AMERICANS IN FLORENCE: 200 YEARS OF LOVE

2019 celebrates the 200th anniversary of the US Consulate General in Florence. There were dozens of events up to now to feast Americans in Florence. Even better: the Italian and American culture seen in combination.

In fact, the logo for the year, ” Together 200” (Insieme 200) with an image that fuses two domes – that of the American Capitol and of the cathedral of Florence – was designed by the American artist Nina Peci, who lives in Florence. The program of the Americans in Florence contains a series of surprises.

The Uffizi Gallery presented a retrospective on American art from the past. The Pecci museum of Prato will showcase an exhibition on contemporary American art starting in late Summer. In March and May there were readings by the poets Anne Sexton and Jorie Graham. They were organized by the comparative literature periodical Semicerchio. The poet Rosaria Lo Russo of Semicerchio is the Italian translator of  Pulitzer prize winner Anne Sexton.

Even the Florence Gelato Festival in Piazzale Michelangelo in April unveiled a new swathe of tastes dedicated to the presence of Americans in Florence. This is the bicentenary presence of the Consulate General of the United States in Florence and has to be celebrated.

A total of  6 gelati were created by different ice-cream parlours of Florence inspired by the USAThere was the apple pie flavour and the flavour reminiscent of the 4th July celebrations. The flavour inspired by the American flag and even by the film American Beauty. Last but not least favourite hits were the cheesecake and peanut butter flavours.

SPECIAL EVENTS

In March, the town of Bagno a Ripoli hosted an event in honour of the work of Silvano Campeggi. He was a renowned Hollywood graphic artist who grew up in Florence. His father, a printer, taught him the beauty of the press. Campeggi would continue to produce posters for Casablanca, Breakfast at Tiffany, West Side Story, Gone with the Wind and other films. Campeggi is generally accepted as the most important film poster designer in the history of American cinema.

The “Americans in Florence” exhibition was inaugurated on April 4th and remained open until April 18th. A real success in numbers of visitors. The location was the well known Studio Abba gallery, in via dei Serragli 17. This venue is definitely suited to the event as it was the seat of the American embassy (and of the consulate) from 1865 to 1871. This was the period in which Florence was the capital of Italy.

 

RECURRING EVENTS

An imposing bronze statue by Giovanni da Verrazzano is located in the main square of Greve in Chianti. Giovanni da Verrazzano is portrayed as he gazes the horizon. This was what he did when he saw for the first time what would become New York one day. Verrazzano was the first European after the Vikings to sail along the Atlantic coast of North America, landing in 1524 in the Bay of New York.

So April 17 was the day of Giovanni da Verrazzano, with a morning commemoration around the statue of the explorer in the square. The ceremony was followed by a visit and a conference hosted in his honour in the nearby castle of Verrazzano, the birthplace of the explorer. Here three stones of the foundations of the Verrazzano-Narrows bridge in New York are exposed on the ancient façade.

On 28 May the annual Memorial Day ceremony took place at the American Cemetery in Florence. This is a resting place for 4,482 soldiers who lost their lives in the Second World War north of Rome.

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