Author: Deirdre Pirro

Deirdre Pirro, author of "Italian Sketches: The Faces of Modern Italy", published by The Florentine Press, is an international lawyer who lives and works in Florence. Her writing focuses on modern Italy, its people, its history and its customs. Follow her on Twitter @dp_in_florence or contact her at [email protected]
November 12, 2019
LIFESTYLE

Sant’Ambrogio Market

After ten troubled years, the magnificent—although at the time controversial—cast iron and glass construction of the Vittorio Emanuele II gallery, which linked the city’s cathedral to the Scala theatre in Milan, was finally finished on the penultimate day of December 1877. It was to be inaugurated the next day, but the man who designed it, […]
October 23, 2019
CULTURE

Suso Cecchi d’Amico

Protests about the gender equality gap in the film industry continued to rumble on as the lights of the 76th annual Venice International Film Festival went out at the end of the first week of September 2019. The action is fuelled by increasing pressure from the #metoo movement and Hollywood’s Time’s Up campaign against sexual […]
September 18, 2019
CULTURE

Florence Tennis Club

Originally the largest park in Florence, the Cascine was a Medici hunting and farming estate, which passed to the grand duchy of Lorraine with the death of the last Medici in 1737. Although it had occasionally been open to the public for special events during the 18th century, it only became an actual public park […]
July 19, 2019
CULTURE

The short-lived Kingdom of Etruria

To secure Spain as an ally against the English, Napoleon, then first consul of France, was engaged in complicated horse trading with his neighbouring country. As part of the deal, in October 1800, Spain signed a “secret” agreement, the Treaty of San Ildefonso, with Napoleon returning the Louisiana Territory to France in exchange for six […]
June 11, 2019
LIFESTYLE

The Fontana sisters

The Fontana sisters, Zoe, Micol and Giovanna, were pivotal in establishing the “Made in Italy” fashion brand internationally.
May 3, 2019
CULTURE

The Kansas City Leonardo da Vinci

Today, the painting of the La Belle Ferronnière attributed to Leonardo da Vinci hangs in the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
April 12, 2019
CULTURE

L’Italienne: Catherine de’ Medici

On January 5, 1589, when Catherine, the great Medici-born queen and regent of France, died of pleurisy at 69 years of age in Blois, just eight months before her son, Henry III, was assassinated, she was no longer the slim young maiden who had left her Florentine home to marry into Valois royalty. Although she […]
March 6, 2019
CULTURE

Italian sketch: Francesco Cirio

Summer, spring, winter and fall: there is no better dish than a piping hot plate of spaghetti with pummarola, the rich Italian sauce made from tomatoes, basil, garlic and olive oil. But how do you make the sauce if you have no fresh tomatoes? You open a tin of tomatoes, of course. But sometimes we […]
February 6, 2019
CULTURE

Mahatma Gandhi’s Italian visit

Over the centuries, history has never been miserly about thrusting odd couples together onto the world stage. Yet, in pre-World War II Italy, one of the strangest pairings was when the ascetic, Indian independence, non-violent civil disobedience leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi met the militaristic, Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in Rome in December 1931. Gandhi […]
January 15, 2019
CULTURE

The marriage of Catherine de’ Medici

The turbulent times of the 16th century were dominated by the conflict between Francis I, King of France, and the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, the spread of the Protestant Reformation, the divorce of Henry VIII from Catherine of Aragon in England and the menace of Turkish invasion. When Giulio de’ Medici, the illegitimate son […]