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. …

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Brands made in Florence #1: Stefano Bemer, the perfect pair of men shoes

Brands made in Florence #1: Stefano Bemer, the perfect pair of men shoes

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Stefano Bemer opened his made-to-measure men shoes store in the vicinity of San Frediano, Florence, around 35 years ago. After his decease in 2012, the brand was handed over to Tommaso Melani, director of the Scuola di Cuoio (leather school). Today located in a former chapel of San Niccolò (via di S. Niccolò 2), the firm currently supports Bemer’s initial idea to create perfect and unique footwear. Bemer handles 800 customers of which some order only one pair in their lifetime whilst others buy eight pairs a year. For this reason, they keep the wood prototypes used to create the final leather shoes.

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Cloisters of Florence: the great scape

Cloisters of Florence: the great scape

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Florence does not stand as a vulgar Renaissance theme park, but rather as an infinite source of beauty and art, an open-air museum in which emotions grow by every minute. As I walk through the cloisters of Santa Maria Novella, San Lorenzo, San Marcos, Santa Croce or Santo Spirito, peace and solitude seem very tangible to me. However, what most hypnotizes me is rather more radical. In these religious courtyards, with their gallery portrayed on all four sides, it is easy to feel as if you had left this world, not minding at all how to return, while you are busy imagining your next sins and who will be part of them.…

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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 adores 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 profound joy that Christmas time brings. For better or worse, Christmas produces a significant disruption in the spirit of almost everyone. Christmas decorates us and not the other way round. A golden ornament here and some coloured 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, too.

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Fra Angelico’s frescoes: the treasure of the San Marco Museum

Fra Angelico’s frescoes: the treasure of the San Marco Museum

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This museum occupies an extensive area of the Dominican monastery of San Marco and still retains its original atmosphere. Founded in 1436 and designed by the architect Michelozzo, the monastery played an important role in the religious and cultural life of Florence. The fame of the museum is mainly due to the paintings of Beato Angelico (Blessed angelic one), one of the most representative painters of the Renaissance who embellished with its frescoes various rooms of the building, most remarkably the cells of the monks. A wonder to view also here:
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Anchored to Florence

Anchored to Florence

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It is the time of fear. Fear of what was, fear of what will be, fear of loneliness, and fear of the crowd. Fear of dying and fear of living. Fear to love, fear to be abandoned, fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of suffering, fear of ending up hating this city. It is commonly said that fear paralyses, although sometimes it helps one to escape and start from scratch. At a time when fear prevented me from resuming my life in another city, without purposing it, Florence became my shelter. Since then, I live anchored to a suitcase, to drama, and to Florence too. Roaming is my way of life.…

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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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7 best and most distinguished libraries in Florence

7 best and most distinguished libraries in Florence

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Following the steps of German photographer Candida Höfer, who exceptionally portrayed the soul of libraries in solitude, same images in Florence reveal the splendour of the Marucelliana Library, born in the middle of the XVIII century after donation by the abbot Francesco Marucelli; the Biblioteca dell’Accademia della Crusca, placed within the Medici villa of Castello, as the largest library of linguistics and history of the Italian language; the Medicea Laurenziana Library designed by Michelangelo (holds its infamous Mannerist staircase) in the cloister of the basilica of San Lorenzo; the National Library of Florence, which also offers a free guided tour in Italian and English on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m.; the Biblioteca Riccardiana, stablished in 1600 and managed today by the Accademia della Crusca, it has also been described as «a unique example of what a patrician library in an aristocratic place (at Palazzo Medici-Riccardi) looked like;» the Biblioteca Moreniana (at Palazzo Medici-Riccardi as well), founded in the 18th century and composed of the collections of Domenico Moreni, and specialized in material on the history of Florence and Tuscany; and the modern library in the Novoli campus of the University of Florence (UniFi).…

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Domes of Florence (not only Brunelleschi’s)

Domes of Florence (not only Brunelleschi’s)

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Filippo Brunelleschi marked a milestone in the history of architecture with the construction of the cupola that crowns the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, a prototype of Renaissance architecture — and key to the development of modern architecture — which also marks the beginning of this celebrated cultural movement in Italy, of which Florence continues to be an undeniable ambassador, in all fields of art, more than five centuries later. Moreover, the capital of Tuscany also treasures other domes worth of mention, such as the Medicean Chapels, the Basilica of San Lorenzo or the imposing synagogue of Florence, among many more of smaller size.

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Cappella Brancacci, the Sistine Chapel of Florence

Cappella Brancacci, the Sistine Chapel of Florence

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Beyond the streets crowded by the omnipresent tourists looking for Florentine gems from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, there are less exploited corners of great historical and artistic richness as the Brancacci Chapel, also known as the «Sistine Chapel of the first Renaissance». The paintings on the walls are among the most popular and influential frescoes at the time. They are distributed in two horizontal levels along the chapel, which is part of the Carmine church and convent, founded in Florence in the mid-thirteenth century by a group of Carmelite monks from Pisa. Located in Piazza del Carmine (Florence-Oltrarno), the Cappella Brancacci is one of the oldest monumental buildings in Florence. The frescoes illustrating the life of Saint Peter are masterpieces by Masaccio and Masolino, painted between 1425 and 1427, just in the early years of the Florentine Renaissance. Later on, Filippino Lippi was called to complete Masaccio’s chapel decoration, which had been left unfinished due to Masaccio’s death in 1428.

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