Here it is, another year begun, another one lost. 2016 seems to arrive in a plethora of cuddly socks that leave a lint trail and kisses from my (new – aghhh) husband which is still so fun to roll off the toungue. Nico and I have been on the craziest of adventures since November 28th, from the depths of wedding bliss to the jungles of Thailand and back to Texas for holidays with my family. Oh yes, and ringing in the New Year in New York City. Something I think everyone dreams of doing but pretends they would hate it ‘oh but times square is sooo packed.’ The last month we have taken 11 flights, one cancelled and a few delayed. I have seen way too many airport bathrooms and starbucks interiors (free wifi). I am beyond thrilled to be back in the city I call home, my beloved Florence, for so many reasons. Despite depressing dark days in January, I haven’t seen my dog in so long, we can’t give her enough cuddles. And believe it or not, I’m happy to be back on my regular work schedule since social media and writing requires a bit of routine (or maybe just me).
If you are new to Florence, or Italy in general and you are checking out my blog for the first time, benvenuta! I recently did this interview with the regional blog Around Tuscany that tells you a little more of my story if you’re interested. The first thing I tend to recommend people do when you are new to a city and feeling a little lost is to hook up with the local community, any way you can. Yelp is one of my favorite recommendations because there are mostly Italians, and ones that are eager to meet new people from all over the world, so perfect for finding a language-exchange partner and hopefully a new friend. I’ve been an active Yelp elite member for a number of years and always enjoy mu experience with them. Also there are so many wonderful resources in Florence, from The Florentine magazine and the following facebook groups:
- A Friend In Florence
- Italian Reflections
- Creative People in Florence
- Foreigners in Florence
- Life in Italy, When Life Isn’t Always So Bella..
Art | First Free Sundays, January 3rd, All Over Italy
One of the coolest initiatives in Italy continues in 2016, state museums will remain open to the public the first Sunday of every month, while city museums are also free for residents of the city. It is important and fantastic to have something like this even for residents because it helps locals like us get to enjoy the beautiful art that surrounds us, but hesitate to pay to see. Which museums are applicable? Museo di Palazzo Vecchio (hours 9.00/23.00), **Torre di Arnolfo which has the best view of town (hours 10.00/17.00, 30 people every half hour), Scavi archeologici di Palazzo Vecchio (hours 9.00/19.00, 25 people every half hour), Santa Maria Novella (hours 13.00/17.30), Museo Stefano Bardini (hours 11.00/17.00), Fondazione Salvatore Romano (hours 10.00/16.00), Museo Novecento (hours 9.00/18.00), Cappella Brancacci in Santa Maria del Carmine (hours 13.15/16.45, last access at 16.15,30 people every half hour), Museo Gino Bartali (hours 10.00-16.00), Museo del Bigallo (hours 9.30-12.00). A list of state museums can be seem here.
Art | First Sundays Drawing, When? January 3rd – 11am, Where? Villa Bardini
A local community member has decided to start a fun free activity open to anyone who loves to draw. Start 2016 with pencils shapened and grab your sketchpad at the Bardini museum on the first Sunday of January 2016. It’s free to enter from 11am. The museum is just across the Ponte alle Grazie, on the corner of Piazza de Mozzi. If you don’t feel like drawing, join them for a bite to eat at 1.30pm in Gelateria Vivaldi on Via dei Renai, 15, Firenze, where you can play with your food or sketch at table. event details here.
Fashion | Pitti Uomo 89. When? January 12th to the 15th. Where? Fortezza di Basso.
One of the world’s most important platform for men’s clothing (and women) plus accessory collections. This is also the time they launch new projects in men’s fashion. Pitti Uomo was created in 1972 and is held in Florence twice a year. #Pittigenerations is the title-theme of the January 2016 Pitti fairs and will give an ironic look at an era where age is increasingly more a mental attitude than a number, with mature men in jeans and Tees and youngsters with Victorian-style beards and a passion for vintage. This year they will talk about the “coexistence” of different generations in today’s fashions and styles.
Obviously many of the runway shows and the tradeshow is not open to the public but there are many fun events that you definitely want to attend. As soon as I get notice of them, I will add them here.
Art-Lovers | Night sketching – The Loggia. Drawing Club meeting. January 12th, 6pm
In Florence, we are lucky enough to have a number of different groups in our community that host get-togethers open to all. The Drawing Club is one and regular Tom is hosting another drawing event in the public space of the Loggia dei Lanzi in piazza della signoria. Anyone can come, and just bring a sketchbook and pencil (no chalk or paint allowed). The details are below:
“Meet at the Loggia at 6pm. Draw between there and the Palazzo Vecchio and then visit the Old Stove Signoria, Irish Pub at 7.00 to compare notes and warm up.
7pm-We can talk about the Spring exhibition of Drawing Club members works at nearby venue.
So meet for sketching at 6.00pm. Warm up and compare drawings in Irish pub at 7.00. Visit exhibition venue at 7.30pm. ” The facebook event can be seen here.
Open Mic | Open Mic Night At Tasso Hostel, January 13th, 9pm
A fantastic way ti be creative or just come and listen in a cool place in one of my favorite areas of Florence. In their words: “While every Open Mic is an Epiphany, let’s not compete with the actual festival of the Epiphany. This month the Open Mic Night is on the thirteenth of January, before returning to its usual time slot of first Wednesday of every month. That gives us all a little extra time to nurse our festive hangovers, and turn the memories of madness into literary gold to share with each other. What will you share to begin a new year of words?” Open to all and free to come! address: 15 Via Villani, 50123 Florence, Italy. Check for updates on facebook.
Meetup | “making friends part V”, January 14th, 7pm, All In Pub (via il prato)
There are plenty of opportunity to meet new friends in Florence and this group hosts regular meetups at different locations around Florence, this month they are meeting for an aperitivo ‘buffet’ type happy hour at a cool place in porta al prato. Open to anyone looking to meet a few new friends, you can check out the event here.
Walks | January Walks + Talks With Alexandra Lawrence , Jan 16th, 25th and 30th
One of the only ways you should see Florence, and especially more hidden areas of the city, is with a trained guide. My friend Alexandra Lawrence is one of the best and she also offers locals an affordable way to discover parts of Firenze that they may have never seen by offering a series of exclusive walks for insanely cheap prices. Below are her January walks, which I highly recommend you reserve in advance as these spots tend to get filled fast. Email her at [email protected]
Saturday, January 16 at 10am, Hercules in Florence, 15 euro
Explore the importance of the ultimate mythological hero in Florentine art, history and politics! We will start our walk with a visit to the “Mai Visti” exhibition at the Uffizi, which highlights the figure of Hercules and his importance in the mythology of the Medici family and Florence as a whole. Following the exhibition we will head into Piazza della Signoria for a look at some of the city’s most visible (and often derided!) public images of Hercules. Max 12 people.
Monday, January 25 at 3pm, Badia Fiorentina, 15 euro
This is one of Florence’s greatest treasures hidden in plain view! Founded by the family of Ugo di Toscana in 978 AD, the abbey houses among other things, a work by Filippino Lippi, two outstanding Renaissance tombs by Mino da Fiesole, and a stunning cloister with a surprise big-name artist doing part of the frescos. Open on Monday afternoons only. Max 15 people.
Saturday, January 30 at 10am, NEW Misericordia Museum, 20 euro (includes donation to the museum)
The new Misericordia Museum will open on January 20th and promises to be an amazing space that allows us to learn more about this venerable institution whose efforts have aided local citizens as far back as the plague of 1348. The museum highlights the history of the confraternity and features many exceptional works of art that were made for or donated to the Misericordia over the centuries. Don’t miss this extraordinary visit! Max 12 people.
Antique Market | Piazza Vittorio Veneto. When? January 16th & 17th, 9am – 7pm. Where? Cascine. What? This is the monthly antique market which is typically at the fortezza di basso but has moved to Cascine (starting this weekend). Good fun searching for that unique antique plus a very beautiful Russian orthodox church is nearby which I highly recommend visiting if you go to the market.
Market | “Winter organic market” aka Fierucolina d’inverno, January 17th, piazza santo spirito, 9am -7pm
Always one of my favorite markets, the one in piazza santo spirito always has a wonderful selection of food, clothes, quirky items and more. Highly recommend visiting! More info here.
MeetUP | Creative Aperitivo, Jan 20th, Gecko (san niccolo neighborhood) at 7:30pm
Meet fellow creatives for a cocktail and a chat at cool spot Gecko (seriously a favorite) on Via dei Renai 11 r . Anyone and everyone is welcome! You can find more info at the Creative People in Florence blog.
Foodie | ‘Firenze in Cucina’ A night of food and wine pairing at Ristorande Frescobaldi, Jan 21, 8:30pm
As I ease my way back into life in Florence, I am so excited to indulge (but not too much) in all of the food that I have been missing. This event was sent to me by a friend and I will be in attendance also because I have yet to try the food at Frescobaldi! It will be hosted by Andrea and Paolo Gori who are known names in the wine industry and the menu follows four different platters, all including Tuscan meats such as ‘cinghiale’ and various wines, including a selection from the Maremma area of Tuscany. Open to the public for only 48 euros (which includes wine) a person. address: Via dei Magazzini, 2-4 R, 50122 Firenze.
Workshop | Contemporary Watercolor Workshop, January 28th, Via di Mezzo, 7-9pm
Taken from the CPIF website ”
The Creative Collective by Creative People in Florence will be hosting a contemporary watercolor technique workshop led by local artist Alexandra Wong.
In this two hour workshop, Alexandra will explain and demonstrate various methods of watercolor application and contemporary techniques. As a participant you will explore diverse methods of painting in watercolor in order to understand how to control the media in a way that pleases you, the artist. Methods will include various wet-on-wet and dry-on-dry techniques in combination with an assortment of tools that go beyond the traditional paintbrush. Following the demonstration and experimentation you will have the opportunity to paint your own piece to take home using the new practices of control and skills covered in the workshop.
This workshop is designed for beginner to intermediate watercolorists, but all skill levels are welcome.
The event will be held on Thursday, January 28 from 19:00 until 21:00 in Via di Mezzo 6r. The participation fee is €40 per person, with all materials provided. Minimum attendance is 2 participants, and the maximum will be 8-10. Email us at [email protected] to reserve your spot.”
Fashion | Vintage Selection 2015. When? Jan 28th – Feb 1. 10am – 9pm. Where? Stazione Leopoldo, Viale Fratelli Rosselli 5 (google map)
One of the coolest places in Florence, Vintage Selection is in its 27th edition in concurrence with Pitti Filati 78. I highly recommend a visit, it is always a lot of fun and I highly recommend checking it out, if even only to play ‘dress up’ for a moment, have your picture taken and browse through a bit of fashion history. This year the theme is SILVER to celebrate the 25th edition, as always there will be extra events, aperitivo, exhibitions and more. Entrance: 5,00 Euro.Website. www.facebook.com/vintageselection
Art | Divine Beauty from Van Gogh to Chagall and Fontana. When? Until 24th. Where? Palazzo Strozzi
Worth seeing before it ends this month, the exhibition displays over one hundred works by well-known Italian and international artists, and sets out to explore the relationship between art and religion from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. The exhibition will be hosting work by such major Italian artists as Domenico Morelli, Gaetano Previati, Felice Casorati, Gino Severini, Renato Guttuso. more info here.
Workshop | “New Year New You” With Life Coach Sophie & Calligrapher Betty Soldi, January 23rd, 3pm-5pm, WHere? Ad Astra Hotel
Besides the fact that this gives you an opportunity to see one of my favorite new hotels in Florence, Ad Astra Florence, what better way to kick off the new year by doing something for yourself. In their words:
“2015 has nearly come to its end and 2016 is waiting to pop – time to reflect, look back & look ahead. Calligrapher Betty Soldi & Life Coach Sophie, are joining forces to bring you an insightful workshop: New Year – New You on Saturday 23rd January 3-5pm at AdAstra, Florence.
Sophie’s inspiring words & questions will be animated by Betty’s wonderful writing, which will eventually lead you to find out who you want to be in 2016 – or better, who you will allow yourself to be this New Year…” The price is 75 euros for the session, reserve your spot here. More details about this awesome event.
Art | Paola Pivi at Palazzo Strozzi, Installation for the Courtyard (Palazzo Strozzi), Until February 28th
“Contemporary artist Paola Pivi interacts with Renaissance architecture, with a surreal and colourful inflatable staircase over 20 metres tall in the courtyard of Palazzo Strozzi.
Celebrated Italian contemporary artist Paola Pivi will be invading Palazzo Strozzi from 11 December 2015 to 28 February 2016, with a monumental installation entitled Untitled (Project for Etchigo-Tsumari). The installation consists in an extremely colourful inflatable staircase over 20 metres tall that sets out to exasperate the contrast between classic and contemporary in the palazzo’s Renaissance courtyard.” More info here. I’ve seen pictures and it looks really cool!
Paolo Pivi: Photo credit: http://www.intoscana.it/
Cinema | Original-Language Movies at The Odeon. When? The month of January. Where? Odeon Cinehall, piazza strozzi.
So let’s be honest, even a person as social as myself really doesn’t do that much in January. It’s cold, I don’t have a lot of money, and it gets dark early. What’s a girl to do? Go to the movies. And since I hate subtitled films, the Odeon is a wonderful place in town to watch movies in their original language. And there are plenty this month including ‘Bridge of Spies, Joy, Macbeth and The Revenant’ starring Leonardo di Caprio, check out the program here (just until the 15th and then you can keep checking the Odeon website for the next program). Price: 8 euros for a normal ticket, or you can get a pass for 8 shows for 44 euros.