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Florence for theater lovers

Very soon in Florence there will be the MAGGIO MUSICALE FIORENTINO. The old Teatro Comunale (Corso Italia, 12) hosts the 2 month "Maggio Musicale" festival (from May to July). The resident dance company named "Maggio Danza" puts on regular ballet performances and hosts visiting shows. Teatro Comunale is Florence's main theater with opera and ballet season.

This is the program of Maggio Musicale:

CARMEN di Georges Bizet, from 30th of April to 5th of May
PHAEDRA di Hans Werner Henze: 5-6-7 of June
LADY MACBETH DEL DISTRETTO DI MZENSK di Dmitrij Šostakovič: 21, 23, 26 of June


MAI PIU' Il Maggio contro tutte le guerre
RADU LUPU pianoforte
ZUBIN MEHTA direttore
JAMES CONLON direttore


THE TOKYO BALLET in Hommage à Maurice "The Kabuki": 24-25 of May
THE TOKYO BALLET in Hommage à Maurice: 27-28 of May
LA BELLA ADDORMENTATA (the sleeping beauty): 16-17-18-19 of June
GALÀ DI DANZA: at Piazza Signoria on the 30th of June


ERODIÀS di Giovanni Testori
IL DOLORE di Marguerite Duras

here are the prices of Maggio Musicale>>


Gilda bistrot, near Santa Croce

Sometimes people ask me cheap places to eat in Florence, other times they ask me romantic spots for a dinner. Well, maybe this place could be fine. I have not been there, but a friend of mine has written this review. Enjoy!

Camilla, one of our reader, sent me another review. We are in Florence, this time, near piazza del Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio.
This restaurant is very unique. It’s called, Gilda Bistrot and it is in piazza Ghiberti 40-41/red (tel.0557234388). I have been there a month ago. This is a very charming place with a very accurate environment. The setting is a little bit vintage: we drink in very nice colorful glasses or refined with gold. The plates are all different and all very nice. Mrs. Gilda, the owner of the restaurant, is very nice and very professional, too. A very nice woman who has worked for a long time a in one of the most known Florentine restaurant then chose to open hers.

She created an old fashioned place that we immediately notice from the long bar table on the right hand side of the restaurant. The chef is a young guy from Puglia, but he knows a lot of our Tuscan cuisine that he finely mixes with some French. The restaurant is provided with a very good wine list: we can find wines from Italy and from abroad. The menu is also very accurate as William, Gilda’s son, handwrites it every day. You can taste some of the typical Tuscan dishes such as: tripe, peposo, fegatini (liver) with butter and sage and spelt soup. The desserts are all home made.

A note: the restaurant is very small and all the little tables are close to each other but on the basement floor there is a long table where it is possible to reserve for business dinners or intimate dinners at a candle light. The price is about € 25,00 but wine. In the summer the restaurant is provided with a dehors, even if there are few tables, but I highly recommend it. Gilda bistrot is closed on Sunday.


Terra futura 2008

The fifth edition of the international conference and exhibition, Terra futura 2008, will be from the 23rd to the 25th of May. Terra Futura is a great exhibition-conference.
A free exhibition with a calendar of cultural events including conferences, seminars, workshops and laboratories. The main theme is environment: all about energy, water, pollution, recycling, architecture, economics.
More than 83,000 visitors in the 2007 edition.
here is the website (I'm sorry it's only in italian) http://www.terrafutura.it

Opening hours:

Friday 23/05/08: h 9.00 am - 8.00 pm
Saturday 24/05/08: inside h 9.00 am - 10.30 pm / outside 9.00 am -01.00 am
Sunday 25/05/08: h 10.00 am - 8.00 pm


Labour day in Italy

I've just received this email:

Hi! We're two Belgians just about to visit Florence for the first time & very much looking forward to it!! For some reason I keep ending up on your blog pages :-) and I must say I find them very interesting! But there is a subject I am so anxious to hear about that I'll just write you to see if you will do a blog on it as well, and when it may appear: The first of May we have Labour day coinciding with Ascension day!! To believe all info I find on the internet, everything is closed and the city is as dead on this day. (?) I'm not buying this however :-) There must be some feasting and/or events and/or processions or something that must be well known to anyone within Florence except the silly tourists ;-) There must be something going on on a festive day like that? So I'm holding my breath for your blog on this :-) so we may perhaps join in the fun!! Greetz, Saskia & Peter

First of all, thanks for writing to me. Well.. I have to say that also in Italy we do have Labour day on the 1st of May and.. everthing is closed! As you say: the city is dead!
I'm sorry. In Florence even the public bus transportation (ATAF) doesn't work on the first of May.
I don't know if there are any events or celebrations on that day. Normally florentine go to the seaside during the spring break (we have a long holiday from 25th of April until the 4th of May). But you can enjoy the city, the exhibitions, (museums are often closed), the gardens.
You can visit:
- the China exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi.
ART the International Handicraft fair at Fortezza da Basso. A shop-window of innovating ideas and projects for professionals working in this field, and for consumers, whose tastes and needs are continuously changing. It's a trade show, with over 700 exhibitors. From April 25 till 4 May, 2008 at Fortezza da Basso. Access: open to public, tickets are sold at the entrance. Admission ticket € 5.00. Timing: 10.00 - 23.00 More info>>

- the Fattori exhibition

Not far from Fattori show (check if it's open) you can admire the beautiful panorama of Florence from Forte Belvedere.


Pitti uomo fair 2008 (Pitti Uomo 74)

PITTI UOMO is the most faithful and up-to-date picture of international fashions. Pitti uomo 74° EDITION and PITTI W_WOMAN PRECOLLECTION will take from 18th to 21st of June 2008, at FORTEZZA DA BASSO/DOGANA, FLORENCE, ITALY.
The Pitti Immagine trade fairs are by invitation. Invitations are limited to editors and staffs of daily newspapers, press agencies, TV/radio, special publications in the fields of fashion, design, art, business and culture. Only accredited members of the press, holding press cards or a letter of introduction signed by the editor on the publication letterhead.

see my pictures about Pitti Uomo 73

see also Pitti Immagine Uomo 72
and the post about Pitti UOMO 73


VINTAGE Charity sale at Principi Corsini garden

VINTAGE Charity sale at Principi Corsini garden

In the same days of “Tuscany in Blossom” at the Principi Corsini garden in via della Scala, Florence, there will be the seventh edition of the VINTAGE charity sale and the raising funds will go the French humanitarian mission of Dominique Lapierre ( best seller winner for The city of Joy). Hubert de Givenchy will give a dress of his private collection as well as other important Italian designers such as Armani, Marras, Sonia Rykiel, Belstaff and Alberta Ferretti, and all the proceeds will go to the Calcutta leper children, funded by Michèle Migone in 1996 with the support of Dominique Lapierre. Anna Molinari for Blumarine will donate the dress Jennifer Lopez wore in the movie “The cell”.

Then, there will be a competition for 15 new designers chosen among different important fashion school: Polimoda, FIT in NYCity, Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Anversa and the Royal College of arts in London.
The entrance for the garden and the cafeteria is free of charge, take advantage of it!

Tuscany in blossom and choo-choo train

Tuscany in blossom and choo-choo train

In Pescia, a tiny village near Montecatini, there will be “Tuscany in blossom”, a flower and plants fair which starts in Pescia on April 19th and 20th than goes to Viareggio and then comes back to Pescia in September for the Pescia Palio. The flower and plants fair will take place in the enchanting Piazza Mazzini that will be decorated as a “garden”. For those of you who come from Florence therewill be another particular thing:
A cho-cho train will leave from the main train station of Santa Maria Novella at 9,30am and it will stop at all stops including Pescia. The entrance for “Tuscany in blossom” and the choo- choo train will be completely FREE of charge. Where is Pescia?
For more information: http://pesciainfiore.com


Summer Limited traffic area (ZTL) in Florence

From April 3rd until October 31st 2008 there will be the Florence Summer night ZTL, like every year. Here below you can find all the details about it and please take particular attention because it is a little bit complicated.
Two ZTL (the so-called Cinderella one and the super ZTL):
-The “external” one closed for non-resident from midnight until 4am on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Motor scooter and authorized can circulate.
-The “inside” one (Santa Croce, Via della Pergola, Via Ghibellina, via de’ Fossi, Piazza Ghiberti, Borgo la croce, Piazza dell’Unità and so on…) closed to all from 11pm to 4am on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In other words all the above mentioned streets will be closed to traffic , even motor scooter, and the area will be only for pedestrian (people with a regular resident permission can enter by car). There will be no mobile signs but video camera in function.

There will be therefore a night "train": a gold and white little train with 60 seats running every 20 min. which connects the 4 parking (Parterre, Beccaria, Murate and Ghiberti) where the parking will cost only € 0,50 per hour. The train will run from Thursday to Saturday and it's completely FREE.
So be careful if you enter the historic city centre by car because the video camera will catch and fine the drivers who don't respect the ZTL.


Trattoria dell'Orto

It was my mum's birthday yesterday evening so we decided to have a family gathering at Trattoria dell'Orto, in San Frediano. My parents go there quite often because the taste of the cuisine is very Tuscan and because it is not so expensive. And, last but not least, there's a useful and easy parking just beside Porta San Frediano, one of Florence's gate.
The menu is very Tuscan: in the appetizers section as well as the first courses (crespelle, florentine crepes with spinach, ribollita a bread soup with vegetables, pappardelle, a kind of long pasta with wild boar sauce and the famous potatoes tortelli from Mugello), then the home made second dishes like fried sliced of meat with tomatoes, wild boar with polenta and Florentine tripe and finally a good selection of tagliata, a kind of cut slice of red meat dressed with pepper and rosemary, wild herbs, gorgonzola cheese...)

Prices are in the range: first dishes from € 6,50 to € 7,00, meat about € 13,50 (except the Florentine T-bone which costs € 3,50 per hectogram), second dishes € 10,00. The service is a 10% which I don't completely agree.
My mum and I had as appetizers the so-called "crostini per golosi", appetizers for greedies (see the picture): liver paté crostini, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms together with a taste of pecorino cheese and broad bean, very good! I did not have the first dish but I tasted a little bit of mybrother's tagliatelle with speck and artichokes, really tasty and also my father’s pappardelle with wild boar were good (I did not taste that one because I don’t eat wild boar).
As a second dish I had only a mix of vegetables fry: artichokes (good), and fried zucchini-flowers stuffed with mozzarella cheese and ham. They are not so light but try them: they are delicious!
My parents had two “tagliate” with wild radicchio (see the picture). Average.
I wasn’t very enthusiastic about the desserts but my brother and my dad liked theirs. The house wine was good, too.
The restaurant is nice, especially the room inside. It might happen to you to see people watching the soccer match on Tv, and after all we are in San Frediano! This brings up the spicy side of the evening…but don’t be scared if you notice that the waiter/owner of the restaurant is a verysilent, unfathomable person who does not talk too much…until you pronounce the magic word: Fiorentina, our soccer team. He turns into another person, an open smile appears on his face and he has a lot of stories to tell about the old soccer players, the old and the new Fiorentina, the old Juventus, the historic rival of the Fiorentina, and you will be impressed on how many episodes he can recall. Maybe he is only a very shy person. Anyway if you love soccer, especially the oneof the old times, talk to him. He knows a lot.
Generally speaking I feel like I can recommend it; maybe they are a little slow but the restaurant has a lovely open air kitchen and this is a meaning of good and clean quality and that’s a lot for a trattoria in San Frediano.

Trattoria dell’Orto
Via dell’Orto 35/a Firenze
Tel 055 224148


Florence Tango Festival 2008

The sixth edition of the Firenze Tango Festival will take place in one of the most important theatres of the city: Teatro Saschall, easy to reach and with big parking.
Lessons will take place at Saschall and in the theatre Otel, with wood floor, 5 minutes distance from Saschall.
The 6th edition of the Florence Tango Festival is scheduled for 24th through to 27th April 2008 and the venue is the Saschall Theatre with its 2,500 square metres of floor space. There’s therefore ample room and functional facilities for all coaching and dancing activities. Amenities include waiter table service in the evening, bar open throughout the milonga, dining at the theatre restaurant, and much more besides. That’s why thousands of tangueros who expect the highest quality standards in services and artistic performance, like ourselves, will be coming to the Festival. More room, greater comfort, great ambience, top performers and above all more milonga!

Key information on the 2008 Festival:
- 2,500 square metres of floor space for coaching and dancing
- more than 30 performers from Argentina and Europe
- theater shows
- performances every evening
- 2 orchestras
- traditional milonga with tandas y cortinas and live music
- “Tango Lounge” milonga dedicated to the selection of new tangos
- every-day workshops Tango, Milonga, Vals, Coreographie, Chacarera, Canyengue, Profigroups, technique for follower and leaders, "first steps" for absolute beginners ecc.
- photo and painting exhibitions

Costs Tangonights:
Thursday 24/4 Saschall Theatre
Milonga from 22.30 – 4.00 with dj Felix Picherna: 15 €
Friday 25/4 Saschall Theatre
Tangoshow with orchestra Hyperion in the theatre: 25 €
Milonga with livemusic (from 22.30) with performances of Tomas & Catalina, Ivano & Silvana; Tangolounge with Los Pelos Locos: 18 €
Theatreshow + Milonganight: 35 €
Saturday 26/4 Saschall Theatre
Tangoball with performance of all teachers; Tangolounge with Los Pelos Locos: 25 €
Sunday 29/4 Casa del popolo Grassina
Tangonight with performance of Alberto & Marta : 12 €
see also Florence Tango Festival 2007

In the picture above see Alejandra Hobert & Adrian Veredice, one of the most charismatic dancing couples from the new generation of Argentinean dancers.e,
And tomorrow morning everybody at Santa Croce square for the Vivicittà Florence half Marathon!


Florence turned orange

Florence will be more Dutch than never from April to October. Last Wednesday 26th March was presented in Palazzo Vecchio the Festival Olandiamo? This important cultural activity is organised by Istituto Universitario Olandese di Storia dell’ Arte (NIKI).
Olandiamo? is been made up of works of most important artists from Florence made about Dutch culture. For this seven months of the Festival all the fiorentini will can enjoy of “dutch touch” with workshop, performances, concerts and art exhibitions, that show the creativity and cultural exchanges from the past and present. Eugenio Giani, adviser of International Relationship of the Florence’s Townhall, has spoken about this during the press conference: “This festival is an example of the good relationships between Florence and Netherlands. I’m very grateful for the high level of each proposal. Olandiamo? contributes so much to Florence’s culture and it has to be a point of reference”. The fiorentino adviser joked also when he said that a previous appointment for the Festival will be on 3rd April when will be played the match between Fiorentina and PSV Eindhoven.

Olandiamo? will start on 4th April with Sonar International Short Film Festival. This festival shows a nice attempt to the short films in Netherlands. The directors Marco van Geffen and Debbie Kleijn will be present to launch their movies and to take part in a meeting to comment their experiences. (3 th April, Istituto Francese).
For further information: (www.sonarfilmfestival.it).

The festival will continue in May with Fabbrica Europa, that encourage the circulation of ideas and works in the context of international exchange. The XV edition, from 3rd to 24th, will emphasise about Netherlands. For the dance, it there will be the Mirage show, of the famous company Galili Dance, considered one of the most representative in Netherlands and around the world (Teatro Danza, Stazione Leopolda 3rd and 4th May). For the music, the exceptional duet Pete Philly & Perquisite who combines jazz sounds, latin, funk and hip-hop (18th May – Stazione Leopolda). The showing will be finished with the interesting project City Mix, a travel around the creativity in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, capitals of the electronics contemporary music. For further information: (www.fabbricaeuropa.net; www.ffeac.org)

Other activity in Olandiamo? is the exhibition "Firenze e gli antichi Paesi Bassi 1430-1530. Dialoghi artistici", that will be inaugurated 19 th June in Palazzo Pitti and will be open till 26th October. This exhibition shows masterpieces of sacred painting and Jan Vay Eyck and Luca di Leida’s paintings. Another exhibition is "Disegni Fiamminghi e olandesi" that will be open 25 th July till 2nd September in Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi. This exhibition presents a nice selection of best pages of gabinetto’s collection. There will be masterpiece of artist of highest level like Pieter Breguel the old, Pietro Paolo Rubens or Anthonie Van Dyck.
From 16 th May to 30 th June take in Triple X from the multimedia Dutch artist Marnix de Nijs: a technology installation, conceived for Firenze.
From 5 th June to 31 st July St Gallery hosted by the first time in Italy a personal exhibition of the young digital artist Esther Janssen.
Olandiamo? will be closed with Intercity Festival, that is dedicated entirely to Amsterdam and Dutch theatre. From 26th September to 26th October, the 21° edition of this festival will offer to the Italian public the possibility to know the exciting comtemporary Dutch theatre. One of the plays, it will be performed by the company Koning Carlos and directed by Joris Van Midde (26th, 27th , 28th September – Teatro della Limonaia). The second one, directed by Alexandra Koch, will bring to the stage the text Door Jou di Esther Gerritsen (17th, 18th, 19th October – Teatro della Limonaia). For further information: (www.teatrodellalimonaia.it)


Florence International Theatre presents...

In April at Teatro di Cestello, Florence, the work of one of England's or, to be more exact, one of the world's, most renowned living playwrights. In this semi-autobiographical play, the Florence International Theatre Company will explore the risks and depth of betrayal between spouses, lovers and friends. This production will star Aaron Craig, Andrea Giorgi, Alessandro Grisolini and Bari Hochwald.
Stephen Rothman, former Artistic Director of both the Pasadena Playhouse and Sacramento Theater Company in California, USA, and director of professional theatre for over 30 years, will bring his talents to the direction of this production. Sets and Lights will be designed by Trui Malten and Costumes by Florence clothing stylist Giorgio Vannini.

"Betrayal" tells the story of a classic love triangle, in which Emma betrays her husband, Robert, a publisher, by conducting a seven-year affair with his best friend, Jerry, a literary agent. The action moves backwards in time, beginning with the end of the affair and working remorselessly to the first stolen kiss.

To read their words:

In April at the Cestello, we will explore together the humanity of desire - the struggle and humor of unbearable moments - in this important work by a great writer. Stephen Rothman, who is coming to Florence in support of FITC, will bring his talents to the direction of this production. In Harold Pinter's "Betrayal" we find a meditation on the themes of marital infidelity, self-deception and love. A human drama which simply and deeply pulls us into the complex world we all engage in, Pinter takes us on a journey of comprehending the ecstasy and the pain of intimate relationships as well as the ability to both maintain and destroy them.

Theatre in English with Italian subtitles , FITC at Teatro Cestello, Piazza Cestello
April 3, 4, 5 - 9.00 pm
April 5 - 4.00 pm
Tickets: 13 euro full price, 11,50 euro presale 10 euro for students
Tickets available online. www.florencetheatre.com or
at The Paperback Exchange Bookstore via Delle Oche 4/R
Special Group rates offered including: Special FITC "Backstage Pass" for groups - exclusive after-show discussion with director, actors and designer
For Information, group sales and reservations:
info@florencetheatre.com or call 055 213 788

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