Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester returns to Florence

As an absolute preview of the celebrations that will take place around the world next year, 2019, on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence has  organized an exhibition with one of the polymath’s most renowned manuscripts.

The Codex Leicester is a collection of scientific writings and drawings on the properties of water, rocks, fossils, astronomy and celestial light. Apparently Leonardo worked on them , while in Florence, between 1504 and 1508, a period of intense artistic and scientific activity for him.

The “Water as Microscope of Nature. Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester” exhibition will be on from October 30 to January 20 in Aula Magliabechiana. The Uffizi Gallery will have on display more than 80 original pages of this and other precious manuscripts by Leonardo. Likewise visitors will also have the opportunity to admire the Codex on the Flight of Birds, as well as four sheets from the Codex Atlanticus, illustrating Leonardo’s studies of a canal project from Florence to the Mediterranean sea, as well as of the moon and the invention of the crane.

Opening hours from 8.15 am to 6.50 pm. The exhibition is included in the admission ticket to the Uffizi Gallery.

Pubblicato in Exhibitions in Florence, Florence, Museums in Tuscany, Tuscany | Contrassegnato , , | Lascia un commento

Marina Abramović on at Palazzo Strozzi, Florence

Palazzo Strozzi in Florence is now hosting a major retrospective of Serbian performance artist Marina Abramović. From the 1970s to the 2000s, Marina Abramović has explored the relationship between performer and audience, probing the limits of the body and the possibilities of the mind.

The exhibition “Marina Abramović, The Cleaner” brings together more than a hundred works – videos, photographs, paintings, installations –  from over four decades of activity. There will also be live recreations of her most famous performances.

On until 20 January 2019, the show is open every day, including holidays, from 10 am to 8 pm, on Thursdays until 11 pm.

Pubblicato in Art exhibitions in Tuscany, Art in Florence, Events in Florence, Exhibitions in Florence, Florence, Museums in Tuscany, Tuscany | Contrassegnato , , , , , | Lascia un commento

Massagli, the bitter-sweet soul of Lucca

It has been since the times of Hippocrates of Kos that sumptuous dinners were digested thanks to the assistance of an elixir of health made of wine to which barley, honey and various herbs had been added. In medieval Europe the Benedictine monks took things in their hands and started brewing roots and plants in alcohol for medical reasons. In the last two centuries Italy has successfully taken up the tradition and produced an excellent herbal liqueur called amaro (Italian for ‘bitter’) to be consumed as an after-dinner digestif.

Amaro is typically produced by macerating herbs, roots, plants, bark and citrus peels in alcohol, spirit or wine, subsequently mixed with sugar syrup and then left to age in casks. Traditionally the most popular officinal plants generally used in making the amaro are Cinchona, known as China [Quina] in Italian, whose properties are antimalarial and highly analgesic, Gentiana, very helpful for digestive and skin disorders, and Angostura bark, considered efficient against tuberculosis.

Every region in Italy has its own particular amaro, generally bound to a typical local ingredient. Tuscany has various, one of which was created in an old chemist’s shop in the square of San Michele in Lucca. In 1855, this beautiful Art Nouveau pharmacy was the scene of Doctor Pasquale Massagli’s new concoction, a quina elixir named China Massagli. Only in 1901 did they start to sell the amaro also in other places. As in the past, today China Massagli is prepared with cinchona bark, which arrives directly from the Amazon rainforest. The bark is put to macerate in pure alcohol and decalcified water, together with aromatic herbs and officinal roots. After a long period, during which it is emulsified and filtered twice, the elixir is ready to be consumed, even in long drinks with ice, both as an aperitif and a digestif.

However, Lucca’s production of amari didn’t stop there. In the 1940s the company created a new concoction using one part of the China Massagli with the addition of spices and aromatic herbs. Thus the Biadina Massagli was created, an amaro with a light, sweet taste which is enhanced by the adding some pine-seeds to the glass. This dark amber-coloured liqueur takes its name from horse fodder, in Italian biada, because, tradition as it, that when the horse carriages had to wait in front of the Lucca’s local theatre and opera house, the horses were offered fodder, biada, and the coachmen were offered something strong to keep them warm, precisely  Biadina.

And since three is the perfect number, Massagli in the 1970s went on to produce the Amaro Massagli. Even in this case we have one part of China Massagli but with the addition of herbs and spices which make it more bitter, as well as less sugary and with a slightly higher alcohol content than its siblings (30° compared with the 25° of China and Biadina).

What makes these three liqueurs so special is that their personal and traditional peculiarities have been lovingly handed down without altering a single thing, especially the ingredients and procedure. So if you ever visit Lucca, make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to get a really good taste of town savouring some of its excellencies:  the Massagli Amari.

Pubblicato in Italian food and wine, Lucca, Tuscan food and wine, Tuscan lifestyle, Tuscan restaurants and wine shops, Tuscan traditions, Tuscany | Contrassegnato , , , , | Lascia un commento

What is a youth? Romeo & Juliet by Franco Zeffirelli

On show at Palazzo Piccolomini in Pienza is the exhibition “WHAT IS A YOUTH? Romeo e Giulietta di Franco Zeffirelli”. On the 50th anniversary of this famous movie, for which the Tuscan film director received an Academy Award nomination, the town, where he directed it in 1968, has decided to celebrate this masterpiece of Italian cinematography.

It was precisely in Palazzo Piccolomini that the scene of Romeo and Juliet’s first meeting at a Capulet masked ball was filmed. Exactly during this scene, the song being played is “What is a Youth?” sung by Glen Weston with lyrics by Eugene Walter. The Italian version of this song was written by actress Elsa Morante and is called “Ai Giochi Addio” (A farewell to games) and has been performed by opera singers such as Luciano Pavarotti and Natasha Marsh.

In addition to celebrating the anniversary of the film’s release, the exhibition also intends to focus on Renaissance customs, as is evident from Zeffirelli’s cinematic fiction. It was for this reason the director chose Palazzo Piccolomini, for its Renaissance authenticity.

The Zeffirelli Foundation has donated the scene photos, which are distributed around the halls where they were taken so as to relive the moment it was taken on the set. Visitors will thus have the feeling that the actors are again there, offering a glimpse on daily life during the Renaissance.

Also on show will be the costumes designed by Danilo Donati, for which he won the 1969 Academy Award, and today are property of the Cerratelli Foundation.

You have time until January 6th 2019 to visit the exhibition. Until October 15th, open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6.30 pm and until January 6th from 10 am to 4.30 pm. Full ticket costs 7 Euros. Palazzo Piccolomini will remain closed from November 16th to November 30th.

Pubblicato in Cinematography, Exhibitions in Val d'Orcia, Italian design, Photography, Pienza, Tuscan architecture, Tuscan lifestyle, Tuscany, Valdorcia Val d'Orcia | Contrassegnato , , , | Lascia un commento

From Magritte to Duchamp, from Paris to Pisa, the best of Surrealism

Palazzo Blu in Pisa will be hosting, from October 11th to February 17th 2019, the exhibition “From Magritte to Duchamp. 1929: the Great Surrealism from the Pompidou Centre”. For the first time, the French centre lends masterpieces that will lead visitors to discover the wonders of the movement that profoundly changed art in the 20th century.

About 90 masterpieces, including paintings, sculptures, items, drawings, collages, installations and autographs, will be arriving in Pisa to display the extraordinary journey of Avant Garde Surrealism. These works have been carefully selected because produced in or around 1929, a fundamental year for the group of artists working in those years in Paris.

1929 was a catastrophic year for economy and International political crisis, but it also turned out to be a decisive turning point in the history of Surrealism. Precisely in 1929 theorist André Breton and the poet Louis Aragon tried to change the movement from its theoretical foundational. This new approach was not completely accepted by all members and seemed to create a fatal fracture within the group itself. Despite these internal lacerations, however, the vitality of the movement remained intact and Surrealist art seemed more than ever to assert itself.

It is thus through the works of masters such as René Magritte, Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Giorgio De Chirico, Alberto Giacometti, Man Ray, Joan Miró, Yves Tanguy, Pablo Picasso, and many more, that Palazzo Blu and the Pompidou Centre have the goal to present us with the aesthetic visions and interactions of these great surrealist artists.

On display a variety of works of primary importance produced between 1927 and 1935. Amongst them, representing the exhibition itself, is Magritte’s masterpiece entitled “Le Double Secret”. Also on show Magritte’s “Le Modèle Rouge” (1935). Of the various Dalí’s paintings, on display will be his “L’âne pourri” (1928) and “Dormeuse, Cheval, Lion Invisibles” (1930).

The exhibition will be open from Monday to Friday from 10 am to 7 pm and on Saturdays, Sundays and festivities from 10 am to 8 pm. Full ticket costs 12 Euros.

Pubblicato in Art exhibitions in Tuscany, Art in Pisa, Exhibitions in Pisa, Pisa, Tuscany | Contrassegnato , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Lascia un commento