Guest Speakers

October 10th 2012

posted Oct 6, 2012, 10:07 AM by Sylvia Brighina

October 10th
Sara Piccolo Paci

Teacher, author and curator Sara Piccolo Paci will be speaking on Fashion, Bodies & Communication
Sara has a degree in Liberal Arts and a PhD in Art History and has been a Visiting Professor for NYU and FIT, Florence and New York! She teaches everything from anthropology (Everyday Lifestyle from Prehistory to Today) to art (The exoterical language of Art: symbols) marketing (Psychology of Dress) to mending (Theatrical Tailoring), fashion (History of Costume and Fashion) to fun ? (Love, Sex and Marriage in Renaissance Florence)

Although she is multilingual (italian, english, latin, french, german and spanish) Sara will be presenting to us in english
For more information about this fascinating woman check out her website:

May 9 Speaker

posted Apr 15, 2012, 2:31 PM by Jenna Basmagy

Marco Tofani, a business man from Prato who works in the textile industry.That’s one side of his personality. He is not only a passionate historian who believes in the cycles of life, but he's also interested in history and goes to cemeteries thriving to attempt to understand something about the people beyond their grave stones. Marco always questioned what had happened to the soldiers after the second world war, were their loved ones informed, were their records found, what happened to those foreign soldiers who had died on Italian soil? One grave stone in particular at the American cemetery in San Casciano caught his eye:

John Spiegel was his name
From New Jersey he came
In Udine he was shot down
Today in the Falciani cemetery
John Spiegel’s name is found

It’s not the Spoon River Anthology, but Marco Tofani who would make annual visits to the American Cemetery in San Casciano, starting from the sixties.
Certain tombs caught his interest. He would always go back to them, year after year … He would eventually get acquainted with their names and was always interested in their unwritten stories ...until one day he actually found the nephew of Sergent John Spiegel…

April 11 Speaker

posted Mar 14, 2012, 4:12 PM by Jenna Basmagy

Giuliana Paolieri, founder of the Associazione Fabio Jonathon, onlus

Following the accidental death of her son, Giuliana Paolieri found herself at a crossroad to "go mad or react."  She chose to react  ". . . [it's] certainly easier to let go and be overwhelmed by things. Reacting means making a huge effort to collect what is left of you and reduce it to something or someone. No matter what, the important thing is to act."

She choose Sri Lanka as the focus for transforming her personal pain into a beautiful service and has been working to help improve the lives of children and families there since 2006. In 2009, Giuliana started the Associazione Fabio Jonathon to realize her goal of building a school for them.  When accepting our invitation to speak this is what she wrote:   "It is unbelievable how the human being can find the strength to transform a pain into a positive act, when you feel so bad you deeply need to do something to realize you are still alive and you can be useful to someone else."  Giuliana will be sharing her journey with us.

March 14 Speaker

posted Feb 10, 2012, 1:40 AM by Jenna Basmagy   [ updated Sep 21, 2012, 6:10 AM ]

Francesco Civita, curator of the Japanese collection in the Stibbert Musem will be speaking to us on THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE SAMURAI CULTURE.

Ever wonder what all the women were doing while men were waging wars?

Ever wonder what it might have been like to a female warrior?

Ever wonder if there were women samurai?

Well, wonder no more because these questions and more will be answered March 14th when Francesco Civita, curator of the Japanese collection in the Stibbert Musem will be speaking to us about the role of women in the samurai culture.

February 8 Speaker

posted Jan 23, 2012, 1:10 AM by Jenna Basmagy   [ updated Sep 21, 2012, 6:10 AM ]

Malò dal Verme, whose small farm, about a mile down a dirt road from Poggio alla Croce, between Greve and Figline, is perched on a hilltop wedge shaped like the bow of a ship, with spectacular views over the Arno valley and of the mountains of Pratomagno and the Appenines. This delightful place specializes in producing extravirgin olive oil and irises (although they also have very photogenic chickens!) Malò will tell us how she renovated her farm and restored the olive groves, devastated by the freeze of 1986. 
We’ll be able to taste the results, and learn the nitty-gritty about olive oil since she is also a professional olive oil sommelier. We’ll also see and hear about two of her other “products”; irises, which are used to create high-end perfumes and cosmetics, and traditional woven baskets, the art of which she learned from an ancient Tuscan basket weaver named Giotto (!). During the restoration of her farmhouse, the central part of which dates from the 11th century, Malò created two charming small apartments on the ground floor which host guests who come to completely relax or to take part in the activities of the farm (an agritourism with the emphasis on agri!) 
To read more you can visit but better yet, come and experience Malò in person! 

January 18 Speaker

posted Dec 16, 2011, 1:23 AM by Jenna Basmagy   [ updated Sep 21, 2012, 6:10 AM ]

FAWCO, the Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas is a network of independent volunteer organizations that was born out of the American Women's Club in London. FAWCO was founded in 1931 by the club's president Caroline Curtis Brown, who believed that enlightened women, working cooperatively throughout the world, could do much to help achieve international peace.   

Today FAWCO represents over 15,000 members from more than 75 clubs in 40 countries worldwide. Since 1997, FAWCO has had special consultative status to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.  The FAWCO Foundation (independent philanthropic arm of FAWCO) has donated more than $1,000,000 in education awards and development grants worldwide since its establishment in 1967.

Representing FAWCO will be Deirdre Pirro and Jocelyn Fitzgerald.  Deirdre is an international lawyer, freelance writer and columnist for The Florentine. She also is the FAWCO representative for AILO (American International League of Florence, ONLUS).  Jocelyn Fitzgerald, an active member of AILO and St. James Church will be speaking about the FAWCO Target Water Project of providing safe drinking water in war torn Cambodia.
 At the meeting, Network members will be invited to purchase tickets to the FAWCO fundraising event in support of this project.

February 24th
Undercroft 'St. James Church' at 7.30 pm
Via B. Rucellai 9,
F.A.W.C.O.  FUNdraiser
Tickets 30 Euro   
Delicious food and Delirious Dancing
Support our Development Grant and 
'Wells for Clean Water' project.
      Contact: Deirdre 339 6621794 or Jocelyn : 347 9009448

December 14

posted Nov 10, 2011, 4:36 AM by Jenna Basmagy   [ updated Nov 10, 2011, 4:38 AM ]

December Party for Network Members

November 9 Speaker

posted Oct 16, 2011, 6:51 AM by Jenna Basmagy   [ updated Oct 19, 2011, 3:15 PM ]

SIMONE TADDEI  8th generation Florentine will be bring a piece of his leather workshop to our meeting.  He will demonstrate how he makes his beautiful hand-crafted leather boxes using traditional Florentine products and techniques that he learned from his father who learned from his father.   So in essence we will have three generations of tradition present.  Simone is an interesting man and a true Renaissance man. It will be a fascinating and fun evening, so do plan to come hear his presentation on the Renaissance craft of leather box making! 

Taddei Leather
via Santa Margherita, 24
50122 Florence
055 2398960

October 12 Speaker

posted Sep 25, 2011, 12:50 PM by Jenna Basmagy

Florinda Nestico, actress, tour guide and more, who will introduce the Network audience to Signoria Granduke Cosimo de' Medici and his Spanish wife, Eleonora di Toledo. The Granduke and Duchess, in full costume, are brought to us by the Museo dei Ragazzi, an Association founded in 2001 by the Comune of Florence which today is actually one of its partners.

The Museo dei Ragazzi's programs allow visitors to fully experience daily life, family relations, and the cultural climate of sixteenth century Florence by speaking directly with its main characters at the Palazzo Vecchio, including Cosimo and Eleonora. The Network audience will be instructed on how to address the royalty during "question time" with the dukes, as there is a formal protocol to follow.

Florinda Nestico wears many hats (including one as Network member Rosalind's daughter!) and we'll have the chance to talk to her about her many activities after our audience with the Dukes. All in all, it will be an evening NOT to be missed!!

June 10 Anniversary Party

posted May 16, 2011, 2:50 AM by Jenna Basmagy

June 10 Network is hosting a private party for members and their guests to celebrate it's 20th Anniversary! There will not be an open meeting in June. Meetings will recommence in the Fall of 2011. Have a great summer!

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