Florence is semi-deserted. Closed museums, empty shops and directives to restrict our movements leave us wondering what we should do. From art and writing contests to a best balcony competition, there’s never been a better time to get creative.
1. Best balconies
Fiori a Fiorenza for blossoming balconies
Get out on your balcony and make it beautiful! You can be rewarded for taking the time to do so with this clever competition for the most fabulous of flora. Only have the teeniest of terraces? Get creative and make it something special that you’ll be glad to be contained to. Fiori a Fiorenza organized by Società Toscana di Orticoltura is ideal for the green-fingered among us, or those looking to dedicate time to gardening while we’re otherwise indoors. Send a picture of your balcony to email@example.com and the top ten will be awarded, two for every zone. The competition launched on March 6 and closes at 11pm on April 30. Balcony not in prime condition? You can still take part by voting online at www.societatoscanaorticultura.it.
2. The Florentine‘s literary competition
Put pen to paper and submit your writings to The Florentine‘s short story and poetry competition.
With March 21 celebrating World Poetry Day and March 25 designated Dante Day, we’re looking for your verses and prose about Florence or Tuscany. The theme should be related to Florence or Tuscany, but is otherwise completely open. Submission is free. Poetry entries must be between 11 and 50 lines and short story entries must be no more than 1,500 words. Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org in a word document by April 1, 2020 with “TF Literary Competition” in the subject line. Please include your name and contact information in your email but not on the poem/short story. The winning entries will be published in an upcoming issue of The Florentine.
3. Head for the woods
View from Bellosguardo
For an instant uplift and much needed endorphin release, take a stroll or more energetic run through one of Florence’s green havens, making sure you keep a safe one-metre distance from one another. There’s the Cascine, but don’t neglect Bellosguardo, Giardino del Parnaso hidden behind Giardino dell’Orticoltura, Fiesole or the new Mensole Park at Settignano. Head off down a path of discovery through the wilderness along the Arno and see where it takes you.
4. Make art
Chinese Plate with Artichokes, a Rose and Strawberries
Tempera on parchment, 24.0 x 32.0 cm
Florence, Gallerie degli Uffizi, Galleria Palatina
Another competition is the Advancing Women Artists’ Garzoni Challenge. Artists and cultural institutions worldwide are invited to join AWA, the Uffizi Galleries and The Medici Archive Project to create original artwork inspired by Giovanna Garzoni. Until April 8, artists and institutions interested in participating can register by filling out a simple online form, providing basic information about their Women’s Day event and specifying the medium in which they will produce their original artwork. To participate and gain access to the exhibition trailer, register here.
5. Be inspired by art
While it may not be possible to physically explore the museums and galleries of Florence at the moment, there is still a way to connect with these wonderful collections. The digital archive and online tools offered by the Uffizi mean we can keep our art-addiction well fed in times of its physical absence. For access to museums a little further away and in light of the travel restrictions, take a look here for ways to take virtual tours of other collections. The Uffizi have also launched an innovative and much-needed daily dose of art to keep us occupied during quarantine. Every day the Uffizi’s Instagram and Twitter will publish photos, stories and videos of different artworks, including from Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens. An official Gallerie degli Uffizi Facebook page has just been launched too. The name of the campaign, which has the hashtag #UffiziDecameron, is inspired by one of the most celebrated masterpieces of Tuscan and Italian literature, the Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio. Set in the 14th century at the time of the plague, it concerns ten friends who retreat to the hills outside Florence for cleaner air and who pass their ten days there by telling ten stories each, making for a total of 100 tales.
Palazzo Strozzi has launched a similar project: In Touch, bridging the distance that the emergency measures have set between art and audience.
Strozzi Director General Arturo Galansino, with Tomás Saraceno’s Aria
It will feed the gallery’s Facebook and Instagram pages with a constant stream of images and videos of exhibits, with accompanying information. The first exhibition to be transposed onto this new medium will be Tomás Saraceno’s Aria, which opened on February 22 and is due to run until July 19, 2020.
7. Florence Academy of Art competition
While the Academy is closed until April 3, that doesn’t mean art has to stop too. An international competition hosted by The Florence Academy of Art awards a scholarship for a workshop to the best drawing or painting of the view from your room or home. Send a low-resolution jpg photograph of your completed work to email@example.com, with #viewfrommyroom as the subject header. In the body of your email include your full name and how you would like to be credited. A selection of entries will be posted on the Academy’s instagram page. Competition closes on April 3.
8. Colour with the kids
With kids off school, it can be a challenge to keep them entertained and learning, as well as calm through what is an undeniably strange situation. Get together as a family and create a rainbow with the words ‘Andra’ Tutto bene‘ (It will be alright) and display it from a window or balcony on March 14. A bit of fun and a boost in positivity when it’s most needed.
7. Read, watch and write about Florence
A.Victor Coonin’s ‘From Marble to Flesh. The Biography of Michelangelo’s David’
Take down those books on your shelves that have been on your to-read list for a decade. Now is the time to discover (or rediscover) titles about Florence like the ever popular From Marble to Flesh. The Biography of Michelangelo’s David (Amazon.com) by Professor A. Victor Coonin and our much-loved bilingual literary magazine TheFLR. Aside from ticking off your reading list, limber up with some yoga or aerobics to stave off cabin fever. Appreciate some art and nourish the soul. Responding to the seriousness of the situation, Lo Schermo dell’Arte have initiated free streaming of films from March 12 to April 3 in partnership with MYmovies with the generous permission of the artists. Find them here. Reach out to us too: send in those article ideas that you’ve had lingering or let us know what you’d like to see in The Florentine.