Florentine landscapes and impressions

Florentine landscapes and impressions

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Some of my friends do not understand why I live in Florence, while others believe I tend to idealize it too much. The most surprised by my choice are Italians, including the Florentines themselves. To all, even me, the explanation resides within the words of the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca, as written in the foreword of Impresiones y paisajes (Impressions and landscapes, 1918): «We ought always to understand by pouring our soul over things, by seeing the spiritual where it does not exist, by shaping all with the charm of emotions. When in solitary places, it is vital to perceive the ancient souls that have passed through there; it is essential to be one and, at the same time, to be a thousand, in order to sense in all nuances. We must be both religious and profane. Indeed, to imagine the mysticism of a severe Gothic cathedral along with a wonder of pagan Greece. To see and feel all in eternity brings the reward of having no boundaries, no horizons.”…

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Florence: passion and enthusiasm

Florence: passion and enthusiasm

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All passion springs from enthusiasm. Florence rescued me from neglecting feelings, an attitude that (I do not recall exactly when) came from falling lost in Berlin. Florence meant a safe net to avoid the death of the soul and helped me arise from that terrible fall. In the Tuscan capital a revolution took place inside of me. Indeed, a Renaissance. Thus, I now live here with all naturalness, feeling calm and relaxed. In Florence the days do not seem so endless, there is always something to do, even if it’s just a walk among Renaissance treasures, only to come back home later relieved. To enjoy Florence, one must be Epicurean, aesthete and eclectic. To this city, where the vicissitudes of my destiny have brought me, I will definitely elaborate a whole dictionary of affectionate expressions, because I haven´t yet met any Italian who speaks well, and with true love, about their country.

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Being an expat in Florence

Being an expat in Florence

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Meeting a foreign resident in Florence makes me wonder: “What brought him here?” (love, work, despair, art heritage, studies, food, wine, people, indecision), what moved him to stay here, what do I have in common with this person (at first and apparently quite a lot, and sometimes, in reality, nothing). However, what differentiates us, I sure know. It is usually, with natural exceptions, the routine. My discontinuous / intermittent stays in Florence let me enjoy the city with a renewed intensity each time. Such joy, I am afraid, might become ruined when choosing a permanent residence.

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Società Canottieri of Florence, crossing the Arno river in canoe

Società Canottieri of Florence, crossing the Arno river in canoe

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The Società Canottieri Firenze (Florence Rowing Club) has its headquarters in the terrace just below the Galleria degli Uffizi. Like any other private club, it is only accessible for its privileged members. No need to say that it is the best place with a view to Ponte Vecchio in solitude and in all its magnificence, oblivious to the hectic passage of people a few meters above, fighting for a spot from where taking the obvious Florence selfie.…

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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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Palazzo Borghese, ‘maximalist’ events in Florence

Palazzo Borghese, ‘maximalist’ events in Florence

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Do you wish to get married with style in Florence? The Palazzo Borghese will make your dreams come true. “More is more” is a dictum for this over elaborated palace with abundant ornamental details. Palazzo Borghese Aldobrandini history begins in the mid-15th century when the Salviati brothers decided to combine various buildings into a single one. But the mansion reached its peak of splendour at the end of the 16th century, when it was restored for the last time.

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Not a home but your home

Not a home but your home

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I am here a few months per year to please my voracious curiosity, searching meanwhile for some luck. The coexistence of different historic periods gives Florence a certain air of timelessness. Thus, I walk through these foreign streets as if my ancestors had left their trail in establishments and sidewalks; as if this is the home to which one always wishes to return. To my astonishment, I have discovered I feel at home in Florence. I especially sensed it through the intense joy, or rather euphoria, felt at the time of arrival. Also through the sadness, almost depression, lived at the moment of departure. Next comes the longing for the piercing song of the starlings and the tolling of the bells, as opposite to the exhausting sirens of police, ambulances and the squeaking rattle of the Berlin tram.…

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The gates of Florence

The gates of Florence

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The gates of Florence were part of the city´s old defensive border. Sadly, the wall by the northern side of the Arno River was demolished in the 19th century so to pave the way for the main ring road. However, part of the wall located in Oltrarno, at the south side of the Arno, and other gates remain today: Porta San Gallo, Porta San Niccolò, Porta alla Croce, Porta San Frediano, Porta San Giorgio, Porta San Miniato and Porta al Prato. A stroll on a sunny afternoon from Porta San Giorgio to Porta San Miniato — with the ancient wall on one side and the terrific landscape of the Tuscan countryside on the other — is a must; feels like natural Prozac for the senses. …

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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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A ‘panino’ at La Prosciutteria …?

A ‘panino’ at La Prosciutteria …?

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«Vero maiale! (Real pork!)» is the motto of this narrow but elongated place where cured hams hang from the ceiling and young and cheerful waiters cater in foreign languages to locals and travellers. La Prosciutteria is located in Via dei Neri 54r, one of the most vibrant streets of the historic centre (between Palazzo Vecchio and Santa Croce), with plenty of cafes, bars, restaurants, ice cream shops and stores. They provide with regional artisan products such as wines, oils and jams, as well as merchandising. Undoubtedly, the best is the Tuscan glass of house wine for only 2.5 euros, which accompanied by a panino with prosciutto, pecorino cheese and olive pâté costs 7 euros. Try to avoid lunch time (1-3pm) as it becomes too packed. In addition to panini they sell cheese and sausage on wood boards. Self-service basis.
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