Gardens of Florence #3: giardino Bardini, splendour in the grass

Gardens of Florence #3: giardino Bardini, splendour in the grass

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Florence reaches its climax in early April as wisteria flowers blossom at Giardino Bardini. This historic garden, built with fountains and statues in English and Baroque style, is placed on a steep hill of Oltrarno. Its open green space was made public after restoration in 2007. Best to explore it is — possibly with someone loved — at eight in the morning, when just gardeners are around. Further wonders include the Belvedere, Giardino Boboli or the hike up to Costa San Giorgio and Porta San Giorgio, before pleasantly walking down to Porta San Niccolò along the trace of the old city wall.

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Florence literary walk

Florence literary walk

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Searching for the ideal of beauty in all its artistic manifestations or for an oasis to feel safe from hostility, artists, writers, architects, filmmakers, designers, historians and intellectuals, in general, had historically made of Florence their home. In just one hour, it is possible to discover all the places where some of the most outstanding writers of recent times lived.…

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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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Christmas in Florence, between dreamers and depressed people

Christmas in Florence, between dreamers and depressed people

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In Florence, a city that venerates art as a religion and consumerism as an art, Christmas here, as in any other part of the world, is full of dreamers and depressed people. The majority of them have unattainable and hideous expectations about Christmas. While some strive to manifest an insurmountable aversion to all the commonplaces outlined in these days, for others there is nothing comparable to the emotion and deep joy that Christmas time brings. For better or for worse, Christmas produces a major disruption in the spirit of almost everyone. Christmas decorates us and not the other way round. A golden ornament here and some colored lights there and voilà: we are happy and feel terrific. We complain heavily about Christmas and the feigned happiness of all its acts without noticing that this superficiality and cult for appearance is what we do on a daily basis.

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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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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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