Good afternoon everyone!!
One more month in paradise here in Palm Beach, getting ready for the Spring holidays. Last month we have enjoyed the International Boat Shows, one of the few events that are slowly coming back after the year long stop. I am warming up to move back to New York where the Woodbury Atelier will open in May followed, right after, from the one in the Hamptons.
Spring has sprung in the Renaissance city and signs of new growth are upon us! With flowers and plants popping up all over the place, you may have seen on the internet pictures of something more unusual that has appeared in the city recently.
A giant spruce has sprung up in piazza della Signoria, inaugurated on Dantedì, March 25, the day honoring the Supreme Poet, Dante Alighieri.
The 22-meter-high metal sculpture titled Abete (spruce) stretches into the sky with its stainless steel alloy branches, created by Giuseppe Penone from Piedmonte. Remarkably, it’s the tallest statue ever to placed in a public space in the center of Florence and it’s seen as a metaphor for Dante’s Paradiso, “that tree that thrives / from summit down, / bears constant fruit and never loses leaf”.
While it’s drawing varied responses, it undoubtedly holds a dramatic presence and gives us much food for thought.
Speaking of food, I have a few favorite dishes to share! Easter in Italy is one of the most delicious times of the year (but really, it’s delicious all year round, isn’t it?!) "Colomba" is a dove-shaped cake, the symbol of peace. The dough is wonderfully soft, like you’d find in Panettone, and it’s topped with almonds and pearl sugar. There’s nothing better than a fresh coffee and devouring a slice of this, usually eaten at breakfast or for "Merenda" (afternoon snack) as it can be a little too heavy to eat post-meal.
Another Florentine favorite at this time of year is "Pan di Ramerino", a sweet rosemary bread. Historically, it was only prepared during Lent, or more specifically on Holy Thursday, but now you’ll see people chomp into this large loaf marked with a cross outside of those dates.
Traditionally in Florence, Easter is marked by the enormously popular "Scoppio del Carro" (Explosion of the Cart) that takes place in front of the Duomo. Loaded with fireworks, a parade takes place with flag bearers and drummers throughout the streets of the historic center before a dove shaped rocket symbolizing the Holy Spirit flies out of the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral to ignite the cart, creating a magnificent and incredibly dramatic display.
The event will be going ahead this year, but without onlookers, photographers or journalists permitted. It will be viewable on local TV and at www.toscanaoggi.it, at 11am CET on April 4, if you’d like to observe the spectacle.
Other exciting news from Florence is that works are due to begin after Easter on the VasariCorridor, that most famous 760 meter-long raised walkway that links Palazzo Pitti with the Uffizi Galleries. Extensive restoration work and upgrades are set to last 11 months, meaning it's hoped to be open to the public in 2022. Having been closed since 2016, this is highly anticipated news.
The corridor was designed by Giorgio Vasari according to Cosimo I De' Medici's wishes in 1565, so that the grand dukes could move about safely. Lined with self-portraits and with 73 windows looking onto the Arno below, this is a sight I can't wait to once more lay eyes on.
It is time to move into April, new projects, new challenges and above all, keep staying focus on being safe and healthy. We are almost there, we made it so far....we can stretch a bit further.
With love, yours....