Before sunset in Florence

Before sunset in Florence

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The sunsets take on greater symbolism when in the sea, a river or in the mountains. Such moment becomes certainly the excuse to visit any bridge in Florence, go to the Piazzale di Michelangelo or even to the Belvedere of Fiesole in order to contemplate a unique Tuscan dusk. I will never stop saying it: Florence is ideal to take a refreshing walk (both, for body and soul) at any time of the day or night. And maybe that’s what hooked me most about the city: the pleasure of walking, acting as an authentic flâneur, is not just a matter of stale romanticism or acting as decadent esthete. The English skies in the paintings of Joseph Mallord William Turner, the French ones in Paul Cézanne´s or by Pierre-Auguste Renoir´s or Van Gogh´s, have nothing to envy to those portrayed in the thousands of photographs that are taken every day, at that precise time, in Florence.

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Past and present of the «pensione» Annalena in Florence

Past and present of the «pensione» Annalena in Florence

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The story of Annalena (an orphan aristocrat adopted by Cosme de ‘Medici) and her palace is told in Niccolò Machiavelli´s Florentine Stories at the beginning of the 16th century. Her palace of Via Romana (a few steps from the Palazzo Pitti) was Cosme´s gift as she married Baldaccio di Bicci de ‘Medici. After Bicci´s murder, Annalena converted the building into a convent, to become later a casino, a luxury brothel, and finally, in 1919, a boarding house. Since then, it’s been the favourite of foreign travellers, musicians, poets, artists and actors, as Annalena displays through the furniture its splendid and decadent past. The Nobel Prize for literature Eugenio Montale used to stay here in the 30s; he shared «his room» with his lover when attending occasional meetings at the Crusca Academy in Florence. Prices depend on the season, so one double room with terrace could cost between 60 and 140 euros.
Hotel Annalena – Via Romana, 34, Florence, 50125, Italy

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Florentine landscapes and impressions

Florentine landscapes and impressions

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Some of my friends do not understand why I live in Florence, while others believe I tend to idealize it too much. The most surprised by my choice are Italians, including the Florentines themselves. To all, even me, the explanation resides within the words of the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca, as written in the foreword of Impresiones y paisajes (Impressions and landscapes, 1918): «We ought always to understand by pouring our soul over things, by seeing the spiritual where it does not exist, by shaping all with the charm of emotions. When in solitary places, it is vital to perceive the ancient souls that have passed through there; it is essential to be one and, at the same time, to be a thousand, in order to sense in all nuances. We must be both religious and profane. Indeed, to imagine the mysticism of a severe Gothic cathedral along with a wonder of pagan Greece. To see and feel all in eternity brings the reward of having no boundaries, no horizons.”…

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Florence: passion and enthusiasm

Florence: passion and enthusiasm

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All passion springs from enthusiasm. Florence rescued me from neglecting feelings, an attitude that (I do not recall exactly when) came from falling lost in Berlin. Florence meant a safe net to avoid the death of the soul and helped me arise from that terrible fall. In the Tuscan capital a revolution took place inside of me. Indeed, a Renaissance. Thus, I now live here with all naturalness, feeling calm and relaxed. In Florence the days do not seem so endless, there is always something to do, even if it’s just a walk among Renaissance treasures, only to come back home later relieved. To enjoy Florence, one must be Epicurean, aesthete and eclectic. To this city, where the vicissitudes of my destiny have brought me, I will definitely elaborate a whole dictionary of affectionate expressions, because I haven´t yet met any Italian who speaks well, and with true love, about their country.

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‘Noble Earth:’ a movie set in Florence criticizing Florentine high society

‘Noble Earth:’ a movie set in Florence criticizing Florentine high society

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Emma meets Tancredi in Florence, embarking on a love affair with the intoxicating cosmos he represents: endless days in the gauzy Florentine hills or the sun-blanched beaches in Maremma. They become engaged. Soon, however, Emma becomes caught in family politics, learning what is expected of a woman in Florentine high society. The same beauty that overwhelmed Emma reveals itself as superficial and suffocates her. Noble Earth is a study of ennui and female repression within a world rarely seen onscreen — Italy’s hermetic nobility. On the occasion of the screening of Noble Earth at the Berlin Visionär Film Festival 2018 past spring, I had the opportunity to briefly interview Ursula Grisham, director of the film, which was shot mostly in Florence.

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CLET: the street artist behind the ‘customized’ traffic signs in Florence

CLET: the street artist behind the ‘customized’ traffic signs in Florence

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Street art does not survive in Florence as much as in Berlin. However, it has its representation with Clet Abraham (1966, Brittany). He has lived in Florence since 2005 and has today a shop and atelier in the neighbourhood of San Niccolò. His actions in the urban furniture, consisting of customizing traffic signs with stickers, bring nothing but joy to all visitors. CLET converts traffic signals into works of art without altering their function. He was first accused of abusive invasion of the public space in May 2017. The attractive French artist has been convicted by an Italian court to pay a fine of EUR10,400 for one of his works (L’Uomo comune) on the bridge alle Grazie.
More info

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Being an expat in Florence

Being an expat in Florence

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Meeting a foreign resident in Florence makes me wonder: “What brought him here?” (love, work, despair, art heritage, studies, food, wine, people, indecision), what moved him to stay here, what do I have in common with this person (at first and apparently quite a lot, and sometimes, in reality, nothing). However, what differentiates us, I sure know. It is usually, with natural exceptions, the routine. My discontinuous / intermittent stays in Florence let me enjoy the city with a renewed intensity each time. Such joy, I am afraid, might become ruined when choosing a permanent residence.

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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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Società Canottieri of Florence, crossing the Arno river in canoe

Società Canottieri of Florence, crossing the Arno river in canoe

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The Società Canottieri Firenze (Florence Rowing Club) has its headquarters in the terrace just below the Galleria degli Uffizi. Like any other private club, it is only accessible for its privileged members. No need to say that it is the best place with a view to Ponte Vecchio in solitude and in all its magnificence, oblivious to the hectic passage of people a few meters above, fighting for a spot from where taking the obvious Florence selfie.…

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Il Liberty fiorentino: the Florentine art nouveau

Il Liberty fiorentino: the Florentine art nouveau

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Florence is not only synonymous with the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Its streets hide other equally valuable treasures that no one expects to find, as samples of the Liberty style, the Florentine art nouveau of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is quite a decorative style in wrought iron, with floral and animal motifs, linear and curved forms. The Liberty patterns found opposition, hostility and criticism in Florence, as it was believed that these buildings broke the architectural uniformity of the city.

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