The top news pieces of September 2019

Editorial Staff
October 1, 2019 - 16:54

Celebrations for the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci continue at the Opera del Duomo Museum, where minutes from the meeting that decided the fate of Michelangelo’s David are on display.



Showcased in the Sala della Pietà di Michelangelo until November 3, the document was written on January 25, 1504, when a group of illustrious men—including Botticelli, Perugino, Filippino Lippi and Andrea della Robbia—came together to decide where Michelangelo’s famous “giant,” as it was called, should be installed. The page on display lists Leonardo’s opinion of Giuliano da Sangallo’s suggestion to install the statue in the Loggia dei Lanzi, saying “I confirm that it go in the Loggia like Giuliano said, placed above the bench on the back wall, protected and in a way that it does not disrupt official ceremonies”. Copies of the other pages—the originals cannot be displayed—are accompanied by transcriptions so visitors can read the possible suggestions put forth for the David’s location. The exhibition also has a video showing these various locations and a reconstruction of its transfer from the Opera’s rooms in piazza Duomo to Palazzo Vecchio.





The Opera di Santa Croce and Friends of Florence have collaborated to restore the Libertà della Poesia, Pio Fedi’s renowned statue, dedicated to the poet and dramatist Giovan Battista Niccolini.



The statue dates to 1861 and most likely had never been restored, aside from a partial cleansing after the flood in 1966. The restoration project principally involved a thorough chemical cleaning of the surface, removing the layers of dust and sediment, a careful re-colouring of certain areas and repairing the plaster base from the statue. The project is linked to the celebrations of the bicentenary of the US Consulate General’s presence in Florence and diplomatic relations between the USA and Tuscany. Simonetta Brandolini, president of Friends of Florence, highlighted this bond when citing the fact that the Libertà della Poesia was probably a source of inspiration for the Statue of Liberty in New York. From October 2019 to April 2020, a 3D digital reproduction of the statue will form part of an exhibition at the Ellis Island Museum of Immigration in New York.




In an about-face set to rock the balance of Florence’s major museums, the newly reappointed Italian culture minister, Dario Franceschini, has suspended the reforms enacted by his short-lived predecessor Alberto Bonisoli, namely the decision to merge the Galleria dell’Accademia with the Uffizi Galleries.


The controversial move by Bonisoli, an advocate for what many considered to be the “centralization” of Italy’s cultural heritage, bringing it back under nationwide control, saw the director of the Accademia, Cecilie Hollberg, removed from her position in late August. For now, Franceschini has put a stop on the decree that would have brought the home of Michelangelo’s David under control of the Uffizi, currently headed by Eike Schmidt. The ministry is evaluating the next steps, though no decisions have been made public as we go to press.



Forged in Fire. Bronze Sculpture in Florence Under the Last Medici is open at the Treasury of the Grand Dukes until January 12, 2020, dedicated to 17th- and 18th-century Baroque sculpture made under the patronage of the powerful Florentine dynasty.



Curated by the director of the Uffizi Galleries, Eike Schmidt, Sandro Bellesi and Riccardo Gennaioli, the show is the first time many of these sculptures have been displayed together, offering the most complete overview of bronze sculpture ever attempted in the Tuscan capital. Through artworks on loan from prestigious international institutions like the Vatican Museums, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, Forged in Fire features pieces by Giambologna, Pietro Tacca and Soldani Benzi, among others.




New initiatives have been launched to promote Parco della Carraia, in the San Niccolò neighbourhood.



Viva Carraia! was developed by the Comitato di San Niccolò residents’ association thanks to 25,000 euro in funding from Fondazione CR Firenze and seeks to make the park a central part of community life. The project includes structural renovations, such as new fencing and garden areas, as well as community activities for families and children every Saturday until December 7. According to Comitato San Niccolò, Viva Carraia! focuses on “incentivizing models of co-existence and interaction that are dedicated to caring for the environment through a good balance between park-goers of every age and park-goers and the park itself.”



Sixteen European cities, including Florence, have come together in Brussels for their first meeting, aimed at lobbying against the negative impact of Airbnb and other similar models.



Led by Amsterdam, the cities of Athens, Barcelona, Bern, Bologna, Bordeaux, Brussels, Krakow, Florence, Lisbon, Madrid, Munich, Paris, Reykjavik, Valencia and Vienna are fighting for a European-wide law that will save historic centres from becoming “mass hotels,” a phenomenon seen in recent years with the rise of online accommodation rentals. No current regulation exists that addresses the negative effects of these digital services in some cities, particularly those already suffering under the weight of overtourism, a legislative gap not helped by the European Court of Justice’s recent ruling in favour of digital rental companies. Many of these cities have introduced local limitations to stem the negative effects, but as the sharing economy continues to grow they have their sights set on the European level.

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