A thousand “grazie”: Editor’s letter

November Issue of The Florentine: out on November 4

Helen Farrell
October 29, 2021 - 17:06

Thank you must be one of the most frequently used words in the English language. That, and sorry. But is there a point when a phrase becomes so commonplace that its meaning begins to lose significance? 



Grazie is different. From the Latin gratia, this one simple word contains a galaxy of meaning. It can be embellished in myriad ways: grazie mille, grazie di cuore, grazie infinite. We can raise it to the skies (grazie al cielo) or elevate our gratitude to the heavens (grazie a Dio) out of overwhelming relief. But grazie always remains in the plural as if one thank-you could never be enough, or perhaps in passing reference to Zeus’s daughters, the Graces (Le Tre Grazie), Euphrosyne, Aglaea and Thalia, who were said to represent beauty, mirth and elegance, for grazie always denotes refinement, harmony and delicacy. Italian thankfulness also conveys an element of salvation and liberation; if you are pardoned for a crime, you are graziato.





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Ahead of this year’s Thanksgiving, I am hearingand feeling the grazieeverywhere I go. Sunday lunch at I’Brindellone saw me handing over the cash and being lavished with a plethora of grazie for having chosen to eat there. (Personally, I’m thankful for an Oltrarno restaurant where the food remains top-quality and reasonably priced. That tagliolini al tartufo!) The other day, an American couple in their twilight years were struggling up the Santa Maria Novella station steps with a quartet of cases. A young Italian guy stopped and insisted on helping them. “Grazie!” they chimed, tiredness in their voices. “Grazie a voi per essere qua!” he earnestly replied, grateful for their return to Italy. If there’s one lesson we’ve learned in the past twenty months, it’s the importance of kindness, of gentilezza, another word brimming with uniquely Italian import that should never be overlooked.



There’s something about beauty that makes us unconsciously grateful and New York-based photographer Ryan David’s capture of Florencehenge (forgive the appropriation!) is an impromptu act of thanksgiving to the city we all hold so dear. We're not the only ones thinking this way as Lonely Planet names our Florence as the only Italian destination in its Best in Travel 2022 guidebook.





In this November issue of The Florentine, Danella Lucioni speaks about her caring custodianship of a thirteenth-century palazzo, now a B&B with Duomo views; actor Debi Mazar and her food entrepreneur husband Gabriele Corcos detail their return to Florence after 20 years living in the US (you might have heard them speak in person at The Florentine Breakfast last month); and our friends over at Creative People in Florence treat us to an overview of the artisan scene, as does Kris Garland with her drive to support the city’s craftspeople this holiday season with her InBottega online shopping connection. Art and culture is our focus this month with Martin Holman’s review of Jeff Koons. Shine at Palazzo Strozzi, a look at the new Selfie Museum (it’s more of an installation!) and Hershey Felder’s forthcoming contemporary musical film, Dante and Beatrice in Florence. (You can purchase your tickets here for the premiere on November 28.)


Back by popular demand: our fashion pages featuring local designers and starring local models, this time shot with a heaven and hell theme (Dante again!) at 25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino. 



This November, to you, our readers, there’s only one thing I really want to say, and the cat’s already out of the proverbial (eco leather) bag: grazie di tutto



See you for Thanksgiving!





Thanksgiving with The Florentine


At 6.30pm on November 25, join us at Ruffino’s Poggio Casciano wine estate to celebrate the occasion while nestled in the Tuscan hills just 20 minutes from Florence. Book your place for 38 euro per person, and dine on traditional stuffed turkey and American classics with a Tuscan twist. Get a headstart on Black Friday with special discounts on all Ruffino wines and gift boxes. Make the most of the holiday with an exclusive overnight stay: 180 euro includes Thanksgiving dinner and a night in a double room for two. Email: [email protected], T: +39 378 3050220.





What's in the November issue of The Florentine








At breakfast with Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos



For New York actor Debi Mazar (Goodfellas, Entourage, Younger), the dream of living in Italy was once something only imaginable on the big screen. Everything changed when she met Gabriele Corcos (food entrepreneur and TV host, Extra Virgin) on holiday in Florence during the summer of 2001. After marriage, kids and 20 years of living in the US, the pair recently made the decision to move back to Gabriele’s hometown of Fiesole. Just over 13 years since our last interview, we caught up with Debi and Gabriele over a readers’ breakfast at 25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino. 




Instainterview with Danella Lucioni: @windowtotheduomo


The creator behind one of the most covetable spaces in the city, Peru-born American artist and designer Danella Lucioni, reveals the backstory to the most “liked” Airbnb in Italy in 2020 “Window to the Duomo” and her Antelux apartments and Astrum Penthouse. 






Autumn/winter looks: Abandoning all hope is no longer an option



Raise your image to heaven or damn it to hell this autumn/winter with local, sustainable and devilishly enticing outfits that encourage you to wear Florence on your sleeve. All these looks are by young creatives with a global outlook: yes, they all sell their fashion online. There’s never been a better time for a vita nova!






Restoration Conversations: The New Woman Behind the Camera



On November 16, at 6.30pm in Italy, tune into Restoration Conversations, the newest episode of the online interview series, featuring exhibition curator Andrea Nelson, on the groundbreaking show at the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, D.C., titled The New Woman Behind the Camera, which spotlights 120 female photographers who were working worldwide between the 1920s and 1950s. Tune into The Florentine's YouTube channel to watch.




All that glitters...


ph. Ela Bialkowska_OKNOstudio


Martin Holman treats us to a review of the Jeff Koons exhibition, Shine, at Palazzo Strozzi. 



The Palio problem

Harry Cochrane examines the situation in Siena as the Palio is still unable to regain ground after the pandemic.



Exceptional and influential women in early-modern Florence



Anna Dowling-Clarke takes a look at the subject of female patronage in Florence.




An alternative art tour of Pisa



There’s far more to Pisa than the Leaning Tower, the sweeping curve of the River Arno and Galileo Galilei Airport. The Florentine spent a day exploring all things artistic in Pisa on behalf of Toscana Promozione Turistica, Tuscany’s regional tourism board.




Famous Expats: Hiram Powers


Elegant spirituality in content and form as well as purity in the marble from the Seravezza quarries near Carrara is represented in the life-size, female nude in chains called The Greek Slave. Sculpted with these aims in mind by American neoclassical artist Hiram Powers in Florence between 1841 and 1843, the statue established his international reputation as a sculptor. Deirdre Pirro looks at the artist's life. 



Made in Firenze



Antonia Mufarech speaks with Ilaria Tolossi, owner and designer of Essère Atelier, and Beatrice Parri Gori, manager and granddaughter of one of the founders of the Scuola del Cuoio, about their vocation as artisans in Florence. 



A new season of art and design with local creatives



From art exhibitions to workshops, to new fashion and accessories collections, the local artisan scene in Florence is in full swing for fall. We reached out to the artists and designers of the cultural association Creative People in Florence for all the latest news from their workbenches, easels, and ateliers. 




Dante and Beatrice: an eternal love story



Hershey Felder is in the throes of filming his latest musical film in Florence, a tribute to the love story of Dante and Beatrice.


Buy tickets for the world premiere on November 30 and an additional week's viewing access here.







New books inspired by Florence for cool weather reading



Writers have been busy in recent months, especially the literati yearning for Florence or all those shuttered in medieval palazzos during the darkest days of these pandemic times. This autumn, indulge in one of these many Florence-inspired reads on your flight back to Peretola or ensconced in your armchair. It’s time to welcome back the bookish season with these new Tuscany-centric reads.

Article sponsored by David and Alatia Bach.




Selfie Museum: simply insta-worthy


ph. @marcobadiani


Hayley Daffern spends a couple of hours of Florence's latest entertainment: the Selfie Museum (it's actually more of an installation).



Duty and remembrance



Eight miles south of Florence lies the Florence American Cemetery, memorializing thousands of Americans who fell while liberating Italy during World War II. Caroline Savage recently spoke with Superintendent Angel Matos about overseeing all aspects of the cemetery’s ongoing operations.





The Stellar: the sky’s the limit



Devouring deconstructed “carbonara” in a space cocoon is not a daily occurrence, but then there’s something boundless about the ambitions at The Stellar, the restaurant, cocktail bar and events space that has set tongues wagging at Granaio dell’Abbondanza, the former urban granary and army barracks transformed into a hub for coworking and socializing.




Wineries with kitchens to warm you up this autumn



As the mercury heads south, our taste buds turn to Tuscan reds. Warming and generous, Sangiovese embraces like that favourite scarf around our shoulders. These wineries in Montalcino and Montepulciano serve considered local fare to accompany their top vino rosso.




Tuscany’s olive harvest: a treasured tradition faces seasonal challenges



As October came to an end and the crisp autumn breeze began to envelop the Tuscan hills, it marked the beginning of one of Tuscany’s most celebrated traditions: the olive harvest. Students at The International School of Florence, Bernardo Petochi and Jack Bach, examine the 2021 olive oil season. 



Autumn events at Villa San Michele


The autumnal calendar at Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel in the hills of Fiesole is set to charm and entice with a host of culinary and cultural activities. Find out more.




An upscale alimentari: Tuscan Taste Florence



Ashton Saldana tells us about artisanal tasting and specialty store, Tuscan Taste Florence, in the heart of the Oltrarno.




Grow your own: Orto San Frediano

Florence now has its own kitchen garden with the opening of Orto San Frediano conceived by chef and Italian Masterchef runner-up Enrica Della Martira.

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