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 was very fond of Florence, and sometimes stayed there for long
- 27 April/9 May–early/mid May 1874 — on his first visit he declared Florence
to be "very pleasant".
- 4/16 November–6/18 November 1877 — stopping with his brother Anatoly en route
from Paris to Rome.
- 9/21 February–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 for piano (Op. 40), 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–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–20 February/4 March 1881 — a short stay at the Hôtel New York, while travelling from Vienna to join Modest and Nikolay Konradi in Rome.
- 18/30 November–19 November/1 December 1881 — another overnight stop, travelling
from Venice to Rome.
- 16/28 March–20 March/1 April 1882 — stopping at the Hôtel Washington,
en route from Sorrento to Vienna.
- 18/30 January–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 arrangement 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" .
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- Letter 351 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 27 April/9 May
- Letter 4083 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 27 March/8 April