April 7–10. The British Institute, lungarno Guicciardini 9, Florence
Othello is the focus of this year’s Shakespeare week, featuring the screening of three film adaptations and a public reading of the play, a graduate conference on the theme of Shakespeare and his Contemporaries, an exhibit by OCAD students, and a lecture by musicologist Matteo Sansone on Verdi’s operatic adaptation of the play. Membership to the Harold Acton Library is required or, for only 10 euro, you can purchase a special Shakespeare Week membership. For the full programme of events and more information, see theflr.net/35z2xw.
ART/Slow Art Day
April 12. Various locations including the Basilica of Santa Croce, Uffizi Gallery + Palazzo Strozzi
Slow art aims to encourage a more intentional, reflective approach to viewing artwork. Slow Art Day 2014 is celebrated around the world at 11am in any time zone. On April 12, observe your assigned artworks, slowly! Then sit down with other participants to discuss them. The event is free and run by volunteers; you pay your museum entrance ticket. To sign up, click on the name of your chosen institution here theflr.net/slowartday.
SWEET TREATS/Gelato Festival
April 24–May 4. Until May 1 at International Handicraft Fair, Fortezza da Basso; May 1–4, Palazzo dei Congressi gardens
With 10 dates in Italy and 5 in Europe, the Gelato Festival kicks off in Florence on April 24! The festival will be previewed at the International Handicraft Fair at Florence’s Fortezza da Basso before moving to the Palazzo dei Congressi gardens from May 1. The event welcomes more than 100 ice-cream experts, competing in creativity and taste contests. For more information and to buy your gelato tasting card in advance, see theflr.net/gelatofestival.
FILM FESTIVAL/Middle East Now
April 9–14. Odeon Cinehall, piazza Strozzi + Auditorium Stensen, viale Don Minzoni 25c, Florence
This international film, documentary and arts festival focuses on cultural, social and political topics related to the Middle East, offering a packed programme of 50 feature length films, documentaries, animated films and short films from a whole range of Middle Eastern countries. Amongst others, well-known Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad will be guest star at the screening of his film, Return to Homs, one of the most beautifully made documentaries about the Syrian revolution. For a full schedule, see theflr.net/middleeastnow.
CULTURE/Prato comes home
From April 12. Palazzo Pretorio, Prato
After almost 20 years, works of art from the Prato's civic museum collection are back home again and will be housed in the beautiful Palazzo Pretorio for the exhibition I Nostri Tornano a Casa. The city will rediscover its historic beauty with works by Bernardo Daddi, Giovanni da Milano, Donatello, Filippo and Filippino Lippi and many more. The long-awaited collection is expected to be highly innovative. See theflr.net/palazzopretorio for more information.
DISCOVER/Unusual Places 2014
April 6. 10am–12 noon, various locations, Florence
The Tuscan Region opens four of Florence’s little-known historic buildings to the public: Palazzo Sacrati Strozzi at piazza Duomo 10; the Rodolfo Siviero house museum at lungarno Serristori 1-3; the history of Tuscan health museum at borgo Ognissanti 20; and the Leonardo Savioli studio house at via delle Romite 12a, which boasts stunning views of the Galluzzo monastery. See theflr.net/wn2tqp for information (in Italian). Call 055/4385616 or email [email protected] to book.
April onwards. East side of piazzale Michelangelo, Florence
Spring has finally arrived in Florence, and what better way to enjoy the warmer weather than to relax outdoors? The beautiful iris garden opens to the public on April 25 until May 20, so don’t miss the chance to experience the beautiful floral atmosphere and discover another green spot in the centre of the city. Located on the eastern side of piazzale Michelangelo, see theflr.net/irisgarden for more information. Florence's botanical gardens are now open; every day from 10 to 7pm, except Wednesday; entry costs 3 euro during April. See theflr.net/botanicalgarden for more.
HOLIDAY/Festivities in Florence
Every year, the traditional Scoppio del Carro, or ‘Explosion of the Cart’, takes place on Easter Sunday (April 20). At 11am, the bishop of Florence lights a dove-shaped rocket, which ‘flies’ down a wire colliding with the cart, setting off a magnificent fireworks display. On April 25, Italy celebrates Liberation Day with a national holiday. April 30 welcomes Notte Bianca to Florence; shops and museums will be open late and the city streets will be filled with street performances, live music, food stands and more until sunrise the next day. May 1 is national holiday, so feel free to hit your 'snooze' button!
VOLUNTEER/TF clean up!
April 22. 2pm, Cascine Park, Florence
The Florentine joins forces with Florentine volunteer institution Angeli del Bello for a spot of spring cleaning at the Cascine park! Join us at 2pm at the Cascine tram stop to spruce up Florence’s biggest and most beautiful green space. Team with the TF staff to cut the grass, clean up the stone benches and give something back to the city we all love! For more information, call 055/2306616 or email [email protected].
MICHELANGELO/Jackson Pollock: The Figure of Fury
April 16–July 27. Palazzo Vecchio and ex-Tribunal of San Firenze, Florence
Jackson Pollock and Michelangelo are the two unusually paired protagonists of this exhibition, Jackson Pollock: La figura della furia, making the 450th anniversary of the death of Michelangelo. At first glance, the link between the two men may seem unclear; both were great artists but with very differing styles. In the exhibition, Pollock’s action painting stands in direct comparison to Michelangelo’s High Renaissance. The ‘fury’ of the figure created by Michelangelo can be seen in Pollock’s work; he then assigns a new image to the intimate power and fury in the painting. The exhibit is considered an experiment intended to compare these two geniuses and their respective periods. For more information, see theflr.net/pollock.