3…2…1… Happy New Year!
How will you be spending the hours leading up to 2016? When it comes to ringing in the New Year in Florence, there are parties, events and dining that can make the start to your 2016 the best you’ve ever had. Did I mention the Florence skyline filled with fireworks? There isn’t an official municipal fireworks display. Many of the larger restaurants and hotels will have their own displays, frequently held from the roof top gardens. The top viewing points include the square in front of the Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio bridge, or anywhere else alongside the Arno River. The best panoramic view will be from Piazzale Michelangelo so, arriving early is highly recommended. Live concerts, for free will take place in piazzas all over the city center.
The Christmas atmosphere in Florence, as in many Italian cities, starts in early December.
The pastry shops begin to smell like childhood, the window displays seem detached from fairytales and the narrow streets of the city are decorated with the traditional Christmas lights.
On December 8th a large Christmas tree is set up in the magnificent setting of Piazza del Duomo along with the Nativity scene, located to the front and left of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Nativity scenes, also known as ‘presepe’ are displayed in many churches and piazzas and crafting these ornate works of art by hand remains an artisanal tradition in many parts of the country.
Bagpipes are the most common Italian Christmas sound. The zampognari, the shepherds who play the bagpipes, come down from their mountain homes at Christmas time and perform in the market squares.
The initiative BITE INTO FLORENCE organized by Florence’s Chamber of Commerce, successfully continues with the promotion of typical DOP and IGP products among the foreign students that frequent the universities for foreigners in Florence. There are five schools that already accepted the proposal of the Chamber, realized in collaboration with the Consortium for the protection of wines Chianti and Chianti Classico and Extra Virgin Olive Oil Toscano IGP. The tasting sessions realized in the last few months led by professional olive oil tasters and sommeliers, have enabled students of Richmond University, New York University, Florida State University, James Madison University and Scuola Leonardo da Vinci, to learn more about two local products of the Florentine territory, the oil and the wine. During the tastings, and with the help of slides and films, practical information were given to the foreign students on how to distinguish the positive and the negative characteristics of the products, in order to understand the information on the labels, what they mean, for example, the name “reserve” or “bottled at the source”; more than that the students are also given flyers with more information about the cultivation of the product and its varieties. So, a series of “instructions” are given out in order to allow the student to appreciate these products without abuse, particularly when it comes to alcohol products.
This December marks 30 years since the release of the Merchant-Ivory film A Room with a View. Marking a pinnacle of achievement for Merchant-Ivory, the film has been beloved by audiences ever since, particularly for its evocative and beautiful scenes set in Florence. It is seen by some as a near-perfect exemplar of adapting a novel for the screen, a tricky and controversial area of film criticism. A timeless classic, A Room with a View will continue to entrance audiences and inspire in them a love for Florence. Visit the following locations to follow in Lucy Honeychurch’s footsteps around the city.
Piazza SS Annunziata
In the film, Miss Lavish (Judi Dench) and Miss Bartlett (Maggie Smith) walk through this beautiful square, saluting the statue of Ferdinand de’ Medici. In the book, however, it is Lucy who goes to the piazza, where she is deeply moved by Andrea della Robbia’s ceramic representations of babies on the Ospedale degli Innocenti.
It must have been around seven in the morning of a Saturday, the first day of August, and Piazza Santo Spirito could not have been more peaceful. There were no plastic cups or beer bottles from the night before and only one coffee shop was open. The square was quiet and the sun shined softly. I had just exited the building with three of the four-legged customers of the pet sitting business I work for, and even them, three terriers, were calm and relaxed, matching the mood of the day.
September is coming around and Florence is getting ready to receive students from all over the world. Whether you are new here or are coming back for another year do not miss all the amazing events around town that are featured in this edition of Florence is You. I will start university in September as well but because I have been here since last January, I can share with you a few of the things that I love about Florence.Florence hosts a few marathons throughout the year and if you want help getting in shape for them, all you have to do is join the Firenze Corre team.
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