ART + CULTURE

A bleak and hostile place

Living in Florence in summertime may not be easy but at least it's colourful and bright. A far cry, then, from the grim November setting of A Time of Mourning, Christobel Kent's latest novel, which opens on il giorno dei morti, the day of the dead, when Italians

ART + CULTURE

True Life Drama

Until I read Stay Close: A mother's story of her son's addiction, the phrase ‘heroin user' conjured scrawny addicts shooting up in back alleys and cheap motel rooms; malnourished models getting their buzz in posh clubs. This book shattered my naïve image and showed me

ART + CULTURE

Cooking & Conspirancy

The Book of Unholy Mischief is foodie heaven. Elle Newmark's historical thriller set in fifteenth-century Venice simply oozes food and recipes from every page. The story is narrated in retrospect by its main character, Luciano, who at the start of the book is a young scrap of a

ART + CULTURE

A cautionary tale

Be good. Mind your parents. Appreciate the paradise that your home is. Or else you'll end up like the miserable souls in the netherworld. With Dante's Inferno as her guide, Virginia Jewiss has written a cautionary tale for children.   Although there's no missing the message of

ART + CULTURE

Creepy-and true

I remember my first Italian boyfriend, who suggested taking his car and ‘going parking' one evening.   I felt like I had suddenly been plunged into an episode of ‘Happy Days' with Ralph Malph trying oh-so-subtly to put his arm around a girl at the drive-

ART + CULTURE

When you wish upon a translation

The family that brought about Pincocchio Park has given the world a refreshing new translation of Collodi's classic cautionary tale for children. Gloria Italiano, widow of Rolando Anzilotti, the mayor of Pescia responsible for creating the park, worked from the 1883 first edition, which is included in this dual-

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

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

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 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

Early Italian chick lit

The women are beautiful. Sometimes they are of humble origin, sometimes they are aristocrats but they are always striking. The men are handsome and dashing, often airmen or navy officers, but almost always attractive and debonair. And they are in love. Sometimes it is innocent and naïve, other

ART + CULTURE

A royal pain

Historians have a tendency to dismiss military specialists as mere chroniclers of conflict. Proper historians concern themselves with the causes of war and the long-term effects of defeat or victory—they are excited by peace treaties, not casualty lists and are interested in grand strategy, not tactical details. &

ART + CULTURE

Every life has a meaning, but

I wasn’t surprised to read that Linda Proud spent 11 years researching A Tabernacle for the Sun and Pallas & the Centaur, two of the books that make up her ‘Botticelli Trilogy’.Their erudition, depth and breadth are quite astonishing. They are the work of a

ART + CULTURE

How football explains the world

Football is unquestionably the most basic of all team sports. The sole object of the game is to kick or head a ball into the opposition’s goal and to do this more frequently than your opponents do this to you. Despite, or perhaps because of, the absurdly simple

ART + CULTURE

Making an impression

The four-month exhibition, Cézanne a Firenze, open until July in the Palazzo Strozzi, celebrates the fact that Florence became the spiritual home for Italian Impressionism, with such leading Tuscan artists as Fattori, Soffici and Carena. The exhibition also honours Egisto Fabbri and Charles Loeser, two of Florence&

ART + CULTURE

What great paintings say

As I browsed in the Uffizi bookshop, a modest little paperback entitled 15th Century Paintings grabbed my attention. Glancing at the back of the book, I calculated that for the price of eight postcards, I could readily own this well-printed and profusely illustrated volume.   But then I had

ART + CULTURE

Not exactly Divine, but certainly comic

‘Do you think confessionals and stages are incompatible? They may be in other countries, but not in Italy’   Forget about all your idealizations when you read this book. Full ...

ART + CULTURE

The remarkable story of a woman and her vegetables

I remember once being rather disappointed by the gallery of ‘modern’ art in Pitti Palace. After wandering around its corridors for an hour or two and finding mostly charming, if second-rate, 19th-century pastorals, I asked one of the attendants where all the modern art was. ‘

ART + CULTURE

Turpitude, blood and a den of thieves

If you stand in Piazza della Signoria, somewhere just in front of the Neptune fountain, and look down at your feet you ought to see a piece of round stone dedicated to the memory of Girolamo Savonarola. It is a kind of monument, which is odd, given that the Florentines

ART + CULTURE

Impressed in memory

‘All I could think about were those who lived below street level.’ This was the first thought that struck Sherry Peregrin, a student and one of many Americans who lived ...

ART + CULTURE

Florentine Crime, Florentine retribution

‘I said, I killed him,’ she said, and her voice was light and cool as though it was trying to float free from her body, where the bones pressed painfully ...

ART + CULTURE

SamSara

Alost-in-life tractor salesman plopped smack dab in the center of Florence. He’s the only man in a group of 18 women psychologists attending a seminar concerning the feminine aspect of the psyche. In other words, primitive man meets goddess.Samsara begins with a brief introduction by

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