ART + CULTURE

Art and culture from Florence, Italy, focusing on exhibitions, museums, artisans and more.

ART + CULTURE

Franca Viola

Important social changes that began taking place in Italy after World War II gained momentum with the economic boom of the 1960s. Rigid family relationships were modified as young people ...

ART + CULTURE

The emperor’s troubles

As far as news from Poland, I regret to inform your highness that things are going very unhappily for us there...all of Lithuania and Prussia are lost to us as well...   We tend to think of our modern world as the first great information age, but already during

ART + CULTURE

Think Spring!

The Garden of Daniel Spoerri   In the early 1990s, Romanian-born Spoerri created a sculpture garden of 16 hectors in the town of Seggiano. Ninety installations are placed among 200 olive trees and the remains of old vineyards and chestnut woods. All of the works are by Spoerri and

ART + CULTURE

Gianni Agnelli

Someone once said that ‘the rich get richer and the poor get children'. The first part of this saying was certainly true in the case of Giovanni Agnelli, known as Gianni, possibly Italy's most important industrialist as chairman and major shareholder of the Fiat motor company, a life

ART + CULTURE

Genius and passion

Knocking up a nun and running from the law isn't a bad way to end your career as a monk. Filippo Lippi lived and worked with a fierce passion. While his lust for life and love are legendary, the restoration of his frescoes at the Duomo of Prato show

ART + CULTURE

Canvas is for commoners

On 20 July 1658, Torquato Montalto wrote to Giovanni Battista Gondi, Two rooms were decorated for Her Ladyship the Bride with crimson damasks with very rich gold fringes and lacework, and there I saw a great number of very large ebony chests. I also saw the gift made by Lord

ART + CULTURE

Padre Pio

Padre Pio was already a revered holy man of great humility and piety when he offered himself as a victim to bring an end to WWI, the war considered ‘the ...

ART + CULTURE

The 16-year-old widow and her boy husband

Betrothed at seven and married seven years later, Margaret of Habsburg, the illegitimate daughter of the Emperor Charles V, became a widow in 1537, at the tender age of 15. Her 27-year-old husband, Alessandro de’Medici the Duke of Florence, the illegitimate son of Giulio de’

ART + CULTURE

Giangiacomo Feltrinelli

On March 15, 1972, the body of a man was found at the foot of one of the main electricity pylons at Segrate, a suburb of Milan. It appeared he had been killed when the dynamite he was attempting to strap to the pylon detonated. Although the identity card found

ART + CULTURE

The Art of Women: From the Renaissance to Surrealism

The Art of Women from the Renaissance to Surrealism, open until April 6 at Milan’s Palazzo Reale, spotlights five centuries of art by women and showcases 200 works representing 110 women artists. As the exhibition’s name suggests, there is something for all artistic tastes—from

ART + CULTURE

The powder of persuasion

The Count of Warwick pays his reverences to His Most Serene Highness the Lord Duke, and he will give me a book in praise of chemistry by Doctor Cornacchino who teaches at Pisa, as well as a certain miraculous powder, which I tried a little of yesterday to my great

ART + CULTURE

Enrico Caruso

When Luciano Pavarotti died in September 2007, he was hailed as ‘one of the greatest’ Italian tenors of the twentieth century. The other ‘great’? During his lifetime, Enrico Caruso was as famous as Pavarotti for his unique and powerful voice, his talent and his charisma—

ART + CULTURE

Bianco Bianchi. It is marble or it is scagliola?

Florence and its surrounding areas are famous for a thriving artisan community, whose members still maintain Renaissance traditions today. Though mass tourism and a changing economy have significantly impacted the industry’s workshops, there are still numerous examples of true craftsmanship in Florence. These artisans helped make Florence one

ART + CULTURE

You bet your life!

Renaissance Florence was built around trade, and trade requires efficient and reliable banks. Banking relies on speculation on probable outcomes. So it should not be surprising that Florentines were renowned for their passion for gambling on a wide range of activities.   Betting on horse racing in Piazza Santa Maria

ART + CULTURE

Courage under fire

The crater in the highway near the turnoff to a town called Capaci, about 20 kilometres between the Palermo Airport of Punta Raisi and Palermo itself, was about 30 meters ...

ART + CULTURE

Ravenna, the capital of mosaics

In 402AD, the Roman emperor Honorius decreed the city of Ravenna the capital of the Western world, a title it kept until the eighth century. The city became the center for mosaic art in the fifth and sixth centuries, and Ravenna, which is accessible by train from Florence (see ‘

ART + CULTURE

Trendy Fendi

The first of the five Fendi sisters, Paola, entered the family business in 1946. She was soon joined by her other four sisters Carla, Anna, Franca, and Alda. They were following in the footsteps of their mother, Adele Casagrande who had opened a leather and fur store and workshop in&

ART + CULTURE

Read all about it!

Though the majority of the Medici Archives are filled with records of day-to-day communication in a large bureaucracy, there are several entertaining reports from agents and observers from the political power centres of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century western Europe. So much detailed information was sent from cities such

ART + CULTURE

John XXIII

Jovial, plump and a superb communicator, Angelo Roncalli took the name of John XXIII when he was elected pope in 1958, at the age of 77. It was commonly believed that, given his age, he would be a ‘transitional’ pope, an interim pontiff until a more long-term

ART + CULTURE

Where emotion meets reason

Left unused for decades, the vast space underneath the Palazzo Strozzi courtyard has been restored to its original splendor and will be home to Florence’s new Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina (CCCS). Explaining how the new venue will showcase different approaches to contemporary art and culture, director Fransiska

ART + CULTURE

The Florentine Press family is getting bigger!

Fall in love with Florence all over again with Jane Fortune’s unique book To Florence, Con Amore: 77 Ways to Love the City. Jane’s affection for her adopted city shines through in this collection of heartfelt and informative essays.   If it’s Leonardo lore

ART + CULTURE

Three masters

Florence can easily boast that she has produced more top-quality Renaissance artists than any other Italian, or indeed European, city. What’s more, she can even boast that she has nurtured the three artists who are undisputedly among the ‘top of the top’—Leonardo da

ART + CULTURE

Monkey business

Renaissance Tuscany was notorious for its practical jokes and ‘robust’ physical humour. Examples of complicated deceptions designed to confuse, embarrass or bring someone down a notch or two can be found in the tales of Boccaccio, Vasari’s Lives of the Artists and, of course, in the

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