Monday, September 17, 2012

Uffizi Terrace Cocktail Hour

With a current temperature of 68° Fahrenheit, and a high close to 80°,
al fresco activities are still popular in Florence this September.
After a hiatus for August, Apertivo ad Arte returns every Thursday evening on the Uffizi Gallery terrace, which provides a closeup view of Palazzo Vecchio, the Bargello, the Badia and the Cathedral.  For 12 euro, the participant is entitled to a drink, and has access to a buffet, followed by a self-guided tour of the Uffizi's new "foreign painters section."
These rooms display masterpieces by illustrious non-Italians such as Goya, Velasquez,
Van Dyck, El Greco and Rubens.

There is a beautiful, soft light at 7 pm, the hour signaling the start of the "Art Cocktail."
Before that, I recommend stopping at the Cathedral Museum (Opera del Duomo) to view
the just-returned Ghiberti's gilded bronze Baptistery doors, aka The Gates of Paradise
(see previous post) from 9 to 6:30, or until 1 on Sunday, admission 6 euro.

After three decades away for restoration, the magnificent work, rightly defined at the press conference as "a mirror of antique and early Renaissance contemporary art," is back on public view in piazza del Duomo, at the Cathedral Museum (Opera del Duomo).  Above is a detail of the Creation,
Eve rising out of Adam's rib.
 The relief shimmers thanks to its pure gold outer layer.

Speaking of piazza del Duomo, it is visible during the Apertivo ad Arte from the Uffizi terrace
(above:  the Cupola, or dome of Cathedral, close to Giotto's pink, white and green marble bell tower).
Although the Art Cocktail continues until 10 pm, I recommend getting there early to avoid the crowds and see the rose-colored sunset behind the skyline of Florence's historic monuments.

The buffet table features rice salad, cold pasta, spinach and cheese flan,
assorted Italian cheeses, prosciutto and salame, foccaccia and toasted bread round with liver paté

The crowd the evening I went was mixed, both Italian and foreign.
The buffet is set up as eat as much as you want, comprised in the price along with a cocktail, a glass of wine and access to part of the Uffizi.  A second drink is an additional 5 euro.

The dessert section features fresh fruit salad, which Italians eat last.

To participate in Aperitivo ad Arte for Thursday evening until the end of September, reserve a spot by calling (country code) 055-294883.  After dessert, I walked downstairs and admired historic realist works by Flemish, Spanish, French and Dutch artists, including an El Greco, a personal favorite.  Security was tight;  we were not allowed to take photos.

I saw this lovely lady, the Spanish Countess of Chinchon, oil on canvas (1801) by Francesco Goya that  seemed almost
impressionist in style.
And to think, that this, like all the other paintings in these rooms, were formerly out of sight in the Uffizi storerooms due to lack of exhibition space.
If the subject looks familiar, it is because there is another version of the painting at
Madrid's Prado museum.

Back at the Uffizi, the countess
has been chosen as the emblem of Un Apertivo ad Arte.  She appears on the reserved ticket that allows entry, which must be picked up at the entrance.

What better way to end a September day in Florence?

1 comment:

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    Based on what I have read on an Italian English magazine a long time ago, starting from the late Middle Ages, Florentine money—in the form of the gold florin—financed the development of industry all over Europe, from Britain to Bruges, to Lyon and Hungary. Florentine bankers financed the English kings during the Hundred Years War, as well as the papacy, including the construction of their provisional capital of Avignon and, after their return to Rome, the reconstruction and Renaissance embellishment of the latter.
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