Issue 294 – Artemisia up close

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Art lovers simply must spend Fridays at Casa Buonarroti during the restoration of Artemisia Gentileschi’s Allegory of Inclination, a tribute to Michelangelo, while learning from the chief restorer—and it’s thanks to the generosity of international art patrons.

Cover image: Artemisia Gentileschi’s Allegory of Inclination




Is anyone else wondering when we’ll be doing our cambio di stagione this year? I’m talking about that watershed moment when we store away our summer clothes and root out winter woollies. As things currently stand, there’s no reliable indication of temperatures dipping to the standard autumn degrees, a result of 2022’s overly hot conditions and the direct impact of climate change on our daily lives.

Many years ago, ottobrata romana was an expression used to describe late summer days, but it also referred to a pagan festival linked with celebrating Bacchus, the god of wine. Until the early 20th century, Romans would mark the end of the grape harvest by heading out of the city for long weekends in the countryside. Feasting and frolics filled the days. Even Giacomo Casanova recalled the joy of the festival, although he pointed out one particular downside: the journey from Rome to Testaccio was too short for him to “enjoy the company” of all the women in his cart. As we move into the eleventh month of the year, a novembrata does not seem off the table.

This month’s cover story provides an autumn, winter and spring of hopefulness in these troubled times. Art lovers can now while away Fridays with an inspiring work of art, Artemisia Gentileschi’s Allegory of Inclination, which is undergoing restoration at Casa Buonarroti, while learning from chief restorer Elizabeth Wicks as she patiently and expertly coaxes the seventeenth-century masterwork back to its full glory. It’s a unique learning opportunity, for which we have international art patrons Margie McKinnon and Wayne McArdle, of Calliope Arts, and Christian Levett to thank, as well as project coordinator Linda Falcone. Find out more about this extraordinary restoration on pages 4 + 5.

This is not the only generous gesture among our midst this autumn as Hershey Felder speaks with 12 artists and faculty members at The Florence Academy of Art, who will be displaying their art at an invitation-only soiree at Fondazione Zeffirelli on November 5 (pages 6-7). The aim is to raise funds for the academy’s scholarship program, allowing the next generation to further the school’s traditions and excellence. For the occasion, we have donated a special cover and a boutique print run of 200 limited-edition copies of The Florentine to welcome art patrons to our city: you’ll be able to see our second November cover shortly on our social media channels.

For this month’s issue, I chatted with newly arrived community leaders as they settle into their positions: Reverend Chris Williams at St. Mark’s English Church talks about moving from Hampshire to Florence and his aim to open the doors to the via Maggio place of worship on a more regular basis, while Sharyn Baddeley, the new head at The International School of Florence, draws fascinating comparisons between Chinese and Italian schooling, following her move to Italy from Beijing. That’s not all: Elaine Ruffolo speaks with David Bach about her hugely successful switch to digital arts talks during the pandemic, and renowned podcasters and entrepreneur masterclass organizers Rob and Kim Murgatroyd describe their dream move to Italy.

We’re feeling especially foodie this month, now that the grapes have been picked and the olives are in. Cheese lovers are simply going to want to devour the Tuscan wheels recommended by World Cheese Awards judge Kristine Jannuzzi on pages 26-27. A sign of the times, the instant pot is making a comeback in our kitchens, hence the cost-cutting and energy-saving porcini pasta recipe from Scuola di Arte Culinaria Cordon Bleu cooking school on page 28, plus a naturally gluten-free castagnaccio chestnut dessert recipe from GF writer Catalin Valera on page 29.

There’s plenty going on this November in Florence, from Mascarade Opera concerts at Palazzo Corsini in via il Prato (the foundation’s president Maximilian Fane explains all on page 18) to the much-awaited Florence Vintage Market at Palazzo Corsini on November 11-13, with all monies helping the seriously ill (FILE’s Livia Sanminiatelli Branca tells us about the charity on page 16).

American Thanksgiving is a special time for our community, which is why we are repeating the same format as last year at Ruffino’s Poggio Casciano wine estate, 30 minutes from Florence. On Thursday, November 24, join The Florentine for a country dinner of traditional stuffed turkey, American classics with a Tuscan twist, live music and top Tuscan wines.

Enjoy the read,

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