Textiles and Wealth in 14th-century Florence. Wool, silk, paintings

Velvet with blossoming branch and bird motifs, late 14th century, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence

On at the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence is the exhibition Tessuto e Ricchezza a Firenze nel Trecento. Lana, Seta, Pittura. The intent of curator Cecilie Hollberg is to illustrate the importance of textiles as an art form in Florence during the 1300s.

Velvet cope, brocaded silk and gold filé, first quarter 15th century, Museo Nazionale del Margello, Florence

On display are rare and valuable examples of medieval fabrics and paintings which are viewed from an economic perspective, as well as for the refined knowledge of textiles and fashions of the time their creators had in conceiving artistic clothing for the society.

Glazed ceramic tile from central Persia, early 14th century, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence

Arranged chronologically, the exhibition examines the development of the fabrics starting with the Mediterranean Geometries tied to the Muslim world. Following are the small plant and animal motifs of the Luxury of Mongolian Asia, the Chinese Winged Creatures, the imaginative designs of Pictorial Inventions, the garments of Forbidden Luxury, closing with Silk Velvets.

Woollen child's dress, Greenland, mid 14th-century, National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen

Among the most representative works is a charming small wool dress on loan from the National Museum of Copenhagen made in the mid-fourteenth century for a child and discovered by archaeologists in Greenland; the Baptism of Christ by Giovanni Baronzio, from the National Gallery in Washington; a fragment of fabric with phoenixes and vine leaves from the Prato Museo del Tessuto; the Pourpoint of Charles de Blois, a silk and gold doublet from the Musée des Tissus in Lyon, which according to tradition was worn by Charles de Châtillon, Count of Blois, when he was killed during the Hundred Years War.

Coronation of the Virgin and Four Angels, Gherardo di Jacopo, aka Starnina, Galleria Nazionale di Parma

Among the most important paintings on display are the Coronation of the Virgin and Four Angels by Gherardo di Jacopo, called Starnina, from the Galleria Nazionale di Parma and the great Crucifix of the late 1200s that belongs to the Galleria dell’Accademia with the refined decorative motif of the central panel testifying the richness of the oldest Islamic fabrics found in some fabrics in Spain in the middle of the 1300s and which has been  restored for the occasion. The exhibition closes with the sumptuous cope from the Museo Nazionale del Bargello documenting the splendour reached by Florence during the 1400s in the field of silk and velvets.

Charles de Bois' Pourpoint, 1364 c., Musée des Tissus, Lyon

On until March 18th, the exhibition is on from Tuesday to Sunday from 8.15 am to 6.50 pm. Full ticket costs 12.50 Euros.

Fabric with rosette pattern, late 14th century, Museo del Tessuto, Prato

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Manarola, the Cinque Terre’s Nativity Scene

Just some kilometres north of Tuscany are the magnificent Cinque Terre. These five villages are on the rugged coast of Liguria distinguished by its steep landscape and brightly coloured houses.

2 The brightly coloured houses of Manarola

A very popular tourist destination, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare are a UNESCO Heritage Site. Manarola is the second-smallest and probably the oldest of the five.

3 Manarola's Nativity Scene

Every year during the Christmas season, the terraced hill overlooking Manarola comes to life with 17.000 light bulbs recreating a striking nativity scene with over 300 figures scattered all over the fields. The most extraordinary thing is that this was all created by a retired railway man, Mario Andreoli, to fulfil the wish of his father who had started the tradition with a simple cross in 1961.

4 Some of the over 300 lighted figures

Starting in 1976, slowly for thirty years, using recycled materials and a photovoltaic system Mr. Andreoli created an unprecedented masterpiece which covered the whole hill. When it was officially inaugurated in 2007, it instantly made it to the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest nativity scene. Over 8 km of electrical wiring was used.

Every year on the 8th of December, the festivity of the Immaculate Conception,  at 6 pm Mr. Andreoli lights his crèche followed by a choir concert, a live nativity scene in period costumes, a candlelight procession and a firework show.

6 Credits Davide Lopresti

The lights will remain on until the end of January.

7 Sunset over Manarola's Nativity Scene

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Sarteano, the town of the nativity scenes


Sarteano is a town of historical and natural importance located on the foothills of the Val d’Orcia on a plateau bordering the Val di Chiana. This area has been inhabited for thousands of years, and for this reason Sarteano has a very rich archaeological wealth which can be found in its local museum.

Terracotta crib from Mexico

Together with the 12th-century castle, Castello delle Moiane, its fortress and numerous historic palazzi and churches, visitors from December 8th to January 6th will also have the possibility to admire a monumental (16 sq m) nativity scene representing 19th-century Rome, five dioramas and many other crèche handicrafts.

Japanese Washi origami nativity scene by Iscikawa

Furthermore, on December 16th and 17th travelling ‘madonnari’ (pavement artists) will represent religious subjects in the streets of the town. On the same weekend, there will be a Christmas market. For the whole Christmas season, cribs will be exhibited in shop windows, while the Nativity Scenes of the World Museum will have international crèches on display. Free entrance. There will obviously also be music with the local brass band, Christmas cakes and sweets to taste and lots of fun and games. Christmas is on its way.

Ceramic crib by Carlotta Parisi

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Firenze Rocks 2018

Firenze Rocks official FB page stage

On from June 14th to 17th, the 2018 edition of Firenze Rocks promises to be explosive.

Foo Fighters

On the stage of the Visarno Racetrack  every evening an extraordinary headliner. Starting with Foo Fighters on the 14th, continuing with Gun N’ Roses on the 15th, English heavy metal band Iron Maiden on the 16th and ending with Ozzy Osbourne on his final world tour on the 17th.

Guns N Roses

Opening acts are still not confirmed, except for the Avenged Sevenfold and Judas Priest, who will both perform before Ozzy Osbourne.

Iron Maiden

Presales have already started. Tickets will cost between 55 and 80 Euros and this year it will be possible to buy a pass for the four evenings going from 235 Euros to 280 Euros.

Ozzy Osbourne

The 2017 edition lasted three days and saw Radiohead, Placebo, Aerosmith, Eddie Vedder and System of a Down perform on stage. Over 212 thousand spectators were on the racetrack for them, of which 23 thousand foreigners. Let’s see how many will come this time.

Firenze Rocks 2018

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The Monet Experience

The Monet Experience

After the large success with Klimt and Leonardo, the church of Santo Stefano al Ponte in Florence is now hosting the Monet Experience.

Claude Monet, Coquelicots La promenade

Visitors will be surrounded 360 ° by reproductions of French Impressionist Monet’s masterpieces  while Debussy, Fauré, Offenbach and Bizet play in the background.

Claude Monet, La Gare Saint-Lazare

A 3D Oculus Virtual Reality system will project visitors in a sensorial immersion, a very unique experience, especially considering Monet was the master of en plein-air landscape painting.

Claude Monet, Les arceaux de roses, Giverny

On until May 1st 2018. Open daily from 10 am to 7.30 pm. Full ticket costs 13 Euros.

Claude Monet, Pont d'Argenteuil

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