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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 2014

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. End the month with the Corri La Vita back at Piazza del Duomo. With best harvest wishes, from SUZANNE, CORSO, BEI, LESLIE, ANNA PIA, VANNI, ANN and MARIO.



Join Suzanne and thousands of others for the 12th Edition of Florence’s CORRI LA VITA on September 28 at 9:30 in Piazza del Duomo. Either join the 5.2 km walk or the 14 km competitive race.

For many years Suzanne has had the pleasure of being on the committee organizing CORRI LA VITA, an event managed by volunteers to help the fight against breast cancer. Not only should you to “save the day” September 28, 2014, but you may want 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, families, children, and pets participate. There are no limits in size, age or capability. See the routes on the CORRI LA VITA web site: http://www.corrilavita.it/programma.php

Last year, in recognition of the 11th anniversary of CORRI LA VITA, the mayor declared that all the museums of Florence (state museums) were free of charge for all CORRI LA VITA participants (wearing their T shirts of course) from 2pm to 6pm. We hope the same is happening this year. We believe that also the Ferragamo Shoe Museum, the Gucci Museum and the Palazzo Strozzi will be opened to participants.

CORRI LA VITA expects over 32,000 participants this year, which represents a phenomenal increase from the first edition. The official T-shirt will yet again be generously offered by the Florence fashion house of SALVATORE FERRAGAMO.

We are hoping to raise a lot of money to continue supporting the following associations, and some of the projects created by CORRI LA VITA ten years ago:

C.S.P.O. Centro per Senologia - Progetto Donna 2 – to provide mammography service to all women.

LILT - Lega Italiana per la Lotta contro i Tumori, for support of Ce.Ri.On. – a rehabilitation center

The Vito Distante Project in Breat Cancer Research -- – provides scholarships for 1 or 2 young doctors to further their studies abroad.

Senonetwork Italia

FILE - Fondazione Italiana di Leniterapia – an association for palliative care.

We hope everyone will participate, but we also hope that when signing up, everyone will remember to be more generous than the request € 10 to enter and receive a T-shirt.

To sign up:

LILT – viale D Gianotti, 23 (office hours)

FILE – Via San Niccolò, 1 (office hours)

Universo Sport - one of the biggest, best and most loyal sponsors – P.zz Duomo, 7 Firenze, or Via Sandro Pertini, 36 (shop hours)

Pitcher & Flaccomio - Lung. della Zecca Vecchia, 30 (please telephone 055 234 3354 before you drop by)

For the competitive race there are extra requirements. You do not need to “compete” to be a runner. See details at: http://www.corrilavita.it/iscrizioni/

Note from Suzanne: 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. Cheques should be made out 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.

Thank you for your support.


P&F PICK APARTMENT RENTAL FOR SEPTEMBER – Roomy Apartment in the Historic Center

With a living room and sitting room as well as three bedrooms (one single and two doubles) and three bathrooms, this is a spacious apartment near the Santa Croce church and the river. With a number of great restaurants or, for cooks, the Sant’Ambrigio food market, it is the perfect place for “foodies”.

The apartment is on the third floor with views of the Arno River and, even better, an elevator.

For more information click this link.

BEST DEAL FOR SEPTEMBER – Free Access to the Duomo Terrace

September 8 is the 718th 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.


Here’s the perfect plan for one day between September 19 and 21. Go to Vino al Vino, the festival of wine in the Tuscan village of Panzano and afterwards have lunch at Dario DOC.

After tasting the vintages visit Dario Cecchini’s butcher shop. The bright red stripes and large crowd drinking cups of wine in the sunshine is how you know you have found the right place. At noon, the butcher shop puts out a spread with salami, bread, wine and a giant bowl of Burro di Chianti, which is outrageously delicious herbed pork lardo. There is a festive atmosphere as you browse and nibble the proffered snacks. Buy jars of wild fennel pollen, spicy mustard and the legendary Profumo del Chianti to take back home.

Dario DOC is upstairs from the butcher shop and can be also entered from the Panzano’s main parking lot. It has two long communal tables outside and another one inside. Start with crunchy vegetables dipped in salted Tuscan olive oil and moved onto the rare burger (choice of two preparations served bun-less with a side of fries. A strong cup of coffee with a small slice of pound cake made with olive oil is a nice finish to the meal. There is also another menu choice, Accoglienza, that gives you many of the tastes of four different preparations of meat from the butcher’s table. The house wine and beer are great, but you can also bring your own bottle from the wine festival.

See http://www.dariocecchini.com/en/dario-doc/ for details.

BEST BOOK FOR SEPTEMBER – Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered by Dianne Hales

Everybody knows her smile, but no one knows her story: Meet the flesh-and-blood woman who became one of the most famous artistic subjects of all time—Mona Lisa.

A genius immortalized her. A French king paid a fortune for her. An emperor coveted her. Every year more than 9 million visitors trek to view her portrait in the Louvre. Yet while everyone recognizes her smile, hardly anyone knows her story. Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered, a blend of biography, history, and memoir, truly is a book of discovery—about the world’s most recognized face, most revered artist, and most praised and parodied painting. Who was she, this ordinary woman who rose to such extraordinary fame? Why did the most renowned painter of her time choose her as his model? What became of her? And why does her smile enchant us still?

Lisa Gherardini (1479-1542) was a quintessential woman of her times, caught in a whirl of political upheavals, family dramas, and public scandals. Her life spanned the most tumultuous chapters in the history of Florence—and of the greatest artistic outpouring the world has ever seen. Her story creates an extraordinary tapestry of Renaissance Florence, with larger-than-legend figures such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Machiavelli.

Dianne Hales, author of La Bella Lingua, became obsessed with finding the real Mona Lisa on repeated trips to Florence. In Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered, she takes readers with her to meet Lisa’s descendants; uncover her family’s long and colorful history; and explore the neighborhoods where she lived as a girl, a wife, and a mother. In the process, we can participate in Lisa’s daily rituals; understand her personal relationships; and see, hear, smell, and taste “her” Florence. Hales brings to life a time poised between the medieval and the modern, a vibrant city bursting into fullest bloom, and a culture that redefined the possibilities of man—and of woman.

BEST BOOK FOR KIDS FOR SEPTEMBER – The Second Mrs. Gioconda by E.L. Konigsburg

The Mona Lisa... Why did Leonardo da Vinci lavish three years on a painting of the second wife of an unimportant merchant when all the nobles of Europe were begging for a portrait by his hand? No one knows for sure. But this story of Leonardo, his wayward apprentice Salai, and the Duke of Milan's plain young wife, Beatrice d'Este, may hold the clue to the most famous -- and puzzling -- painting of all time.

Initially the story begins in Milan, Italy, but as it progresses the characters travel to many other locations in sixteenth century Renaissance Europe. The main character, Salai, is a young thief at the age of thirteen, with hair as curly as a pig's tail. Renaissance man, Leonardo da Vinci, befriends Salai and makes him an apprentice. The only real talent Salai possesses is his ability to make Leonardo laugh. The pair reside in Milan with Duke Il Moro and his wife Beatrice de Este'. Beatrice possesses great inner beauty and they come to love her deeply. A compelling series of events lead up to Leonardo's painting of a mere merchant's wife, the captivating Mona Lisa. This is a wonderful book filled with a little action, some adventure, some tears and a host of big laughs. It is a wonderful read for any person over the age of ten.

E.L. Konigsburg is the only author to have won the Newbery Medal and be runner-up in the same year. In 1968, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler won the Newbery Medal and Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth was named a Newbery Honor Book. Almost thirty years later she won the Newbery Medal once again for The View From Saturday. In 2000 she wrote Silent to the Bone, which was named a New York Times Notable Book and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, among many other honors.


Until September 14 there will be a nightly party in the Cassine Park starting at the Vittoria Bridge. There will be food stands, music, amusement park rides (check out the Sling Shot), games, and so much more.

Festa de l'Unità is an annual social-democratic celebration in Italy, originally organised by the Italian Communist Party to finance and spread its official newspaper l'Unità ("Unity"), and now organised by Partito Democratico. It is often misspelled Festa dell'Unità ("Unity Party"), since people forget where the name comes from.

The "festa" is generally organized as lots of separated happenings, usually one for each city, but where the Communist party was more present, every local branch organized its own happening and often all of them collaborated to the organization of a large one as well. Typical aspects are low-price or free typical foods, live music, prize games and street markets. Small events start already in July, but the main happenings take place in September.

While the political aspect was preponderant in its first times, and is at times still important, it has developed with time into a social event for the youth (music events and discos) and elderly people (talking about the political adventures of their past and dancing swing).

In some parts of Italy, especially in Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany, each and every small village seems to have its own "Festa de l'Unità", which is often the biggest social event of the year. In Bologna and in Florence, they have developed into a two-week long, tens-of-thousands-people-packed event that has little resemblance to the original political gathering, and are instead two of the biggest attractors for young people in the nearby areas.

Following the birth in 2007 of the Partito Democratico the name of the Festa de l'Unità was changed, at a national level, to the Festa Democratica. At the provincial level, however, and for important local party organisations, the traditional name "Festa de l'Unità" was retained.

For the program for Florence’s Fest de l’Unita go to the web site: http://www.festadellunitafirenze.it/il-programma/




Go in the evening to beat the crowds and the heat!

Every Friday from July 4 the Uffizi Gallery, the Accademia Gallery, the Museum of Medici Chapels can be visited between 19.00 and 22.00 on top of the regularly scheduled hours.

Every Friday from August 8 also the Bargello National Museum can be visited between 19.00 and 22.00. BUT the Bargello on September 12 & 19 will close to the public at 17:00.


The Italian state museums, including the Uffizi, Accademia and Bargello are free the first Sunday day of every month. Italian Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini announced revolutionary changes for State museums across all of Italy.

The major change is that free tickets will only be available for those under 18 years old (and a few other groups, such as teachers) and reduced tickets for those under 25 years old. Everyone else will be paying a full entry ticket. This means that all over 65 years old will now be paying entrance fees.

The second major change is that every first Sunday of the month state museums will be free for everyone as part of the initiative “Sunday at the Museum“.

Another change announced as part of the Ministerial decree signed and announced yesterday is that there will be two annual “Nights at the Museum” every calendar year, where entrance only costs a euro (as it did in this last edition in May) and opening times extend late into the night while all major museums, including the Uffizi Gallery, will have extended opening times until 10pm every single Friday evening.

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

Attention: The Museo Opera dell’Duomo is now completely closed until some unspecified date in 2015.

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 tickets are on sale at the Centro Arte e Cultura (across from the door to the Baptistry) and the Campanile di Giotto. Do not get into line to climb the dome without a ticket!!! Tickets are not on sale at the entrance to the dome. Details: http://museumflorence.com/


Some say 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.


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. The September schedule was not up in time for this newsletter but you can find it here: http://www.britishinstitute.it/en/events/1/weekly-cultural-programme/


Until September 21 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. Highlights among the more than 70 events include classical music and dance.

See http://www.polomuseale.firenze.it/it/eventi/evento.php?t=5190c674f1c3bc300c00001c for details.


There is a new exhibition that just opened at the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum. The exhibition Equilibrium can be seen at the Museo Ferragamo, from June 2014 to April 2015.

The museum, opened in 1995, was created by the Ferragamo family after the international success of an exhibition on the great shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo’s work, originally held at the Strozzi Palace in Florence. The exhibition soon became a travelling event and was featured in venues such as the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the County Museum in Los Angeles, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Sogestu Kai Foundation in Tokyo and the Museo des Bellas Artes in Mexico City.

As a demonstration of the cultural value of the institution, in 1999 the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo received the Guggenheim Impresa & Cultura Award, yearly recognized to companies particularly fostering cultural activities and art.

The museum, located in the heart of Florence, is housed in the Spini Feroni palace, which is also home of the Ferragamo company since 1938.

The exhibition Equilibrium, curated by Stefania Ricci, Sergio Risaliti and Emanuele Ennia, the exhibition portrays the attention, almost a devotion, that Salvatore Ferragamo always reserved to the anatomy of foot, central element of his creations. Balancing on feet is a capability that can be transformed in art, representing it with sculpture of painting, but also by dancing or climbing mountains. Creations and original drawings by Ferragamo are thus placed in direct relationship with sculptures, paintings, installations and videos, creating a multi-face exhibition where the beauty and significance of equilibrium are depicted through a diverse and fascinating set of expressive means.

Open 10am to 7:30pm every day.

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.

September 1-3 How to Train Your Dragon 2

September 4-10 The Fault In Our Stars

September 11-14 Under The Skin

September 25 – 30 Lucy

See http://www.odeonfirenze.com/?page_id=9 for details or stop by Piazza Stozzi for a program.



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. http://concertoclassico.blogspot.it/p/programme.html See the web site for the complete schedule.

All start at 8:30pm or 9:15pm

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

Info: 340 8119192

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


Pianist Alexander Lonquish kicks off the Amici della Musica season at the incredible Teatro della Pergola on October 11 at 16:00 with an all Schubert program. See full schedule at: http://www.amicimusica.fi.it/


Florence’s tourism office has put together an interesting collection of rooftop view suggestions. A number of the city’s hotels and restaurants are opening their doors to clients as well as passersby. All of July, August and September you are invited to explore Florence from above, from terraces that you may otherwise have missed. Most of the venues have a bar or restaurant for an aperitif, for a dinner enjoyed watching the sunset, or for after-dinner drinks under a star-filled sky.

In some cases, you can also visit the terrace just to admire the view and take a few pictures. Choose your terrace and enjoy the beauty of Florence from above. There is even a photography contest that goes with “A Roof With A View”. Please note that in some cases you may need to book your visit beforehand. (Check to see if private parties haven’t reserved the space, before you go.)

Go to this site for all of the details: http://www.firenzeturismo.it/en/firenze-territorio/a-roof-with-a-view.html

ANTICA TORRE DI VIA TORNABUONI 1. Their beautiful roof-top terrace is surrounded by medieval crenellations. The terrace can be visited; and you are welcome to take pictures. No bar service.

Open 7-10:30pm. Via Tornabuoni 1, Tel. 055 2658161.

www.tornabuoni1.com. Reservations: mrbellini@tornabuoni1.com

GRAND HOTEL BAGLIONI. A visit to the roof-top, multi-level terrace can be reserved, even if you only want to take pictures or have a panoramic view. Otherwise, take advantage of the classic bar service for an aperitif, dinner, or after-dinner drinks. Open 7pm-12am. Piazza dell’Unità Italiana 6. Tel. 055 23580. info@hotelbaglioni.it. www.hotelbaglioni.it. Reservations: 055 23588560.

CONTINENTALE HOTEL. Roof-top bar open 6pm-12am for an aperitif or after-dinner drinks. Great view over the Ponte Vecchio and Arno River. Vicolo dell’Oro, 6r, Tel. 055 27262

continentale@lungarnohotels.com, http://www.lungarnohotels.com/en/firenze-continentale/hotels-38

GRAND HOTEL CAVOUR. Roof-top bar open 6-10 pm for an aperitif or after-dinner drinks. Via del Proconsolo 3. Tel. 055 266271. info@albergocavour.it. www.albergocavour.it. Reservations (required): 055 215521.

GRAND HOTEL MINERVA. A pool adds sparkle to this roof-top bar open for snacks or aperitifs from 11am-12pm. Piazza Santa Maria Novella 16. Tel. 055-27230.

info@grandhotelminerva.com. www.grandhotelminerva.com

HOTEL BOSCOLO ASTORIA. Have a drink at the bar. Open 7-12 pm. Via del Giglio 9. Tel. 055 2398095. reception@astoria.boscolo.com, www.boscolohotels.com

HOTEL KRAFT The roof-top area is open 7-12 pm. Join them for a snack, aperitif, dinner, or for after-dinner drinks. Via Solferino 2. Tel. 055 284273. info@krafthotel.it. www.krafthotel.it.

HOTEL LAURUS AL DUOMO. Open from 4-11pm, enjoy a snack, aperitif or after-dinner drinks at the bar. Reservations required. Via Cerretani 54r. Tel. 055 2381752.

reservations@florencehotellaurusalduomo.com. www.florencehotellaurusalduomo.com.

HOTEL SILLA. The Silla is open for a lovely aperitivo from 6-10 pm. Via de’ Renai 5. Tel. 0552342888. hotelsilla@hotelsilla.it and www.hotelsilla.it.

HOTEL TORNABUONI BEACCI. Charming and quaint, the Tornabuoni Beacci terrace is open 7-12 pm for a snack, aperitif, dinner or after-dinner drinks. The restaurant is closed on Mondays. Via Tornabuoni 3, Tel. 055 212645. info@tornabuonihotels.com, www.tornabuonihotels.com.

J.K. PLACE FIRENZE. Chic and trendy. The cozy roof-top bar is open 11 am- 11pm. Piazza Santa Maria Novella 7. Tel. 055 2645181. info@jkplace.com. www.jkplace.com.

PITTI PALACE AL PONTE VECCHIO. Look down on the Ponte Vecchio from this viewpoint bar. Open from 6-10.30 pm, you can order a snack, aperitif, dinner or after-dinner drinks. Reservations required. Borgo San Jacopo 3. Tel. 055 2398711, www.florencehotelpittipalacealpontevecchio.com

RELAIS CHATEAUX VILLA LA VEDETTA. A bit removed from the chaos of the city center, enjoy the park-like atmosphere at the Vedetta. Open all day for a snack, aperitif, dinner, after-dinner drinks and a swimming pool. Reservations required. Viale Michelangiolo 78. Tel. 055 681631.

info@villalavedettahotel.com. www.villalavedettahotel.com.

RISTORANTE TERRAZZA BARDINI. Breezy and beautiful, this terrace is open for an aperitif or dinner from 7-12 pm; closed on Mondays. Via Costa San Giorgio 6. Tel. 055 2008444. info@moba.fi.it. www.moba.fi.it


As of 20 September, Palazzo Strozzi in Florence will be focusing on modern art once again with a major new event devoted to one of the greatest masters of 20th century painting, Pablo Picasso.

The exhibition will present a broad selection of works by this great master of modern art in an effort to stimulate a reflection on his influence and interaction with such leading Spanish artists as Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí, Juan Gris, Maria Blanchard and Julio González: art reflecting on art and on the relationship between the real and the surreal, the artist's heartfelt involvement in the tragedy of unfolding history, the emergence of the monster with a human face, and the metaphor of erotic desire as a primary source of inspiration for the artist's creativity and world vision.

Picasso and Spanish Modernity will be showing some ninety works by Picasso and other artists, ranging from painting to sculpture, drawing, engraving and even film, thanks to the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi's synergistic cooperation with the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid. The works of art on display will include such celebrated masterpieces as Woman's Head (1910), Portrait of Dora Maar (1939) and The Painter and the Model (1963) by Picasso, Siurana, the Path (1917) and Figure and Bird in the Night (1945) by Miró and Dalí's Arlequin (1927), along with Picasso's drawings, engravings and preparatory paintings for his huge masterpiece Guernica (1937), none of which have been displayed outside Spain in such vast numbers before now.


Tel. +39 055 2645155


Sigma CSC

Monday to Friday

9.00-13.00; 14.00-18.00

Tel. +39 055 2469600; Fax +39 055 244145


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


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



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.


From Thurs. 11 to Sun. 14, 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.expochianticlassico.com/en/

VINO AL VINO – Panzano Wine Fair of Local Wineries

Panzano-in-Chianti holds a lovely, annual festival, Thursday the 18th to Sunday the 21st, 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. 28, 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.

Note that events start on September 4th and run through the month until the great festival on the 28th.

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.


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 LIFE RULE: Coperto and Servizio

Heard in Milan: American, looking at the credit card slip for dinner, “Where do I put the tip?”

Italians pay coperto. Italians don’t tip.

Given the size of most Italian homes and the closed private world of la famiglia, it is no wonder that Italians socialize in public. Foreigners should not take offense if they are not invited into an Italian friend’s home for a meal. It’s nothing personal.

The effect of socializing in public is that meals in a restaurant, trattoria or pizzeria are likely to by long, drawn out affairs. The group at the table is not only purchasing food from the kitchen, they are purchasing time at the table – renting space for a social activity. In an Italian restaurant, therefore, the concept of “turning tables” does not exist. Actually the hardest item to get brought to the table in a timely manner is the bill.

Don’t confuse coperto with servizio. Servizio is the word for “tip.” You will rarely find servizio as a line item on your dinner check and you won’t find a space for it on the credit card slip. Italians don’t tip. This probably stems from a time when all restaurants were family operations, where the family shared in the profits. Italians did not support the practice of tipping. The bill for coperto, food and beverages was inclusive of service.

Coperto is the “rent” that is paid for the table. It means “cover” and is arguably the cost of the tablecloth and napkins (or the cleaning thereof), the placemats, the bread and the condiments, but in reality it is the cost of keeping the table as long as is wanted. (If you don’t think that you pay for these “cover” items in the rest of the world, just ask a restaurateur where he recoups his overhead costs.)

Another reason that there is not culture of tipping is that waiters are paid a living wage in Italy. Waiters are professionals, who view their jobs as lifelong vocations, not something they are doing until they finish school, get a break in film, or wrote the next blockbuster. Waiters don’t exist on minimum wage, hoping that the tips will cover the rent bill and the gas money.

As professionals, not dependent on customer largess, waiters are not paid to be a friend. Unless the customer is a “regular” of many years standing, the waiter will be efficient, but distant. He is there to serve food and wine, not chat with the customers. “Hi, I’m your waiter Gregorio. How can I help you?” “How were those spaghetti alle vongole?” Or “Is everything all right, here?” “Is there anything else I can get for you?” These are phrases that will never be uttered by an Italian waiter. He will bring the food and get out of the way so that the customers can do what they came to do – socialize with family and friends.

If the evening has been fabulous an Italian may leave some change on the table. It is a token message of satisfaction.


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.

All the best,

Pitcher and Flaccomio