Studio Musivo Lastrucci: masters of the Florentine mosaic, the art of “painting with stones”

Studio Musivo Lastrucci: masters of the Florentine mosaic, the art of “painting with stones”

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The artistic discipline named “commesso” or Florentine mosaic made with semiprecious stones emerged in Florence in the 16th century. As could be expected, the Medici family was a great promoter of this new artistic manifestation. Using the traditional technique of the Romanesque mosaic, the “commesso” added interspersed gemstones with highly aesthetic results, very similar to those of a real painting. Each mosaic is handmade in the laboratory following the traditional method, which allows to maintain the authenticity of the technique and enhance the natural colour of each stone. To complete a surface equivalent to a DIN A3 size, three or four years of craft work are needed. …

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Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella: the perfume made in Florence

Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella: the perfume made in Florence

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In this mythical perfumery of Florence with four centuries of history, one senses that nothing wrong could ever happen. Moreover, a walk through its premises makes you feel as weighty as Catherine de’ Medici, queen of France as well as customer of a brand that today still sells the same scent created only for her: Acqua della Regina. Francesco Carlino, responsible for the establishment, gently shows and explains to me every corner and detail of the site, such as the original store overlooking the cloister of the Santa Maria Novella basilica, which today houses the herbal section of the business; the apprentice rooms on the first floor, where future employees of the firm are trained; the old office of the friar, with a strategic window porthole from where he used to control all activity in the store; the machinery used to manufacture perfumes, elixirs, air fresheners, hygiene and toilet articles; the old chapel with frescoes from Giotto’s school; or the church, today transformed into the main room of the store. The original site was a pharmacy founded by the Dominican monks in 1221. Given its success, it opened to the public in 1612 as perfume manufacturer, thus becoming the oldest in Europe today. In the second half of the nineteenth century, it passed into the hands of the state, which ceded its management to the nephew of the last friar director. This family has since then controlled the empire.
Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, Via della Scala 16

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Giulia Gianfranchi’s Florence

Giulia Gianfranchi’s Florence

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Firenze, Florence, Florenz, antica Florentia castrum romano del 59 a. C … Comunque tu la pronunci, lei evoca da sempre nel mio cuore un senso di libertà e scoperta da quando ero bambina. Appena potevo, scappavo da Milano e venivo qui, nella mia Toscana, a trovare mia zia Marta. Passavo giornate ad osservare compiaciuta i turisti mangiare di gusto, ad ascoltarli in tutti i loro strani linguaggi, gironzolavo per strada col naso all’insu … Infilandomi in ogni vicolo, meglio se più stretto, e nei negozietti di artigiani. Distratta da architetture, sculture, pitture …

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Farewell to Bernardo Bertolucci, director of “Stealing Beauty,” a postcard movie shot in Tuscany

Farewell to Bernardo Bertolucci, director of “Stealing Beauty,” a postcard movie shot in Tuscany

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Presented at the 49th iteration of the Cannes Film Festival and shot in Tuscany, the feature film Stealing Beauty (1996) shows the beautiful and cheerful wild face of Tuscany. Siena, Gaiole in Chianti, Castello di Brolio, Scorgiano, the photogenic Tuscan hills, the country houses, the olive trees meadows, the parties in luxury villas, summer, love, sex and interpersonal relationships are the ingredients of this arthouse movie. The film shows wonderful places located in the surroundings of Siena through its 19-year old protagonist interpreted by Liv Tyler. This postcard movie, with its eclectic and outstanding soundtrack  (Portishead, Billie Holiday, Steve Wonder, Liz Phair…), has been key in my romance with Tuscany and Florence. I was 19-year old as well when I saw Stealing Beauty in a cinema theatre in the summer of 1996, in Tenerife. Its romance was very important for me and blossomed my love for this land and this region. Master of the Novecento, poet, documentarist, filmmaker, producer, polemicist, Italian cinema auteur par excellence, Bertolucci died today (November 26, 2018) at his home in Trastevere, Rome, after a long illness.

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Palazzo Guadagni, aperitif deluxe in Florence

Palazzo Guadagni, aperitif deluxe in Florence

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Rooftop views are unparalleled in Florence, proof of it is the rooftop garden bar at the Hotel Palazzo Guadagni. This ancient palace in the Oltrarno area has a privileged view from the loggia, which turns the palazzo’s terrace garden bar into a marvellous setting for having a red wine or a cocktail in Florence. It is a novel space neither overly exploited nor well known in Florence yet, thus you can take an aperitif as a local and without the need of a previous reservation. The views, the atmosphere and the service are simply unique and it is the perfect spot to amaze dates and visitors.…

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The magical world of Gucci Garden in Florence

The magical world of Gucci Garden in Florence

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After thorough renovation, Gucci has reopened its Florence museum located in Palazzo della Mercanzia. Its three floors and different rooms have been converted into a multi-space where you can eat, shop and join the Gucci constellation. Past and present merge within a fusion of animals, plants and flowers appearing as cheerful as the intense patterns of Gucci´s traditional garments. The two floors of the Galleria honour the trajectory and legacy of the brand by exhibiting mythical clothes and accessories, works of art and video projections. On the ground floor, there is the Gucci Osteria by Massimo Bottura, cook chef granted with three Michelin stars. Next to the restaurant we find the Boutique, divided into two large spaces with renewed antique furniture and displaying an explosion of colour. It is also possible to buy exclusive clothing, accessories and gift items created by the brand for the Gucci Garden. In addition, they have dedicated a section to the books and magazines serving as an inspiration to Alessandro Michele, creative director of the firm.
Gucci Garden, piazza della Signoria 10, 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.
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Casa Guidi, poet Elizabeth Barrett´s home in Florence

Casa Guidi, poet Elizabeth Barrett´s home in Florence

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Visiting a house-museum always embraces a closer emotional approach to the artist who lived there than just simply observe the works displayed in the neutral and dehumanized rooms of a museum. Casa Guidi was the Florentine residence of poets Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning for the most part of their married life. Located in the heart of Florence, the apartment has elegant main chambers with an 18th century decoration style and essentially maintains the same furniture that in the Brownings´ age. They resided here for fourteen years, between 1847 and 1861, and these interiors served as inspiration for some of their greatest poems, like Casa Guidi Windows (Elizabeth Barrett, 1851), inspired by her struggle for freedom.…

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St. Regis Winter Garden Bar, a 5 star inner garden in Florence

St. Regis Winter Garden Bar, a 5 star inner garden in Florence

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Florence, with its artistic wonders and cosmopolitan air, has become the universal dream of any traveller. The present and past essence of the Tuscan capital can be breathed in the atmosphere of historical The St. Regis Florence Hotel, which boasts a superior category in piazza Ognissanti since the mid-18th century. Placed in central Florence, at the former Palazzo Giuntini, the picturesque St. Regis Florence has been the favoured stop of experienced travellers for decades. Granted with the Gambero Rosso BAR D’ITALIA prize since 2015 and for four consecutive years, its Winter Garden Bar provides visitors with an exceptional and personalized experience. Gratify yourself with an aperitif, an afternoon tea or after dinner drink accompanied by live piano music and savour the creations arranged with fresh ingredients and masterfully prepared by Bar Manager Christian Pampo and his crew. Everyday, Bloody Mary from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., afternoon tea from 3:30 to 5 p.m., and champagne ritual from 7 to 8 p.m. Open to the public, welcoming and exquisite service.

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Medici villas #2: Poggio a Caiano

Medici villas #2: Poggio a Caiano

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The construction of this medicean villa located between Florence, Prato and Pistoia was the whim of Lorenzo the Magnificent, thus he commissioned it to his favourite architect, Giuliano da Sangallo, at the end of the 15th century. A residence for the pure leisureliness of contemplation by the dynastic power, the villa of Poggio a Caiano recovers elements of the classic architecture such as the fronton and Ionic temple at the main facade. Due to the harmony and symmetry of its proportions, as for representing an ideal of life in the outskirts under Humanism, the site is listed World Heritage by the UNESCO since 2013. Walking the Parco all’inglese and the Giardino all’italiana is as stimulating as visiting its interior. Free entrance.
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