Italian the World’s Fourth Most Studied Language
Italian is the fourth most studied language in the world according to a recent study which took place in universities all over the world.
The unexpected victory of Italian over growing economic nations like China and Russia is sure to give a boost to public and private efforts to promote the study of the language, which has become a main goal of the Italian government.
The increasing interest in Italian was recently provided with a new resource, the Quality Italian Language Certification. The program, created by universities in Siena, Perugia and Rome, allows lovers of Italian to be officially certified in the language.
The Italian language is very complex, with an ambitious syntax, a wide vocabulary and nuances linked to the ancient history of the country. Language tells of a population more than anything else, and Italian tells us that the people have a complex and fascinating culture.
Of all the languages in the world, Italian the one which is most studied for culture and pleasure. This is linked to a passion for Italian culture, which possesses extraordinary strength.
Italy’s contributions to the western world are endless, as the country has been the home to some of the greatest civilizations in history.
Italian artistic traditions are well known; according to UNESCO, over 60 percent of the world’s art treasures are found in Italy. Italian is an important language for research in art history, philosophy, literary studies, archaeology and music.
The Rinascimento or Renaissance is generally considered to have begun in Florence in the 1400s, and it was here that conventions for notating music were slowly developed. The local Tuscan dialect was used to write down musical directions such as crescendo or diminuendo, and the Italian language is still used as a kind of musical lingua franca today for musicians all over the world. Opera, meanwhile, is entirely an Italian creation, with its heady mix of high drama, high notes, and high ceilings. The language is considered ideal for singing, with its gently rhythmical intonation and clear-cut vowels. A large majority of Italian words end with vowels.
A growing obsession with food is also linked to the Italian language’s increasing popularity, as Italy is the culinary leader of the world. The name of restaurants, dishes and products find their roots in Italian, from pizza and polpette, to latte macchiato and tiramisu.
The status and current state of the Italian language on a global scale will be discussed in an official meeting organized by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Education and Cultural Heritage, taking place in Florence this fall. It will focus on new challenges and means to promote the language and culture within modern society. The consortium will also look at how Italian can play larger role in universities and academic institutions, taking into consideration the differences between geographic areas. The main goal will be to celebrate and reaffirm the Italian language worldwide, while also finding a shared and updated agenda aimed at strengthening it further.
The new study is evidence that learning Italian is a passport to one of the world’s richest cultural traditions, and to one of Europe’s most dynamic contemporary societies.
SWIMMING POOLS IN FLORENCE – SUMMER 2016
Summer in Florence is pretty hot, so cooling down at a poolside is a great idea.
This is a list of the most beautiful and popular swimming pools in and around Florence.
PISCINA LE PAVONIERE
Probably the most beautiful swimming pool considering its surroundings. It’s located inside the Parco delle Cascine, surrounded by the shadows of trees. It’s also a meeting point during cocktail hour and there is a restaurant where you can have dinner until late.
Open every day from 10 am to 7 pm
Entry: 10 Euro
Directions: by tram from the central train station (about 10 minutes) or by walk from the centre (about 30 minutes)
The swimming pool Bellariva is located on Lungarno Aldo Moro and it’s surrounded by a big lawn where you can cool down or sunbathe. There is also a swimming pool for kids and a restaurant and bar.
Open every day from 10 am to 7 pm
Entry: 8 Euro
Directions: from the central train station by bus n. 14 (about 20 minutes)
The Costoli pool is located at Campo di Marte and it’s the biggest in Florence.
There are two pools surrounded by a big lawn, one pool is Olympic-size and you can dive from 25m.
Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm
Entry: 8 Euro
Directions: from the central train station by bus n. 17 (about 20 minutes)
This swimming pool is located in Campi Bisenzio (near Florence). It’s a big wellness centre with indoor and outdoor pools, a water park, whirlpools, spa, gym and restaurant.
Open every day from 9 am to 7:30 pm
Directions: from the central train station by bus n. 30 (about 40 minutes)
Surviving summer in the city is possible. There are at least 10 good reasons to spend August in Florence.
1) Struggling for a parking spot
Finding a parking spot at your first attempt may seem a miracle during the rest of the year but in August parking becomes a real pleasure, worth to be experienced at least once a year.
2) Good old friends
Strolling around the city now is quite more comfortable (less crowded streets) but it’s not that easy to find good company. A good reason to look up your phone book and get back to old friends.
3) Be a tourist at home
If you get nostalgic about travelling, why not be a tourist in your hometown? Italians really love August holidays but not all the world thinks the same. This means less line for museums and a lot of new opportunities.
4) Rooftop views and museum nights
What about cocktails and happy hours with a breathtaking view over the city? Until late September, 19 of the most exclusive hotels of Florence open their rooftops to everybody – much better than a beachfront. And how to forget the museum openings at night!
5) Seeking mysteries
Instead of having drinks at about 6/6:30 PM you can also join mystery hunters. The” Cooperativa Archeologia” organizes guided visits through the “forgotten streets” of Florence, discovering legends, traditions and myths.
6) Libraries night&day
When the sun sets you can find shelter in the libraries which extend their opening time and organize several events such as readings and guided visits (for example at the libraries of Palagio di Parte Guelfa and Oblate).
7) Get refreshed
Escape the heat and get a tan in the public swimming pools: Pavoniere (at Le Cascine), Costoli (reduced price after lunchtime), Bellariva.
8) Non-stop shopping
Shopping centers never close and neither do the stores and small shops located in the centre, as well as 60% of the food shops and the local markets.
9) A rainbow of events
On August 24th the initiative “Arcobalento d’Estate” will promote events all over Tuscany. In Florence there will be a night opening of Forte Belvedere, Torre d’Arnolfo (until 9 pm) and Torre San Niccolò (until 8 pm).
10) Organize your next holidays
If this is not enough, there is only one thing left to survive August in Florence: start organizing your next holidays!
June in Florence: an eventful month
The Florentine Calcio Storico matches take place on June 11th, 12th and 24th in Piazza Santa Croce with several events organized by the associations of the four districts.
The four teams are: Santa Croce (blue), Santo Spirito (white), Santa Maria Novella (red) and San Giovanni (green). Usually the two semi-finals take place on one weekend.
The 2016 semi-finals will be on June 11th, “Verdi” against “Bianchi” at 5 PM and on June 12th, “Rossi” against “Azzurri”.
The final match will take place in big style as usual on June 24th , when the city celebrates its patron saint, San Giovanni Battista. A marvelous parade of historical costumes will cross the whole city centre, starting in Piazza Santa Maria Novella and arriving in Piazza Santa Croce. All four teams will take part in the parade, even those who are not playing the final match. The parade will begin at about 4 PM and the final match at about 5 PM.
Don’t forget to conclude this day of celebrations on the banks of the Arno River assisting the traditional fireworks which are shot from Piazzale Michelangelo.
Museums open at night on Saturday May 21st
For the European Night at the Museum on Saturday May 21st all participating museums will be open with a special entry fee of 1 Euro.
In Florence will definitely participate Galleria dell’Accademia and Uffizi with a special evening opening from 7 PM to 10 PM.
The entry ticket will be 1 Euro (except rights for free entries) and it will not be possible to reserve the visits.
The Night at the Museum is a special event happening in museums all over Europe on May 21st 2016. In this occasion the participating Tuscan museums will be open for free from 9 PM to 11 PM and besides the possibility to visit their precious treasures, there will also be events such as workshops for adults and kids, stage shows, concerts and more.
News summer 2016: beach, sea, sun and fun in Rimini
From June to October 2016 new summer courses are open in Florence and Rimini thanks to the cooperation of the school Rimini Academy. It is possible to attend one or two weeks in Florence and one or two weeks in Rimini.
Learn Italian, know friends from all over the world, admire the beauty of Florence, discover Italian culture, enjoy the sea. A wonderful journey and an unforgettable experience!
See details and costs of the complete package on the list of courses in the web site.
Like every year from April 21st to 25th in Florence there will be held the Festival del Gelato, a great event to try new ice cream flavors created by the “maestri gelatieri”.
From noon to midnight 8 ice-cream makers will challenge each other in a creative contest with innovative and original flavors.
The 2016 tour will be around all Italy, in cities like Florence, Rome, Turin, Milan. It will also be in European cities like Amsterdam. In may the tour will have its finale in Florence.
The ice-cream makers facing in Florence are 8 artists who are all part of the association Gelatieri artigiani fiorentini (Florentine artisan ice-makers).
A jury will judge the flavours taking part in the contest and choose the best one. Also the audience will be involved and it’s possible to vote your favourite ice cream with a special ‘Carta Gelato’. From the judegs’ and audiences’ votes will be chosen the first ranked who will take part in the European finale.
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From March 19th to July 24th 2016 Palazzo Strozzi is hosting an exhibition of more than 100 masterpieces of European and American art between 1920 and 1960 made of artworks from the American collectors Peggy and Solomon Guggenheim.
The exhibition, curated by Luca Massimo Barbero, is the result of a collaboration between Palazzo Strozzi Foundation and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation of New York, offering its visitors a unique opportunity to compare crucial works of European masters of modern art such as Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Man Ray and European masters of the “Art Informel”, such as Alberto Burri, Emilio Vedova, Jean Dubuffet, Lucio Fontana, with the large paintings and sculptures by some of the most important American artists of the 1950s and 1960s such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein and Cy Twombly.
This exhibition, devoted to the Guggenheim collections, tells the story of the birth of the “neoavanguardia” movement after World War II, in a tight correlation with European and American artists. Realizing such an extraordinary exhibition in Florence, means celebrating a special relation which takes us back in the past.
The large paintings, sculptures, engravings and photographs exhibited in Palazzo Strozzi, on loan from the Guggenheim collections in New York and Venice and other important international museums, offer a wide cross section of the extraordinarily season of 20th century art.
On the morning of Easter Sunday, the 30-foot-tall (9.1 m) antique cart (in use for over 500 years), moves from the Porta al Prato to the Piazza del Duomo . Hauled by a team of white oxen festooned with garlands of the first flowers and herbs of spring, the cart is escorted by 150 soldiers, musicians, and people in 15th century dress.
Meanwhile, a fire is struck using the historic flints from Jerusalem at Chiesa degli Santi Apostoli. It is then carried in procession to the cathedral square by members of the Pazzi family, clerics, and city officials.
The cart is loaded with fireworks while a wire, stretching to the high altar inside the cathedral, is fitted with a mechanical dove (the "colombina"). Shortly thereafter, at the singing of the Gloria in excelsis Deo during Easter Mass, the cardinal of Florence lights a fuse in the colombina with the Easter fire. It then speeds through the church to ignite the cart outside.
During all of these stages, the bells of Giotto's campanile ring out.
The complex fireworks show that follows lasts about 20 minutes. A successful display from the "Explosion of the Cart" is supposed to guarantee a good harvest, stable civic life, and good business.
The event of the Scoppio del Carro has its origins in the First Crusade, when Europeans laid siege to the city of Jerusalem in a conflict to claim Palestine for Christianity. In 1097, Pazzino de' Pazzi, a Florentine from a prominent family, was by tradition the first man to scale the walls of Jerusalem. As a reward for this act of bravery, his commander gave him three flints from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which were then carried back to Tuscany. These are kept in the Church of Santi Apostoli
It became the practice for a "holy fire" to be struck from these flints at Eastertide, which was then carried throughout the city by groups of young men bearing torches. In time, this tradition evolved to something similar to what is seen today; a cart bearing a large candle was rolled through the city to the cathedral, from where the holy fire would be distributed.
By the end of the 15th century, the Scoppio del Carro assumed its present form.
The ultimate origins of the event may be quasi-pagan, since it involves a display of great noise and light to ensure a good harvest.
Up until 1750 Florence began the civic year, not in accordance with the modern solar calendar on 1 January, but on 25 March, marking the start of the year from the religious feast of the Incarnation.
In the city and in the lands belonging to it, the New Year was celebrated with a difference in reckoning of two months and twenty-five days, even when in numerous Italian and foreign states the modern calendar had been operating since 1582.
The Florentines did not change the calendar until 1749, when respect of the new temporal
calculations was imposed by a decree of the Grand-duke Francesco II of Lorraine dated 20 November of the same year.
In Florence, on the day of the Spring New Year, a great crowd would set off in pilgrimage to the basilica of Santissima Annunziata, founded by the Servites, to venerate the miraculous fresco of the Annunciation (anonymous Tuscan fourteenth century) in which the face of the Virgin, according
to an ancient legend, was said to have been executed by the hand of angels.
This flocking of the people to the basilica gave rise to the "Fair" which is still set up in the piazza in front of the church on 25 March. In past times, at the end of the New Year celebrations, for "the joy of a great number of persons come from afar", the Servite fathers, the Signoria and, later, the Granddukes would arrange the performance of "beautiful music played on the organ".
By reviving the concert at the Servite basilica (to which entrance is free) as well as the Historic
Procession of the Florentine Republic from Palazzo Vecchio to the basilica of Santissima
Annunziata, the Municipal authorities wish to commemorate the ancient memory of 25 March as
the Florentine New Year, recalling a significant moment of social gathering with profound historic