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Following Picasso in Florence: from the Mercato Centrale to Palazzo Strozzi

September 25, 2014 by Cristina Romeo

Those who follow us on Facebook and Instagram have already seen a preview of #pabloalmercato, a tour held last Friday in Florence which led us to Palazzo Strozzi, where a wonderful exhibition dedicated to Picasso and other leading Spanish artists has just opened and to the Mercato Centrale (Central Market), a recently renovated Florentine historical market that has become one of the most innovative gastronomic spaces in the city since this late spring.

For the exhibition “Picasso and Spanish Modernity” which just opened on Saturday September 20th, Palazzo Strozzi and the Mercato Centrale have formed a special partnership that will surely be greatly appreciated by visitors to both spaces. With “Pablo al Mercato” (Pablo at the Market), the exhibition of Picasso enters directly inside the Mercato Centrale. On the first floor, visitors will be able to admire special posters and drawings that reinterpret the market and its artisans in the style of Picasso – we found them very cool!

The collaboration between the museum and the Central Market is not accidental. It actually seems that Picasso was very attracted by the colors and scents of the market (built in 1874 in iron, glass and stone) and that during his visit to Florence in 1949, he was literally fascinated by the stalls of the fishmongers and by the rich shades of color found in their fish.
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Museum closures after heavy rain

September 20, 2014 by Lourdes Flores


Yesterday afternoon a pretty freakish storm descended on Florence that made national news: heavy rain with hail about 2 cm wide carpeted most of Florence making it seem like snow had fallen. The hail cause quite a bit of damage while the wind and rain cause many trees to fall. At least no one was majorly hurt.

Most museums closed temporarily to access damage, as windows were broken by the hail and water came into buildings where priceless works of art are on display. Some did get wet. Closures included the Uffizi Gallery, the Academia Gallery and the Pitti Palace. After a few hours, the Uffizi and Accademia were reopened but this post is actually about those where heavier damage means longer closures.

Among these are the Boboli Gardens, parts of Palazzo Pitti, the San Marco museum and parts of the Palazzo Davanzati museum.

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The Altarpiece of The Assumption of the Virgin of San Gimignano and the Sienese Years of Pintoricchio

September 12, 2014 by Cristina Romeo

The Altarpiece of The Assumption of the Virgin of Pintoricchio

This past weekend opened the new exhibition at the Pinacoteca in San Gimignano entitled “PINTORICCHIO – The Altarpiece of The Assumption of the Virgin of San Gimignano and the Sienese Years“. The show is dedicated to the famous painter Bernardino di Betto Betti from Perugia, better known with his nickname Pinturicchio (often also spelled Pintoricchio).

The exhibition has been set up inside the Pinacoteca of San Gimignano, in the Palazzo Comunale (Town Hall). The main protagonist is the beautiful “Altarpiece of the Assumption” by Pintoricchio, a work created by the artist between October 1510 and February 1512 for the monastery of the Olivetian Congregation of Santa Maria Assunta in Barbian and which is part of the artistic heritage of the Civic Museums of San Gimignano.

The Assumption of the Virgin of Pintoricchio

The Altarpiece of the Assumption by Pintoricchio

The Altarpiece represents the Virgin Mary in glory painted by Pintoricchio at the center of an almond. The Madonna is surrounded by angels and rests her feet on two cherubs. The city is represented in the background, while beside the Virgin are represented the Saints Gregory the Great and Benedict in prayer and looking to the Madonna.
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Be Freddie for a Day on September 5th

August 30, 2014 by Lourdes Flores

Given we are Queen fans here at the DiscoverTuscany office and love the Hard Rock Cafe in Florence, we could not share this upcoming event: “Freddie for a Day“! On Friday, September 5th on the occasion of Freddie Mercury’s birthday, the event is celebrated at all of the Hard Rock Cafes worldwide.

The event not only commemorates the legendary artist and front man of Queen, but is also a day of fund-raising for the Mercury Phoenix Trust, a volunteer organization active throughout the world. Founded immediately after the death of Freddie, the organization raises funds for research and fight against AIDS.

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A “Plant” Perspective at the Forte Belvedere & Boboli

August 29, 2014 by Lourdes Flores

If you want to view incredible views of Florence during this summer and fall with the added plus of great outdoor art, I recommend you add Forte Belvedere to your itinerary. The Forte Belvedere – and Boboli Gardens too – are currently hosting a major exhibition dedicated to the international artist Giuseppe Penone (who just finished an exhibit Versailles in France). The exhibit “Prospettiva Vegetale“, or Plant Perspective gave the sculptor the challenge of creating works that would adjust to the magnificent ramparts of the fortress and gardens, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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Sting invites you to pick olives and grapes in his estate, on payment

August 28, 2014 by Cristina Romeo

Now farmers in Tuscany might be (and I stress the might) biting their hands. Yes, because a foreigner, the English man Sting has had an original idea, whether it will also be a successful one is yet to be seen… the idea is to offer ordinary people the chance to work in the fields, his fields in particular, picking grapes or olives, and making this a “privilege” to pay for. At least this is what the Telegraph is reporting in this article.

Maybe Sting does not know that the much of the Tuscan countryside, and beyond, is empty because no one wants to toil in the fields, even when receiving regular pay for it. And, then, is it not a contradiction to have to pay to work? Or maybe Sting has just hit the mark, inviting his guests to roll up their sleeves and do a “therapeutic” experience on his farm, Il Palagio, located not too far from Florence. Working the land, according to Sting, allows you to get rid of stress and, of course, for the singer, this is a service you pay for, similar to spending more or less, a full day at a SPA.
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White Night in Lucca this Saturday August 23

August 22, 2014 by Lourdes Flores

For its 3rd year, the highly expected “White Night” is returning this weekend to Lucca, on Saturday, August 23. The event, organized by Confcommercio in collaboration with the City, is characterized by the very rich program of artistic, cultural and recreational activities which offer residents and visitors alike the opportunity to visit many places for free, including participation in many free tours of the city.

This is an opportunity to discover the city and its many corners you might not have yet ever visited. As we’ve only found information for the event in Italian, we’re providing the fully translated schedule below:

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Pavement in Duomo di Siena Completely Visible

August 16, 2014 by Lourdes Flores

The magnificent pavement of the Duomo in Siena will once again be completely uncovered from this Monday, August 18 through October 27th, 2014. Described by Vasari as the “most beautiful… grand and magnificent“, major sections of the marble pavement are usually covered to protect them from the feet of the numerous visitors and faithful that visit the cathedral every day.

The pavement mosaics are truly amazing and unique, not just for the techniques used but also for message in many of them, which constantly evoke the search for Knowledge. The possibility to admire the pavement in all its glory is worth alone the trip to Siena, especially if your time is limited but can visit one thing in Siena – this is it!

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Changes at the State Museums in Florence, Tuscany and Italy

July 14, 2014 by Lourdes Flores

Several changes are taking place in the State museums across all of Italy, all recently announced and slowly being implemented starting July 1st. As you plan your travels to Italy you might already have become aware of some of them, but to make it easier for all, we’ve decided to create a post to put them all together and highlight what this means for museums in Florence.

First of all – all museums run by the Italian State in all of Italy will start offering free entrance to everyone on the first Sunday of the month. So check your dates, if you’re around on that weekend you might move around your plans to make it coincide. Just be aware that this will likely mean a very busy day at the museum, as many will try to take advantage of the offering. If you still want to visit, we would suggest you book tickets ahead of time regardless, just paying the online and prebooking frees. For the Uffizi and Accademia Galleries in Florence, we recommend booking online at

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A night to remember Michelangelo

July 14, 2014 by Lourdes Flores

In celebration of the great Michelangelo’s 450th anniversary since his demise, many exhibitions and initiatives are taking place this year. Tonight, the City of Florence, along with the Central Market in San Lorenzo, is hosting a very particular event: the revocation of the funeral rites for Michelangelo Buonarroti.

Michelangelo is today buried in Piazza Santa Croce – he died in Rome on February 18, 1564 but his nephew stole his body in the middle of the night and brought him back to Florence where he was buried in great pomp. This is something the event tonight seeks to re-evoke, the particular drama around his final resting place.

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