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Paco Neumann

Paco Neumann is a journalist, photographer, proofreader, flâneur and perpetual amateur currently living in between Florence, Berlin and Tenerife. He´s been a regular contributor to fashion, art, trend and lifestyle magazines and worked for news, advertising and communication agencies

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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Todo Modo, the multidisciplinary bookstore of Florence

Todo Modo, the multidisciplinary bookstore of Florence

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For those who like to read, there are many types of establishments dedicated to book lovers: the traditional bookstores, the hypermarkets of books, and the contemporary multipurpose bookstores. This last type generally consists of a fusion of bookstore-café-restaurant-exhibition space-theater-concert hall in the same place. Perhaps using this multidisciplinary concept there is less risk that the business fails … Todo Modo is a Florentine independent bookstore with a selection of more than 15,000 books for sale, but it is also a café, a restaurant, and a show room, and a concert hall.

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In Memoriam | Franco Zeffirelli Museum, seven decades of treasures

In Memoriam | Franco Zeffirelli Museum, seven decades of treasures

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The career of Franco Zeffirelli as cinema director, designer and producer of operas, theatre, cinema and Italian television has been honoured since October 2017 with a museum in the city centre, where the old Court of Florence used to seat. «The venue houses seventy years of treasures collected and made alive,» says the director’s son, Pippo Zeffirelli, executive vice president of the foundation managing the artist’s legacy. The museum houses more than 250 masterpieces by Zeffirelli among sketches, drawings, paintings, costumes and even the planning of a great project that never took place: the film adaptation of The Divine Comedy. The exhibition, divided chronologically into prose narrative, theatre, opera and cinema, reflects upon the development of theatrical installations and film productions, through themes and authors, together with fixed images, exemplifying all the main stages of the artistic career of Zeffirelli.
Franco Zeffirelli died on June 15, 2019, at the age of 96.
More info

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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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13 examples of modern architecture in Florence

13 examples of modern architecture in Florence

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Florence is a myth. It is a place where scholars, inventors, artists, and genius have changed the world and invented it as we know it today. The legacy of Florence is modernity. More than a place, Florence makes the world aware of a time flow between ancient time, present and future, with no limits. The buildings described below show the city commitment to the architectural avant-garde, also known as Modern Style.…

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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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Gardens of Florence #13: parco delle Cascine, the largest public park in Florence.

Gardens of Florence #13: parco delle Cascine, the largest public park in Florence.

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It takes longer to cross the Park Le Cascine (parco delle Cascine) than to cross the historical centre of Florence, this gives an idea of its size. This park is the favourite for those who want — or try — to get fit. Its proximity to the river Arno also makes it an ideal place to organize a picnic or lie down to sunbathe. Usually, it is not very busy, not even on a Saturday at noon on a mid-spring sunny day. Except for some fountains, an eccentric pyramid, and some other ornamental lamps, there is no other human imprint or artifices made by the man, not even terraces or cafes, except the two food trucks that are next to a recreational mini-zone with decadent fairground attractions for children.

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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

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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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Berlin vs. Florence: comparisons game

Berlin vs. Florence: comparisons game

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As I arrived in Berlin, I remember being fascinated by its wide sidewalks, streets and avenues. I sense the opposite in Florence, where a car hardly fits in its streets and maximum two people can meet on the sidewalks. In Berlin, I might just longed for distance. Now I search for proximity. Closeness. They say that Berlin is a cosmopolitan city, but in Florence I hear everyday languages that I could never identify. Florence windows are not double-glazed. Not so isolated like those in Berlin. I get up sometimes at night to check that mine are not open …The city enters my room as if I really lived in the street. And I do not care, because I know all of these little bits, together, are called life.

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