Author Gravater

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

Gardens of Florence #1: giardino dei Semplici

Gardens of Florence #1: giardino dei Semplici

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

The Garden of the Simples is the third oldest botanical garden in the world. It displays a rich variety of medicinal plants within its grounds and greenhouses, reaching up to nine thousand samples of Tuscan conifers, palm trees and edible plants, as well as exotic flora from different climates and countries. Today it belongs to the Museum of Natural History of the University of Florence, and is located next to the Basilica of San Marco. It was conceived in 1545 by Cosimo I de’ Medici as a space for complimentary lessons to students from the nearby medical school. Nowadays, rather than by tourists, this green space is most frequented by school groups.
Practical info

Continue Reading
The magical world of Gucci Garden in Florence

The magical world of Gucci Garden in Florence

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

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. …

Continue Reading
7 best and most distinguished libraries in Florence

7 best and most distinguished libraries in Florence

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

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).…

Continue Reading
Uffizi Square of Florence: the sculptures of the Great Tuscans

Uffizi Square of Florence: the sculptures of the Great Tuscans

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

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.

Continue Reading
Cappelle Medicee: answered prayers in Florence

Cappelle Medicee: answered prayers in Florence

PHOTOS & ENGLISH / SPANISH VERSIONS BELOW

Everyday, I get up and go to bed with the Cappelle Medicee. And it is not a metaphor. It’s the first thing I see when I open the windows in the morning and as I close them at night. Indeed, I appreciate this view. God has so many prayers to answer that I have decided just to refer mine to the Medici. The Medici chapel in the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence comprises two structures added to Brunelleschi’s original design. Currently, the chapel is one of the State´s museums of Florence as well as the burial place of the Medici family. Its Sagrestia Nuova was designed by Michelangelo. The opulent Cappella dei Principi, dedicated to the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, was raised in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and is completely covered with splendid coloured marbles. But unfortunately, and since I can remember, is still under restoration.
Practical info

Continue Reading
Christmas in Florence, between dreamers and depressed people

Christmas in Florence, between dreamers and depressed people

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

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.

Continue Reading
Santa Croce Weihnachtsmarkt, the international Christmas market of Florence

Santa Croce Weihnachtsmarkt, the international Christmas market of Florence

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

The biggest and most significant Florence Christmas market is German instead of Italian; maybe because the snow and the myth of Santa Klaus coming from the North, the Florentines adopted this tradition in a very organic way. But why is not there an Italian Christmas market in Florence? This market reflects mostly the North European character, with handcrafted and gastronomic products coming mostly from Germany but also from France, Poland, The Netherlands and the Czech Republic.…

Continue Reading
Winter flâneurism, wandering the streets of Florence at Christmas time

Winter flâneurism, wandering the streets of Florence at Christmas time

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

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.…

Continue Reading
Firenze Winter Park, ice-skating in Florence

Firenze Winter Park, ice-skating in Florence

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

One of the experiences indisputably linked to Christmas is ice-skating. The Firenze Winter Park is not the New York Rockefeller Center, but it has its charm. I have never skated over ice, and I do not think I am going to do it on this occasion, but I love to go there and observe the eager faces of people, filled with curiosity and happiness. I love to guess who are the scared ones, the clumsy ones, the agile ones, the vanity ones, and even those who show their expertise — they take it as seriously as if they were in a world championship. All in all, this mixture is just great.…

Continue Reading
Illustrious tombs of Florence, celebrating death on All Saints’ Day

Illustrious tombs of Florence, celebrating death on All Saints’ Day

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

Leonardo da Vinci said: “Just as a well-used day produces a sweet dream, a well-used life produces a sweet death.” Death and life are two sides of the same coin. We fear death as children fear the darkness. But in fact, one should fear life more than death. What happens after death has been the great “incognitum” of humanity since its foundation. Death makes us reflect on life’s value.…

Continue Reading