Staying fit and healthy has never been more essential, which is why this January issue of The Florentine introduces readers to parkrun (page 15), a free five kilometre run or walk that’s open to everyone on Saturday mornings in Florence’s Mensola park, and Ladies Adventures Florence (page 14), an all-women community founded by Lori Anne Lo Presti, which walks, relaxes and has fun together in the hills of Tuscany and beyond. Ironically, there’s never been a better time to have a spa all to yourself as wellness centres are obliged to reserve exclusive slots for guests in their facilities. Before the holidays, I soaked and slept at two of Florence’s best spa hotels (see page 22).
There’s plenty to look forward to this year—see the 2022 preview on pages 6 and 7—with promises such as a top-flight show focusing on Donatello at Palazzo Strozzi in March, Muse and Metallica playing at Firenze Rocks in June, and the reopening of the Vasari Corridor in the autumn. In the meantime, defy the winter greyness by gazing at art and thankfully there’s plenty to choose from this month in terms of exhibitions and new additions to the city’s museums. Collezione Roberto Casamonti is a colourful place to begin, with its brilliant Boettis and crowd-pleasing Pomodoros (not that there are any crowds in this sixteenth-century palazzo in piazza di Santa Trinita; it’s the perfect place for solo art gazing). January is a great month to pay a visit to Palazzo Pitti, especially now that 78 Russian icons have been added to the spacious first-floor rooms adorned in seventeenth-century frescoes. Highlights include the Menologium, a calendar of Orthodox religious holidays, an icon of Saint Catherine of Alexandria (1693-94), and Vasilij Grjaznov’s icon of Tikhvin Mother of God. Anj Smith’s first solo show in Italy is held within the blue walls of the eclectic Stefano Bardini Museum as the British artist unsettles and charms in equal measure. Jane Farrell speaks with the artist on page 13. Feast your eyes on beauty at AquaFlor as Hershey Felder meets owner Mauro Arena to find out the backstory of the sublime perfume store in the Santa Croce neighbourhood and consider Florence’s old gates as Harry Cochrane hits the history books inspired by a map in his parents’ bathroom in north-east England. (“Sometimes you need to get away to get perspective.”)
2022 welcomes a new business column: BachTalks comes to our pages. In this inaugural article, financial expert and New York Times bestselling author David Bach interviews Florence-based public speaking and communication coach Elia Nichols.