Issue 293 – Return to the River

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It might not be the “Venicefication” of Florence, but with the new Arnoboats and the popularity of I Renaioli tours, a return to the river is set to increase in 2023.

Cover photo by Marco Badiani




The week before this October issue went to press, some bright spark decided to open many of the city’s top-draw autumn exhibitions as part of the inaugural Florence Art Week, causing a culture-filled overdose: Henry Moore in piazza della Signoria and outside San Miniato al Monte; Olafur Eliasson at Palazzo Strozzi; Klee and Hirst at Palazzo Medici Riccardi; and Tony Cragg at Museo Novecento, amongst others. This month also brings L’Eredità delle Donne, the festival that celebrates Florentine women’s contribution to society and culture; French-American photographer Elliott Erwitt’s moving images to Villa Bardini; a striking Escher show at Museo degli Innocenti and, further afield, the much-awaited Macchiaioli art movement showcase at Pisa’s Palazzo Blu.

If all this art was not enough, Florence gets sporty with charity run Corri la Vita on October 2 to raise funds for breast cancer research and—something I’m hugely excited about as a tennis player—the return of a major men’s international tournament as Scandicci hosts the ATP250 Unicredit Firenze Open from October 10 to 16: get your tickets to see home favourites Berrettini, Sinner and Musetti (one hopes; players to be confirmed!).

As I write this editorial, Italians are in the process of casting their votes in the general elections, something that we have purposely not covered in this month’s issue, preferring to keep the focus on Florence issues alone. One of those matters is the high traffic we’re currently seeing on the Arno as tourists and locals take the waters to experience Florence from a different point of view (page 4). For over a century, the I Canottieri rowing club had the waterway all to themselves before being joined in recent years by isolated groups of stand-up paddlers, segued by historic flat-bottomed I Renaioli boats and now a solar-powered electric vessel called Arnoboat. Although river tourism will draw to a natural standstill in October, one wonders what the 2023 season will hold.

One of my favourite stories this month is Hershey Felder’s encounter with Elena Renzoni, the widow of Silvano “Nano” Campeggi, the Florentine artist who painted the playbills for Gone with the Wind, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and West Side Story. Read about this meeting of minds on pages 16 and 17. Then there’s Gaetano Arnone’s thoughtful piece about visiting Caravaggio’s final resting place in Porto Ercole and how the Baroque master inspired reinvention for the former TV chef turned culinary gardener in Tuscany (page 25) as well as Gabriele Corcos’s return to our pages with a delicious risotto recipe (page 36). Plus, popular scholar Joseph Luzzi generously treats us to a sneak preview of his soon-to-be-published book about Botticelli’s little-known Dante drawings (page 24). Botticelli’s Secret: The Lost Drawings and the Rediscovery of the Renaissance (W.W. Norton) will be out on October 25.

Enjoy the read,


Additional information

Weight 100 g

Digital PDF, Paper copy