Visitors to children’s markets on either side of the Atlantic should find plenty to do after hours.
This story first appeared in the January 9, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The city of Florence during Pitti is always crowded and full of events, but it remains known worldwide as the capital of good food and Renaissance art. Here’s a sampling.
A good starting point is a visit to the new Sale Blu of Nuovi Uffizi. The blue rooms, also known as Sale degli stranieri (the foreigners’ rooms, in English) opened to the public in December, after five years of extensive renovation. They are part of the expansion of the Uffizi museum, the iconic palace designed by artist and architect Giorgio Vasari in the 16th century. Sale Blu hosts masterworks by Spanish, French, Flemish and Dutch painters from the Renaissance, and while Vasari’s white walls and the gray stone pietra serena dominate the entire building, a vibrant blue is the main color of these eight rooms.
Piazzale degli Uffizi, 50122
La Buchetta’s American Style
After nourishing the soul, what’s better than a lunch break? La Buchetta Café, an intimate restaurant located in the city center, on the ground floor of Palazzo de’ Bardi — a building designed by Renaissance artist Filippo Brunelleschi — offers an interesting combination of historical and contemporary design and a small art gallery dedicated to emerging artists. Art adds a special touch to the atmosphere of this relaxing place with a minimal decor, where diners can enjoy local wines close to the fireplace. The menu is varied and refined, but a standout is a typical American brunch with scones, sausages, eggs, bacon, pancakes and syrup — accompanied by American coffee and orange juice.
La Buchetta Café
Palazzo Bardi alle Grazie
3 Via de’ Benci
Daily, 11 a.m. to midnight
Opened in December, Superdry Store brought to Florence the hip English sportswear brand Superdry. Within its warm and wooden interiors, with a vintage feel, you can also find plenty of accessories and households goods, together with must-have items such as Lomo cameras. Moreover, this beautiful store has an inner courtyard that is also not to be missed.
22r Via dei Ginori
And for the Kids…
Florence has something to offer everyone, including a new place in town for children. Game room Il Castoro offers a wide variety of toys, but what’s more, it was entirely built with ecological materials, according to international standards of energy saving. The 1,448-square-foot edifice is part of a renovation project carried out by the city to make Florence green and people-oriented.
3B Piazza Bartali
The Westin Excelsior has finally opened Se-sto on Arno, the rooftop bar and restaurant, after an inactive period of approximately 20 years.
The hotel appears on Condé Nast Traveler Gold Lists and was named Best Hotel in Florence in 2009.
Its unique location provides a breathtaking view of the whole city. Wood, marble and black leather contribute to a warm, welcoming interior, while the terraces outside are entirely covered by glass, on which a flowing veil of water represents the Arno river.
The menu offers traditional Mediterranean fare of fresh seasonal products, accompanied by a wine list with a top selection of grand Italian labels.
Se-sto on Arno
The Westin Excelsior
3 Piazza Ognissanti, 6th floor
No No No
Ten minutes from Superdry is the new and modern Não do Brasil shop, which offers a wide range of colorful sneakers. According to lore, the kicks were created by a child tired of his mother’s response — a negative “não,” in Portuguese — every time he asked for a new pair of shoes. Purchases will help benefit Brazilian workers in poverty.
Não do Brasil
16-18r Via del Parione 16-18r
End the day the Florentine way, with a walk and a beer. Stroll down to the new cozy Beer House Club, formerly known as the Gran Tintori Club. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a live concert.
Beer House Club
34r Via dei Tintori
To taste the Italian aperitivo in the fashion district, the new Isabelle Café has quickly made a name as a glamorous hot spot. It’s on the ground floor of Palazzo Buondelmonti, formerly home to Cartier and then Rosato, and offers a long list of Champagnes to be accompanied with fresh baguettes and cold cuts, cheese, oysters and foie gras.
At the entrance, the staff offers soft cushions for sitting on the ancient seats made from pietra serena stone overlooking the beautiful 12th-century church Chiesa di Santa Trinità.
On the first floor, there is also a restaurant, with dishes created by chef Bartolo Favaloro.
1r Piazza Santa Trinità (corner of Via dè Tornabuoni)
The city that never sleeps ensures that showgoers will never be bored between or after market appointments.
A decade before his death in 1923, The Hispanic Society of America commissioned Joaquín Sorolla to paint the mural “Vision of Spain.” The resulting 14-painting set captured a vivid cross section of the Valencian artist’s home country. This exhibition, conceived by Oscar de la Renta, the institute’s chairman of the board, and curated by André Leon Talley, pairs more than 10 of Sorolla’s works with more than 30 rare examples of men’s and women’s clothing and accessories on loan from the Ministry of Culture of Spain. In addition to the historical pieces, the exhibit connects the Spanish tradition to contemporary designs by the likes of Stefano Pilati, Ralph Lauren and Carolina Herrera.
Queen Sofía Spanish Institute presents “Joaquín Sorolla & the Glory of Spanish Dress”
684 Park Avenue
Dec. 7 through March 10
Seen on the Street
Weegee — the pseudonym of Arthur Fellig, a photographer and photojournalist known for his stark black-and-white street photography — developed his signature style from following New York City’s emergency services in the Thirties and Forties and documenting unflinchingly raw scenes of urban life. He later branched out into society and event photography, eventually landing in Hollywood.
Steven Kasher Gallery presents more than 140 Weegee prints that explore the photographer’s full aesthetic range, divided into subjects including “Song and Dance,” “Drink,” “Party,” “Spectacle,” “Circus,” “Crime and Disaster,” “Citizens,” Celebrity” and more. Highlights include the tear-stained “Autograph seekers at a Frank Sinatra Concert” (1950) and “Stanley Kubrick Directing Dr. Strangelove,” (1963). Weegee was the still photographer for the film, and his accent was reputedly one of the influences for that title character, played by Peter Sellers. Visitors can judge for themselves as the exhibition also features audio and film recordings.
“Weegee: Naked City”
Steven Kasher Gallery
521 West 23rd Street #2R
Jan. 12 through Feb. 25
Celebrate the Chinese New Year on Jan. 23 with a Chinatown-centered Firecracker Ceremony, Cultural Festival and a New Year Parade beginning in Sara Roosevelt Park at 11:30 a.m. The firecracker ceremony is a traditional New Year practice intended to scare off evil spirits and is attended by local politicians and community leaders.
Immediately following the firecrackers will be all-day performances by traditional and contemporary Asian-American singers and dancers and a dozen lion, dragon and unicorn dance troupes who process through Chinatown’s main streets: Mott Street, the Bowery, East Broadway, Bayard Street, Elizabeth Street and Pell Street.
This will inaugurate the year of the dragon, a mythological symbol that represents fertility, immortality and happiness, and which will be represented by dancers and layers of silk, gauze and velvet that cover a bamboo frame.
Chinese New Year’s Day
Jan. 23, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sara Roosevelt Park (at Canal and Forsyth Streets).
A Croatian First
MoMA is the first American museum to exhibit Sanja Ivekovic the Croatian feminist, activist and video-artist, who is part of the generation known as the “Nova Umjetnicka Praksa” (or the “New Art Practice”). The exhibition ranges from photomontage to video and performance over four decades of Ivekovic’s career and is installed on the third floor in the Special Exhibitions Gallery until March 26. This will be the first time in America that this group of single-channel videos and media installations is shown together. The group includes ‘Sweet Violence” (1974); “Personal Cuts” (1982); “Practice Makes a Master” (1982/2009); “General Alert (Soap Opera)” (1995), and “Rohrbach Living Memorial” (2005). On Sunday, Jan. 22 at 1:30 p.m. in the Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium on the second floor, MoMA will host a lecture and gallery talk.
“Sanja Ivekovic: Sweet Violence”
Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd Street
Special Exhibitions Gallery, third floor