Tuscany: You've All Been there Once, Come Back & See the Rest
“When talking about our country the second word foreigners know after Italy is Tuscany. Tuscany is a rich and beautiful land where art, tradition, gastronomy, viticulture, fashion, sports, wellness and all the beautiful things of life express themselves at the highest levels,” Eugenio Magnani, the director of the Italian Government Tourist Board said to a crowd of travel specialists during Destination Tuscany 2014, a special event organized by Regione Toscana.
Magnani, in the company of Hon. Natalia Quintavalle, Consul General of Italy in New York, Alberto Perruzzini, director of the Regional Agency of Tourism Toscana and James Bradburne, director of the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation, presented the beloved tourist destination and its new opportunities and novelties.
“It's my land, and I love it,” the Consul General, who is a Tuscan from the province of Lucca, said, “My mother was a teacher and every weekend she would take me to visit a new town, a unique borgo or special place and let me discover it. There was always something new to learn and there still is. Now for example, is the time of Carnevale di Viareggio.”
Known as a seaside resort, Viareggio is the second largest city within the province of Lucca and it is home of a beautiful Carnival, dating back to 1873, famous for its colorful and satirical papier-mache floats.
“There are so many places to see,” Alberto Perruzzini added, “Tuscany is the heart of Italy and it is easily accessible from everywhere. Tourists are welcome in over 3000 hotels and 4000 farmhouses. They can see the most famous tourist attractions and discover ancient treasures like the Via Francigena, an ancient road and pilgrim route running from France to Rome.”
“All of you have been theer once,” James Bradburne said, “and now it's time to return and see the rest. It is nice to see the Leaning Tower and the Uffizi and I am not saying not to go there but there is much more to see. Like Palazzo Strozzi.”
Located between Piazza Strozzi and via Tornabuoni in the heart of the city, Palazzo Strozzi is one of the finest examples of Renaissance domestic architecture. It was commissioned by the Florentine merchant Filippo Strozzi and construction began in 1489. Since the Second World War the Palazzo has been Florence’s largest contemporary exhibition space and since the summer of 2006, the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi has successfully devised and implemented a rich and innovative program of exhibitions, events and activities in the various areas of the Palazzo such as the Piano Nobile, the Strozzina and the Courtyard.
The upcoming show, called Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino. Diverging Paths of Mannerism, will take place from march 8 to July 20 and it celebrates two of Tuscany's most outstanding and most original artists. “The two painters were without question the most original and unconventional adepts of the new way of interpreting art in that season of the Italian Cinquecento which Giorgio Vasari called the 'modern manner'.
The could not be more different from each other... one was a recluse, more tightly bound to tradition (Rosso Fiorentino) the other, Pontormo, more colorful and open to stylistic variety, a favorite with the Medici. They were born only a month apart but they could not be any different from each other,” Bradburne said.
This is the first time the two artists are presented together since 1956 in a unique show that groups together a selection of masterpieces by the two artists in Italian and foreign collections, many of them specially restored for the occasion.
“We don't do blockbusters,” Bradburne concluded, “but shows that can transform a person and give them new insight, shows that can create new scholarship and where artwork can be restored to its original beauty. 2014 has a lot of beauty in store for our visitors who can look at us always with new eyes.”
2014 is an important year for Tuscany that is reaching out to the United States as never before. The year also marks an important anniversary for The City of Pisa, being the 950 year since the start of the construction of the Cathedral and the 450th anniversary of the birth of Galileo Galilei.
A reproduction of the Torre di Pisa made of alabaster will be brought to the United States to be on exhibited, in New York and in San Francisco for four months. A true work of art owned by the Primate of the Opera del Duomo and made by artisans in Volterra. The dates will be posted as soon as they will be available.