The Atelier on Madison Avenue has been a great spot

JENNIFER TATTANELLI - message from Firenze - Jennifer Tattanelli

Dear all,

it was such a pleasure to see you all during the shows in New York and Minneapolis. Sorry we missed Florida this season, I promise we will be back there soon.

The Atelier on Madison Avenue has been a great spot for a new show format, we are working on  other new projects for the coming stay tuned!

I will be in Florence for the coming weeks. What better place to be in at this time of the year than our "Bella Firenze".

"Italy and the spring and the first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy." - Bertrand Russell

I love "la primavera" (Spring) because you can feel the metropolitan mood just lifting: gardens fill up with picnicking families, friends flock to the lungarni for catch-ups over cocktails, pups are spotted everywhere with their smiling, shopping owners.

One of my favorite staples of the Florentine springtime is the giant Artigianato e Palazzo showcase (May 17-20), an ever-elegant festival highlighting the creative processes of Italian artisans.

What's always a delight to discover is just how far the definition of "artisan" can expand-here you'll find people working with leather, ceramics, textiles, design wares, jewelry and the like, of course, but there's also a rainbow range of fine food products, perfumes and essential oils, and restorers working on every manner of object (vintage typewriters, anyone?)

High-level craftsmanship is obviously the main attraction here but the venue alone also makes the exhibition well worth a visit. The backdrop is the magnificent Giardino Corsini, part of a sprawling private residence only open on very special occasions.

Perhaps you'll walk away from its orangerie inspired to plant a citrus tree or two in your backyard…the whole setting feels like you're walking through a lush landscape painting.

Another big event at this time of year is the Iris Garden (viale Michelangiolo 82), which is a stone's throw from piazzale Michelangelo, offers one of the most striking views over the city, and yet somehow stays off most tourist radars.

Inaugurated in the 1950s to host the first International Iris Competition (which still runs today), this Florentine jewel is open year-round by request, but May is the month you'll find the flowers in their prime. Until May 21 the lovely volunteers who run it are keeping it open daily from 10am-7.30pm.

I hear there's even going to be a breakfast series of Shakespeare matinees amid the irises (May 20 and 27)! Let me tell you… I truly can't imagine a better stage in springtime.

A true insider hint for you iris lovers: if you can't make it up to the piazzale to visit the Iris Garden, follow Borgo Pinti to its bitter end in piazzale Donatello, where you'll note a peculiar-shaped "island" in the center of the square. It's the English Cemetery, burial site of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and a featured setting in that Franco Zeffirelli favorite Tea with Mussolini, and an iris oasis this time of year!)

Of course, if you're visiting you can't spend all your time frolicking in Boboli, the rose garden and so forth (although I wouldn't say no to that). Fortunately for art and culture-crazy visitors, this month brings the Europe-wide International Day of Museums on May 18, plus another continental museum celebration on May 19 when institutions extend their hours for "Night at the Museum".

Even the most museum-skeptical kids should get a kick out of visiting past their bedtime...if you are in Florence with children, it is fun for the whole family!

See you soon…I hope the flowers are blooming wherever you are on the map!



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