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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 September 2013

September is one of the busiest months of the year in Tuscany with something for everyone. Start out with the Duomo’s birthday on the cathedral terrace. Then head out to Tuscany for the grape harvest and wine festivals. Come back to Florence to see the World Champion cyclists race through the historic center.

With best harvest wishes, from SUZANNE, CORSO, BEI, LESLIE, ANNA PIA, VANNI, ANN and MARIO.


PICK EVENT FOR SEPTEMBER – The World Of International Cycling Comes To Florence And Tuscany

September 2013 is supposed to be all about bicycle racing in Florence. But to find information about what is going on is hard to do – especially in English. We all know (because City Hall has been paving many of the streets in Florence) that the 2013 UCI World Road Race Championships are going to be in Florence at the end of the month (see below).

And there is a really nice Italian Facebook site for the September 8th, PEDALA Vintage Bike Run:

https://www.facebook.com/pedalafirenze?ref=stream&hc_location=stream that has a number of other events that are bicycle related on its page. See also: http://pedalafirenze.it/percorsi

And we know that Pinocchio has been selected as the mascot: As the official information, says, “It is a puppet without a tuft of hair (that is drawn on the wood instead) and elaborated clothes like Disney’s Pinocchio. … He directs his gaze to the horizon, expressing an optimistic attitude towards the future. The expression of his face is smiling, happy, positive and at the same time amazed. … This expression can also be an invitation to the public to come and discover the beauty of this land. The upright position and his right hand to his hip show his pride. Our Pinocchio is happy that his land, Tuscany, has been chosen to host the World Championships of Cycling. The silhouette is athletic and slender like a real cyclist. Pinocchio is also a character who reminds us the social message: under his left arm he holds a helmet to “communicate”, to children and also to adults, that safety is necessary.” The “Fondazione Nazionale Carlo Collodi” sponsored a schools competition from which a drawing was selected that provided the inspiration behind the mascot for the Road World Championships.

At P&F we are wondering when the city and regional governments are going to let us know when and where the events that accompany an international race of this stature are going to occur. Florence and Tuscany competed fiercely to have the UCI hold the myriad of races and stages here. There must be more happening than just hundreds of riders racing through Florence, past the Duomo, up the Arno and to the Mandela Forum for the awarding of medals. Keep your eyes on the internet and for The Florentine (http://www.theflorentine.net/index.asp) that comes out in the middle of the month for updates. Happy cycling!

P&F PICK APARTMENT RENTAL FOR SEPTEMBER – Perfect Villa for the Family Reunion

Villa Romena is close enough to Florence (20 minutes drive) to enjoy the culture, but far enough away to savor the quiet of the countryside. This is the perfect large place to have the entire family (sleeps 12) or invited friends and family in on a rotating basis. This is characteristic freestanding Tuscan villa with traditional furnishings of antiques, tapestries on the walls and an unusually decorated living room with walls of trompe l’oeil. Comfort, not luxury, is the key here. You have a private garden, but others live nearby so you won’t feel isolated. Sit out on the deck and watch the sun slip into the Arno valley after a day by the pool.

For more information click this link.

CORRI LA VITA IS COMING! – A Message From Suzanne

Dear Friends and Readers of the P&F Newsletter,

I wish to talk to you about CORRI LA VITA so you “save the day” – October 13, 2012 – to walk and run with the 30,000 people who support this fabulous charity. As you all know, I am very involved in this walk/run/race since its inception and it is very close to my heart and I want to share it with all of you.

CORRI LA VITA's goal is to make people aware of cancer, especially breast cancer. This year is our 11th anniversary and in recognition of this we hope the mayor will again agree that all the museums of Florence (state museums) will be free of charge for all CORRI LA VITA participants (wearing their YELLOW t-shirts, of course). The CORRI LA VITA committee is also organizing a free concert in Piazza della Signoria as a closing event for the day. See the September Newsletter for details.

So my dear friends, especially those of you who have been to Florence and those who participated in CORRI LA VITA in the past and especially those who will walk or run with us this year, please help us to continue this wonderful work by sending a donation. Cheques should be made to “L.I.L.T. sezione Firenze” (which means La Lega Italiana per la Lotta conto i Tumori - cancer society - Florence section). I really hope you will see your way to writing a few zeros after the number! You may send your cheques to our office and we will see that they get to the right place.

Ciao, arrivederci, a presto!


BEST DEAL FOR SEPTEMBER – Free Access to the Duomo Terrace

September 8 is the 717th 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 festival of Santa Maria del Fiore is celebrated on 8th of September every year in memory of the laying of the first stone of the Florence cathedral, which took place on the feast of the birth of Our Lady in 1296 (or according to others, 1298). The most entertaining event of the day is the free opening of the terraces of the Duomo for the 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 northeast side of the cathedral, but look around for the line. It usually starts at 9am and ends at about 4pm.

PICK EATERY FOR SEPTEMBER – Trattoria Coco Lezzone

Every once in awhile it is good to try an old favorite that you haven’t visited for 20 years. And it hasn’t changed!

In the early nineteenth century this was a mescita where carriage drivers would stop for a glass of wine. Gradually, the owner began serving hot foods and transformed it into a trattoria. Over the years the name was change, from the original "La Vespa" to "Da Corrado, il Coco Lezzone" and finally "Coco Lezzone". The name, that means "dirty cook", refers to Corrado who ran the excellent kitchen in the 1940s but seems to have been a rather grubby fellow.

Enlarged over the years, the rooms in the old part of the restaurant are actually situated at the base of a fifteenth century tower. Most of the furnishings are original, starting with the late nineteenth century white marble counter, the early twentieth century ceramic wall tiles and the door that is still locked with wooden shutters at night. One remarkable fixture is the original, late nineteenth century cook-stove that is still used to prepare great Florentine food. In keeping with the old tradition, the Coco Lezzone does not serve coffee.

The business is operated by the second generation of the Paoli family who took over in 1971 and it has always been a favorite of international celebrities, such as the Prince of Wales who stopped in for a meal in 1986 (about the last time you were there).

Traditional glasses, white tablecloths, wooden chairs and furniture, typical 1950s atmosphere. The restaurant looks like an informal restaurant serving homemade food. Great typical Tuscan dishes: inzimino (fish dish), pappa al pomodoro, ribollita, as well as a great bistecca alla Fiorentina. As it is indicated on the menu, ringing cell phones disturb the cooking process of the ribollita. Credit cards are not accepted. Normal price is around 30 € per person drinking house wine.

Via del Parioncino 26r, Tel. +39 055 28 71 78

BEST BOOK FOR SEPTEMBER – Road to Valor: A True Story of WWII Italy, the Nazis, and the Cyclist Who Inspired a Nation by Aili McConnon and Andres McConnon

Road to Valor is the inspiring, against-the-odds story of Gino Bartali, the cyclist who made the greatest comeback in Tour de France history and secretly aided the Italian resistance during World War II. Gino Bartali is best known as an Italian cycling legend: the man who not only won the Tour de France twice, but also holds the record for the longest time span between victories. During the ten years that separated his hard-won triumphs, his actions, both on and off the racecourse, ensured him a permanent place in Italian hearts and minds.

In Road to Valor, Aili and Andres McConnon chronicle Bartali’s journey, starting in impoverished rural Tuscany where a scrawny, mischievous boy painstakingly saves his money to buy a bicycle and before long, is racking up wins throughout the country. At the age of 24, he stuns the world by winning the Tour de France and becomes an international sports icon. But Mussolini’s Fascists try to hijack his victory for propaganda purposes, derailing Bartali’s career, and as the Nazis occupy Italy, Bartali undertakes secret and dangerous activities to help those being targeted. He shelters a family of Jews in an apartment he financed with his cycling winnings and is able to smuggle counterfeit identity documents hidden in his bicycle past Fascist and Nazi checkpoints because the soldiers recognize him as a national hero in training.

After the grueling wartime years, Bartali fights to rebuild his career as Italy emerges from the rubble. In 1948, the stakes are raised when midway through the Tour de France, an assassination attempt in Rome sparks nationwide political protests and riots. Despite numerous setbacks and a legendary snowstorm in the Alps, the chain-smoking, Chianti-loving, 34-year-old underdog comes back and wins the most difficult endurance competition on earth. Bartali’s inspiring performance helps unite his fractured homeland and restore pride and spirit to a country still reeling from war and despair.

Set in Italy and France against the turbulent backdrop of an unforgiving sport and threatening politics, Road to Valor is the breathtaking account of one man’s unsung heroism and his resilience in the face of adversity. Based on nearly ten years of research in Italy, France, and Israel, including interviews with Bartali’s family, former teammates, a Holocaust survivor Bartali saved, and many others, Road to Valor is the first book ever written about Bartali in English and the only book written in any language to fully explore the scope of Bartali’s wartime work. An epic tale of courage, comeback, and redemption, it is the untold story of one of the greatest athletes of the twentieth century.

BEST BOOK FOR KIDS FOR SEPTEMBER – Hero on a Bicycle by Shirley Hughes

In her first novel, beloved author Shirley Hughes presents a World War II adventure proving that in extraordinary circumstances, people are capable of extraordinary things. Italy, 1944: Florence is occupied by Nazi forces. The Italian resistance movement has not given up hope, though — and neither have thirteen-year- old Paolo and his sister, Costanza. As their mother is pressured into harboring escaping POWs, Paolo and Costanza each find a part to play in opposing the German forces. Both are desperate to fight the occupation, but what can two siblings — with only a bicycle to help them — do against a whole army? Middle-grade fans of history and adventure will be riveted by the action and the vividly evoked tension of World War II. (Repeat from August Newsletter because September is Bicycle Month in Florence!


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 a couple of years ago the festival was revived and has become a happening event for families and visitors to Florence.

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.


THE UCI WORLD BICYCLE ROAD RACE IS HERE! – Lead Up to the Championships

The Toscana 2013 UCI Road World Championships – one of the most important international road bicycle races – will take place from 22nd-29th September in Florence and Tuscany.

Check the web site – www.toscana2013.it/?lang=en – for all of the details.

The athletes met up at the Mandela Forum in Florence in late August to try out the hurdles of the Fiesole circuit. During the training session, which was for the Junior Men, the Under 23 and the professional racers, the athletes stopped by Piazza Duomo to meet Enrico Rossi, Governor of the Region Tuscany. Rossi welcomed the athletes on behalf of the Region. After the meeting, the Italian team continued its tour of the courses, trying out the climbs and finding the right ratios.

At the end of the tour, the aces of the team issued a few statements:

Paolo Bettini (Coach of the Italian national team – Pro). “We tried the course with a group of athletes who still hadn’t tried it. The course really deserves to be a Championships’ track, because it is beautiful, challenging and very worthy under the technical point of view. There are a lot of expectations, it is the first time the Championships take place in Tuscany. We should do our best to pay homage to the memory of Ballerini and dedicate 100% of our efforts to Alfredo Martini”.

Enrico Battaglin (professional of the Bardiani Valvole Csf Bardiani): “It is a very tough course. The Fiesole climb is very hard, challenging and it will work a selection of athletes, just like the following part. It is a very, very tough course. After the injury at the Giro d’Italia and a period of pause, I started training again and now I’m ready.”

Marco Villa (Coach Under 23 and Junior national team). “The course is tough. There is a long climb which in the final part – if raced fast enough – can really make a difference. Then there is a very hard final segment. I really believe that for professionals, under 23 and junior athletes the last lap will be crucial. Who still has strength can really change the course of the race. We will arrive there still in good shape”.

Andrea Zordan (Italian U23 champion): “In my opinion, it will be a tough Championship, without any breaks. The climb is not impossible with my characteristics, because in a 5-6% climb you can do well even following closely other racers. The final segment will be really hard, especially in the last two to three laps. I really like the course, and I hope I’ll do well. The cyclist of the Zalf Euromobil Desirèe Fior also has an idea of who the most worrying rivals might be: “France is definitely the nation to beat, and Australia too”.

Rino De Candido (technical collaborator of the Junior National team). “The course is beautiful and demanding. There will be a natural selection starting from the first laps. The descent after Fiesole will definitely make the difference between the two groups. I hope I can manage to bring forward a nice group, one able to compete with the strongest nations, despite the fact that there are some nations who are working extraordinarily well such as France and the Netherlands”.

Simone Velasco (Junior). “I really like the track. There is a 3-4km climb, then a long, technical descent where it is important to keep the lead because there could be some attacks. And the final segment is an outright wall. I think that that is where we will see the difference; there, and on the 200-300 metres of slight slope following the climb”.

The Road Race dedicated to the Under 23 will be run on Friday 27th September and will run on a 173,19 km course starting from Montecatini at 1PM. The Junior men’s race will be on the 28th of September on a 140,05km course (starting at 8.30 from Montecatini Terme). The Men’s Elite race, closing event of these Championships, will be on the 29th of September, and will se athletes fight on a 272,26km track leaving from Lucca at 10AM.

NEW “IL GRANDE MUSEO DEL DUOMO” PASS – Will this save you money?

The Opera del Duomo, which cares for the cathedral, the Baptistry, and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, has come up with a plan to save you money. They have consolidated the tickets for all of the entries (Museo, Cupola, Baptistry, Campanile, Santa Reparata (Duomo crypt), which used to total 23euro, but now will be a 24-hour ticket for everything for 10 euro. It seems that if you only wanted to climb the dome, this is not such a good deal, but if you want to do all things Duomo, you are in luck.

The ticket on sale at the Centro Arte e Cultura (across from the door to the Baptistry), the Campanile di Giotto, and the Museo. (Be aware that the Museo is set to mostly close (except for the Doors of Paradise and Michelangelo’s The Disposition) for reconstruction until 2015.) Details: http://museumflorence.com/


Everybody who is resident in Florence and is having visitors come during September, be warned that the Firenze Card that used to cost 50 euro for 72 hours of manic museum viewing, now costs 72 euro per person with no added benefits. The Amici degli Uffizi card for 100 euro for a family of four is looking much better all of the time.

Also, note that all of the state museums (Uffizi and Accademia, included) are free to children under 18. This has no bearing on the Firenze card, except if your family only wants to see the big four or five museums and not any of the city museums, you do not need passes for the kids. (This assumes that the under 18ers get to skip the line with their parents with the Firenze Cards.)


Fighting for the honors for best parade are the multitude of children with paper lanterns following the brass band from Piazza Santa Croce to Piazza Santissima Annunziata on September 7 at 9pm 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, where at 10pm the best lantern is awarded a prize on the lawn riverside.


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, September 18, 18.00

Lecture and Recital: Firenze Suona Contemporanea

Firenze Suona Contemporanea is a music festival run by FLAME (Florence Art Music Experience) and Accademia San Felice, under the artistic direction of Andrea Cavallari, concentrating exclusively on contemporary music. This is a presentation of this year’s festival of contemporary music, in conversation with Ian Pace, Patricia Sucena de Ameida and Andrea Cavallari.

Wednesday, September 25, 18.00

Lecture: Frank Nero – The Della Robbia in Prato and Pistoia

To kick off the British Institute’s new art history season, our own Frank Nero speaks about the subject of his own PhD dissertation, the glazed terracotta sculptures made by various members of the Della Robbia family, focusing on the works not in Florence, but in Prato and Pistoia.


At the Accademia Gallery explore nearby places that are largely unknown or ignored by tourists and Florentines alike—without ever leaving the museum—through a display of artworks originally commissioned to colorfully decorate the palaces of Florence. Covering a series of themes, ranging from civic heraldry and religion to the city of Florence, the exhibit includes works by Michelangelo and other prominent artists in Florence’s history.

See out favorite piece – the nine scene wood panel painted in tempera, known as The Madonna dei Ricci – of the dung-flinging story. On the 21st July 1501 Antonio Giuseppe Rinaldeschi spent the night at l'Osteria del Fico getting drunk a losing much money gambling. He staggered cursing and swearing, half naked and angered by his losses, through the streets near the Duomo when, noticing the sacred image on the side of the church of Santa Maria degli Alberighi, he picked up some horse manure and threw it against the figure of the Virgin. He was seen and reported, arrested and hanged from a window of the Bargello.

See www.unannoadarte.it for details.

AMID MEDICI SPLENDOUR – At the Medici Tombs in San Lorenzo

Until October 6 at the Museum of the Medici Chapels, piazza di Madonna degli Aldobrandini 6, see the treasures of Pope Leone X. Five hundred years ago, Giovanni D’Medici, Lorenzo the Magnificent’s second son, became the first Medici pope. Follow his life, from birth, his time in the papacy and his return home, to discover why his years on the papal throne were hailed as a new ‘golden age,’ and admire works by Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Raphael and other renowned artists. See www.unannoadarte.it for details.


Antonio Canova, la Bellezza e la Memoria will be at the Casa Buonarroti through October 21, 2013. This exhibition brings a collection from the Museum of Bassano del Grappa or works by Antonio Canova (1757-1882), the great protagonist of Neoclassical sculpture. The institution has preserved ten albums and eight notebooks of drawings by Canova and provides a unique opportunity to view 40 selected drawings by the artist, as well as paintings and models.

The works exhibited show the process in which Canova conceived his sculptures by making beautiful preliminary sketches and paintings in monochromatic tempera. The exhibition is divided into 2 themes: beauty and memory, two concepts common among artists of the pre-Romanticism and Purism era linking philosophical, literary, and artistic creativity.

Much of Canova’s work depicts the female figure. His Venere Italica, was designed and built for the Tribuna of the Uffizi between 1804 and 1812, of which you can admire the extraordinary plaster model, a perfect translation of classical sculpture in a an image of ideal beauty tied to the female figure.

Memory is represented in the design of a funerary monument seen, according to the writings of Alfieri and Foscolo, as a reminder of the deeds of the single individual to the memory of the nation. The exhibition traces the design and realization, between 1806 and 1810, of the beautiful and evocative Tomb of Vittorio Alfieri, still visible in the Basilica of Santa Croce, emphasizing the intent to perpetuate the memory of a single character in a beautiful ideal tied to memory.

Another reason to see this exhibition is the museum: Casa Buonarroti, purchased by Michelangelo for his nephew and later made into a family museum, where you can find many sketches and some sculptures of Michelangelo Buonarroti, including one of the most beautiful: Madonna della Scala - Madonna of the Stairs, and artwork on the ceiling by Artimesia Gentileschi.

July 3 – October 21, 2013

Casa Buonarroti, Via Ghibellina 70

Admission to the exhibition includes a visit to the museum of the Casa Buonarroti where you can see a collection of works by Michelangelo.

Tickets: € 6.50, € 8.50 cumulative with the monumental complex of Santa Croce


Until September 22 at the Bargello Museum, via del Proconsolo 4, Florence
The courtyard of the beautiful Bargello Museum will be filled with musical, dance and theatre performances all summer.
See http://www.polomuseale.firenze.it/it/eventi/evento.php?t=5190c674f1c3bc300c00001c for details.

THE PRODIGIOUS SHOEMAKER – Legends & Fairy Tales On Shoes And Shoemakers

There is a new exhibition that just opened at the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, where various artists interpret the fabulous role of shoes in legends, myths and fairy tales. Curated by Stefania Ricci, Sergio Risaliti and Luca Scarlini, the exhibition portrays various artists’ interpretations on the universe of shoes: from the original manuscript of Federico Garcìa Lorca’s “La zapatera prodigiosa” to writers and poets such as Hamid Ziarati, Michele Mari and Elisa Biagini, Argentine-Italian composer Luis Bacalov and Milanese visual artist Liliana Moro; all works focus on a brilliant point-of-view of a lady’s second best friend.

From April 19th, 2013 to March 31st, 2014

Salvatore Ferragamo Museum – Piazza Santa Trinità 5


The Fulgor makes 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


The Odeon Cinema is open again after its summer holiday. And besides the regular full schedule there is supposed to be a Bicycle Film Festival (September 26 – 29) in honor of the World Championships (schedule to be announced) so keep your eyes peeled for a sign. See http://www.odeonfirenze.com/?page_id=7 for details or stop by Piazza Stozzi for a program.


DAVID BYRNE & ST. VINCENT IN CONCERT – Love This Giant Tour at Teatro Verdi

On September 12 at 8:45 share the New Age vibes of David Byrne with Annie Clark (St. Vincent) in the Love This Giant tour. Love This Giant developed like many a New York City-bred friendship. Both parties are kind of hazy about how it began, but after a couple of semi-chance encounters, David Byrne and Annie Clark, who records and performs as St. Vincent, embarked upon a creative dialogue that has flourished over the last three years.

Curious, mutually appreciative acquaintances became determined co-conspirators, and the result is an album that’s brash and, quite literally, brassy. Byrne and Clark spin their intriguingly enigmatic tales, by turns whimsical and dark, backed by a large brass band in lieu of a traditional rock lineup. There is a magical urbanity to Love This Giant: It’s as if they’re dancing in the streets, their voices soaring over the rhythms, the melodies, the barely contained cacophony of the city.

Though Byrne and Clark each have an unmistakable sound and persona that have made them such compelling performers on their own, their voices manage to blend naturally, effortlessly, here. Sometimes they trade verses; at others they sing in unison. Like friends who can finish each other’s sentences, when one takes the spotlight alone, it’s often with words that the other provided. The brass lends the songs an appealing theatrical sheen while programmed percussion provides a contemporary feel. The inventive arrangements have clearly sparked some remarkable vocal performances—check out Byrne on the syncopated I Should Watch TV or Clark on the grand Optimist. Though there’s no overarching theme to Love This Giant, surreal images of nature dominate the lyrics, most of which were worked on in tandem by Byrne and Clark. The threat of natural disaster promises an emotional epiphany; urban apocalypse gives way to a garden party.

E-mail: info@teatroverdionline.it Tickets at the Ticket Office on Via Ghibellina,99.

NEXTECH FESTIVAL – Electronic Music at Fortezza del Basso

September 5, 6 and 7 the NEXTECH Music Festival will rock Fortezza del Basso with Electronic Music of the likes of Chinese Man, Mount Kimbie, and Stargate. Tickets from www.boxol.it .

Info: http://www.nextechfestival.com/


In the beautiful and intimate setting of St Mark’s Church, the performances are complete operas, apart from one or two slight adaptations to suit the intimate setting.

September Schedule

3 La Traviata

5 Figaro

7 Madame Butterfly

10 Carmen

12 Tosca

14 Barber of Seville

17 Rigoletto (with St.Mark's Opera Orchestra, 39 €)

19 Carmen

21 Lucia di Lammermoor

24 Madame Butterfly

26 La Bohème

28 Carmen

All start at 8:30pm

Price: 30 €, seniors 25 €, students 15 €

Info: 340 8119192


Soprano Jessica Pratt accompanied by Vincenzo Scalera on piano kick off the Amici della Musica season at the incredible Teatro della Pergola on September 30 at 9:00on with music by:

J. Massenet: Ouvre tes yeux Bleus.

C. Gounod: Serenade.

A. Bachelet: Chère nuit.

C. Debussy: Quatre Chansons de Jeunesse.

E. Dell’Acqua: Villanelle.

L. Delibes: Les Filles de Cadix.

G. Donizetti: La Fille du régiment: “Par le Rang… Salut à la France”.

G. Rossini: Guillaume Tell: “Sombre Forêt”.

A. Thomas: Hamlet: Scena di pazzia di Ophelia.

Info: http://www.amicimusica.fi.it

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


27 September 2013-19 January 2014

At the end of September 2013, the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, will host The Russian Avant-garde, Siberia and the East. It's the first international exhibition to examine the fundamental importance of the Oriental and Eurasian connection to Russian Modernism, follows the destinies of Russia’s self-proclaimed “Barbarians” in their search for new sources of artistic inspiration. Neolithic stone figures, Siberian shaman rituals, popular Chinese prints, Japanese engravings, Theosophical doctrine and Indian philosophy are some of the elements which inspired Russia’s new artists and writers as they developed their aesthetic and theoretical ideas just before and after the Revolution of October, 1917.

The exhibition demonstrates how modern Russian culture experienced a deep attraction to—and an apprehension of—the exotic, the unknown and the “other”, qualities which artists and writers identified with the spirit of the taiga, the virgin territories of desert and steppe and the “otherness” of Oriental culture.

Emphasizing the key role that radical Russian artists played in the development of Modern art over a century ago, the exhibition underscores their complex relationship with the Orient (both the Russian East and the Far East). Léon Bakst, Alexandre Benois, Pavel Filonov, Natalia Goncharova, Wassily Kandinsky, Mikhail Larionov, Kazimir Malevich and other prime movers of the avant-garde were deeply aware of the importance of the East and contributed to the rich debate (“West or East?”) which left a profound and permanent imprint upon their creative imagination. In addition to the heroes of the Russian Avant-garde, the exhibition also acquaints us with other, less familiar, but still original, artists of the time such as Nikolai Kalmakov, Sergei Konenkov and Vasilii Vatagin, many of whose works are being shown in the West for the first time.

See more: http://www.palazzostrozzi.org/Sezione.jsp?idSezione=1768

SAMURAI! – Japanese Armor from the Stibbert Collection

Seventy Japanese masterpieces from the collection of Frederick Stibbert are on display in an exciting exhibition that takes visitors into the exotic world of the Samurai – not only brave warriors, but also refined patrons of weapons and armor. This is an exhibit for young and old alike at one of P&F’s favorite museums.

The magnificent armor and extravagant helmets – as many contemporary artists and designers have interpreted- were the starting point for an exhibition that highlights the materials and craft techniques through which the Japanese artists were able to create true works of art. Here the power of the steel is made even more fascinating through the contrasting of iridescent silk ornaments, tanned skins and bright lacquers.

Impressive armor, imaginative helmets, terrible blades, saddles and stirrups are complemented by unusual shapes, painted and gilded folding screens, and brilliant colored lacquer boxes. And the Samurai legacy: ready for battle at any time for his noble lord, as well as the appreciation for objects of refined elegance.

The Japanese collection of Frederick Stibbert (1838-1906) is one of the most important collections outside of Japan. Stibbert was among the first collectors to take an interest in works from the Land of the Rising Sun during the mid-nineteenth century, and the collection is stunning in the richness and importance of the works, which it preserves.

Stibbert Museum, Via Federigo Stibbert, 26 - Tel. 055.475520

Samari! until November 3, 2013

Hours: Monday-Wednesday 10-14, Friday-Sunday 10-18, closed on Thursdays

Admission: € 8 (full) 6 € (reduced) including the visit of the museum


Experience the extraordinary opening of the Porta del Cielo (Door of Heaven) – or, at least, Siena’s version of it. Until October 27, 2013, if you happen to visit Siena, don’t miss this spectacular opportunity.

For the first time, after extensive renovation, it will be possible to take a tour of the walkways in the vault of the Duomo of Siena. Internal passages, balconies (both inside and outside) and hidden attic spaces will be open to small, guided groups. Until now, these parts of the Cathedral were accessible only to the architects and builders in charge of maintaining the structure over the centuries.

The two massive towers on each side of the façade of the Duomo house spiral staircases that lead up into the roof where there is a series of walkways and rooms that provide astonishing views of both the interior of the Duomo and the city of Siena outside.

You will be able to look down onto the marble intarsia floor of the main nave and understand its design in a way that until now could only be done through photographs. You will be able to traverse the walkway over the main altar and almost reach out and touch Duccio di Buoninsegna’s stained glass rose window. Finally, you will be able to walk along the balcony inside the dome of the cathedral from which there is a fabulous view of the high altar.

The visiting itinerary “from above” will thus permit visitors to better understand the dedication of the Cathedral of Siena to the Assumption of the Madonna, and the strong connection the people of Siena have had with their ‘patron’ for centuries: Sena vetus civitas Virginis.

The exterior views extend over the Basilica of St. Domenico, the Medici Fortress, the entire dome of the chapel of St. John the Baptist and the landscape of the surrounding Sienese hills.

The Door to Heaven Guided Tour (La Porta del Cielo)

6 April – 27 October 2013

Reservations required: tickets per person €25, groups of max 17 people €400. Tel +39 0577 286300 (Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm) or email: opasiena@operalaboratori.com

For all of the details of what to wear and what to consider before taking the tour see the official website:


ROBERTO CAPUCCI – Fabulous Fashions

The Capucci Museum at Villa Bardini, Costa San Giorgio 2, Florence

Fashion designer Roberto Capucci creates strikingly colorful and fluid garments. Using fabrics ranging from silk, taffeta and velvet to organza and georgette, Capucci experiments with the ways materials can be formed, draped and sculpted, so that they glide over the body or form stiff waves, swirls, frills and pleats. This exhibit displays 27 of the Italian designer’s best creations. See www.fondazionerobertocapucci.com for more.


Until November 3, there is an evocative exhibit at Uffizi Gallery – The Grand Prince. Marking 300 years since the death of Grand Prince Ferdinando de' Medici, this exhibit celebrates the life of one of the most important collectors and patrons of the arts in the history of the Medici, including sections on iconography, art collected by the Prince, renovations he commissioned in Florence, and Florentine statuary. For more, see www.unannoadarte.it .



For the past fifty years, between August and September, Cortona proudly hosts Cortonantiquaria, a national antiques exhibition market. It is set up in the beautiful 18th century halls of Palazzo Vagnotti, one of the better preserved of the city, which shows the charm of different stories, styles and tastes.

Every year dozens of exhibiters, coming from the whole Italy, from Lombardy to Sicily, display their old furniture and other art objects, which are accurately selected and certified: paintings, sculptures, earthenware, silver and bronzes, prints, engravings, carpets, weapons, jewels, fans, laces and much more. Thanks to the quality of the items exposed, to the experience in the organization by the Tourist Office of Arezzo and to the beauty of the halls, the antiques exhibition of Cortona is considered to be one of the most prestigious antiques fairs at the national and international level.

The fact that some exhibiters have come back every year since the beginning shows all the success and importance of this antiques exhibition market. Antiques trade in Cortona is not only an exhibition event, but also something closely related to some traditions of a great economic and cultural value for this region, such as craftsmanship and restoration.

Cortonantiquaria is a must for antique and modern art lovers, but also a fashionable crowd-pulling event taking place at the end of summer, since it gives everyone the chance to become familiar with this beautiful world. This renowned antiques market combines the peculiar fascination of antique works of art with social events, like conferences and wine tasting. In particular, every year since 2001 the local authorities award the Cortonantiquaria Prize to an important personality in arts, culture or entrepreneurship, who have based their professional engagement on quality and reliability and who have a special connection with Cortona.

August 24 to September 8.


Usually the intricate floor of the cathedral in Siena is covered, but throughout September the floor is on view. The marble intarsia works of art that tell biblical narratives and represent allegories, and took centuries to complete. In 2013, this visit is made even more exceptional because you will be able to also see the works from above by attending the small group tours called Porta del Cielo

There are fifty-six large scenes represented by major Sienese artists including Sassetta, Domenico di Bartolo, Matteo di Giovanni, and Domenico Beccafumi, as well as other artists like Pinturicchio. The techniques used progress from graffito to commesso marmoreo. Graffito is the use of the scalpel to carve out areas of white marble which were then filled with black stucco. This evolved to incorporating more colors using a technique similar to wood intarsia, which is called commesso marmoreo (sometimes also pietre dure, but these are softer stones, thus not ‘dure’). The transept and choir narrate old testament stories, all except the Slaughter of the Innocents by Matteo di Giovanni which is based on the recount of the Evangelist St. Matthew. Under the cuppola, there are works by the Mannerist artist Domenico Beccafumi, with a perfection of the marble intarsia technique to use gradations of material for fine shadows and intricate representations.

See www.operaduomo.siena.it or call 0577/286300 for details.

43rd CHIANTI CLASSICO WINE FAIR IN GREVEFrom Thurs. 5 to Sun. 8, Greve-in-Chianti, heart of 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 – Panzano Wine Fair of Local Wineries

Panzano-in-Chianti holds a lovely, annual festival, Thursday the 12th to Sunday the 15th, bringing together wines from the many, excellent Panzano area estates, both large and small. 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 (since 1926). On the afternoon of Sun. 29, 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. See also: http://www.lafestadelluva.it/?page_id=1603


The Black Rooster on a gold field is the historic symbol of Chianti Classico wine. The choice of that symbol was due above all to what the Black Rooster represents from the standpoint of history and popular tradition.

The legend of the Black Rooster goes back to the Middle Ages and the incident it describes points in reality to the political unification of the entire Chianti zone. It was, precisely, the behavior of a black rooster that decided the zone’s fate.

According to the legend, in the medieval period, when the republics of Florence and Siena were engaged in bitter conflicts with each seeking to prevail over the other, the Chianti territory was the theater of almost continuous clashes because of its location between the two cities. To put an end to the fighting and establish a definitive border, the two antagonists agreed to an unusual or even bizarre solution. A rider would depart from the capital of each of the two republics and the border would be drawn at the point where the horsemen met. The riders were to set out at dawn and the signal for the race to begin would be the crowing of a rooster announcing the new day. That arrangement was completely in line with the customs of those times when the rhythms of daily life were measured by natural mechanisms. In preparations for the race, the choice of rooster was a more decisive factor than the choice of rider or horse. The Sienese opted for a white rooster, while the Florentines chose a black bird, which they kept closed up in a small pen. The Florentines sealed out the light and gave the bird little to eat, so that it was famished.

On the long-awaited day of the race, the rooster began to crow loudly as soon as it was removed from its pen, although it was still some time before dawn. His crowing permitted the Florence rider to leave immediately and with a big advantage over the Sienese horseman, who could not depart before the regular time when the first light of dawn induced his white bird to crow. Because of the time lost in comparison with the Florentine rider, the Siena horseman managed to cover only 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) of the route before meeting his competitor in the vicinity of Fonterutoli.

As a result, nearly all of Chianti passed into the hands of the Florentine republic long before Siena itself fell to its traditional opponent.

After that legendary horse race, the Black Rooster became the symbol of the League of Chianti, which was assigned administrative and military defense duties within the Republic of Florence.

Given the zone’s political significance, the Black Rooster was depicted on the walls of the Salone del Cinquecento by Giorgio Vasari when the famous painter, architect and author was called upon in the mid-16th century to remodel the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.


The Medici family, during their rule between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, left us many beautiful villas, palaces and gardens, designed by some of the most talented architects of the time. Recently, twelve villas and two gardens have become UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

First, visit the Medici Villa at Poggio a Caiano. It belonged to Lorenzo il Magnifico, who hosted a series of royals, including Vittorio Emanuele II, there. The architecture is splendid, with a terraced porch on the ground floor and a double staircase which leads to the central loggia, inspired by classical motifs. The interior resembles a small museum with remarkable sixteenth century frescoes, and the villa is surrounded by a beautiful park.

La Ferdinanda, near Comeana, also known as the Villa di Artimino, was commissioned by Ferdinando I de' Medici and designed by Buontalenti towards the end of the sixteenth century.

The Castello Villa Medici, in the town of Castello, a suburb of Florence, is a beautiful Renaissance building restored by Vasari and surrounded by a lovely garden designed by Tribolo. The villa is home to the Accademia della Crusca, the academy charged with the study of the Italian language.

The Petraia Villa Medici is one of the most beautiful buildings in the area. It was built along the designs of Buontalenti in the second half of the sixteenth century, commissioned by Ferdinando I.

Not far from Fiesole is another Medici Villa, known as Belcanto or the Palagio di Fiesole. It was commissioned by Cosimo il Vecchio and designed by Michelozzo (1458-1461).

On the outskirts of Florence is the Careggi Villa Medici, which was bought by the Medici family in the first half of the fifteenth century and rebuild by Michelozzo for Cosimo il Vecchio, who died there in 1464.

The Medici Villa at Poggio Imperiale is just one kilometre from Porta Romana. Built in 1427, it belonged to the Baroncelli, Pandolfini and Salviati families before passing to the Medici. It was restructured over the years by Giulio Parigi, Gaspare Maria Paoletti and then Pasquale Poccianti. In 1864 King Vittorio Emanuele made it the seat of the Collegio della SS. Annunziata.

The Magia di Quarrata is situated atop a hill on the northern slopes of Montalbano. The estate was bought by Francesco I dei Medici in 1583, who commissioned the restructuring of the castle, which was probably carried out by Bernardo Buontalenti.

Florence’s Boboli Gardens, the Medici Gardens in Pratolino, the Villa di Cerreto Guidi and the Palazzo di Seravezza have also been awarded World Heritage status.

Those villas open to the public have web sites. Also, see http://www.polomuseale.firenze.it/en/musei/tutti.php


Tuscan Traveler’s Italian Food Rules written by Ann Reavis has been published! Find a copy at The Paperback Exchange at Via delle Oche, 4r, or at BM Bookshop, Borgo Ognissante, 4.

ITALIAN FOOD RULE: Bistecca Alla Fiorentina Is Always Served Rare

Bistecca alla Fiorentina (beefsteak Florentine style) must be served rare. Don’t ask for it well done or, even, medium. It has very little fat marbling, so it gets tough when it is cooked too long.

This Tuscan steak is comparable to a T-Bone or porterhouse cut. It is the flavorful meat of white, long-legged Chianina cattle, which are grass-fed. One of the oldest breeds of cattle, the Chianina originates in the area of the Val di Chiana, from which it takes its name. Chianina, the tallest and heaviest breed in the world, have been raised in the Italian regions of Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio for at least 2000 years (one of the first written accounts appears in 55 AD).

Bistecca alla Fiorentina is never slathered with barbeque sauce, either during the grilling or after. Typically weighing in at one kilo (2.2 pounds), the steaks are grilled over a wood or charcoal fire (five minutes on each side and fifteen minutes standing on end on the bone), and then seasoned with salt and, sometimes, black pepper, and perhaps a splash (after the steak is removed from the fire) of olive oil. Thickly cut and very large, steaks are often shared between two or more persons. Bistecca is frequently garnished with a lemon wedge, or two. Don’t ask for steak sauce or a pat of butter.

If cooked properly, Bistecca alla Fiorentina will be tender enough to cut with a table knife. If it’s cooked to long it will be as tough as shoe leather. If your chef agrees to cook a Chianina beefsteak to medium or well done, he isn’t Italian or you are eating in a tourist trap.


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 .


Except for those who love bicycling in all its forms, September is the harvest month and you should be out in Tuscany enjoying the fruits of this year’s crop. Word is that 2013 is going to be a great vintage.

All the best,

Pitcher and Flaccomio