You can learn more about the incredible gardens and collection of Villa La Pietra by going to the following URL: http://lapietra.nyu.edu/.
The Acton Collection decorates the interior of Villa La Pietra (pictured above) with more than 5000 objects from a wide range of styles and media including early Italian panel paintings, Flemish tapestries, Renaissance polychrome sculptures, French dresses, Art Nouveau silver, Chinese ceramics, and Baroque furniture. The La Pietra Garden is one of the most celebrated in Italy. A Renaissance revival garden, it reflects the tastes of the large Anglo-American community that lived in Florence at the turn of the nineteenth century.
All talks will occur on the grounds of the 57-acre La Pietra estate, with most events occurring at the conference center on campus.
A plenary lecture by Garrett Stewart, James O. Freedman Professor of Letters at the University of Iowa, will occur at the historic Odeon Firenze in the tourist heart of Florence. Here are details that you should consider to ensure you make the most of this event:
This conference will have speakers coming from 16 different countries. Each country has its own conventions for scholarly work, which will ensure that we will witness a variety of ways to explore our fields of research. Let’s seize this opportunity to enjoy our differences and learn from each other.
LENGTH OF PAPERS
Let’s aim to be respectful to each other and to the audiences at your panels: you each have 20 minutes to deliver your paper. Please aim to stick to that time. Only one session has panels with four people in a two-hour slot, the rest of you are on 90-minute panels with three people speaking. By sticking to 20 minutes, you allow time for questions from your audience. Let’s make the most of this international gathering by ensuring we have time to talk to each other. We will have panel chairs inform you when you have reached the 20-minute mark, at which point we ask that you wrap up your presentation.
If you are scheduled to chair a panel, we ask you to contact the members on your panel so that you can arrange for brief introductions. See attached for an Excel sheet that has everyone’s emails listed. Let’s first deliver all papers on a given panel, followed by Q&A after the last speaker has finished. Panel moderators should also facilitate the conversation that follows and do what they can to make sure that everyone on a panel gets a chance to speak. We are very thankful for your help on this score—each moderator is, in effect, running that small part of the conference, so it is an important task that will help everything go off without a hitch.
When you register, you will receive your personalized schedule of the panels you will attend (which you picked when you registered through RegOnline). You can no longer make changes to your schedule. We have a team of 26 volunteers who will be checking your names against the list of people who have signed up for any given panel: sorry, no panel hopping at this conference!
Given the extra security requirements of holding a conference in a working museum, you must take care always to wear your name badge. You will need it to get onto the grounds when you arrive at La Pietra. Your names will also be checked against the list of people signed up for any given panel.
LUNCHES AND REFRESHMENTS
Since there are no restaurants near La Pietra, we will be providing you with refreshments and snacks throughout the conference, including during the hour and a half preceding the first panel.
All rooms will be equipped with some form of projection/screen. You must bring your own laptops if you are planning to show images or run a PowerPoint/Keynote and we suggest that you bring a back-up of your presentation on a flash drive. If you have an Apple laptop, you are responsible for bringing the appropriate adaptor/dongle. We also suggest that, if you have tech to set up, you arrive to your panel early to make sure everything is working. As we get closer to the date, we’ll let you know how to contact people in case of tech troubles: we will have IT support at each building. Two rooms (Aula Giardino and Aula Fiesole) have monitors rather than projectors (hook-up, though, is the same). Two rooms do not have audio (sala Bolognese and Aula Le Vedute).
Located approximately two miles uphill from central Florence, the NYU Florence campus has entrances at Via Bolognese 106 and 120. We expect that most of you will opt to travel up and back in the private buses we have chartered [see (v) below], but your full range of transport options runs as follows:
(i) if you are hardy, you can walk (Google Map reckons it will take around 40 minutes by foot from the Duomo in the center of Florence to Via Bolognese 106). Please take special care on the upper reaches of Via Bolognese: the sidewalk is narrow and there is considerable traffic.
(ii) you can take a taxi (one way costs €15-€20). From downtown Florence, tell your taxi driver “La Pietra, Via Bolognese, 120.” Your credentials will be checked by security guards at this entrance gate, and then your taxi can drop you either at Villa Sassetti (VS), next to this gate, or drive you down to Villa La Pietra (VLP) for drop-off there. For the return trip, ask the guards on the VLP reception desk to call for a taxi; it will pick you up outside Villa Natalia where the registration desk will be (Via Bolognese, 106).
(iii) if you have a rental car, you can drive to Via Bolognese. For security reasons, you cannot park inside the NYU Florence campus, so you will need to find a parking spot on the street and then walk to the entrance at 106. If you have a scooter, you will be able to park it inside the gate at the Via Bolognese 106 entrance.
(iv) you can take the public “ATAF” bus (http://www.ataf.net/). Number 25 (direction “Pratolino”) runs regularly from Via Giorgio La Pira, two minutes’ walk from Piazza San Marco in central Florence. Before you board, buy your bus ticket (a single-use ticket for €1.20, or a four-ride ticket for €4.70) from an authorized sales point (marked with an “ATAF” sticker) in bars, tobacconists, newsagents etc. Validate this ticket by sticking it in the machine inside the bus (note that the multiple-ride ticket has four “ends” for this purpose). The trip takes 10 minutes; get off at the seventh stop, “La Pietra,” and walk downhill for approx. 100 paces (please take care) to the Via Bolognese 120 entrance.
For the return trip, walk down to the stop at Via Bolognese 96, opposite the gas station.
(v) majority option: you can take one of our private chartered buses from one of two downtown Florence locations; it will drop you at Via Bolognese 96 (by the gas station), and you will then walk up hill approx. 200 paces to the campus entrance at Via Bolognese 106. Please walk in single file and take care: the sidewalk is narrow and there is considerable traffic.
For the return trip, walk down to Via Bolognese 96 to board the bus.
Our downtown pick-up/drop-off points are stationed as close to the center as the municipality of Florence will allow; depending on the location of your accommodation, this still may involve a 10-15 minute walk for you.
(i) pick-up point #1: Piazzale Montelungo
This is to the north-west of the city center, very close to Florence’s main railway station, Santa Maria Novella.
(ii) pick-up point #2: Viale Spartaco Lavagnini
This is to the north of the city center (approx. 10 minutes walk from the Accademia).
A purple sign carrying the words “NYU FLORENCE; NAVSA/AVSA CONFERENCE” will appear in the front window of all of our buses.
The full timetable for our bus service has been sent to you as an email attachment: you will also find a hard copy of this document in your conference registration packet (to be collected from the registration desk, stationed at Villa Natalia just inside the gate at Via Bolognese 106, on your first arrival at the campus).
Please note that we have arranged for 7 x 50-person buses to move between downtown Florence and NYU Florence at peak arrival and departure times; we have, in addition, made arrangements for a 30-person bus to run on a continuous loop between these times.
To help you learn the ropes, each of these first five bus trips will be superintended by a friendly Victorianist volunteer.
You will have noted from the “Transport” section of this email that getting from central Florence to NYU Florence and back presents a few challenges. If you have concerns about mobility, then traveling to and from the conference by taxi is likely to be your best option.
The campus itself is not easy to negotiate if you have difficulty walking up and down steps or up small inclines. We are using three villas as conference locations: Villa Sassetti, close to the Via Bolognese 120 entrance, is around 15 minutes’ walk from Villa La Pietra or Villa Ulivi; it takes around 10 minutes to walk between Villa La Pietra and Villa Ulivi. We have made sure that there is always at least a 30-minute gap between sessions, but we encourage any of you with mobility concerns to select consecutive morning or afternoon sessions that occur in the same building.
If you know that you will require assistance to move between buildings during the day, please contact us now. NYU Florence has two golf-carts; as long as we are given advance notice, we will find a way to work out a schedule for you.
We look forward to greeting you all and we thank you for your help as we work together to make this conference a success.
Dino Franco Felluga and Catherine Robson