Christina's Blog

Christina is a resident of Florence and licensed tour guide with extensive knowledge of this amazing city. We will feature her unique commentary here on an ongoing basis.

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Below are some of our most recent entries posted in the Christina's Blog category - use the links at the end of the page to access all the articles individually.

Happy New Year Florence!

santissima-annuziata-equestrian-statue.JPGFor centuries, March 25th was "Florence's January 1st", the beginning of the New Year. The date was traditionally used in liturgical calendars and thus spilling over to "civic" use placing the Annunciation as the first day of the year.

According to oral tradition and the medieval manifest the Golden Legend, the first written account of the lives of the Saints by the Genovese Bishop Jacopo da Voragine, the angel Gabriel announced to Mary her chosen role as the Mother of Jesus on Friday, March 25th at noon (nine months before Christmas day) while Mary was piously reading the Book of Isaiah that prophesizes the conception of Jesus, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

This important liturgical feast day then acted for many centuries as the beginning of the New Year, however by the sixteenth century even the Church was striving to gain a better understanding of the tropical calendar and the seasons for the "placement" of Easter. It was Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 who was driven to update the calendar to create a "universal" placement of Easter which was not celebrated on the same date by all Christian communities and approved the calendar as we know it today.

Continue reading Happy New Year Florence!.

Happy Birthday to two great "Florentines"

Today, March 6th, marks the birth date of two gifted Florentine poets. One not necessarily recognized as a "poet" and the other not necessarily recognized as a "Florentine".

On March 6th, 1475 Michelangelo Buonarroti, master architect, painter and sculptor, was born. This characteristically creative yet introverted Pisces was also a gifted poet writing sonnets about his art, love and spirituality.

The poem, "Com'esser, donna, puo quel c'alcun vede..." written for his Platonic friend Vittoria Colonna speaks of the lasting quality of the works of art he "will" leave behind only after he, upon death, "will" turn to dust.

Never marrying, and without a direct heir, he willed a great deal of his possessions to his brother's son, his nephew, Lionardo. Today his nephew's modest palace, the Casa Buonarroti, can be visited with original works from his uncle, the master. The marble reliefs of the Madonna of the Steps and the Battle of the Centaurs are on display both completed when Michelangelo was a teenager.

Continue reading Happy Birthday to two great "Florentines".

Today in Florentine History: Paying Homage

Anna-Maria-Luisa-de-Medici.jpgToday is February 18th, an important date for the cultural legacy of this great city. 266 years ago, on February 18th, 1743 Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici died and left all the holdings of her dynastic family to the city of Florence.

Visitors today walk through the family palace and admire the masterpieces of Renaissance art thanks to a pact that Anna Maria Luisa signed in 1737 that ensured that these Medici monuments would be protected by the Florentine state.

As the daughter of the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo III, her fate, like all young women of noble origin, was to be married off into a foreign family with potential for political alliances and economical gains. She was sent to Düsseldorf and her arranged marriage to Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine took place on June 5, 1691.

Continue reading Today in Florentine History: Paying Homage.

San Zanobi

san-zenobi-column.JPGSan Zanobi was the first Bishop of Florence, a patron saint of Florence, and now specifically Scandicci.

Go to Piazza del Duomo and find "his" lone column near the entrance of the Baptistery where this week to commemorate one of the Saint's miracles there are red and white flowers adorning the base.

Jan. 27th (approx. 429) marks the "date" when San Zanobi's remains were transferred from the Church of San Lorenzo Church, the first Cathedral of Florence founded in 390AD, to Piazza del Duomo where the "new" Cathedral of Santa Reparata was being constructed - a project the St. Zanobi was instrumental in starting.

When the procession passed the area of today's piazza del Duomo - a tree grazed by San Zanobi's bier began to sprout buds, new branches, and leaves - blooming in the heart of the winter.

This miracle is recalled by this column - and on the column in Gothic script "almost illegible" is the story and a darkened bronze relief of a tree in full bloom.

So every year I Fiorentini celebrate this miracle of San Zanobi on Jan 27, and decorate the base with flowers and greenery in his honor.

All entries in Christina's Blog (alphabetical listing)

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