ISSUE No. 86

ISSUE / No. 86

September 18, 2008

front page

To download the current and past issues, you need a subscription to The Florentine.

If you have already one please

log in or subscribe now.


Florence News

Florence for students

Finding your home away from home
This issue is all about you, dear students. As you begin the exciting adventure of studying abroad in Florence, we wanted to go beyond your orientation packets to give you some helpful hints for making the city feel like ‘home sweet home'. Think of this …
Current Issues

Register to vote!

U.S. citizens abroad check your state deadlines to register for an absentee ballot.   Go to for complete details and registration forms or go to Overseas Vote Foundation, a nonpartisan, nonprofit site that provides easy-to-use online tools and services for U.S. voters studying or …
Florence News

Gucci goes to Rome

Creative offices moving to the capital
After efforts to quell rumours about a possible move from Florence to Rome, native fashion house Gucci has announced that the creative offices will indeed relocate to Rome. The 50 stylists and designers working in Gucci's office in Piazza della Signoria recently learned that the …
Florence News

Diary of a delegate

Behind the scenes at the Democratic convention
by Jo-Ann White
Attending the Democratic Convention as a Democrats Abroad delegate last month in Denver was one of the greatest moments of my life. There I witnessed democracy at work as delegates and volunteers from all over the world came together for a common cause: nominating …
Florence News

More miles for the money

Local daily maps the cheapest gas pumps in the city
Filling up in Florence is not only expensive, but gas prices vary from station to station.  That's why local newspaper Il Firenze recently published a report singling out the cheapest gas stations and the ones to avoid.   Il Firenze calculated a price …
Florence News

Taxi, please!

Citizens nab the solitary bandit'
He dressed well and wore stylish Rayban sunglasses. He took cabs. Indeed, he paid cabbies double the charge-after, all, they were unwittingly helping him rob local supermarkets, pharmacies and post offices with a toy handgun. Dubbed the ‘solitary bandit' by the local …
Florence News

Street smarts

Local officials offer free self-defence courses for women
The first rule: don't scream. The second rule: don't run. These are the fundamentals of the free self-defence course for women organized through the office of the city's superintendent for sport. The course's main goal to increase women's confidence when facing …
Florence News

An awkward moment

Debate on where to put donated statues incites controversy
The exchange of cultural gifts between the city of Ningbo in China and Florence, its Italian sister city, was supposed to have stimulated stronger cultural and economic ties between the two. Instead, Florence's heated debate over where to place the Chinese …
Florence News

Mission possible

Actor buys rights of best-selling book
Tom Cruise sees modern-day Florence and the Monster of Florence homicides as the stuff of Hollywood: blood, murder, folly, suspicion and mass terror.    Cruise and United Artists recently acquired rights to The Monster of Florence authored by native Florentine Mario Spezi and …
Florence News

Smog threatens marble masterpiece

Giambologna's masterwork could be moved indoors
What would the Loggia dei Lanzi be without the striking sixteenth-century sculpture depicting the legendary Roman abduction of the Sabines? According to the Polo Museale, the renowned Rape of the Sabine Women may soon be transferred indoors, depending on the findings …
Florence News

From page to party

Florentines catch Facebook fever
What began as plans to celebrate Florence's first anniversary on the trendy social networking site Facebook is turning into a step from the virtual world to the real world.  In anticipation of the one-year mark of Florence's presence on Facebook, several weeks …
Florence News

Florence welcomes new Archbishop

Vatican appoints a mud angel' to the city
The choice could not have been more fitting: Archibishop Ennio Antonelli's successor in the province of Florence is a 61-year-old Umbrian clergyman who came to Florence as a young seminarian to help save the city and its most prized possessions after …
Florence News

Tampering alert

Three in hospital after drinking tainted water
The Unicoop of Florence has pulled all bottles of San Benedetto and Rocchetta mineral water from the shelves after three people were poisoned in Poggibonsi, Certaldo and Florence.  According to local media reports, an unknown culprit tampered with the bottles, probably using …
Florence News

Florentine in the footlights

Local actress discovered' in Sant'Ambrogio
During the last five years as Maria Cassi has directed of the Teatro del Sale in the Sant'Ambrogio neighbourhood, she probably did not imagine that her theatrical musings and eccentric qualities as an actress would eventually take her overseas to perform …
Florence News

From angels' to butchers,

The Senegal-born mediators, dubbed the ‘Black Angels', who have been patrolling the city streets in an effort to curb illegal street vending this past summer were recently given a promotion. For having completed ‘a job well done,' the 10 members of …
Florence News

Betancourt bestowed with the Giglio d'Oro,

Last week, Ingrid Betancourt made her first visit to Italy since being freed from captivity. Before making a stop in Florence, she met with members of the Italian parliament and government officials in Rome, as well as Pope Benedict XVI at …
Italy News

The wonders of wine,

When Giovanni de Munari found an eighteen-century recipe hidden behind a shelf in his pharmacy in Asciano, he mixed the ingredients and produced a ‘miracle' potion. The Tuscan pharmacist, who owns one of the oldest apothecary shops in Italy, recreated a …
Italy News

Just married

After 15 years together and a daughter, Lorenzo Cherubini, also known as Jovanotti in the music world, and his companion, Francesca Valiani, tied the knot in Cortona, Arezzo. The high-profile ceremony took place on September 6 in Cortona's fifteenth-century cathedral, Santa …
Italy News

Education overhaul

New initiatives seek to correct' ailing school system
‘The Italian public school system is in a dangerous situation, on the brink of collapse, because 97 percent of the available funds are allocated toward salaries; the quality of education is measured by how you spend the funds available', said education …
Italy News

Rom census sanctioned

European Commission upholds Italy's fingerprinting campaign
The national government's recent launch of a controversial scheme to survey the members of the Rom community living in Italy has been greenlighted by the European Commission (EC). The plan to census illegal gypsy camps was launched in early August and …
Italy News

Make room for prisoners

Justice minister proposes wrist bracelets for convicts
Citing chronic overcrowding in the nation's prisons, justice minister Angelino Alfano recently announced his intention to launch a set of reforms that would take children out of correctional institutes, make use of electronic bracelets for non-dangerous prisoners and send foreign prisoners …
Italy News

Running on fumes

Negotiations in progress to save bankrupt Alitali
Italy's ailing national airline is bankrupt and can no longer guarantee scheduled flights. Without the liquid finds necessary to purchase petrol, thousands of distressed travellers across the world risk being grounded for good. In an effort to avoid collapse, the country's …
Italy News

Back to his roots,

Oscar-winning actor Roberto De Niro is now a member of the Italian electorate. De Niro was granted Italian citizenship in 2006 but had to wait some time until his documents were processed before being given the right to vote in Italy. …
Italy News

Just in time for Xmas,

Silvio Berlusconi will soon make another break into the music world. According to his song-writing partner Mario Apicella, Italy's prime minister is working hard to release his new CD of Neapolitan love songs before the Christmas shopping rush. The compilation will …
Italy News

Cops come out of the closet,

In an effort to fight prejudice and discrimination in the armed forces, a group of gay and lesbian police and military officers have launched an association called Polis Aperta. An inaugural meeting is scheduled in Bologna on September 26, when members …
Sport News

Another bloody Sunday

Italy launches anti-hooligan campaign after fans riot
Some 200 fans caused an estimated 500,000 euros in damages to trains and railway stations in Rome and Naples on August 31, the second day of the Italian Premiership's new season. According to police, a group of Naples supporters travelled to …
Sport News

Midfielder mourns

World Cup champ dedicates two goals to his father-in-law
On August 11, Massimo Pisnoli was found dead with two gunshots wounds to the face and back near the Campoleone train station in southern Lazio. This was no ordinary murder case, however, because Pisnoli was the father-in-law of AS Roma star …
Sport News

The small guys win big

Toro Rosso claims first F1 titl
The Formula One's smallest team made their presence known at a thrilling Italian Grand Prix in Monza on September 14. Thanks to an unexpected win-first in the pole position and then in the title race-by the F1's youngest driver, by Germany's …
Sport News

Bright future for Pennetta

Tennis player climbs the world rankings
Although Puglia-born Flavia Pennetta was ousted in the U.S. Open quarterfinals by Russia's Dinara Safina in two straight sets of 6-2 6-3, she exited the prestigious tourney with her head held high. For the first time in her career, the 26-year-old …
Sport News

Lippi's first day back

World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi was happy to lead the Azzurri in back-to-back wins in their World Cup qualifiers in early September. ‘It's good enough. We've got six points, the players did well...We finished with two good results', Lippi told the …
Sport News

Italian talents called to the UK

Yet another world-renowned Azzurri coach has been called to the helm of an English Premiership club. Gianfranco Zola, who has been coaching Italy's Under 21 squad, recently signed a three-year contract with England's West Ham United, becoming their first ever foreign …
Sport News

Paralympic Spirit

Olympic action never ceases. Just weeks after the closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, it was time to catch the action of the much-anticipated Paralympics. Running September 6 to 17, the world's best athletes with a disability competed for …
Movie Reviews


by James Douglas
He's saving the world whether we like it or not, but Will Smith's John Hancock is a super-hero so cool, so different, so dysfunctional that he makes Peter Berg's Hancock a surprise hit. And with the efforts of Charlize Theron and …
Movie Reviews


by James Douglas
It is hard to understand why Michael Haneke should have chosen to make an almost exact replica (names and places have been changed to protect the innocent) of his original 1997 shock horror thriller Funny Games. He famously said that the …
Movie Reviews


by James Douglas
Opening the Venice Film Festival, the Coen brothers' latest black comedy, Burn After Reading, made the kind of splash you would expect when three of its A-list stars-Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Tilda Swinton-were paraded on the red carpet. Critical opinion …
Movie Reviews


by James Douglas
Spike Lee would not normally be associated with ‘period dramas' or war films, but his Miracle at St Anna, partially filmed in and around the village of Sant'Anna di Stazzema in Tuscany early this year, is just such a movie. Set …
Movie Reviews


by James Douglas
Continuing the David Lean Retrospective, This Happy Breed is another Noel Coward collaboration. The movie explores the years between the wars (1919-1939) and the ‘ordinary people'-the lower middle class-of Clapham Common, the Gibbonses, whose lives are crowded with incident. ‘The people …
Movie Reviews


by James Douglas
Blithe Spirit is yet another adaptation of a Noel Coward play of the same name, which finds Lean in unusually comic vein. Subtitled ‘An Improbable Farce in Three Acts', Coward's play is an anthology of witty repartee, supernatural silliness and perfect …
Best Events

European Heritage Days 2008,

September 27 - 28
Free entrance to state museums, monuments and archaeological sites. Call 800 991199 or visit for more information.   …
Best Events

Corri la Vita Race 2008

September 28 at 9:30am Piazza Santa Croce
Participate in Florence's annual run to fight breast cancer by signing up for the 5k walk or 12k run. Minimum donation is 10 euro and includes the official race t-shirt designed by Ferragamo. Register early or sign up the day of …
Best Events

Net Worth - Florence International Theatre Company

September 28t at 9:15pm Teatro Cestello, Piazza Cestello
Based on the life experiences and struggles of balancing finances with living an artistic life, this is a one-person show that brings laughter (and fear!) to the audience. In English with Italian subtitles. FITC will also be offering a free sample workshop …
Best Events

Mario Spezi and Suzanne Pitcher:

September 19 6:30pm Via Pietro Thouar 2, 1st floor, Florence
Suzanne Pitcher will host famed journalist Mario Spezi at a book signing of his New York Times bestselling book, The Monster of Florence (co-authored with Douglas Preston). The entrance fee is 5 euro per person, which will be donated in full …
Best Events

Florence Wine Event

September 26 - 28 Oltrarno, Florence
All the best wine producers in Tuscany come out for this wine tasting festival in Florence's Oltrarno district. Santo Spirito, Pitti and Piazza della Passera come to life with stands filled with wineries' tastiest bottles, all ripe for the drinking.  For more …
Best Events

Old Rugby Festival

September 20 at 3:00pm Impianto Padovani, viale Pasquale Paoli 21
As the not-so-politically-correct name implies, this is a rugby festival for players 50 and older. Teams include Ribolliti Firenze, Veci Rovigo, Villa Pamphili, Colleferro and Livorno/Cecina. Come out and see what ‘fair play' really means as this group of rugby enthusiasts …
Best Events

FREeSHOUT!? Expressive Young Fest,

September 30 - October 5 Cantieri Culturali Ex Macelli, Prato
Join young designers, illustrators, photographers, musicians, djs, video artists, chefs, writers, sculptors and more at this unique forum for creative expression taking place in Prato. Twenty cubes have been redesigned and recreated by artists from different backgrounds, and each with very …
Best Events

Arte Firenze 2008

September 26 - 29 from 10 am to 8pm Fortezza da Basso
Florence's premier exhibition spot hosts the third annual modern and contemporary art festival and tradeshow. Visit for more information.   …
Best Events

Guerra e Pace-John Phillips Photography Exhibition

Until October 26 Alinari Photography Museum, Piazza Santa Maria Novella, 14r
Works by one of the 20th century's most important photographers and the world's first ‘photo reporter'. Visit or call 055/216310 for more information.     …
Best Events

Sovrani nel giardino d'Europa-Exhibition of Lorraine treasures (1737-1859)

September 20 - December 14 Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Reale Lungarno Pacinotti 46, Pisa
Two centuries of politics and culture in Tuscany are on display at the royal palace museum in Pisa. You'll find documents and objects from the ruling family's courts and libraries. The exhibit's piece de resistance is Granduke Pietro Leopoldo's document abolishing …
The Arts

Memory and emotion

Jules Maidoff's Arte Come Totem/Art as Totem
by Laci Coppins
Jules Maidoff, founder of Studio Art Centers International (SACI) and internationally noted artist, continues his legacy and leadership in the Florentine community with his unique and personal exhibit at the Marino Marini Gallery. Though Maidoff has shown extensively around the world, …
Florence for Students

Tips and tidbits

A former student demystifies Florence
by Deirdre Byrne
If you are just arriving in the grand old city of Firenze, I can promise you two things: you are about to fall in love, and you have much to learn! As a veteran of this crazy rollercoaster ride called study …
Style + Fashion

Feeling fab' in fall

by Enrica Guidato
If fashion is just about covering ourselves, why is there so much noise around it? Can a piece of clothing really change the way we feel?   According to the latest in the fashion world, just like a hot bath, a piece of …
Best Events

Semester specials for students

Tuscan American Association offers a rich calendar of events
Tuscany and the United States have long enjoyed a unique relationship, and continuing that tradition, the Tuscan American Association, which was created to deepen and broaden ties and mutual understanding, offers an exciting calendar of events for international students and all …
Italian Voices

La, la, la

A window on language and customs in Italy
by Linda Falcone
Although Italy has taught me to nurture a neurotic need for aesthetic perfection, I am not much of a scenery girl. And, while I do prefer palaces to skyscrapers, I'm seldom subject to the wide-eyed ‘wow' that gives weak knees to those who marvel at …

Babbo, Cicchino, Fare forca, Troiaio

Your in- progress dictionary of the florentine dialect
by Alexandra Lawrence, Francesco Stefanelli
Since this issue is dedicated to students, we wanted to give them some words and phrases they will hear every day as they begin …
Florence for Students

How do I . . .? Where is . . .?

Useful information for students
by Carla Hill
Exploring your new city throughout the semester is, of course, an important part of the adventure of studying abroad in Florence-but there are some things you need to know now, like where to find a great place to curl up with …
Florence for Students

How to begin the net worth game

(Caution: reading this article may be good for your financial health)
by Bari Hochwald
Benvenuti a Firenze! You've landed safely, had your orientation and are adjusting to a new culture filled with new opportunities. Now let's talk about your budget! Sound like what you came to Florence to do? Certainly not! But since you've already …
Florence for Students

Day trippin'

Seven nearby towns to explore
by Haley Kingsland
The best advice for an unforgettable Florentine experience is simply not to leave Italy on weekends. Traveling within the country is an excellent way to save money, practice your Italian, and experience many diverse regions and people. Luckily, Florence is well …

Supermarket smarts

by Matt O'Leary
Ah, September in Tuscany. Rich colours, lengthening evenings, warmth enough to watch the sunset in short sleeves. Supermarkets overrun with the new influx of international students, working out whether the unidentifiable fish in a jar is for human or feline consumption …

TF Classifieds







Special Issues