Author: Deirdre Pirro

Deirdre Pirro, author of Italian Sketches: The Faces of Modern Italy, Famous Expats in Italy and Royals in Florence, published by The Florentine Press, is an international lawyer who lives and works in Florence. Her writing focuses on modern Italy, its people, history and customs. Follow her on Twitter @dp_in_florence or contact her at [email protected]
December 21, 2021

Capon for Christmas

Many will remember the story of Renzo in Alessandro Manzoni’s The Betrothed, who sets off to visit the lawyer Azzeccagarbugli in order to seek advice about resolving the situation regarding the boy’s marriage to Lucia. Following his future mother-in-law’s suggestion, Renzo takes a gift of four capons tied together by the feet, with their heads […]
October 28, 2021

Angelo de Gubernatis

Florence hides many unexpected jewels, but they take time for the visitor to find, visit and savour. One of these is the Indian Museum, an anthropology and ethnology section of the Natural History Museum, which was founded by Paolo Mantegazza and belongs to the University of Florence.  Housed since 1937 in the Palazzo Nonfinito at […]
September 14, 2021

Sylvano Bussotti

For five days between September 20 and 25, as part of Estate Fiorentina, several major Florentine cultural organisations will celebrate the 90th birthday of Sylvano Bussotti, one of the city’s most multitalented native sons, a composer and performer, artist, writer, actor, director, set and costume designer.     Born in Florence on October 1, 1931, […]
August 5, 2021

Enrico Magnani Pescia handmade paper

Note it in your diary today so you won’t miss this unique upcoming event. From September 16 to 19, the 27th edition of the Artigianato e Palazzo exhibition will be held at the Corsini palace in Florence. This is an important annual occasion in Florence’s calendar. “The new concept of our exhibition,” explained Sabina Corsini, […]
July 14, 2021

Italian Sketches: Francesco Carletti

The son of Antonio Carletti and his wife Lucrezia Macinghi, Francesco Carletti was born in Florence in either 1573 or 1574. His father was a descendant of an old merchant family who traded with Spain, Portugal and their colonies, travelling widely to do so. In 1591, when Francesco was about 18 years old, his father […]
May 20, 2021

St. Mark’s English Church

To encourage trade through the port of Livorno, Grand Duke Ferdinand I de’ Medici passed an edict in 1595 that allowed freedom of religion to all merchants. Soon, an English cemetery was established and, in 1600, a chapel was opened by the English Guild of Merchants. A Church of England congregation of largely British expatriates […]
April 16, 2021

The Busatti Family: weavers since 1842

A friend telephoned me a month ago and said, “I’m coming by to take you to see a real piece of industrial archaeology”. He did that and so much more. He took me to a unique place in Tuscany that I had never visited and introduced me to one of the finest examples of excellence […]
March 24, 2021

Italian Sketches: Elvira Gemignani Puccini

On November 29, 1924, aged 65, the Italian composer Giacomo Puccini died of a heart attack as a result of radiation treatment he was undergoing for throat cancer at the Institut de la Couronne in Belgium. He left a fortune equivalent to 200 million euro in today’s money, making him one of the richest musicians […]
February 17, 2021

The Buffalo Soldiers

Bob Marley wrote “Buffalo Soldier” with Noel “King Sporty” Williams, but the song was released by Bob Marley and the Wailers in 1983, two years after the singer-songwriter’s death. It became one of Marley’s most popular songs with its catchy refrain:   I’m just a Buffalo Soldier In the heart of America Stolen from Africa, […]
January 28, 2021

Famous Expats: Felix Le Monnier

The court case lasted almost 20 years and created a sensation at the time because it involved one of Italy’s most beloved authors and a prestigious French publisher, who had made his home and established his reputation in Florence. Between 1840 and 1845, the publisher Felix (often called “Felice” in Italian) Le Monnier republished thousands […]