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Italian Sketches

ART + CULTURE

ART + CULTURE

Ottone Rosai

There are many places one might easily turn to learn about the art of Ottone Rosai. Here, my task is not to critique the artistic or literary works of this Florentine painter, engraver and author, but rather to tell you about his troubled, turbulent life, which played out against the

ART + CULTURE

Giovanni Battista Pirelli

In recent months, unrest has been high in Figline Valdarno, a town in the triangle formed by Florence, Arezzo and Siena. After 52 years, the Pirelli factory located there, which specialises in the manufacture of steel cord, the metal belt that is the fundamental strengthening element for radial rubber tyres,

FOOD + WINE

Danilo Nannini

If you enjoy a taste of panforte margherita this holiday, you should thank two people. The first is Queen Margherita (1851–1926), wife of King Umberto I of Savoy, who was so popular that, in June 1889, in celebration of her visit to Naples, Raffaele Esposito, a cook at

ART + CULTURE

Luigi Lavazza

The cover of coffee maker Lavazza’s calendar for 2014 features a photo of the Spanish avant-garde chef Ferran Adrià. Seven other of the world’s top chefs also appear in the ...

COMMUNITY

Diego Della Valle

The man dubbed by The New Yorker as the ‘Italian Ralph Lauren,’ Diego Della Valle has been a familiar face at the Artemio Franchi soccer stadium in Campo di Marte since he and his younger brother, Andrea, bought the ACF Fiorentina football club in 2002, rescuing it from

ART + CULTURE

Gino Bartali

On August 11, 2013, during the celebrations of the 69th anniversary of the Allied liberation of Florence, Rabbi Joseph Levi announced that he hoped the late Gino Bartali, one of Italy’s most famous and popular cycling champions from the early 1930s to the mid 1950s, would soon be

ART + CULTURE

St. John the Baptist

Given to the city by the Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze in 1996, the bronze statue of St. John the Baptist, Florence’s protector and patron saint, sculpted by Giuliano Vangi ...

ART + CULTURE

Elena Cornaro Piscopia

Mathematician, philosopher and theologian, Elena Cornaro Piscopia was the first woman ever to be awarded a university degree. It was conferred on her at the University of Padua on June 25, 1678, but her story was rediscovered only a century or so ago. Although famous during her lifetime, not only

ART + CULTURE

Giovanni Meyer

Following the premature death of his beloved first wife, Anna Fitz Gerald, on December 11, 1883, Giovanni Meyer, a fabulously wealthy banker set about fulfilling her last wish: that Florence should have ‘a hospital, which could house a certain number of sick children, especially those with congenital or acquired

ART + CULTURE

Mario Moretti Polegato

What do blistered feet, a hot desert in America and a young Italian winemaker have in common? The answer is a footwear revolution. The man behind it, Mario Moretti Polegato, has often told the story about how he was in Reno, Nevada’s second largest city, in 1992, promoting

ART + CULTURE

The aviator’s bust

Official statistics showed that nearly 2 million passengers passed through Amerigo Vespucci Airport at Peretola during 2011, ranking it 42nd out of the 143 in the Airport Council International's classification of main European airports. With all of these people coming and going to Florence, I wonder how many of

ART + CULTURE

Vasco Pratolini

In over half a century since his last book appeared, only vestiges of the Florence that novelist, playwright and poet Vasco Pratolini described in his books remain, but that in ...

ART + CULTURE

Hercules and the lion

Situated on the right bank of the Arno river is one of the most elegant squares in Florence: piazza Ognissanti. It is home to two of the city’s finest hotels, the St. Regis and the Excelsior, and Palazzo Lenzi, now home to the Honorary French Consulate and the

ART + CULTURE

Calisto Tanzi

The bankruptcy of the dairy products multinational corporation Parmalat in December 2003, sent shock waves throughout global financial markets. In what was to prove the biggest corporate fraud so far in European history, Parmalat finished up in a black hole of 14 billion euro of debt, eight times more than

ART + CULTURE

Gualtiero Marchesi

Even though the age-old debate about whether cooking is an art or a science rages on, when Italian chef and restaurant owner Gualtiero Marchesi, founder of Italy's nuova cucina (‘new cuisine'), says it is both, you can believe him. The first non-Frenchman to receive the coveted

ART + CULTURE

Leonardo Del Vecchio

It probably isn't that much fun coming second at anything, but when, over the past several years, the prestigious American business magazine Forbes has ranked you as the second richest man in Italy, with an estimated worth of 11.5 billion dollars, you can't complain all that much.

ART + CULTURE

Mario Draghi

 Economist and diplomat John Kenneth Galbraith maintained that ‘in central banking as in diplomacy, style, conservative tailoring, and an easy association with the affluent count greatly and results far much ...

ART + CULTURE

Iris Origo

Anglo-American biographer and author Iris Origo took up writing after the untimely death of her seven-year-old son in 1933.

ART + CULTURE

Amerigo Vespucci

For all of 2012, which has been declared Vespucci Year in Florence, events, exhibitions and conferences will commemorate the Florentine explorer. With this debut article, TF will be publishing a monthly column focused on Vespucci and U.S.-Italy relations for the rest of the year.     In seeking

ART + CULTURE

Zucchero ‘Sugar’ Fornaciari

When he appears on stage, frequently wearing a velvet top hat or some other eccentric headgear, Adelmo Fornaciari, in art Zucchero (‘Sugar'), looks more like a snake-oil salesman in a Wild West travelling show than one of Italy's most popular singer-songwriters. An artist whom the great

ART + CULTURE

Alessandro Martini

Her majesty’s secret servant, James Bond, would certainly not be happy, but I really don’t mind whether they are shaken or stirred, just as long as my martinis are icy ...

ART + CULTURE

Angelo Rizzoli

The life of publishing magnate and cinema mogul, Angelo Rizzoli, reads like the story in the melodramas regularly found in the magazines he published. Rizzoli was born in Milan on October 31, 1889, to an impoverished family. Despite their circumstances, however, his family lived in one of the most affluent

ART + CULTURE

Vincenzo Peruggia

Her custodians at the Louvre in Paris have banned any future travels. But this has not discouraged Italy's National Committee for the Enhancement of History, Culture and Environment ('Comitato nazionale per la valorizzazione dei beni storici, culturali e ambientali') from continuing its appeal for a temporary return to Florence

FOOD + WINE

Giovanni Buitoni

The Chinese may have invented it, but the Italians perfected it: pastasciutta. Today, one of the most famous brands of pasta worldwide is Buitoni, an industry that grew out of a modest pasta shop opened in 1827 by Giovan Battista Buitoni and his wife Giulia Boninsegni in Sansepolcro, a small

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