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A McDonald’s Right Next to the Duomo?

June 23, 2016 by Lourdes Flores

no-mcdonalds

This week the media and public have learned that the City of Florence has been in talks with the international fast-food chain McDonald’s for a new branch opening right in Piazza Duomo, on the northern side of the cathedral. An uproar has risen on social media, while the city’s mayor, Dario Nardella, has spoken publicly against the opening, throwing his own commissioner into confusion.

Giovanni Bettarini, commissioner for productive activities in the city council, has outlined that the project he has been working on is quite unique, ensuring that the fast-food chain change its usual mode of business and used local suppliers for its offerings. For example, the project outlined use of Tuscan meat for its burgers and other local products (including use of dairy products by Tuscan-based Mukki) and that the business respected all regulations imposed on Florence’s historical center given its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  While talks were already in an advanced stage, now everything is back in the air. To open a new branch under the shade of Brunelleschi’s dome, the international company had already expressed its willingness to design a unique restaurant, not based on its fast-food model but as a sit-down restaurant with wait staff and service at the table, no cash registers with large menus with its burger behind and above them and to redesign a special look for its interior, one that would have included a children’s library hosting cultural events.

For now, the idea of a McDonald’s in Piazza Duomo has the public in an uproar, particularly on social media. What do you think, should we wait and see the entire project to decide whether to give McDonald’s a chance at offering something truly unique for the city of Florence or should we oppose a fast-food chain, particularly the one that represents consumerism at its most extreme, right in Piazza Duomo next to the cathedral, symbol of Florence?

(As quick reminder, there are already 2 McDonald’s nearby in less than 5 minutes walking distance from the Duomo in the historical center, one on Via Cavour heading toward Piazza San Marco and another outside the Santa Maria Novella train station.)

Summer Solstice in Florence

June 16, 2016 by Donna Scharnagl

The summer equinox happens on the 20th of June at precisely 10:34 pm (in Florence) and officially signals the beginning of shorter days…though most of us prefer to look at it as the beginning of summer and all that it entails: evenings out under the stars, days lazing poolside or splashing at the beach and lots of summer filled activities.

piazza_duomo

Many view this auspicious event with scientific curiosity looking towards the planetariums and observatories to guide our visual to the stars, the planets and astrological wonders. But if one can remember that Florence was the home to some very important stargazers (Galileo) then it shouldn’t be a wonder that both the Duomo and San Miniato al Monte have their own special way of celebrating the solstice.

San-Miniato-Zodiac-Floor
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A new bridge spans the Arno River: The Bridge of Love

June 10, 2016 by Donna Scharnagl

Bridge of Love in Florence Italy

The Arno River has been making headlines and it’s about to do it again  with the floating “Bridge of Love,” a conceptional installation by Architect Claudio Nardi.

An extraordinary event for Florence.  It is here in the home of the Renaissance that fashion, art and design meld together from the 13 – 17 of June for hope and peace, using the Pitti Uomo 2016, the world’s most important fair for men’s clothing and accessories, and Firenze4Ever as the backdrop.

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the 1966 flood in Florence, the exhibition takes the very same river, whose uncontrollable power caused so much destruction, and reverses its role to symbolize hope in difficult situations and to raise public awareness for the refugee crisis.
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Are you curious about the Grand Opening of the Museum degli Innocenti this month?

June 7, 2016 by Cristina Romeo

innocenti

Only a few days left before the inauguration of the new Musem Degli Innocenti in Piazza Santissima Annunziata and some information is already leaking out about the exhibition that will officially open on the 23rd of June (to the public the day after).

The new Museum will be arranged on three levels, with more than 1400 mq and there will be 1655 mq dedicated to temporary events and educative activities. Inside there will also be a bookshop specializing in children and a cafeteria.
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Eating Your Way Around the World

May 28, 2016 by Lourdes Flores

hrc-burger-tour-2016-02

Get ready, I am going to basically photo-bomb you with images of delicious burgers! Because this is the World Burger Tour we are talking about, so what else could I photograph? Drinks to go with them, of course!

I’m a long time resident of Florence and American. So yes, I love a good burger. And I mean a good, high-quality type of burger with meat I know comes from real cows, not some processed thing who-knows-what’s-inside type of burger. For me, the Hard Rock Cafe is where I head to when I get a craving and don’t feel like making it myself. If you’re in Florence for a short while, you might not get this craving but if you want to eat something different from pasta, you might consider heading here for a short break.

The World Burger Tour… what is it? The Hard Rock Cafes around the world all have the Legendary Burger and each one of them has their chefs create their own “Local” Legendary burger inspired by the location they are in. This means that Florence Local has pecorino cheese and salumi inside. On the World Burger Tour, these local burgers go on tour to other cafes. For a limited time, each cafe is offering a chance to taste burgers from across the globe without the need to travel.

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Don’t Miss these Upcoming Wine and Ceramics Festivals

May 24, 2016 by Cristina Romeo

Visiting the villages spread out across Tuscany is always a pleasure, and it is even more so now when both summer and the great outdoors are calling us to head outdoors to explore.

In the coming weeks, there are two additional, very good reasons to head out and explore the ​​Chianti area and, in particular, the towns of Montespertoli and Montelupo Fiorentino, which are going to host respectively the “Mostra del Chianti” dedicated to Chianti wine and “Cèramica“, a ceramics arts festival.

montespertoli chianti

The Mostra del Chianti di Montespertoli is a traditional event, now in its 59th edition, promoting one of Tuscany’s products of excellence: WINE! From Saturday, May 28 to Sunday, June 5, Montespertoli will host some of the biggest local Chianti wine producers and their best wines, all of which can be tasted on the spot at many of the stands. It will also be an occasion to savor other local food specialties, including bread produced with the ancient grains of the territory of Montespertoli.

mostra chianti

There are many free activities and entertainment events planned: literary aperitifs, historical parades, theatrical and musical performances as well as sporting events. Saturday, May 28 the town will host the “Marcia dei Poderi”: a walk / ride of either 5 km or 11 km to discover the landscapes, flavors and fragrances of Chianti. Reservations required by writing an email to progym@live.it. Cost: 5 €/person.

ceramics painting

At the end of the week, and starting on an Italian national holiday, the center of Montelupo Fiorentino welcomes Cèramica 2016, the international festival of ceramics from Thursday, June 2 through Sunday June 5. The event is part of the initiative “Buongiorno Ceramica”, a national artistic promotional event sponsored by the Italian Association of the Cities of Ceramics.

Not only will Montelupo will present 32 select exhibitors with their products but the producers of the Strada della Ceramica will demonstrate the various steps leading up to and including the creation of ceramic.
On this occasion, there will also be the inauguration of some site-specific works that have been designed in collaboration with the ceramists of Montelupo and which will become part of a permanent exhibition in the city, while Piazza della Libertà and Corso Garibaldi will host an exhibition en plein air by the artist Paolo Staccioli.

ceramics making

In the square of the European Union, you can see a ceramics factory, the Fanciullacci workshop from Montelupo, which will recreate in every detail all the steps of making ceramics.

They are also planning pottery workshops for children and adults, so that everyone can rediscover “ceramics” not only as a product of local tradition, but also show how its vitality still lives on.

Enjoy heading out into Chianti and exploring these two traditional, centuries-long crafts of Tuscany!

European Night at the Museum: Where to go in Florence and Tuscany

May 19, 2016 by Lourdes Flores

florence-night

This Saturday, May 21st is the European-wide initiative of “Night at the Museum”. In Florence, this means that many museums will be taking part, thus remaining open for longer hours and allowing entrance either for free or for a symbolic 1 euro!

For the Uffizi and Accademia, this means special longer opening hours this Saturday: both will remain open until 10pm.

At the Bargello, the museum will close at 5pm only to reopen later in the evening, from 8pm to 11pm. For the occasion, the museum will be hosting an “Instagram Night” and invites visitors to share their photos of the museum on the social app.

In Florence and in other parts of Tuscany, some of the museums part of the Polo Museale Toscano will also have special openings as well as host special concerts, guided visits and conferences. For example, the San Marco Museum will be open from 8 to 11pm and also offer a concert by the students of the Cherubini Conservatory. Outside of Florence, the Medici villa at Poggio a Caiano will be open until 10pm and offer organ concerts, as will the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Palazzo Mansi in Lucca (at 7.30pm).

For a full list of locations and events across Florence and Tuscany, take a look at the page on the special initiative on the official Polo Museale Toscano site.

bargello

Women Artists in Florence: Spotlight on Adriana Pincherle

May 16, 2016 by Lourdes Flores
pincherle-elsa-morante

Adriana Pincherle, Portrait of Elsa Morante, 1968

If you’ve been to Florence before and wondered where all of the artwork made by WOMEN over the last few centuries is at, you’re not the first one. We are hard pressed to name any well-known female artist from the Renaissance beyond Artemisia Gentileschi (this is one of her most well-known works housed at the Uffizi) because, women were painting, but most of their work remained within the confines of their household. The work of the Advancing Women Artists Foundation (AWAF) has helped find them and little by little given them the attention they deserve. I invite you to go to their website to learn more, as their work is very interesting but today’s post is dedicated to two women, Adriana Pincherle and Eloisa Pacini, who are at the center of a temporary exhibit in Florence right now.

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Giro d’Italia is coming to Chianti

May 10, 2016 by Lourdes Flores

giro-chianti-2016

This weekend the Giro d’Italia is making its way first into Tuscany, arriving first in Arezzo and then heading into Chianti. If you’re around, don’t miss it! Also prepare for closed roads ;-).

The Giro d’Italia, professional cycling’s second most prestigious stage race after the Tour de France, kicked off in the decidedly un-Italian setting of Apeldoorn in the Netherlands last Friday and entered Italian soil ahead of stage four today, May 10.

The 2016 route will be passing through the beautiful regions of Campania, Abruzzo and Tuscany before arriving in the high mountains of the north.

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Florence is ready for the First Night of Summer with many Free events

April 27, 2016 by Cristina Romeo

florence-night

This Saturday, April 30th, Florence will stay up late (but not too late) for the “First Night of Summer” (called the “White Night” until last year), which kicks off the summer-long program “Estate Fiorentina 2016” (Florentine Summer 2016) which will be six months of concerts, shows and events of various kinds taking place across the city.

The “First Night of Summer” will be dedicated to culture and will not be just an opportunity to just be merry around town, as underlined by Florence mayor, Dario Nardella. The first night is an opportunity to take part in quality events offering literature, art and entertainment. All the events will end by 2am and the sale of alcohol is prohibited beyond the time normally allowed.

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