Good morning everyone and happy 4th of July!
Wow, the heat has certainly arrived in Florence but at least we are seeing our calendars fill up again with cool in-person events, something we all value so much more after their long absence.
In the Hamptons summer has arrived as well, likely the gentle breeze from the sea is making every day enjoyable. As many of you know, I took advantage of this time to have my shoulder and elbow fixed after having postponed this surgery for a long time. Thank you Dr. Altchek and his superbe team! I am slowly recovering and using this extra time to develop new projects, even learning how to draw with my left hand!
The Palm Beach Atelier will reopen in October with a new air conditioning and filtration system and new windows, while here in the Hamptons I prefer to open by appointment so I am able to manage each guest in a safer and more enjoyable atmosphere.
Florence Atelier is up and running and many people are slowly coming back to my Bella Firenze. For them a new exhibition, Northern Irish artist Kevin Francis Gray brings his contemporary sculptures to the Stefano Bardini museum until December 21. The works play with the 17th century classical tradition, making it more free form and exploring darker elements of the human psyche. It wouldn’t be amiss to say there’s something of the modern renaissance about these brave and thrilling works.
July is when I normally love to pack a picnic and make my way to the shade with friends and loved ones, relishing in the simple pleasure of a goodie-filled hamper as the summer breeze wafts away all cares and stresses. This month, you can plan a trip to the romantic Villa il Ventaglio, delightfully designed by Giuseppe Poggi with sneaky picture-perfect views of Florence visible through the trees. Did you know that the gardens were created as a gentle sloping way of accessing the exclusive Villa on top of the steep via delle Forbici? A wise choice, as every time I’m there I imagine what it would have be like to struggle up that hill, especially in this heat!
The high temperatures sure can be hard to handle, but the evenings are where the best summer memories are to be made. Cinema in the city is an annual highlight. Sitting under the stars with a classic on the big screen is the most relaxing past time I can imagine. In place of the usual Uffizi screenings, grab a seat in the grand cloister of Santa Maria Novella where a great selection awaits until August 22. With programming by Spazio Alfieri, don’t miss the Oscar winners and old favorites to be enjoyed, all from within the stunning surroundings of the 14th century architecture.
For the first time ever, the Bardini terrace will also be filled by a large outdoor screen within the beautiful panoramic garden. Gather loved ones and celebrate a sun-filled summer from one of the best views of the Renaissance city. What could be better of that?!
Summer events series never fail to liven up the season. This year’s line-up features the greenified Giardino della Ciminiera at Manifattura Tabacchi where a free-entry cultural programme will be hosted. The courtyard is transformed into a temporary garden designed by landscape architect Antonio Perazzi and will see art, music and performances take place throughout the summer.
Of course, if all of these cool events don’t do enough to shelter you from the heat, there’s always the fail-safe plan of grabbing a scoop (or several) of gelato! Did you know that gelato is said to have been invented right here in Florence? Bernardo Buontalenti is the genius behind this glorious concoction. You can even try a scoop of the trademarked Buontalenti flavour at Gelateria Badiani on Viale dei Mille for a taste of the original ice cream.
Speaking of tasty Italian food, if you can’t make it to Florence just yet, missing out on these treats might be tough. But never fear! Florentines have gotten creative in that regard too! To tide you over until you can book your tickets, Destination Florence (www.destinationflorence.com) have created an online culinary tour so you can recreate Tuscany from your own kitchens.
The articles detail the histories of famous foods and include recipes from a true Florentine chef. Have a go at some of the most traditional dishes, from starters through to desserts, so that you can have a true taste of Italy to keep you from too many pangs of nostalgia!
With that in mind, I’m off to prepare a plate of proper Italian spaghetti and a tiramisu for dessert!
Love to you all, yours truly...