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
July 6, 2017

Santa Maria Nuova

A hospital is usually the last place you want to go to unless absolutely necessary. But in Florence, it’s different. In the middle of town there is a hospital that has been caring for tourists and residents over the last 700 years, never missing a single day, even during plagues, revolutions, wars or natural disasters: […]
June 2, 2017

Aby Warburg

The Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg, a centre for cultural studies now housed at the Warburg Institute in London, is one of the most extraordinary libraries in the world. There is no place quite like it anywhere in Europe, with its 360,000 volumes available to scholars on open shelves, making it the world’s largest collection on Renaissance […]
May 9, 2017

The piazza Santa Croce fountain

For several months between the end of 2016 and early 2017, the fountain on the outer edge of piazza Santa Croce bordering via dei Benci, opposite Palazzo Cocchi-Serristori, was hidden by four large scaffolding panels decorated with street art versions of famous Renaissance paintings embellished with additional elements recalling the football matches in costume that […]
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 […]