Bridge of love – Florence

 

Florence Bridge preparation

Bridge of Love in preparation

A mix of luxury and love has created the new Bridge of Love installation over the Arno River in Florence. Designed by Florentine  Claudio Nardi Architectssymbolizing the desire to give hope to people living in severe hardship. The work stands as an element of public awareness on the refugee crisis and is part of the program of events of World Refugee Day 2016.’Un Donation scheme

 

Promoted by  Luisa Via Roma fashion designer to coincide with the Pitti Uomo fashion week it has easily enticed International VIP’s and jetsetters to participate in a rather expensive Gala evening at €1000 donation per head for an Invite, followed by an  encouragement to contribute on a regular basis to the United Nations Refugee Scheme.Bridge of Love evening

 

 

‘Beauty that is ethereal but yet tangible, emotional and habitable, both to one’s body and one’s sight. White clouds lying down on the water surface, traversed by mist and profume, by the light from the very sunrise till sunset, by breeze and by sound’.(Claudio Nardi Architects)

 

Just stunning the way Italians can make tent-like constructions on plastic rafters sound so amazingly stylish and elegant!?

Bridge of Love

 

Bridge of love Design

Project design:credit Claudio Nardi Architects

The opulent Gala evening of dining and ‘Underwater love’ entertainment will leave these white clouds then open to the public for the exhibition on the ‘interpretation of water as a symbol of destruction and renewal, hope and solidarity”.

The Bridge seen during the day appears less ethereal and romantic but as the sun sets it takes on a rather heavenly appearance afloat in the midst of a glittering Arno. And while the Gala evening oozed wealth and frivolity, some of that was gleaned off to help Refugees, so in the end it has been worthwhile. Besides local Florentines always protest fiercely when the Council rents out their public monuments – ie. Ponte Vecchio,  Ponte Santa Trinita, Uffizi, Boboli Gardens for such events,  so creating a new Bridge was a better alternative.Bridge in Evening

Florence San Niccolò towerIt’s in a favourite area of mine, near Clet’s studio and just below the Piazzale Michelango at the  San Niccolò tower. One bridge down from the Ponte Vecchio.Florence Arno river

 

And while the Arno River may appear innocuous today it certainly raged out of control on the 4th November 1966, engulfing Florence. So the Bridge of Love exhibition also incorporates the memories of the flood 50 years ago.

Florence water level 1966

 


 

 

 

 

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Florence has gone mad on moda – 60th anniversary of Fashion

Florence baptistery

Florence Baptistery has gone Pucci!

I turned the corner and WOW….the Baptistery of Florence  had suddenly changed colours. It was no longer the dignified monument that it has been for centuries but a massive cupcake landed from Mars! It looked fabulous, a giant splotch of energy and colour that illuminated the entire Piazza as people stood in awe or rummaged for their phones to capture the sensation.  

I had heard that the Baptistery was to undergo restoration work for the  next 18 months, and expected to see the scaffolding camouflaged as they do on important monuments and palazzi, but had not expected it to be so gay. Laudomia Pucci, son of Emilio Pucci, had promoted the idea to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Florence as the Fashion Centre. In 1957 Emilio had designed a foulard of the Baptistery in rose and orange and it seemed a great opportunity to combine an artistic installation with the Moda celebration. Remember his fab designs in the 60’s and 70’s which have made such a comeback now. The current installation certainly caught everyone by surprise.

Gates of Paradise

Gates of Paradise

The 2000m fabric cover will draw more attention to the Baptistery which is mostly appreciated for its fabulous East side doors by Ghiberti which Michelangelo described as “fit to be the gates of Paradise”. The originals are in the Museum of the Cathedral and I was one of the early birds to see them on their first day after restoration.Florence Baptistery doors Unbelievable precision and detail in the gilded bronze panels reflect Ghiberti’s devotion and expertise, in the 27 years it took to create them.

Many visitors to Florence don’t realise that the interior of the Baptistery is also worthy of a visit as the pavement and the vault are beautifully decorated with 13th century mosaics illustrating stories from the Old testament, especially the life of St John the Baptist. St John is the patron Saint of Florence and soon the city will be celebrating again as the 24th June is his name day.

Baptistery interior

An interior ablaze with golden mosaics

Florence Baptistery interior

 

 

 

The Luna park atmosphere continued as I crossed the Arno, and my eye caught a floating car, a cute Fiat 500 ‘bambino’, and a small caravan bobbing alongside a large iron posted bed…what was going on? A circus on water? Closer investigation showed various props that were to be used in the evening’s festivities.

This was not the only treat as a dinner had been organised on the Santa Trinita bridge for the selected elite of the Fashion industry and non. Andrea Boccelli entertained them with his melodic Opera followed by a spectacular circus-like performance with fireworks on the Arno river. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see it, but heard people raving about it and have included a photo link here of the evening’s entertainment.

Florentine Stefano Ricci was the guest of honour since he is the President of the  Florence Fashion Centre and initiator of the evening’s event. His company has created some very interesting tributes to the Art world – the first to surrealism and René Magritte, another to contemporary Scottish painter Jack Vettriano and the following a    Tribute to Uffizi Gallery – Stefano Ricci fashion house

So while we must wait some time before we see the result of the restoration work on the Baptistery, at least we will be entertained by its new stunning look. A timely task since its last clean was in 1938-1944 so the façade is somewhat encrusted with pollution and the marble requiring some consolidation work. The Museum of the Cathedral is financing the foreseen €1million 800,000 for the job and we hope to see it again in all its splendour in the Summer of 2015.Florence Duomo

The frivolity continued  with a street artists’ cheeky interpretation of  The Duke of Urbino painting pasted on a wall. The original in the Uffizi gallery by  Piero della Francesca

Duke of Urbino

Duke of Urbino in goggles!

Ps. The party is over now and the Baptistery has regrettably returned to its dignified self!

restoration Baptistery Florence baptistery cover

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