Author Gravater

Paco Neumann

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

Florence, in the city of David

Florence, in the city of David

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The soul of David spreads throughout Florence as a ubiquitous and sheltering presence. All the cities have their symbol: the Statue of Liberty, the musicians of Bremen, the Berlin bear, the Eiffel Tower, the cock of Barcelos, the Christ of Corcovado, the Big Ben … The flower of the lily shares with the David the leadership of popularity in the city of the Renaissance.…

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Rasputin, a secret cocktail bar in Florence

Rasputin, a secret cocktail bar in Florence

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There is no doubt that prohibition awakens desire. Rasputin stands as a speakeasy: an exclusive bar behind closed doors, to which only a few are granted access. Indeed, all cities in the world have their secret bar. The speakeasy concept emerged in the first decades of the twentieth century in New York, in full swing of Prohibition. I’m not very fond of cocktails, as seeing a beautiful glass with just capacity for a cappuccino, priced 10 or 15 euros, from which one could only drink a sip almost as fast as a shot, makes me feel terribly upset. I prefer a jar of beer or a generous glass of wine, which despite the anxiety for drinking guarantees a prolonged delight. …

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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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Winter flâneurism, wandering the streets of Florence at Christmas time

Winter flâneurism, wandering the streets of Florence at Christmas time

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The magic (or the curse) of Christmas has also reached Florence. In daylight, things change their appearance, so I have always been more attracted to night lights. At night, Florence now exhibits its Christmas wrapping, with the discreet aristocratic allure that characterizes the city so much. Seduced and abandoned, that’s how I feel. But the streets of Florence console me and heal my battered self-esteem so that I can reach the end of the year with some dignity.…

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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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Uffizi Square of Florence: the sculptures of the Great Tuscans

Uffizi Square of Florence: the sculptures of the Great Tuscans

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The particular design of the Galleria degli Uffizi shapes sort of a square, around which the lodge runs. In the 28 niches that border it, Cosimo I de’ Medici wanted to place sculptures of distinguished Florentines in the field of literature, the military and the government. However, it was not until the nineteenth century, when the Grand Duchy of Tuscany was under the rule of the Lorraines, that the publisher Vincenzo Batelli finally resumed the creation of these statues.

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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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Grande Museo del Duomo in Florence, over 750 artworks covering 7 centuries of history

Grande Museo del Duomo in Florence, over 750 artworks covering 7 centuries of history

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It has taken me five years to discover the Grande Museo del Duomo in Florence. I always thought it was a minor museum, but I was utterly wrong. The way the artworks are displayed in the vast space highlighting its magnificence and the state of conservation of the pieces are truly remarkable. In 1294 the Commune of Florence ordered the construction of a new cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore to replace Santa Reparata. The ‘Fabbriceria della Cattedrale di Firenze’ (Florence Cathedral Works) was founded by the Florentine Republic in 1296 to oversee construction of the cathedral. …

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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:
Practical info

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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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