Florence Fashion

Gucci_museumComing to Italy is a veritable fashion pilgrimage. While most people think of Milan as the fashion capitol of Italy, there are many important fashion houses that got their start right here in Florence. Guccio Gucci opened his fashion house in Florence in 1921, Salvatore Ferragamo in 1927, Roberto Cavalli was also a Florentine, as was Emilio Pucci. Understandably, we often have students who come to study fashion and textile design and we are always happy to oblige with various fashion-oriented activities. Clearly there is no shortage. Here are just a few that would satisfy any student of the art of moda and anyone looking for a slightly different angle in which to appreciate Florence as well as this countrywide passion.
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Photo of the Week: Notte Bianca

Photo of the Week: Notte Bianca

This is not photoshopped.
 
On April 30th, the city of Florence celebrated Notte Bianca, an all-night event with performances, exhibitions, and late opening hours for stores and museums all over the city. The night leads up to May 1st, the day of the worker, a holiday from work for almost the entire city. Each year the Notte Bianca events focus around a theme that plays out all over the city’s main piazzas and public buildings. The theme this year was “Volare,” to fly, and it included incredible displays on tightropes, dances the sides of buildings, opera singers hoisted into the air by cranes, and enormous sculptures floating overhead, such as the one pictured above in Piazza Santa Croce.
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Calcio Storico & Saint John’s After Party in Florence, Italy


One of the fireworks seen over the Ponte Vecchio on June 24th

It has been just over two weeks since Saint John’s little party here in Florence and things have settled down a bit. I almost forgot about all the fireworks and fun until a few days ago when I happened to walk through Piazza Santa Croce and noticed the stadium seating, which was set up for the famous Calcio Storico that takes place on the Saint’s Feast day (see here for more info). The seating, which is a bit of an eye sore to say the least, stays up for quite some time after the game to accommodate post-saint day spectacles such as the Calcio Storico charity match. This game, played between veteran Calcio players (calcianti), is only 5 Euro and will get you a seat and a taste of the official game while also benefitting a charity (this year’s charity was the Tuscan Tumor Association). In the photo below we see the traditional garb worn by the referees (of which there are six on the field at all times). They wear velvet caps and ostrich feathers along with bright and bold Renaissance-style pantaloons to make them easily identifiable if they happen to run into the fray to determine possession of the ball. Continue reading…

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St. John the Baptist = Patron Saint of Florence & One Awesome Guy


St. John the Baptist.
 
What a guy. Am I right?

Sculpture of St. John by Francesco Rustici from the Baptistery in Florence

I don’t think I need to get into it (I mean J to the B was baptizing people, living in the woods, eating berries and bark, and wearing his camel skin cloak way before hipsters were doing it.) Check out his full saintly story here.
 
For our purposes, we are really interested in the relationship between St. John the Baptist and Florence. Saint John is Florence’s patron saint. This essentially means he protects Florence and acts as a middleman between the citizens of Florence and God. Truth be told, he is the patron saint of several other locations, including Turin, Genoa and Malta, and even some groups like the Knights Hospitaller. (Yeah. He’s a pretty popular guy, so have some respect).
 
So why did the Florentines choose him? Continue reading…

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Michelangelo’s David: More Than Meets The Eye

As someone who lived in Florence for a number of years and lead countless students, tours, friends, and family to see Michelangelo’s David, I have been asked a variety of questions regarding this famous statue. Did Michelangelo model him after the real David? What was David’s last name? Why is his…ahem, you-know-what, so small? Why does he have a mullet? And, finally, the question that forever changed how I thought about the David…What makes him so important and special? The context surrounding this question, posed to me by a 16 year-old student on a study abroad program I was working for, may help set the scene.
It was a scorching day in the middle of July and it was my first time visiting the Accademia with a group of students…60 or so. Between the blazing heat, suffocating humidity, disgruntled teenagers, throngs of anxious tourists, and a “reservation line” that wrapped around the building, the experience was less than ideal to say the least.

The line at the Accademia can be scary.


As we were making our way through the entrance, Olivia – the sweet 16 year-old girl with a heart of gold and zero interest in art history – came to me with her question…What makes the David so special, so important? She quickly told me that she meant no disrespect and genuinely wanted to know why. I took a moment to look around and take in the hundreds and hundreds of people – tired and sweaty, yet eagerly waiting their turn to finally see Michelangelo’s famed David and knew it was a fair question to ask. So, I did my best to explain to her why I thought the David was special enough and important enough for countless visitors from around the world to include “him” on their must-see list while in Italy. I mean…the David is arguably the most famous statue by the most famous artist in the world and many people do not even know why. Well, without further adieu, here are just few of the countless reasons why… Continue reading…

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