Historical fictions novels on the Medici family by Christine De Melo

Historical fictions novels on the Medici family by Christine De Melo

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After obtaining a degree in Art History from UMASS Dartmouth, C. De Melo (Christine) began coordinating educational tours throughout Italy for an American university in 2003. Her love for Tuscany and the Medici family eventually prompted her to become a city and museum guide in Florence. When her first book, SABINA: A Novel Set in the Italian Renaissance, became an Amazon bestseller in 2014, her life changed. Today, she is a full-time author with ten novels on Amazon. SABINA and its sister book, ALLEGRA, are also available at the Galleria degli Uffizi book store. In 2018 she released RUTHLESS: A Novel Set in Gothic Verona, which hit #1 on Amazon (Italian Historical Fiction).
Visit the author’s website: www.cdemelo.com

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Santa Croce Weihnachtsmarkt, the international Christmas market of Florence

Santa Croce Weihnachtsmarkt, the international Christmas market of Florence

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The biggest and most important Florence Christmas market is German instead of Italian; maybe because the snow and the myth of Santa Klaus coming from the North, the Florentines adopted this tradition in a very organic way. But, why is not there an Italian Christmas market in Florence? This market reflects mostly the North European character, with handcrafted and gastronomic products coming mostly from Germany but also from France, Poland, The Netherlands and the Czech Republic. Italy by itself possesses a powerful cultural, gastronomic and craftsmanship richness to have its own Italian Christmas market here in the Tuscan capital, however, the whole market is formed by around fifty cabins where the visitant can drink Glühwein (hot wine) and German beer or taste Bratwürste and Lebkuchen (German sausages and biscuits). The ambient is somehow sad and desperate, a completely dispensable experience!
Until December 20 in Santa Croce Square

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“Firenze secondo me:” Matteo Renzi presents his documentary about Florence

“Firenze secondo me:” Matteo Renzi presents his documentary about Florence

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Matteo Renzi, former prime minister of Italy, presents the documentary film Firenze secondo me about his view on Florence, the city where he was born and grew up, and of which he was mayor between 2009 and 2014. The Discovery Italia Nove channel will broadcast four chapters of 90 minutes starting on December 15 at 9:25 p.m.

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Studio Musivo Lastrucci: masters of the Florentine mosaic, the art of “painting with stones”

Studio Musivo Lastrucci: masters of the Florentine mosaic, the art of “painting with stones”

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The artistic discipline named “commesso” or Florentine mosaic made with semiprecious stones emerged in Florence in the 16th century. As could be expected, the Medici family was a great promoter of this new artistic manifestation. Using the traditional technique of the Romanesque mosaic, the “commesso” added interspersed gemstones with highly aesthetic results, very similar to those of a real painting. Each mosaic is handmade in the laboratory following the traditional method, which allows to maintain the authenticity of the technique and enhance the natural colour of each stone. To complete a surface equivalent to a DIN A3 size, three or four years of craft work are needed. …

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Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella: the perfume made in Florence

Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella: the perfume made in Florence

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In this mythical perfumery of Florence with four centuries of history, one senses that nothing wrong could ever happen. Moreover, a walk through its premises makes you feel as weighty as Catherine de’ Medici, queen of France as well as customer of a brand that today still sells the same scent created only for her: Acqua della Regina. Francesco Carlino, responsible for the establishment, gently shows and explains to me every corner and detail of the site, such as the original store overlooking the cloister of the Santa Maria Novella basilica, which today houses the herbal section of the business; the apprentice rooms on the first floor, where future employees of the firm are trained; the old office of the friar, with a strategic window porthole from where he used to control all activity in the store; the machinery used to manufacture perfumes, elixirs, air fresheners, hygiene and toilet articles; the old chapel with frescoes from Giotto’s school; or the church, today transformed into the main room of the store. The original site was a pharmacy founded by the Dominican monks in 1221. Given its success, it opened to the public in 1612 as perfume manufacturer, thus becoming the oldest in Europe today. In the second half of the nineteenth century, it passed into the hands of the state, which ceded its management to the nephew of the last friar director. This family has since then controlled the empire.
Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, Via della Scala 16

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The ubiquitous Medici escutcheon in Florence

The ubiquitous Medici escutcheon in Florence

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Contrary to the legend, the surname Medici has nothing to do with medical ancestors in the family, but with their move from the region of Mugello to Florence, back in the thirteen century, abandoning agriculture to devote themselves to financial life. The six red balls on the golden field of the coat of arms are not pills but bezants, a unit of weight from the Byzantine era used by merchants and medieval bankers to count. The mythical escutcheon is easily recognizable in any corner of Florence and when least expected.…

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Giulia Gianfranchi’s Florence

Giulia Gianfranchi’s Florence

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Firenze, Florence, Florenz, antica Florentia castrum romano del 59 a. C … Comunque tu la pronunci, lei evoca da sempre nel mio cuore un senso di libertà e scoperta da quando ero bambina. Appena potevo, scappavo da Milano e venivo qui, nella mia Toscana, a trovare mia zia Marta. Passavo giornate ad osservare compiaciuta i turisti mangiare di gusto, ad ascoltarli in tutti i loro strani linguaggi, gironzolavo per strada col naso all’insu … Infilandomi in ogni vicolo, meglio se più stretto, e nei negozietti di artigiani. Distratta da architetture, sculture, pitture …

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Museo Nazionale del Bargello: mecca of Renaissance sculptural art

Museo Nazionale del Bargello: mecca of Renaissance sculptural art

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Florence is not only beautiful on the outside; to rival its wonderful landscape and streets it also offers endless interior attractions. Since 1865, the Bargello National Museum has exhibited the most important collection of Renaissance sculpture in the world. The Medici gave the building in the sixteenth century to the bargello or head of the police, so he could use it as a prison. In fact, it was in its cortile, one of the most outstanding in the whole country, where executions took place. The site currently hosts works of Giambologna, Donatello, Benvenuto Cellini, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Brunelleschi and Michelangelo.
Practical info

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Farewell to Bernardo Bertolucci, director of “Stealing Beauty,” a postcard movie shot in Tuscany

Farewell to Bernardo Bertolucci, director of “Stealing Beauty,” a postcard movie shot in Tuscany

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Presented at the 49th iteration of the Cannes Film Festival and shot in Tuscany, the feature film Stealing Beauty (1996) shows the beautiful and cheerful wild face of Tuscany. Siena, Gaiole in Chianti, Castello di Brolio, Scorgiano, the photogenic Tuscan hills, the country houses, the olive trees meadows, the parties in luxury villas, summer, love, sex and interpersonal relationships are the ingredients of this arthouse movie. The film shows wonderful places located in the surroundings of Siena through its 19-year old protagonist interpreted by Liv Tyler. This postcard movie, with its eclectic and outstanding soundtrack  (Portishead, Billie Holiday, Steve Wonder, Liz Phair…), has been key in my romance with Tuscany and Florence. I was 19-year old as well when I saw Stealing Beauty in a cinema theatre in the summer of 1996, in Tenerife. Its romance was very important for me and blossomed my love for this land and this region. Master of the Novecento, poet, documentarist, filmmaker, producer, polemicist, Italian cinema auteur par excellence, Bertolucci died today (November 26, 2018) at his home in Trastevere, Rome, after a long illness.

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Palazzo Guadagni, aperitif deluxe in Florence

Palazzo Guadagni, aperitif deluxe in Florence

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Rooftop views are unparalleled in Florence, proof of it is the rooftop garden bar at the Hotel Palazzo Guadagni. This ancient palace in the Oltrarno area has a privileged view from the loggia, which turns the palazzo’s terrace garden bar into a marvellous setting for having a red wine or a cocktail in Florence. It is a novel space neither overly exploited nor well known in Florence yet, thus you can take an aperitif as a local and without the need of a previous reservation. The views, the atmosphere and the service are simply unique and it is the perfect spot to amaze dates and visitors.…

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