Issue 310 – Shaped by spring

BUY THIS ISSUE – The Florentine April 2024

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Step out of the shadows. We are delighted to feel the early sunshine warm our skin, and yet continue to be disturbed by the shadows cast by current affairs.



Spring is a time of relativity. It’s relatively warm and relatively cold, depending on whether 20 degrees is the hottest temperature some visitors will experience this year, while the rest of us hold on to our coats, knowing that the mercury is only halfway there. Florence is relatively crowded and relatively empty: we are aware that local school groups will soon be replaced by cruise shipper lines. We are delighted to feel the early sunshine warm our skin, and yet continue to be disturbed by the shadows cast by current affairs.

Easter Sunday is the personification of springtime relativity in Florence, when a dove-shaped rocket shoots down the central aisle of the cathedral to set a medieval chariot alight in a 20-minute firework display. The success of this bizarre spectacle (whether the dove manages to spark a flame or not) was once said to predict the outcome of the forthcoming harvest. Now relatively modernized, the pyrotechnics are guaranteed, despite the ancient fanfare, vintage costumes and the cart’s arrival drawn by white oxen wreathed in flowers. The show starts at 11am, but be sure to get there early. For more information about Easter in Florence, see

In this season of relativity, our international community is sowing seeds for the future. Villa Romana welcomes artists to its bucolic institute in the hills (page 27), the Creative People in Florence group has just opened a new space in via dei Serragli (page 12), Daisy’s Dining attracts bon viveurs every Friday night this month (page 35), and the Mascarade Opera Foundation is tuning up for the four-day cultural “Festivalino” (page 16). And then there are the springtime oddities, such as @cash_catch_florence, an Instagram-based concept that offers a real-life treasure hunt with cash prizes organized by an anonymous gift giver (page 4), and normalities, like the various tulip farms and flower shows (page 12).

This month sees the beginning of a nine-month events calendar to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Florence’s central market in the San Lorenzo neighbourhood. Designed by Giuseppe Mengoni, the distinctive iron and glass pavilion was originally based on Paris’s central fresh food market, Les Halles, and shares a likeness with the architect’s most famous achievement, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan. This April 4 will bring representatives from historic markets around the world to Florence to discuss the process of establishing an association aimed at achieving UNESCO recognition for these important hubs of humanity. Find out more on page 5.

Spring brings a new wave of exhibition openings, from Anselm Kiefer’s brilliant show at Palazzo Strozzi to a top-tier exhibition about Orpheus at Palazzo Medici Riccardi (page 15) and Returns: From Modigliani to Morandi at Museo Novecento (page 10), which features a remarkable self-portrait by the Livornese artist alongside impressive works by Giorgio Morandi, Carlo Carrà and Renato Guttuso, amongst others.

We would like to dedicate this issue of The Florentine to the memory of Giuseppe “Joe” Barone, director of ACF Fiorentina, who died on March 19 after a heart attack. Born in Pozzallo, Sicily, he moved to Brooklyn with his family aged eight before naturalizing as a US citizen and developing a business career with Mediacom, helmed by Rocco B. Commisso. After his spell as vice-president of New York Cosmos soccer club, he moved back to Italy in 2019 as the General Manager of Fiorentina. His resilience and business acumen resulted in the creation of Viola Park, Fiorentina’s extraordinary training ground in Bagno a Ripoli, which we celebrate on page 20.

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