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Palazzo Pitti

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Rent, Sell and Manage Properties in Florence and Tuscany
NEWSLETTER september 2011

September is always packed full of festivals, parades, fine wine and food, music and new exhibits at most of the museums as Florentines come back to the city for the autumn and the start of the harvest festivals.

We are wishing for a September filled with the Duomo’s 715th birthday party, parades of fancy lanterns and good harvest wine to all of you from SUZANNE, CORSO, BEI, SANDRA, LORI, ANNA PIA, ANN and MARIO.


The best party in town will be found in Piazza Santissima Annunziata after 9pm on September 7.

For years the festival, known as La Rificolona, has been a nostalgic children’s’ holiday (more prized by children of the 50’s than their offspring). But last year, city hall and the mayor threw their weight behind it and it became a major city festival.

Ancient Roman and Greek mythology celebrated the goddess of the harvest, Ceres (Demeter), on September 7. According to Christian tradition, the Virgin Mary was born on September 8. In Florence, the large basilica of Santissima Annunziata is dedicated to Mary and thus, her birthday is a day of celebration. At one time it was a great popular tradition where hundreds of peasants and farmers from the surroundings would make the long trek into the city to celebrate. In order to arrive to the religious services on time, many started their journey before the break of dawn. The farmers needed lanterns and these were often carried at the end of stick, candles protected by a frame made of thin cloth.

The tradition continues today so that on the night of September 7 (the eve of the 8th), Florentines and other "pilgrims" (mostly children) carry paper lanterns at the end of a stick as they make their way through the streets of Florence, from Piazza Santa Croce to Piazza Santissima Annunziata. Speeches are made in the square, followed by a major party.

You might see older children blow spit wads (or tiny balls of wet clay) at the paper lanterns through a tube called cerbottana. It is said that this also goes back to when the peasants would make the pilgrimage in their best clothes, but as they were poor and overdressed by city dweller standards, they were derided. Some Florentine children would make their own, more beautiful, attractive lanterns in colored tissue paper to follow along, while others would target the paper lanterns with spit wads in an attempt to furtively hit them, make the candles fall over and set the lantern ablaze. It is very common for most lanterns to be burned by the end of the night.

Bring the family for a classic Florentine experience – Palazzo Vecchio, Arno River, and the Ponte Vecchio – in fact, there is no better view of the iconic Old Bridge than from the San Jacopo apartment. The living and dining room have several windows and two pocket balconies overlooking the Arno (with no street below!), and at night time offer a romantic Florentine view. The apartment can host 5 persons in three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and good sized kitchen. Available for rentals up to 3 months.

To learn more, click on this link.

MUSEUM FOR SEPTEMBER – Get On Board the MuseoBus
All aboard! The destination this summer in Florence is the museum! MuseoBus takes young and old museum goers to and from city museums so especially can take part in special itineraries organized entirely for them. The special initiative has created an itinerary of same-day related trips on the bus from a museum in the city center and another in the periphery, during which kids get special guided visits (in Italian). It is a great way for adults, too, to get to some out-of-the-way museums. There are twenty-two itineraries, from June to September that anyone can sign up for to see and learn more about the city's cultural, artistic, scientific, prehistoric and astronomical museums.

See http://www.msn.unifi.it/Article518.html for information. 

September 3, Saturday 9:30am
Excavations From Florence to Montalbano
Meet at Museo Fiorentino di Preistoria, Via dell’Oriuolo, 26
Bus to Archaeological Museum in Artimino
Cost: 6 euro

September 9, Friday 10:00am
Minerals and Chrystals
Meet at Museo di Storia Naturale (Mineralogia e Litologia Department), Via La Pira, 4
Bus to Mostra Cristalli at La Specola Museum
Cost: 6 euro

Septemebr 10, Saturday 9:30am
Galileo – a house and a museum
Meet at Museo Galileo, Piazza dei Giudici, 1
Bus to Villa il Gioiello (Home of Galileo) in Pian de’ Giullari
Cost: 8 euro
(Buy the ticket for Villa il Gioiello in advance at the Botanical Gardens, Via Micheli, 3 (10am -7pm, closed Wed)

September 23 Friday 9:30am
Archaeological excavations in Fiesole and Florence
Meeting at the Museum of Prehistory, Via dell'Oriuolo 26.
Bus to the Museo Civico Archeologico in Fiesole.
Cost: 10 euro

September 30 Friday 9:30pm
The Stars and Home of Galileo
Meeting at the Planetarium, Via Giusti 29.
Bus to Villa Il Gioiello (Home of Galileo) in Pian de’ Giullari.
Cost: 7.50 euro
(Buy the ticket for Villa il Gioiello in advance at the Botanical Gardens, Via Micheli, 3 (10am -7pm, closed Wed)

Info and reservations: 055 2346760 (Mon-Fri 9.00-17.00)

Maurizio Vivoli, the owner of Gelateria dei Neri, has been making gelato since 1989. His gelateria, named for the street it is on, offers a variety of unique flavors such as Cioccolato Messicano Pistacchio e Peperoncino, which consists of rich chocolate ice cream spiced with hot peppers and pistachio. The contrast of the hotness and nuttiness brings out the richness of the chocolate. The number of chocolate flavors is one of the factors that makes this gelateria stand out from the crowd.

Among other distinguishing flavors, such as Ricotta con Fico (fig), they offer the classics such as, Cioccolato, Pistacchio (pure nuts, no artificial flavor or color) and Stracciatella (chocolate chip). Fresh fruit is the key to a quality sorbetto. Try the Melone (cantaloupe), Gelato di Passion Fruit, Mandarino (mandarin orange) and Frutti di Bosco (several types of berries).

The store is modeled after the ice cream shops of the past, using materials of wood, glass and brass.

Via dei Neri, 26r; open everyday from 10am to midnight.

MARKET FOR SEPTEMBER – Mercato della Rificolona
As you read above, one of the best festivals of the year happens on September 7. For two days (September 6 and 7) there is a huge market of organic produce and artisans in the Piazza Santissima Annunziata.

Historically, while the pilgrimage was the official reason for the trip into Florence, the farmers did not come into the city empty handed. It was a great opportunity to bring in their goods - cheeses, honey, the season's vegetables, and small handmade items. Thus, September 8 was also a market day in the square of Santissima Annunziata.

Today, a market is still held in the square from early morning until 7pm on September 6 and 7.

BEST PIZZERIA FOR SEPTEMBER – Donchisciotte at San Ambrogio
As students return for the Fall Semester and visitors arrive for the harvest, a craving for pizza will almost certainly strike. Consider a first stop at Donchisciotte Sant’Ambrogio for a succulent pizza, made with the finest fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil. But don’t stop there – Donchisciotte offers a long selection of pizzas – one suited to any craving.

Uri and his colleagues at the Donchisciotte & Sancho Panza (Don Quixote & Sancho Panza) pizzerias and restaurants (there are two other locations in Florence) offer a warm welcome and some of the best Neapolitan pizza in Florence.

Of course, the pizza arrives hot and bubbling from a wood-burning oven – those in the know never settle for less. But you can also share a scrumptious selection of antipasti before the pizza arrives. If you aren’t in the mood for pizza, Donchisciotte Sant’Ambrigio offers a full menu with a variety of pastas and main dishes, including fish and seafood.

Located near the historic Sant’Ambrogio and not far from the tree-filled Piazza D’Azeglio, Donchisciotte delights the eye with its warm red and sunflower-yellow ambiance. Dark wood beams and Tuscan-stone walls add to the informal tradition feeling; while on warm nights the outside veranda is very inviting.

Via della Mattonaia, 19R
Open Monday through Friday for lunch (12pm – 3pm)
Open 7 nights a week for dinner and late night snacks (7pm – midnight)
Web Site: http://www.idonchisciotte.it/ristoranti-pizzerie-firenze-sancho-panza-sant-ambrogio-caratteristiche.php

P&F Sports Reporters Simon Clark & Anne Brooks bring you the good, the bad, and the ugly of the season.

Forza Viola! ... Here we (nearly/sort of/almost) go again! The season is stuttering, not bursting, into life. With cup games rolling, week 1 of Serie A is postponed. A legion of lawyers will have been advising the AIC (players’ association), FIGC (Italian Football Federation) and Lega Calcio (the clubs) into non-agreement; the main issue seems to be whether players or clubs will cough up the new tax on high earners – either way, it will be the fans! This means we’ll open at the Stadio against Bologna – and we are on a roll after the cup game! The club are firm; we want back into Europe; that means a Top Six finish. We can do that.

Fiorentina’s Results:

Coppa Italia: Fiorentina-Cittadella WON 2-1

Coppa Italia. Competition returned to the Stadio with the 3rd round of the cup. OK, Cittadella are mere Serie B material but several Serie A clubs lost out to teams from the depths. No worries for us; the Viola expected to win, weren’t at full stretch but had too much power for the Paduans. On 11 minutes, a splendid Behrami assist sent in Gilardino to control and rifle home in a style reminiscent of his pomp. Late in the first half, we gave away a howler. It was a fabulous cross and the Cittadella forward met it perfectly - but the four Fiorentina defenders idling in the box must write out 1,000 times whatever it was Artur Boruc was shouting at them; his words are not for polite society or the Pitcher-Flaccomio newsletter. After the break, Cerci (who has snubbed Manchester City because he would rather stay here: “grazie, Alessio” we say) looped in an amazing goal for the winner. Empoli at the Stadio next.

Calciomercato. Down to the wire as the transfer window eases shut. What matters is what has NOT happened. We have refused to sell Montolivo to an Italian club; no foreign bids have emerged. Aquilani is NOT coming; he’s off to Milan. Gilardino has NOT gone, nor Vargas, Cerci or anyone except Frey ... he’s off to Genoa. Coming the other way is Kharja Houssine; the 29 year-old Moroccan midfielder promptly advised Gila that Genoa are not contenders! We’ve added Mattia Cassani on loan from Palermo with a right to purchase – demonstrating Mihajlovic’s attention to defence.

It looks like steel being injected into the squad, that Top Six ambition being underlined in hard terms. Jovetic contract talks are said to have started; we guess Sinisa, like Cesare before him, is building around the Montenegrin. We must keep Vargas; we’d like to hang on to Gila – the latter probably worrying about one last big fee while at the top. The word is that, in case we lose Gila, we have bought Santiago Silva out of his contract with Argentine club, Velez Sarsfield; the Uruguayan, 30, clearly knows how to put the ball in the net but we will have to ditch another non-EU player to allow him in.

Amichevoli. Who cares about the friendlies? 0-0 against Serie B Torino in a game we dominated; 3-1 for Lega Pro Gavorrano; 4-0 against junior Fortis; 6-1 playing our own youth team; 17-0 at local outfit Reggelo. The only game with meaning was in England at Newcastle. Given the flash floods which preceded the game, it’s amazing that it managed to reach 70 minutes of play before being abandoned. No goals but we were playing serious opposition early in our preparation; we looked superior in every respect. Let’s see if we can show that class in Serie A ... Forza Viola!


With the opening games to be rearranged, the first Serie A games are:

Week 2: 11 Sept/home Fiorentina-Bologna
Week 3: 18 Sept/away Udinese-Fiorentina
Week 4: 21 Sept/home Fiorentina-Parma
Week 5: 25 Sept/away Napoli-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 Dupre 28 (corner of via Settesanti).
NUOVO BOX OFFICE, Via delle Vecchie Carceri, 1, 50122 Firenze, Italy (inside the Murate). Tel 055 264321
FELTRINELLI FIRENZE, Via de' Cerretani 39/32R

BEST BOOK FOR SEPTEMBER – Brotherhood Beyond the Yard by Jordan Ames

Jordan Ames writes books based on knowledge garnered from careers in banking, computer technology, and consulting while living in New York City, San Francisco, and Hong Kong. A world traveler and political junkie, she splits her time between homes in the United States and Italy.

This thriller delivers with its hair-raising plot: In the 90s a group of Harvard scholars known as La Fratellanza devise a brilliant thesis in the form of an intellectual game. When the game morphs into a real-life experience, however, a menacing plot involving a computer hacker, a terrorist, and a conspiracy conceived to defraud the American public are eventually exposed. And caught dead center in all of it is the new president, Abner Baari. Director Hamilton Scott of the States Intelligence Agency is dispatched to bring the plot down, though not without some conditions of his own. An absorbing page-turner from start to finish, Jordan Ames’ debut novel examines political ideology, the international banking crisis, the role of Internet technology, and international terrorism, with ferocious insight and extraordinary know-how. Based on factual events rendered into a plausible fictional narrative, Brotherhood Beyond the Yard provides plenty of disturbing possibilities while delivering a rush of thrills.

You can meet the author at The Paperback Exchange, Via delle Oche, 4r, on October 14.

BEST BOOK FOR KIDS FOR SEPTEMBER – Brunelleschi’s Dome by Ross King

Filippo Brunelleschi's design for the dome of the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence remains one of the most towering achievements of Renaissance architecture. Completed in 1436, the dome remains a remarkable feat of design and engineering. Its span of more than 140 feet exceeds St Paul's in London and St Peter's in Rome, and even outdoes the Capitol in Washington, D.C., making it the largest dome ever constructed using bricks and mortar.

The story of its creation and its brilliant but "hot-tempered" creator is told in Ross King's delightful Brunelleschi's Dome. Both dome and architect offer King plenty of rich material. The story of the dome goes back to 1296, when work began on the cathedral, but it was only in 1420, when Brunelleschi won a competition over his bitter rival Lorenzo Ghiberti to design the daunting cupola that work began in earnest.

King weaves an engrossing tale from the political intrigue, personal jealousies, dramatic setbacks, and sheer inventive brilliance that led to the paranoid Filippo, "who was so proud of his inventions and so fearful of plagiarism," finally seeing his dome completed only months before his death. King argues that it was Brunelleschi's improvised brilliance in solving the problem of suspending the enormous cupola in bricks and mortar (painstakingly detailed with precise illustrations) that led him to "succeed in performing an engineering feat whose structural daring was without parallel." He tells a compelling, informed story, ranging from discussions of the construction of the bricks, mortar, and marble that made up the dome, to its subsequent use as a scientific instrument by the Florentine astronomer Paolo Toscanelli. Grades 6-10

Ask for these books at The Paperback Exchange, Via delle Oche, 4R - Florence (http://www.papex.it/)

BEST DEAL FOR SEPTEMBER – Free Access to the Duomo Terrace
September 8 is the 715th Anniversary of the first stone being set for the building of Santa Maria del Fiore, the cathedral of Florence. Every year the terrace above the rose window is opened free to visitors.

The feast of the Opera of Santa Maria del Fiore, the lay organization that is charged with conserving the Duomo, is celebrated on 8 September every year in memory of the laying of the first stone of the cathedral which took place on the feast of the birth of Our Lady in 1296 (or according to others, 1298). The principal appointment of the day is the free opening of the terraces of the Duomo for the by now traditional “walk” at a height of thirty-two meters (105 feet), which allows Florentines and visitors to enjoy an extraordinary panoramic view over the city of Florence.

The route follows the two sides of the cathedral, including the inner gallery of the counter-facade.

At the same time, there is the possibility of visiting free of charge the workshop of the Opera del Duomo in Via dello Studio 23/r, where the master masons work on the restoration of the marble works of the monumental complex of the cathedral.

The entry to the terrace usually is located at the entry to Brunelleschi’s Dome on the north-east side of the cathedral, but look around for the line. It usually starts at 9am and ends at about 4pm.

BEST PARADE IN SEPTEMBER – Corteo della Rificolona sull’Arno

Fighting for the honors for best parade are the multitude of children with paper latterns following the brass band from Piazza Santa Croce to Piazza Santissima Annunziata on September 7 at 9pm (see Best Extravaganza for September) or the parade of small boats down the Arno at 9pm on the next night, September 8. For pure atmosphere the boat parade wins. Colorful paper lanterns bob through the darkness. Sponsored by the Rowing Club underneath the Uffizi, at 10pm the best lantern is awarded a prize on the lawn river-side.


Dear Friends,

Join me and thousands of others for the CORRI LA VITA on September 25 at 9:30 in Piazza Signoria.

I have the pleasure of joining the committee organizing CORRI LA VITA, an event managed by volunteers to help the fight against breast cancer. Not only do I want you to “save the day” September 25, 2011 to join us in Piazza Signoria at 9:30am – I also want you to take an active part, either by volunteering or opening you wallet, or both.

CORRI LA VITA is not only a walk/run, but is an event for people to gather together for sport, culture and solidarity in a great cause that has touched so many of our lives. All sorts of athletes and non-athletes participate. There are no limits in size, age or capability. Two routes have been designed that vary in length and difficulty: one is a competitive/or non-competitive race of approx. 12 km. The second is a walk of approx. 5.7 km specifically designed for families, friends and children. The walk this year is designed to take in all the historic monuments that relate to the Unification of Italy on its 150 year anniversary and along the way we will be visiting gardens, churches, palaces and museums opened especially for the occasion. Also in keeping with this anniversary year our T-shirts are, of course, Green, White, and Red and Giuseppe Garibaldi will be riding his white horse in front to lead the way.

CORRI LA VITA expects over 20,000 participants this year which represents a phenomenal increase from the first edition eight years ago. The official T-shirt will yet again be generously offered by the Florence fashion house of SALVATORE FERRAGAMO. We suggest you be quick to sign up as only the first 20,000 registered participants will receive a shirt. Universal Sport is also an official sponsor this year. All funds raised will be donated by CORRI LA VITA to the following projects:

FROM SEPTEMBER 1ST YOU CAN SIGN UP FOR CORRI LA VITA. The cost is only €10.00 per person (children under 10 years of age free). Sign up for the competitive run and walk at the following places:

L.I.L.T. - Viale Giannotti 23 - Florence, tel. 055 576939 (new location)
Florence Marathon - Viale Fanti, 2 Florence, tel. 055 5522957
The Islet Sports Argingrosso - Street, 69 A / B Florence
Universo Sports - Piazza Duomo 6 / r Florence

Please note: for the competitive run a medical certificated or a membership card for agonistic sport must be shown. You may run the race without being competitive.

Sign up for the walk ONLY:

F.I.L.E. - Via San Niccolo, 1 - Florence, tel. 055 2001212
Universo Sports - corner Via Sandro Pertini, 36/and Viale Guidoni, Florence
BOX OFFICE - any one of their offices,

PLUS this year you can sign up for the walk on- line at the following address: www.boxol.it (this will cost an additional €1.00).

On Saturday September 24 from 10 a.m. to 1.p.m. you can register for the COMPETITIVE RUN and WALK in Piazza della Signoria. On Sunday September 25 between 8 and 9 a.m. last minute registration for the WALK ONLY can be done in Piazza della Signoria. T-shirts will be given to all registered participants until supplies last.

You don’t have to be in Florence to participate: We of Pitcher & Flaccomio have given you – our friends and clients – up-to-date information on what is going on in Florence and Tuscany for the past years with our monthly newsletter. I know a lot of you read it and appreciate our work, so I was thinking that if you all have enjoyed visiting Italy and Florence; in particular, maybe you would like to give a donation to her citizens by supporting Corri La Vita. All checks may be made out to CORRI LA VITA and sent to Pitcher & Flaccomio, or ask us for the bank coordinates for a wire transfer.

Corri La Vita is seeking all sorts of additional financial support for projects. Therefore, I turn to all of you who read the newsletter, to ask you or your companies or local associations if they would like to become sponsors. Should you need any further information as to where and how to become a sponsor, please don’t hesitate to email s.pitcher@dada.it, or go to the official event website:

http://www.corrilavita.it/home.php .

I will be forever grateful for any donations and assistance my friends can offer.

Thank you,


On September 7 at 7pm, the Museo Archologico Nazionale (Piazza Santissima Annunziata , 9/B) will open its garden for visitors. At the same time (until midnight) the Istituto Geografico Militare (Via C. Battisti, 10/12) will offer free one-hour tours of its extensive collection of instruments for surveying, astronomy and topography, dating from the mid-1800s. The tours take one hour and are by reservation only. Call 055 276 7616 to reserve.

On September 24 and 25, Wine Town, a wine festival with multiple events, enlivens the historic center of Florence. Shows and concerts that enliven the tastings of fine wines inside important museums, palazzos, and other historical buildings that will be open to the public only for this special occasion. Cooking demonstrations, discussions and reflections on the design of the bottle and exhibits of new vintner technology will take place on the second floor of the "San Lorenzo" Central Market (Mercato Centrale).  There will be a treasure hunt through the streets of the historical center and the game Vinopoli for children (and children at heart) to play. 

Wine Town will be two intense days, complete with an unusual itinerary and an unconventional way of bringing wine and people together. See the informative web site for all the details. On the Wine Town days and nights, pop into any building with a Wine Town sign.

Opening hours:

Saturday 24 September 2011 from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Sunday 25 September 2011 from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The tastings will be conducted during the opening hours of the event upon purchasing the WineCard.

Web Site: www.winetown.it Email: info@winetown.it

EUROPEAN HERITAGE DAYS 2011 - Exhibitions, Guided visits
24 and 25 September are days to celebrate the cultural heritage of Europe. Most of the state museums will have free entry. State museums in Tuscany include most archaeological sites (like Roselle or Vetulonia), archaeological museums (like the archaeological museum of Florence), the Uffizi, Accademia, Bargello, Medici Chapels, various Medici Villas, etc.

See: http://www.turismo.intoscana.it/allthingstuscany/tuscanyarts/when-are-museums-free-tuscany-italy/

The fabulous zoological museum, La Specola, has a special exhibition of drawings, watercolors, paintings, and sculptures all devoted to birds. It’s closing this month so enjoy the relative emptiness of a great museum and get your inner bird on.

Closes September 18
Museo di Storia Naturale - Sezione di Zoologia 'La Specola' See: www.msn.unifi.it

The 4th of September is the day all of Europe celebrates and studies its Jewish cultural history. The Synagogue of Florence with tours offered in many languages, a picnic on the lawn, artworks and historical tours around the city, and more. The festivities start in the morning an go until early evening.

Sinagoga e Museo Ebraico

info: Tel. 055 2346654 Web Site: www.ucei.it/giornatadellacultura

For lovers of Italian art, it’s as close as you can come to ascending a stairway to heaven and looking angels in the eye. For the first time after a major restoration, the scaffolding that has shrouded the 850 sq m (9,150 sq ft) of frescoes of the Cappella Maggiore in Florence’s famed Santa Croce Basilica will not be dismantled immediately.

The scaffolding erected for the restoration will stay in place for another year or so, and small groups of visitors will be allowed to view the splendid work close up. Guided visits on the nine-level scaffolding, last for about 40 minutes.

The restoration of Agnolo Gaddi's fresco cycle is one of the most important projects in Italy. It was financed in part by Japanese businessman and patron of the arts, Tetsuya Kuroda, who donated almost 1.2 million euro; an equivalent sum was provided by the Opera di Santa Croce. The federal arts ministry provided 285,000 euro in funding, in addition to arranging for the assistance of restorers from the Opificio delle Pietre Dure.

Excellent instructions about the logistics (and there are quite a few), costs, and time schedule can be found at the following website: http://www.santacroce.firenze.it/english/informazioni/visite/

WATER, STONE, FIRE – Bartolomeo Ammannati at the Bargello
L’Acqua, la Pietra, il Fuoco is a special exhibit of Bartolomeo Ammannati’s sculpture at the Bargello Museum, running to September 18, 2011. “The Water, The Stone, The Fire” is the first monographic exhibition dedicated to Ammannati’s sculptures. It marks the 5th centenary of his birth.

The title of the show refers to the three fountains the author sculpted upon Grand Duke Cosimo I’s request: one for the Salone dei Cinquecento inside the Palazzo Vecchio; a second one for the Piazza della Signoria (the Neptune); and the third one was ordered for the Villa Medicea’s garden in Castello.

Museo Nazionale del Bargello

info: 055 2388606, http://www.unannoadarte.it/ammannati/home1.html

The exhibition “From Court Splendor to Bourgeois Luxury: The Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Unified Italy” is one of the events (ends September 11) organized to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, and outlines the history from 1861 onwards of the artistic production that for three centuries flourished under the patronage of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, becoming famous throughout Europe for its unique creations in semi-precious stones.

Founded by the Medici, the ancient workshop – the Galleria dei Lavori – was obliged to change direction and transform itself from a laboratory operating exclusively for the court (see the extensive pietre dure installation in the Medici Tomb at the church of San Lorenzo) to a manufacturer open to private commissions.

However, this new approach attracted high-ranking clients, such as the Tsar of Russia and Ludwig II of Bavaria. Some of the objects created by the Opificio delle Pietre Dure were, on the other hand, commissioned by the bourgeoisie, who also loved the delightful inlays of the Florentine manufacturer.

The exhibition includes table tops, caskets, and statues in semi-precious stones, together with furniture and other objects, the chromatic splendor of whose rare stones, placed with delicate pictorial expertise, and whose decorative inventions expressive of the artistic taste of their time still enchant visitors today. Applied arts, such as painting and sculpting, are also present in the exhibition to recreate the artistic setting in which the ancient workshop was active, with its new name, the Opificio delle Pietre Dure.

Galleria D'Arte Moderna

info: 055 2388616



After 40 years, people will be once again allowed to climb the San Niccolo tower in the Oltrarno. Reconstruction work on the centuries-old tower began last November. This tower marks one of the many ancient entry points to what was the city-state of Florence. Although many of the other towers of its like were lowered during the 16th century, the San Niccolo tower was left untouched due to its protected position.

The San Niccolo tower, now open, provides residents and visitors with a view equivalent to, but unique from, those from the Duomo and San Miniato al Monte. Just walk up the Arno until you get to Piazza Poggi and then climb the hill to the rear of the tower.

July 1 to October 31

Piazza Poggi

info: 055 2768224

ACCADEMIA GALLERY – Lorenzo Bartolini Exhibit
Florence's Accademia Gallery is presently showing a special exhibit dedicated to Lorenzo Bartolini (1777-1850), the artist whose works plays a central role in the development of sculpture in the 1800s in Italy, Europe and the United States. The exhibition, which draws inspiration from the gallery's plaster models on display in the Gipsoteca, will illustrate the excellence with which Bartolini worked.

The exhibit is divided into
three sections, which are dedicated to the following: his neoclassical period and his work for Bonaparte; national commissions and the move toward the new values of Purism; his exploration into the truth that Nature holds. The Accademia already houses the contents of Bartolini’s studio – mostly plaster models of sculptures on show throughout Florence in the major piazzas, museums, churches and graveyards.

Bartolini was also the go-to guy for the glitterati of the 1800s who wanted to be remembered in stone. From the likes of Napoleon’s sister Elisa, he carved the likenesses of a range of artists and important figures throughout Europe at the time, from musicians to writers and politicians to bankers.

The show pays tribute to Bartolini's artistic style with the over 70 works on display, many of which have never before been on public display in Florence. Noteworthy artworks include a bronzes of Napoleon I (Paris, Louvre) and the aforementioned sculpture of Elisa Napoleon with her dog (Rennes, Musée des Beaux Arts), among more. Running until Nov 6, 2011.

UFFIZI GALLERY – Giorgio Vasari, the Uffizi, and the Duke Exhibit
On June 14, the Uffizi inaugurated the show “Vasari, the Uffizi, and the Duke” (Vasari, gli Uffizi, il Duca), a retrospective on the 5th centenary of the birth of Giorgio Vasari and his role in the building of the Uffizi with Duke Cosimo I de Medici.

The purpose of this exhibition, during the 500th anniversary of the birth of Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574), is the foundation of the Uffizi (1559-1560): more than a building (uffizi = offices), it was conceived as an urban system – the result of the close collaboration between Cosimo I de’Medici, and Vasari, his favorite architect and artist. The complex is located in the heart of the city due to the centralized and absolutist policy of Grand Duke Cosimo I. All the administrative institutions of government, (the Guilds or Arti), bowed to the will and direct control of the young duke and were placed in this extraordinary building.

The exhibition takes as its starting point the personalities responsible for this complex: the Duke and his artist. Great attention is given to the urban juxtaposition between the Palazzo Vecchio and the Arno River before construction of the Uffizi, and then it illustrates the stages of planning and construction of complex whose which was the largest and most expensive in Florence during the sixteenth century.

Exhibition website: Vasari, the Uffizi and the Duke (website only in Italian)

AMERICANS GET INVOLVED – Republicans and Democrats Abroad (2012 election is coming soon)


Founded in 1964, Democrats Abroad is the official overseas branch of the Democratic Party of the United States. Democrats Abroad members are US citizens living temporarily or permanently outside the United States. Democrats Abroad consists of 34 recognized Country Committees, plus individual members in more than 100 countries around the globe. Democrats Abroad is recognized and seated as the equivalent of a State Party within the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Democrats Abroad holds 8 positions on the DNC and sends a voting delegation to the Democratic National Convention to choose the party's presidential candidate.

Democrats Abroad assists American citizens living overseas to actively participate in every level of the US political process. Democrats Abroad promotes overseas voting by the millions of Americans living and working outside the United States. In 2006, Democrats Abroad launched VoteFromAbroad.org - the easiest and most comprehensive solution to the complexities of overseas voting. Accessible in both English and Spanish, VoteFromAbroad.org assists US voters anywhere in the world to register and request an absentee ballot. In February 2008, Democrats Abroad held its own Global Primary alongside the State primaries and caucuses back home. Tens of thousands of Americans living abroad took the opportunity to vote in this historic primary where Barack Obama won over 65% of the overseas vote.

Web Site: http://www.democratsabroad.org/group/italy

Florence Chapter Email: DaItaly-florence@democratsabroad.org

In 1975, overseas civilians were included in the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), still in effect today.  The Act gave them the right to vote in federal elections by casting their absentee ballots in the state where they last resided or voted in the United States. Since its establishment in 1978, RA has become a worldwide organization, with over 50 chapters.

The primary mission of Republicans Abroad is   to integrate Americans, especially those who adhere to the principles of the Republican Party, into the election process.  Republicans Abroad strives to reach the estimated 4-6 million voters overseas. In past elections, Republicans Abroad has helped deliver crucial votes to Republican candidates facing close elections on the federal, state and local levels.

“Getting the vote out” during election years, is the principal mandate of Republicans Abroad and its most important function.  For many years, some Americans outside the US were not aware that they could be eligible to vote, nor did not know how to register. The 50 Republicans Abroad Chapters have, since 1978, voluntarily assisted overseas Americans to register and vote.

Web Site: http://www.republicansabroad.org/index.php Italy Chapter Email: MD3091@mclink.it




Concert by Orchestra and Chorus of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino,

Wayne Marshall, conductor and piano
George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein
28, 29 September
Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
info: 055 2779350

George Michael. Symphonica - The Orchestral Tour
Rocking out in the piazza!
10 September
Piazza S. Croce
info: 055 210804

Toscana Classica Season 2011
Classical music in a small evocative space.
10, 18, 19 September
Chiesa di Orsanmichele
info: 055 210804 - 055 783374

Concerts of the Chamber Orchestra
31st concert season
11, 12, 25, 26 September
Chiesa di Orsanmichele
info: 055 783374

Settembre Musica 2011 – Maestri d’Italia
G. ROSSINI: Toast pour le nouvel an; Ave Maria per coro e organo.
G. VERDI: Pater noster; Laudi alla Vergine Maria (da Quattro Pezzi Sacri).
G. PUCCINI: Requiem.
I. PIZZETTI: Tre composizioni corali: Cade la sera; Ululate, quia prope est dies Domini; Recordare, Domine.
N. ROTA: Messa “Mariae dicata”; Audi Judex, Mottetto; Unum panem (dalla cantata Mysterium).
L. DALLAPICCOLA: Cori di Michelangelo Buonarroti il giovane, Prima serie: Il coro delle Malmaritate, Il coro dei Malammogliati.
24 September
Saloncino del Teatro della Pergola
info: 055 609012 – 055 607440

A festival of changing music. Outside and free.
September 16 to 25
Le Murate
info: 055 2340231


15th edition of free music in the Duomo
6, 12 September
Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore
info: 055 2302885

122nd ANNUAL GIOSTRA DEL SARACINO (Joust of the Saracen)
On Sunday, September 4, the Piazza Grande of Arezzo explodes with the principal event of the Arezzo summer; a knight’s tournament highlighting horsemen from each Quarter of the city, charging round a track with a lance aimed at the rotating bust of a Saracen. By striking its shield, the jousters attempt to win points for their neighborhood. Once the Saracen is hit, it twirls round, threatening the horseman with a heavy whip armed with lead and leather balls. The Quarter obtaining the highest score wins the “Golden Lance”, a prized trophy made each year by an Aretine craftsman. Prior to the joust, a colorful procession, involving more than three hundred participants, winds through the streets of the city, accompanied by musicians and Arezzo's famous "Sbandieratori" flag-bearing standard wavers, before going into Piazza Grande, where the tournament takes place. Arezzo, festivities from 8:00 am to nearly midnight. www.lagiostradelsaracino.it

At 10:00 am on Sunday, September 4 the Sienese Synagogue will open its doors to special visits and discussions. Throughout the day until 5:30 pm, taste Jewish foods presented by the Association of Jewish Women in Italy. Siena, Vicolo delle Scotte 14, Viale del Linaiolo, 17. Free entry.

Web Site: http://www.jewisheritage.org/jh/erjh.php?lang=1

MERCATINO “APRILANTE” – Artisan-Wares Market
On Sun. 4 (morning to afternoon), Panzano-in-Chianti holds their weekly town market expanded to include artisan booths of all sorts. Basket weavers, honey and pecorino (sheep’s milk) cheese producers, hand-embroidered linen makers, boutique wineries and antique dealers set up booths to market their wares. To visit Panzano by car from Florence or Siena, take Route 222, the pretty "Chiantigiana" highway passing through the Chianti wine area. From the west, there is a road connecting with the highway at Tavarnelle or S. Donato. It is also possible to reach Panzano by SITA bus from Florence. The trip takes about one hour. http://www.panzano.com/important-dates/important-dates-eng.htm

On Sat. 3 and Sun. 4 the northern Tuscany town of Scarperia turns the clock back 500 years, with minstrels, archers, guards and noblemen strolling the ancient streets. Taste foods from the era, and pay for them in florins, the only currency recognized during these fun days. Saturday hours: 6:00 pm to midnight. Sunday: 11:00 am to 11:00 pm. Info 055 8490434

Web Sites: www.prolocoscarperia.it


Every September 8 (“di otto” or eighth day) the city of Scarperia celebrates its 1306 foundation by the Florentine Republic. In 1953, the authorities of Scarperia decided to revive the antique ritual of a political changing of the guard. The celebration recreates a historical transfer of power from Albertaccio di Andrea Corsini, the outgoing governor, to Carlo di Roberto Acciaioli, the incoming governor, which occurred in September 1545.

The modern festivities begin at the first shadows of night fall (around 9:00 pm.), when the doors of Palazzo dei Vicari are thrown open to allow the procession of the outgoing governor and his train of more than one hundred followers to exit to the sound of horns and drum rolls. They make their way among the crowds lining the streets to meet the new dignitary who will shortly take his position as governor at the Vicariate. At the Florentine Gate, the two figures meet, the procession which has come from Firenze escorting the new governor unites with the local procession and they enter the village together. Games are organized in honor of the new governor. The games include knife-throwing, barrel race, tug-of-war, brick race and climbing a slippery pole.

Scarperia (Mugello), from 8:00 pm to nearly midnight. Info: 055 8468165

From Thurs. 8 to Sun. 11 Greve-in-Chianti, heart of in the renowned Chianti Classico wine region, hosts a fabulous wine fair. From 5:00 pm on Thursday and from 11:00 am until 9:00 pm the other days, enjoy music, wine tasting and Tuscan specialties in the main square of town. Free admission.

Web Site: http://www.greve-in-chianti.com/en/2010_wine_festival.htm

VINO AL VINO – Wine Fair of Local Wineries
Thursday 15 to Sun. 18 Panzano-in-Chianti holds a lovely, annual festival bringing together wines from the many, excellent Panzano area estates. There is music, a festive atmosphere and loads of wine to be sampled. Twelve euros gets you a tasting glass and tastes of wines with commentary by the wine producers themselves. Look for: Carobbio, Casaloste, Castello di Rampolla, Cennatoio, Fattoria La Quercia, Fontodi, Il Vescovino, La Marcellina, La Massa, Le Bocce, Le Fonti, Panzanello, Podere Le Cinciole, Vecchie Terre di Montefili, Villa Cafaggio, Vignole and more. Starts Thursday from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm, then Friday, Saturday and Sunday from11:00 am to 8:00 pm.

Web Site: http://www.vinoalvinopanzano.com/en/vinoalvino/

The Grape Harvest Festival in Impruneta is one of the Chianti Classico Region’s oldest harvest festivals. On the afternoon of Sun. 25, Impruneta’s four neighborhoods (rioni) compete in a spectacular display of hometown pride. After more than a month of secret preparations, each neighborhood presents a float decorated with fresh grapes and papier-mâché, accompanied by swirling, whirling choreographed crowds of local participants in a heartfelt competition for first prize. The show, beginning at 3:00 pm, culminates two days of wine market/food fair promoting the local Chianti from the Colli Fiorentini area of the Chianti Classico Region. For info and tickets call 055 2036408.

IL PAGLIAIO - Organic Products Market
Sun 25, the lovely main piazza of Greve-in-Chianti will fill with vendors of all things organic. From 10:00 am to 7:00 pm you can fill browse the booths selling vegetables, honey, bread, cheese, fabrics, wine, baskets and more. Info: 055 8545271. www.comune.greve-in-chianti.fi.it

Pievasciata, a tiny village in the heart of the Chianti region, is being 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. Inside the Park an Amphitheatre/sculpture has been created to offer visitors a rich program of concerts and cultural events. 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.

The Chianti Sculpture Park is an indispensable stopping-place not only for art lovers but 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 and is made on foot along a walking path of 1 km, passable also 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/en-index.htm Email: info@chiantisculpturepark.it


We hope that you get out to Chianti for the September harvest festivals and wish that while in Florence you get the chance to find hidden courtyards and unusual museums while still enjoying the classic elegance of the historic center.

All the best,

Pitcher and Flaccomio