Summer is almost here!!
As of Memorial Day weekend, our atelier in the Hamptons is open for the season, which to us officially signals the start of summer (who says you have to wait until the solstice?) We’re already dreaming of beach days, popsicles and preppy fit-for-a-picnic dresses … how about you?
This summer I decided to add something...in addition to the Hamptons Atelier on 126 Main Street -Westhampton Beach- I decided to take over a former Calypso store -opposite to the Atelier- and bring to the Hamptons my first love...CASINI FIRENZE by Jennifer Tattanelli will open soon on 123 Main Street and will carry a contemporary collection with sneakers, clothing and beach bags spicing up your summer 2018.
As you many of you know, CASINI FIRENZE was my father Giorgio first store, who started his careers as leather artisan.
Giorgio has always had an entrepreneurial side, so he started to visit all the trade fairs around Europe also in the military bases offering its family leathergoods creations.
Giorgio’s dream was to create and offer a wide variety of florentine traditional goods tailored around his clients, with a perfect fitting and a reasonable price compared with the quality and craftmanship used.
Giorgio then decided to open his first store in Piazza Pitti, located in a very special part of Florence known as "Oltrarno" on the other side of the Arno River from Piazza della Signoria and the Duomo.
Despite the presence of "Palazzo Pitti", "Costa S.Giorgio" and "Boboli's garden" historically, this area was one of the poorest parts of Florence but during the Renaissance this was the center for the small artisans workshops, better known as "bottegas".
This tradition continues today and for the first time crosses the Atlantic Ocean and lands in the Hamptons!!
Then across the pond in my "Bella Firenze", of course, summer is a full six months long.
This might sound dramatic, but the city-wide Estate Fiorentina (“Florentine summer”) festival is a half-year showcase of art and culture events worth savoring, with many of them packed densely during the warmest months.
If you’re going to be around Florence in June and July, an highlight this year (and most years) is the exhibition up at the Forte Belvedere, which besides being a bastion of contemporary art, offers some of the most striking views over the city (minus the selfie-stick crowds seen at more famous overlooks like piazzale Michelangelo and the Basilica of San Miniato).
This year’s spotlighted artist is avant-garde pioneer and Cagli native Eliseo Mattacci, in an exhibition titled Gong. Mark my words: even if you’re not a highbrow museum buff, this show is worth a stop for the breathtaking views of Brunelleschi’s dome and the ample room to wander.
Less beautiful and more brutal—but quintessentially Florentine—is the longstanding tradition of "Calcio Storico Fiorentino". If you’re a Florence buff, you no doubt know of it; if you’re learning, let’s just say the Guardian has referred to calcio players as modern-day gladiators.
In a series of matches culminating with a final on the feast day of patron saint John the Baptist (San Giovanni, June 24), Florence’s four historic neighborhoods—Santa Croce, Santa Maria Novella, San Giovanni, and Santo Spirito (my Atelier’s home district)— face off in a rugby-esque game on a sandy pitch in piazza Santa Croce, set up specially for June.
It’s all done in full medieval garb and with flag throwers and a parade preceding it. Prideful Florentines, no matter how posh or not, sure love a bit of pomp and circumstance!
The fanfare surrounding the calcio proceedings is probably my favorite part of the whole ordeal—you probably won’t catch me at the matches, but the parties, parades, revelry and deeply felt neighborhood friendships during the weeks leading up to San Giovanni, it’s something truly magical to see pervading the city.
Perhaps even more spectacular, however, is the elaborate fireworks show that comes on the same day, June 24, once the "Calcianti" have hung up their costumes and crowds have dispersed from the square out to the Arno banks.
From about 10pm, bright-light spectacle shot from piazzale Michelangelo delights onlookers young and old on the streets below; every year people passionately argue over whether this one was the best show yet or not. (The one you’re seeing before you is always the best, right?).
If you’re around, snag a spot on the “Arno beach” below piazza Poggi or prepare to stand on your tiptoes along the bridges or waterfront. This is a spectacle not to be missed.
Whether your summer will take you to Tuscany, to sandy shores or on a much-deserved staycation…I wish you well and hope to see you soon, on the road to the Hamptons or in the Renaissance city.