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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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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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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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 valuable 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 opposition, hostility and criticism in Florence, as it was believed that these buildings broke the architectural uniformity of the city.

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Shoe master Roberto Ugolini and his traditional atelier in Santo Spirito

Shoe master Roberto Ugolini and his traditional atelier in Santo Spirito

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Roberto Ugolini is one of the most prestigious shoemakers in Florence. His workshop is located right at street level, in Via dei Michelozzi 17, in front of the basilica of Santo Spirito, in Oltrarno, as if in old times, when medieval guilds were so present in cities. The business opened twenty-two years ago just like a repair shop, but he soon began to make shoes too, always in Italian and English leather tanned in Italy. It takes thirty hours of work to create a pair of handmade shoes; thus there´s a waiting list over six months to acquire any. Above and below, photos show one of the craftsmen, probably the sexiest shoemaker in the old continent.

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Casa Musicale G. Ceccherini: the sound of music in the heart of Florence

Casa Musicale G. Ceccherini: the sound of music in the heart of Florence

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Julie Andrews sang in the movie how “the hills are alive with the sound of music”. We could imagine this chant not in the Alps but at the Tuscan peaks instead: “I go to the hills when my heart is lonely, my heart will be blessed with the sound of music”. At Casa Musicale G. Ceccherini, besides offering space for different courses, repair and rental of instruments, it is possible to buy a cello or a piano, an electric guitar or an amplifier, a solfeggio book or a violin string. I am not a regular of this unique music store in the heart of Florence, but from the cortile of my apartment — which overlooks one of its multiple rooms — I am amused by distinguishing how different piano students evolve every day. Naturally, this is sometimes a truthful delight; some others, just an ordeal.
Casa Musicale G. Ceccherini – Via de’ Ginori, 31R, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy

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Glamour and garbage disposal in Florence

Glamour and garbage disposal in Florence

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I think to myself quite a lot of nonsense every time I throw the garbage in Florence. Depending on where one resides, garbage disposal in Florence requires a walk of 200 or 300 meters to the nearest container. In other cities you can do so in pyjamas or in slippers, with tousled hair and bleary-eyed, but in Florence certain composure and sophistication is needed. You never know whom you could meet on such particularly long journey ……

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Gian Gastone de’ Medici, the last homosexual of the Medici dynasty

Gian Gastone de’ Medici, the last homosexual of the Medici dynasty

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The last sovereign ruler of the Medici dynasty, Gian Gastone (1671-1737), Grandson of Ferdinando II, reigned fourteen years – from 1723 to 1737. He was a lonely pubescent man who spent most of his time isolated in the Boboli Garden, concentrated in his studies on flowers and plants and his collection of dainty, delicate objects and things. It is said that because of his homosexuality, he was affected with a deep melancholy. He was the second in the hereditary line since the first soon of the Grand Duke was Ferdinando. When Ferdinando died without heirs in 1713, Gian Gastone inherited the throne. In 1697 and for alliances and dynasties reasons, Gian Gastone was forced to marry a German-Bohemian princess, Anna Maria Franziska. The matrimony was a calamity from the beginning due to the lack of comprehension combined with a high degree of repellency and depressed resignedness on part of Gian Gastone. The marriage had no children thus consequently the option of a Medici heir vanished.

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‘Heroes – Bowie by Sukita.’ Photo exhibition at Palazzo Medici-Riccardi

‘Heroes – Bowie by Sukita.’ Photo exhibition at Palazzo Medici-Riccardi

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The retrospective Heroes – Bowie by Sukita, curated by ONO Arte Contemporanea, features the pop icon David Bowie through the eyes and lens of the undisputed master of Japanese photography, Masayoshi Sukita. From March 30 to June 28, 2019, at the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi (via Cavour 3) the show presents 60 large-format photographs, including the iconic photos that illustrated the cover of the album HEROES, and photographs belonging to Sukita personal archive which document the friendship, that started in the 1970s, between the pop-rock legend and the photographer. With this exhibition, Florence pays tribute to Bowie and fuses, once again, the historical with the contemporary.

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