More about my hobbies

I have many hobbies besides music. Most of them are related to modellism. I have explored practically every field. I started building planes, both flying and static plastic models. In this particular field I became quite clever. Sometimes I modified the kits to reproduce particular models and sometimes I built them from scratch using wood. Then I slowly switched to lead soldiers and naval static modellism. I have finished only one model of ship but it was a really difficult one. It is a model of a French flagship of 1636, quite a big model of 80cm of length for over 1m in height. I'm now working on a model of an American cutter. Anyway the field that interested me more in the end was the lead soldiers painting. Here it is an example of some of my models, representing Austrian soldiers of the second half of 19th century.

These are some more examples of my work. This set of models was exhibited, beside many others, at Museo Stibbert, here in Florence. It was a monographic exposition about medieval communal armies in Tuscany. All these models have an height of 54mm. Normally the blank lead model can be bought and the modeller paints it applying chiaroscuro technique to enhance the apparent depth of shadows. On the contrary the four models up here are unique pieces built using spare parts from other models. They represent two foreign mercenaries (first and third), the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (the second) and an Italian peasant.

There are many other model dimensions available. I used to paint also 25mm and 90mm models. This particular hobby turned out to be a good money input when I started to accept commisions by collectors. I was still a student then, and this was a most welcome source of income. I bought my first lute mostly with the money gained from this activity.

Another hobby I have is the Calcio in Costume. What is this? It is a revival of an historical tournament that was held during the Imperial army siege of Florence, in 1536. The game itself is a match between two big teams of 27 men: something between football, rugby and wrestling. It is a game that was quite popular in Renaissance Florence. It was played by the nobility too: even Lorenzo il Magnifico played sometimes in his youth. It is said that the modern football game was the English version of this old Florentine game that was introduced in England by travelers. By far the modern football has more rules and it is a lot fairer. The only rule in the Calcio in Costume is that the ball must be kept running. If not, the game is paused and restarted. Normally a Calcio in Costume match ends up in a big fight. This is a photo of one of the last games held in Piazza della Signoria for the S.Giovanni feast (S.Giovanni is the patron of Florence). Now the game is held no more there because of the risks for the artworks of the square.

Obviously I'm not one of the player! I am part of the big cortege that parades through the town center before the start of the game. In particular I'm part of the fanfare in which I played a small ebony fife. Now I'm the Maestro dei Musici, that is the fanfare's conductor. The fanfare is made up of drums and trumpets too. Here is a part of the fanfare: the yellow guys are the drummers, the red ones are the fifes and the blue ones are the trumpets. The photo was taken at Malta during one of our transfers.

Here is the fifes group. The cortege is made up of a lot of people, more than 500. It is made up of various groups representing army specialties like pike men, archibursers and knights, and some figures representative of the town magistrates, like the proconsul of the art and trade guilds, banner bearers and judges.

Here I am in my present role of Maestro dei Musici, leanding the fanfare.

And here here I am asking for a trumpet "fortissimo".

The game takes place every year on late June.

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