Category: Florence

Ai Weiwei’s ‘Libero’ at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence

LEGO Girolamo Savonarola by Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei is one of the best and most provocative artists working in the world today. Now Italians and visitors to Italy will have a chance to see the Chinese artists’s works up close in an exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence.

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My September 11th in Florence

Every year, as we approach the anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, I think back to what I was doing that day. In fact, I was in Florence. So this year I thought I would share my recollections of the event from the perspective of a tourist in Italy. This may not …

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Best Places in Italy for Modern Art

Italy’s modern art museums are often overlooked by the masses, who prefer, not surprisingly, to examine the country’s ancient and Renaissance-era treasures. But with the debut of Rome’s new, Zaha Hadid-designed MAXXI Museum, the capital now has a very high profile exhibition space that is itself a work of art. New York Times’ The Moment …

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The Scariest Place in Tuscany

Last year saw the release of the book the Monster of Florence, a true tale about a serial killer who terrorized the hills around the Tuscan capital for almost 20 years, from 1968 until 1985. While several men were tried for the heinous crimes, many Italians, crime experts, and the book authors Mario Spezi and …

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Farewell to an Italian Historian

I was hoping that with my first post of the new year I would look forward. Instead, with the passing of Christopher Hibbert, I thought it would be worth it to look back. Until I read Hibbert’s obituary, I didn’t know too much about him, only that he was the author of one of the …

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Italian Fashion Designers and Their Hotels

Fashion designers have known for a long time that it’s good to diversify. Not only have Italian fashion houses like Armani, Versace, and Dolce & Gabbana ventured beyond clothing to include perfume, accessories, and restaurants among their branded items, they’ve also gone into the business of designing and/or maintaining luxury hotels and suites. This weekend, …

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Kid-Friendly Tours of Florence

Florence may feel like a fairy tale city for adults, but kids aren’t always impressed. That’s mostly because they’ve yet to study or appreciate the art, architecture, and history that have made the Tuscan town one of the world’s most favored destinations for generations. Enter Context Travel. The walking tour company, which I have mentioned in …

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The Best Chiantis

In my opinion, Financial Times columnist Jancis Robinson provides some of the best, most accessible coverage of wine anywhere. This past weekend, in the FT Life & Arts Section, Robinson looks at the 2006 vintage of Chianti Classico as “something to celebrate.” Apparently, this is the first year that “white wine grapes have been outlawed” from …

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Two Of Summer’s Most Intriguing Reads Are Set in Italy

I am supremely excited about two new nonfiction books this summer: The Monster of Florence and Rome 1960. Both describe tumultuous times in central Italy, the first being a period of time in Florence when an unknown predator or predators who “stalked lovers’ lanes in the countryside,” and the second describes the 1960 Olympic Games …

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Renaissance Florence According to Rushdie

I was browsing a bookstore on the Upper East Side yesterday when I saw that one of the store employees had highlighted Salman Rushdie’s new work The Enchantress of Florence. Yes, the Nobel-prize winning author of Midnight’s Children and The Satanic Verses is now trying his hand at spinning a tale about Florence during the …

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The Lost Leonardo

Over the weekend, 60 Minutes had a fascinating piece on “The Lost Leonardo,” which is Leonardo da Vinci’s storied painting of the Battle of Anghiari. Italian art historian Maurizio Seracini believes that the missing artwork lies behind a giant Vasari painting in the Palazzo Vecchio: “He is convinced Leonardo’s mural lies protected behind an immense painting, …

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Bringing Home the Best from Italy

  It’s one thing to go to Italy and bring back photos, cheap souvenirs, and designer clothing that you could have bought at just about any department store or outlet. It’s quite another to bring back items that Italy is known for – quality leather, handmade paper, artisan chocolate, etc. That’s why I really like …

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Unofficial Guide to Central Italy, 4th Ed., is Here!

We are pleased to announce that the 4th edition of The Unofficial Guide to Central Italy: Florence, Rome, Tuscany & Umbria arrives in stores – and is available for shipment from Amazon – today! Like previous editions, this UGCI has the best information about travel in Tuscany, Lazio, Umbria, and the Marches (Le Marche). But it …

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Luxury Lodging Links

Italy is not short on luxury accommodations, as is often highlighted by A Luxury Travel Blog. We have gathered several recent tips from that site for hotels that go the extra mile (or kilometer, as it were): 1) In the post Top Ten Small Luxury Hotels of the World, two Italy hotels are singled out: …

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Book Talk: Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’

In case you missed it yesterday, WAMU-NPR’s Diane Rehm hosted a one-hour book talk on The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli. If you need a refresher on this classic, want to hear new perspectives, or simply are interested in learning more about this “classic treatise on leadership and power,” you can download a free podcast of …

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20 Things We Love About Italy – Part 2

We hope you enjoyed yesterday’s run-down of part 1 of 20 Things We Love About Italy. Hopefully, the list has given you more travel ideas and the inspiration to learn more about all of Italy’s 20 regions. Now, without further ado, the remaining 10 favorites on our list: 11) Termoli, Molise. If Puglia (see #13) …

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Audio Tours of Italy’s Most Famous Sites

While my publishers would probably prefer that I not advertise for the competition, there’s no denying that Rick Steves is in a league of his own. Take for instance his superb audio guides to Italy, which are now available for free on iTunes. Since January, Steves has been posting audio tours of Rome’s landmarks, including …

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Green Guide Tuscany, 6th Ed., Now Available

In an effort to beat the rush on all the spring travel book releases, Michelin very quietly released the 6th edition of its Green Guide Tuscany in mid-November. This is a leaner, meaner version of the guide, with a crisper layout, helpful maps and driving instructions, and more restaurant and lodging suggestions. I oughta know …

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Saving Money with Combined Tickets

It’s tough to be an American tourist in Europe right now, what with the dollar sinking to new lows against the euro every day. The New York Times had a fantastic Practical Traveler feature a few months back titled 10 Ways to Keep Europe Within Reach. I’d like to add to this advice with my own suggestion …

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Art Teacher in Your Pocket

Art history junkies take note: learning about Italian art is easy with Jane’s Smart Art Guides. Order a CD set – or, even better, download the MP3s to your iPod – and you can learn more about St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome’s Santa Maria del Popolo, or the Fra Angelico fresco cycle in Florence’s San Marco …

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