Anyone who’s been strolling the streets of Florence lately will know that the city is back with a bang. I mean that literally as the colombina dove-shaped rocket achieved its round trip from the altar of the Cathedral and back, setting the centuries-old Brindellone alight along the way. All par for the course of Florence’s beloved and bizarre Scoppio del Carro on Easter Sunday. It was the first time in two years that the ornate cart packed with Soldi firecrackers exploded in public view, in front of thousands of Florentines and enamoured international travellers. The Florentine’s online audience lapped up the extravaganza with more than 150,000 views across Instagram and Facebook (for which we thank Danella Lucioni for inviting us to her Duomo-view events space Antelux Firenze as well as Jane Farrell and Alexandra Korey’s dedication for doing the live broadcast on a holiday). The successful back and forth of the “dove” is said to be a prediction of a good harvest and good times ahead. Let’s hope so.
While Florence is looking busy for the foreseeable future and the tourism industry is enjoying a much-needed boost, perhaps we should carve out some time to consider what, if any, lasting lessons we’ve learned from the pandemic. That’s why, at the height of the boom, we are publishing our Environment Issue, titled Our Piece of Earth.
Beyond the impactful cover designed by Bologna-based illustrator Francesco Amura, aka @creatingmonkey on Instagram, you’ll find out about local associations that are taking practical steps to reduce, reuse, recycle and recover, the four Rs of sustainability, such as a company that grows mushrooms in used coffee grounds and a think tank that is advising Florence’s administration to set out the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (page 7). You’ll discover a garden with an irresistible view of Florence that is filled with art in primary colours, the life’s work of Alice Esclapon de Villeneuve (page 17), and meet bohemian “artiginer” (a portmanteau of artisan and designer) Cosimo De Vita (pages 20-21). Deirdre Pirro visits the historic Caccini garden in need of some TLC (page 31), Barberino Designer Outlet sets out its green approach to shopping in Tuscany (page 15), Harry Cochrane meets Florence’s animal population, AKA the doggies in shop windows (page 22) and Hershey Felder explains how it was the environment that enticed him to move to Florence (page 18).
Coffee continues as a focus in this May edition as I interview Joshua Dick, who sold his market leader company that marketed cleaning products for coffee machines and then moved to Florence with his family. Read about his inspiring story on pages 24-25. The caffeine rush continues with Phoebe Hunt’s cupping experience at Ditta Artigianale’s Scuola del Caffè in piazza Sant’Ambrogio (page 26), while my own coffee education got underway at La Marzocco’s brilliant Accademia del Caffè Espresso (page 27) in the Florentine hills, a 20-minute drive from the city centre.
We welcome Martina Bartolozzi (“Italian-American foodie, traveler & ex butcher”) to our pages with a look at women on the Tuscan food scene who have fully embraced an environment-first approach to their businesses (page 29), while we sadly bid our intern of six months Hayley Daffern farewell with her round-up of five favourite nightclub spots (page 28).