January 2000: the new millennium

The apocalyptic New Year’s Eve is over and we are still here. Holidays are also over and cities are going back to the habitual lifestyle, awaiting for a new “terrible cataclysm”, the Jubilee, that will hit Italy as an unavoidable hurricane. Seriously, the Jubilee‘s air has brought with it changes, restoration, renewal and refurbishing works of churches and monuments, the first to benefit from the pilgrimage of year 2000, in all artistic cities.

Cultural Events January 2000

is obviously the city that is hit more closely by the hurricane. If you happen to be in town, you can leave classic tourist sites and walk up the Esquiline, one of the seven historical hills of the town, and visit the church of Santa Prassede, near Santa Maria, one four patriarchal basilicas that is slightly neglected by official tours. The church, dedicated to a saint who may have never existed, but was martyred for pouring the blood of martyrs that she had collected with a sponge into a well. The church is an extraordinary example of Medieval architecture of Rome and preserves numerous mosaics, paintings, tombs, columns and marbles. A circle in red porphyry, at the beginning of the nave, indicates the location of the well, removed in 1918, as a memento of the saint.

Throughout January and in the following months, the city will be inundated by a flood of exhibitions, events, concerts not always linked with the Jubilee. The medieval figure of the “pilgrim” who traveled to Rome to visit the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul, is the subject of the exhibition Romei e Giubilei. Il pellegrinaggio medievale a S Pietro (350-1350) – or Pilgrims and Jubilees: The medieval pilgrim at St. Peter (350 – 1350), on at the Palazzo Venezia until February 26. Mosaics, paintings, illuminated manuscripts, shrines and sculptures attempt to reconstruct the atmosphere that welcomed medieval pilgrims during their journey towards the sacred city.

Roy Lichtenstein: Rilessi-Reflections has nothing to do with the Jubilee but is useful to “breathe another atmosphere”. It is held in Bramante’s Cloister open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, (closed on Mondays). Entrance ticket L. 14,000). The exhibition comprises of 70 works dedicated to the reflected image that has always been one of the key elements of this famous American artist.

Those who are still in the mood for toasts, should go to the Area Domus in Via del Pozzetto, Bonjour 2000!Cin Cin! Il brindisi a Parigi nel ’900 displays posters, prints, etchings, photographs, postcards and magazines commemorating the Exhibition of 1900 held at the Ville Lumiére.

offers again a wide range of exhibitions, including La metamorfosi della forma or The Metamorphosis of forms, dedicated to sculptures, paintings, large drawings on paper by Joan Mirò, at the Palazzo Strozzi, open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., entrance ticket L. 15,000) and the extraordinary Edvard Munch: Dal realismo all’espressionismo – Edvard Munch: From Realism to Expressionism – on display in the Palatine Gallery, comprising of 37 paintings and drawings by the famous painter of The Scream, including an etching from the National Gallery of Oslo. The latter is probably the largest retrospective in Italy dedicated to the Norwegian painter.

Travelers will definitely enjoy Il Miramondo: Fosco Maraini- sessant’anni di fotografia in Marino Marini Museum, open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays, closed on Tuesdays, entrance tickets L. 8.000). The exhibitions presents a collection of photographs by one of the greatest Italian photographers, documentary authors and travel writers.

Visitors travelling with their children shouldn’t miss Gennaio di burattini a Firenze e dintorni, a series of nine puppet shows including Racconti al fuoco, on the 16th at the Sala Vanni,Il re ranocchio on the 22nd at Antella, at about 5 km from Florence, and finally Il drago delle sette teste, on stage at Antella on January 29th.

A curiosity for shopaholics. A Florentine artisan and supplier to European and noble families, Mauro Pieroni, whose shop is in the center of the city, in borgo San Lorenzo near the permanent market, reconstructs and decorates coat of arms in fine gold. An excellent idea to “brush out” your noble origins.

Visitors who love shopping and typical Italian craft work will definitely enjoy a tour to the Orsoni Furnace, that has been active in Venice since 1880 and has produced the tesseras for the mosaics of San Marco and for the spires of the Sacred Family in Barcelona, a high quality “made in Italy” craftwork. Until March 12th, you can also visit the exhibition “Pinocchi, bambole, Balocchi” in the Contemporary Art Gallery, open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 to 5 p.m.), a don’t-miss opportunity to view a lavish collection of 20th century toys and games.

The Book of the Month The ideal book to carry when you’re travelling is Vanni Beltrami Breviario per nomadi, Voland, 109 pages, £15,000. Maxims, aphorisms and quotations of travellers taken from old books and ethnic cultures.

Useful Information If you’re planning to travel by train, the FS (National Railway Society) has inaugurated a telephone reservation service, with home delivery of the tickets at least 24 hours before departure:for Florence, dial 0039-055-2654618 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 0039-055-2654618 end_of_the_skype_highlighting and for Venice 0039-041-2750492 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 0039-041-2750492 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. The service is available every day, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 to 6 p.m. and also has an answering machine where customers can leave a phone number, so that they can be called back.

I hope my work is useful to real and virtual travelers, to lovers of Italy and art, and others. Good-bye to you all and see you all next month.

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