Tchaikovsky Research

Florence (Firenze) is a provincial capital and the principal city of the Tuscany (Toscana) region of Italy.

During Tchaikovsky's lifetime the city was part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany until 1860, when it was incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy (of which Florence was the capital city from 1865–71).

Tchaikovsky in Florence

Tchaikovsky was very fond of Florence, and sometimes stayed there for long periods:

From Until Notes
27 April/9 May 1874 early/mid-May 1874 On his first visit he declared Florence to be "very pleasant" [1].
4/16 November 1877 6/18 November 1877 Stopping with his brother Anatoly en route from Paris to Rome.
9/21 February 1878 23 February/7 March 1878 Travelling with his brother Modest and Nikolay Konradi. Between visits to the Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Vecchio, Basilica di San Lorenzo, and the Muzeo Nazionale, he found time to work on the Twelve Pieces, Op. 40 for piano, and Six Romances, Op. 38. Towards the end of his visit, a young street singer (Vittorio) provided the text and tune for Pimpinella (No. 6 of the Op. 38 set).
20 November/2 December 1878 16/28 December 1878 Staying at the Viale dei Colli, Restaurant Bonciani, at the invitation of Nadezhda von Meck, who was in residence at her nearby Villa Oppenheim. While working on his Suite No. 1, he conceived the idea of the opera The Maid of Orleans.
19 February/3 March 1881 20 February/4 March 1881 A short stay at the Hôtel New York, while travelling from Vienna to join Modest Tchaikovsky and Nikolay Konradi in Rome.
18/30 November 1881 19 November/1 December 1881 Another overnight stop, travelling from Venice to Rome.
16/28 March 1882 20 March/1 April 1882 Stopping at the Hôtel Washington, en route from Sorrento to Vienna.
18/30 January 1890 26 March/7 April 1890 The composition of the opera The Queen of Spades was begun the day after Tchaikovsky's arrival, and the rough draft was completed on 3/15 March; the vocal-piano reduction was also made entirely in Florence (4/16 March to 24 March/5 April), although the orchestration was begun later in Rome. During this extended visit, Tchaikovsky also found time to visit the Cirque Celebrissimi, the Teatro Alfieri, Teatro Niccolini, Teatro Pagliano, and the Alhambra, and on 28 February/12 March he was delighted to hear a street singer perform Pimpinella. On the last day of his stay he returned to the Uffizi Gallery, but declared that "I must confess that painting, especially old painting, is essentially completely beyond my understanding and leaves me cold" [2].


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Notes and References

  1. Letter 351 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 27 April/9 May 1874.
  2. Letter 4083 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 27 March/8 April 1890.