Famous 19th-century Americans in Florence: Horatio Greenough, sculptor


From the book by Clara Louise Dentler: Screen Shot 2018-08-15 at 3.30.23 PM


Where Greenough lived, worked, or exhibited in Florence:

  1. in a villa a mile out of Florence, thought to be opposite the Collegio della Querce on Via Piazzola
  2. he built a beautiful octagonal studio for the exhibition of his works at the corner of Piazza della Liberta’ (then called Piazza Maria Antonietta) and Via Santa Caterina
  3. places he lived include Casa le Blanc on Costa San GiorgioPalazzo Pucci-Baciocchi on Via de’ Pucci; and the popular Villa Brichieri.



Piazza Beccaria, Firenze, and the former Alhambra Theater

Here’s an aerial photo of Florence’s Piazza Beccaria, taken sometime between 1945 and 1980.

The photo can be dated because on the left we see the home of the G.I.L. (Gioventù Italiana Littorioand, on the other side of the avenue, the Alhambra theater.  Both structures were demolished in order to build the Archivio di Stati, constructed in 1980.



The Gioventù Italiana del Littorio (Italian Youth of the Lictor) was the consolidated youth movement of the National Fascist Party of Italy, established in 1937 to supervise and influence the minds of the young. The GIL was in particular established to counteract the influence of the Catholic church. You can read more about the organization and the building in Florence here:



The Teatro Alhambra was built in 1889 and demolished in 1961. Here are a couple of vintage photos of the theater:



Il famoso teatro, al suo posto ora c’è il palazzo del giornale La Nazione.



And here’s a program from the Alhambra:


ALHAMBRA. Programma. Lunedì 2 giugno 1890.

More on Alhambra theater here: http://www.chnt.at/wp-content/uploads/eBook_CHNT19_Bardi.pdf

Roman Holiday; Vacanze Romane

In any language, it is divine!


Roman Holiday, 1953, William Wyler, Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, poster


Roman Holiday, 1953, William Wyler, Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, poster


Mandatory Film Credit / Collection Christophel/Alinari Archives


Image date:  1953

Place of photography:  Italy


Collection:  Christophel/Alinari Archives



The actres Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) in the movie "A Roman Holiday" directed by William Wyler, Italy 1953


The actres Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) in the movie “A Roman Holiday” directed by William Wyler, Italy 1953


Mandatory photo credit: Ullstein Bild / Alinari Archives

Place of photography: Rome

Collection: Ullstein Bild / Alinari Archives



The actors Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in "Roman Holiday", directed by William Wyler, USA 1953


The actors Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in “Roman Holiday”, directed by William Wyler, USA 1953


Mandatory photo credit:  Archiv Friedrich / Interfoto/Alinari Archives


Image date: 1953

Place of photography: Rome

Collection:  Interfoto/Alinari Archives


Audrey Hepburn in "Roman Holiday" for which she won an Oscar in 1954., Personalities, Audrey Hepburn


Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” for which she won an Oscar in 1954


Mandatory photo credit:  2005 / TopFoto / Alinari Archives


Image date: 1954

Collection:   TopFoto / Alinari Archives



Did you know? Firenze

When looking through a photograph album at the Alinari archives, I was shown this photograph of the Duomo in Florence taken sometime before 1874 when the album was created.





When you zero in on the facade of the Duomo, things get very interesting.  Instead of the brightly colored and highly embellished facade on the cathedral that one sees nowadays in Florence, this photograph reveals that the facade was left unfinished and unembellished after the Renaissance.



The following photo, of the Duomo today, shows the facade that was added to the building in the 1870s.


Fratelli Alinari, Firenze, archivi fotografici

Today I had an amazing opportunity for art historians: I got to take a guided tour of the Fratelli Alinari headquarters here in Florence.

What a story.

What an archive.


As you can read on the sign above, this photographic business began in Florence in 1852.  What you might not know is that this firm was the world’s first of its kind.

When you consider that it was only in 1839 that that Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre developed the first commercially viable photographic process, you understand that these Florentine brothers were astute businessmen, beginning their firm in 1852.

If you want a good source of info, go here: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/term_details.aspx?bioId=185116



The shop is still in its original location in Florence, not far from the train station.



When you pass into the courtyard, you find the company’s bookshop, where you are offered an array of great posters and books, and also the actual entrance to the Alinari business.




Our guide showed my group some of the earliest cameras ever made and described the methods used to make glass plates.





He also showed us some of the rooms where the vast archives are kept, including rooms where the hundreds of thousands of glass plates are stored.


There used to be a museum of the Alinari photographs, but according to Google Maps, it is permanently closed.  Fortunately, the online archives are vast.

The Alinari firm was the first to be entrusted with photographing some of the world’s finest collections of art, including the Vatican and the Louvre.


The large object our guide (in green shirt) is showing us was the lens that Alinari built in the 19th century to photograph the Sistine Chapel ceiling.  Very impressive.