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Paco Neumann

Paco Neumann is a journalist, photographer, proofreader, flâneur and perpetual amateur currently living in between Florence, Berlin and Tenerife. He´s been a regular contributor to fashion, art, trend and lifestyle magazines and worked for news, advertising and communication agencies

St. Regis Winter Garden Bar, a 5 star inner garden in Florence

St. Regis Winter Garden Bar, a 5 star inner garden in Florence

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Florence, with its artistic wonders and cosmopolitan air, has become the universal dream of any traveller. The present and past essence of the Tuscan capital can be breathed in the atmosphere of historical The St. Regis Florence Hotel, which boasts a superior category in piazza Ognissanti since the mid-18th century. Placed in central Florence, at the former Palazzo Giuntini, the picturesque St. Regis Florence has been the favoured stop of experienced travellers for decades. Granted with the Gambero Rosso BAR D’ITALIA prize since 2015 and for four consecutive years, its Winter Garden Bar provides visitors with an exceptional and personalized experience. Gratify yourself with an aperitif, an afternoon tea or after dinner drink accompanied by live piano music and savour the creations arranged with fresh ingredients and masterfully prepared by Bar Manager Christian Pampo and his crew. Everyday, Bloody Mary from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., afternoon tea from 3:30 to 5 p.m., and champagne ritual from 7 to 8 p.m. Open to the public, welcoming and exquisite service.

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Medici villas #2: Poggio a Caiano

Medici villas #2: Poggio a Caiano

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The construction of this medicean villa located between Florence, Prato and Pistoia was the whim of Lorenzo the Magnificent, thus he commissioned it to his favourite architect, Giuliano da Sangallo, at the end of the 15th century. A residence for the pure leisureliness of contemplation by the dynastic power, the villa of Poggio a Caiano recovers elements of the classic architecture such as the fronton and Ionic temple at the main facade. Due to the harmony and symmetry of its proportions, as for representing an ideal of life in the outskirts under Humanism, the site is listed World Heritage by the UNESCO since 2013. Walking the Parco all’inglese and the Giardino all’italiana is as stimulating as visiting its interior. Free entrance.
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Procacci, wine and truffles since 1885 in Florence

Procacci, wine and truffles since 1885 in Florence

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Considered one of the most historic delicatessen in the city, the traditional and sophisticated Procacci shop is located in the heart of Florence, on centuries old and prestigious Via de’ Tornabuoni. With its historic legacy in artistry and handcraftsmanship, Procacci soon won vast recognition amongst the citizens, especially for its gastronomic specialties made with truffles, such as its famous sandwiches. Savoring these specialties continues to be a popular ritual followed both by Florentines and visitors.
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Le buchette del vino: the wine windows of Florence

Le buchette del vino: the wine windows of Florence

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Florence is an inexhaustible source of secret treasures, an immortal city that every day gives us lessons of living history. One only needs to open the eyes and pay attention to little details present in the morphology of the city, those details that provide stimuli to the curious souls for nostalgic history. Located one meter above ground level, on the walls of several historical buildings in the city centre, it is possible to glimpse a tiny hole or the so-called “wine window” (buchetta del vino). This was the name given to the notches opened up on the walls of the noble palaces in the 17th century when, following a commercial crisis in Florence, the authorities granted the owners of the vineyards to supplement their income with the retail sale of wine. Through these holes were sold the famous “fiaschi” of wine, which are the typical glass bottles of Chianti, with a spherical shape, long neck and base covered with braided straw. The price of the wine was lower than in the taverns and often in these “buchette del vino” there were small wine jugs and bread for the poor people.

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The house of Piero Bargellini, a key figure during “l’alluvione di Firenze 1966”

The house of Piero Bargellini, a key figure during “l’alluvione di Firenze 1966”

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The Arno River severely overflowed on the 4th of November, 1966, causing what is commonly known as “l’alluvione di Firenze”. The city of Florence and part of Tuscany were inundated by the floods, causing an impact affecting the economic and cultural environment of Florence. Fortunately, as November 4 was a bank holiday, many businesses were closed and a large part of the population was at home, thus avoiding an even bigger disaster. Nevertheless, 101 people died, 5000 families lost their homes and 6000 businesses had to close. The deluge also destroyed and/or damaged countless works of art, prominent buildings and books. The damages could be repaired thanks to the efforts of Italian citizens, international committees and foreign donors. Piero Bargellini (1897-1980), writer, historian, politician and intellectual, was the mayor of Florence in that difficult moment.

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Cappella Brancacci, the Sistine Chapel of Florence

Cappella Brancacci, the Sistine Chapel of Florence

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Beyond the streets crowded by the omnipresent tourists looking for Florentine gems from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, there are less exploited corners of great historical and artistic richness as the Brancacci Chapel, also known as the “Sistine Chapel of the first Renaissance”. The paintings on the walls are among the most popular and influential frescoes at the time. They are distributed in two horizontal levels along the chapel, which is part of the Carmine church and convent, founded in Florence in the mid-thirteenth century by a group of Carmelite monks from Pisa. Located in Piazza del Carmine (Florence-Oltrarno), the Cappella Brancacci is one of the oldest monumental buildings in Florence. The frescoes illustrating the life of Saint Peter are masterpieces by Masaccio and Masolino, painted between 1425 and 1427, just in the early years of the Florentine Renaissance. Later on, Filippino Lippi was called to complete Masaccio’s chapel decoration, which had been left unfinished due to Masaccio’s death in 1428.

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Cimitero degli Inglesi in Florence: memento mori

Cimitero degli Inglesi in Florence: memento mori

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We all are born to die, and the awareness of this truth acts as torture for many and as a relief for others. Standing in the centre of the present piazzale Donatello, the English Cemetery (Cimitero degli Inglesi) was laid out in 1828 by the architect Carlo Reishammer, for the Swiss Community, outside the 14th-century walls and the Porta a Pinti (demolished in the later 19th century). When the whole area was rearranged by Giuseppe Poggi, the cemetery stood out as a prominent feature, an ‘island of the dead’ surrounded by traffic. Here are the graves of some 1,409 non-Catholics from sixteen countries, including writers and artists such as the poets Elizabeth Barrett Browning and W. S. Landor, the sculptor Hiram Powers and the great scholar G. P. Vieusseux. Arnold Böklin’s famous painting The Island of the Dead was inspired by this cemetery. Among the Swiss, Russians, Americans and British buried here, English-speaking British and Americans are the majority as the Anglophone community in Florence in the nineteenth century was the largest. The cemetery had to be closed in 1877, when the law forbade burials of bodies within city limits.…

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Medici villas #1: La Petraia

Medici villas #1: La Petraia

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Perched on a hill top of Castello, with a panoramic view of Florence, this astonishing 14th century villa was first owned by the Brunelleschi family and the Strozzi, before being home to Cosimo I de’ Medici and his offsprings. It was also the favourite residence of Vittorio Emanuele II in the company of her lover Rosa Vercellana. Its significance has paved the way for restorations throughout the centuries, thus becoming declared UNESCO World Heritage in 2013 and an asset of the state museums today. Not to miss are the famous lunettes painted by Giusto Utens — each representing a Medici villa and garden —, the sculptures of Giambologna and a wander lost in its gardens. There is a guided tour in Italian every 30 minutes. Free entrance.

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Bridges of Florence (not only Ponte Vecchio)

Bridges of Florence (not only Ponte Vecchio)

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They say that what separates life from death is a river and each one chooses his own bridge to cross it. All the bridges of Florence, with the only exception of marvellous Ponte Vecchio, were destroyed by the Germans on the night of the 3rd of August, 1944, during the Second World War. Fortunately they have been rebuilt later.…

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When arriving and departing are just the two sides of the same trip

When arriving and departing are just the two sides of the same trip

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What I enjoy most in life is my extended visits to Florence with no plans, neither a date to leave. When you live among three cities, it is difficult to determine which one becomes your home or which your identity is. There are places that I feel more like my house, even if I don´t reside most of the year there. This is what happens with Florence. “Arriving and departing are just the two sides of the same trip, the train that arrives is the same train that has to leave. The time of the meeting is also of the farewell.” This is what the Brazilian soloist Maria Rita sings in her mythical song “Encontros e despedidas.” “Life is repeated in one station. Every day is a sway. There are people who arrive to stay, there are people who leave forever, there are people who come and want to go back, there are some who come and want to stay. Others just came to look around, whereas there are people who came to dream and others to laugh and cry … Thus, the platform of the station is the life of this place of mine. It is life in itself.”

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