Piazza della Passera The Florentine little Montmartre

“I would like to have an ice cream, not because I am hungry, rather it is more a whim, exactly what I should avoid given that I am on a diet” “Stop with this diet Marti! If I were a man, I would lose my mind for you! I’ll take you to one of my places where you can find the best ice cream in Florence” So I ended up in Piazza della Passera, in that corner of the city of Santo Spirito neighbourhood. We had passed Ponte Vecchio and the more we moved away the more I had the feeling that the splendour of Florence, that purely tourist and prêt-à-porter, turned into something more intimate, into a Florentine beauty, little noisy and celebrated, we ended up in that Piazza that my friend Sofia considered one of her places.

In the heart of Florence. Culture as a common good The 150th anniversary of Florence Capital and the great poet Mario Luzi

Florence is history, tradition, art and culture. Valuable, beautiful, desired. This is what Florence means to us Florentines and to so many tourists that visit and love our city. Palazzo Vecchio has reopened its beautiful courtyards, becoming a favorite destination with an increase of visitors of 25%. A square to experience and share, an endless surprise visit, from the excavations of the Roman Theater to the exposure of the Medici tapestries, arriving across the communication trench to the top of the Arnolfo Tower, enjoying the story with each step you take. On the 18th of November, 1865 the Chamber of Deputies was installed in Palazzo Vecchio in the Salone dei Cinquecento; the King arrived on February 3rd of that year after the riots and deaths in Turin when Florence became the Capital of Italy. The 150th anniversary of Florence Capital was celebrated with the issue of a special stamp printed by the Polygraph Institute and Zecca dello Stato, a stamp that we have officially presented last June, the tricolor that surrounds Palazzo Vecchio.

La Festa della Toscana The reforms of Pietro Leopoldo and modern Tuscany

The roots of peace and justice of our Nation find their foundation in Tuscany, the first to decreed the abolition of the death penalty through a legal document signed by Pietro Leopoldo on November 30, 1786. 2016 will mark the 230 years anniversary since the criminal reform of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, but in the meantime, this year marks the fifteen edition of Tuscany’s Feast. The initiatives proposed by the regional Council are designed to emphasize the high value of this anniversary, not only as an evocation of a historical event which coincides with the abolition of the death penalty by the Grand Duke Leopold of Tuscany, but also as a representation and reflection on human rights and peace. This edition of Tuscany’s Feast is dedicated to the “The reforms of Pietro Leopoldo and modern Tuscany: economic initiative (liberalization); communities (local entities and their identity); the corporate organization (dissolution of corporations and the establishment of the chambers of commerce); human rights (abolition of the death penalty and of torture)”.

The beauty of Florence is not the beauty of a museum There is more, there is so much more

It happens to every one of us: to walk downtown of Florence and be projected into another dimension. You imagine life during the centuries that have made the city great: the free Municipality, the Republic, the Signoria, the Grand Duchy (Granducato). Dante, Francesco Ferrucci, the Medici... Talent, wisdom, prosperity. The pillars of an unprecedented enterprise that has left traces of an unmatchable beauty. But the beauty of Florence is not the beauty of a museum. Or of a monument. Or of so many monuments built so closely together. There is more, there is so much more. There is a city that following its genetic trail has always remained true to itself, that welcomed everyone without selling itself, that has allured artists, poets and novelists from all over the world, as a source of inspiration, and not as their scene. Civic virtues, politics and faith. Florence is not a bath of aesthetics. Florence is life. Impulse, risk. It is not a paradise on earth: there was also ferocity, conflict and war. Even fratricidal wars. But it has been and will continue to remain a city of rights, of religion that becomes a social commitment, the city of volunteering, of palaces and small houses, of noble families and aristocracy, the aristocracy of craftsmen.

A few words with Timothy Verdon The visionary director of the Opera del Duomo Museum in Florence

Its reopening was eagerly awaited and, after two years of meticulous work, Opera del Duomo Museum was promptly revealed to us with a completely renewed architectural aspect, with an exhibit that leaves its mark, with a strong history and an exceptional heritage: the world’s largest collection of sacred medieval and Florentine Renaissance art and sculpture. The Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore was founded in 1296 in order to build the Cathedral of Florence and since then is responsible for its conservation and enhancement; for the construction of the new museum it has invested 45 million euro from personal resources, without any public contribution, creating a monumental work from whatever perspective you look at it. Knowing the director of the museum, Monsignor Timothy Verdon, and listening to his lively words about the story of such an extraordinary museum it’s a great privilege and for that I must thank him.

The new Museum of Santa Maria del Fiore When the magic of architecture creates a temple of sculpture

Ci sono avvenimenti nella storia della cultura che scandiscono il tempo. Firenze, nel campo della cultura artistica, è stata ininterrottamente presente nell’attività museale, nell’attenzione e nella cura del patrimonio artistico. La museologia e la museografia, come discipline specialistiche, sono nate qui, grazie all’intelligente intuizione di Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti. Qui, a Firenze, ha visto la luce – nel 1972 - la rivista Museologia, diretta da Luisa Becherucci (già Direttrice degli Uffizi) e sono maturati i primi “Convegni Internazionali di Museologia” (1974, 1984). Tra Firenze e Pisa, sotto l’inesauribile spinta di Ragghianti, che vi ha trascinato direttori e creatori di musei come Bruno Molajoli, Della Pergola, Franco Russoli, con Decreto Legge n.167 del 1968, fu attivata la disciplina universitaria di “Museografia”. Tutto ciò per dire come l’attenzione per il “museo” ha avuto qui salde radici, poi maturate altrove. Del resto, la prima (parziale) apertura degli Uffizi risale al 1591, col Granduca Francesco I dei Medici; il Museo del Bargello, aperto nel 1865 ai tempi in cui Firenze fu Capitale, nacque inizialmente come “Sala d’Armi”, arricchendosi poi con opere provenienti dalle “soppressioni” e dalle “donazioni”, quali la Carrand, Conti, Ressman, Franchetti. Solo nel 1891 fu aperto il Museo del Duomo, relativamente agli spazi che erano stati la sede secolare dell’Opera del Duomo, fondata nel 1296.

Papa Francesco November 10, first visit in Florence

I met Papa Francesco recently in Rome during a press conference: it was thrilling to have him in front of me. In these difficult times, he represents the “voice of the world’s conscience”, he sends precise messages as it has happened at the General Assembly of the United Nations on September 25, when he stated that it is the duty of the world’s leaders to defend the poor and fight against inequality. Will we, mere mortals, politicians, journalists, the church itself, listen to him? What immediately struck me about Papa Francesco was his lifestyle since the beginning of his pontificate aiming to revive the image of a church “for the poor”. He chose to live in a common apartment, that allows him to be closer to the people who move inside the state of the Vatican and his many gestures of simplicity allow a glimpse into the evangelical truthfulness of his way to express and communicate with anyone (recently he has personally went to the optician to change his glasses!) and his appeals to the Roman curia and the cardinals to eliminate any kind of privilege has caused him to be attacked by the most conservative sectors of the curia and defended by the more open ones. His work has been discussed both within and outside of the church in connection with uncomfortable topics such as women, homosexuality, euthanasia, relations with politics, the search for a common dialogue with other religions and so on.

Teatro della Pergola The stage of mysteries and crafts

In the most hidden part of Teatro della Pergola revive the nightmares of the human soul. I racconti del terrore – mezzanotte a teatro con Edgar Allan Poe is the new touring show proposed with the Compagnia delle Seggiole in the “dungeons” of the greatest Florentine theater, that create beauty on the scene. The guides of the path are Poe and all the thoughts that lay between sleep and wakefulness, between life and death, between reality and fantasy. The first cycle of stories is scheduled in November, 13-15, 18-21 and 25-28: The Tell-Tale Heart, The Masque of the Red Death, The Premature Burial. The second cycle will be presented on December, 2-5, 9-12 and 16-18: The Oval Portrait, Blackwood, The Black Cat. It starts at 11 pm.

The flood of Florence A memory still very much alive

In Florence’s calendar the date of 4th November is marked with red. Not because it is a festive day although in a way it has become one. The 4th of November is the day when we remember the last flood, that has severely hit the city in 1966, one of the most destructive in its history. However more than a day of mourning, it is also seen as the most suitable occasion to celebrate the proverbial Florentine pride. More than admirable was in fact the way in which the habitants of Florence have been able to react to the immense tragedy. Without any wailing, prompt, with courage and confidence in themselves. In those days a “Civil Protection” system didn’t exist, so it was that event which prompted government authorities to create one. The emergency and a big part of the reconstruction were faced from “the bottom” with a genuinely popular participation, demonstrating a high sense of being a community. But November 4th can also be celebrated as a day of solidarity in the name of art. Financial and volunteer aid had arrived from all parts of the world, demonstrating how much Florence was loved and felt like “their own”.

In this issue Florence is … Novembre - Decembre 2015

Exactly two year have passed since the first issue of Florence is You! published in its printed form on December 2013, and how much it has changed since then... Browsing the printed issues that have followed, with my dear friend and our patient graphic designer Manuela, we smile when we are surprised to use the same expression, which, referring to the newspaper, basically seems to say “it has changed so much”. And it is true, because Florence is You! was brought up lovingly by our hands, our ideas, our will, and is the result of the devotions of so many people: our writers and collaborators who do their best to accomplish all that is needed to make the newspaper more and more rich in content and new proposals; readers and friends that have contacted us to receive Florence is You! and it is thanks to their precious suggestions that we are now distributing it in more than 400 places; our partners, some of whom have been with us on this adventure since the beginning and that have immediately shown great faith sustaining what has become “our newspaper” and deciding to tell their stories through its pages.

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