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CELEBRATING 500 YEARS OF COSIMO & CATERINA

2019 will be a year full of celebrations for Florence.  I’m sure you’ve heard about the 500 year celebrations for Leonardo Da Vinci but did you know that another two historical figures are celebrating 500 year ‘birthdays’ this year?

Cosimo I and Caterina de ‘Medici, both born in 1519, will be celebrated as Florentines pay homage to the memory of these two important figures who left their indelible stamp in the history of Florence.

Over 50 events promoted by the Organizing Committee will range from exhibitions to concerts, guided tours, meetings and conventions, theatrical events, and real-time travels with historical representations and themed tastings; a rich program that will be spread over the whole of 2019.

A year of events to tell, understand and remember who Cosimo, the first Grand Duke of Tuscany, was, and Caterina de Medici, queen of France, mother of three sovereigns and a political figure among the most authoritative of her time.

Many initiatives will be taking place over the next few months, from themed exhibitions at the Uffizi, Bargello National Museum, to Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Medici Riccardi, the State Archive and the Laurentian Library.  There will also be guided tours of the Medici villas of Villa la Petraia and Villa di Castello, including theatrical and musical events.

So let’s get to know The Grand Duke and Queen a little better ………..

IL GRANDUCA – COSIMO 1

Cosimo was born in 1519 in Florence, to Giovanni de ‘Medici and Maria Salviati, niece of Lorenzo the Magnificent and representative of the main branch of the family. When Cosimo was 7 years old, his father died and so Cosimo moved with his mother to Trebbio, a town in the Mugello, where he spent his childhood years between hunting and outdoor sports, such as fencing, wrestling, horse handling, fishing and swimming.

He was considered a young man of weak spirit who was not inclined to politics or to command, but when he came to power, in 1537, succeeding Alessandro de ‘Medici, (known as Il Moro, who had been murdered by Lorenzino de’ Medici), Cosimo demonstrated himself to be a skilful and centralized politician, capable of consolidating the dominion of the Medici dynasty over Florence and expanding it to most of Tuscany. Starting from the battle of Montemurlo (1537), where the troops led by Alessandro Vitelli defeated the Florentine “exiles” backed by the French, until the break with the traditional alliance of Florence with France, in favour of one with the Spain of Charles V,  Cosimo’s ambition and determination was a step forward and not of one lacking leadership as the powerful of the time would accuse him of.

On 29 July 1539, under the auspices of the Spanish emperor, Cosimo married Eleonora, daughter of Don Pietro di Toledo, viceroy of Naples and brother of the Duke of Alba. The choice of the bride had not only political and economic interests, Cosimo and Eleonora were also bound by deep affection and lived, as biographer Baccio Baldini recalls: “with a lot of rest and pleasure, happily for many years”; until her death in 1562 due to malaria.

From 1543 Cosimo started a series of institutional and administrative reforms that consolidated the centralization of power towards his figure and which would leave him greater political independence. Cosimo perfected the state system, with reforms in the fields of administration of justice and of the superintendency of the domain, maintaining the legal and administrative division between the Duchy of Florence and the Duchy of Siena, following the annexation of 1555-57.

Alongside an authoritarian and centralizing policy, Cosimo launched a series of important cultural reforms. In 1543 he reopened the University in Pisa and established the Collegio di Sapienza, for poor students of the duchy. Between 1541 and 1542 he converted the Accademia degli Umidi into the Florentine Academy, whose activity was linked to the diffusion of the “Tuscan” language and to the foundation of ducal historiography. Meanwhile, he moved his residence from Palazzo Medici Riccardi to Palazzo Della Signoria. In 1560 he commissioned Giorgio Vasari for the construction of the Uffizi. On the advice of the architect from Arezzo, in 1563, he founded the Academy of Arts and Design, an institution still active today, whose role and prestige grew thanks to the extraordinary contribution of Academics such as Michelangelo Buonarroti, Francesco da Sangallo, Benvenuto Cellini, Bartolomeo Ammannati, the Giambologna, Galileo Galilei, etc. In the meantime he expanded the majestic building of Palazzo Pitti, completing the Boboli Gardens and connecting the new residence with Palazzo Della Signoria through the Vasari Corridor.

In 1563 Cosimo left the government and rents of the state to his eldest son Francesco, reserving for himself the ducal title, the right of appointment to the most important offices, the allodial assets and the commercial capitals, as well as the right to consent in the most important political questions. In 1569 he obtained the title of Grand Duke of Tuscany from Pope Pius V. After the death of Eleonora, he married Camilla Martelli, from whom he had a daughter, Virginia. Cosimo died in 1574, in the Villa di Castello, following a stroke.

LA REGINA – CATERINA

Caterina de ‘Medici was born in 1519 in Florence, in the palace of the Via Larga (now Palazzo Medici Riccardi), to Lorenzo II de’ Medici, Duke of Urbino and Madeleine de la Tour d’Auvergne, daughter of Count Jean de Boulogne and of Caterina di Borbone. She lost her parents a few weeks after birth, remaining the sole heir of the Medici house. At the behest of great-uncle Leo X, the “Duchess of Urbino” was taken to Rome, and at his death, her guardianship passed to Clement VII.

In 1525, she returned to Florence, but due to political unrest and the plague that raged, she was transferred to the monastery of the Murate Benedictines. After the restoration of the Medici dominion, Clement VII recalled the orphan to Rome. Caterina was now eleven years old, making her a precious object in the Pope’s marriage policy, aimed at favouring the interests of the Curia and the Medici family in the context of the struggle of the great powers. The negotiations for Caterina’s marriage with the duke Enrico d’Orléans, second son of King Francis I of France, are in fact closely connected with the rivalry between Habsburg and Valois for dominance in Italy. The negotiations for Caterina’s French wedding came to fruition in the summer of 1533, in Marseille, but not before having “greeted” Florence and Italy with a sumptuous banquet held at Palazzo Medici.

In France, the young Duchess had a secondary role. The death of Clement VII, in 1534, had caused all political expectations related to marriage to vanish, and the rank of the husband, who was not the crown prince, relegated her to a marginal position at the French court. Although, in 1536, on the death of Francis of Valois, Caterina and Henry became the heirs to the throne of France (effectively becoming sovereigns in 1547).

In 1544 Caterina gave birth to the first heir: Francesco, the future Francesco II. The birth was welcomed by numerous celebrations because Caterina was considered infertile.  Proving everyone wrong, within twelve years, Caterina and Henry gave birth to ten children, of whom seven remained alive and three became rulers of France: Francis II, Charles IX, Henry III. Caterina was therefore called “the queen mother”.

Caterina’s presence at the court in France recalled several Italian exiles, in particular, the Florentine “exiles”, opponents of Cosimo I, considered by their usurper of Caterina. In 1559 the death of Henry II led Caterina to be the true ruler of the kingdom of France. As a manifestation of pain, she began to dress in black as a sign of mourning, going against the tradition that saw the use of white as the colour of mourning for the queens. From this moment Caterina assumed a decisive role alongside her heirs to the throne of her husband: from Francis II, who died in 1560, to Charles IX, under whose empire the wars of religion and the historic Night of St. Bartholomew took place; to finish with Henry III.

Caterina was a key figure in the cultural and political sphere. She died on January 5, 1589, in the castle of Blois. She was buried in the basilica of Saint-Denis, next to Henry II in the tomb in the rotunde of the Valois.

HONOURING ANNA MARIA LUISA DE’ MEDICI

The 18th of February marks the anniversary of the death of Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici, the last member of Florence’s powerful Medici dynasty. Florence has a lot to thank Anna Maria Luisa for;  it was her famous pact, known as the Patto di Famiglia which ensured the Medici art collection remained in Tuscany and the reason that today, Florence is known as the City of Art.  This important event took place on the 31st of October, 1737 between Francesco Stefano di Lorena,  husband of Empress Maria Teresa D’Austria, and Anna Maria Luisa de’Medici Electress Palatine.  Through this agreement, Anna Maria Luisa offers all the art collections of her family to the new Grand Duke as long as they remain bound forever to Florence and Tuscany.

Every year on the 18th February, Florentines honour her legacy with a historical parade through the city centre.  Dressed in period costume, the parade leaves from the Palagio di Parte Guelfa, and then travels along via Pellicceria, Via Porta Rossa, Piazza del Mercato Nuovo, Via Por Santa Maria, Via Vacchereccia, Piazza Della Signoria, Via Calzaiuoli, Piazza S. Giovanni, Borgo San Lorenzo, Piazza S. Lorenzo, Via Canto dei Nelli, before arriving in Piazza Madonna Aldobrandini, where a wreath of yellow flowers (yellow was the favourite colour of Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici) will be left on her tomb in the Cappelle Medicee.

At 11:00 am the parade will return through the city to Piazza di Parte Guelfa.

The Comune of Florence also commemorates this historical day by offering free entrance to all the civic museums for the whole day as well as guided tours of the Cappelle Medicee.

  • Museo di Palazzo Vecchio– Piazza della Signoria 1 – Opening hours – Museum: 9.00-19.00 – Tower : 10.00-17.00
  • Museo Novecento– Piazza Santa Maria Novella 10 – Opening hours: 11.00-19.00
  • Santa Maria Novella– Piazza Stazione 4 e Piazza Santa Maria Novella – Opening hours: 9.00-17.30
  • Cappella Brancacci– Piazza del Carmine 14 – Opening hours: 10.00-17.00
  • Fondazione Salvatore Romano– Piazza S. Spirito 29 – Opening hours: 10.00-17.00
  • Museo del Bigallo– Piazza San Giovanni, 1 – Opening hours: 10.30-16.30
  • Museo del Ciclismo Gino Bartali–  Via Chiantigiana, 175 – Ponte a Ema – Opening hours 10.00-13.00
  • Museo Stefano Bardini– Via dei Renai 37 – Opening hours : 11.00-17.00

 

If you want to relive Anna Maria Luisa de ‘Medici, this Sunday 17th at Palazzo Pitti and Monday 18th February 2019 in Palazzo Vecchio you can meet the historical character of Anna Maria Luisa de ‘Medici.

The Municipality of Florence in collaboration with the Associazione MUS.E and the Gallerie degli Uffizi propose an evocative event re-enacting a woman whose choices have been decisive for the definition of Florence City of Art as it is known today in the whole world.  The public will have the opportunity to meet Anna Maria Luisa de ‘Medici on Sunday 17 at Palazzo Pitti, in the spectacular Sala del Fiorino, and on Monday 18th in Palazzo Vecchio, which thus pays tribute to the last Medici representative on the anniversary of her death. together with free entry to the Florentine Civic Museums.

The meeting with the character, followed by a debate with the public, will be an opportunity to better understand the features of the figure and to immerse themselves in the context of 18th-century Florence, starting an unprecedented and engaging dialogue with history.

The event is scheduled on Sunday 17 February in the Sala del Fiorino at Palazzo Pitti with three performances at h15.00, h16.00 and h17.00 and on Monday 18 February at Palazzo Vecchio in the same hours; appointments are free and are reserved only for those who will book at contacts 055-2768224 and 055-2768558 (subject to availability).

Participation in the meeting does not include admission to Palazzo Pitti, whose access is subject to payment. For whom: for young people and adults When: Sunday 17 at Palazzo Pitti and Monday 18 February at Palazzo Vecchio h15.00 – h16.00 – h17.00 Where: Sala del Fiorino, Pitti Palace, Piazza Pitti 1, Florence and Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza Signoria, Florence Participation in the meeting is free; reservation is mandatory. Access to Palazzo Pitti is not included (tickets may be purchased for entry). For information and reservations: Mail info@muse.comune.fi.it Tel. 055-2768224, 055-2768558

We chose to honour Anna Maria Luisa de’Medici by naming one of our apartments after her.  Choose our Anna Maria Luisa Apartment for your next stay in Florence.

ANIMALIA FASHION AT PITTI PALACE

 

Palazzo Belfiore is conveniently located just one block away from Palazzo Pitti which makes it an ideal location for our guests when visiting Florence.

The latest temporary exhibition being held at Pitti Palaceis called Animalia Fashion and is a fabulous collection of Haute Couture fashion inspired by the natural beauty of the animal world.  Insects, snakes, shells, fish, swans and even spiders take over eighteen rooms in the form of not only the clothes but also with master paintings and exhibits from the Museo di Antropologia ed Etnografia.

Clothes, shoes and accessories that seem more like sculptures, or more correctly, wearable-art by well-known contemporary fashion designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Prada, Christian Lacroix, Lanvin, Balmain, Azzedine Alaia & Emilio Pucci to name a few of the impressive line-up, are on display in the Museum of Costume and Fashion inside Pitti Palace.

The exhibition showcases nearly 100 items created between 2000 and 2018, loaned by famous fashion houses and emerging stylists alike.  Curated by Patricia Lurati, who devised the exhibition as the setting for an imaginary museum, explains : “In an emotional dialogue with this zoo of fabrics, feathers, leathers and more, the visitor is surprised and involved in the discovery of the wonders of the animal world, which becomes a source of inspiration for designers and creates unexpected juxtapositions in the observer’s imagination“.

The exhibition is included in the admission ticket to the museums of Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens and has the same opening hours.

Please contact us if you would like us to organise tickets or a private tour of Pitti Palace for you.

ANIMALIA FASHION 

8 January – 5 May, 2019
Museum of Costume and Fashion, Pitti Palace
DAYS : Tuesday – Sunday
HOURS : 8.15am – 6.50pm

ANIMALIA

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FLORENCE LIGHT FESTIVAL

Since the end of November a festive atmosphere has been building in Florence in anticipation of the annual Florence Light Festival. Twinkling light installations can be seen lining the streets and adorning restaurants and shops.  The massive fir Christmas tree and nativity scene have been positioned in their usual spots in the Piazza Duomo and the preparation all culminated on last Saturday the 8th, when the entire city became illuminated by the commencement of the largest ever F-Light festival. The month long event offers excitement for everyone in the form of video-mapping, projections, art installations, light games, educational activities, special “torchlight” visits to museums, and shows.
This year’s theme, F-Light Your Mind: the thought of Leonardo da Vinci, boasts magnificent displays projected on many historical buildings throughout the city. This theme was chosen by the MUS.E to celebrate the legacy that the artist and scientist left in those respective fields on the 500 year anniversary of his death. It evokes themes of innovation, creativity, mystery, and enlightenment. These displays utilise the famous facades of locations such as the Ponte Vecchio and Palazzo Vecchio as canvases for projections that range in topics from important events in Florentine history to the genius of da Vinci’s works.
Apart from the projections on the well loved monuments, there are also special lighting installations intended to shed light on hidden gems in Florence. Included is Piazza della Signoria, where lights shine on the walls and vaults of the Loggia de ‘Lanzi.  A magical, mysterious atmosphere is created by the way the light plays off of the Roman sculptures. This piazza also promotes the City of Florence’s awareness campaign in the form of the hashtag #EnjoyRespectFirenze as well as the F-Light logo and slogan.
Another interesting addition this year is the lighting of a Christmas tree in Piazza Santa Maria Novella and installations in districts outside of the historic center of the city. The decor of the tree is inspired by the architecture of the basilica behind it. In the districts there are installations outlining the five points of the city: the fountain of the Fortezza da Basso, Piazza Niccolò Tommaseo in Settignano, Piazza Elia da Costa, the Isolotto walkway, and the San Donato park in Novoli. Another new aspect included this year are the permanent lighting installations. These include the Basilica of San Miniato and the Piazza Santissima Annunziata and are meant to enhance their beauty, liveliness, and celebrate special occasions such at this holiday season.
The home stadium of the ACF Fiorentina is also part of the festivities. The LED lighting system on the stadium proudly shines the colors of ACF Fiorentina and the four historic districts of Florentine soccer.
The universal energy the festival draws is represented in the flame at the heart of the festival. This symbolizes the light of knowledge as well as the warmth of shared community and heritage the city cultivates. With its beautiful exhibits and historical lessons, the Florence Light Festival is something that must be experienced during the holiday season!
photo by musefirenze.it
photo by Controradio
photo by musefirenze.it

SETTEMBRE IN PIAZZA DELLA PASSERA

Palazzo Belfiore is proud to once again be sponsoring the annual event, Settembre in ‘Piazza della Passera’!

This year marks the 17th edition of the event after taking a sabbatical last year.  The festival was conceived by Stefano Di Pucci, owner of Trattoria 4 Leoni together with the cultural association “In Piazza”, under the direction of Alessandro Di Puccio and in collaboration for the organisation with Momy Manetti.  The initial plan was to include all the main squares of the Oltrarno, with the idea of using art to enhance the territory and an opportunity to meet and discover new talents.

The piazza has come alive this week with two concerts each evening from 11th – 14th, all with free admission and the idea this year was to involve young students in the event.  The ‘Giovani in Piazza’ format, created with the Jazz department of the Florence Academy of Music offers young talents in the sector the opportunity to open the first three evenings.

Palazzo Belfiore was honoured to have Scott Hamilton stay with us on Wednesday night. One of the greatest jazz saxophonists around and in demand the world over, his playing has best been described by fellow tenor saxophonist and writer, Dave Gelly: “Following a Scott Hamilton solo is like listening to a great conversationalist in full flow. First comes the voice, the inimitable, assured sound of his tenor saxophone, then the informal style and finally the amazing fluency and eloquent command of the jazz language.”

FERRAGOSTO

August 15  is one of the most popular and biggest holidays in Italy.  Known as Ferragosto, which literally translates as ‘holiday in August’, this day originates from Roman times when the first Emperor, Augusto decided to establish a day off in the middle of the hottest month.

Expect most businesses to be closed and most cities to be deserted as most Italians will be at the beach or escapiing the heat in the mountains.  If you decide to go to the beach on the 15th August, be prepared to get wet as it is also a tradition to throw buckets of water over anyone in close proximity – of course this is most popular with the kids and teenagers but beware if you happen to be in the path of a water-fight! Whatever your plans this Ferragosto, if you do happen to find yourself in Florence, you will have plenty of choices of things to do and see!

In Florence, most of the museums will be open and below is a quick quide to the opening hours :

The Uffizi Gallery is open as usual from 8:15am until 6:30pm

Palazzo Vecchio will be open from 9:00am until 11:00pm while The ‘Torre di Arnolfo’ will be open from 9:00am until 9:00pm.

Santa Maria Novella will be open from 12:00pm until 6:30pm

Museo Novecento will be open from 11:00am util 8:00pm.

Forte Belvedere which is currently showing the exhibition ‘Gong’ by Eliseo Mattiacci will be open from 10:00 – 20:00 but you must book prior to arrival.

The Bardini museum will be closed for the Ferragosto holiday.

 

 

There are also a number of musical events and concerts to be enjoyed in Florence.  At the ‘Giardino dell’Orticultura there will be a concert by the Alyen Roy Band which is a mix of jazz, swing, bossa nova and fusion.  The show starts at 7:00pm. San Salvi park will also be hosting a concert by quartet ‘Banditaliana’ founded in 1992 by organist Ricardo Tesi.  Bookings are recommended. You can also enjoy a dj set and aperitivo at the ‘Spiaggia sull’Arno / River Urban Beach, on the banks of the river Arno in front of Piazza Poggi.

 

 

CALCIO STORICO FIORENTINO

June is an exciting time to find yourself in the city of Florence – this weekend especially!

The final match of Calcio Storico Fiorentino is held on this Sunday, June 24, which is the day Florence celebrates its patron saint’s feast day for St. John the Baptist. This day is full of celebration for the people of Florence. Catch the parade through the streets of Florence where you can see the locals dressed in historical costumes as well as all the players of the historic soccer game known as Calcio Storico that begins at Piazza Santa Maria Novella and travels through Florence towards Piazza Santa Croce. The parade starts around 4pm and will lead to the final match that will begin at 5pm between team Rossi of Santa Maria Novella and team Verdi of San Giovanni.

The rich history and culture of this 16th century sport, Calcio Storico Fiorentino, a combination of soccer, rugby, and wrestling is very rough as there seems to be no rules observed at all. All of the matches are held at Piazza Santa Croce which is the traditional location for all the matches of Calcio Storico. There are four teams from the historical neighborhoods of Florence who play each other in two playoffs and then the winners play in the final match. 

The day of festivities ends with a night of fireworks which are launched from Piazzale Michelangelo so if you are in town, make sure you have a good view from the river .

Tickets for the final can be purchased at the Box Office in Via delle Vecchie Carceri 1, Firenze from 11:00am Payment by bancomat, credit card (no AMEX) or debit card.

Maximum 5 tickets can be purchased per person.

WHEN : Sunday24 June 2018

TIME : 5:00pm

WHERE : Piazza Santa Croce

Ticket Prices :

  • Tribuna onore centrale  € 80
  • Tribuna onore laterale   € 60
  • Tribuna numerata         € 40
  • Tribune popolari           € 29

BOOK YOUR APARTMENT IN FLORENCE

ARTIGIANATO & PALAZZO

This Thursday 17 May marks the opening of the 24th Edition of the exhibition, ARTIGIANATO & PALAZZO in the beautiful Corsini Gardens.  An exhibition founded in 1995 by Neri Tortigiani and promoted by Princess Giorgiana Corsini as an opportunity to appreciate and give value to the artisan in this present day.

Each year around 100 artisans are selected to be the protagonists of this unique exhibition, the majority coming from Tuscany but there is also a representation from other parts of Italy and even some International artisans that you can discover at work as you wander around the curated private gardens.

Each year at ARTIGIANATO & PALAZZO an established Artisan is given the spotlight in a ‘Mostra Principe’ celebrating the success of a business or product that started life in the artisans workshop and has now arrived at International success.

Each day the exhibition will feature music by Naomi Berrill, live cooking “Ricette di Famiglia / Family Recipes” by the talented chefs from Desinare, various activities and various street food that will satisfy from breakfast to the hour of the aperitivo!

 

 

WHEN : 17-20 MAY – 10:00am – 8:00pm

WHERE : GIARDINI CORSINI. VIA DELLA SCALA, 115

PROGRAM : www.artigianatoepalazzo.it

 

 

*Cover photo credits:
Susanna Stiegler