Aqua Forte: Copperplate Printing in Florence

July hits Italian cities with burning darts, but don’t worry, there’s always an alternative, something different, something refreshing to do!

Cultural Events

If you choose to defy the heat and wander the streets between Piazza Signoria and Piazza S. Croce, in the heart of the historical city center, you can for example stop in Via de’ Bentaccordi 1/r. Here, inside a medieval tower, you can find an enchanting place in which they make engravings with the ancient etching technique. This is a typically Florentine activity, deep-rooted in time. The place is called the Stamperia Calcografica or the Copperplate Printworks. It is owned by Vittoria Pozzi. This technique is called Acqua Forte which is the Latin name for nitric acid. Up until today the Italian term acquaforte means copper plate printing. A copper or zinc plate is covered with an even layer of wax. The engraver then draws on it with a metal etcher, and removes the wax over the etched areas thereby exposing the metal. The plate is then dipped in nitric acid that corrodes the metal along the lines of the drawing. The depth of the etching depends on how long the plate is kept in the acid bath. When the etching stage is complete the wax layer is removed and the plate is inked and cleaned with the tarlatan, so that only the etching – basically the negative drawing – holds the ink.

A hand-operated press made of two metallic rolls and a sliding plane is used for printing with a rotary movement. The rolls pull the plane, on which the plate has been placed in contact with a pure cotton sheet. Through the pressure exerted by the rolls, the ink is transferred from the tracks to the paper, that has been previously dampened. The printing operations can be repeated only after having re-inked and cleaned the plate. Each repeated passage under the press tends to grind the grooves, limiting the number of etchings to a few copies that are signed and numbered by the Artist. This is a quite fascinating place, where it is possible to discover again the artistic traditions of Florentine craftsmanship.
For information: tel. 0039 055 219 448

At the end of this visit you can plunge into one of the many swimming pools of the city: for example, in Le Pavoniere, in the heart of the beautiful Cascine Park, Florence’s green area; here it is also possible to rent roller blades and, in the evening, to dine and attend concerts and events.

Maybe the seaside aspect of the capital city is not the most known, but in fact the Lido of Ostia is very near the city and easily reached by day and by night. This summer, in fact, the Municipality and the Association of the bathing establishments of Rome’s lido have thought of offering a rich and diverse program of events during the evenings. The beaches will be open until 2 am and there will be cinemas, theaters, concerts, and many restaurants with outdoor tables; a big swimming pool in the sea with lanes marked out, beach-volley, and discos.

Getting there
By car:
from the Eur district, take the via Cristoforo Colombo; from the Ostiense district, take the Via del Mare (the Pontina road); from the Magliana district, take the highway to Fiumicino airport, in the direction of Ostia Lido; from the Portuense district, take the via Portuense until Fiumicino, and then go in the direction of Ostia Lido.
Public transport Otherwise, there are some buses and one subway line, from the Termini Station to the Piramide, San Paolo or Magliana stops; then, take the Subway line for Ostia Lido until the terminal – Cristoforo Colombo station, and then the bus 07 “barred”.

In the city the night is full of music, with many jazz, blues, pop, and rock concerts: we start with The Cranberries, the Irish group with the beautiful Dolores O’Riordan, that will play in the Tor di Valle Racetrack on July, 19th. Again in a racetrack, but this time at the Capannelle, until August 26th there will be an exhibition devoted to the rhythms of South America, called Fiesta!, in which some of the prominent figures of Cuba’s musical scene, immortalized by Wim Wenders in Buena Vista Social Club will play. And many, many others!

Alternatively if you want to confine yourself to roaming about the streets you have an embarrassing array of riches -wander around Via del Fico and Via della Pace, or in Campo de’ Fiori, and most of all in Trastevere, and you will be guided by the human flood of Roman night owls as they traverse the city in search of a good time!

What crosses your mind if you think about Venice? I am sure that among the first things, if not the first thing, gondolas: those pointed boats, lavish and ancient, that crowd the city’s canals and that, together with St. Mark’s lion, are Venice’s universal symbols. At first sight the gondolas seem all like one another but, on the contrary, there are many types. The thing they have in common is their rowing system, with the oarsman standing at the end of the boat, turned toward the bow, and using a long single oar, or two crossed oars set on oar pegs. This rowing method allows movement along the narrow canals and allowing the oarsman to row and to show the city’s glories avoiding other boats, natural or artificial obstacles, and locating immediately the passages between shallows. Thus gondolas and the Venetian rowing techniques have a great tradition and if you are interested in learning more
check this website out.

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