2021 / OLTRARNO GAZE Perspectives from Florence and Firenze

What is the difference between ‘Florence’ and ‘Firenze’? Do two parallel realities co-exist in one of the world’s best-loved cities? This cultural program explores the origins of Florence’s mystique in the international mindset, compared to Firenze’s modern-day creative reality… from an artisan’s angle.




1-22 February 2021

Atelier degli Artigianelli, via dei Serragli 104

‘Making the Future by Hand’

Grant program for young artisans

Atelier degli Artigianelli, Liceo Artistico di Porta Romana, Studio Puck


Hands-on workshop for grant recipients from Florence’s Liceo Artistico di Porta Romana. Silvia Coppetti, artist and professor of Xylography, Chalcography and Lithography, will be teaming up with the Atelier degli Artigianelli to teach young artisans traditional papermaking techniques, including vat work and pressing and dying methods. Phase II involves chalcography and water colouring. The program will see the participation of Franco Carrai, artisan and owner of Studio Puck, in via Santa Spirito.


5-6 and 18-19 February 2021 – Entry times: 3.00 pm, 4.30 pm and 6.00 pm

Villa Il Palmerino, via del Palmerino 10


Garden and ‘Gaze’

Winter walks at Il Palmerino


Small-group garden tours during the ‘silent season’ at Il Palmerino, the country villa and cultural centre, once home to British writer Vernon Lee and artists Lola Costa and Federigo Angeli. Wintery views of the Tuscan hillside venue, followed by a tour through Victoria Slichter’s ‘Oltrarno Gaze’ portrait exhibition, before its partial transfer to the Oltrarno district in April. To participate: associazione@palmerino.it


Tuesday, 23 February 2021, 6.30pm (CET)

Colonica del Palmerino, via del Palmerino 6

Travelling Portraits

Vernon Lee, Virginia Woolf, Ottoline Morrell, Vanessa Bell

Claudia Tobin


On-line lecture in English: Travelling at the turn of the century without ever feeling foreign. From Il Palmerino to Bloomsbury, Dr Tobin explores the intertwining lives and views of female painters, photographers and patrons and how these women captured places and people in their art. To participate: associazione@palmerino.it


Friday, 12 March 2021, 4.30 pm (CET)

Spazio NOTA, via dei Serragli 104


Recreating Florence Abroad: The Angeli Family Workshop


Sneak preview and on-line ‘documentary forum’: At the turn of the last century, the bottega of painters/decorators Federigo, Achille and Alberto Angeli played a fundamental role in exporting Florentine artistic tastes. From the Oltrarno to the world, their restorations and art reproductions reflect the tastes of the time. Screening and round-table discussion in Italian with filmmakers Leonardo Settimelli and Pierantonio Gottardo, art historian Francesca Baldry and Giuliano Angeli, Federigo’s son. Host: Osservatorio Mestieri d’Arte (OMA) director, Pilar Lebole. Event in Italian; Film in Italian with English subtitles. To participate: associazione@palmerino.it


Saturday, 20 March 2021, 5 pm

Colonica del Palmerino, via del Palmerino 6


Paper Perspectives

Student artisans show


Inauguration of ‘pop-up’ exhibition: Young artisans from Florence’s Liceo Artistico di Porta Romana exhibit their hand-made, engraved prints, created as a spin-off of the Atelier degli Artigianelli’s grant program. Xylographic sketches and Oltrarno-inspired award-winning works on show, after hands-on laboratory and tutoring sessions with local professional artisans. Exhibition open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until April 10, from 3.30pm to 7pm. To participate: associazione@palmerino.it


Tuesday, 23 March 2021, 5 pm (CET)

Colonica del Palmerino, via del Palmerino 6


Trades of the Oltrarno

Training, then and now

Pilar Lebole, Roberto Ciulli, Laura Felici


Lecture in Italian, on-line (and on-site, TBA): Historic and present-day Oltrarno institutions dedicated to artisans and their training. A multi-century presence in Florence of age-old traditions and creative transformation: Istituto Pio X Artigianelli, Pio Istituto dei Bardi and the Scuola d’Arte of Porta Romana. To participate: associazione@palmerino.it


Thursday, 15 April 2021, 6 pm (CET)

British Institute of Florence, Lungarno Guicciardini 9


Firenze NOW! Contemporary Creativity

An artisans’ workshop event on contemporary creativity in Florence, from the artisans’ perspective. With a new generation of artisans now active in the botteghe of Florence, what are the challenges and opportunities in adapting Florence’s rich traditions of artigianato for the 21st century? Event in English. To participate: www.britishinstitute.it


Friday, 23 April 2021, 6.30 pm

Il Conventino Caffè Letterario, via Giano della Bella 20

In collaboration with Officina Creativa by Artex


Oltrarno Stories

Live springtime event at Il Conventino, an ancient monastery which now hosts artisan studios. An ‘open-mic’ story-telling experience where veteran and emerging artisans from an array of different sectors relay personal vignettes capturing the identity of Florence’s riverside district. The event – in Italian – will double as the inauguration of a pop-up show (viewable until May 9) featuring photos of artisans at work by photographers Viola Parretti and Alessandra Barucchieri and a selection of US artist Victoria Slichter’s portraits of the neighbourhood’s locals. To participate: linda@advancingwomenartists.org


Wednesday, 28 April 2021, 6 pm (CTE)

British Institute of Florence, via Lungarno Guicciardini 9


Wednesday Lectures: Fighting Spirits by Linda Falcone

Florence’s turn-of-the-century plan for urban renewal included replacing the Ponte Vecchio. It took an international campaign led by English author Vernon Lee, living at Il Palmerino, to stop plans for the ‘self-mutilation’ of medieval Florence. How would the city’s subsequent decisions affect the artisan’s district in the Oltrarno, ‘where the police wouldn’t go’, and how did the so-called ‘English colony’ of artists, writers and intellectuals create the image of Florence that continues to exist in the collective consciousness today? Lecture in English To participate: www.britishinstitute.it


About the Project


‘Oltrarno Gaze’ is a collaborative project developed by Associazione Culturale Il Palmerino and Advancing Women Artists, as part of the Municipality of Florence’s program ‘Firenze Insolita’, aimed at promoting international cultural tourism and local enrichment. Its partners include some of Florence’s most dynamic institutions: British Institute of Florence, Atelier degli Artigianelli, Studio Puck, Il Conventino Caffè Letterario di Associazione Città Sostenibile, Officina Creativa by Artex, Rossella Lari Restauro, Pio Istituto dei Bardi, Creative People in Florence, Liceo Artistico di Porta Romana, OMA – Osservatorio Mestieri d’Arte, Spazio NOTA.


A growing group of artisans for the Oltrarno Stories story-telling event…

Stefania Martelli, gold leaf and polychrome works, restoration. Silvia Loggi, multi-material mosaics; Lorenzo and Marcello Galgani, engravers of crystal and glass; Francesca Lotti, stone and ceramic restoration; Mannina shoemakers; Claudio Arezio, lute maker and restorer; Luigi Mecocci frame maker, wood artisan; Donatella De Giampietro, forte piano conservator and more…


Project Sponsors:

Municipality of Florence – Comune di Firenze, ‘FEEL FLORENCE’

Advancing Women Artists, with special thanks to Margaret MacKinnon and Donna Malin

Associazione Culturale Il Palmerino


With the patronage of the US Consulate in Florence.