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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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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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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Magical Florence by day & night (photo series)

Magical Florence by day & night (photo series)

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Writing about a fascination incites to living it twice. Florence (and all Italy) transmits a special magnetism to me, either at night or in the daylight. Indeed, I feel the more you visit a site, the more your identity will be linked to it. Choosing a place is never incidental, but caused by a wish, a certain object of desire. I have felt in love with Florence just as I could have with a person, thus looking to make the affair last, and staying here forever. Is it a whim? Certainly, one that´s rooted deep inside of me.

Photoseries also featured by Intoscana.it

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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 aesthetic 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 in Florence opposition, hostility and criticism, as it was believed that these buildings broke the architectural uniformity of the city. The pressure was such that the authorities of the time prohibited this style in the oldest centre. Most of these buildings were designed by Giovanni Michelazzi. He was the highest representative of the Liberty Fiorentino who opposed the local ban by wielding freedom of expression. With his death in 1920, such architectural style was interrupted in Florence.

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“I renaioli” of Florence: sailing the Arno on a traditional boat

“I renaioli” of Florence: sailing the Arno on a traditional boat

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The association I Renaioli was founded in 1995 with the aim of keeping alive the tradition of old boats used to sail the Arno River. Additionally, the goals are to recover, conserve and maintain the Arno vessels along with the promotion of navigation using traditional boats in the Arno; encourage the expansion of the pole rowing and last but not least, the protection and conservation of the fluvial ecosystem as historical and environmental heritage.…

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La Spiaggetta sull’Arno: an urban oasis in Florence

La Spiaggetta sull’Arno: an urban oasis in Florence

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There are no palm trees in La Spiaggetta sull’Arno, yet this Florence’s oasis has white sand where one can lie on for sunbathing, reading a book, drink Prosecco, set up a blind date, or practice tai-chi, yoga and other oriental oddities. The Arno’s Rive Gauche small urban beach is an initiative developed by Easy Leaving Firenze. It is located only a stone’s throw away from San Niccolò, under the Lungarno Serristori. During summer, one can enjoy all the comforts of a real maritime establishment with hammocks, sun loungers and a beach bar serving ice creams and cocktails while listening to music. At sunset, the bar also offers a typical aperitivo adding a panoramic view. An inimitable spot within the city, where experiencing a summer in the beach with all its activities is doable. Play beach volleyball, ping pong, football, or petanque tournaments is also possible here. To liven up the hot, humid and sticky Florentine summer nights — filled with mosquitoes — concerts, DJ sets and performances are also scheduled.
Practical info here

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Gardens of Florence #11: giardino Corsi Annalena, first romantic garden in Florence

Gardens of Florence #11: giardino Corsi Annalena, first romantic garden in Florence

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It is said that Cosimo I de’ Medici built an underground tunnel from Boboli gardens and Palazzo Pitti passing under Torrigiani and Corsi Annalena gardens to go to the Florentine country side without being seen and molested. This last one, a small size private garden takes its name from countess Anna Elena Malatesta, whose adjacent palace is today the legendary Pensione Annalena. At the end of 18th century, the garden was acquired by the Corsi family, hence its actual name Corsi Annalena, and designed by the architect Giuseppe Manetti. It is located in Oltrarno, between Via dei Serragli, Via de’ Mori and Via Romana, facing the Boboli gardens. Numerous terracotta sculptures representing different mythological characters ornament the green field. One of the fountains has a copy of Verrocchio’s Putto con delfino. The garden, with a uniform style inspired in the neoclassical cannons and indisputable beauty, has also a glasshouse. Beside its reduced sized, it has several semiprivate ambients that allow the visitor to isolate in an atmosphere prone to instant infatuation. Nowadays the garden Corsi Annalena is private and it is only open on special occasions.
To visit the gardens it is mandatory to call +39552280105 or send an email to scarsellistefania@yahoo.it
Giardino Corsi Annalena – Via Romana 38

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Tabernacles: religious street art in Florence

Tabernacles: religious street art in Florence

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There is no doubt that the tabernacles are a key element of the oldest streets of Florence. More than a religious character, it seems to me that they have quite an exquisite kitsch appearance. The city currently houses around 1200 tabernacles, of different styles and periods — some are true masterpieces. Catholics fought against heresy not only with preaching, but also by placing sacred images on the streets, houses, shops and public buildings which endure today. In Oltrarno there is still a large number of these particular street sanctuaries, available for a worldly prayer at any time of the day or night. The ancient Romans were already devotees of this form of religious architecture, for they built small temples in the streets with sacred images that protected both the house and the travelers.

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Gardens of Florence #10: giardini Villa Fabbricotti and Baden Powell, between decadence and bucolic solitude

Gardens of Florence #10: giardini Villa Fabbricotti and Baden Powell, between decadence and bucolic solitude

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In this less-traveled park, not especially projected to attract tourists, on a Saturday noon you will find a couple of people lying on the benches sunbathing, reading, drinking beer or walking dogs. The fact that it looks semi-abandoned gives it an attractive decadent appearance. Formerly the Fabbricotti villa and the park belonged to the Strozzi family. In 1864 they became the property of Giuseppe Fabbricotti, who commissioned the reconstruction of the villa to Vincenzo Micheli. At present, they belong to the Municipality of Florence. The garden is made up of pines, holm oaks, palm trees, and cypresses. The decoration not coming from nature is eclectic, filled with vats, huge vases, marble and terracotta sculptures, a Pantheon-style chapel and a small tholos built with pietra serena facing a neo-Gothic tower. Just crossing a gate, we find a small garden named Baden Powell – after the founder of the Scout Movement –, which is a perfect spot for children and family. This compact sloping enclosure has ideal recreation areas for picnic, playground, and exercise.
Via Vittorio Emanuele II 64 – 50134 Florence FI

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