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President Obama to Visit Pope Francis

Mass Grave Unearthed Below the Uffizi

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Travel Europe’s Eastern Loop MARCH 2014, No.5

Via Pietrapiana, 82/r Piazza Duomo, 5/r

Politics, Leopard-Style Pippo Russo

Mayor of Italy wouldn’t be possible until Parliament creates a new law to ensure the election of more stable majorities. Reactions among Florentines have been divided. Criticisms leveled at the leader include his relatively youthful age. Now 39, Renzi’s political career began just ten years ago when he held the Presidency of the Florence Province (2004-2009), after which he was elected mayor of Florence (2009-2014).

A new development has departed from Florence that we would have rather avoided. It is that of an extra-parliamentary crisis that suddenly erupted, for no reason other than that of personal ambition. Everything happened with lightning speed. The explanations given to justify the events continue to be few and barely plausible. The fact remains that what happened breaks the mold in a way that is perhaps definitive, and its consequences on the Italian political system and its rules have yet to be measured. For some, this is the sign of new politics. A turning point, comparable to Nicolas Sarkozy’s candidacy for the presidency of the French Republic. In that case, the value of this discontinuity was exalted as something that renewed French politics by breaking the pattern. But then things went in a different direction, and Sarkozy’s inglorious end demonstrates that breaking the pattern is in itself not enough if a political project is unable to deliver more than just political communication. The fact remains that with the nomination of Matteo Renzi as prime minister a fracture has occurred in Italian politics as well: a discontinuity that is generally greeted as positive because it breaks patterns that needed to be broken.

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Appointed Prime Minister, Renzi Promises Ambitious Changes Lauren Boyd Former Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi captured the attention of the country in February when he became the youngest Italian Prime Minister in the post-war era. On February 17, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano asked Renzi to form a new government, which was proposed on February 21. Renzi assumed office on February 22. The new Premier replaced Enrico Letta, whom Renzi forced out of office by convincing the Democratic Party to withdraw its support from the

10-month-old government and back a new one, according to the BBC. Critics are unhappy with the way Renzi was appointed, believing that he reverted to old Italian tactics in taking over the country without election. Now the third prime minister in three years to be appointed without an election, Renzi says he wants to change how politicians are voted for in hopes that Italian citizens will have a say in who their next prime minister is. Italians wanted the right to vote on their future governing body, but President Napolitano said that new elections

Celebrating Women’s Day on March 8


The Florentine New Year on March 25

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Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 NO. 5

EXHIBITIONS Florence News & Events is the monthly supplement to Florence News & Events is distributed throughout Florence in all key reference points for the English-speaking community, including hotels and hostels, universities and language schools, libraries, tourist information points, restaurants and cafes.

Pontormo and Rosso Getting Reacquainted Fiorentino: Diverging with Michelangelo Dedicated to the Great Master’s Paths of Mannerism Exhibit Influence Runs Through May 18

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: LORENZO PICCHI EDITOR: AMY GULICK EDITORIAL ASSISTANT: Lauren Boyd & Dylan Nikoletopoulos GRAPHIC & WEB DESIGN: NAZ KANGAL This month's contributors: Lauren Boyd, Lucy David, Misty Evans, Lee Foust, Sarah Mastroianni, Ivana Scatola, James Taylor & Rick Zullo Publisher: IAF Print: Nuova Cesat SRL Via B. Buozzi 21, 50145, Firenze Registered at the Tribunale di Firenze No. 5801, 3/11/2010

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Exhibit on Display from March 8 From March 8 to July 20 Palazzo Strozzi will host a major exhibition entitled Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino, Diverging Paths of Mannerism. The exhibit will feature the works of painters Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino, who were considered unconventional and open-minded in understanding art in the 16th century, which Giorgio Vasari called the “modern manner”. Pontormo and Rosso trained under Andrea del Sarto, but continued to maintain an independent approach and freedom of expression to their art. Pontormo was known for being open to stylistic variety and to a new idea of the traditional method of art, while Rosso didn’t stray too far from tradition but was still adept in working in

his own originality and innovation. This unique exhibition brings together for the first time the masterpieces of the two artists in Italian and foreign collections, and many of the pieces have been restored especially for the exhibition.

The Galleria dell’Accademia and Fratelli Alinari present Getting Reacquainted with Michelangelo, an exhibition to mark the 450th anniversary of the death of Michelangelo Buonarroti. The show explores Michelangelo’s influence on photography and painting as well as the theme of renewed interest and admiration for Michelangelo starting in the 19th century. The photography on display strives to demonstrate the role the medium has played in fusing the critical and iconographic successes of Michelangelo, therefore allowing others to celebrate his myth. Michelangelo’s sculptures are examined through multiple viewpoints and uses of photography as the means to document and present new points of view and analysis of his work. The exhibit features works of art-

ists such as Medardo Rosso, Henri Matisse, Carlo Mollino, Emmanuel Sougez, Herbert List, Horst P. Horst, Tano Festa, Paolo Monti, Antonia Mulas, Helmut Newton, Gabriele Basilico, and many more. Michelangelo’s influence can be seen through these works of art in their photographic studies of personalities, the expressions of contemporaneity, and the theme of the copy and reproducibility.

Getting Reacquainted with Michelangelo Until May 18 Accademia Gallery Cost: € 11 full price, € 5,50 reduced Tues.–Sun.: 8:15 a.m.-6:50 p.m. Closed Mondays and May 1

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Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 No. 5


Mass Grave Unearthed Below the Uffizi

Evidence Suggests a Plague Struck Late Roman-Era Florence Work on expanding the Uffizi Gallery’s exhibition space has unearthed a mass grave just below the reading room of the library. The 5-month archaeological excavation led by the Polo Museale Fiorentino (organization of Florentine Museums), the Department for Architectural Heritage, and the Department for Archaeological Heritage revealed 60 well-preserved skeletons. Coins found in the graves dating to the 4th and early 5th centuries have provided a time frame for the burials. The graves suggest a period of decline in Florence, possibly due to a plague. “The position of the cemetery at this elevation so close to the Arno River and in an area prone to flooding, along with the location of the decomposed bodies, which are lined

up head-to-foot, with children placed in spaces between one body and another, are clear indications of burials carried out quickly and probably in conjunction with an epidemic,” said Superintendent for Architectural Heritage Alessandra Marino. The skeletons show no obvious signs of death, such as injury or malnutrition. Given the location, an area regularly covered with water as river levels rose, experts believe that the grave was made during a “dry” period, so likely during the hot season. For now, only a small portion of the greater necropolis has been excavated, but ongoing anthropological investigations should reveal much more about the Florentine population of the late Roman-early medieval period, along

Law Prohibiting Photos in Museums Under Review

with the environmental and social aspects of life in Florence at that time. The excavation project is being documented in 3-D, and the materials will be available for consultation in the museum. The director of Florence’s National Archaeological Museum, Carlotta Cianferoni, told Discovery News, “It appears they all died at the same time. Multiple graves contain up to 10 bodies, certainly buried in a hurry. Within the graves we also found some coins, all dating between the end of the 4th and the beginning of the 5th century A.D.” Cianferoni added, “The coins provide a rather accurate temporal reference, but of course we need to wait for the results of the anthropological analysis and radiocarbon dating.”

Following a 10-day trial period over the Christmas holiday, in which visitors to the Accademia Museum were allowed to snap pictures of David and other works with their smart devices, the Superintendent of Florence’s Museums is proposing a change to the law prohibiting photographs within museums. With the ever-growing popularity of smartphones and tablets, technology has forced a review of the former legislation that makes taking pictures in museums a violation. Tourists equipped with devices are becoming more difficult to supervise, and many ignore the signs posted and continue to take pictures freely despite ongoing reminders, at times resulting in disputes between museum employees and visitors.

The law prohibiting videos and photographs in museums dates back to 1993. Known as Ronchey’s Law–after Alberto Ronchey, the Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage from 1992-1994– the legislation permits amateur photographs only by express authorization from the head of the institution, while professional photographers must acquire the same authorization plus pay a license fee. The proposal sent by the Superintendent of Florence Museums to the Ministry of Cultural Heritage proposes loosening the restrictions, noting that some regulations will still apply: photos must be for personal use, visitors must exercise due caution inside the museum while taking their pictures, and no flash photography will be permitted.

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Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 NO. 5


Uffizi Gallery Opens Two New Rooms Two new rooms have been opened up at the Uffizi Gallery as part of the celebrations to mark the 450th anniversary of Michelangelo Buonarotti’s death. Rooms 33 and 34, titled ‘Greek Portraits and Antiquity’ and ‘The Garden of San Marco’ respectively, have been under renovation for the last year as part of the New Uffizi project and are located right before room 35, which houses Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo. Room 33 is devoted to a selection of Greek portraits, while Room 34 displays works from the San Marco garden owned by Lorenzo De’ Medici, where Michelangelo studied classical sculpture. Both rooms have changed dramatically since the restoration, as they previously housed works by 16th century Tuscan and Lombard painters. The walls of the two new rooms are green, inspired by the green backgrounds often used in Paolo Uccello’s work in the 15th century, but also to create a sharp contrast against the white marble sculptures. The background grants viewers the opportunity to carefully study the intricate features of the people and scenes shown, and as there are no ropes preventing observers from approaching the

sculptures in Room 33, museum-goers can walk right up and observe them from various angles. The classical works displayed in these new rooms inspired artists to create works similar to those from the Renaissance, which were models of perfection and character in the Neoclassical era. Lorenzo De’ Medici created the Garden of San Marco and filled it with statues, portraits, and tombstones in order to inspire the sculptors of the time to replicate the skill of the ancient Greeks. Room 34 houses the work that inspired Michelangelo’s great sculptural masterpieces, which today can be admired around Florence at the Galleria dell’Accademia (David, Prisoners, and St. Matthew), the Bargello (Bacchus), and his renowned sculptures in the New Sacristy within the Medici Chapels. The project was funded by the Friends of the Uffizi Association, with a contribution of close to 200 thousand euro, according to The Florentine. The rooms were opened to the public on February 15, just three days shy of the 450th anniversary of Michelangelo’s death.

Exploring the Contemporary Family Through Modern Art

Family Matters: Portraits and Experiences of Family Today The Palazzo Strozzi Museum is host- image. This show challenges the no- University of Turin and the Centre for ing a contemporary exhibition that tion that individuals each experience Social Research in Berlin). explores the definition of family in family differently, while attempting the modern world. Opening March to provide a shared definition of fam4, Family Matters: Portraits and Ex- ily even as the concept has changed periences of Family Today displays over the centuries. Family Matters the works of eleven international art- reflects on the sociological idea that ists: Guy Ben-Ner, Sophie Calle, Jim family is the primary place for soCampbell, John Clang, Nan Goldin, cialization and education as well as a Until July 20, 2014 Courtney Kessel, Ottonella Mocellin place of inequality, and explores the Centre for Contemporary Culture and Nicola Pellegrini, Trish Morrissey, cultural, moral, ethical and biologStrozzina Hans Op de Beeck, Chrischa Oswald ical ties that societies use to define Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and Thomas Struth. and characterize a family. Cost: €5; Reduced €4; € 3 StuThe videos, photographs and instal- A bilingual catalog in English and dents and other discounts (ticket lations by the artists featured in this Italian published by Mandragora acvalid for 30 days) exhibit encourage viewers to ques- companies the exhibition, with crit- Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Thursdays, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; tion two different aspects of the con- ical texts by the historian Paul GinsClosed on Mondays temporary family: the representation borg (University of Florence) and the Free admission Thursdays of the family and its relational dy- sociologist Chiara Saraceno (Honor6 p.m.-11 p.m. namics, and the image of the family ary Fellow at the Collegio Carlo versus what truly exists behind the to in Turin, formerly a professor at the

Family Matters: Portraits and Experiences of Family Today

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Politics, Reactions to Renzi’s Appointment Leopard-Style Range from Skeptical to Optimistic Pippo Russo continued from page 1 On the contrary, it seems to us that what happened goesbeyond the worst traditional political habits, including those of the so-called ‘First Republic’, in which infighting within different factions of a political party could decide the fate of a government. But the First Republic was also a period of republican virtues that today we regret, especially because that sense of State has been progressively lost at the expense of private interests and increasing personalism. It is sad to note that only the negative aspects remain of that political period, and the positive ones have disappeared. We live in the era of the ‘new leopards’: those who change everything to leave everything as it was, if not to make it worse. And where does Florence find itself in the midst of this? The city has found itself at the center of political processes that have somehow affected it. For some this has even been a positive thing, as now more than ever the city has come to national and even international attention. An opinion that is bizarre, to say the least. Because Florence does not need any external reason to be in the spotlight, apart from its history and beauty – even when someone uses it for his personal ambition. Contrary to prevailing opinion, Florence has never been particularly involved in the ventures of those who have intended to use it, nor has it been happy to be subordinate to someone’s personal choices. But at least now it glimpses an advantage: perhaps in forthcoming months it will once again be governed as it deserves.

Pippo Russo teaches Sociology at the University of Florence and writes and has written for several Italian newspapers, including L’Unità, Il Messaggero, Il Fatto Quotidiano, La Repubblica and Il Corriere della Sera.

Lauren Boyd continued from page 1 Critics also cite an overly ambitious agenda. Renzi plans to stabilize Italy’s politics and economy, revise the tax system and bring down unemployment, promising changes that will boost job prospects as early as March. But within the DP members on the political left are thought likely to oppose the key structural reforms, which would delay passing such changes through Parliament by years, according to The Independent. And the declining economy is believed to require four years to recover. While many are concerned about the new PM’s young age, others are simply alarmed by his lack of political experience. Renzi came to power without ever holding a nationally elected office, and according to Liberty Voice he is considered one of the least experienced prime ministers in Italy’s history. He has never been a member of Parliament, and was asked by the president to form Italy’s new government within weeks of being elected as leader of the center-left Democratic Party. Questions have also been raised about how Renzi was able to finance his recent political rise, a reminder to some Italians of the previous year of political controversy and corruption. In the past five years he was able to support four election campaigns, two in 2009, one in 2012 and one in 2013, all without any financial support from the DP, electoral reimbursements or public funds, according to Il Fatto Cronaca. Ornella De Zordo, a Florence opposition politician, is among one of Renzi’s critics. She claims that Renzi is much better at making promises than keeping them, and that he is a very good self-publicist. De Zordo has said, “We will remember him for excessive ambition, Italy is likely to be remembered for the end of democracy.” De Zordo named Renzi the most absentee mayor Italy has ever seen, and reminds Italians of statements he has made over the years against pursuing the role of Prime Minister.

Such statements include: “The candidate for prime minister? I hope we can find a better name than mine” in 2011 and “I have no intention of unseating Letta. I intend to remain mayor. Mayors, unlike leaders in Rome, stay among the people” in January 2014. Renzi’s supporters, however, have praised him for lowering taxes, boosting recycling and encouraging innovation during his time as mayor of Florence. He is often viewed as representing a much needed generational shift, as he is from a generation that came after the standoff between the Christian Democratic party and the Italian Communist party that held its stakes over Italian politics for decades, according to Agence France-Presse. The Italian people are also happy with his push for more cuts in spending on Italy’s bureaucracy, a possible salve to widespread anger over high salaries of public officials during the painful recession, as well as his plan to put a greater focus on education and to combat the epidemic of youth unemployment. Renzi’s popularity is strong among younger voters. Throughout his campaign, Renzi utilized social media and has been seen around Florence sporting jeans and a leather jacket rather than the more formal attire ordinarily worn by politicians. He is considered a skilled communicator and uses his youthful style to relate to a younger demographic. Renzi supporters include U.S. President Barack Obama. Obama was among the first world leaders to congratulate Renzi on his new position and expressed his support for the reform agenda Renzi had proposed, particularly on the two leaders’ shared goal of promoting growth and job creation. Renzi has been labeled in the Italian press as “Italy’s Tony Blair” by his supporters, and “Little Berlusconi” by his critics. Like Blair, Ren-

zi aims to draw his party towards the political center, and even wants to reach out to voters on the political right. Even his critics credit him with an ability to reach beyond the usual strongholds of the DP. While many Italians are unsure of his choice of cabinet members—the average age of the new members is 48, making it the youngest government in the history of the country—others are pleased about Renzi’s appointment of eight women members in the 16-member cabinet. Renzi presents himself as a break from corrupt Italian politics of the past. Nicknamed “The Scrapper” he plans to demolish the Italian political establishment—considered by many an establishment tainted by corruption that has failed Italian citizens—and start anew. A poll published in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera in February showed that 64 percent of Italians oppose the change of leadership, but 52 percent of those surveyed believe Renzi’s new government can push through needed reforms, according to The Telegraph.Many Italians, frustrated by the consequences of the deep recession and disillusioned by broken political promises from former prime ministers, are hopeful that Matteo Renzi will turn the country around and bring solutions to Italy’s problems.





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Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and the jumbo cappuccinos while having a chat with Anna and Stefano, who will welcome you in a warm and friendly way. Grab one of the many homemade bagels, the bar’s perfected specialty since 1990. These bagels and sandwiches have made this snack spot one of the most popular among local Americans. While taking a break in the back seating area you will be pleased to experience the nocharge table service, which places Snack Bar Anna far from the ‘tourist traps’ in the city.

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Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 NO. 5


‘Noi Per Firenze’

Piazzale Michelangelo May Be Closed to Traffic

Association Protects the City

Noi Per Firenze is a volunteer association comprised of residents and business owners in Florence’s historic city center working to preserve the city’s culture and way of life. The group aims to monitor and protect Florence’s cultural heritage from acts of vandalism, with a strong focus on prevention. They do not patrol the streets in the way of police officers, nor do they substitute for the police force in any way. They are simply concerned citizens—more than 200 in Florence—who want to develop a

conservation plan for the city. Last month Noi Per Firenze put into place an accord with the Civil Protection Office of the State Police to provide a headquarters and allow volunteers to monitor the city. Volunteers, many of whom are ex-military or retired persons, must first pass courses in traffic and road laws and first aid. Michele Turini, President of Noi Per Firenze, has said, “This is a model already tried in other cities, one that received approval and could bring benefits to Florence as well.”

2011, Piazza Pitti, Via Tornabuoni and Por Santa Maria were closed to automobile traffic, followed by Piazza del Duomo and Piazza San Firenze. The projects have required rerouting of street traffic and long periods of closed streets and detours. With the cars removed, the city of Florence is planning a new urban design for the piazza. There’s talk of a competition for architects from around the world to work on the new space and decorative works along the balusters inspired by the five characters in film Amici Miei, set in Florence. Florence’s City Council has moved off from the site given the perennial Construction on Piazzale Michelanto close Piazzale Michelangelo to ve- hordes of tourists, tourist buses, and gelo started in 1865, on a design by hicles. As of March 8, the over 200 limousines (the Piazzale is a popular Giuseppe Poggi, an architect comparking places currently available in stop for wedding-day photos) filling missioned to carry out several urban the Piazzale will be removed, parking the space. But nearby business own- renewal projects when Florence beaccess for tourist buses will be signifi- ers have already expressed concern came capital of Italy (1865-1870). The park’s lights mean that even if the cantly cut to just four spots, and the that the decrease in traffic flow will renovation included the creation of the long boulevard that leads to the wi-fi signal drops out in other parts of piazza will become completely pedes- surely mean a decline in customers. Piazzale. According to accounts of trianized. Pedestrianizing the historic center of Florence it will continue uninterruptThe decision is in part motivated by Florence has been a hallmark of Mat- the time, Florentines were annoyed ed in the park. Florence was one of the first cities a desire to make the world-famous teo Renzi’s mayorship, with this plan by excessive construction costs assoin Italy to provide free wi-fi network outdoor landmark and lookout-point coming after several other pedestri- ciated with the Piazzale Michelangelo coverage and remove the need for more accessible to Florentines cut anization projects in recent years. In project. user identification before navigation. The €50,000 initiative was developed as part of the city’s integrated urban plan for sustainable development.

Cascine Park Joins Florence’s Free Wi-Fi Eighty new hotspots throughout the Cascine Park will join the 530 currently accessible in 200 areas of the city this spring. The network will extend from Piazza Vittorio Veneto, along the Arno River to Viale dell’Indiano and include communal meeting places such as the Pavoniere, the Quercione and Amphitheater lawns, and the New Opera House and garden piazza. Access points installed above the

Arrests Expose Link Between U.S., Neapolitan and Calabrian Mafia

In early February seven people were arrested in New York and 17 others in Italy on charges that included narcotics trafficking and money laundering, following a two-year undercover investigation, according to the FBI. Many were surprised to learn that those arrested are connected to ‘Ndrangheta, the Calabria-based crime organization notorious for kidnappings and cocaine importation to Europe, rather than Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian Mafia organization with long-

time presence in the U.S. It is thought this recent trafficking activity represents ‘Ndrangheta’s attempt to gain a foothold in the Cosa Nostra territory in America. Cosa Nostra was active in heroin and cocaine dealing in the U.S. in the early 1980s. The over $1 billion crime ring was brought down in the 198587 Pizza Connection Trial, so-called due to Cosa Nostra’s use of New York pizzerias to traffic heroin from Italy to the U.S. and for laundering money be-

fore sending it back to Sicily. February’s arrests are the culmination of a joint U.S.-Italian police operation known as “New Bridge,” which had been targeting ties between the two countries’ ‘Ndrangheta Mafia families. Coordinated on multiple continents, “New Bridge” has revealed that organized crime families in the U.S. still rely on Italy for support and has thwarted a potential rebirth of Mafia drug trafficking into America.

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Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 No. 5


Rome Marathon Set for March 23

President Obama to Visit Pope Francis on March 27 President Barack Obama and Pope Francis will meet for the first time at the Vatican on March 27 to discuss their shared commitment to fighting poverty and growing inequality. Obama’s visit will be part of a larger European trip that he will take this month, including meeting Italy’s president and prime minister and attending two summits in the Netherlands and Brussels. Obama recently delivered a speech on the decline of social mobility in America, and has since said that confronting inequality will be the concentration of his presidency for the remainder of his time in office. Francis has established a reputation of compassion, in caring for the poor in Buenos Aires, Argentina and his focus on ending the suffering in those in the poorest parts of the world. Although Obama’s presidency has experienced prominent clashes with the

The annual Rome Marathon is set to ilies and starts after the competitive take place this year on Sunday, March race. A superb sightseeing route and 23. The race passes by the Coliseum, abundant registration perks make the Roman Forum, and many other the Rome Marathon a unique athletsites of Rome, and runners are greet- ic event that can be shared by locals ed by Legionaries and Praetorians in and foreigners alike. traditional garb. Registration for the Registration is available on the marrace includes perks like access to the athon’s website, which also includes Marathon Village, free public trans- information on hotels and other portation in Rome the day of the race, practical matters in Rome. The race a New Balance technical t-shirt and starts early on the morning of Sunday, backpack, and an after-party at the March 23, so interested participants club Gilda. During the race, event or- coming from Florence will want to ganizers provide refreshment breaks make lodging arrangements. every 5 kilometers as well as food and refreshments at the finish line. If you’re not up for a full 42K run but would still like to participate and see Sunday, March 23 the sights, a 5K ‘fun run’ is also being registration online at: organized. This more relaxed event is geared towards children and fam-

Rome Marathon

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Catholic Church, including on issues of abortion and contraception, common ground between the two leaders is seen in their shared belief in the importance of world economic issues. The March visit will be the president’s second to the Vatican since he was elected into office (In 2009 President Obama met Pope Benedict).

In an MSNBC interview last year, Obama described Francis as an “extraordinarily thoughtful and soulful messenger of peace and justice.” “Everything that I’ve read, everything that I’ve seen from him, indicates the degree to which he is trying to remind us of those core obligations,” Obama said.

American Student Found Dead in Rome

John Durkin, a junior at Bates College, was found dead in a Rome train tunnel in the early hours of February 20. Durkin, 21, went missing in Rome after going out with friends. His body was found in the Pamphili tunnel between the Trastevere and St. Peter’s stations. He was reported missing that same day and the following day was identified. The Rome District Attorney’s office is investigating the details surrounding Durkin’s death, trying to piece together the events of the night he was killed. He started walking on the train tracks at the St. Peter’s sta-

tion, where images of Durkin alone and staggering were captured by a video surveillance camera before he entered the Pamphili tunnel. At that hour, no trains were running. Train service started up again at 5:00 a.m. and Durkin was found in the tunnel at 6:30 a.m. The cause of death is presumed to be accidental. An autopsy report should tell authorities if alcohol or drugs played a part in Durkin’s decision to walk into a train tunnel. Durkin had been attending Trinity College’s study abroad program in Rome, where he had been for little more than a month, according to a

family spokesman. After his disappearance, friends and family members of Durkin’s launched a Facebook page to help locate him. Since his death, Durkin’s former professors, administrators at Bates College, and political representatives from his home state of New Hampshire have praised his academic performance and character. According to the news site Roma Today, the Durkin family spokesperson said they do not believe suicide to be a possibility. Durkin’s father will remain in Italy until authorities release his son’s body.


Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 NO. 5


Recognizing Customs and Etiquettes in Italy

Rick Zullo Everybody knows (or at least assumes) that Italians are a warm, friendly people. But beneath the surface of this easy, genteel exterior lays a refined undertone of rigid customs and etiquette in Italy that might not be apparent to the foreigner at first glance. I’ve talked previously about the concept of fare una bella figura (making a beautiful figure). I had tried to emphasize that while clothing is the most visible sign of this practice, it might not be the most important. Indeed, your behavior says more about you than your couture, even if the subtleties can be lost on foreigners. Take off your sunglasses when you address someone, and remove your gloves when you shake hands. Don’t wear a hat indoors. Cover yourself properly when entering a church. Get your elbows off the table! And always respect your elders. Yes, manners matter. Courtesies and Formalities Italian society as a whole is really fond of courtesy forms and recognition of titles given by job positions, level of education, age, or—even more difficult for a foreigner to understand—the grade of acquaintance with a specific person. Let’s start from that last point. In English, we address anyone and everyone in the second person (singular and plural) with “you.” It could be your best friend, your teacher, your priest, or

President Obama; but the fact is, that’s the only form available. In Italian, instead, when you bump into a stranger while walking down the street and you want to apologize—or when you want to thank the restaurant owner for the complimentary shot of limoncello, you would use the third person “Lei” instead of “tu” (you). It’s a form of respect and deference that maintains a certain social distance between people not familiar with each other. The same use of this courtesy form occurs when speaking to somebody older than you, or when you are approaching a professional person that you are working with. Often you might address them with the third person “Lei” form of the verb plus the title that the person has (Dottor, Maestro, Avvocato, etc.) Funny how such a (supposedly) warm population likes to keep this type of formality, right? If the use of “Lei” and other titles might persist in certain formal occasions, once you have introduced yourself to a person you might ask politely if he or she is comfortable with the friendlier and more direct “tu,” corresponding to the English “you.” (“Possiamo darci del tu?”) In almost every case, the person will agree with your request. This is actually an opportunity to warm up quickly to a person that you’ve just met. If you like the person, you’ll invite him/her to give you the “tu” right away. Note that the one who’s in

charge of suggesting such a switch is the one of the higher social standing (i.e. your boss can tell you to use the “tu,” but you cannot suggest it to him). And even if he/she addresses you in the “tu,” you should still use the “Lei” with them until asked to do otherwise. The reasoning for this linguistic eccentricity is best explained by Luigi Barzini in his seminal book, The Italians. He says: “This form of address, the third person singular, is left over from the Spanish rulers. It is a conventional way of talking not directly to a man, but to his aura, so to speak, to a shadowy persona, la sua signoria, his lordship.” Don’t worry too much about this; I merely want to point out the existence of this phenomenon, which permeates social graces as well as the language. Just understand that Italians are big on formalities, politeness, and respect for age, social status, and titles. But being a foreigner, they realize that you’re not acquainted with this practice and they will usually give you plenty of leeway in your manner of speaking. Also, in Rome the “Lei” is less used than anywhere else in Italy. This is due to the Latin inheritance, since Latin does not have such a form. So relax and just do as the Romans do. Perhaps more importantly for the visitor to Italy would be to abandon the idea of “getting right to the point,” whether you’re speaking in Italian or English. Italians don’t like this way of conversing, and in fact are a bit put off by a person who forgets to say “good day” or “how are you?” before launching into his or her series of questions and demands. It’s a good practice to slow down a bit and let the conversation warm up more naturally instead of reducing it to merely an exchange of information. And don’t forget to say “grazie” at the end.

A History of Proper Decorum I came across an excellent article recently on the Italy Magazine website that addressed this exact topic and traced the historical evolution of these customs. The author reminds us of the Italian authority on such social graces, “Il Galateo overo de’ costume,” a treatise of polite behavior written by Giovanni Della Casa in 1558 for the benefit of his nephew, a young Florentine destined for greatness. Some of these things are still held in esteem today in Italy, even if other countries have found reason to abandon such “rigorous” decorum. Here are a few examples: “To offer your advice without being asked is nothing else but a way of saying that you are wiser than those you are giving advice to, and even a reproof for their ignorance and lack of knowledge.” “It is a barbarous habit to challenge someone to a drinking bout. This is not one of our Italian customs and so we give it a foreign name, that is, far brindisi.” “We do not have the power to change customs as we see fit, for it is time that creates them and likewise time consumes them. Everyone, however, may adapt the current fashion to his own personal style.” Good Manners are Always in Fashion There might be a time in the future when the etiquette of behavior and the courtesy forms of speech will be extinguished from Italian society—but not in your lifetime. Until then, try to be aware of who you’re talking to and what strata of society that they belong to. Overdosing on courtesy forms and titles can still be very flattering to many Italians, whether it’s your boss or a beautiful woman (or her mother, if you get that far). Show some understanding of the local rules. It’s always a good thing. Read more from Rick at:

“...slow down a bit and let the conversation warm up more naturally instead of reducing it to merely an exchange of information...”


Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 No. 5


Moving to Florence: The Initial Steps part of immigrating here. The permesso is nice to have because once your Getting a Visa. Compared to other student visa runs out, as long as your countries, it’s fairly easy to get a visa permesso is up-to-date you can stay. for Italy if you’re from a developed My old roommate originally came on country. There are different visa a student visa, but then she found a options and what you choose will job as a tour guide and stayed on her probably come down to what you can permesso alone. Make sure you have afford. Anything up to three months it and keep it current. doesn’t require a visa at all and that’s Schools. Going to an Italian school great if you want to come and do is a good deal cheaper than going to some tourism or a summer program. an American school. Well, basically After three months you’ll need ei- going to school anywhere on earth is ther a student visa or an extended cheaper than an American school but tourist visa. Getting a work visa is Italy is really cheap. As far as grants nearly impossible so I wouldn’t even and loans are concerned, there are bother. Getting a student visa is a a number of cultural grants that one pretty straight shot. If you choose to can apply for from most countries, do some kind of study program here but not many in the United States. you are allowed to work 20 hours per Finding the right school can make week, although all the differkeep in mind ence. If you “The easiest way to come that the average study before here is if you’re already hourly pay here you come to is like seven euItaly you can attending an American ros. The easiest university with connections to go to an Italway to come ian school, an Italian university” here is if you’re which is already attendcheaper, but ing an Ameriever y t h i ng can Uni with connections to an Ital- will be taught in Italian. Or you can ian Uni. Money is the biggest problem find schools that are affordable and to tackle because getting a visa re- cater to English-speaking humans. quires you have $1,000 in the bank Make sure the school is reputable, for every month you ask to be in Italy. and that the degrees, certifications, (You should try to have at least a cou- etc. transfer to your home-country. ple grand saved before you move here More than anything just make sure just in case you don’t find a job right you compare schools so you’re not away.) getting ripped off. And do not do Permit of Stay. After you get your housing through the school! They visa, when you arrive in Italy you always jack up the prices on student must go to the Police station within apartments and many schools make eight days and apply for a residence a large profit on the apartments. I permit or a permesso di soggiorno. know from experience. You’ll be in line for hours, so plan Read more from Misty at on having a horrible day because it’s

Make Your Italian Sound More Italian


Sarah Mastroianni You can speak Italian very well, very accurately, and still not sound Italian. Why is that? Here are 5 tips to help your Italian sound more Italian. 1. “Piantala” (knock it off) with the personal pronouns. Italian very rarely uses personal pronouns io, tu, lui, lei, noi, voi, and loro, other than to reinforce a point. It is much more common to hear “sono andata al mercato ieri” (no pronoun) rather than “io sono andata al mercato ieri” (with pronoun), unless the person is trying to reinforce that they specifically were the one who went. “Io” at the beginning of every sentence sounds strange to Italian ears. Then how do we know who we’re referring to? Well, Italian verbs carry with them the idea of who they refer to with their conjugation. “Parlo” can only refer to “io” because the other pronouns have their own conjugations: parli / parla / parliamo / parlate / parlano. Why is this hard for English speakers? Because we need our personal pronouns to know who is doing what. 2. Learn Italian word-whiskers. What are they? Those little

mean-nothing words that we all put into our speech when we’re trying to search for what we really want to say, or to get attention, or to make a point. Why is this important? Well, um isn’t um in Italian. It’s more like “ehhh”. So gets replaced by “allora” or “quindi” or “dunque” and I mean can be translated as “cioè”. “Beh” is also a good one to use if you’re stalling for time and “ehhhhh” is also widely used. “Capito?”, “giusto?” and “no?” are tacked onto the ends of sentences to make sure the listener understands, while “boh!” the Italian equivalent of our “dunno!” Examples: “Beh, è proprio una bella giornata, no?” and “Voglio partire dopo il 15 aprile, capito?” 3. Talk fast. People can always tell when I’ve been in Italy, because I end up speaking English like a machine gun. I don’t know why, but Italians (in my experience) seem to be faster talkers and maybe leave less space between words. Everything runs together. 4. Use all the suffixes you can. Whereas in English we’d describe something as a “little house“, Italians might say “una casa piccola” or they might break out the suffixes and

call it “una casetta” or “una casina”. I would ask a little boy about his “amichetti” (little friends, amico + the suffix etti) at school, and describe someone as having a nasone (naso + the suffix one) if their face is unfortunately adorned with a big shnoz. This type of talk might sound “cutesy” to we anglophones, but I can assure you that even grown Italian men go around exclaiming that things are “bellissima” (bella + issima, the most beautiful) and hope to introduce you to their “carissimo” (caro + issimo, dearest) friend. When I asked a friend where he was spending Christmas he replied, “a casina.” At home. 5. Exclaim! Coo. Whine. Yell. Generally be theatrical in your speech. The Italian language is melodic in its own right, but Italian speakers are generally pretty theatrical. Don’t just say “ti prego” (I beg you), say, “ti preeeeeeeggggoooooooo” in a begging voice. And when you’ve had enough, it’s a strong “BASTA!” loud and clear. You’re trying to convince someone? Use the long, drawn-out “daaaaaaiiiiiii” (come on) and whine a bit. Everybody’s doing it. I promise. Read more from Sarah at


Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 NO. 5


Female Artists and Wikipedia

Celebrating Women’s Day The Historical Roots of an Italian Tradition As you stroll the streets of Florence Saturday, March 8, you will no doubt notice the presence of yellow, fluffy mimosa flowers everywhere–pinned to lapels, carried in bouquets, decorating table-tops. The mimosa flower has become the symbolic gift to offer to Italian women on this day, International Women’s Day, known to Italians as Festa della Donne. A holiday that today would appear to be about light-hearted socializing with female friends, the Festa della Donne is actually a day of commemoration, one with a politically-charged history tied to the international Socialist movement for fair labor practices. In the early 1900s, oppressive, unsafe work conditions and inequality in the workforce were at their height, while Socialist Party movements for change, such as campaigns for equality, suffrage, and better working conditions, were thriving. In these early years of the 20th century, against a backdrop of the fight for equal rights, International Women’s Day was commemorated on various spring days, but never on March 8. It wasn’t until 1910, during the International Socialist meeting in Copenhagen, that an International Women’s Day was officially established. The proposal was met with unanimous approval by representatives of over 100 women from 17 countries, on the grounds that it would be a day to celebrate the progress made by women over the years. The movement for fair and safe labor practices gained

momentum after the event known as the Triangle Waistcoat Factory fire on March 25, 1911, in which 146 employees of Triangle died, the majority of them women and including many young immigrants from Europe. Some workers died in the fire and others from jumping out of windows to escape. Later testimony revealed the insufficient escape routes for workers and rumors spread that doors to the factory had been intentionally locked. After the Triangle fire, groups like the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, which had in the two years prior to the fire been organizing with New York City garment workers, grew in number and influence. In discussions of the Festa della Donne, the Triangle fire represents the culmination of the women’s rights movements

around the world, and is one of the specific events remembered on this day. In Italy, the tradition of giving a mimosa flower on March 8 began during On March 7, 2014, the Advancing the WWII years. On March 8, 1945, Women Artists Foundation, with the Women’s Day was celebrated to hon- support of Syracuse University in or freedom in liberated Italy, and the Florence and the U.S. Consulate Genfollowing year throughout Italy the eral in Florence, will commemorate mimosa appeared as a symbol of this International Women’s Day with a day, most likely because the mimosa unique event called, “Women Artists blooms in early March. In addition to and Wikipedia,” an Editing Marathon celebrating with female friends, Ital- whose purpose is to bring together ians might observe March 8 by serv- scholars, writers, art historians and ing a torta mimosa, a yellow cake very art lovers to generate Wikipedia ensimilar in appearance to the flower. tries spotlighting the achievements Restaurants, bars, and nightclubs of women artists, both historical and will offer Women’s Day specials, and contemporary. many museums and galleries offer According to a 2010 survey, less than free entrance to women. Political 13 percent of the 20,572,652 editors rallies and protests may take place who contribute to the world’s most around town on March 8, too. well-known online encyclopedia are women. This lack of female editorship may be one of the causes behind the dearth of information on women of historic significance online. Wikipedia, with its 470 million users per month, is a fundamental repository of shared knowledge–yet innumerable women artists have been either omitted entirely or do not have substantial pages appropriate to their standing. Florence’s upcoming Editing Marathon is inspired by a recent worldwide effort on February 1 which saw the participation of the Advancing Women Artists Foundation in Florence as one of 31 satellite events organized at universities, museums, art libraries and cultural centers in Italy, the U.S., Canada, Australia, the U.K. and the Netherlands. Over 100 new entries on women artists were generated, including pages submitted by the Advancing Women Artists Foundation for several women artists whose

Writers ‘Marathon’ to Commemorate Women’s Day

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works populate Florence’s museums. “Our last event’s success has encouraged us to organize another Editing Marathon, so that a vaster public may participate. It’s another step in a journey whose final goal is to value the lives and works of international women artists who have significantly contributed to Florence’s cultural wealth,” says Dr. Jane Fortune, founder of the Advancing Women Artists Foundation. “The city is a treasure trove for art by women. It’s time this fact became common knowledge.” The event will be held on Friday, March 7 from 2:00-5:00 p.m. at Syracuse University in Florence, Piazza Savonarola, 15, Florence. Volunteers can receive a list of suggested artists or sign up to “adopt an artist” by writing to Wikipedia entries or edits spotlighting each artist’s life and works can be written on site at the ”Women Artists and Wikipedia” event or sent to the above e-mail address by March 7. Entries can be written in English or Italian. No prior Wikipedia experience needed. Attendees should bring their own laptops, tablets and power cords. Admission is free but participants must confirm their attendance in advance.

Women Artists and Wikipedia March 7 from 2-5 p.m. Syracuse University in Florence To participate, contact: linda@

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Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 NO. 5


The City of Towers

Discover the Museum of Sacred Art The Museum of Sacred Art in San Gimignano was established in 1915 and includes works of art from convents, the Duomo and area churches, including paintings, sculptures, earthenware, funerary monuments, bas-reliefs, textiles and silverware. Wooden sculptures dating from the 14th century include The Announcing Angel and The Madonna (with only the head and shoulders extant), and the illuminated psalm books and antiphonaries (books containing verses which precede psalms) of Niccolò di Ser Sozzo and Lippo Vanni. A favorite of San Gimignano residents is The Madonna of the Rose, part of a triptych by Bartolo di Fredi. The Sacred Furniture room displays finely-worked examples of goldsmith’s art, including a precious enameled early 14th-century cross. Embossed and engraved work can also be admired. The Vestment room

contains a variety of pieces from the best craftsmanship of the 17th and 18th century, including the Paliotto delle Colombe d’Oro, a rare example of the exceptional textile craftsmanship of the 15th century. The Vestment room also displays a noteworthy polychrome wooden statue representing Sant’Antonio Abate from the beginning of the 14th century, by Francesco da Valdambrino. Piazza Luigi Pecori, 1-2 Monday to Saturday: 10 a.m. 4:40 p.m.; Sundays and holidays: 12:30 p.m. - 4:40 p.m. Opening times can change according to extraordinary church services Full price ticket: € 3 Groups: € 2,50 Children 6 to 17 years old: € 1,50 Children up to 6 years old: free admission

According to legend, San Gimignano Francigena. place, including the Rocca di Montewas founded by two young patrician The town is famous for its towers, staffoli, a fortress built by the Florenbrothers who escaped from Rome and once numbering 72, of which today tines for defense against Siena. San built the town’s first two castles in 63 only 13 remain. Around the first half Gimignano benefited from reforms in B.C.: the Castle of Mucchio and the of the 14th century, the commune of the 18th century. Agriculture expandCastle of Silvia would later become San Gimignano ceded to Florence ed, the population began to rise, and the groundwork of San Gimignano. and experienced a drastic depopula- the historical center experienced an The town grew principally in the first tion and economic decline. Towers incredible revival in the rediscovery three centuries of the Millennium, fell down or were torn down, pal- of the Middle Ages. Several buildwith a geographical position com- aces damaged, and subsequently ings were repaired and renovated, prised of hills, valleys, and streams San Gimignano fell into a period of followed by exponential growth in that was extremely advantageous historical inactivity. The historical cultural tourism. Today the “town of to inhabitants. Like many medieval center therefore remained virtually towers” attracts millions of visitors towns, San Gimignano developed untouched during the period of goth- yearly, is home to 8,000 inhabitants, around the pilgrimage route from ic renovation. Since the 15th century, and enjoys prosperous agricultural France to Rome, known as the Via a few modern renovations have taken and agro-touristic activities.

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Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 No. 5


The Via Francigena

Entrance: €8; children and students € 5.50; groups €4 daily 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

A Guide to Select Sites of San Gimignano

Wine Museum Tel. 0577 941 267 free admission 11:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Information Courtesy of the Pro Loco Association of San Gimignano – Tourist Information Office

Rocca di Montestaffoli Climb the remains of an ancient fortress turret for stunning views of the area Free (outdoors)

Podesta’s Palace, Tower, and Art Collection Piazza Duomo, 2; Tel: 0577 990 312 Entrance: €5; children between 6 and 17 €5; free entrance to children under 6; combined ticket good for all civic museums €7.50 March: daily 11 a.m.- 5:30: after April 1: 9:30 a.m. -7 p.m. The Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta (Duomo) Piazza del Duomo; Tel: 0577 940 152; email: Entrance: €4; Combined ticket with the Sacred Art Museum: €6 March: Mon to Sat: 10 a.m.-4:40 p.m.; Sun/Holidays: 12:30 p.m.-4:40 p.m. (Apr-Oct) Mon to Fri: 10 a.m-7:00 p.m.; Sat: 10 a.m - 5 p.m.; Sun/Holidays: 12:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Ancient Route Attracts Modern “Pilgrims” aVANI KAPUR The ancient road known as Via Francigena was used throughout the Middle Ages by pilgrims headed to Rome from the North, particularly from France. Nearly 400 kilometers of the Via pass through Tuscany, accounting in part for the development of a number of the region’s historic settlements and trade and religious centers.First documented as the Lombard Way and then the Frankish Route in 725, according to the travel records of Willibald, Bishop of Eichstätt in Bavaria, the route was named Via Francigena in 876, given its crossing with French territories (Francia, in Italian) at the Abbey of San Salvatore al Monte Amiata in Tuscany.

Today, tourists and history buffs can enjoy the cultural mecca that is Via Francigena by following one or all of the 15 Tuscan legs, beginning with the journey from Passo della Cisa to Pontremoli and ending with another from Radicofani to Acquapendente. In addition to the natural beauty of the countryside, along each trail centuries-old churches and fortresses give visitors a feel for what the pilgrimage of centuries past was really like. The Via passes through San Gimignano and its Fortress of Montestaffoli. Originally a castle for the Lombard Astolfo and later a Dominican Convent, the fortress took on a defensive role in the 14th century against the threat of attack from Siena. The Via Francigena’s appeal to modern “pilgrims”

Piazza della Cisterna San Gimignano’s medieval water well gives its name to this piazza Free (outdoors)

extends beyond scenic Tuscany. Next year, the Council of Europe’s Cultural Routes, St. Olav Ways and the Via Francigena network will bring together today’s pilgrims who wish to walk along the famous roads. The initiative is set to begin at the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway and continue for over 3,000 kilometers to Rome before moving on to Jerusalem. To get to Rome, at a pace of 20 kilometers per day, participants will need about five months; however, the program’s aim is focused less on the long journey and more on the gathering of pilgrims from different countries. Walkers from countries such as Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria and Italy are expected to join.

San Gimignano Museum 1300 Centro per le Arti, Via San Giovanni, 50/Via Berignano, 23 Tel: 327 43 95 165; email: info@ Entrance €3; children under 10 free Daily 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Archeological Museum - Santa Fina Herbarium - Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery Via Folgore, 1; Tel: 0577 940348; March: 11 a.m.-5:30p.m. After April 1: 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Entrance € 3.50; € 2.50 for children between 6 and 17; children under 6 free; combined ticket with all civic museums €7.50

Ancient City Walls Walk along the 13th-century walls with 15th-century Medicean bastions Free (outdoors) ORNITHOLOGICAL MUSEUM Located inside the church of San Francesco on Via Quercecchio Tel. 0577 941 388; email: info@ After April 1: 11 a.m.-5:30p.m. Entrance €1.50 CHURCH OF SANT’AGOSTINO Near Porta St. Matteo on Via Cellolese Until April 1: Mon 4 p.m.– 6 p.m.; Tues-Sun 10a.m.-12p.m./3 p.m.-6 p.m. HOUSE OF ST. FINA Via del Castello FORMER PODESTA’S PALACE and ROGNOSA TOWER Piazza del Duomo

Torture Instruments Museum Piazza della Cisterna; Tel: 0577 942 243; email:





THE BAR STARTED BY A WWI FIGHTER Located just inside Porta San Giovanni, bar and gelateria Caffé Combattenti and partner Enoteca Corsi serve artisan-quality, homemade Tuscan products. Try the award-winning gelato ‘Ricciarello di Siena’, saffron gelato, or the lively wine-flavored gelatos. Bar Combattenti serves traditionally prepared bruschetta, pizza, panini, and pasta, alongside Tuscan salami and pecorino cheeses. Also available are classic Tuscan treats like ricciarelli and cantucci, grappa, extra virgin olive oil, and local truffle products, as well as gluten-free products, including gelato. Enoteca Corsi offers a selection of more than 600 wines. Via San Giovanni, 124 San Gimignano 057 79 40 391 328 06 07 267

A history of human cruelty from medieval times to the present The Museum of Torture at San Gimignano sheds light on the terrifying history of torture and its gruesome devices. Established in 1983, the museum documents the history of human cruelty from medieval times to the present, displaying 700sqm worth of instruments traditionally used for causing pain and death.

Open daily with special prices for groups and students.

Via del Castello, 1/3 Piazza della Cisterna, San Gimignano 0577 94 22 43



Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 NO. 5


Dine with Dante

Named after Dante Alighieri’s most famous work, The Divine Comedy, this homely, rustic restaurant fittingly lies on Via dei Cimatori, only a few meters away from Dante’s House. The venue prides itself on its innovative and creative idea of preparing solely traditional dishes based on medieval recipes. Some are adapted and revisited for the modern age but in a way that one maintains the omnipresent feeling of Florentine history and tradition – so much so that Dante himself could walk in and dine next to you. As a matter of fact, this is a regular occurrence at Taverna La Divina Commedia, as the venue regularly hosts recitals from Dante’s great work by professional costumed performers. Traditional medieval-style dishes include home-made ribbon pasta with wild boar and mushroom sauce, roast

shin of pork with new potatoes and seasonal vegetables, risotto inspired by medieval Tuscan flavors, and tasting plates of assorted cheeses accompanied with fresh fruit and jams, including the taverna’s specialty hot red pepper jam. Also serving as a wine bar and pizzeria, the restaurant offers an eclectic selection of wines from its cellar, an outdoor summer terrace, and is fittingly decorated in a medieval style with armour and banners – and, of course, a mandatory bust of Dante himself.

Taverna la Divina Commedia Via dei Cimatori, 7/r 055 21 53 69 Open daily: 11.30 a.m.–12.30 a.m.

Olive Oil Consortium Meets Richmond University Dylan Nikoletopoulos Can you taste the difference between good and bad olive oil? The Chianti Classico DOP Olive Oil Consortium is giving American students the inside scoop on how to recognize good and bad olive oil. The Chianti Classico DOP–DOP stands for denominazione di origine protetta, or protected designation of origin–has been working since 1975 to ensure that extra virgin olive oil meets DOP status through stringent technical criteria. The Consortium gave a presentation in March to Richmond University that served to inform students about olive

Pitti Taste Returns to Florence March 8-10

The fair dedicated to gastronomic oil and the role it plays in Italy. The excellence returns to Florence this presentation included a 40-minute month. Hosted by the Pitti Immagine video followed by a Q&A session, and group and the brainchild of gastronaut David Paolini, Taste grows more concluded with an olive oil tasting. “It is good to be able to distinguish popular each year, attracting food the good and the bad olive oil,” said enthusiasts, industry experts, restauDevon Arageona, a journalism major rateurs and ‘foodies’ from all over the from Middleburry, Indiana. “I can world. Last year’s fair drew over 13 smell the difference and now know thousand visitors to the event. Taste features tasting itineraries, the differences between the two.” Chianti Classico gives many presenta- talks and meetings with industry figtions such as these in an effort to ed- ures, shops, and spaces dedicated to ucate the public about Italian olive oil the craft of cooking. heritage. For more information about The Taste Tour takes visitors on a the organization or to enquire about a sampling voyage of products, to learn presentation, visit www.chianticlas- about Italian delicacies such as salami from Chianti, pecorino cheese

fused with saffron, chocolate-infused rants and shops throughout town that with balsamic vinegar, and taggiasca will hold Taste-related events. A list of olive jam. Fuori di Taste participants is availThe Taste Shop is open to visitors able on the Pitti website. wishing to take any of the delicacies home with them, while Taste Tools provides a close look at kitchen tools used by elite food professionals in March 8-10 at Stazione Leopolda food. Taste Ring allows visitors the March 8 & 9 hours: from 9:30 a.m. opportunity to hear professionals to 1:30 p.m. for professionals and discuss current and upcoming food from 1:30p.m. to 7:30p.m. for the trends. Finally, Taste Press presents public; March 10 hours: 9:30 4:30 p.m. magazine and book-publishing projTickets: €15 daily ticket for the ects dedicated to food and wine topgeneral public, €10 for profesics. sionals (valid for the 3-day event); If you can’t make the fair, be on the children under 10 years enter free. lookout around Florence for ‘Fuori di Taste’ participants. These are restau-

Pitti Taste

STUZZICHERIA LETIZIA SPECIALTies: VEGAN & VEGETARIAN Step into Stuzzicheria Letizia for a mouth-watering panino con porchetta: whole suckling pig slow-roasted in a wood-fired oven for at least six hours and served on a fresh bread roll. Named for its range of light meals and freshly made snacks (stuzzichini), such as sandwiches, pasta, omelets and rice-filled arancini, Stuzzicheria Letizia also offers traditional Florentine dishes that change daily, where you can enjoy a starter or main with a glass of wine for only €4.90.

Via de’ Neri, 18 055 26 70 481


Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 No. 5


In a Family-Friendly Place

Meet Pino of Salumeria Verdi and Pozzodivino James Taylor & Ivana Scatola To the seasoned student in Florence, Pino is a man who needs no introduction. He is the proud owner of Salumeria Verdi on Via Giuseppe Verdi, a deli and cafe that happily opens its doors to tourists, students and locals. He has attained something of a cult status, particularly among students visiting from America. Some of Pino’s panini are even named after students who left a particular impression, such as ‘Mister Talk,’ and ‘Emily’. Another option on the menu is ‘The Best,’ so-named by Pino in response

to the many tourists and students always asking, ‘’Which one’s the best?’’ Pino will proudly tell you that it is not uncommon for students returning to Florence to show up at his business with spouses wives and children. In fact, Pino fondly recalls serving a sandwich to a former customer 11 years after he had left Florence. Pino is somewhat humbled by his recognition, and attributes his popularity to treating anybody in his cafe “as if they were family”, and to his three pillars of service – “qualitá, prezzo, accoglienza” – quality, price and hospitality. Born of a desire by Pino and his wife

Antonella to go one step ahead of similar vendors by modernising the standard panino and studying flavors that go well together, Salumeria Verdi has grown in both size and success since its inauguration in the late 1980s. It employs ingredients from all over Italy, a factor that is extremely important for its owners, who aim to provide tourists with more than just a taste of Florence, with such produce as pesto from Liguria and cheese from the south. This is an element consciously influenced by Pino’s background. Born in Naples, an Italian region known for quality ingredients, Pino moved to



There are few places more apt to sample Tuscan wine than Pozzo Divino (‘The Wine Well’), where wine-tastings take place in a spectacular cellar dating back to 1312. The cellar features an ancient pozzo (well), while the quality of the niche wine hand-picked by owner Pino easily justifies an interpretation of ‘divine’ in this cosy enoteca’s title. Pozzo Divino also arranges Chianti Classico wine tours and sells olive oil and a superb range of balsamic vinegar aged up to 45 years.

Salumeria Verdi is a prime spot for quality food. This gastronomia has been serving the Florentine public since 1900, and offers a range of fresh pasta, bread, meat, cheese and more. It’s an ideal spot to stop by for a quick and satisfying lunch, and also offers catering services. Salumeria Verdi is also the sister company of nearby enoteca Pozzo Divino and therefore offers a cornucopia of quality wine selections.

Mon. to Sat.: 9.30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.; & 2–6:30 p.m. Sun.: Wine-tasting by appointment

Mon. to Sat.: 8 a.m.–8p.m.

Via Ghibellina, 144/r 055 246 69 07

Via Verdi, 36/r 055 24 45 17

Turin with his family at the age of six. Like many Italian migrants who travelled north in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the family’s move was propelled by a search of work and opportunities. Pino settled permanently in Florence after meeting Antonella here, and thus this second permanent move was made for love. Today Salumeria Verdi resembles a veritable ‘Tardis’ (for non-fans of Doctor Who, that’s a space that seems small from the exterior yet is gigantic inside): stretching to the length of three shops, the original delicatessen has expanded into a panini shop with abundant choices to create your own

fillings (much like most American equivalents), and boasts space with some 20 tables and chairs. The Salumeria is quite frankly a feast for the eyes (as well as the hungry stomach); the colors and smells emanating from the place are an irresistible mélange that regularly see queues out the door. Whether drawn by hunger pangs, the itch to get creative with panini fillings or simply the desire to drop into a Florentine institution and share a few words of wisdom with the great man himself, Salumeria Verdi is well worth a visit. Who knows? Maybe Pino will name a sandwich after you.


Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 NO. 5

CITY INFO Tourist Information Firenze Turismo ......... 055 29 08 32 // 055 29 08 33 Via Cavour, 1/r Mon–Sat: 8:30a.m.–6:30p.m. (Closed on Sundays and public holidays; see Commune info points below for Sunday hours.) Florence Airport ............................ 055 31 58 74 Via del Termine, 1 Daily: 8:30a.m.–8:30p.m. Commune ..................................... 055 21 22 45 Piazza Stazione, 4 Mon–Sat: 8:30a.m.–7p.m. Sundays & public holidays: 8:30a.m.–2p.m. Bigallo loggia ................................ 055 28 84 96 Piazza San Giovanni Mon–Sat: 9a.m.–7p.m. Sundays & public holidays: 9a.m.–2p.m.

Emergency Services Police – emergency ........................................ 113 Police – carabinieri ......................................... 112 Police – municipal ...................... 055 32 83 333 Ambulance ........................................................ 118 Fire department .............................................. 115 Tourist medical service .................. 055 21 22 21 Poison Center ................................ 055 79 47 819 Pharmacies (open) ...................... 800 42 07 07 Vehicle breakdown (ACI) ................................ 116 Obstruction& towed vehicle ....... 055 42 24 142 Civil protection services .................. 800 01 5 161 Child abuse hotline .......................................... 114 Emergency vet services ............. 055 72 23 683 Environmental emergency response ........ 1515 Lost & Found (Florence office) ... 055 33 48 02

Transport BUS & COACH ATAF ( .................. 800 42 45 00 BluBlus ( ............. 800 27 78 25 SITA Nord ( ... 800 37 37 60 CAP ( ......... 055 21 46 37 Vaibus ( ....... 058 35 87 897 TRAIN Trenitalia ( ......... 89 20 21 Italo ( ............... 06 07 08 TAXI Radio Taxi Firenze .............................. 055 42 42

Museums & Galleries Accademia Gallery* Alinari National Photography Museum* Bargello National Museum* Bigallo Museum* Cathedral Museum (Museo dell’Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore)* Costume Gallery (Palazzo Pitti)* Dante House Museum* Galileo Museum * Horne Foundation Museum * Jewish Museum* Michelangelo’s House (Casa Buonarroti)* MUDI Children’s Museum Museum & Florentine Institute of Prehistory Museum of Natural History sections: Anthropology & Ethnology* Geology & Paleontology* Minerology & Lithology* Zoology ‘La Specola’* National Archaeological Museum* Orsanmichele* Palatine Gallery (Palazzo Pitti)* Palazzo Davanzati* Palazzo Medici-Riccardi* Palazzo Pitti* Palazzo Strozzi* Palazzo Vecchio* Porcelain Museum* Science & Technical Foundation* Uffizi Gallery* Vasari Corridor

Religious Sites Baptistry of San Giovanni* Brancacci Chapel* Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Duomo) ‘Dante’s church’ (Santa Margherita de’ Cerchi) Jewish Synagogue* Medici Chapel* Ognissanti San Lorenzo San Marco* Santa Croce* Santa Felicità Santa Maria Novella* Santissima Annunziata Santo Spirito

Gardens Boboli Gardens* Botanic Gardens* Rose Gardens

Key Sites

SANT’AMBROGIO Fresh produce, flowers, clothes and homewares. Piazza Ghiberti Indoor market: Monday, Tuesday & Thursday: 7:30 a.m.–2 p.m.; Wednesday & Friday: 7:30 a.m.–7 p.m.; Saturday: 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Outdoor market: Monday–Saturday: 8 a.m.–2 p.m.

Forte Belvedere Giotto’s bell tower (campanile)* Piazza della Repubblica Piazza della Signoria Piazzale Michelangelo Piazza San Giovanni Ponte Vecchio S.M.N. train station (*) included in the FIRENZE CARD. See for more information.

Markets Antiques Borgo Allegri, Via dell’Agnolo, Piazza dei Ciompi, Via Martiri del Popolo Last Sunday of each month (except July): 8:30 a.m.–7:30 p.m. Central Market Fresh produce, local and Italian food products. Via dell’Ariento Monday–Friday: 7 a.m.– 2 p.m. ; Sat: 7 a.m.–5 p.m. July and August: Monday–Saturday: 7 a.m.–2 p.m. Cascine Park Food products, clothing, antiques and homewares. Viale Lincoln, Viale Lecci, Piazzale J. F. Kennedy Every Tuesday: 8 a.m.–2 p.m. FLEA MARKET Piazza dei Ciompi Daily: 9 a.m.–7:30 p.m. FLOWERS & PLANTS Via Pellicceria (under the loggia) Every Thursday (except public holidays): 8 a.m.–2 p.m. PORCELLINO Clothing, textiles, Florentine straw products, leather and souvenirs. Piazza del Mercato Nuovo, Via Porta Rossa Daily: 9 a.m.–7:30 p.m. SAN LORENZO Leather goods (bags, shoes, clothing) and souvenirs. Piazza San Lorenzo and neighboring streets Daily: 9 a.m.–7:30 p.m.

SANTO SPIRITO Piazza Santo Spirito Fresh produce: Monday–Saturday: 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Handicrafts & antiques: 2nd Sunday of each month (except July & August): 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Organic produce: 3rd Sun of each month (except August): 9 a.m.–7 p.m.

Shuttle Service - Florence Airport From Florence S.M.N. train station to Florence Airport (Peretola): Every hour and half-hour from 5:30 a.m. till 11 p.m. Bus stop located outside train station near taxi stand. From Florence Airport to Florence S.M.N train station: Every hour and half-hour from 6a.m. till 11.30p.m. ‘Vola in Bus’ ATAF/SITA service .... 800 42 45 00 Florence Airport ............................ 055 30 61 300 (Peretola) Pisa International Airport ............. 050 84 93 00 (Galileo Galilei)

Taxi discount for women Florence’s taxi service offers a 10 percent discount for women travelling home alone from the city center. The discount is valid between 9 p.m.–2 a.m. but you must remember to ask for it! Call a taxi on one of the following numbers: 055 42 42 // 055 43 90 055 47 98 // 055 44 99

LE CARCERI RESTAURANT, PIZZERIA AND WINE BAR NEAR SANT’AMBROGIO Le Carceri is located in the old Carcere delle Murate, which was a cloistered convent until the 19th century when it became Florence’s city prison. Le Carceri is located in the prison’s former registry offices, where the site’s eclectic history can be traced via original prison graffiti and frescoed ceilings from the 17th century. The restaurant offers Tuscan and Italian specialties, wood-fired pizza, an extensive wine list and a choice of artisan beer. Ideal for intimate evenings in beautiful surroundings throughout the year, summer also sees the introduction of an aperitivo buffet accompanied by music each Wednesday.

Open daily for lunch and dinner. Piazza Madonna della Neve, 3 055 24 79 327


Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 No. 5

CITY INFO Opening Times BAPTISTRY OF SAN GIOVANNI* Piazza San Giovanni 055 23 02 885 Mon–Sat: 11:15 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sun and 1st Sat of every month: 8:30 a.m.–2 p.m. July 4– Sept 28: Thurs–Sat: 11:15 a.m.–11 p.m. Easter Week (Thurs, Fri, Sat before Easter & Easter Mon), April 25 & May 1: 8:30 a.m.–7 p.m. Closed Jan 1, Easter Sunday, Sept 8, Dec 24 & 25. BOBOLI GARDENS* 055 23 88 786 March Daily: 8:15 a.m.–5:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. with daylight saving) April–May & Sept–Oct Daily: 8:15 a.m.–6:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. with standard time) June–Aug Daily: 8:15 a.m.–7:30 p.m. Nov–Feb Daily: 8:15 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Closed 1st and last Mon of each month; Jan 1, May 1 & Dec 25. CATHEDRAL CUPOLA* Piazza del Duomo 055 23 02 885 Mon–Fri: 8:30 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sat: 8:30 a.m.–5:40 p.m. Closed Sun; Jan 1; Jan 6; Thurs–Fri– Sat before Easter; Easter; June 24; Aug 15; Sept 8; Nov 1; Dec 8; Mon & Tues of the first week of Advent; Dec 25 & 26. Note: 463 stairs by foot only, no lift. GIOTTO’S BELL TOWER* Piazza del Duomo 055 23 02 885 Daily: 8:30 a.m.–7:30 p.m.; January 6: 8:30 a.m.–2 p.m. Closed Jan 1, Easter, Sept 8 & Dec 25. Note: 414 stairs by foot only, no lift VASARI CORRIDOR Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6 055 29 48 83 Available to private groups only: contact Uffizi Gallery for information. MUSEUMS ACCADEMIA GALLERY* Via Ricasoli, 58/60 055 23 88 612 Tues–Sun: 8:15 a.m.–6:50 p.m. Closed Mon, Jan 1, May 1 & Dec 25. PALAZZO MEDICI-RICCARDI*

Via Cavour, 3 055 27 60 340 Mon–Tues & Thurs–Sun: 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Closed Wed. BARGELLO NATIONAL MUSEUM* Via del Proconsolo, 4 055 23 88 606 Daily: 8:15 a.m.–1.50 p.m. Closed 1st, 3rd & 5th Sun and 2nd & 4th Mon of each month; Jan 1 & Dec 25. CATHEDRAL MUSEUM (Museo dell’Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore)* Piazza del Duomo, 9 055 23 02 885 Mon–Sat: 9 a.m.–7:30 p.m.; Sun: 9 a.m.–1:45 p.m. Closed Jan 1, Easter, Sept 8 & Dec 25. DANTE HOUSE MUSEUM * Via Santa Margherita, 1 055 21 94 16 April–Sept Daily: 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Oct–March Tues–Sun: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Closed Mon (Oct 1–March 31), Dec 24 & 25. GALILEO MUSEUM * Piazza dei Giudici, 1 055 26 53 11 Mon & Wed–Sun: 9:30 a.m.–6 p.m.; Tues: 9:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Closed Jan 1 & Dec 25. JEWISH MUSEUM * Via Farini, 6 055 23 46 654 June–Sept: Mon–Thurs & Sun: 10 a.m.–6:30 p.m.; Fri: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Oct–May: Mon–Thurs & Sun: 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Fri: 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Closed Sat, Jan 1, Dec 25 & Jewish holidays. MICHELANGELO’S HOUSE (Casa Buonarroti)* Via Ghibellina, 70 055 24 17 52 Mon & Wed–Sun: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Closed Tues, Jan 1, Easter & Dec 25. NATIONAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM* Piazza Santissima Annunziata, 9b 055 23 57 720 / 23 575 Tues–Fri: 8:30 a.m.–7 p.m. Sat–Mon: 8:30 a.m.–2 p.m.

Closed Jan 1 & Dec 25. PALAZZO DAVANZATI * Via Porta Rossa, 13 055 23 88 610 Daily: 8:15–1:30 p.m. Closed 2nd & 4th Sun, and 1st, 3rd & 5th Mon of the month; Jan 1, May 1, Dec 25. PALAZZO PITTI* Piazza Pitti, 1 Palatine Gallery 055 23 88 614 Tues–Sun: 8:15 a.m.–6:50 p.m. Royal Apartments closed every year during Jan for maintenance. Closed Mon, Jan 1, May 1 & Dec 25. Costume Gallery 055 23 88 801 / 23 88 713 March Daily: 8:15 a.m.–5:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. with daylight saving) April–May & Sept–Oct Daily: 8:15 a.m.–6:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. with standard time) June–Aug Daily: 8:15 a.m.–6:30 p.m. Nov–Feb Daily: 8:15 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Closed 1st and last Mon of each month; Jan 1, May 1 & Dec 25. Gallery of Modern Art 055 2388601 Tues–Sun: 8:15 a.m.–6:50 p.m. Closed Mon, Jan 1, May 1 & Dec 25. Silverware Museum (Museo degli Argenti) Piazza Pitti, 1 055 2388709 March Daily: 8:15 a.m.–5:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. with daylight saving) April–May & Sept–Oct Daily: 8:15 a.m.–6:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. with standard time) June–Aug Daily: 8:15 a.m.–6:30 p.m. Nov–Feb Daily: 8:15 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Closed 1st and last Mon of each month; Jan 1, May 1 & Dec 25. Porcelain Museum 055 2388709 March Daily: 8:15 a.m.–5:15 p.m. (6:15 p.m. with daylight saving) April–May & Sept–Oct Daily: 8:15 a.m.–6:15 p.m. (5:15 p.m. with standard time) June–Aug Daily: 8:15 a.m.–6:15 p.m. Nov–Feb Daily: 8:15 a.m.–4:15 p.m. Closed 1st and last Mon of each month; Jan 1, May 1 & Dec 25.

Sixty museums in 72 hours with the Firenze Card Become a Friend of the Uffizi For €40 for youth under 25, €60 for an adult and €100 for a family (two adults and two children), the card offers a calendar year’s worth of free privileged entrance to the following museums: Uffizi Gallery Accademia Gallery The Pitti Palace The Palatine Gallery & Royal Apartments The Gallery of Modern Art The Costume Gallery The Medici Treasury The Porcelain Museum The Boboli Gardens The Bardini Gardens Bargello National Museum Museum of the Medici Chapels Museum of Palazzo Davanzati Museum of San Marco Garden of the Medici Villa of Castello Medici Villa of Petraia Medici Villa of Poggio a Caiano Medici Villa of Cerreto Guidi & Historical Hunting and Territorial Museum Cenacolo of Ognissanti Cenacolo of Andrea del Sarto Cenacolo of Fuligno Cenacolo of Sant’Apollonia Cloister of the Scalzo

The Firenze Card is your one-stop pass to the museums, churches and gardens of Florence. For €72 it offers: • 72 hours of free access to 60 of Florence’s most popular and important museums, churches and gardens, including current exhibitions, permanent collections and museum activities; • Free use of public transport within Florence; • Immediate access to busy museums – skip long queues and pre-booking; • Your choice of start date: the clock doesn’t start ticking until you enter your first museum; • Dedicated smartphone application to help find the museums, access free wi-fi and give you updated information on exhibits and events; • Though the card can only be used once in each museum by one person, it also allows free entrance for EU citizens under 18 who are members of the same family unit of the cardholder. See the website for full details:


Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 NO. 5


The ‘Village’ of Florence

Discover Santo Spirito, the ‘Artistic’ Side of the City Claudia Niemann AND Ivana Scatola It is no coincidence that celebrities such as Sting and Madonna own an apartment in this neighborhood: Santo Spirito is in fact to Florence what Greenwich Village is to New York and Shoreditch is to London. Less frequented by tourists than the center, the chic yet laid-back Santo Spirito neighborhood is a seemingly tranquil area, whose narrow side streets with their tiny vintage stores, boutiques, and low-priced taverns recall a bygone Florence. Locals can often be seen descending the stairs of their apartments early in the morning to open their shops either below or in the next street along, no doubt in the manner they have done for many years. At the same time Santo Spirito

exudes multiculturalism. It’s where true, contemporary Florentine life unfolds. The area’s charm is enriched by local industry, such as artisan workshops, art and jewelry schools, restaurants and corner bakeries, ancient churches and vibrant nightlife spots in its central piazza. Besides the little treasures found in basement shops or open studios, a successful culinary alliance in Santo Spirito between prestigious restaurants and familial trattorias means a wide range of Italian specialties. Beautiful gardens and cozy cafés offer the perfect surrounding to relax mind and body and to experience the pulse of an authentic neighborhood. Given its alliance with creativity, Santo Spirito has encouraged a more alter-

native, bohemian scene in Florence. In addition to Piazza del Carmine, Piazza Santo Spirito is a densely concentrated social hotspot, especially in the evening. Here, students, musicians and street artists mix with the neighborhood’s inhabitants to create a vibrant atmosphere. Piazza Santo Spirito hosts daily markets as well as an antique and flea market selling vintage items, typical handicrafts and regional food products on every second Sunday of the month. Although smaller than the markets in the city center, these offer low-priced specialties and individual items. Furthermore, during the summer, the square frequently transforms into a stage for various events and open-air concerts. At all hours, people gather on the

steps of the church of Santo Spirito, the backdrop to the animated piazza. Although at first sight the façade may seem unimposing, the church is a classic example of Renaissance architecture. The linear interior was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi in 1435, who applied a new architectural vision to his work. It was completed after his death in the late 15th century, but it was not until later in the 18th century that the unfinished facade was added. The building houses important frescoes, paintings and sculptures by major artists such as Michelangelo, Orcagna and Sansovino. Just a few minutes’ walk away from the piazza is Palazzo Pitti. Originally designed for banker Luca Pitti, whose determination to surpass the Medici by flaunting his prosperity is discernable in this opulent construction. Later, the Medici bought the palace when Pitti’s heirs went bankrupt. In 1550 the powerful family chose the palace as their principal residence, and sovereigns of Florence resided there in subsequent centuries. Today, inestimable treasures from the collection of the Medici are housed inside Palazzo Pitti’s walls. In 1549 the Boboli Gardens were designed to the Medici’s elaborate desires, and situated just behind the palace. This fine example of a Renaissance garden art has been open to the public since 1776. Although the streetscape has changed over the years, as sandwich bars and souvenir shops have increasingly found their way into the neighborhood, Santo Spirito has maintained its authentic atmosphere. A great number of shops and restaurants have managed to exist for decades, playing a vital role in maintaining the genuine neighbourhood quality for which the district is widely admired.

All About Services in the City When In Florence is the city’s first and only services company designed exclusively for students, tourists and expats. The company uses its experience and contacts within the city to assist newcomers in finding apartment rental for the duration of their stay in Florence. It also offers car rental and a variety of short- and longterm cell phone rentals, so there’s no need to worry about spending excessive amounts of money on giving your phone from home international access. When you want to cheer on Fiorentina, purchasing tickets is as simple as stopping by the office with a copy of your passport to reserve a spot. Tickets are available two to three days before the game. The company also provides information on luggage storage and shipping all of your new goods back home, and is available to assist with events planning. Conceived in 2011 as a means of bridging the gap between life at home and in an unfamiliar country, When In Florence offers a range of tailor-made services that have been crafted from personal experience, market research and feedback by staff members that include former study abroad students.

When in Florence 055 38 60 864 Via Giuseppe Verdi, 46/r.


OPEN DAILY: 12-3 P.M. DINNER: 7-11 P.M.



Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 No. 5


Meet Sculptor and Painter Marco Fallani

Some of Fallani’s works will be on display at Cioccolateria Vivaldi in April Lauren Boyd Florence is well-known for its collection of famous and beautiful artwork from throughout the ages that inspires onlookers. But for artist Marco Fallani, creative inspiration comes not only from the pieces on display throughout the city but also from the unique textures, colors and light Florence offers that can’t be found in anywhere else. Fallani, a sculptor and a painter, was born in New York but grew up in Florence, and returned to America for a

few years to complete a graduate program in San Francisco. He shows his art at exhibitions in Europe, America and Canada, and his most recent show was in New York. Although a Florence resident, Fallani continues to travel back and forth from America and Italy and won’t spend more than a year in Florence without living in America for at least a month. For as long as Fallani can remember he had wanted to be an artist, and he has been creating art his whole life. Growing up, his parents brought him

to museums all over the world, and one day when he stopped to draw a piece of art in a museum, he remembered feeling the joy of drawing something seriously for the first time and knew that creating art was what he wanted to do in life. Fallani enjoys sculpting and painting equally, and both for different reasons. When sculpting he appreciates the medium and the physicality of the material, and he creates mostly figurative work. When painting, he is interested in the poetic side of the art, and attempts to

reach it through the image but mostly through the textures. Fallani paints places as containers for the objects that are within the space, and he always makes sure to create a sense of space in his pieces. One piece of art cannot be claimed as Fallani’s favorite, because once he’s finished one sculpture or painting he’s hoping that the next will become his new favorite. He always wants to challenge himself to do better, to continue his research, and become a stronger artist. “You discover yourself through artwork, and you always

want to know more about yourself with the next piece,” Fallani said. The message Fallani strives to convey is to try to vibrate something within the viewer, a new feeling triggered by existing feelings, and from memories mixed with new experience. It is his belief that artists make the world a better place, and inspiring new artists is his contribution toward that utopian goal. “My goal is to be able to create until my very last day of life, which I hope will be when I’m very old. The dream is to live with and create my artwork.”

Spanish Restaurant Mexican Grill Latin Disco Bar

Tues.: Latin Disco Wed.: Live music with Mambokids Latin band Thurs.: International Student Night Fri. & Sat.: Latin Disco Bar

Via Ghibellina, 80/r 055 23 45 452


Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 NO. 5


Dante’s Commedia: ‘English Speaking’ Misconceived by Dan Brown Writers in Florence Gather at St. Mark’s

Lee Foust The theme of the Book of Revelations, like the Old Testament Book of Daniel upon which it was based, is thlipsis—a Greek word meaning tribulations. Consequently, our whole Judeo-Christian concept of God’s judgment in the afterlife stems from how we morally react to life’s tribulations. Since Revelations recounts mostly the retributions meted out to the enemies of Christianity and other evildoers at the end of time, a lacuna of early Christian theology was the knowledge of what happens to the souls of the faithful in the interim between death and the last judgment. Into this gap stepped the Vision of St. Paul, an apocryphal biblical text that spawned a considerable but little-read medieval genre of visions recounting journeys into a moralized Christian land of the dead—there are about 100 such texts written in Europe between the 2nd and 14th centuries and it is from them that we take most of our

common modern images of hell and heaven, as well as the entire concept of Purgatory. Dante Alighieri’s tripartite epic poem, The Commedia (“Divine” was added to the title later, by Giovanni Boccaccio), is one such encyclopedic, late-medieval account of how the unrepentant are punished in Hell, how the repentant are cleansed in Purgatory, and how the blessed celebrate their salvation in Heaven. It is the last of the medieval visionary tradition—a text too exhaustive, poetic, and influential to top. As alluring as a descent into the infernal regions at first sounds, however, the poem has nothing at all to do with any medieval plagues, nor with the threat to anyone’s life, and its villain is a chained-up, non-speaking, and totally ineffectual Satan. Neither the poem’s focus on morality, nor its lack of an active villain, is compatible with the modern thriller genre. We saw it in the film Se7en’s weak Dantesque references, we saw it in the over-romanticized video game Dan-

CENTRO LUCE • • • • • • • • •


Adapters Converters Headphones Hair Straighteners Hair Dryers Boilers Kettles Coffee Machines Electricity Emergency Service

te’s Inferno, and we see it yet again in Dan Brown’s mostly pointless attempt to exploit Dante’s poem in his recent thriller, Inferno. Just as modern-day romance plays no part whatsoever in the poet’s spiritual salvation as granted him by the figure of an allegorical, unknown woman who is called “Beatrice” because the name signifies that she is a miracle from heaven, “a blessing,” (as I discussed in last month’s article) so the episodic and poetic invocation of divine justice after death presented in the Commedia has no secular stakes— no ticking bombs or terrorist plots. It just doesn’t fit the thriller mold, and that’s why Dan Brown’s Inferno, for me, fails by choosing Dante’s epic as a platform—it grafts two incompatible species of tree together too haphazardly. The basic plot—a mad genius biologist cooking up a virus to save the world from human overpopulation—is interesting enough, but all of the half-baked information regarding the Commedia, Dante’s life, and his love for Beatrice, is needless, awkward, and often just plain wrong. Without it, the novel might also have clocked in at a more readable 250 pages instead of its tedious 462. For a really interesting take on Dante’s epic poem—and some awesome Godfather, Goodfellas, and Sopranos-style gangster shenanigans—try Nick Tosches’s In the Hand of Dante (No Exit Press, 2002). Tosches’s novel juxtaposes the medieval poet’s struggle to complete his poetic vision of Paradise with the bloodbath produced by modern-day gangsters fighting over the newly discovered original manuscript of the Commedia in the poet’s own hand. Now that would be a find worth fighting over!

THE IRISH PUB IN SAN LORENZO A semi-circular counter, wooden furniture and a Guinness mug make Dublin Pub an Irish haven in the middle of central Florence. The historic bar opens at 5 p.m. every evening and offers quality beer, fresh cocktails, sandwiches and snacks amidst a traditional Irish pub atmosphere. Located on Via Faenza, just a short walk from the Duomo, the pub also offers various promotions and contests with many exciting prizes. The genuine atmosphere together with the helpful and inviting staff make Dublin Pub an ideal place to spend fun nights in good company or enjoy a beer any time while listening to great background music.

Open daily from 5 p.m. Borgo degli Albizi, 91/r 055 24 69 318

Via Faenza, 27 055 27 41 571

Lee Foust The Florence Writers group and its reading series continue to go strong. February’s reader was accomplished international poet Elisa Biagini. She presented and read from the English translations of her works in The Guest in the Woods—A Selection of poems 2004-7 (Chelsea Editions, 2013). The engaging Florentine spoke of her poetic inspirations and writing process, her accomplishments also as a translator of American poetry, and as a teacher—as well as her many travels as a kind of ambassador of poetry in the international community. For more info visit Next up on the Florence Writers calendar author Kamin Mohammadi will present her historical family memoir The Cypress Tree: A Love Letter to Iran (Bloomsbury, 2011) on March 3 at 6:30 p.m. Mohammadi is an Iranian-born

woman who has lived in exile in England since the Iranian revolution of 1979. The Cypress Tree interweaves her family’s history and her own truncated experience with her native country and its culture through the political turmoil of the revolution in the eyes of an expat. (Visit www. Also gaining momentum is a new pan-disciplinary international group of fine artists, photographers, writers, and artisans called Creative People in Florence. Brainchild of artist and jewelry designer Sara Amrhein and photographer Birgitte Brønsted (later joined by visual artist Anna Rose), the Creatives, begun as a Craiglist ad, became a facebook page (370 members and growing), and have recently spawned a lovely and informative blog: http://creativepeopleinflorence. I was flattered to be the first member to be featured writing about their creative process— hopefully there will be many more to come! The blog also contains other features about the various artistic exploits of the group’s members, a directory for networking, as well as a calendar of upcoming artistic events. Soon the site will go bilingual in order to better welcome native Florentine creative types as well. We all met for a get-to-know-eachother aperitivo back in January and the camaraderie was amazing: spontaneous and heartwarming. Creative people: check out the blog and join the group! Read more from Lee at


Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 No. 5



A Tradition of Watches and Jewels Lauren Boyd Oroarte opened in 1884, making it Tuscany’s oldest watch shop. Located on Via Giuseppe Verdi 71/r, Oroarte offers jewelry and watch restorations, certified diamonds, jewelry and watch restorations, repairs and resizing, guaranteed watch repairs of any brand, second-hand jewelry and watches available to buy, and watchstrap and battery-changing services. Oroarte is a family business run by Francesco Biagi, his son Leonardo, daughter Lara, and wife Mirella. And it truly is a family business: Francesco’s grandfather opened the first shop, and Francesco had learned about the industry by attending his uncle’s shop when he was only 15 years old. Both Leonardo and Lara

have completed specialization courses in goldsmithing and watch-making and have diplomas in those topics. Francesco has taken various courses in gemology, has been part of the Board of Florentine Goldsmiths for many years, and was the President of a Consortium of Jewelers for six years. Mirella strings the pearl necklaces they sell and sometimes helps out in the shop. The Biagi family prides itself in its honesty and respect, both in the services they provide and in the relationships they hold with their customers. They understand that their customers must be confident in their work, and this goldsmithing and watch-making family is able to please their customers with the deep love of their craft and knowledge of their clientele.

Lineapelle Leather Exhibit in Bologna from March 11-13

In addition to Italian excellence in March 11-13 in Bologna’s fair district in Milan and was inspired by the Prethings like soccer, food and Vespas, and will showcase the upcoming selezione Italiana Moda shows held Italy has a well-established foothold year’s Spring and Summer season. in Florence since 1981. Since 1986 in the fashion world, with leather Lineapelle is characterized by lead- Lineapelle has been held in Bologna, products a particularly valued craft. ership in quality and style innova- hosted by the Milan-based company Twice a year in Bologna, the Linea- tion, which makes it indispensable Lineapelle S.p.A. With over 40,000 pelle event takes place, a festival and to the worldwide business of leather leather companies around the world, international exhibition of leather ac- demand. The exhibition hosts more Lineapelle is a not-to-miss event for cessories, components, synthetics for than 1,050 companies and is the cen- anyone interested in fashion. footwear, garments, and furniture. terpiece event to the $100 billion inFor more information go to from industrial, big-brand jewelry, This spring the event is being held dustry. Lineapelle started out in 1981 customers who would rather build a collection with one-of-a-kind pieces. It was Eleonora’s dream to open a jewelry shop such as L’oro Fuggia, as she really loves embroidery and also creating earrings and bracelets. Leonardo can also be found in the shop crafting rings that will be sold. After last year’s overwhelming suc- Academy of Fashion in Florence, is an gold and silver thread, leather, ivory The most popular item is their hand- cess, Ceri Vintage Atelier will begin expert in the tailoring technique of buttons, and precious lace and beads. made bracelets. When tourists visit another intensive antique tailoring the 16th and 17th centuries through Ceri Vintage & Factory is a point of the L’oro Fuggia, Eleonora says, they techniques workshop in March. Lo- the 19th century, as well as one of the reference for stylists, costume designtake one look around and say, “Wow, cated near Santo Spirito square at Via most creative designers in the field ers and for those who, like its ownit’s so different!” Dei Serragli, 26/r, Ceri Vintage will of- of theater costume. The lessons will er Danilo Ceri, love to wear unique fer lessons held in English and Italian take place in a historic atmosphere, clothing. and taught by Professor Ulrika Wen- and students will learn about making For information contact Professor Ulnerstrom. Wennerstrom, a professor corsets, quilting, ruffs, and embroirika Wennerstom at rikinaw@gmail. of fashion and design at the Italian dery with original materials such as com or

The Art of HandMade Jewels Lauren Boyd It is easy to get distracted by designer window shopping on the streets of Florence. Located on Via dei Servi 13/r, just steps away from the Duomo, is an affordable bigiotteria that stands out from the rest. L’oro Fuggia, owned by husband and wife Leonardo and Eleonora, is full of unique pieces of jewelry that can’t be found in any other city in the world. Necklaces, rings, and earrings made from semi-precious stones and brass, silver, bronze, wool and ribbon are all hand-made by the pair. The shop opened in July 2013 and caters to consumers looking to stray

Ceri Vintage Atelier Offers Antique Tailoring Workshop

HITO HISTORIC VINTAGE BOUTIQUE IN OLTRARNO A Florentine vintage store with heart and soul, Ceri is home to a beautiful collection of classic fashion pieces. Here one can find delicate Victorian lace dresses, vintage French workwear, WWII British and U.S. military wear and all sorts of rare goodies from the 1800s to the 1980s. Owner Danilo Ceri travels throughout Europe selecting the best pieces for this unique shop: a premier stop for vintage enthusiasts in Florence.

Monday: 3:30–7 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday: 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m.; 3:30–7 p.m. Via dei Serragli, 26/r 055 21 79 78

• • • • • • • • • • •

BEAUTY, massage & SPA TREATMENT Natural aesthetics Tanning salon Complete treatments for face and body Cellulite firming Lymphatic drainage Permanent hair removal Waxing Pedicure Makeup Radio frequency treatment Spa jet

LIFESTYLE SALON & SPA Via de' Neri 53-55/r 055 23 98 553 CONCEPT SALON - without appointment Via de' Neri 49/r 055 28 28 41 CONCEPT SALON Via dei Benci 5/r 055 21 92 27

Monday to Saturday: 9:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. Via de’ Ginori, 21 055 28 44 24


Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 NO. 5


Porto di Mare – Eskimo Bridging cultures through live music at the club where all musicians meet

Ivana Scatola As with any port, Porto di Mare – Eskimo is synonymous with exchange, correspondence, and coming and going. Anyone is welcomed through the doors of this club, which also hosts a pizzeria and cafè. Its focus on live music and cultural exchange is one that the man who started the club, Francesco Cofone, holds close to his heart: “We never play anything recorded here,” he says with a smile. The method of bridging cultures at Porto di Mare is just getting out an instrument and beginning to play. “I’d be keen to talk to anyone who is interested in playing and sharing their music with us,” Francesco says. The club has also created its own big band, the Eskimo Jazz Orchestra. An

all-star Tuscan jazz band born under the initiative of Francesco, it includes some of the biggest and respected names on the jazz scene amongst its members. These include trumpeter and band conductor Fabio Morgera, who played under legendary American jazz cornetist, composer and conductor Butch Morris for 30 years in New York; Dario Cecchini, sax and leader of Italian marching band Funk Off; trumpeter Luca Marianini; trombone player Stefano Scalzi and guitarist Riccardo Onori, who both played alongside renowned Italian singer-songwriter and rapper Jovanotti; percussionists Walter Paoli, ex-member of 1970s Italian jazz, progressive rock and electronic group Area, and Piero Borri; clarinet player Nico Gori; and guitarists Paolo Conte, Ivano Fossati and Riccardo Galardini

– to name just (a little more than) a few. The band’s genre has evolved from classical music to a looser, improvised style: “Morris’s idea was to dissolve any sort of ‘formation’ in the orchestra, and for this reason, conducting isn’t undertaken in one style but acts more like a tool for endless different styles,” Fabio Morgera explains. “I conduct a group of musicians but they have complete freedom of the choice of notes; it’s an exchange between us. There’s no rigid music score to follow … In this way, it’s possible to create music together that has an organic quality.” The band performs live at the venue every month, and has already had many requests from specialized magazines to festival directors. Porto di Mare – Eskimo therefore not



Monday – Friday: 12 p.m.–2 a.m. Saturday & Sunday: 5 p.m.–2 a.m. Art Director: Via deʼ Canacci, 12/r Francesco Cofone 055 23 82 425

only offers locals and outsiders the opportunity to immerse themselves in and contribute to the local music scene, but also to witness the emergence of Florence as host to a new style of jazz.

Contact Francesco Porto di Mare – Eskimo Via Pisana, 128 055 71 20 34

Weekly Live Music Calendar Tuesday: Jazz Open Mic & Workshop Wednesday: Bog & Kate Live (Ft. Guests) Thursday: Rock Night Friday: Italian Southen Music Live Saturday: Francesco Cofone (Ft. Guests) Sunday: Folk, Rock & Blues

Eskimo: the club for traditional Italian music Born from the fusion of two former jazz venues, This is indeed the place where Italian songwritEskimo and Jazz Club, Eskimo is a club-cafè ers typically perform in a very relaxed and welthat during the day is lived as a bookstore – the coming atmosphere, which is not always easy perfect place to find second-hand books – as to find in the foreign-dominated venues of Florwell as a library where people meet to hang out ence’s city center. in the afternoon. Manager Sara Bonomo hopes that Eskimo will At night, the club becomes the stage where become “a theatrical workshop and a venue young Italian musician perform, often jamming open to other types of arts, not just music – and together. The traditional Italian music that is focusing on bringing together a foreign audiplayed in this club ranges from songwriters to ence, tourists, apericena [aperitivo dinner] and typical musical expressions from southern Italy jazz.” such as the tarantella and others. Occasionally In the small stage of this club some of the most live jazz is played too. famous Italian singers and musicians have apEskimo is the perfect club where non-Italian peared when looking for a more intimate apmusicians or non-Italian music aficionados can proach with the public, far from the sports hall meet their Italian counterpart. It gives artists where they usually perform. This is why Eskimo from all over the world the opportunity to take is not just a bar but rather an ‘atmosphere’ perthe stage in a familiar environment, where they fect to chill out in, far from the formality of the can blend ideas and showcase their talents. city center’s nightlife.



The New Space Club

Space Electronic Gets Restyled On February 15, Florence’s Space Electronic reopened its doors for an extremely successful grand opening night after a short renovation project to revamp the inside of the club. Hundreds of fun-seekers gathered at the club to enjoy an exciting night out in the new and improved club. Technological changes include new equipment, laser lights, giant screens, and one of the most sophisticated and powerful sound systems to be found locally. The interior of the club has been redesigned with new fittings, design solutions and an entirely new style. With all of the new changes the club has undergone, it is easy to forget its roots. The legacy of Space began in February 1969, in the midst of the electrifying “underground” music

phase. Carlo Caldini, Mario Bolognesi and Fabrizio Fiume had a vision: to create a place in the heart of Florence where showcasing music would be the main focus. Caldini is said to have got the idea from a place he visited in New York in 1968 called the Electric Circus. In the early days of Space, the music groups were primarily rock bands, and they mainly covered British and American songs, but bands such as Le Madri Superiori had their own songs to perform. Foreign bands came mostly from London and, because they lacked management, Space was able to contact them directly, offer them a place to stay and give them a regular slot to play in Florence. Some examples of big names that played there include Rory Gallager, Van Der Graaf

Generator, Atomic Rooster, and notable Italian rock band Premiata Forneria Marconi. Space continued in this way until 1975, since which time the live music scene has died down and Space has become a more modern nightclub. In recent years, several famous DJs have taken the stage there, including Chingy, DJ UNK, Chris Willis and Pitbull. What has remained the same since the late ‘60s is the clientele: from the time the club doors open until closing, Florentines and international students come together for an unforgettable music experience. Downstairs hosts a karaoke party until midnight, and has a particularly unique installment – an aquarium. Marshall McLuhan’s theory about me-

dia in his famous work Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964) was the inspiration for the club’s interior when it opened. His view was that media could be used to manipulate environments and create a social effect. As a result of his ideas, clubbers at Space these days find themselves caught up in exciting laser effects that accompany the pumping music vibrating from wall to wall in the upstairs room. A spaceship feel permeates the club, enhanced by the

mirrored walls, smoke machines and snazzy white furniture that line the dance floor. The smart VIP lounge sits above the dance floor, giving those inside a superior view of the dancing talent below. People still fill the club today, although the pull factor is different from that of the late ‘60s. Never t hele s s, Space Electronic continues to entertain Florentines and the international crowd alike, seven days a week.

Owner Andrea Bolognesi and manager Selim De Filipps have designed the new look


Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 NO. 5



PONTORMO AND HIS FOLLOWERS IN THE LANDS OF EMPOLI Until March 2 Pontorme venues: Via Pontorme, 97; San Michele Church; Piazza San Michele Arcangelo; Compagnia di San Michele. 057 19 94 346

The Rooms of the Muses. Baroque Paintings from the Francesco Molinari Pradelli collection Until May 11 Uffizi Gallery 055 29 48 83

MICHELANGELO. THE POWER OF THE GAZE Until March 15 Medici Chapels Museum

HATS BETWEEN ART AND EXTRAVAGANZA Until May 18 Pitti Palace, Costume Gallery 055 29 48 83 Folco Chiti Batelli. Soul and city signs Until March 25 Medici Riccardi Palace 055 27 60 340 / 055 91 08 274

ALDO FALLAI. FROM GIORGIO ARMANI TO THE RENAISSANCE. PHOTOGRAPHS 1978-2013 Until March 3 Villa Bardini 055 20 06 6206

THE WARM STATUES: SCULPTURE, BODY, ACTION 1945–2013 Until March 8 Marino Marini Museum 055 21 94 32

BOCCACCIO AUTHOR AND COPYIST Until March 29 Laurentian Library 055 21 07 60

Getting reacquainted with Michelangelo Sculpture by Buonarroti in photographs and paintings from the 19th century to the present Until May 18 Accademia Gallery 055 29 08 32

THE AMAZING SHOEMAKER. Fairy tales about shoes and shoemakers. Until March 31 Salvatore Ferragamo Museum 055 33 60 456 / 055 33 60 455 Giorgio Castelfranco from Leonardo to De Chirico. The papers of an intellectual Jew in Italy during Fascism. Until March 31 Museo Casa Siviero 055 23 45 219 / 055 43 82 652

KAULONIA, The city of the Amazon Clete Until March 9 National Archaeological Museum 055 23 57 720

Family Matters. Portraits and experiences of family today Until July 20 Strozzina, Palazzo Strozzi 055 26 45 155 / 055 39 17 11 CORTONA: THE DAWN OF THE ETRUSCAN PRINCES Until July 31 National Archaeological Museum of Florence 055 23 57 720

HORNE AND FRIENDS. FLORENCE, A DREAM TO BE SAVED Until April 4 Horne Museum, Via de Benci 055 24 46 61

PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION BY LUCA TESCONI Until March 12 Medici Riccardi Palace 055 91 08 274 / 055 27 60 340

BI CI FI 2014 - FLORENCE BIKE FESTIVAL March 28-30 Cascine Park 055 89 53 651


Il Mercatale di Firenze. Quality products market March 1-2 Piazza della Repubblica 055 26 25 314

Pitti Taste - traveling through the diversity of taste March 8-10 Stazione leopolda 055 36 931 fairs/taste.html

The Feast of the Annunciation and the Florentine New Year - historical parade March 25 Basilica SS.Annunziata 055 26 16 056

Fortezza Antiquaria - antique market March 15-16 Gardens of Fortezza da Basso 055 32 83 515 / 055 27 051 comuni

Florence furniture trade show March 15-23 Fortezza da Basso 055 49 72 1 SS. Annunziata fair March 25 Piazza SS.Annunziata 055 27 052 33 / 055 32 83 506 Ciompi Monthly Antique fair March 30 Piazza dei Ciompi and surrounding streets 055 32 83 515

Lungoungiorno and Fierucola March 9 SAM Space for Arts and Crafts, Vecchio Conventino, via Giano della Bella, 20/1 055 23 22 269 / 055 53 84 964

Special Events

Sculpture exhibition by Mauro Staccioli Until March 10 Medici Riccardi Palace 055 91 08 274 / 055 27 60 340

Markets & Fairs

Lenten outdoor March 30 Viale Lincoln - Piazzale Kennedy 055 32 83 518 / 055 32 83 544


Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 No. 5


Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty Wins Academy Award

ODEON FIRENZE Piazza Strozzi, Firenze 055 214 068 Office: 055 295 051

LA GRANDE BELLEZZA Tickets: Regular: €7.50; Reduced: €6* *Every Wednesday; students from Mon. to Fri. and selected partnerships. Club Odeon Classic: €3

(with english subtitles) DIRECTOR: Paolo Sorrentino GENRE: Drama STARS: Toni Servillo, Carlo Verdone, Sabrina Ferilli PLOT: Paolo Sorrentino’s great international success. Amidst the glories and follies of ancient and contemporary Rome, disenchanted writer Jep observes the vacuousness and decadence of the debauched demimonde. Dates/hours: Tuesday, March 11: 4 – 6:30 – 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 12: 4 p.m. Thursday, March 13: 4 – 6:30 – 9 p.m. 1 OSCAR WIN

Dates/hours: Saturday, March 1: 4 – 6:30 – 9 p.m. Sunday, March 2: 4 – 6:30 – 9 p.m. Monday, March 3: 4 – 6:30 – 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 4: 4 – 6:30 – 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 5: 4 p.m. Thusday, March 6: 4 – 6:30 – 9 p.m. Friday, March 7: 3 – 8 – 10:30 p.m. Saturday, March 8: 3 – 5:30 p.m. Sunday, March 9: 4 – 6:30 – 9 p.m. Monday, March 10: 3:15 – 5:40 p.m. 9 OSCAR NOMINATIONS

Lucy David The Great Beauty brought home the Academy Award for best foreign film. It was Italy’s 11th Academy Award in history, and represents the most wins in this category for any country. The film competed for the Oscar alongside Denmark’s highly praised The Suspect, Belgium’s The Broken Circle Breakdown, Palestine’s Omar, and The Missing Picture from Cambodia. A portrayal of Roman high society in all its sublimity and decay from the perspective of disenchanted socialite Jep Gambardella, The Great Beauty has already drawn parallels with Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. The New York Times said, “With The Great Beauty, Mr. Sorrentino has not only returned to Italy, he has also taken on its past and how it weighs on the present and future.” “I have long been thinking about a film which probes the contradictions, the beauties, the scenes I have witnessed and the people I’ve met in Rome,” said Sorrentino in a director’s statement. “It’s a wonderful city, soothing yet at the same time full of hidden dangers. By dangers, I mean intellectual adventures which lead nowhere.” An Italian film has not won an Oscar since Ro-

berto Benigni’s 1999 Life Is Beautiful, and Italian hopes were riding high that Sorrentino’s film could be the next, having already won widespread national and international acclaim. The film won a Golden Globe for Best Foreign-Language Film, Italy’s first since Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso in 1989, and it swept the European Film Awards at Berlin in December, taking home top prizes for film, director, actor (Toni Servillo) and editor (Cristiano Travaglioli). It was also nominated for Best Foreign-Language Film at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards in the US, and is in the running for a Spirit Award and British Independent Film Award. The film has also broken through the ‘foreign language’ mold to be nominated for best film and best film-maker by the London Critics’ Circle Film Awards, the only film not in English to be nominated in these categories, as well as being a contender in the Foreign Language Film of the Year category. Closer to home, the film garnered five awards at Italy’s Nastri d’Argento (Silver Ribbon) and won best cinematography at the country’s Globi d’Oro (Golden Globes). The Great Beauty has already earned more than $11 million in box-office takings since its release in November last year.

Hard Rock Cafe Hosts The Carnabys from London

12 YEARS A SLAVE DIRECTOR: Steve McQueen GENRE: Biography | Drama | History STARS: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Michael K. Williams PLOT: The true story of Solomon Northrup, once a freeman, abducted off the streets of Washington in 1841 and sold into a brutal servitude on a Louisiana plantation. A gruelling epic of endurance and fortitude in the face of seemingly insurmountable oppression. “A document that is raw, eloquent, horrifying and essential” (Time). “Stark, visceral and unrelenting, 12 Years a Slave is not just a great film but a necessary on” (The Guardian)

Italy’s first win since 1999 Benigni’s Life is Beautiful

HER DIRECTOR: Spike Jonze GENRE: Drama | Romance | Sci-Fi STARS: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson PLOT: A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system that’s designed to meet his every need. Dates/hours: Friday, March 14: 4 – 6:30 – 9 p.m. Saturday, March 15: 4 – 6:30 – 9 p.m. Sunday, March 16: 4 – 6:30 – 9 p.m. Monday, March 17: 4 – 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 18: 4 – 6:30 – 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 19: 4 p.m. Thursday, March 20: 4 p.m. 5 OSCAR NOMINATIONS

On Wednesday, March 5, Florence’s Hard Rock Cafe hosted one of the most promising bands on the current European rock scene. The Carnabys, spokespersons for Hard Rock Cafe’s “Street to Sanctuary” campaign, fuse an early ‘70s English sound with a dose of soul in the frontman’s voice, evoking for many a sound not unlike early Rolling Stones. The campaign has been raising funds throughout February and March for the Bombay Teen Challenge, an organization dedicated to supporting women and children victims of sexual slavery in the red light district of Mumbai, India. Limited edition bracelets are also on sale to generate funds for projects such as shelters for children of Mumbai’s red light district, Jubilee Homes for orphaned children with AIDS, and a medical center for HIV treatment in the red light district.

The band was the global winner of Hard Rock’s HARD ROCK RISING contest, a triumph over 12,000 competing groups that earned them the opening performance at the Bruce Springsteen concert at the Hard Rock Calling festival in London, as well as a world tour with stops in Hong Kong, Sydney, Tokyo, Honolulu, and Chicago. Jury member Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music said of the young London band: “I saw the future, and the future are the Carnabys.” Today the Carnabys are finishing up their long-awaited debut album, mastered in Abbey Road studios in London. With their highly anticipated March 5th show, The Carnabys - Ben, Jack, Jamie, Mike, and Alex - brought the sound of a new wave of British rock to Florence, a sound still conquering the world some 50 years after the start of the British Invasion.


Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 NO. 5


A Florentine St. Patrick’s Day Ring in the New Year, ‘Florentine Style’

Until 1750, Florentines marked the start of the New Year not on January 1, but rather on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation. While in other Italian states the Gregorian calendar had been followed since 1582, it wasn’t until 1749, when Grand Duke Francesco II decreed a change to the modern temporal calculations, that Florence started marking the New Year on January 1. Celebrations of March 25 were strongly linked to the worship of the Virgin Mary, and included a pilgrimage to the Basilica of Santissima Annunziata to venerate a 13th-century fresco depicting the Annunciation. The work is said to have been completed by miraculous intervention: the commissioned artist, unable to complete the face of Mary despite several attempts, fell into a sleep and when he

Do Italians celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Not really. At least not in the manner Irish and Irish-Americans are familiar with. Yet Florence is one of few Italian cities that sees celebrations and festivities come alive on March 17, thanks in large part to the high number of Americans visiting this city every year. On St. Patrick’s Day, Irish Catholics commemorate their patron saint, who converted to Catholicism in 5th-century Ireland and who is associated with the color green given his practice of using the shamrock to explain the concept of the holy trinity. He died on this day in 461. Due to Irish immigration and the subsequent ‘re-

location’ of St. Patrick celebrations to other countries, today March 17 is a popular feast day outside of Ireland. Italians do not, as a rule, celebrate this particular saint. But for those in Florence this March 17 and throughout the weekend, local Irish pubs and restaurants will host events for those who wish to participate celebrations. Concerts, games, special events and Irish food and drinks will be available from March 17-21, courtesy of Irlanda in Festa, the Italian festival honoring St. Patrick’s Day. Celtic music and dance performances will also be held as part of the festival at the ObiHall Theatre. Irish Pubs

sponsoring St. Patrick’s Day related events are Finnegan’s Irish Pub in Via San Gallo, Joshua Tree in Via della Scala, Dublin Pub in Via Faenza, English pub Kikuya in Via dei Benci, and many more. On March 17, The Fiddler’s Elbow will host a St. Patrick’s Night event featuring The Elbow Band, with members of two internationally-acclaimed bands who combine various song styles from Anglo-Saxon, country rock, Irish ballad traditions. Kikuya’s traditional party is scheduled for March 21, while on the same day The Fiddler’s Elbow has organized a Irish Dance Spring Festival, followed by an open mic night.

Traditional Irish Pub near San Marco

Home delivered and poured wine in S. Spirito


Finnegan Irish Pub is the only Irish-owned pub in Florence and hosts live music every weekend, regular quiz nights and student discounts on Tuesdays. Patrons can enjoy outdoor seating nine months of the year, while sports fans are spoilt for choice with dedicated coverage of English and Scottish premiership football, Irish and English internationals, as well as rugby, Formula One and American football. Friendly expat staff ensure a warm and relaxed atmosphere in which to gather, sip Guinness and “have the craic.”

Bring your bottle to be filled for less than €1.50, straight from the barrels of Il Santo Vino. Here patrons can choose from a wide range of Italian wine in bottles or barrels sourced throughout Tuscany and Italy, as well as spirits and digestives. Il Santo Vino also provides a homedelivery service alongside selected local specialty and organic products, such as truffled goods, honey, jam, coffee and a variety of Sicilian spreads.

The newly reopened Jack is ready to rock ‘n’ roll! Come by for lunch or dinner and try the revamped menu featuring traditional Italian food and American staples. Enjoy live music, DJ sets and the costume parties that Jack has become famous for, as well as two HD screens showcasing special sporting events. If all that Italian espresso just isn’t hitting the mark, drop by One-Eyed Jack’s to enjoy American coffee with a free refill between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Free wifi is also available.

Mon. to Fri.: 4 p.m.–1 a.m. Sat. to Sun.: 1 p.m.–1 a.m. Via San Gallo, 123/r 055 49 07 94

Monday: 5–9 p.m. Tues. to Sun.: 10 a.m.–2 p.m.; 5–9 p.m. Borgo Tegolaio, 46/r 055 53 87 122 // 345 90 93 425 Skype: ilsantovino

Open Daily: 11–2 a.m.

Piazza Nazario Sauro, 2/r 055 09 44 561

awoke discovered the image of Mary’s face had been completed. From this a legend arose that the fresco had been finished by angels. Thus on March 25, devotees would make a pilgrimage to the basilica, and out of this a tradition arose, too, a yearly fair held in the piazza. Via dei Servi, the road that connects this church to the Duomo, is named for the religious order that founded Santissima Annunziata, the Servi di Maria. In recent years, the Florentine government has revived this traditional celebration, organizing with free concerts at the basilica as well as historical re-enactments of the procession from Palazzo Vecchio to Santissima Annunziata. Be on the lookout that day for the procession and live concerts in piazzas throughout Florence.


Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 No. 5


The ‘Other’ Sports in the City Dylan Nikoletopoulos Soccer may dominate Italian sports culture, yet there are several other sports one can engage in while in Florence. Whether you are looking to cheer on horses, catch a foul ball or see a sport that you have never even heard of, Florence has many sporting events to offer.

Horse Racing Siena is not the only place in Tuscany that offers horse racing. There are multiple styles of racing including chariot racing. A large venue is open to spectators that offers gambling, restaurants and lounges. Located only 20 minutes from the SMN train station, this is a perfect event for a sunny weekend afternoon. For more information go to or send an email to visarno@ The track and office is located at Viale del Visarno, 14 Firenze 50144.

Baseball MLB spring training won’t be starting for a while so why not take the time to visit another team. The Fiorentina Baseball field is located a couple of blocks from the Fiorentina soccer stadium and is great sport to go watch on an afternoon. The team is currently in Series C but has had success in the past in Series A. For more information go to or email


American football

Although not the same status as the Los Angeles Lakers, Fiorentina does have its own professional basketball team. The team is called Enegan Firenze and is part of the Italia-DNA Silver league. The team plays other local cities such as Lucca, Roseto and Bari, to name a few. Despite being in second to last place with an 8-14 record, the team would love to see some international support. It would also be fun to see how Italian basketball compares to American basketball with March Madness coming up!

Yes! American football exists outside of the borders of the USA! Just because we are the only ones who watch it, doesn’t mean we are the only ones who play it! Guelfi Firenze is the American Football team in Florence and currently plays in the second league under the Federazione Italiana Di American Football. Although the season is over the team would love to play with Americans. Spend an afternoon with the team running up and down the field, catching footballs or showing them how good you are at the American sport.

For more information go to www.affricobasketfirenze. com/abf/ or call +39 055 53 85 922. The office is located at Viale Paoli, 20 Florence 50137 in close proximity to the Fiorentina Soccer stadium.

Rugby Although seen as the evil step-brother to both American football and soccer, rugby does have a presence in Florence. The organization has multiple teams for people of all ages so there is no telling who you will see playing when you go to the practice pitch. The senior team is called Aeroporto Firenze and still has a number of games to play before the season ends in May. Even though they aren’t professional it would be fun to see a rugby game in Italy! For more information go to

For more information go to or call 3397012020.

The Soccer Cup of American Universities

Dylan Nikoletopoulos American students this semester will find out just what the all the hype is about by competing in the F.C. FIORENZA – INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL CUP. The tournament will host two different groups of teams, Group Uncle J’s and Group Lion’s, with the following teams playing in each. The entire tournament will be played at Centro Sportivo Arche on Via Gusti. The short 5v5 games will be adjudicated by federal referees and must be coed for the entirety of the match. Teams will compete throughout the month of March and into the beginning of April for seeding in the playoffs, which begin on Monday April 7th in a single elimination fashion. See below for a full detail on the schedule of the tournament and be sure to come out and see how American’s compete in the Italian sport! Check the Florence News & Events facebook page for pictures and results.


Group Lion’s California A Syracuse A Gonzaga A LGM A Florida Accent Alfieri CEA CET Richmond

Lorenzo de’ Medici



Lorenzo de’ Medici Restaurant and Pizzeria is an elegant yet reasonably priced spot situated right in the heart of Florence, just a few steps away from the Medici Chapel, the church of Santa Maria Novella and San Lorenzo market, and no more than 200m from the Fortezza da Basso. It is the ideal restaurant to try traditional Florentine dishes or pizza cooked in the wood-fired oven. The perfect restaurant for tourist groups, business dinners, meetings or private dining.

GET 20% OFF WITH YOUR STUDENT DISCOUNT CARD Via del Giglio, 49 // 055 21 29 32


Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 NO. 5


Get to Know Italian Soccer •

Dylan Nikoletopoulos American sport culture relies on a playoff bracket system, but this is not the only way to determine a winner, especially in soccer. In Italian soccer “the best team” is determined differently. Besides the different format of league play, there are also multiple leagues and tournaments that take place at the same time. All of this can seem confusing to Americans trying to follow Italian or European soccer. To help sports fans get better acquainted with Italian and European soccer and understand the different leagues across Italy and how each is formatted, here is a list of the important points.

goals in favor of Bayern Munich 2-1 • Bayern Munich would win or advance Formats for Soccer Leagues • This format ensures that there is not a home or away favoritism toand Tournaments ward any team. Round Robin: • Every team plays each other once Brackets or Knock Out • Points are awarded depending • What most American’s are familon the outcome of the game. iar with. • Win = 3 points • One game played between two • Tie = 1 point teams. • Loss = 0 points • Winner advances. • Top teams advance Leagues in Italy and Europe Double Round Robin: Champions League • Same format as Round Robin, • Top Tournament in Europe but every team plays each other • Starts in July and finishes in May twice. • Starts with teams entering the Aggregate contest depending on how they • Used in determining the better of qualified. Total of 76 teams are two teams. eligible to play. • Each team gets a home and away • Four play off rounds that use game. aggregate styles of play to deter• The score is combined between mine the winners. the two games. • Double round robin elimination • If there is a tie in total goals, away is used once there are only 32 goals are used as the decider. Ex: teams left forming eight groups • Real Madrid (H) vs. Bayern of four. Munich (A)- Real wins 3-2 • Top two teams from each group • Bayern Munich (H) vs. Real advance and use aggregate Madrid (A)- Bayern wins 2-1 bracket elimination to see who • Combined score 4-4, Away reaches the final.

The final is only one game held at a pre-determined neutral location. Europa League • This tournament is secondary only to the Champions League • Starts in July and finishes in May • Open to 195 teams from around Europe. • The League has four rounds of play-offs where additional teams enter the event at every level depending on how they qualify. These games played in a knockout fashion. • Once down to 48 teams, the teams are divided into twelve groups of four and play a round robin format. The top two teams from each group advance. • Once down to 24 teams, twelve more teams are added to the tournament and a knockout aggregate fashion tournament commences. • The final will be a single game format. Series A (and B) • Made up of the top twenty professional teams in Italy • Season runs from mid August until mid May.

League uses a double round robin format. • The top two teams at the end of the season automatically qualify for the Champions League. • The third place team gets to compete in a knock-out round for a spot to enter the Champions League. • The fourth and fifth place teams qualify for the Europa League Tournament. • The team with the most points at the end of the season the champion is awarded the Coppa Campioni d’Italia trophy. Additionally, the following year the returning champions will wear a small coat of arms with the Italian colors stripe on their jerseys. • At the end of the season the three lowest teams are moved down to the lower league, Series B, while the top three teams of Series B are moved up to Series A. Coppa Italia • Played by all 78 professional teams in Italy from all series. (Series A, Series B, Series D, and Lega Pro). • Begins in August and finishes in May. • Starts with the lower level teams playing knockout games to advance. • Once down to eight teams, the highest ranked eight teams from the previous year join the competition, which creates a knockout bracket for sixteen teams. • All games except for the semi finals are played in single knockout fashion. • The semi final is played in a two legged aggregate scoring manner • The final is played in a single game every year in Rome. • The winner of the Coppa Italia qualifies for the Europa League.

HAMBURGERS AND AWARD-WINNING ARTISAN BEER Mostodolce craft brewery was the first of its kind to open in Prato and now supplies twin pubs in Prato and Florence with its award-winning artisan beer. From pitchblack stout to honey beer and a seasonal Christmas variety made from chestnuts, Mostodolce’s range appeals to the most earthy and subtle of palates. Match your choice with complementary dishes created in the pub kitchen: from the hefty flavours of smoked ribs and tortelloni with wild boar ragout to light snacks and the intriguingly named ‘birramisu’.

Open Daily: 11–2 a.m. Via Nazionale, 114/r (near the train station) 055 23 02 928

Fiorentina home game schedule March 2 8:45 p.m. Fiorentina vs. Lazio March 16 8:45 p.m. Fiorentina vs. Chievo Verona March 20 7 p.m. Fiorentina vs. Juventus March 26 8:45 p.m. Fiorentina vs. AC Milan Tickets can be bought through When in Florence, online at, at the stadium and at Fiorentina Point on Viale Manfredo Fanti 85/A.

Get your Fiorentina shirt with a 15% discount when you show this paper at the FLORENCE CURIOSITY SHOP next to Pizzeria O’Vesuvio in Via De’ Cimatori, 23/r.


Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 No. 5


Fiorentina Headed to Italian Cup Final Big Day in Rome on May 3rd Dylan Nikoletopoulos Fiorentina has been without American-born striker Giuseppe Rossi since early January when the Serie A leading-scorer injured his knee. Despite Rossi’s absence, Fiorentina landed a spot in the Italian Cup final. Scheduling is still being determined for Europa League commitments, but Fiorentina is expected to play Napoli on May 3 or 7. Rossi is currently undergoing rehab for a collateral ligament injury in New York, under the treatment of the same

Staying Connected to College Hoops

specialists who helped him recover from similar knee injuries in the past. Originally his injury was diagnosed as serious enough to possibly keep him from attending the World Cup this summer in Brazil. However, with the news that he had not suffered another ACL injury, Rossi is optimistic about his recovery. He is aiming to return to the field in May. After the Italian Cup final, Fiorentina will have 3 more games in which Rossi can prove his eligibility for the 2014 World Cup and earn a spot on the Italian National team’s roster.

Viewing March Madness Live Dylan Nikoletopoulos If you are an avid college hoops fan, sometimes studying abroad can get in the way of staying connected with your team back home. However, even while in Italy you don’t have to miss out as your favorite teams make their way to the final four. As the regular college basketball season is coming to an end, the Big Dance picture is a little bit clearer and closer. Florence hosts over 5,000 American students every semester, and local restaurants and bars, realizing that Americans love their sports, offer opportunities for you to watch your favorites. Whether you are a hard-core college hoops fanatic or have no idea why people call it March Madness,

why not go out and enjoy the college ness lasts! Here is a list of places that hoops atmosphere around town? Just plan on screening College Basketball as you see Italian soccer fans yelling NCAA March Madness. and cheering in front of TV screens in bars around town, you too can show your support for our American teams. This year especially is a year not Selection Sunday to miss. With Kansas winning ten March 16 straight conference titles, Texas beFirst Round ing ranked again for the first time March 18-19 since 2009 and Syracuse coaches Second and Third Rounds going ballistic over last minute calls, March 20-23 there is no shortage of madness going South and West Regional into this year’s March. This March March 27, 29 East and Midwest Regional is a calling to everyone from those March 28, 30 who don’t know what the Big Dance National Semifinals means, to those who can list every April 5 top 25 team’s field goal percentage. Championship Game Create your bracket, choice your team April 7 and see how long your March mad-


NEW GYM NEAR Santa Maria Novella


Brand new gym in the heart of Florence is now open. • Fully outfitted with the latest cardio & strength equipment from Technogym • Offering a wide array of classes ranging from Zumba to Pilates, every week • All-inclusive memberships with no sign-up fees • Special pricing for students • Friendly English-speaking staff • Free wi-fi

Tucked away on Via de’ Neri, Data Records 93 is the perfect spot for music aficionados and those looking for a different take on current music or a nostalgic throwback to decades past. Born in 1977 as Contempo Records, it holds a vast collection of music, from new releases to rare pressings, and even includes recent releases on vinyl. Data Records 93’s eclectic and valuable collection regularly attracts international DJs and it also ships all over the world.

Mon. to Fri.: 8 a.m.-10 p.m, Saturday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m, Sunday: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Via dei Fossi, 56/r 055 23 96 497

Mon–Sat: 10:30 a.m.–7:30 p.m; Sunday: 3:30–7:30 p.m.



HAPPY HOUR TILL 11 P.M. Via dell'Anguillara, 54/r

347 19 41 013

Via de’ Neri, 15/r 055 287 592



Florence News & Events MARCH 2014 NO. 5


Take the Eastern Loop through Europe

While you’re in Italy, take advantage of the opportunity to not only visit the rest of this beautiful country, but also surrounding European countries that are right at your doorstep. Make the most of your time here and see as much as you can – who knows when you’ll next be over in this part of the world? After all, travel broadens the mind. The west of Europe holds some incredible sights, but how about the other side? Europe’s east has emerged as one of the most chosen holiday and travelling destinations in recent years; rich in culture and stunning landscapes, it is far less populated by tourists – and what’s more, it is definitely easier on the wallet than its western counterpart. Prague, Lju-

bljana, Budapest and Krakow are the forerunners in this new-wave European tourist destination, yet reaching them all and travelling from one to the other can be hard to organise and navigate yourself. For this reason, Bus2Alps has organised a 10-day trip through six countries, with day stops in four of the biggest cities, and accommodation and travel arranged for you. Visit Lake Bled and Bled Castle in Slovenia, thermal baths and caves in Budapest, experience Krakow nightlife, and go on a walking tour and discover John Paul II’s home, as well as Europe’s largest market square. In Prague you can explore the Old Town, New Town and the Jewish Quarter, John Lennon Wall, and an

infamous beer hall where you can also try a three-course traditional Czech meal. Your tour guide will take you on the Clocktower Bar Crawl which ends at one of Prague’s biggest underground clubs, open until dawn! Take a sobering moment to reflect on modern history at the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps. There are also opportunities to have days and afternoons to yourself, where you can shop, collect souvenirs to take home, rent a bike or simply wander around beautiful streets. With the benefit of a Bus2Alps guide to accompany you on your trip, you won’t have to worry about organising anything yourself or, more importantly, missing anything! Your guide can provide helpful recommendations for

food or nightlife and help you really make the most of local culture. Simultaneously, you are given the chance to explore the cities independently as well. You have the option of departing on buses leaving from either Florence or Rome, or even making your own way and meeting the rest of the group in Ljubljana, if you prefer. This trip is designed to meet in Ljubljana on Thursday after 4 p.m. and depart from Prague the following Sunday. You also have the option to depart from Florence or Rome and end in Prague. See www.bus2alps. com/en/ for full information.

Included: • • • • • • •

Round-trip transportation by private luxury coach with DVD, A/C and bathroom; Top-rated accommodation with your friends; Breakfast; Walking tours in Prague, Budapest, Krakow, and Ljubljana; Exclusive Bus2alps discounts on additional tours and pub crawls; Bus2alps trip leader; Bus2alps destination guide.

Florence News & Events March 2014  
Florence News & Events March 2014