Over the centuries, women have lived in Florence's Oltrarno district and beyond: they have been outstanding figures in institutions, the arts, patronage, literature and philanthropy.
The series of events organised by the British Institute of Florence, the Associazione Culturale Il Palmerino aps and Calliope Arts is dedicated to them, highlighting past excellence and present-day creativity from a female perspective: it is Palace Women, Oltrarno and beyond, from September to December 2023. Lectures, guided tours, original works of art, music, an exhibition and an original catalogue of videos, photographs and much more!
This project is made possible thanks to the contribution of Enjoy, Respect and Feel Florence, financed by the Italian Ministry of Tourism, the Development and Cohesion Fund, the City of Florence and Feel Florence.
Reading - violin and piano recital with Claudia Tobin, Ruth Palmer, Alessio Enea
The event investigates the musical sisterhood between a network of European women artists, writers and music critics who were inspired by Florence, and who were at the origin of the increasing freedom of women at the turn of the 20th century.
Reservations are required due to limited places: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit to a women's craft workshop specialising in egg yolk tempera and gold foil in Via Pandolfini, before moving on to the Oltrarno: Bianca Cappello's palace and Elizabeth Browning's house, Casa Guidi (Via Maggio) Boboli Gardens, with Madama's and Buontalenti's grottoes, with a focus on their connection to Bianca and Francesco I. To conclude, the Annalena Garden, linked to the history of the Dominican nuns.
Tour by Freya's Florence.
Lecture by Linda Falcone (online and on-site) on the role of women (and others) and their ability to 'influence' their times: Eleonora da Toledo linked to the purchase of Palazzo Pitti and the birth of the artisan district of the Oltrarno, Vittoria della Rovere, who inspired and supported art and craftsmanship at Poggio Imperiale, Violante di Baviera's cultural salon at Villa Lappeggi and Bianca Cappello's singular palazzo in Via Maggio, as well as Felicie de Faveau's artistic atelier in Via dei Serragli.
Reservations are not required. To participate online: www.britishinstitute.it
Photo reportages and artistic images (Florentine cultural association Gruppo Fotografico Il Cuplone) will create a photographic archive dedicated to the Palace Women project, together with works inspired by the Medici patrons, realised by the Liceo Artistico di Porta Romana and Sesto Fiorentino, highlighting the modern creativity of artisans and art students who find inspiration in the Florentine palaces and gardens that pioneering women designed, developed and populated.
The exhibition opening will include the premiere of Artisans and Palace Women, a video by the Russian videomaker resident in Florence Olga Makarova. Reservations for the opening on 30 October at 6 p.m.: email@example.com
Presentation of a photographic book that collects the collective works of 10 female photographers of the Gruppo Fotografico Il Cupolone, enriched by the stories of scholars, artisans, musicians, historians and curators who give voice to the pioneer women of the past (The Florentine Press, 2023).
Family palaces, spiritual retreats, cultural salons, hunting lodges and garden oases: Florentine women, native and adoptive, have carved their place in history within the places they frequented: Villa La Petraia, San Francesco di Paola, Villa Medici di Poggio Imperiale, the Boboli Gardens, Casa Guidi and Palazzo di Bianca Cappello.
Free entrance with compulsory reservation: firstname.lastname@example.org
Guided tour of Villa La Quiete - by Freya's Florence in English (21 November) and Italian (22 November) .
The favourite place of Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici (1667-1743), the last Medici heiress - for centuries the seat of education for lay and religious women (including the congregation of the Montalve) not only offers a window on the lives of educated women of the Renaissance, but also houses one of the still unknown secrets of art history: the only surviving work by Ortensia Fedeli, a recently restored lunette with St Agnes.
Information and reservations: www.britishinstitute.it
Lecture in English by Francesca Baldry at the British Institute of Florence - Wednesday lectures cycle and on the Zoom platform.
The figure of Elizabeth Boott lived in Florence in the Villa Castellani at Bellosguardo: together with the other muses of the Pre-Raphaelite 'brotherhood', and that of Mary Spartali Stillman, whose works illustrate how 'Renaissance' romanticism was a marketable genre. Finally, the painter Evelyn De Morgan, also a Bellosguardo enthusiast, who produced some of the most striking images of angels at the turn of the century while in Florence from 1895 to 1914.
Their presence in the city and its suburbs in the second half of the 19th century shaped the image of contemporary Florence. To participate online: www.britishinstitute.it