Good Will Toward Men

Florence dedicates holiday season to culture of art and giving

Editorial Staff
December 15, 2005

The city of Florence has an--nounced that this year’s theme for the holiday season is culture and all that it encompasses. Various concerts, dance and theatre performances abound this month in an effort to include all forms of art.

 

However the theme culture consists of much more than music and theatre; other “cultures”, such as charity and volunteerism have long played an important role in Florence’s history. The Misericordia, a volunteer medical aid association,that has existed here for over 800 years, attests to this. Nowadays the culture of volunteerism and charity is promoted through numerous fundraisers, bazaars, and events held throughout the month of December.

 

Large scale fundraisers include the “Il cuore si scioglie” (The Heart Melts) campaign at COOP supermarkets promoting long distance adoptions of children from various poverty stricken nations and the stands selling poinsettias in piazzas throughout the city to raise money to combat leukaemia and fund cancer research. Via della Condotta has even organised a wine and food tasting along the entire street on December 11th and 18th, again to raise money for cancer research. Smaller, but equally important fundraising affairs, like the A.I.L.O.(see pg.4) and the Amnesty International charity bazaars are worth a mention too.

 

Florence is a city that has always taken into serious consideration social issues and the defence of human rights, and each December it holds an international conference on human rights (See adjacent article), with guest speakers arriving from all over the world to discuss the most urgent issues that are currently compromising human rights.

 

In a country that is officially 85% Catholic, the capital of Tuscany has reached out and embraced other religious (and non) cultures during a period that is largely dominated by the Catholic Christmas holiday. On December 10th a “Lay Fair” was held in Piazza Strozzi, celebrating atheist and agnostic ideologies while the Synagogue of Florence has organised several religious ceremonies for Hanukkah. In the spirit of including all cultures, the Mezzaluna d’Oro Award was presented to Florence Mayor Domenici by the Islamic Anti-Defamation League on December 7th (See “Gold and ddiscord Greet Mayor,” pg. 4).

 

Florence keeps in mind the importance of its merchant culture this season by sponsoring a presepe, event and competition (manger scene display). This entailed the creation of presepi by various local artisans that are now on display in shop windows throughout the city.

 

Continuing in the spirit of providing for all, even sports fans will have their share of events to choose from. Apart from the Ponte Vecchio Golf Challenge and the Firenze-Fiesole Run, there are also more traditional winter sports being offered by the city. An ice-skating rink has been installed again this year at the Parterre, with special guest Santa Claus welcoming children on Christmas Day.

For more information see www.invernoafirenze.it, dedicated to the numerous events that range from modern dance to classical concerts while the city’s official web site

(http://www.comune.firenze.it/mese/programma_natale.pdf) offers a complete list of events under the title “La città per la cultura – Natale 2005”.

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