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.

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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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Gardens of Florence #9: giardino di Boboli, the paradigm of a 16th century Italian garden

Gardens of Florence #9: giardino di Boboli, the paradigm of a 16th century Italian garden

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The Boboli Gardens date back to 1418, when Luca Pitti bought its land in Oltrarno with the intention of building the magnificent Pitti Palace, later owned by the Medici family. The landscaping was commissioned by the Medici to Niccolò Tribolo, the famous architect responsible for the gardens of their villas of Castello and La Petraia. However, after the premature death of Tribolo, it was Bartolomeo Ammannati who finished the job. The Boboli is the paradigm of the 16th century Italian garden, as well as one of the largest historical parks in Florence. Around the main axes are placed avenues, hedges, terraces full of statues and fountains. The first operas of history were also represented in its open air amphitheatre.
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Gardens of Florence #8: giardino dell’Orticoltura, a locals’ garden in the city centre

Gardens of Florence #8: giardino dell’Orticoltura, a locals’ garden in the city centre

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Born as an “experimental garden” in the middle of the 19th century, the Via Bolognese park in northern Florence is today one of the most beloved and quiet places to visit during spring and summer. In addition to the renaissance Loggetta Bondi, there is also a large glass and iron greenhouse, considered one of the most beautiful in Italy, as well as the rarest when built following design of Giacomo Roster. The greenhouse is used today for celebrating events, parties, food and cultural activities, while the garden houses the Municipal Library of Horticulture, hosting since 1862 horticultural exhibitions in order to promote the “knowledge of good horticultural practices.” The feeling here is that of a “neighbourhood park”, despite located not far from the tourist hustle in the historic centre. It has a bar with terrace which is frequented mostly by university students.

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Gardens of Florence #7: giardino delle Rose

Gardens of Florence #7: giardino delle Rose

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The giardino delle Rose is one of the most beautiful panoramic gardens of Florence. Here bloom some varieties of roses even in late autumn. Created by the architect Giuseppe Poggi in 1865, the giardino delle Rose is nowadays a sculptural park of reduced dimensions. Located on the hill of San Miniato, just below the piazzale Michelangelo, this garden holds a privileged position and stands as a perfect “green balcony” towards San Niccolò. From this place it is possible to view the whole city at a glance. The garden of the Roses has around a thousand varieties of roses and other ornamental plants, in addition to twelve sculptures by Jean-Michel Folon. Here one can sunbathe, read, take a nap, walk and contemplate other not so typical architectural sites of the city.
Giardino delle Rose – Viale Giuseppe Poggi 2 – open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m – free entrance

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