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 for 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 daily.

Continue Reading
Vertical beauty: towers of Florence

Vertical beauty: towers of Florence

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

The ‘skyscrapers’ of the Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, high constructions became a form of power for the aristocracy. The feudal nobles and their vanity competed among themselves building ‘skyscrapers’ to demonstrate their authority and wealth – as if they were contemporary multinationals companies. Although the Tuscan Manhattan of the Middle Ages is undoubtedly San Gimignano, Florence is not far behind. This city of modest dimensions has currently 70 fortress-houses which could have had a defensive purpose apart from taking advantage of the housing space once the internal wars ceased.…

Continue Reading
Gardens of Florence #9: giardino di Boboli, the paradigm of a 16th century Italian garden

Gardens of Florence #9: giardino di Boboli, the paradigm of a 16th century Italian garden

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

The Boboli Gardens date back to 1418, when Luca Pitti bought its land in Oltrarno with the intention of building the magnificent Pitti Palace, later owned by the Medici family. The landscaping was commissioned by the Medici to Niccolò Tribolo, the famous architect responsible for the gardens of their villas of Castello and La Petraia. However, after the premature death of Tribolo, it was Bartolomeo Ammannati who finished the job. The Boboli is the paradigm of the 16th century Italian garden, as well as one of the largest historical parks in Florence. Around the main axes are placed avenues, hedges, terraces full of statues and fountains. The first operas of history were also represented in its open air amphitheatre.
More info

Continue Reading
A Florentine flâneur: the art of wandering the streets of Florence

A Florentine flâneur: the art of wandering the streets of Florence

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

The figure of the flâneur is associated with the rise of “urban life” and especially with Paris, one of the first major cities of the industrial era in which appeared the flâneur as the person who wanders through boulevards, shop windows, and passages. This wandering character was conceived by authors Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin, who defined the authentic flâneur as an attentive and wise voyeur, and far from being a frivolous, banal, idle, superficial and clueless passer-by, he is above all a deep observer of the city, a restless traveler with no definite direction, and a forerunner (without a camera) of the documentary photography.…

Continue Reading
Glamour and garbage disposal in Florence

Glamour and garbage disposal in Florence

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

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 ……

Continue Reading
Gardens of Florence #5: il giardino di Santa Maria Novella, flowers and fruits of Florentine tradition

Gardens of Florence #5: il giardino di Santa Maria Novella, flowers and fruits of Florentine tradition

PHOTOS & ENGLISH / SPANISH VERSIONS BELOW

The garden of the prestigious perfume brand Santa Maria Novella is located in Firenze-Castello, close to the Medician villa of La Petraia. In this 161,458 ft² paradise still operates the ancient tradition of harvesting the hortus conclusus, just as the Dominican friars used to do in the monastery as of thirteenth century. In the garden and orchard of Santa Maria Novella grow all extracts and essences needed for the elaboration of the perfumes and other products of the legendary brand. The aroma of plants, trees and shrubs; the butterflies and lizards; the Tuscan sun; the Duomo of Florence in the distance … A perfect anti-stress frame prone to relaxation in a pure natural state. (Un)fortunately, it is not open to the public, so better ask for an appointment. (visiteofficina@smnovella.com).
More info

Continue Reading
La Spiaggetta sull’Arno: an urban oasis in Florence

La Spiaggetta sull’Arno: an urban oasis in Florence

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

There are no palm trees in La Spiaggetta sull’Arno, yet this Florence’s oasis has white sand where one can lie on for sunbathing, reading a book, drink Prosecco, set up a blind date, or practice tai-chi, yoga and other oriental oddities. The Arno’s Rive Gauche small urban beach is an initiative developed by Easy Leaving Firenze. It is located only a stone’s throw away from San Niccolò, under the Lungarno Serristori. During summer, one can enjoy all the comforts of a real maritime establishment with hammocks, sun loungers and a beach bar serving ice creams and cocktails while listening to music. At sunset, the bar also offers a typical aperitivo adding a panoramic view. An inimitable spot within the city, where experiencing a summer in the beach with all its activities is doable. Play beach volleyball, ping pong, football, or petanque tournaments is also possible here. To liven up the hot, humid and sticky Florentine summer nights — filled with mosquitoes — concerts, DJ sets and performances are also scheduled.
Practical info here

Continue Reading
Bridges of Florence (not only Ponte Vecchio)

Bridges of Florence (not only Ponte Vecchio)

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

They say that what separates life from death is a river and each one chooses his own bridge to cross it. All the bridges of Florence, with the only exception of marvellous Ponte Vecchio, were destroyed by the Germans on the night of the 3rd of August, 1944, during the Second World War. Fortunately they have been rebuilt later.…

Continue Reading
Gardens of Florence #14: Giardino Villa La Pietra

Gardens of Florence #14: Giardino Villa La Pietra

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

Villa La Pietra is currently the headquarters of New York University (NYU) in Italy. Its garden is by far my favourite private garden in Florence and it is one of the most renowned in Italy. Built by the Acton Family between 1908 and the beginning of the Second World War, its design is very much inspired by the real Renaissance gardens of Florence, though it also contains elements of the many gardening trends and styles popular since then.…

Continue Reading
“I renaioli” of Florence: sailing the Arno on a traditional boat

“I renaioli” of Florence: sailing the Arno on a traditional boat

PHOTOS & SPANISH VERSION BELOW

The association I Renaioli was founded in 1995 with the aim of keeping alive the tradition of old boats used to sail the Arno River. Additionally, the goals are to recover, conserve and maintain the Arno vessels along with the promotion of navigation using traditional boats in the Arno; encourage the expansion of the pole rowing and last but not least, the protection and conservation of the fluvial ecosystem as historical and environmental heritage.…

Continue Reading