ART + CULTURE

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

ART + CULTURE

Proserpina’s cry

Picture the scene: Florence, 2002. Palazzo Serristori. Antonio Natali, director of the Uffizi Gallery, notices something wrapped in plastic and rolled around a lamppost. He calls over restoration expert Muriel Vervat and together they unroll it, discovering that it is a painting, its colors obscured by  thick, dark mold.

ART + CULTURE

Family matters

…Count Nicola of Pitigliano had sexually assaulted his own daughter-in-law, wife of the Count’s son, Alessandro … and the family of the woman were planning to go to Pitigliano ...

ART + CULTURE

An interview with Gina Lollobrigida

The actress and sculptor explains her love of art and beauty.

ART + CULTURE

A kiss to Italian cooking

I read cookbooks as if they were novels. Front to back, page by page. And because I love to cook, I'm always curious about new ones.   Being fortunate enough to have been born Italian, I learned my way around the kitchen by following my mother and grandmothers as

ART + CULTURE

A stylish homage

The same team that brought us the small but perfectly formed Civilized Shopper's Guide to Florence now brings us an alphabetical guide to all things Italian.   From the A of aceto balsamico to the V of vespa, this gorgeous little hardback has a classy 1920s look, each double-

ART + CULTURE

Indro Montanelli

Other Italians call them maledetti toscani (‘cursed Tuscans') for their quick intelligence, sharp tongues and biting wits. One Tuscan who fit this description perfectly was Indro Montanelli, probably the most influential Italian journalist of his time. A prolific writer, he also penned numerous books, including innovative histories such as

ART + CULTURE

Memory and emotion

Jules Maidoff, founder of Studio Art Centers International (SACI) and internationally noted artist, continues his legacy and leadership in the Florentine community with his unique and personal exhibit at the Museo Marino Marini.

ART + CULTURE

Shameless, fearless

Salman Rushdie's The Enchantress of Florence inspires a fury of various and contradictory adjectives while simultaneously defying description-the true mark of a great work of literature.   Make no mistake, the controversial author's latest work has lofty literary ambitions; the prose is gorgeous and flowery and fantastical,

ART + CULTURE

For the love of a city

What is it about Florence that makes people love it so? For many, it is the city's world-renowned art treasures-the determined look in David's eye, Botticelli's fluttery-draped blondes, Leonardo's crystal landscapes. It is the bronze of the baptistry doors and the story behind

ART + CULTURE

The art of poison

One of the many arts cultivated in Renaissance Italy was the black art of poisoning. The Medici Granducal Archives are teeming with references to this nefarious branch of chemistry, including a series of documents confirming Grand Duke Cosimo I de' Medici's involvement in a plot to assassinate Piero Strozzi

ART + CULTURE

Mario and Vittorio Cecchi Gori

The decade between 1945 and 1955 is described as the golden age of Italian cinema. Emerging from the stark and often desolate picture of post-World War II Italy depicted in the neorealist films, the commedia all'italiana or Italian-style comedy was born. The film producer and distributor who

ART + CULTURE

Claiming beauty

Could they possibly have known what they were witnessing that day? Could they have known, as they sat under the muse-frescoed ceiling on via Tornabuoni, that they were seeing the ...

ART + CULTURE

The crime of the (seventeenth) century.

There is never any shortage of gruesome crimes to occupy the public's imagination. To be termed a ‘crime of the century', however, a murder must have special qualities that make it stand out: a celebrity is involved, the murder is carried out in a particularly grisly manner, the

ART + CULTURE

Achille Lauro

In October 1985, US fighter planes intercepted an Egypt airliner flying the hijackers of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro to freedom in Tunisia, forcing it to land in Sicily, where the terrorists were arrested by Italian police. This was the end of a two-day drama during which the

ART + CULTURE

Creating culture

Have you ever longed to spend warm summer nights lounging in the garden of a world-renowned Tuscan villa overlooking the city of Florence? Have you dreamed of enjoying jazz under the stars in an Oltrarno piazza? Or watching Shakespeare in a Renaissance cloister? How about spending a month among

ART + CULTURE

Cosimo I’s secret weapon

Since I have come across a secret of no small importance, considering the times we live in today, especially in use against the Turkish cavalry, I have judged it worthy of Your Majesty. (Archivio di Stato in Florence, Mediceo del Principato 238, fol. 65 - Florence, 25 February 1572)   With

ART + CULTURE

Emilio Pucci

By July 1943, it was obvious that Italy was facing imminent defeat by the Allies in World War II. In an attempt to mitigate the inevitable devastation and destruction, the Fascist Grand Council passed a vote of no confidence against Mussolini, removing him from government. Mussolini's foreign minister and

ART + CULTURE

Bettino Craxi

It all began on February 17, 1992 with the arrest of a man called Mario Chiesa. Chiesa was not only the director of the Pio Albergo Trivulzio, Milan's largest old people's home, but he was also a member of the Italian Socialist Party. A prosecutor in Milan, Antonio

ART + CULTURE

Enigma in Giorgio de Chirico’s art

‘One clear autumn afternoon I was sitting on a bench in the middle of the Piazza Santa Croce in Florence. It was of course not the first time I had ...

ART + CULTURE

Diplomacy, Italian style

I have heard you would like to try some cheeses from Pesaro, so I am sending you these as a sample. Let me know if you like them and I'll send more...     When Vladimir Putin calls George Bush, does he ask how the twins are doing? Did

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Through the eyes of Oliviero Toscani

When you hear the name ‘Oliviero Toscani’, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? The shock artist who constantly approaches societal issues head on? The visionary who breathes new life into contemporary art? The guy in the bright red glasses?   One thing is for

ART + CULTURE

Oriana, Florence and the world

She was a woman who lived and worked in a world of men. As a young journalist, she faced powerful rulers and world leaders with courage and pride, whether it was King Hussein of Jordan, Yassir Arafat or Henry Kissinger.   She rode a tank in Vietnam. Her interview with

ART + CULTURE

An age of wonders

Discovered in a Roman avviso in the Medici Granducal Archive-just one of thousands of such handwritten journalistic reports to reach Florence in the seventeenth century-is a brief but extraordinary account of the meeting of two hermaphrodites. At the very end of this document, dated November 11, 1662, the

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 ...

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