Archive for January, 2014

January 23, 2014

Farmacia del Cinghiale in historic Florence

farmacia-cinghialeFLR pharmacyThe centuries-old Farmacia del Cinghiale sits on the ancient Piazza del Mercato Nuovo in the heart of medieval Florence; the Statua del Porcellino, whose snout should be rubbed to ensure a return to Florence, is one of the square’s most famous symbols (near the Straw Market).  The square was a gathering place for the most notable citizens and merchants trading silk and gold. The apothecary  was a highly regarded personality in town, explains Filippa Arcuri, the current owner of the pharmacy.  “That old inclination to listen and to comfort patients, which made the figure of the pharmacist so popular, is what we pursue here,” Arcuri explained.

The first official records mentioning the pharmacy date back to 1752; however, it is believed to have been there earlier than that. The first documented pharmacist working at the Farmacia del Cinghiale, Florentine doctor Girolamo Nicolò Branchi della Torre, prepared its own remedies in the laboratory of the pharmacy. He was credited with making chemical experiments that marked the passage from the magic of alchemy to the science of chemistry, to the point that the Grand Duke of Tuscany asked him to open the first School of Chemistry in Pisa in 1757.

While the pharmacy sells all traditional medicine, what they really specialize in is alternative medicine: homeopathy, herbal therapy, flowers therapy, aromatherapy.

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January 17, 2014

Bologna Welcomes Dutch Masterpieces

girlOpening soon is an exhibition of Dutch paintings  at Palazzo Fava in Bologna, ticket sales are already going through the roof for the show, which will run from February 8 to May 25.  The exhibition will feature works by seventeenth-century Dutch painters, on loan from the Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague, among them Johannes Vermeer’s world-famous ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’, on display  for the first time  in Italy. More than 70,000 tickets have already been sold. A  theatre performance with music by Franco Battiato to open the exhibition sold out within minutes.  Area hotels are offering special room packages in junction with the exhibition – some include entry tickets to the showing.

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January 17, 2014

Glorious Olive Oil

olive-oilFor years scientist and nutritionist have been telling us about the health benefits of a diet rich in olive oil…the cardiovascular and digestive benefits of the ‘Mediterranean diet’.  New researcher from the University of Florence have found that a component of extra virgin olive oil may prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.  French scientists are researching the theory that olive oil can lead to improved cognitive function, particularly among older adults.So versatile is olive oil that it can be used as an integral part of both your diet and beauty regime.

Walk around any supermarket and alongside bottles produced for use in the kitchen you will spot soaps and creams also made from the humble olive oil.

Spain produces over 45% of the world’s olive oil, and Italy, producing 25%, comes in second in world production.

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January 13, 2014

Vatican Museum visits up in 2013

VaticanmusemVatican Museum director Antonio Paolucci reported this month that the number of people visiting the Vatican Museums reached an all time high in 2013 – Five and a half million visitors.   This is attributed to the ‘Pope Francis effect’.

In 2014, Easter celebrations and the upcoming canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II in Rome will draw Catholics from all over the world. The enthusiasm for the impressive achievement is however tempered by concerns about the safeguard and preservation of one of the most important artistic heritage of the world, which will have to withstand the increasing pressure of tourists.

The first to gear up for this is the Sistine Chapel, which will be adding a new LED lighting that will provide energy savings of 60%. Other measures include air exchange safety, the abatement of pollutants, and the control of temperature and humidity thanks to a system that will be tested in May 2014.

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January 3, 2014

La Befana – one more feast is celebrated in Italy

Buona BefanaWhile in most other parts of the world the Christmas and New Year holidays have now come to an end, Italians are still waiting for the last celebration of the season, the Epiphany, to commemorate the visit of the Three Kings to the Baby Jesus.
Children in Italy  receive presents from “La Befana”, a legendary figure who flies on a broomstick on Epiphany Eve and comes down the chimney to fill children’s socks with either candy and presents, if they have been good, or a lump of coal if they have been naughty.

Epiphany is a much loved holiday in Italy, one last feast before the year’s work begins.  BUON ANNO 2014 !

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