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
October 26, 2017

Piazzale Michelangelo

Every year, thousands of people from all over the world visit piazzale Michelangelo to take photographs of the spectacular view it gives of the bridges over the Arno river and Florence’s major landmarks, from Forte Belvedere to Santa Croce basilica, encompassing Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo, the Uffizi, the Palazzo Vecchio, the Bargello museum and the […]
September 28, 2017

The Leopolda Station

On September 15, 1861, the king of the newly unified Italy Vittorio Emanuele II inaugurated the first Italian National Exhibition of Agricultural and Industrial Products and Fine Arts in Florence at the Leopolda railway station at Porta al Prato. Construction of that station named after Grand Duke Leopoldo II had lasted from 1841 to 1848 […]
September 8, 2017

Andrei Tarkovsky

At number 91 via San Niccolò in the elegant, almost secretive Florentine neighbourhood of the same name, there is a plaque in Italian dedicated to one of the world’s greatest film directors. It tells us that the Russian “Andrei Tarkovsky, sublime director of a spiritual cinema in exile in Florence, spent the last years of […]
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.