (soon known as Hector) liked the spicy meatballs and he put them in a can with spaghetti, ready to be opened at every American kid's lunch. But no Italian child will ever see spaghetti and meatballs for lunch or dinner.

Of course, with prosperity came exaggeration. The platter of pasta was the same size, but the sauce became thicker, drowning the spaghetti, and the meatballs grew to the size of a kid's fist. The Italian-American spaghetti and meatball myth always invokes grandma's recipe.

Marcella Hazan, well into her 80's, the reining expert on authentic Italian cooking, agrees that the Italian Food Rule: Meatballs are not served on spaghetti. She endorses a fine recipe for pasta with a meat sauce (ragu), but outlaws untidy balls of meat that roll down a heap of over-cooked spaghetti.

To read more, go to TuscanTraveler.com.


Invitation to Newsletter Readers & Friends:

The Pitcher & Flaccomio Newsletter would like to invite readers and friends of readers to submit announcements of upcoming events that may be of interest to visitors and residents of Florence and Tuscany, provide shopping tips, and/or comments on what’s “right” or “wrong” in Florence (or the Newsletter). We can’t promise to put every announcement in the newsletter, but we appreciate your support, interest and messages.

Please send an email to info@pitcherflaccomio.com or newsletter@pitcherflaccomio.com .


Sarina Rausa, a professional opera singer, singing teacher and vocal coach of Italo-Australian descent has been living in Italy for over 20 years. Sarina grew up in Brunswick, Melbourne. She majored in Music Studies at La Trobe University in Bundoora. Sarina went on to graduate, obtaining a Masters degree in Arts specializing in Musical Analysis, Composition and Baroque Music. After obtaining her Diploma of Education from Melbourne University, she took a position as a high school music teacher and Department Head of Music at Kings Park High School.

Twenty years ago, Sarina decided to come to Florence to take singing lessons under the guidance of Antonio Moretti Pananti, a Tuscan who had been an esteemed singing teacher in Melbourne. Sarina eventually attended the Conservatorio Cherubini di Firenze and obtained two degrees in Voice and Vocal Chamber Music and Oratorio. She recently finished postgraduate degrees in both disciplines at the same institute. Her operatic roles include Violetta from La Traviata, Mimi from La Boheme, Isabella from La Podesta' di Colognole, La Contessa from Le Nozze di Figar, Fiordiligi from Cosi fan Tutte, Dido from Dido and Aneas, amongst others.

Apart from her solo concert and operatic activity, Sarina has been a singing teacher and vocal coach for all musical styles for over 15 years and many of her students are successfully working professional singers. She may be reached for inquiries at: violetflamesr@gmail.com


In October, feed your mind, your senses, and your stomach – enjoy the new exhibits in Florence, walk through the Florentine gardens, and savour the harvest festivals in Chianti and the rest of Tuscany.

All the best,

Pitcher and Flaccomio