from Italy Magazine...
by Silvia Donati
New rooms opening, a valuable collection finally on view, compelling exhibitions, and, alas, a price increase: here’s what’s new at the Uffizi for 2018.
Let’s start with some not-so-good news: peak season ticket prices (March 1 through October 31) are now €20 (an increase of more than 50% since they previously cost €8). (If you travel in the low season - November 1 to February 28 - then the cost drops to €12.)
But hey, art is priceless, and the art contained in the Uffizi even more so.
And now there’s even more incredible art to see there, thanks to the opening of eight new rooms devoted to Caravaggio and 17th-century painting. Painted in a bright cinnabar red meant to evoke the fervor of that century, but also a color that was often used in fabrics and wallpapers depicted in paintings at the time, the rooms contain such Caravaggio masterpieces as La Medusa, Il Bacco and Il Sacrificio di Isacco, alongside works by Annibale Carracci, Guido Reni, Gherardo Delle Notti, Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck, and Artemisia Gentileschi, in a confrontation between Florentine and Italian art with European art.
More welcome news comes with the recent opening to the general public of ...
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He’s Back! How Silvio Berlusconi
Staged a Political Resurrection
Leoluca Orlando, the mayor of Palermo, has transformed his city from a mafia capital to a capital of culture. But these days, sitting in his palatial office in the heart of the Sicilian capital, just a dozen miles from where a high-profile anti-mafia judge was killed in a car bomb 26 years ago – an act that set off the island’s campaign to dismantle the Cosa Nostra – Orlando is ill at ease.
The recent return of Silvio Berlusconi as a major force in Italian politics is, he says, good news for the enemies he has been fighting for years. “I am not saying he is mafioso. I am not saying that,” Orlando says of the 81-year-old former prime minister. “But he is the man that the rich need, the man that the corrupt need, the man the mafiosi need.”
Not far from city hall, a political debate is under way at trattoria Gigi Mangia, where the eponymous owner, a local legend, is sipping prosecco with Maurizio Miceli, a retired lawyer, and debating the sorry state of politics. Miceli supports Berlusconi, the man known as Il Cavaliere (the knight) because – like millions of Italians – he sees the billionaire as the best of a bad set of options for Italy.
It’s Berlusconi – not the centre-left led by Matteo Renzi, nor the populist, upstart Five Star Movement – who really understands the country and its complexity, Miceli says.
“When people have a pain in their bellies, when they are hungry, the issue of ethics becomes secondary,” he says. “When they hear their pensions will go up and that Berlusconi will bring a flat tax, they don’t care about the times he has been condemned in court.”
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