Author: Harry Cochrane

Harry Cochrane is a jobbing man of letters from Northumberland. When he’s not penning his own poetry, Harry is likely reviewing other people’s for the Times Literary Supplement, or commenting on opera as The Florentine’s resident reviewer. You can follow him on Twitter @hjccochrane
April 6, 2021

The tragic state of Florence’s restaurants

As consumers, we have done without restaurants for the best part of a year, save for a few months last summer and a brief burst of freedom in January. We have lost one of the keystones of human society, an integral part of Italian culture especially, but for most of us the loss amounts to […]
March 10, 2021

Wheeler-dealing: scootering around Florence

If you live in Florence, you’ll have seen the e-scooters. Not scooters in the motorino sense, the Vespas that we covet one and all; I’m talking about the monopattini that sprang up overnight and quietly slotted in between them. Their wheels would not look out of place on the Mars Rover, but they otherwise resemble […]
November 3, 2020

Autumn reading about Florence

So much ink has been spilled on Florence that compiling a total Florentine library would probably induce a variant on Stendhal syndrome. There are histories of Florence, historical novels set in Florence, memoirs that lyricise Florence; and then, of course, legions of guidebooks and pamphlets. Thankfully, the Paperback Exchange bookshop has sifted the fact from […]
October 7, 2020

Schiacciata on the streets of Florence

È un bicchiere di vino con un panino, la felicità. Happiness, as we know from Al Bano’s song “Felicità”, is a glass of wine with a sandwich. But the word “sandwich”, with its soggy connotations of cling-filmed little miseries, squashed at the bottom of a backpack, has nothing to do with the panino of Italian […]
September 30, 2020

Luthiers of Florence

Pianist Hershey Felder began a recent interview with The Florentine by reminding us—because it’s all too often forgotten—that Florence was the birthplace of the piano. Its inventor was one Bartolomeo Cristoforo, a Paduan, who in 1688 came to the melomaniacal court of Grand Prince Ferdinando de’ Medici, son of Grand Duke Cosimo III.     As […]
September 25, 2020

Bicentenary of Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi

“Eh bien, mon prince, Gênes et Lucques ne sont plus que des apanges, des estates, de la famille Buonaparte.” It’s not so shocking that the very first sentence of War and Peace should be in French: an awful lot of the novel is. The real surprise is that it should mention not Moscow or St. […]
September 10, 2020

A chat with cellist Antonio Lysy

Cellist Antonio Lysy has just completed the 32nd edition of Incontri in Terra di Siena, a chamber music concert festival that he and his mother Benedetta Origo founded back in 1987, and which takes place every year at the old family home of La Foce, near Montepulciano. Antonio lives in Los Angeles, where he and his […]
July 21, 2020

The Covid-19 Visual Project

Cortona On The Move is not quite what you would expect to find in a gorgeous if geriatric Etruscan hilltown near Arezzo. Archaeological museums, yes, palazzi looking out over the shimmering Val di Chiana, certainly. You would bet against finding Italy’s biggest photography festival. Yet that is exactly what Cortona hosts every summer.     […]

The housing virus

I’m never quite sure which is more depressing: renting a place in Florence or looking for someone to rent one. The same problem afflicts both parties: too many people are desperate for accommodation in a city which is, ultimately, the size of a shoebox. Temporary accommodation at that, for the vast majority of foreign renters […]
June 11, 2020

Other bridges are available

Venice has the Rialto, Florence has the Ponte Vecchio. The bridge that famously survived the war is surely the sight most snapped in all the city. Yet perversely, of the five bridges in what I consider the city centre, the Ponte Vecchio is the one I tread the least. Partly because, in Normal Times, it’s […]