Author: Deirdre Pirro

Deirdre Pirro, author of "Italian Sketches: The Faces of Modern Italy", published by The Florentine Press, is an international lawyer who lives and works in Florence. Her writing focuses on modern Italy, its people, its history and its customs. Follow her on Twitter @dp_in_florence or contact her at
April 10, 2017

Dante: the battle of the bones

Relations between Florence and Ravenna have been somewhat strained for, believe it or not, seven centuries. The reason is because one of Florence’s most illustrious native sons, Dante Alighieri, is buried in Ravenna instead of in his hometown. On their part, the citizens of Ravenna argue that he should remain where he is, with them: […]
March 2, 2017

Narciso Latini

The name “Latini” has long been synonymous with traditional Tuscan cooking in Florence. For more than a century, four generations of the Latini family have nurtured and championed the best of the region’s cuisine. In 2015, this long heritage was recognised when mayor Dario Nardella presented the city’s highest award, the Fiorino d’Oro, reserved for […]
February 2, 2017

Franca Sozzani

The rich and beautiful of Italy’s fashion world, including Diego Della Valle, Nina Testa Fuerstenberg, Matteo Marzotto and Lapo Elkann, attended the funeral of Vogue Italia editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani at the San Giorgio church in Portofino, following her death from cancer in Milan on December 22, 2016, a month before her 67th birthday. At the […]
January 10, 2017

The Russian church

You are approaching the Russian church when you glimpse one central onion-shaped dome and four smaller ones with turquoise, green and white majolica.
December 2, 2016

James Lorimer and Josephine Graham

Every year, on December 8, a holiday for the feast day of the Immaculate Conception, celebrations in piazza Duomo officially begin the festive season in Florence. The mayor, Dario Nardella, begins them by switching on the lights of a giant fir Christmas tree. Then, before celebrating Mass in the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, […]
November 7, 2016

Frederick Hartt

Eminent Italian Renaissance scholar, author and professor of art history Frederick Hartt visited Florence many times during his life, but on two particular occasions he came to help the city in the wake of the gravest catastrophes it faced in the twentieth century. The first was to recover artworks in the aftermath of a war […]
October 5, 2016

Italian Sketch: Andrea Bocelli

Opera tenor Andrea Bocelli is a global superstar who today would rank high up in any list of famous living Italians. As classical music’s top-selling artist, with over 80 million sales, he has recorded entire operas and umpteen arias, but, like Enrico Caruso and Luciano Pavarotti before him, he does not snub the idea of […]
September 7, 2016

Famous Expats: Alfred Guillaume Gabriel d’Orsay

Foppish dandy Eustace Tilley, with his exaggerated top hat, morning coat and high-collared shirt who scrutinises a pretty butterfly through his monocle, has been the mascot of The New Yorker magazine since it was first published in 1925 and still appears on its anniversary issues. The publication’s first art director and cartoonist Rea Irvin based […]
May 31, 2016

Happy Birthday Italy

On June 2, 2016, Italy celebrates the birth of the Italian Republic seven decades ago. After 85 years under the Savoy monarchy, which had supported Mussolini’s fascist regime that led the country into World War II through its disastrous alliance with Nazi Germany, on June 2 and 3, 1946, Italians were called upon to decide […]
May 26, 2016

The triumphal arch of the Lorraine

If there is an incongruous monument anywhere in Florence, it is the grandiose and cloyingly ornate neoclassic arch that stands not quite in the middle of piazza della Libertà. Based on the model of the triumphal arches with which the Romans commemorated their emperors and victorious generals or marked important public events, the arch in […]