Irene Parenti Duclos restored


Irene Parenti Duclos, an eighteenth-century Florentine painter and copyist, climbed up the scaffolding at the Church of S.S. Annunziata and copied Andrea del Sarto’s famous fresco of the Madonna del Sacco. For a woman at the time, this was an amazing feat, both physically and artistically. The painstaking restoration of Duclos’ acclaimed work, sponsored by Dr. Jane Fortune and the Advancing Women Artists Foundation, is now on public view in the Giposeteca of the Accademia Gallery. More

Jane Fortune’s love for the city grows


Central Florence isn’t getting any bigger, but people’s love for the city just keeps growing. For her first book, published in 2009, author Jane Fortune explored 77 ways to make the most of one’s Florentine experience. For visitors and residents, this personal ‘love letter’ to Florence was embraced by readers far and wide. That’s why The Florentine Press asked Jane to create a second expanded edition. To Florence Con Amore: 90 Ways to Love the City was ‘born’ on May 25, 2011. More

Culture Clash a useful debate


Success for last night’s encounter organized by The Florentine at Le Murate. With around 50 people in attendance – some Italians, lots of TF readers – the discussion was friendly despite differing opinions about the topics discussed. Editor Brenda Dionisi kept everything under control while polling our panelists Edoardo Lusena (Corriere Fiorentino) and Deirdre Pirro (The Florentine) and involving the crowd with their many observations. More

Join us for Culture Clash on June 9th


The room of the columns will be filled with life and discussion on June 9th!

On April 26, the former prison known as Le Murate, now fully renovated, was officially opened to the public, with hours that span from noon to midnight daily and a rich calendar of creative and cultural activities through June. Florence’s superintendent of culture, Giuliano da Empoli, says he called on Florence’s best ‘creative minds’ to organize events in Le Murate. The idea is to give the people of Florence a space full of surprises, where something creative will always be ‘in progress.’ Representing the city’s English-speaking community, the staff of The Florentine is among the 25 cultural associations, universities, and magazines asked to provide the initial programming for this space. After the great success of the KnitLounge event organized by The Florentine and BettaKnit last April 28th, we are pleased to announce our second event on the official programme of Le Murate.

Please join us on Thursday June 9th 2011 from 7-9pm for “Culture Clash” at Le Murate (piazza Madonna della Neve 1), a casual debate between English and Italian writers on topics that concern the point of intersection between our two cultures. This is a topic that The Florentine addresses on a daily basis; we’d love to hear your opinion and engage in dialogue about it.

On stage, our very own Deirdre Pirro, international lawyer and author of Italian Sketches, who will be discussing points of “culture clash” with Edoardo Lusena, journalist at Corriere Fiorentino. Moderating their conversation will be Brenda Dionisi, general editor of The Florentine.

The talk will be followed by an aperitivo and an opportunity to purchase books from The Florentine Press.

To find us at Le Murate: the address on google maps is piazza madonna della neve 1, near Mercato Sant’Ambrogio. Once you enter the Murate Complex, there are two courtyards. One has a restaurant and a fountain in it… that is NOT where we will be. Go to the other courtyard, where there is a door at the end, under some arches. We will be on the first floor, there will be signs just outside.

Hey Dante, high five! Yeah, Shakespeare! Illustration by Leo Cardini


Women artists: Opportunities for Support

Girl with Crucifix, Giovanna Fratellini, Villa Petraia, Florence

In her book Invisible Women, Jane Fortune discovers the many ‘hidden’ female artists in museum archives and deposits in Florence. One artist who deserves recognition is Giovanna Fratellini, a lady-in-waiting to Grand Duchess Vittoria della Rovere who indeed recognized this woman’s talent. Thanks to ducal auspices, she was trained in painting and music and specialized in miniatures. She became an active member of Florence’s Accademia dell’Arte del Disegno in 1706, able to direct her own business and issue invoices in her own name. Her portraits of 18th-century nobles capture the dress and feeling of Tuscan nobility, often representing women and children who might be otherwise unknown to us. More

Advancing Women Artists


Advancing Women Artists Foundation, an American not-for-profit (501c3), is committed to identifying and restoring artwork by women in Florence’s museum storages. Myriad paintings and sculptures by ground-breaking women artists have been overlooked for centuries and, many works are currently in desperate need of restoration. As of today, compelling artistic treasures continue to be a silent, undiscovered part of the city’s creative heritage. Through education (lectures, books, seminars, and conferences) and by exhibiting these works in Florence and abroad, it will prove possible to disclose this vital cultural legacy and promote its importance in Florence, in Italy and to the world.

Founded and chaired by Dr. Jane Fortune in 2003, The Florence Committee is the non-profit Italian association and the counterpart of Advancing Women Artists, a not-for-profit foundation in the United States. The Florentine partner of AWA, it promotes the institutional development of restoration projects sponsored and advanced by Dr.Fortune. Today, The Florence Committee’s role is primarily cultural: it organizes lectures and events, inspired by Florence’s art and culture and linked to women artists and scholars, for its due-paying members. Since 2006, the Committee recognizes modern-day women artists, as well as those who sustain art by women in Florence.

On the new Advancing Women Artists website that is now online, you can read about past and future projects of the foundation, make a donation to support women artists, and more.

To Florence con Amore Book Launch May 25 2011


The Florentine Press presents the second edition of Jane Fortune’s book To Florence con Amore. First published in 2007, Fortune, The Florentine’s own culture editor, suggested 77 ways to love the city. The expanded 2011 edition now includes 90 unsung treasures and fascinating art and cultural gems, as well as great food and drink to help you best explore the city. The new chapter that expands the book suggests thirteen ways to spend an afternoon that you won’t want to miss!

Come meet the author and have an aperitivo in the beautiful and restored space of Ideal, the new bar/restaurant/event space in the historic “rotonda”. Aperitivo costs 7 euros for a drink and access to the excellent buffet; free with purchase of book.

Wednesday May 25, 6:30 pm, Ideal, via il Prato 4b. For info,, T 0552306616