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

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

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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History of art according to Florence or the Renaissance chapter at high school

History of art according to Florence or the Renaissance chapter at high school

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

History of art was, without a doubt, my favourite subject at high school. By then, Italy was for me a distant and unknown country, it seemed so far as in another planet, and I did not even know what Tuscany meant or where in the map Florence was. At the age of 17, everything seemed so phantasmagorical and unreal … How rare, the unpredictable ways to which life sometimes leads. Especially, to those who try to escape from routine. I then loved the art history classes taught by María Luisa, always conducted in the dark. During those hours, I felt invisible and safe (at that time, my face was plagued by acne). We contemplated slides explained with genuine devotion by the teacher, and took notes of things that I thought I would never see on site. María Luisa inoculated me with the love for art and subtly with a passion for Florentine wonders. Today, 24 years later, I do not even remember her surname.

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Via Tornabuoni, between heaven and earth

Via Tornabuoni, between heaven and earth

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

Via Tornabuoni is the majestic street of Florence and where most of its luxurious shops converge, even mingling coquettishly with the church of Saints Michele and Gaetano, in piazza degli Antinori, as well as with the Cantinetta Antinori, Florence ́s finest café-bar Procacci, the Palazzo Strozzi … At the opposite end, the street meets the church of Santa Trinità and the Column of Justice in piazza Santa Trinità, next to the Arno River. There, one can also treasure the shaft of the column which was a gift from Pope Pius VI to Cosimo I de’ Medici, as he returned in 1565 from none other than the Baths of Caracalla, Rome. The sight of the sky from this corner of the city is truly rewarding.…

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The tolling of the bells: the heartbeat of Florence

The tolling of the bells: the heartbeat of Florence

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

Not everything in Florence is a matter of renaissance “facade”. The city could be experienced by sight, but also by taste, its smells, trough touching as well as through hearing. I hate traffic noise, but I love the rumour of the crowd and the Florentine bells. In my different stays, it has been impossible for me to avoid the ones of Santa Croce, of the Duomo, neither of San Lorenzo´s. The bells produce an energetic and penetrating sound, but always embody some relaxing and peaceful vibe, spiritual purposes aside. I like to think that the sound of the bells equals the heartbeat of the city. One that has lived for so many centuries but still remains very alive, flourishing and young at heart. Indeed, I feel offended when a visitor complains about this particular sound. That certainly unveils my true love for this city.

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Betty Long’s Florence

Betty Long’s Florence

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

Bye for now, beautiful Florence. When in Florence, exceptional and majestic artworks created by humans wait for you in every corner. Its streets, always crowded with the bustle that comes with it, make Florence the perfect place for lonely travelers’ initiation where they will never feel alone. Where the coffee, although expensive, is exquisite. Where Michelangelo’s David and the Duomo share space with Dior and Chanel. The city welcomed and captivated me from the very beginning with its magic and, although the coin thrown at Il Porcellino insisted on predicting the opposite, I will always want to return to Florence. Thank you, Paco Neumann, for showing me your Florence, especially from the most outstanding balcony I have ever stepped on. Ci vediamo presto!

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Guido’s political analysis: “Italy is one step away from populism”

Guido’s political analysis: “Italy is one step away from populism”

PHOTOS & ENGLISH / SPANISH VERSIONS BELOW

Dopo mesi di impasse, in queste ore sarà probabilmente proposto al Presidente della Repubblica italiana il primo governo genuinamente populista che l’Italia abbia visto dal 1948. Berlusconi, che non farà parte del governo, ha consentito al partito alleato Lega Nord di allearsi con i parlamentari populisti del Movimento 5 Stelle, senza però rompere la storica alleanza con il partito del nord. Parliamo di movimenti populisti che hanno una base elettorale simile, ma anche una matrice socio-economica differente; sono uniti contro l’Unione Europea, ma con proposte diverse: gli unici due partiti in ascesa, che avrebbero beneficiato di un ritorno al voto anticipato e che invece adesso dovranno dimostrare di saper governare, governare insieme e soprattutto governare bene. Da questo punto di vista la scelta di Berlusconi di scongiurare nuove elezioni non sembra casuale, forse tesa a rinforzare il proprio partito dopo il flop elettorale in vista di elezioni che, anche nelle più rosee aspettative, saranno convocate ben prima del 2023.

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Monica Magnani’s Florence

Monica Magnani’s Florence

PHOTOS & ENGLISH / SPANISH VERSIONS BELOW

Se qualcuno mi dice ‘Firenze’ la prima cosa che mi viene in mente è fuggire via. Firenze, a volte, io la guardo e mi sembra diventata un luogo comune, un cliché inventato per far contenti i turisti. Firenze per la nave da crociera è il percorso di due ore, per gli amanti clandestini è la città di un fine-settimana, per le famiglie sono i musei delle vacanze di Pasqua, per le gite scolastiche è il capitolo sul Rinascimento, per gli animi malinconici è lo struggimento della sindrome di Stendhal. Io, da questa Firenze, ho continuamente voglia di scappare e forse mi piace proprio perché, poi, quando sono fuggita via dai luoghi comuni, è così bello aver nostalgia di questa città! Firenze, per chi ha voglia di scappare, ha molte vie di fuga: per alcune ci vuole un mezzo di trasporto, per altre, invece, basta un paio di scarpe comode.

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Miss Tina Mars in the pet-friendly Florence

Miss Tina Mars in the pet-friendly Florence

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

My name is Tina Mars. Although I am a female dog, I consider myself very human. Last week I visited Paco Neumann in Florence and that dazzled me. I felt almost as mesmerized as the Americans (that is, by the city). Let’s say Florence is not Paris, but who does actually bear the French? Also, most animals are not interested in art and culture, but I am. I had an exquisite and refined education at home. That’s why I grow so much canine anger when not allowed into the museums or the churches. We, dogs, are better educated and trained than all those tourist crowds … The leash and the muzzle, as well as the picking up of my evacuations, are compulsory when out and about, anyway. By the way, I was fascinated to see how clean Florence is! In Berlin, the sidewalks and parks are crammed with excrement, which causes me quite a lot of disgust. …

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Firenze-SMN central station: arriving alone in a foreign country

Firenze-SMN central station: arriving alone in a foreign country

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

I love the Florence-Santa Maria Novella train station for many reasons. For instance, its loudspeaker announcing the arrival of the Milan train by the binario otto and the departure to Venice by the binario due, or the smell of the railway machinery and, naturally, because of those who travel to other places. It is also wonderful to arrive alone in a foreign country, feeling the assault of transformation. The Italians are still here, busy living. The rhythm of their lives is different, while I am a complete stranger, an eccentric or maybe not. A friend has recently told me: “You are acquiring a past in Florence.” That´s an assertion — without going into grim details — I find not very encouraging, nonetheless quite revealing. Because, above all, I love to attraversare il binario ed oltrepassare la linea gialla.

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Surviving the night in Florence with an anti-mosquitoes kit

Surviving the night in Florence with an anti-mosquitoes kit

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

Without a doubt, the most unpleasant thing occurring in Florence is mosquitoes. Actually, none of the tourist guides alert (especially to those sensitive to the bites) about this annoying particularity. Thus, it is advisable to get an anti-mosquitoes kit in any supermarket, even if it´s only for one night. I have tried them all and can recommend as most effective the electric type, either liquid or in tablets. Best so to enjoy the pleasure of open windows or a terrace at night. Due to its humidity, mosquito repellents are indispensable in Florence, even during the winter!…

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