Monday, February 27, 2006

Florence Museums: the Uffizi Gallery

The Uffizi Gallery, one of the world's finest museums, traces its origins to 1560 when Cosimo I de' Medici commissioned Giorgio Vasari to plan a large palace with two wings, on the river and almost in the air, to house the Florentine State's administrative and judicial offices (known as "Uffizi").Vasari was also responsible for the building, five years later, of an overhead corridor passing above Ponte Vecchio and the Church of Santa Felicità, to link the Uffizi to the Pitti Palace, the new residence of the Medici family, ending in the Boboli Gardens.

The true nucleus of the gallery, however, was created by Francis I, Cosimo's son, who, after transforming the top floor of the Uffizi into a place where one could stroll, with paintings, statues and other objects of value, commissioned Buontalenti to create a gallery to hold furnishings and works of art.
The same architect was responsible for the Medici Theatre, built in 1586 in the section that is now the first and second floors of the east wing of the museum.
In 1589, Ferdinando I, Francis' brother, had the terrace near the Gallery roofed and closed; it later became the Loggia of the Maps.
At the end of the other wing of the gallery is a hanging garden created above the Loggia dell'Orcagna.

The Uffizi now house a huge artistic heritage consisting of thousands of paintings from medieval to modern times, a great number of antique sculptures, illuminations, and tapestries.
It is also famous for its collection of self-portraits, which constantly grew through new acquisitions and donations of contemporary artists, as well as for another remarkable collection, that of the Cabinet of Drawings and Prints.

Address
Uffizi Gallery
Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6
Tel. +39 055 2388-651/652
Fax +39 055 2388-699

Opening Times
Tuesday - Sunday: 8.15 - 18.50
Vasari Corridor: For groups by appointment only
Contini Bonacossi Collection: For groups by appointment only

Booking and information
Tel. +39 055 294883 - fax +39 055 264406

Guided Visits
These can be organised by contacting the Education Department of the Curator's Office (055/2388658), or the booking service (055/294883) or authorised private guides.

For more information about the uffizi gallery and the other Florence Museums visit
http://www.firenzemusei.it/

Just a short note to inform you that our bed and breakfast is just 500 metres from the Uffizi Gallery.

A Florence View bed and breakfast Staff
http://www.bed-breakfast-florence.com

Monday, February 20, 2006

Mugello Circuit

Just a few kilometres outside Florence, and a new emotion is ready for you.

"THE MUGELLO CIRCUIT, YESTERDAY AND NOWADAYS"

Originally the Mugello racetrack was of a different style: it was a road circuit.In 1914, the first motor race was held on this famous road circuit. Conceived at the beginning as a regularity race, the Mugello road race was interrupted at the outbreak of the World War I. The challenging and selective competition knew its golden years in the postwar period, when best drivers challenged one another on the 66 km. Dusty track, which went from Scarperia uphill to Firenzuola, and then through the Futa Pass downhill San Piero and Scarperia.

The legendary names linked to this historical race still echo today: Campari, Brilli Peri, Enzo Ferrari (who won in 1921 on an Alfa Romeo class 4.500), Ascari, Borzacchini and perhaps, most importantly, Emilio Materassi, the local idol.The prestige of the "Mille Miglia" dimmed the Mugello road race after its 1929 event and even the competitions held after 1955 on the reduced 19 km. Track were not favorable. In 1960' s due to the disappearance of the "Mille Miglia" and the increasing popularity of road races, sportfriendly managers, such as Pasquale Borracci and Amos Pampaloni, were convinced to repropose the Mugello competition on the classical track of 66 km. The new events were quite successful even though they suffer from the absence of the most prestigious Italian mark, the Cavallino, which officially took part only in the competion of 1967. It was destiny that the histories of the Mugello racetrack and Ferrari would meet again, but it was necessary to wait over twenty years.The seven events held in the '60 drew hundreds of thousands of spectators in the green valley of Mugello. They were attracted by the performance of the sport and touring cars in battle for the supremacy and their hearts beat for the drivers of these cars so near to the production model, like the little modified Abarth. The track allowed spectacular driving performances, which drivers such as Enrico Pinto, Nanni Galli, Ignazio Giunti, Mauro Nesti and Arturo Merzario exploited to create their lasting and well deserved reputation.The enthusiasm of the Tuscan spectators was devoted to the most spectacular drivers. The 'dragon' Sandro Munari, was particularly favored in his exhibitions on the difficult and challenging rounds of the Apennines with the Fulvia Barchetta, designed by Fiorio and Maglioli.On the last events, the most exiting was in 1968, when the Alfa Romeo car, driven by Luciano Bianchi, Galli and Nino Vaccarella, won after an incredible recovery over the Porsche, driven by Rico Steinemann and the Swiss Jo Siffert.As in the story of the ugly duckling, where the protagonist becomes a beautiful swan, the Mugello road circuit of 1920's becomes a modern racetrack.

Nowadays "the Mugello" represents a step forward in the conception of circuits where safety, technology and facilities combine to satisfy the requirements of car and motorbikes races. Designed and realized according to the devices developed by the sciences of road racing, the International Mugello Circuit guarantees the maximum safety for drivers and spectators alike, thanks to its wide run-off areas in the most demanding corners of the track ant its service road for the rescue all along the 5.245 m. Track.

Thanks to its positioning characterized by a total variance in altitude of 41,19 m., the Mugello circuit is an ideal place for the most rigorous test. Designed in 70's and later greatly remodeled by Ferrari, "the Mugello" is one of the most scenic, modern and safe racing facilities in the world. Fully operational year round, the Mugello circuit is the regular test centre of Ferrari F1, the most important manufacturer of MotoGP and World Superbike, other prestigious manufacturer cars italian and international.

To date the Mugello racetrack has hosted the Formula 5.000 Championship (which baptized the renovated circuit on June 23rd, 1974), the Formula 3.000, the Formula 2, the Fia-Gt and has been the only circuit in Italy to host the ITC. The track runs over 5.000 m through the forests and green areas. The elevated areas along the track permit the spectators to take part fully in the race: to experience strong emotions ad protagonists.The facilities have been built with leading technology and the office building is fully equipped with multifunctional facilities.

http://www.mugellocircuit.it

A Florence View bed and breakfast Staff - http://www.bed-breakfast-florence.com