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Volume 25, Number 1/Fall & Winter 2014-5/Spedizione in abbonamento postale Gruppo IV – 70%/Magenta Editrice/Registered in the Court of Florence on March 17, 1989 No. 3816/Distributed free.
Florence and Tuscany • In town and around
47
CONTEMPORARY
CONTEMPORARY ART
ART
in
in Florence
Florence &
& Tuscany
Tuscany
THE
THE NEW
NEW U.S.
U.S. CONSUL
CONSUL
in
in Florence
Florence
ESPRESSO,
ESPRESSO,
Florence’s
Florence’s Best
Best
SANSEPOLCRO
SANSEPOLCRO &
& THE
THE TIBER
TIBER VALLEY
VALLEY
THE
THE ANTIQUE
ANTIQUE MARKET
MARKET
in
in Arezzo
Arezzo
EVENTS
EVENTS &
&
Entertainment
Entertainment
PITTI
PITTI FASHION
FASHION FAIRS
FAIRS
Latest
Latest Trends
Trends &
& Styles
Styles
Con il patrocinio del Comune di Firenze
5,00 Euro in Bookshops
1
The cover photo of the town of Sansepolcro in province of
Arezzo was taken by Daniel Cilia.
Direttore Responsabile
EXECUTIVE EDITOR
Rosanna Cirigliano
MUSIC EDITOR
Anne Lokken
GRAPHIC DESIGN
Stefano Grisieti/
Studio Bertram
PHOTOGRAPHERS
Andrea Pistolesi
Guido Cozzi
Stefano Amantini
Massimo Borchi
Michael Thurin
Sarah Kearns
COPY EDITOR
Aubrey Williams
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Jacob McCarthy
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
Rita Kungel
Elizabeth Wicks
Susan Arcamone
Camilla Somers
Elizabeth La Barbera
Sydney Choi
INTERNS
Kaylah Grant
Grace Crummett
Isabella Grezzi
Shira Burns
Lakota Gambill
Giulia Penna
Greg Combes
OFFICES
All editorial and advertising content & graphics
© Magenta Editrice 1991 – 2015
Blog www.beautifulflorence.blogspot.com
Web site www.magentaflorence.com
Subscriptions (4 issues, payable in advance):
Italy and EU countries r 20
Outside Europe r 40 (airmail)
PLATES
La Nuova Lito
PRINTING
Nidiaci
San Gimignano
•TUSCANY’S CULTURAL GUIDE•
3
OPENING
2
ELIZABETH WICKS
Out of Storage and
onto the Walls
FLORENCE CELEBRATES 20TH CENTURY ART
F
lorence, the city which gave birth
to the Renaissance, is finally celebrating another eminent age of
artistic innovation, that of the 20th century. Two important collections of modern and contemporary art in the city
have come out of storage and onto the
walls at the Pitti Palace and Florence’s
brand new MUSEUM OF 20TH CENTURY
ART.
Through March 2015, a major exhibition at Florence’s Modern Art Gallery
on the top floor of the Pitti Palace called
LUCI SUL ‘900 brings to light 20th-century paintings belonging to the museum
that have been in storage since their
arrival. Exactly a hundred years ago, an
agreement between to the city and the
Fine Arts commission was signed,
meaning to amplify the prestigious art
collection left to the city by Macchaioli
(Tuscan Impressionism) supporter and
patron Diego Martelli, which forms the
nucleus of the Modern Art Gallery’s
permanent collection.
LUCI SUL NOVECENTO
Thanks to this foresightedness, with
a 10-year hiatus during WWII, the
Gallery has acquired works of notable
Tuscan artists of the 20th century, as
well as masterpieces by the major
Italian artists of the period and a few
international artists such as Jasper
Johns. From 1950 until 1974 the museum also acquired the winning paintings
of the “Florin Prize” (Premio Fiorino), a
competition founded in order to promote contemporary art in Florence.
Important donations by the artists
themselves have also enriched the collection (and the storage spaces).
In contrast to the spacious rooms of
the Modern Art Gallery’s 19th century
art, these never before seen masterworks are hung almost on top of each
other in small rooms and hallways,
jostling for space on the walls, as if to
underscore the necessity of the need to
find a permanent home. The resulting
display of color and form is somewhat
confusing but also inspirational.
Highlights include Elisabeth
Chaplin’s Rest on the Flight into Egypt, in
which deceptively simple composition
and strong blocks of color transmit
strength, serenity and tenderness. The
nearly total absence of shading in this
work contrasts the artist’s adjoining
Three Sisters, where the dramatic emergence of faces from the shadowy background gives the viewer a disquieting
sensation, heightened by the intense
gaze of the three girls.
Another striking portrait is by
Primo Conti, depicting the Japanese
Lyung-Yuk, with its dramatic color and
shading and the almost sculptural use
of paint to highlight the details of the
elaborate silk kimono. The visitor can
also see exceptional works by
“Lagoon,” (1932) by Carlo Carrà,
Florence’s Modern Art Gallery.
Right, courtyard of the ‘Museo del
Novecento’ by Maurizio Nannucci.
Baldasella, Burri, Capogrossi, Carrà, de
Chirico, Marino Marini, Morandi and
Reggiani. Many more artists are represented, and the quality of the individual pieces is truly stunning and proof, if
any is needed, that these works deserve
a permanent home of their own.
MUSEO DEL NOVECENTO
A home finally has been found for
the City of Florence’s modern art collection. This past June, Florence inaugurated its Museo del Novecento, or
Museum of 20th Century Art. After
years in a warehouse, the city’s collections have found a permanent exhibition space in the historic “Leopoldine”
building complex in Piazza Santa Maria
Novella.
The story behind the scenes of the
brand new museum began almost 50
years ago, with an appeal to the international art world by art historian Carlo
Ludovico Ragghianti in 1966, just days
after Florence was devastated by a
major flood. The generosity of the more
than 200 artists from all over the world
who answered Ragghianti’s call by
donating their works to the ravaged
city forms the nucleus of the new museum.
Situated directly across the piazza
from the church of Santa Maria Novella
with its famous façade by Leon Battista
Alberti, the museum’s restoration represents the last piece of the puzzle completing the newly renovated square.
The Leopoldine was originally the
Hospital of St. Paul, connected with the
nearby church of that name (San
Paolino), and then later converted by
Tuscan Granduke Pietro Leopoldo into
the city’s first public school for girls living in poverty (thus the name
“Leopoldine,” for Leopoldo’s girls).
Designed by the Medici’s favorite
architect Michelozzo, the building has a
portico that recalls another famous
Florentine Renaissance landmark—
Brunelleschi’s Ospedale degli Innocenti
in Piazza Santissima Annunziata.
Visitors wearied by the crowds at
the Uffizi and the Academia will
delight in having the space to experience the art in large rooms set around a
beautiful and serene cloister, in addition to enjoying the stunning vistas
from the second floor windows looking
out across the square. There are 15 exhibition rooms in the two-story museum,
as well as a temporary installation
•TUSCANY’S CULTURAL GUIDE•
5
space and a covered roof terrace with a
screening room showing movie clips
dating from 1916 to 1999 with “impressions of Florence” as their theme.
The museum itinerary proceeds
rather confusingly backwards in time
through the 20th century, beginning in
Room 1. Reacting to the “Transavanguardia” artistic current then in
vogue in Italy that was characterized by
neoexpressionist figurative painting,
three young Florentine sculptors—
Antonio Catelani, Daniela de Lorenzo
and Carlo Guaita—achieved recognition at the Venice Biennale in 1988 for
the originality and independence of
their work. Their pieces, starkly
abstract with an emphasis on the materials used and on geometric shapes,
launched a counter-trend in art that was
to reach into the new millennium.
Moving on through the rooms on
the ground floor, one notices that the
Museo del Novecento is designed to
engage the senses and have various art
forms interact with each other, as they
did throughout the century. There is
also a constant juxtaposition of old and
new that is a theme of the museum
experience itself.
As visitors move into the cloister, for
instance, they encounter a series of
installations by different artists, which
interact with the symmetry and balance
of the Renaissance architectural space.
Paolo Masi’s Elastic Wall with
Continuous Dilation is a dance of elastic
threads pulling against the cloister
wall, while Maurizio Nannucci’s
Everything Might Be Different proclaims
its neon message underneath the cloister’s loggia.
The idea of artistic “crosspollination” from one medium to another continues on the second floor as well, with
space given to the reciprocal influences
of 20th-century art on fashion, theater,
architecture, music, politics and mass
communication. In Room 9, viewers
can examine a wealth of set drawings,
scenery mock-ups and costume designs
created for the Maggio Musicale
Festival by key contemporary artists of
the period, while listening to a soundtrack of original opera scores.
In Room 12, Ottone Rosai’s portraits
of his friends (Gli Amici) captures the
spirit of the poets, artists and art critics
who formed the cultural heart of
Florentine society in the ‘40s and ‘50s.
This character also comes across
through the original soundtrack
recordings of some of the “amici” portrayed. The visitor can see and hear
poets Mario Luzi, Eugenio Montale,
and Giuseppe Ungaretti, writers
Domenico Giuliotti, Giulia Veronesi
and Elio Vittorini, artists Giuseppe
Cesetti, Giorgio de Chirico and
Ardengo Soffici, and critics Carlo Bo,
Alessandro Parronchi and Piero Santi.
A highlight of the Museum is the
Alberto della Ragione collection. A
naval engineer turned art patron. Della
Ragione became interested in 20th century art in 1931, a time when modern
works not amenable to the propaganda
aims of the Fascist regime. Over several
decades he built up a comprehensive
body of paintings and sculptures representing the major artistic movements in
Italy from the 1920s up until 1970, when
he donated his entire collection to the
city of Florence. To be shown on a rotating basis are works by Mirko
Basaldella, Felice Casorati, Lucio
Fontana, Renato Guttuso, Giacomo
Manzoni, Marino Marini, Giuseppe
Santomaso, Gino Severini, Mario
Sironi, and Emilio Vedova.
GRACE CRUMMETT
Photo by Sarah Kearns
The Ever-Changing Language
of Contemporary Art
YOUNG, PROMISING ARTISTS ARE WELCOME AT THE
BIAGIOTTI PROGETTO ART GALLERY
F
lorentine-American gallery owner C AROLE T HOMAS B IAGIOTTI
originally hails from Arizona,
where she developed a passion and
keen eye for art at an early age. Biagiotti
distinctly remembers the first moment
she fell in love with art—a photograph
of a Henry Moore work caught her
attention at the tender age of eight. Her
home state is known for its galleries and
artist colonies, which inspired her to go
on to study sculpture and painting at
Northwestern University in Chicago.
Now the proprietor of Biagiotti
Progetto Arte, she felt “predestined for
Florence,” the city she now calls home
with her Florentine husband and their
children. On her way to Paris to study
art, she disembarked in the port of
Naples. It was her first trip to Italy since
early childhood, and she reveled in the
opportunity to rediscover the country,
visiting a number of cities.
“When I reached Florence, my purse
fell apart in front of a small Florentine
leather shop,” she recalls. She walked
in the store to select a replacement. That
day, Carole left with a new handbag
and had met her future husband.
She and her husband both have an
appreciation for art that their daughter,
Caterina would later share. The present
gallery space was originally purchased
as the premises of a new leather shop,
but Carole and Caterina transformed it
into a contemporary art gallery.
The Galleria Biagiotti Progetto Arte
was established in 1997 and has hosted
an impressive number of emerging and
established artists since then. Biagiotti
sees it as her duty to find gifted young
artists who would otherwise be overlooked because of their less-developed
portfolios.
“I can often detect talent, even if I
don’t like what the artist is doing,” she
says. Her intent is to publicize developing artists and help art lovers appreciate the ever-changing language of contemporary art. It is to this end that
Biagiotti has dedicated Progetto Arte.
The altruistic nature of the gallery’s
work can be attributed in part to her
extensive experience with charity work
and organizations such as the
Associazione Volontari Ospedalieri (AVO).
Melding two of her interests, art and
volunteering in in a health facility, the
latter was the brainchild of Biagiotti
herself, along with several friends.
Doing what she knows best, Biagotti
went to the hospitals with paintbrush in
hand, putting countless children at ease
with illustrated books and artworks.
Recently, the Progetto Arte instituted
a foundation to assist young people
•TUSCANY’S CULTURAL GUIDE•
entering the art world, specifically
Italian artists who face an increasingly
unreceptive market. Biagotti wants to
give them a chance to learn, grow and
make a name for themselves both in
and out of Italy.
Since the beginning of her work
“there’s been a buzz.” Collectors and
artists alike pay attention to Progetto
Arte, and Biagiotti is proud to say,
“Young people come to us all the time to
show us their work.”
Continuing the contemporary dialogue on art in a country where art of
the past is most often celebrated, Carole
Biagiotti wishes to give young artists of
today a chance to thrive, beginning
with the walls of her gallery tucked
away on via delle Belle Donne.
PAST & PRESENT
OPENING
4
7
Florence’s
MOST IMPORTANT MUSEUMS
• THE UFFIZI GALLERY
Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6 (tel. 055/2388651)
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 8:15 am – 6:50 pm.
Free admission every first Sunday of the month
Admission: 8 euro • (Closed Monday)
• PALAZZO VECCHIO
Piazza Signoria (tel. 055/2768224)
Hours: 9 am – 7 pm; Thursday until 2 pm.
Admission: 10 euro, 8 euro for students •
(Open every day)
• GIOTTO’S BELL TOWER
Piazza Duomo (tel. 055/2302885)
Hours: 8:30 am – 7:30 pm.
Admission: 10 euro (combined ticket) •
(Open every day)
• CASA BUONAROTTI
(Michelangelo’s House)
Via Ghibellina, 70 (tel. 055/241752)
Hours: Monday, Wednesday – Sunday
10 am – 4 pm.
Admission: 6.50 euro •
(Closed Tuesday)
• THE PALATINE GALLERY
Pitti Palace – Piazza Pitti (tel. 055/238614)
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 8:15 am – 6:50 pm.
Admission: 13 euro or 8.50 without access
to exhibitions •
(Closed Monday)
• THE NATIONAL SCULPTURE MUSEUM
(Il Bargello)
Via del Proconsolo, 4 (tel. 055/2388606)
Hours: 8:15 am-1:50 pm.
Admission: 4 euro or 7 euro with access to
exhibitions •
(Closed the 1st, 3rd and 5th Monday
and the 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month)
Time Traveling in
Florence’s Cathedral
A VISIT TO FLORENCE’S ORIGINAL, ANCIENT
CATHEDRAL
AN AT-A-GLANCE GUIDE
• THE ACADEMY GALLERY (L’ACCADEMIA)
Via Ricasoli, 60 (tel. 055/2388609)
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 8:15 am – 6:50 pm.
Admission: 8 euro, 4 euro for students •
(Closed Monday)
ISABELLA GREZZI
Photo by Gianluca Moggi
• CATHEDRAL MUSEUM
(L’Opera del Duomo)
Piazza Duomo, 9 (tel. 055/2302885)
Closed until Fall 2015
• PALAZZO MEDICI RICCARDI
(Capella dei Magi)
Via Cavour, 3 (tel. 055/2760340)
Hours: 8:30 am – 7 pm.
Admission: 7 euro •
(Closed Wednesday)
• THE MEDICI CHAPELS
(behind San Lorenzo) tel. 055/2388602
Hours: 8:15 am - 1:50 pm;
Admission: 6 euro •
(Closed the second and fourth Sunday
of every month as well
as the first, third and fifth Monday)
• THE SAN MARCO MUSEUM
Piazza San Marco, 1 (tel. 055/2388608)
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:15 am – 1:50 pm;
Saturday, Sunday and holidays: 8:15 am–
4:50 pm.
Admission: 4 euro or 7 euro with access to
exhibitions • (Closed the 1st, 3rd & 5th Sunday
and the 2nd & 4th Monday of the month)
• THE STIBBERT MUSEUM
Via Stibbert, 26 (tel. 055/475520)
Hours: Monday – Wednesday 10 am – 2 pm;
Friday - Sunday 10 am – 6 pm.
Admission: 8 euro • (Closed Thursday)
• THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
Piazza SS. Annunziata, 9/b (tel. 055/23575)
Hours: Tuesday – Friday 8:30 am – 7 pm,
Monday, Saturday, Sunday 8:30 am – 2 pm.
Admission: 4 euro •
(Open every day)
• THE BOBOLI GARDENS
Piazza Pitti (tel. 055/2388791)
Hours: Open daily from 8:15 am – 6:30 pm.
Admission: 7 euro (combined ticket) •
(Closed the first and last Monday of the month)
• THE BRANCACCI CHAPEL
Piazza del Carmine (tel. 055/2768224)
Hours: Monday, Wednesday
- Saturday 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday 1 pm – 5 pm
Admission: 6 euro, reservation required •
(Closed Tuesday)
• JEWISH MUSEUM & SYNAGOGUE
Via Luigi Carlo Farini 4 (tel. 055/24525)
Hours: Sunday – Thursday 10 am – 5:30 pm,
Friday 10 am – 3 pm.
Admission: 6.50 euro • (Closed Saturday)
• MARINO MARINI MUSEUM
Piazza San Pancrazio (tel. 055/219432)
Hours: Monday, Wednesday
- Saturday 10 am – 5 pm
Admission: 6 euro • (Closed Tues.& Sat.)
F
ew know that underneath the
Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore,
commonly referred to as il
Duomo, one of the most iconic symbols
of Florence, lies the remains of a much
earlier church, Santa Reparata.
Referred to today as the CRYPT OF SANTA
R EPARATA , it is open to visitors at il
Grande Museo del Duomo, and those who
have actually been there know that it is
much more than just a crypt.
Descending the staircase in the central nave of Santa Maria del Fiore will
take the visitor to the entrance of the
well-lit Santa Reparata museum. The
ruins, which took 10 years and six distinct archaeological campaigns to
uncover, date from the Late Roman
Empire to the Romanesque Era. The
display highlights Santa Reparata’s
four distinct construction phases
throughout the centuries. The museum offers a unique view of each archaeological layer of the foundations: the
Roman pavement, the Early Christian
mosaic, the stone floor of the Middle
Ages and finally the Romanesque brick
and cobblestone pavement.
The details of each period are
explained by clear, succinct signage
both in English and Italian, as well as a
short video that demonstrates the various stages of the church’s development.
At the museum’s entrance, visitors will
immediately encounter the Roman
walls and floors, which are the earliest
ruins of Santa Reparata. These ancient
walls, which include those of a Roman
domus, or house, were built during the
fifth century A.D.
As visitors progress through the
museum’s winding path, the Early
Christian layer becomes visible.
Several centimeters higher than the
Roman floor, a beautiful mosaic with a
peacock as its focal point is the distinctive element of the Early Christian
floor. The mosaic includes a list in
Latin of all the donors who financed
the project and the amount they contributed. Near this is also the only column base that remains from this era.
Although the base has been moved
from its original location, the site
where it was found is clearly marked,
thus preserving the museum’s archaeological integrity.
During the Gothic War in the 6th
century, the church suffered damage
and was partly rebuilt afterwards with
the addition of a small crypt, two side
Crypt of Santa Reparata.
•TUSCANY’S CULTURAL GUIDE•
chapels in the apse, and a new stone
floor.
Later still, during the
Romanesque period, additional construction gave Santa Reparata a structure similar to that of San Miniato al
Monte, with a crypt that was visible
from the entryway. Two stairways were
built to lead to the presbytery, one of
which is still visible today. The excavations also unearthed several frescos,
including a Pietà, done in the new visual language of the early Renaissance by
a follower of Giotto.
Scattered throughout the museum
are many tombstones and graves of
prominent Florentines, including
Giovanni de’ Medici (d.1352), demonstrating the high status the Medici family was already enjoying at that time.
Although Santa Reparata closed in
1375, it continued to be used as a crypt
for a number of years. The famous
Renaissance architect Filippo Brunelleschi, who designed the dome, is
buried there.
Santa Reparata is truly unique in its
comprehensive span of historical layers, making it a perfect synthesis of the
city’s rich history and a must-see destination for any visitor in Florence.
FOCUS
SIGHTSEEING
6
9
CAMILLA SOMERS
Photos by Michael Thurin & Lakota Gambill
F
rom the history of the mystical
lapis lazuli to depictions of travel
in the Middle Ages, the 10th year
of FLORENCE—A YEAR OF ART offers a
series of exhibitions that present a wide
breadth of art from museums all over
the world. Four of them, which examine the period between the Renaissance
and Baroque periods, are a platform for
little-known artists better known to
experts. Here is a preview of the program.
February 10 – May 24:
GHERARDO DELLE NOTTI.
Uffizi Gallery.
The show features works by Dutch
golden age painter Gerard Van
Honthorst, including the rich and stylistically innovative paintings from his
period in Italy. The retrospective incorporates paintings by his contemporaries and artists influenced by his
jovial night scenes illuminated by candlelight.
March 20 – June 21:
THE TRAVELING MIDDLE AGES.
Bargello Museum.
The product of collaboration among
museums across Europe, the show
aims to demonstrate the variety of travel undertaken in medieval times, from
pilgrimages and crusades to merchant
expeditions. A selection of maps and
geographical paintings also displays
the representation of the world during
the Middle Ages.
March 30 – October 11:
FRANCESCO’S ART.
Galleria dell’Accademia.
Drawing on documents, paintings
and sculptures depicting St. Francis of
Assisi from the thirteen to the fifteen
centuries, the display features masterpieces commissioned by Franciscan
monks and devoted Italian citizens. It
also highlights St. Francis’s influence in
Asia with archeological finds from the
Terra Santa museum in China, and other works from Asia.
June 9 – October 11:
LAPIS LAZULI.
Silver Museum.
Beginning with the ancient use of
lapis lazuli to create decorative and
sacred objects in Mesopotamia and
Egypt, the exhibit continues through
the Middle Ages until the Renaissance
Florence’s Passion for
il Caffè
THE CITY’S BEST ESPRESSO,
AN IN-DEPTH LOOK, PART 1
I
SHIRA BURNS
Exhibitions for the
New Year
with a vast collection of lapis vases and
inlaid furniture belonging to the ruling
Medici family. The show also highlights the artistic use of lapis lazuli as a
blue pigment.
June 23 – September 27:
PIERO DI COSIMO.
Uffizi Gallery.
The walls will be hung with 45
paintings of this eccentric Florentine
genius spanning from the late
Renaissance through the early
Mannerism period. Favoring religious,
natural and allegorical subjects, Di
Cosimo was influenced by artists such
as Botticelli and Da Vinci. Also on view
will be stylistically similar paintings
from masters such as Filippino Lippi
for a total of 100 pieces.
June 30 – November 15:
CARLO DOLCI.
Palatine Gallery.
The show celebrates the work of
Baroque artist Carlo Dolci, who painted
religious and allegorical themes with a
naturalness verging on hyperrealism.
His 70 presented works will celebrate
the uniqueness and beauty of his art,
from his early paintings to his masterpieces.
November 19 – April 3, 2016:
FLORENCE, THE CAPITAL.
Modern Art Gallery.
To celebrate the 150th anniversary
of the transfer of the capital of Italy
from Torino to Florence, the exhibition
reunites collections of the first king of
Italy, Victor Emmanuel II, focusing on
paintings of famous historical scenes
and protagonists of the Medieval and
Renaissance eras.
December 14 – April 17, 2016:
CARLO PORTELLI.
Galleria dell’Accademia.
Portelli studied in Ghirlandaio’s
workshop and worked on commission
for Florentine churches such as Santa
Croce, and for the Medici family. The
show includes over 50 of his paintings,
sketches and documents, and will
introduce to the public a Renaissance
artist recognized by scholars for his
originality.
Above, “Supper with the Lute Players”
by Gerard van Honthorst, known as
Gherardo delle Notti in Italy
talians, known more for their customary drink-and-go behavior when it
comes to coffee, are finally changing
their tune, joining the increasing number
of baristas, café owners and most importantly, clientele in Florence and around
the world who can’t get enough of an
Italian patrimony: IL CAFFÈ.
Many of the men and women who
run Florence’s cafés and torrefazioni (production companies), are so passionate
about coffee that they sniff, swill and
close their eyes in pleasure as if handling
a glass of fine cabernet rather than a cup
of espresso, which, as Vista goes to press,
costs €1 or €1.10.
All those involved in preparing a
excellent espresso are using all means
available to make the consumer feel the
same way. They want everyone to understand their passion for Arabica and
Robusta and every combination in
between.
“A superior espresso comes not only
from the blend, but the expertise behind
the roasting of coffee beans, and the
proper selection of an espresso machine
as well as its constant maintenance,” says
Simone Checcucci of OKE TORREFAZIONE.
makes people understand what they’re
drinking.
Indeed, the café has made a decided
effort to transform its clientele into
informed coffee drinkers. The menu
includes explanations for every flavor
A CAFÉ’ TOUR
There aren’t many places like
CHIAROSCURO, a café located on via del
Corso in Florence’s historic center that
DITTA ARTIGIANALE, via dei Neri
CHIAROSCURO, via del Corso
ROBIGLIO, via Tosinghi
CAFFÈ GIACOSA, via Tornabuoni
•TUSCANY’S CULTURAL GUIDE•
and brew, while the walls display the
array of beans available.
Here, the discerning customer can
buy coffee hailing from all over the world
in the form of a steaming cup or ground
to make at home. Mexican coffee beans
SCENE
DISPLAYS & SHOWS
8
11
are the favorite, but Guatemalan, Costa
Rican, Brazilian, Ethiopian, Indian and
Indonesian are also available, as are Fair
Trade beans.
Just off of Florence’s posh via de’
Tornabuoni is the Roberto Cavalli’s
CAFFÈ GIACOSA, where a plain shot of
espresso, however, disappoints. Served
in an attractive china cup with a silver
spoon, the coffee proved too acidic with
an unpleasant aftertaste.
Not far from Giacosa’s glossiness is
ROBIGLIO on via Tosinghi, something of
an oasis among the tourist traps surrounding the Duomo. “This is a typical
Italian café,” says Daniele Pesato, “one of
the few places that maintains that tradition. We don’t want to become a museum.” This Robiglio—one of four independently owned cafés under the same
name in Florence—specializes in extra
dark, straightforward espresso, perfect
for reviving weary, cobblestone-pounding feet.
The espresso proved to be rich, fullbodied and robust with a smoky and
pleasant aftertaste. Robiglio utilizes
Segafredo coffee—100% Arabica—and a
San Marco coffee machine.
COFFEE PRODUCTION
COMPANIES
A torrefazione, so small it comprises
just a single room, is the family-owned
OKE CAFFÈ, located on via Pisana near
Porta San Frediano. Founded by Omero
Checcucci in 1967, the factory in
Sambuca, located in the Chianti region,
and store in Oltrarno are now operated
by brother and sister team Stefania and
Simone Checcucci.
Stefania calls coffee roasting not just a
matter of production, but a “poetic work
as well,” a sentiment that expresses the
family’s passion for their daily espresso.
The Checcuccis roast their beans, which
hail almost exclusively from Central
America, using a massive contraption
that seems like a throwback to the
Industrial Revolution. No matter,
though, because it produces delicious,
gourmet-grade coffee ground for the traditional Italian moka pot, for drip or filter
machines, and even Turkish coffee.
“We make our own flavor, our own
taste,” says Stefania proudly. You can,
too, by requesting on www.okecaffe.it
your own mix of coffee beans, or by stopping by the torrefazione itself, where the
door always remains open to welcome
clients or inquisitive passersby.
A more centrally located torrefazione
is COFFEE MAGIC, via Pietrapiana 63/r,
while a newcomer on the Florentine coffee scene is 101 CAFFE’at via dei Ginori 58
near San Lorenzo. 101 Caffè carries a
wide range of blends prepared by a
number of selected Italian coffee production companies.
THE ULTIMATE
ESPRESSO MACHINE
But for a delightful coffee that pleases
the senses, with a perfect, smooth
crema—the reddish brown foam of a
freshly made espresso, there is something equally as important than the quality of the coffee bean itself. What is also
needed is a trained barista with a hand
and heart for coffee.
steel or customizable materials, represents a handmade masterpiece, dedicated to coffee shops wishing to serve
the best espresso. In Florence these
include Mercato Centrale, the JT Café in
piazza Pitti, Open Bar Golden View at
Ponte Vecchio, Bistrot Le Cocotte in via
Nazionale, Le Cocotte and Sarafini on
via Gioberti, Pasticcieria Così in Borgo
degli Albizi and the new tea room in the
Santa Maria Novella pharmacy, all of
which use a “La Marzocco” espresso
machine.
ARTISTS & ARTISANS
SCENE
10
COFFEE CLASSES
In keeping with its mission to educate
clients, the owners of Chiaroscuro café
offer lessons on the tasting, preparation
and ecology of coffee at its torrefazione,
SYDNEY CHOI
A Cup
for Everyone
FLORENCE’S DITTA ARTGIANALE TAKES COFFEE TO ANOTHER LEVEL
W
With this in mind, in 1927 the
Florentine company La Marzocco was
established, and today produces espresso machines destined to 35% of the high
end niche globally. Sponsor of the
World Barista Championships for nine
years, the company, which has played an
important role in the growing “specialty
coffee” sector worldwide for the past 15
years, was recently proclaimed as the
“Best Coffee Equipment Supplier” at the
European Coffee Awards.
Each machine’s innovative technology, encompassed in a case of stainless
Mokaflor, located on the outskirts of
Florence at via delle Torri 55. Called
“Espresso Academy,” the school plays
host to Italian professionals and foreign
enthusiasts alike.
The lessons offered at Mokaflor are
divided into two parts: the first covers
quality, or how coffee is cultivated, roasted and blended; the second is the “theater” of coffee, or specifically, how to
make those complicated designs on a
cappuccino.
ith dark espressos, dainty
cappuccinos and latte actually meaning milk, Italians
take much pride in coffee as a part of
their culture—so why is it so hard to
find a good cup of ESPRESSO?
According to Lucian Trapanese of
DITTA ARTIGIANALE, the secret to making a good espresso is to not overextract the grounds; every 17g of coffee
bean should only produce 34g of liquid.
Over-extraction results in a higher
astringency—dryness at the back of the
throat—and a more bitter, sour taste.
Trapanese says, “Most don’t know how
to make an espresso, or even where the
coffee beans come from. People think
it’s simple.” It is, in fact, an exact science.
Many of Florence’s cafés and bars
have become gimmicky and commercial, striving to please tourists or to simply make something that wakes you up.
But brewing coffee is truly an art form
that Artigianale takes quite seriously,
applying special care to grind the beans
for each individual order.
Francesco Sanapo and Trapanese
work together to present both Italians
and foreigners with a satisfying way to
experience coffee. Their menu offers a
wide variety, from the Espresso Jump
to filtered coffees including the V60,
aeropress and syphon.
The Espresso Jump is their caffè normale—which is to be swirled, sniffed
and drunk in two sips—an original
blend that is changed every six months.
Currently, the blend consists of 50%
Brazilian, 25% Colombian and 25%
Ethiopian beans. It is thick with a
dynamic flavor; the first sip has a peach
acidity, and the second maintains the
fruitiness, but with a hint of chocolate
and almond.
The V60 filtration processes the
grounds without pressure to produce a
balanced, clean and fruity taste. The
light-bodied beverage is fragrant and
crisp, something that has been
described as the coffee version of tea. It
is translucent with tangy and woody
undertones, and because the taste is so
subtle, it can be sipped.
•TUSCANY’S CULTURAL GUIDE•
Prepared with half the pressure of
the espresso, aeropressed coffee stands
as an in-between, having a fuller body
than the V60, but can still be enjoyed
slowly. In the winter, Artigianale offers
syphon filtration, a method that uses
less pressure than the aeropress but
produces a stronger coffee. What the
three have in common is that they leave
a pleasant aftertaste and do not cause
uncomfortable shakiness associated
with caffeine.
Ditta Artigianale also serves the
Special Espresso (a single origin roast
that changes weekly), the Big
Cappuccino (two shots of espresso with
extra milk) and the Flat White (two
shots of espresso with less foam, popular among locals and visitors alike).
There is a price to be paid for this
quality: €2.50 minimum for filtered
coffees (serving a minimum of two people), €1.50 for the Espresso Jump, €2.50
for the Special Espresso, €3 for the Big
Cappuccino and €2.50 for the Flat
White.
13
KAYLAH GRANT & JACOB MCCARTHY
ROSANNA CIRIGLIANO
Photo by Andrea Pistolesi
Photo by Sarah Kearns
Facing the
Future
American Horizons
in Tuscany
THE LISTENING SUMMIT EXAMINES UPCOMING TRENDS
IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
O
ld models and new thinking
intersected at the annual
LISTENING SUMMIT, illustrating
the theme “Information Technology:
Changing the World We Live In”
involving American students from
Florence’s Pepperdine University campus and their Italian counterparts at
Gargonza castle last October.
“Technology helps us to arrive
where we want to go, but we can either
choose to get on the train or be left
behind at the station,” said Pepperdine
professor Milton Shatzer (above), senior advisor at the Listening Summit.
Over the two-day event, guest
speakers Rachael Hartley and Selim
Burduroglu of the Oracle Corporation
guided their audience to take an indepth look at a variety of topics, opening with “The Power of Connectivity,
Data and Information,” in addition to
“The Consumer is King, Power to the
People.” With this in mind, they noted
there are more Internet devices (nine
billion) than people in the world (seven
billion), resulting in the age of the
empowered consumer.
While Big Data—the expanding digital record of thoughts, things and activities—has undoubtedly positive consequences in the scientific field, one of its
uses in marketing is to boost corporate
sales by personalizing and predicting
customer behavior. This provided
themes for small group discussions
such as “Information is Power, “ and
“The Challenges of Data Security and
Privacy.”
In view of this, Italian participant
Marta Mandriani commented,
“Internet needs to be viewed as a tool,
for Americans it is an integral part of
their lives. By not challenging this, it
can be used inappropriately.”
An undoubtedly appropriate use of
technology is in education, with
Burduorglu observing that “non traditional learning means more choices and
more mobility,” and Hartley explaining
that the “future of education includes
MOOC (massive open online courses)
that bundles content and personalize it
to the individual learner.”
Key to the Listening Summit was the
personal contact among international
students who were housed together,
shared meals and discussions together,
participated in a nature hike and also
received lessons in line dancing.
For Jenna Welsh, “Being with
Italians, learning from them and bonding with them—that was my favorite
part of all,” with intercultural exchange
also significant for Erica Ghisolfi, “I
really appreciated seeing the American
point of view.”
The final morning of the Listening
Summit was devoted to the impact of
the Internet on the workplace, family
and personal life as well as society as a
whole. An historical introduction
included the lasting influence of Ada
Lovelace, daughter of Romantic poet
Lord Byron and a mathematician, who
was the first to envision a programmable machine not able to think (1843), up
to the engineer Bill Gates and Steve
Jobs, who, according to the speakers,
“built intuition into Apple products.”
Dr. Shatzner contrasted the disparity between concurrent realities where
“we don’t take the time to contemplate
and be silent, we need to be connected”,
and “people need skills to make the
marketable in the next 25 years.”
Burduroglu suggested a unifying
approach, “those in humanities should
appreciate math, it is quite beautiful,
and use technology to help them do
what they do best.”
VISTA’S NEW SERIES, ‘WOMEN IN THE KNOW’
INTRODUCES U.S. CONSUL GENERAL RUPP
A
Vista reporter sat down with
the new U.S. CONSUL GENERAL
IN FLORENCE, ABIGAIL RUPP, to
get her take on WOMEN IN THE KNOW .
Rupp works in coordination with the
American Embassy in Rome to serve
the U.S. and her citizens in Tuscany,
most of Emilia Romagna, and San
Marino.
Before arriving in July 2014, Rupp
worked in Moldova, Ghana, Russia,
Ethiopia and Washington D.C. The
daughter of two U.S. government
employees and a resident of D.C.,
Columbia, Maryland and Reston,
Virginia, whether or not Rupp would
pursue a career in the Foreign Service
was something she never questioned.
Fluent in Russian, Romanian and
Italian, and despite a long list of accomplishments, Rupp is also a mother of
three and wife of a diplomatic security
special agent.
The interview began by questioning
Rupp about how her high-ranked position pertains to her gender and how her
wisdom can apply to women across the
board. It then moved to questions
regarding the study abroad agenda and
experience in Florence.
ed in and then figure out how that could
connect to the employment possibilities.
As a college student, seeing women
in such high positions of power is an
inspiration. What advice do you have
for young women pursuing higher
education, specifically in fields typically dominated by men?
Pick something that really interests
you, even if people say you can’t make
money at it. I have a Master’s Degree in
Public Policy and Philosophy. A degree
in Philosophy teaches you how to read
critically, and ask questions, and build
an argument, and all of those skills are
useful in my job. So, that would be my
advice: find something you’re interest•TUSCANY’S CULTURAL GUIDE•
What have you discovered about
the condition of women during your
international postings?
VIEWS & INTERVIEWS
HIGHER EDUCATION
12
15
Offering assistance to women
improves the entire country’s condition.
In many cases, they are the ones that
hold that society together, and not just
for the traditional reasons of kids and
home. There’s research that shows that if
you provide extra income to women,
either through microcredit or food assistance, they use it to support their families.
Of course, there are lots of challenges
for women around the world. It’s not an
easy life. I worked with an anti-trafficking program in Russia, and with different kinds of health programs in Ethiopia
and Ghana, but I believe we always have
to think about how significant the work
of women is, no matter where they are.
Another priority is setting up programs
that allow young girls to go to school.
The theme for Vista Magazine’s
newest series of articles is “Women in
the Know.” How would this apply to
your life and career so far?
I think that to be a woman in the
know, you would have to know who
you are, where your place is in the
world and what you want to achieve. I
think a woman in the know should also
have a commitment to helping others.
What advice do you have for other
‘Women In The Know’?
You know more than you think you
know. It doesn’t matter how you think
others see you if you are genuine, and
work hard and have an interest in what
you’re doing, people will see that. I
think the best way to be successful is to
be true to yourself and do something
that interests you personally.
What are your other goals and priorities as the U.S. Consul General?
We have a lot of things on our plate,
and a few of them are coming up in the
relatively short-term. One of them is
the Milan Expo, which used to be
known as the World Fair. The U.S. has a
big pavilion that we’re building; the
Expo itself is focused on food, both the
cooking of food and the gourmet side
of things, but more importantly on how
we’re going to feed a world population
that continues to grow.
Another priority for us here in
Florence is promoting entrepreneurship in the region. Part of that as well is
our support for the ongoing discus-
sions on a bilateral trade treaty between
the U.S. and the EU, called TTIP, which
would allow an enormous market to
open up for Italy, certainly for the U.S.,
and for the rest of Europe. The consistent priority of our mission is always
going to be to support American citizens who are overseas, no matter what
else is happening in the world.
Do you have any advice for
prospective or current college students debating whether or not to study
abroad?
It’s a fantastic means to learn not
only about another country, but also
about yourself. You can challenge
yourself in ways you don’t expect, no
matter where you’re living, and you
learn about a culture. It also is a great
way to see if an international career is
right for you.
When presenting the publication
Educating In Paradise: The Value of
North American Study Abroad
Programs in Italy, you mentioned that
you foresee a doubling in the number
of students studying abroad. As an
advocate for the study abroad experience, do you believe there are both
pros and cons?
I mentioned the doubling because
it’s a goal of the State Department in
collaboration with the Institute for
International Education. They would
like to find a way to get more American
students to study overseas. I think it’s
two-fold. One is universities have to
prepare students for that study abroad
experience, and then they have to collaborate closely with countries to make
sure that there are programs where
those students can go.
It’s no secret, however, that there
have been some difficulties in the past
few years in particular with students’
safety in Italy, and certainly in Florence.
We have students who have too much to
drink and in some cases get arrested, or
worse.
It is a challenge to live in any foreign
country and be immersed in a culture. I
feel it’s important for the universities
and the city and we and the U.S. government to collaborate on ways to make sure
students are well-prepared and wellsupported and well-informed about
what it’s like overseas.
TUSCAN LIFE
VIEWS & INTERVIEWS
14
ISABELLA GREZZI
Photo by Sarah Kearns
Recycling
the Past
A VISIT TO AREZZO’S MONTHLY ANTIQUE MARKET
W
hen a break from Florence is
in order, the A REZZO
ANTIQUE MARKET makes the
perfect destination for both connoisseurs of antiquity and casual treasure
seekers. Established in 1968, the fair
takes place the first Saturday and
Sunday of every month, during which
approximately 500 vendors fill piazza
Grande with Tuscany’s biggest selection of antiques.
Arezzo, featured in the classic 1997
film Life Is Beautiful, is an idyllic small
town about 50 miles southeast of
Florence. It is easily accessible by train
from Florence’s main stations, Santa
Maria Novella and Campo di Marte, for
as little as eight euros each way. The
hour and a half long journey offers a
scenic route through the Tuscan hills,
with the occasional spotting of a
medieval castle or fortress. The market
itself is not far from the Arezzo train station; simply cross the street onto via
Spinello, then turn left onto Corso
Italiano.
The road to the Antique Market is
almost as exciting as the market itself.
Corso Italiano is lined with popular
name-brand stores, as well as small
stands featuring local products. About
midway there is a cluster of tents where
one can indulge in sugary childhood
confections: candied nuts, chocolate
and Italian marzipan fruits. As the
market draws nearer, the presence of
antique vendors takes over the sloping
street with items from all over the
world. Traditional African masks,
handmade jewelry and a wide range of
old books in many languages are just
the beginning.
The famed market begins when the
visitor turns right into piazza Grande.
There, in the shadow of the Romanesque
church Santa Maria della Pieve, the
antique fair, which is known in Italy as
“la più grande e la più bella” (the biggest
and most beautiful), comes into view.
It features something for everyone
and every budget. Collectors of World
War II memorabilia will delight in rummaging through the multitudes of original photographs, medals and handwritten letters. A wide selection of tea sets,
silverware, quirky mirrors and frames
appeal to the sensibilities of a more practical shopper, while lovers of all things
strange and bizarre will enjoy pondering
over some of the mysterious items, the
use for which has since been lost in time.
The market is also a great source for
unique gifts for friends and family,
offering many small, travel-sized curios
such as metal cat-shaped corkscrews or
hand-painted thimbles.
•TUSCANY’S CULTURAL GUIDE•
Once one has browsed the tables at
the many tents at the market, the cafés
around the piazza offer a convenient
place to warm up and re-energize with
a cappuccino, or perhaps a panino and a
small glass of wine. The antique stores
specializing in wooden furniture and
decorative household items that encircle the piazza are also worth exploring.
At 8 pm on Sunday the market closes as vendors disappear for three weeks
in search of merchandise. The city
becomes still again, with only its permanent shops and local craftsman
remaining. At the start of the next
month, however, the market returns
without fail, bringing a new adventure
of antiquated items with an often-mysterious past.
CENTERFIELD
16
RITA KUNGEL
Photos by Daniel Cilia
SANSEPOLCRO:
Pilgrims, Palaces & Piero
L
ocated in southeast Tuscany,
SANSEPOLCRO welcomes visitors
to come and enjoy the ambiance
of their town with its history of pilgrimages, pasta, Palio and above all, art.
HISTORY & CUISINE
According to tradition, two pilgrims
returning from the Holy Land founded
the town of Sansepolcro in the 10th century. Arcanus and Aegidus, bearing
stones from the church of the Holy
Sepulcher in Jerusalem, stopped to rest
in a forest and received a divine sign
inspiring them to construct an oratory
chapel to house the sacred relics.
Shortly after, a Benedictine Abbey was
built, around which the town developed.
Situated on the plains of the Upper
Tiber River Valley (Valtiberina),
Sansepolcro marks the spot where
Tuscany, Umbria and Le Marche meet.
During the Middle Ages, travelers often
passed through the city to view the holy
relics on their way to the hermitage of
La Verna, the site of St. Francis’ stigmata (the wounds of Christ).
An important spot on the trade
route linking the central Italian peninsula and the Adriatic, a succession of
city, Papal States and lords fought to
control Sansepolcro until the Florentine
Medici rulers acquired the village in the
15th century.
The economy of the fertile river valley plain has traditionally been based
on agriculture, with tobacco as the
major cash crop and grains, sunflowers
and vegetables still grown today. Italy’s
first pasta factory was built in
Sansepolcro in 1827, and Buitoni pasta
continues to be sold around the world.
The town is the birthplace of Luca
Pacioli, one of the greatest mathematicians of the Renaissance and collabora-
tor of Leonardo da Vinci, who is recognized as the father of accounting.
Pacioli received some of his education
under the tutelage of Sansepolcro’s
most famous son, Piero della Francesca.
Della Francesca, known as a mathematician and geometer to his contemporaries, is now mainly appreciated for
his art. His naturalistic paintings
employ a cool color palette as a precursor to the 17th-century Dutch masters,
and depict serene characters and landscapes inspired by his home in
Valtiberina. His use of geometric forms
and perspective illustrates the perfect
merger of art and science. Lost to history for centuries, then rediscovered in
the 19th century by British and
American elites taking the Grand Tour,
Della Francesca’s masterpieces today
attract art lovers to this often overlooked corner of Tuscany.
ON THE TRAIL
OF PIERO DEL BORGO
Della Francesca signed his paintings
“Piero del Borgo,” as the town was then
called Borgo San Sepolcro. Because
most of his masterpieces remain in the
vicinity, admirers can view them with a
one-day jaunt in the Valtiberina.
Sansepolcro’s Civic Museum houses The Resurrection venerated by Aldous
Huxley as “the best picture in the
world.” The fresco portrays a muscular, upright Christ at its center, with one
foot on top of his tomb, as if defying
death. He towers above four soldiers
guarding the sepulcher who have succumbed to sleep. The artist incorporated his self-portrait in the figure of the
soldier clothed in brown.
At the time of writing, The
Resurrection is undergoing a longdelayed restoration. The particular
nature of fresco painting on plaster,
accompanied by numerous earthquakes, has caused the work to develop
cracks and discoloration. Fortunately,
the restoration is being conducted in
plain view of the public and visitors can
walk along a special scaffolding bridge
to see how the work is progressing.
The Madonna del Misericordia
(Madonna of Mercy), created as an altarpiece and also found in this museum,
consists of 23 panels depicting scenes
from the saints and life of Christ. The
centerpiece, containing a larger-thanlife Virgin Mary with outstretched arms,
enfolds her followers in her mantle.
While in the town, visitors might
want to see the cathedral built on the
original site of the oratory. Its artistic
masterpiece, a unique wooden crucifix,
Il Volto Santo, carved from a single walnut log in the ninth century, stands nine
feet high. Visit the adjacent 16th-century Bishop’s Palace, built on the site of
the original abbey, to view the artist’s
tomb in the cloister.
The hilltop village of MONTERCHI,
birthplace of the painter’s mother, lies
nine miles south. Its small museum
houses one famous painting, Madonna
del Parto, a masterpiece of symmetry.
•TUSCANY’S CULTURAL GUIDE•
19
pm and 2:30 - 6 pm daily, June 15 to
September 15, 10 am - 1:20 pm and 2:30
- 7 pm daily. Admission is €8.
The Madonna del Parto museum is
located on via della Reglia, 1,
Monterchi; open November to March, 9
am – 1 pm and 2 - 5 pm, April to
October, 9 am – 1 pm and 2 – 7 pm,
Monday and Wednesday through
Sunday.
The museum is closed
Tuesday. Admission is €5.50, free to
children under 14 and pregnant
women.
The basilica of San Francesco is situated in piazza San Francesco, Arezzo;
open Monday through Friday, 9 am 6:30 pm, Saturday 9 am - 5:30 pm,
Sunday 1 pm - 7:30 pm. Admission is
€8.
Palazzo Ducale is found in piazza
Duca Federico, Urbino; open Tuesday
through Sunday 8:30 am - 7:15 pm,
Monday 8:30 am - 2 pm. Admission is
€5.
Piero della Francesca’s iconic Madonna del Parto in the village of Monterchi, near Sansepolcro.
Preceding page, a view of Sansepolcro and residents in piazza Torre di Berta.
The artist created a touching image of
the Virgin Mary, heavy with child, a
rare depiction in Christian art. Clad in a
flowing blue velvet dress, her right
hand supports her large belly while her
left holds her side. Through the centuries, pregnant women have visited
the museum to pray for a safe delivery.
AREZZO, an important Etruscan city
later conquered by the Romans and
now the capital of the province, is the
next stop on the tour. Its Basilica of San
Francesco houses the splendid fresco
cycle, The Legend of the True Cross.
Recently restored, it tells the story of the
origin of the wood used to build the
cross on which Christ was crucified.
Literally covering the walls and ceilings
of the Bacci Chapel, the cycle begins
with the Death of Adam and ends with
the Annunciation. The artist’s strong
sense of geometric harmony and perspective are repeated throughout the
scenes of the work.
The walled city of URBINO lies in the
region of Le Marche and boasts an
architectural treasure, the Palazzo
Ducale, or Duke’s Palace. The Duke
Federico of Montefeltro was a political
ruler, diplomat, mercenary and patron
of art and literature. Travelers may
have seen della Francesca’s famous
portrait of the duke and his wife in
Florence’s Uffizi. The loss of his right
eye and bridge of his nose in a tournament resulted in him being portrayed
from his “good” side.
Today, visitors go to the Palazzo
Ducale to view the artist’s Flagellation of
Christ, a tour de force in oil and tempura. Although only 32 x 24 inches, the
unusual and detailed painting contains
two scenes. The primary action depicting the flogging of Christ is placed in
the background with Pontius Pilate
seated to the side watching. In the foreground, three men engaged in conversation appear disinterested in Christ’s
suffering. The observer must stand
exactly in the center of the painting in
order to view the single vanishing
point—the right hem of Christ’s tormentor’s robe.
VISITING HOURS
Sansepolcro’s Civic Museum is
located on via Niccolo’ Aggiunti, 65;
open September 16 to June 14, 10 am - 1
20th CENTURY ART SAVIOR
The art treasures of Sansepolcro, as
well as its architectural structures, were
spared heavy damage during World
War II when British Artillery Officer
Anthony Clarke disobeyed orders and
held back using his guns to shell the
town. Clarke, an art lover, had read
Huxley’s essay extolling the brilliance
of The Resurrection and risked court
martial to save the painting. Today in
the town, “via Anthony Clarke” honors
his contribution to its heritage.
THE PALIO DELLA BALESTRA
Present-day tourists flock to
Sansepolcro on the second Sunday in
September to witness a competition
with roots in medieval Tuscany. The
event, held since the 15th century, commences when men from the town challenge combatants from nearby rival
Gubbio to a tournament using crossbows (balestre).
Trumpets blare, drums roll, flags
wave and nobles, knights and ladies
parade in medieval costumes meticulously copied from Piero della
Francesca’s paintings. The weapons
are blessed in the cathedral, and the
archers assemble in piazza Torre di
Berta. The prize for the town with the
most contestants hitting a target from
120 feet away is a red woolen banner
(palio).
SHIRA BURNS
An Encounter
Across Centuries
PIERO DELLA FRANCESCA IN DIALOGUE WITH ALBERTO BURRI
A
lthough they lived 500 years
apart, two artists that changed
the course of Italian art,
A LBERTO B URRI and P IERO DELLA
FRANCESCA, were born within miles of
each other. Each had a distinctive style:
Piero was a master of the Italian
Renaissance while Burri created 20thcentury abstract art.
The Tuscan village of Sansepolcro,
the hometown of Piero della Francesca
and the venue of several of his signature works, is currently hosting an exhibition, one of many in honor of the
100th anniversary of Burri’s death. This
complementary juxtaposition between
Renaissance and contemporary art runs
until March 12, 2015 in the town’s civic
museum.
Despite coming from two vastly different times, each artist lived and
worked in the Tiber River valley and
shared a strong love for their birthplace.
Both were pioneers of their era: Piero, a
painter of the Early Renaissance, influenced many subsequent artists. Burri’s
incorporation of materials such as plastic, cement, tar and resin into his work
was a groundbreaking new feature of
Abstract Expressionism.
According to curator Bruno Corà,
the pair had an affinity for geometric
tension and the balance of form and
space. Piero was a mathematician
famous for his study of perspective,
whereas Burri used industrial materials
and contrasting colors to create irregular shapes.
BURRI
Born on March 12, 1915 in Città di
Castello, Burri began his career as a military physician. During the Second
World War, while held as a prisoner of
war in Texas, he began painting on the
A modern work by Albert Burri on display in Sansepolcro.
only material that was accessible:
burlap. This experience inspired him to
become an abstract artist, and a year
after his release his first solo art show
opened in Rome. Burri is best known
for his experimentation with a wide
variety of unconventional materials,
which creates tactile collages with
three-dimensional surfaces. His work
has been exhibited throughout Italy
and the United States in museums such
as the Guggenheim.
The exhibition in Sansepolcro features four of Burri’s mixed media on
loan from a museum in Perugia and
•TUSCANY’S CULTURAL GUIDE•
allows visitors a journey through the
evolution of his style. The earliest
work on display is Sacking and Green
(1956), in which he sewed together
pieces of burlap sackcloth. Next is Red
Plastic (1962), from his series incorporating special effects created by the
burning of plastic, and then Great White
Cretto (1974), one of his 1970s
“cracked” works, which have fractured
surfaces that resemble terrain. The
most current piece is Celotex (1975),
which dates from Burri’s period of
experimentation with this insulation
material.
SIGHTSEEING
CENTERFIELD
18
21
A detail of Piero della Francesca’s St. Ludovico fresco (1460) in Sansepolcro
PIERO DELLA FRANCESCA
In a dialogue between the centuries,
della Francesca’s frescos are exhibited
on the walls of the adjacent room: The
Resurrection (1458), San Ludovico (1460)
and San Giuliano (1454).
The
Resurrection is a symbol of della
Francesca’s love for Sansepolcro—the
subject is an allusion to the name of the
town, Holy Sepulcher. Daniela Frullani,
mayor of Sansepolcro, stated that the
village owes its existence to the fresco: it
was spared destruction during WWII
when an English officer disobeyed
orders to shell the town in order to save
The Resurrection.
Defined as the greatest painting in
the world by Aldous Huxley, the piece
has influenced many writers, poets and
film directors. Despite the care given to
the fresco by the town that views it as
one of their most important resources, it
is slated for a much-overdue restoration.
This dream will be fulfilled thanks
to the generosity of an entrepreneur
affiliated with a local pasta company,
Buitoni. Now a resident of Switzerland,
the entrepreneur is donating 100 million euro. Not associated with any
sponsorship, his generosity stems from
his love of Sansepolcro, the town where
his son was born. He said that his donation is not spontaneous, and that he has
many fond memories of the village and
wishes to promote awareness of the
painting.
The gift will allow for scaffolding to
be built and restorers to begin the delicate preservation of the Renaissance
work. They will conduct a thorough
cleaning of the fresco’s surface in order
to eliminate a dull film that has accumulated due to humidity, pollutants
and the passage of time.
The film has created a milky layer
that gives opaqueness to the overall color, which is subject to degradation from
a phenomenon known as lime sulfation, the chemical transformation of calcium carbonate. A non-invasive examination of the painting has also shown
that there are micro-cracks in the plaster
and that the paint is peeling.
As explained during a November
2014 press conference, the masterpiece
will not be obscured from the public
eye. Visitors will be allowed on the
scaffolding for a close-up view of the
work and the actual restoration
process, estimated to take two years.
The donor will follow the step-by-step
procedure thanks to a specially created
cell phone app.
The exhibition of these two very stylistically diverse artists enables visitors
to find connections between the works
of both della Francesca and Burri.
Although they are from different periods of art history, these innovative
pieces complement one another in an
unexpected manner. The comparison
brings to the forefront a strong affinity
between the two: a vibrant use of color
and a heavy reliance on geometric form.
REVISITATION: BURRI MEETS
PIERO DELLA FRANCESCA
Until March 12, 2015
Civic Museum of Sansepolcro
Open daily 10 am - 1 pm and 2:30 - 4 pm.
Admission: 8 euro
GRACE CRUMMETT & SHIRA BURNS
Music
Calendar
JANUARY
Friday, 9
MAGGIO MUSICALE ORCHESTRA
conducted by Xu Zhong (piano soloist). Music of Chen
Qigang, Beethoven and Shostakovich. Opera di Firenze. 8:30
pm. (MM)
Saturday, 10
CREMONA QUARTET
featuring soloist Antonio Meneses (cello). Music of
Webern, Haydn, Schubert. Teatro della Pergola. 4 pm. (AM)
Sunday, 11
HARPSICHORD RECITAL
by Ottavio Dantone. Music of Bach, English Suites I. Teatro
della Pergola. 9 pm. (AM)
Monday, 12
HARPSICHORD RECITAL
by Ottavio Dantone. Music of Bach, English Suites II.
Teatro della Pergola. 9 pm. (AM)
Wednesday, 14
ORCHESTRA DELLA TOSCANA
conducted by Giovanni Sollima (cello soloist). Music of
Sollima and Haydn. Teatro Verdi. 9 pm. (ORT)
MAGGIO MUSICALE ORCHESTRA
conducted by Ryan McAdams. Music of Mussorgsky,
Elgar and Rimsky-Korsakov. Opera di Firenze. 8:30 pm.
(MM)
Saturday, 17
PIANO RECITAL
by Piotr Anderszewski. Music of Beethoven, Schumann,
Szymanowski and Bartok. Teatro della Pergola. 4 pm. (AM)
Sunday, 18
SIGNUM SAXOPHONE QUARTET
music of Sibelius, Glazunov, Ligeti, Barber and Gershwin.
Teatro della Pergola. 9 pm. (AM)
Monday, 19
THE JULIA FISCHER QUARTET
chamber music concert. Music of Beethoven, Schumann
and Shostakovich. Teatro della Pergola. 9 pm. (AM)
Saturday, 24
Saturday, 14
*** For ticket information, contact:
BOX OFFICE Ticket Agency, Via Vecchie Carceri 1
(tel. 055/210804)
AC: Accademia Chigiana, Palazzo Chigi Saracini,
Siena (tel. 0577/22091)
AM: Amici della Musica, Teatro della Pergola, Via
della Pergola 32 (tel. 055/608420,
www.amicimusica.fi.it)
FCO: Florence Chamber Orchestra, Orsanmichele,
(www.orcafi.it)
MM: Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Opera di Firenze
(tel. 055 2779.350, www.operadifirenze.it)
ORT: Orchestra della Toscana, Teatro Verdi, Via
Ghibellina 101 (tel. 0584/359322,
www.orchestradellatoscana.it)
CELLO, VIOLIN AND PIANO CONCERT
by Clemens Hagen, Kolja Blacher and Kirill Gerstien.
Music of Beethoven. Teatro della Pergola. 4 pm. (AM)
MAGGIO MUSICALE ORCHESTRA
conducted by Daniel Oren with piano soloist Giuseppe
Albanian. Music of Tchaikovsky and Brahms. Opera di
Firenze. 8:30 pm. (MM)
Sunday, 15
MAGGIO MUSICALE ORCHESTRA
(see Saturday, 15). 4:30 pm.
CHAMBER MUSIC CONCERT
by Clemens Hagen (cello), Kolja Blacher (violin) and
Kirill Gerstien (piano). Music of Beethoven. Teatro della
Pergola. 9 pm. (AM)
Friday, 30
Monday, 16
I PURITANI
(see Wednesday, 28)
PIANO RECITAL
by Yuja Wang. Music of Chopin, Scriabin, Granados,
Albéniz and Schubert. Teatro della Pergola. 9 pm. (AM)
Saturday, 31
Tuesday, 17
PIANO AND VOICE RECITAL
by Jonathon Biss and Mark Padmore (tenor). Music of
Schubert. Teatro della Pergola. 4 pm. (AM)
FEBRUARY
Sunday, 1
I PURITANI
opera by Vincenzo Bellini. Maggio Musicale Orchestra and
Choir conducted by Giacomo Sagripanti. Opera di Firenze.
3:30 pm. (MM)
VIOLIN RECITAL
by Segej Krylov. Music of Ysaye, Bach, Berio and Paganini.
Teatro della Pergola. 9 pm. (AM)
THE BAT
operetta by Johann Strauss Jr. Maggio Musicale Orchestra
conducted by Paolo Ponziano Ciardi. Opera di Firenze. 8:30
pm. (MM)
CARNIVAL CONCERT
Orchestra della Toscana conducted by Daniele Rustioni
with soloist Enrico Dindo (cello). Music of Casella,
Tchaikovsky, Rossini and Sostakovich. Teatro Verdi. 9 pm.
(ORT)
Friday, 20
MAGGIO MUSICALE ORCHESTRA
conducted by Antonello Manacorda. Music of Strauss and
Stravinksy. Opera di Firenze. 8:30 pm. (MM)
Saturday, 21
Tuesday, 3
HAGEN QUARTET
chamber music concert. Music of Mozart. Teatro della
Pergola. 4 pm. (AM)
MAGGIO MUSICALE ORCHESTRA AND CHORUS
conducted by Giacomo Sagripanti. Music of Donizetti and
Verdi. Opera di Firenze. 8:30 pm. (MM)
Sunday, 22
Wednesday, 4
I PURITANI
(see Sunday, 1). 8:30 pm.
MUSICI AUREI
conducted by Luigi Piovano with soloist Sara Mingardo
(alto). Music of Mahler, Busoni and Britten. Teatro della
Pergola. 9 pm. (AM)
Tuesday, 24
PIANO AND VIOLIN RECITAL
by Katia Labèque and Viktoria Mullova. Music of Mozart,
Schumann, Pärt, Takemitsu and Ravel. Teatro della Pergola.
4 pm. (AM)
Thursday, 5
Sunday, 25
Saturday, 7
KELEMEN QUARTET
chamber music concert. Music of Haydn, Mendelssohn
and Bartók. Teatro della Pergola. 9 pm. (AM)
PIANO RECITAL
by Maria Perrotta. Homage to Bach. Teatro della Pergola. 4
pm. (AM)
Wednesday, 28
Sunday, 8
ORCHESTRA DELLA TOSCANA
conducted by John Axelrod with soloist Andrea
Lucchesini. Music of Beethoven. Teatro Verdi. 9 pm. (ORT)
TACKACS QUARTET
chamber music concert. Music of Schubert and Beethoven.
Teatro della Pergola. 9 pm. (AM)
ORCHESTRA DELLA TOSCANA
conducted by Emilio Pomarico with soloist Roger Muraro
(piano). Music of Busoni, Beethoven and Brahms. Teatro
Verdi. 9 pm. (ORT)
I PURITANI
opera by Vincenzo Bellini. Maggio Musicale Orchestra and
Choir conducted by Giacomo Sagripanti. Opera di Firenze.
8:30 pm. (MM)
Tuesday, 10
Friday, 27
I PURITANI
(see Sunday, 1). 8:30 pm.
TOM THUMB
(see Tuesday, 24). 10 am.
I PURITANI
(see Sunday, 1). 8:30 pm.
•TUSCANY’S CULTURAL GUIDE•
TOM THUMB
Florence School of Music Boys Choir conducted by
Alessandro Cadario. Music of Hans Werner Henze. Teatro
Goldoni. 8:30 pm. (MM)
Thursday, 26
TOM THUMB
(see Tuesday, 24). 10 am and 8:30 pm.
MUSIC & DANCE
SIGHTSEEING
20
23
Saturday, 28
SWEDISH RADIO CHOIR
conducted by Peter Dijkstra. Homage to Bach. Teatro della
Pergola. 4 pm. (AM)
MAGGIO MUSICALE ORCHESTRA
conducted by Nikolaj Znaider. Music of Beethoven and
Mozart. Opera di Firenze. 8:30 pm. (MM)
MARCH
MARCH
Sunday, 1
CHAMBER MUSIC CONCERT
with Alban Gerhardt (cello), Carolin Widmann (violin),
Alexander Melnikov (piano) and Jörg Widmann (clarinet). Music of Debussy, Bartok and Messiaen. Teatro della
Pergola (Saloncino). 9 pm. (AM)
DIDO AND AENEAS/ LE JEUNE HOMME ET LA
MORTE
Maggio Musicale Orchestra
and Chorus conducted by Stefano Montanari. Music of
Purcello and Bach.
Opera di Firenze. 8:30 pm. (MM)
Tuesday, 3
DIDO AND AENEAS/ LE JEUNE HOMME ET LA
MORTE
(see Sunday, 1)
Wednesday, 4
MAGGIO MUSICALE ORCHESTRA
AND CHORUS
conducted by Lorenzo Fratini.
Music by Fauré and Bizet.
Opera di Firenze. 8:30 pm. (MM)
MUSIC & DANCE
MUSIC & DANCE
22
Saturday, 7
PIANO RECITAL
by Paul Lewis. Music of Beethoven. Teatro della Pergola. 4
pm. (AM)
MAGGIO MUSICALE ORCHESTRA AND CHORUS
conducted by Roberto Abbado. Music of Strauss, Wagner
and Haydn. Opera di Firenze. 8:30 pm. (MM)
Sunday, 8
DIDO AND AENEAS/ LE JEUNE HOMME ET LA
MORTE
(see Sunday, 1). 3:30 pm.
Tuesday, 10
Thursday, 5
DIDO AND AENEAS/ LE JEUNE HOMME ET LA
MORTE
(see Sunday, 1)
DIDO AND AENEAS/ LE JEUNE HOMME ET LA
MORTE
(aee Sunday, 1)
Thursday, 12
ORCHESTRA DELLA TOSCANA
conducted by Jonathan Stockhammer with soloist Lilya
Zilberstein (piano). Music of Bartók, Beeethoven, Kagel
and Haydn. Teatro Verdi. 9 pm. (ORT)
Friday, 13
FIDELIO, THE FACE OF FREEDOM
Maggio Musicale Orchestra conducted by Giuseppe La
Malfa. Music of Beethoven. Opera di Firenze. 8:30 pm.
Saturday, 14
PIANO & VIOLIN RECITAL
by Enrico Pace and Leonidas Kavakos. Music of Poulenc,
Fauré, Stravinsky and Schubert. Teatro della Pergola. 4 pm.
FIDELIO, THE FACE OF FREEDOM
(see Friday, 13). 4:30 pm. (MM)
Maurizio Pollini
ANNE LOKKEN
Sunday, 15
A Florentine New Year
of Music
FIDELIO, THE FACE OF FREEDOM
(see Friday,15). 4:30 pm.
VIOLIN & PIANO RECITAL
Natalia Prishepenko and Sir Antonio Pappano. Teatro della Pergola. 9 pm. (AM)
Tuesday, 17
FIDELIO, THE FACE OF FREEDOM
(see Friday,15). 10 am.
Friday, 20
PIANO RECITAL
by Krystian Zimerman. Music of Brahms. Opera di Firenze.
8:30 pm. (AM)
LOOKING AHEAD TO THE CONCERTS OF THE
AMICI DELLA MUSICA, OPERA DI FIRENZE & ORT
Saturday, 21
PIANO RECITAL
by Beatrice Rana. Music of Bach, Chopin and Ravel. Teatro
della Pergola. 4 pm. (AM)
Sunday, 22
PIANO RECITAL
by Evgeny Kissin. Music of Beethoven, Prokofiev, Chopin
and Liszt. Opera di Firenze. 8:30 pm. (AM)
Thursday, 26
ORCHESTRA DELLA TOSCANA
conducted by Salvatore Accardo (violin) with Laura
Gorna (violin). Music of Mozart, Spohr, Schönberg. Teatro
Verdi. 9 pm. (ORT)
Saturday, 28
PIANO RECITAL
by Benjamin Grosvenor. Music of Rameau, Bach, Franck,
Chopin and Grandos. Teatro della Pergola. 4 pm. (AM)
Sunday, 29
MAHLER CHAMBER SOLOISTS
chamber music concert. Music of Stravinskym Koechlin,
Stravinsky and Poulenc. Teatro della Pergola. 9 pm. (AM)
Monday, 30
PIANO DUETS
by Julian Brocal and Maria João Pires. Music of Debussy,
Ravel and Beethoven. Opera di Firenze. 9 pm. (AM)
T
he most exciting event on the
Florence classical music scene of
the New Year is the concert
series, THE GREAT PERFORMERS (I Grandi
Interpreti). In a combined effort by the
Opera di Firenze and Amici della
Musica, some of the world’s greatest
pianists are scheduled at the new Opera
of Florence theater from February
through May. These concerts, offering a
wide variety of important repertoire by
the finest musicians of our time, are a
must for the appassionati of the piano.
Inaugurating “The Great Performers” on February 9 is Maurizio
Pollini, undisputedly the finest living
Italian pianist. He returns to Florence
after an eight-year absence with a program of Beethoven and Chopin. On
March 20, the Polish pianist Krystian
Zimerman will perform an evening of
Brahms. The winner of the International
Chopin Piano Competition in 1975 at the
age of 19, he is considered one of the foremost interpreters of the romantic repertoire.
Evgeny Kissen will arrive on March
26. The Moscow-born former child
prodigy is considered one of the finest
virtuosos of the piano and will perform
Beethoven, Prokof ’ev, a selection of
Nocturnes and Mazurkas by Chopin
and the Marcia Ràkòczy by Liszt. Maria
João Pires will give a joint recital with
the young French pianist Julien Brocal,
alternating works of Beethoven, Ravel
and Debussy (March 30).
Sir Andràs Schiff, a Hungarian but
longtime Florence resident, presents an
all-Bach program on April 19. Noted for
•TUSCANY’S CULTURAL GUIDE•
his sensitive touch and contrapuntal
clarity, he has recorded the entire catalogue of Bach’s works for keyboard and
will perform the six Partite BWV 825-830
for harpsichord transcribed for piano.
Lang Lang (May 4) and Murray
Perhaia (May 8) offer very different
styles of performance and interpretation in programs to be announced.
Closing the series will be another giant
of the keyboard, Russian Grigory
Sokolov, known for his physical
strength and variety of colors, playing
Bach and Beethoven.
The winter months will also feature
a variety of wonderful classical concerts, with no genre or style overlooked
AMICI DELLA MUSICA
AMICI DELLA MUSICA continues its
MUSIC & DANCE
24
series of world-class chamber music
concerts at Teatro della Pergola. On
January 10 and 11, concertgoers can
enjoy the six suites for cello solo by J. S.
Bach performed by Enrico Bronzi.
For something out of the ordinary,
the Signum Saxophone Quartet will
arrive on January 18. Formed in 2006,
this group of two Germans and two
Slovenians play works of classical
music from arrangements of string
quartets and symphonic pieces to new
contemporary works. The quartet performs their music from memory, prefer-
ring freedom of movement and choreography on stage.
OPERA OF FLORENCE
For opera lovers, the M AGGIO
MUSICALE at the Opera of Florence, will
stage I Puritani, Bellini’s final work (he
died at only 33). This bel canto masterpiece, with six performances starting
January 28, is rarely performed due to
the technical difficulty of the vocal
roles.
The Israeli conductor, Daniel Oren,
always popular with the Florentine
public, will appear on two occasions in
February. On February 3, there will be
a special event marking the 150th
anniversary of Florence designated as
capital of Italy. On that day in 1865,
King Vittorio Emanuele II arrived in the
city with big plans for modernization,
which included the creation of the
future piazza della Repubblica and the
viali (the boulevards encircling
Florence) in Parisian style.
The celebration will include entire
acts of two favorite operas: Act III from
Donizetti’s Lucia di Lamermoor, and Acts
I and II of Ernani, a work based on the
Victor Hugo play, by Giuseppe Verdi.
On February 14, Oren will lead the
orchestra with pianist Giuseppe
Albanese in the Tchaikovsky Concerto
n. 1 for piano and orchestra and the
Symphony n. 2. by Johannes Brahms.
ORT
T HE O RCHESTRA R EGIONALE
TOSCANA continues its program of symphonic concerts at Teatro Verdi in
Florence. Giovanni Sollima, born in
Palermo, has the roles of cello soloist,
conductor and composer on January 14.
He is known for his crossover styles,
from baroque and classical through the
rock music of Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix,
The Beatles and Slayer.
The concert begins with his composition “Hell I – Songs from the Divine
Comedy,” conceived during a long
period of residence in the “orderly
chaos” of New York and revisits
Dante’s Inferno. Next, he will interpret
the Concerto n. 1 by Haydn, followed
by another of his own compositions,
”Folktales,” composed in 2009, which
found its inspiration in Italo Calvino’s
“Italian Folktales,” his fabulous
recounting and reinvention of 200 popular tales.
To celebrate Mardi Gras, on
Tuesday, February 17 in Florence, the
ORT, conductor Daniele Rustioni and
cellist Enrico Dindo, offer an evening of
music by Casella, Tchaikovsky, Rossini
and Shostakovich. True to its name, the
‘Regional Orchestra’ travels to concert
venues in various towns and cities of
the Tuscan region including Piombino,
Pisa, Empoli, Siena, Arezzo and others.
Their annual festival of Italian contemporary music, PLAY IT! has been postponed until September, 2015
27
CALENDAR
Until February 8 •
GIOVANNI BARTOLINI’S
‘ARNINA’
Galleria dell’Accademia
Open daily 8:15 am – 6:15 pm, closed
Mondays
Admission: 8.50 euro
Until February 10 •
PASSION & COLLECTION
Casa Buonarrotti, via Ghibellina 70.
Open daily 10 am – 4 pm, closed
Tuesdays
Admission: 6.50 euro
Until February 22 •
TREASURES OF THE BUCCELLATI
FOUNDATION
Pitti Palace, Museo degli Argenti
Open daily 8:15 am – 4:30 pm
closed the first and last Sundays of the
month
Admission: 7 euro (includes all Pitti
Palace exhibitions)
Until February 15 •
MODIGLIANI & FRIENDS
Palazzo Blu, Lungarno Gambacorti 9,
Pisa.
Open Tuesday – Friday, 10 am – 7 pm,
Saturday and Sunday, 10 am – 8 pm,
closed Monday
Admission: 10 euro
Until February 28 •
VIAREGGIO CARNIVAL
Viareggio
Every Sunday in February at 3 pm
The last Sunday, February 28 at 8:30 pm
Admission: 18 euro,
children 7 and under free
February 26 – March 1 •
DANZA IN FIERA,
INTERNATIONAL DANCE
FESTIVAL
Fortezza da Basso
Open Thurs. 3 – 8 pm; Fri., Sat., & Sun.
9 am – 8 pm.
Admission: adults 15 euro,
children under 8 free
March 7 – 9 •
TASTE
Stazione Leopolda
Open Fri. & Sat. 1:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Open Sun., 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
Admission: 15 euro
***All events are in Florence
unless otherwise specified
REPORTED BY THE VISTA STAFF
in
Town
& Around
GIOVANNI
BARTOLINI’S ‘ARNINA’
A single, exquisite 1825 sculpture
and its original plaster cast on loan from
Prato is the centerpiece of display of a
masterwork lost and found. Aspiring
to be the head of the sculpture department of Florence’s Fine Arts Academy
(Accademia delle Belle Arti), preeminent
yet controversial sculptor Giovanni
Bartolini created this statue of an Arno
water nymph (Arnina), presenting it to
the head of the Academy and Uffizi
Gallery director Giovanni degli
Alessandri, who refused to accept it. It
was later sold to an English buyer and
had disappeared from public sight until
now.
In the 1990s, the present owner purchased the work, which shows
Bartolini’s transition from a purely neoclassical style to naturalism, from a
plant nursery for a nominal fee. Not
conscious of its origins or true identity,
Arnina adorned a private garden, visible from the proprietor ’s breakfast
room. Little did he dream that the
sculpture was actually a valuable
antique. The work, which bears an
inscription to Giovanni degli
Alessandri, key to its recent identification, will return to Great Britain at the
show’s end. (rosanna cirigliano)
PASSION & COLLECTION
Although Michelangelo acquired
what was to become known as Casa
Buonarroti, members of his family lived
there for generations, yet he never did.
Now a museum to his memory, in addition to Michelangelo’s works Madonna
of the Stairs and The Battle of the Centaurs,
the display cases now contain 100
pieces of Tuscan ceramics and majolica
from the 14th to the 18th centuries.
and there is a specific collection of jewelry dedicated to him, including a twisted silver bracelet decorated with five
lapis lazuli stones. Mario also studied
the technical secrets of ancient silversmiths, and reproduced eight cups that
were buried in lava from the eruption of
Vesuvius.
All from private collections, the
plates, vases, jugs and bowls portray
the evolution of color palette and decorative motifs in Tuscany. Highlighted is
production in Montelupo, where
Spanish influences are initially evident,
later giving way to a burst of creativity
and bold use of color. The exhibition
opens with a piece that belongs to Casa
Buonarroti: in the entryway is a 17th
century majolica dish depicting a figure
and the Buonarroti coat-of-arms, granted to the family by the Medici Pope Leo
X. (rosanna cirigliano)
TREASURES OF THE BUCCELLATI
FOUNDATION
The founders of Buccellati Jewelry,
Mario Buccellati, along with his son
Gianmaria, are two of the most
renowned goldsmiths in the world. A
special exhibition to celebrate the firm’s
100th anniversary features over 100
pieces of their breathtaking jewelry,
gold and silver pieces on loan from
their foundation.
The show is curated by Gianmaria
himself and is located in the Grandducal Summer Apartments on the
ground and mezzanine floors of the
Pitti Palace, home to the precious
antique jewelry and porcelain collections of the Medici family.
Visitors will be greeted by some of
the most valuable works designed by
the founder of the brand, such as
bracelets, brooches and tiaras.
Inspired by the masters of the
Renaissance, Mario Buccellati created
his own unique and recognizable style
that was appreciated by members of
royal families, popes and wealthy intellectuals.
Poet Gabriele D’Annunzio called
Mario the “prince of the goldsmiths,”
The next section focuses on the work
of son Gianmaria Buccellati. Born in
Milan in 1929, at age 12 he sketched his
first piece of jewelry and was encouraged by his parents to continue the family tradition. He said, “My father did
not teach me the work techniques, just
as I have not taught them to my son.
What happens is the transmission of
thought, vision and work experience,
together with the absorption of tradition.”
Gianmaria’s personal collection, in a
section called Precious Objects, features bowls, vases and boxes that he
designed after being inspired by historic Medici collections. These 20thcentury artifacts are testimonials to his
strong ties with Renaissance, Baroque
and Rococo culture. Among the
exhibits is the “Cup of Love” (1975),
inspired by a Rococo pattern and showcasing a piece of jasper topped with an
exquisite gold figurine of Venus encircled by three angels.
His love for Renaissance designs is
represented by extraordinary items
such as the “Medici Chest,” a 10-sided
box decorated with yellow, red and
white gold and 266 diamonds. He was
also influenced by neoclassicism, as
seen in the “Crater of the Muses” (1981),
a jade cup with 2,027 sapphires and the
names of the nine deities of the arts in
Greek mythology inscribed on the lip.
Despite the sometimes hundreds of
gems on each piece,
the jewelry is
incredibly delicate
and often features
gold honeycomb drillwork, a signature of the
company, which has mastered this intricate art. Since
there are few modern-day
emperors to hoard these precious
jewels, this overflowing collection of
Buccellati’s greatest masterpieces can
be enjoyed by the public, who will walk
though a doorway into the life of royalty at least for the duration of their visit.
(shira burns)
VIAREGGIO CARNIVAL
The period preceding Easter is a
time to reflect on all of the past year’s
events. In Tuscany, this reflection
manifests itself as a parade of satirical papier-mâché carri (floats) at the
Viareggio Carnival. Taking hundreds
of hours to manually assemble, the
building-sized floats proceed down a
seaside boulevard in competition,
according to size, for a grand prize.
Unlike the better-known Venice
Carnival, the Viareggio Carnival is rollickingly humorous rather than poetically elegant. It is a time where Tuscans
exercise their famous biting wit to comment on contemporary culture and politics. Here, political satire and social
commentary are either mockingly subtle or brutally scathing and derisive.
There is a saying in Viareggio: A
Carnevale, Ogni Scherzo Vale (All’s Fair
At Carnival). Nothing is sacred—no
one is spared.
This year’s floats primarily focus on
political corruption and reformation, as
well as the preservation of the environment. They include: “Reformers,” featuring a Transformer with the face of
Prime Minister Renzi; “Bella Ciao,” an
anti-fascist float that derives inspiration from the World War II resistance
fighter ’s song; “White Gold,” a float
•TUSCANY’S CULTURAL GUIDE•
NOTES
NOTES
26
29
condemning ivory poaching; and
“Don’t Fossilize Us,” a Jurassic Parkthemed float with a grim message and a
call-to-arms against global warming.
These remarkable works of pop art
are up to 40 feet high and pulled by concealed tractors. Teams of men and
women inside each work the multiple
moving parts manually, pushing and
manipulating an arrangement of ropes,
pulleys and levers. The carri are in constant motion against the beach’s backdrop, with the scene reminiscent of a
Fellini film.
DANZA IN FIERA
Fusing styles of dance from all over
the world, the biggest international
dance extravaganza is returning to
Florence for four days and over 30
hours of events. The 10th anniversary
of the festival will feature performances, exhibitions, dance competitions,
and workshops.
Free classes will be open to all levels
and ages. Members of the community
can try their hand at traditional styles
such as classical ballet, ballroom, and
jazz, or more modern styles such as hiphop and breakdance. Also offered are
ELIZABETH LA BARBERA
Photo by Letizia Francioni Naldi
Upcoming Fashion Professionals
at Florence’s FIT
Bollywood and yoga, as well as flamenco and belly dancing. Visitors can try
Zumba, aerobics and Jazzercize. More
advanced dancers are welcome to participate in master classes and teacher’s
workshops.
Younger dancers interested in furthering their careers are invited to partake in auditions and showcases
throughout the weekend, as well as
exchanges with prominent members of
the dance community. Dancers can also
submit videos in order for a chance to
perform. The Metro newspaper will
have its program, “Metrotalent,” with
opportunities for dancers to win scholarships and more. Also on the schedule
will be dance competitions, and performances from international and
national companies.
Danza in Fiera also offers meetings
and talks, allowing participants to meet
the national director of the Royal
Academy of Dance Italy, or attend a
round table dedicated to the street
dance movement in Italy. There will be
stands selling dancewear, shoes, and
accessories, as well as fashion shows so
that the dance aficionado can learn
about new trends. (shira burns)
TASTE
Known for its fashion fairs, Pitti
Immagine also organizes Taste, a festival that blends food and lifestyle. The
three-day-long fair is dedicated to the
discovery of excellent cuisine, and how
its diversity has roots in culture and
production methods.
Table after table of delicious breads,
cheeses, gourmet cold cuts, wine, honey, chocolates, cookies, pastries and coffee—just about any delectable that one
can dream of—line the counters of the
enormous interior of the former Grand
Ducal train station.
Featuring
renowned culinary masters from across
Italy, the fair is nothing short of a
mouth-watering delight, as helpful
exhibitors provide enticing information
while giving free samples of their products.
Divided into four guided junctures,
the fair directs the visitor as follows:
Taste Tour, described above; Taste
Tools; Taste Press; and Taste Shop. Taste
Tools supplies the necessary culinary
gadgets vital to Italian recipes, while
Taste Press is dedicated to culinary literature and magazines. Finally, don’t
expect to leave empty handed—the
Taste Shop facilitates the purchase of
the products sampled so the visitor can
recreate recipes.
AMERICAN STUDENTS MEET ITALIAN STYLE
F
lorence is loved for many aspects
of its culture, including its continued contribution to the fashion industry. Once a home to pioneers
in the field, the city is now a place where
passion and talent are nurtured, including that of students from New York’s
FASHION I NSTITUTE OF T ECHNOLOGY
(FIT).
The Florence program is open to
F.I.T. students studying International
Fashion Design, International Fashion
Merchandising Management, as well as
Liberal Arts. Those enrolled are given
the chance to immerse themselves in a
fashion-forward culture through courses and once-in-a-lifetime field trips.
While productions that were once in
Italy have moved abroad to adapt to the
demand of high volume, fast-fashion
markets, history is still radiating from
every major luxury fashion house that
calls this country home.
According to FIT in Florence’s resident director Madeleine Kaplan, people come to Italy not because they are
missing the basics, but because they are
looking for the “extra.” Florence gives
students that “extra” element of experience and opportunities that they can’t
get in New York, including classrooms
in a historic villa.
A stunning campus located in
Polimoda’s Villa Favard welcomes students. The elegant space helps to
invoke a high standard of creativity and
imagination, because it is almost
impossible not to be inspired by such
elements as the dizzyingly high ceiling.
A noblewoman born in Livorno of
French and Italian descent commissioned the building to Florentine urban
architect Giuseppe Poggi. Villa Favard
was designed in a Florentine neoclassical style with a French twist, seen today
through a mix of frescoes and stucco
Ferruccio Ferragamo at Florence’s FIT campus
that line the university campus.
FIT in Florence seeks to open doors
for students that can only truly be
opened from within. Opportunities
include entrance to the Pitti trade
shows. Nearly 60% of the study abroad
students are fashion business students
who know the importance of studying
globally and understanding international markets.
They are encouraged to reach out of
their comfort zones and into the community, working alongside artisans and
small business owners through internships and volunteer work. A number of
design students are even fortunate
enough to be mentored by creative
directors of some of the world’s top luxury brands, including Mr. Giornetti of
Ferragamo, who volunteer their time to
the advancement of the fashion industry through investment in education.
When the school year comes to a
close, instead of “finals” as the tradi•TUSCANY’S CULTURAL GUIDE•
tional never-ending exams and papers,
these students also put theory to practice with their hands. A final exhibition
showcases creations by FIT students
graduating with their Associate Degree
in either International Fashion Design
or International Fashion Merchandising Management. The designs are often
made with unique printed fabrics in
collaboration with leading textile companies such as Mantero Seta, Ratti Spa
and Isa Seta.
Florence is just the right size with
the right combinations, according to
Madeleine Kaplan, both for herself and
the energetic and passionate FIT students. A bigger city is a better platform
for some, making FIT in Milan the perfect setting for willing third and fourth
year fashion design students. Made in
Italy, even an education made in Italy,
continues to be desirable and valuable.
HIGHER EDUCATION
NOTES
28
31
In Stride with
Tomorrow’s Fashion
THE NEWEST STYLES AT THE PITTI FAIRS, FASHION
FROM THE PAST AT VINTAGE SELECTION
A
city situated at the crossroads
of beauty and innovation,
Florence continues its dedication to style with the semi-annual Pitti
Immagine trade fairs early in the New
Year, filling the city with excitement.
This year ’s theme, Walkabout Pitti,
echoes the vibrant energy of the four
shows, P ITTI U OMO , P ITTI W, P ITTI
FILATI and PITTI BIMBO, as well as the
VINTAGE SELECTION event.
Involving both locals and visitors
alike, Pitti Immagine provides a global
platform for both established and upand-coming brands, hosting buyers
from around the world. An estimated
1,090 labels will be showcased at Pitti
Uomo, plus 70 collections at Pitti W.
Not to be outdone, Pitti Bimbo will display over 430 collections, firmly establishing its position as the premier global children’s fashion trade show.
Walkabout Pitti explores the modern
concept of walking for pure pleasure
instead of necessity, in addition to the
idea of walking as a means of being
healthy and self-aware. This theme
will be embodied by the Pitti People
and extend to the entire city, with special itineraries which are to be followed
exclusively on foot.
PITTI UOMO
Pitti Immagine Uomo 87 will feature collections for fall/winter 2015-6
that explore the links between art, fashion, sport and design. Distinguished by
its balance of both global and Italian
brands, Pitti Uomo comprises a mix of
established and rising brands. This
year’s show received a record number
of applications, with vendors coming to
Florence from over 30 different countries.
The New York brand Hood By Air,
founded in 2006 and known for its cut-
ting edge designs, will be the Pitti
Special Guest and will produce a special event for Pitti Uomo on Wednesday,
January 14. The Menswear Guest
Designer will be Marni. The Milanbased company recently celebrated its
20th anniversary and will present an
exclusive show on Thursday, January
15, featuring the company’s 2015-2016
fall-winter menswear collection.
This year’s show will also mark the
fourth edition of the Isetan-Tokyo
Project, and Isetan Shinjuku-Tokyo will
host a special promotion of men’s fashion for Pitti guests. Other notable
brands that will be unveiling their fallwinter collections at Pitti Immagine are
Colmar Originals and German brands
Drykorn and Bogner.
Twelve stages will be set up along
Pitti’s men’s fashion itinerary, including I PLAY, which will feature styles
that blend urban lifestyles with the
technology of sports, TOUCH!, L’Altro
Uomo, which will present the most
visionary and eccentric styles and
Futuro Maschile, dedicated to changes
in classic-contemporary menswear
with a number of sophisticated international labels.
In addition to runway events, Pitti
Uomo visitors will be treated to
Cloakroom, an original performance
created by Olivier Saillard, director of
Palais Galliera, Musée de la Mode de la
Ville de Paris, and performed by Tilda
Swinton, one of the best-known contemporary actresses. In this one-of-akind performance, Saillard and
Swinton play the role of the hosts, asking guests to leave their hats and coats
in the cloakroom. The pieces will be
used as part of the act.
PITTI W
With the 15th installment of Pitti
CLOSING
ISABELLA GREZZI & SYDNEY CHOI
Immagine W, women’s fashion has
returned to Florence’s catwalk with a
fresh look at the “everyday woman.”
The Arena Strozzi at Fortezza da Basso
will be previewing the newest trends,
which will coordinate well with the
men’s fashion at Pitti Uomo. The precollection will start with the innovative
styles of international labels for fall and
winter of 2015-16.
This year, the collections will have a
heavier focus on concepts directly related to the Pitti Uomo, as stylistic concepts between men and women’s fashion are becoming increasingly similar.
For this reason, Futuro Maschile,
Touch! and L’Altro Uomo will be key
influences on this project.
“The new features for this edition
include a bigger space for the world of
accessories, which is playing an even
more decisive role on the market, with a
selection of brands created for the high
range boutique and department store
clientele,” says Pitti Immagine general
manager Agostino Poletto. Some of the
big names include Jeffrey Campbell,
Sara Roka and Gianni Segatta, with all
of the showcases to be presented on a
stage created by the designer Ilaria
Marelli.
Thanks to Pitti Uomo and W,
despite the cold of winter, Florence will
come alive to represent one of Italy’s
most important industries. The
Alternative Set project will establish the
most innovative concepts and specific
focuses in the collections, giving the
entire event a more diverse and interesting perspective.
PITTI BIMBO
The following week, Pitti Bimbo,
the key international event for children’s fashion, will arrive in Florence.
The fair’s growing prominence in the
fashion world is evident by the 430 featured collections, 166 of which are global brands, as well as the expected participation of nearly 7,200 buyers and
10,000 visitors.
Even the youngest guests will be
able to join in Walkabout Pitti as the
theme will be adapted for kids by
designer Ilaria Marelli. The Fortezza
da Basso will feature a mixed terrain
with various paths to follow illustrated
by brochures, maps and apps, all
redesigned for children.
Pitti Bimbo is divided into eight sections including Pop Up Stores, which
will feature fun, youthful accessories,
and a special section called EcoEthic,
which will present products from companies that are dedicated to the use of
organic and biological materials in
their designs. The KidsroomZOOM!
Project, curated by Paola Noe’s unduetrestella!, offers guests a peek at the latest creations by international young
designers and is part of the Pitti Bimbo
concept lab, characterized by fashion
and design.
•TUSCANY’S CULTURAL GUIDE•
PITTI FILATI
More than just a trade show, the 76th
edition of Pitti Filati is a combination
research lab and observatory, offering a
glimpse into the fabric trends of the
future. The event will unveil world
previews of yarns for 2016, furthering
Pitti Immagine’s initiative dedicated to
the interaction between art, sport, fashion and design. Sharing the spotlight
are 138 firms, including international
labels from Great Britain, Japan,
32
made specifically for the event by some
of the biggest names in Italy’s “denim
chain.”
Fashion At Work provides venues
for knitwear-manufacturing technology, including dyeing techniques,
embroideries, printing on knits and soft
wear for knitwear design. KnitClub
will focus on quality knitting mills,
offering a rare encounter between the
manufacturers and buyers. KnitClub
allows them to work together to realize
their creative ideas.
Turkey, China and Germany.
The three main sections are Denim
Italiano, Fashion At Work and
KnitClub. Denim Italiano, a project
dedicated to the rich history of Italian
denim that premiered last June, displays techniques for manufacturing the
fabric as well as wash finishes, printing
and embroidering. The result of collaborations between Pitti Immagine
and Milano Unica, the initiative will
feature a striking exhibition-installation at Pitti Filati 76, showcasing items
VINTAGE SELECTION
A combination of fashion, commerce, culture and entertainment,
Vintage Selection attracts the attention
of vintage enthusiasts worldwide. 2015
marks the 25th anniversary of Vintage
Selection, which has inspired the event’s
theme of “Silver Edition” at Stazione
Leopolda.
Vintage Selection mainly hosts Italian
exhibitors who will display a mix of
men’s, women’s and children’s clothing as well as accessories and some furniture, highlighting fashion from the
1940s-80s. Stands will fill Stazione
Leopolda to display the many vintage
items available. Each will have a practical and artistic installation hanging
about to indicate the various exhibitors.
Participants include well-known
names such as A.N.G.E.L.O., Roberta
Polato and Deuda Vintage.
“The Silver Anniversary will be a
tribute to how far we have come while
looking forward to the future,” say the
organizers.
Having been established for so long,
Vintage Selection has proven itself in
Italy and in all of Europe as one of the
most important fashion events, with a
focus on vintage culture and remake
quality—the use of vintage elements in
contemporary style. Thanks to
researchers, collectors and fashion
exhibitors, the event has always been a
great success, accommodating 13,500
visitors at its last winter edition.
Vintage Selection and Pitti Filati,
which take place simultaneously at
Fortezza da Basso, are closely associated as designers and buyers come
together to set the fashion agenda.
Designers are exposed to the new
developments in textiles and can find
inspiration from the samples as pins
and buttons to add a vintage twist to
modern styles.
Vintage Selection will also offer different activities including afternoon
workshops conducted by experts in
their respective fields; Lampinposa—an
event where visitors can be photographed in clothing and accessories
found in the stands; a DJ (who will play
music from the 50s) and live music;
aperitivo (cocktail hour) and more.
Organizers will also provide volunteer
opportunities, allowing both locals and
tourists to participate in this milestone
event.
Pitti Uomo, Pitti W, January 13- 16
Pitti Bimbo, January 22-24
Pitti Filati, January 28-30
Fortezza da Basso, Florence
Entrance limited to buyers and the press
Vintage Selection, January 28
to February 1
Open 10 am - 9 pm daily
Admission: 5 euro
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