Best event in Florence this week: Divine Beauty!

The top events in Florence from September 24–30

Mary Gray
September 10, 2015





EXHIBITION/Divine BeautySeptember 24–January 24, 2016Palazzo Strozzi, piazza Strozzi, Florence

An ultra-modern remedy for Renaissance overload, Divine Beauty: From Van Gogh to Chagall and Fontana explores the dialogue between art and religion from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. This relationship was not always explicitly pronounced, but still figured heavily in movements like Futurism, Divisionism and Expressionism. The featured artists read like a ‘Who’s Who’ of the period's most prominent masters: Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Marc Chagall, Vincent Van Gogh, and Henri Matisse, among others. The exhibition runs concurrently with the upcoming Fifth National Bishops Conference, which Pope Francis will attend. 


exmanEx-Manifattura Tabacchi | ph. Mario CarovaniNONLINEAR/Tempo Reale!September 26–October 10Limonaia of Villa Strozzi, Ex-Manifattura Tabacchi and various venues in FlorenceNow in its eighth year, the Tempo Reale Festival is far from your standard concert series. This year, the always-edgy showcase of experimental music and contemporary trends focuses on ‘nonlinear’ sounds. Highlights include Sound Day, the free kick-off event on September 26 at the Ex-Manifattura Tabacchi, featuring a heady mix of auditory installation artists, the winners of a contemporary music contest run by Prato’s Museo Pecci. The day gets going at 2.30pm with a workshop on the techniques of the spotlighted artists, and the performances start at 5pm. See the full program here.


The 'Brindellone' before the Scoppio del Carro ritual on Easter morning. Ph. Mary Gray


September 27, 10am­–5pmVia il Prato 48, Florence

Easter Sunday is always a fiery-bright morning in Florence: the centuries-old Explosion of the Cart ritual takes place in piazza del Duomo. If you’ve ever witnessed this famous fireworks spectacle, you might wonder where the fabled cart is stored the other 364 days of the year. Pop over to via il Prato to get an up-close look at this curious structure, whose origins reach back to 1099. With the crowds on Easter morning, it’s tough to take in its intricate design, but now you can view it without the distractions of pyrotechnics and parades! Entry is free. For more information, call 055/2625939.


COLLABORATION/Rivista-vision Until September 26 ZAP, vicolo Santa Maria Maggiore 1, Florence 

Firenze Rivista is an event series organized by a collective of Florentine free presses and literary journals, highlighting their missions, motivations and long-term visions. The initiative aims to spark conversation and brainstorming about how these publications can work together to strengthen local culture. Two of the highlights take place this week in the ZAP courtyard: a September 25 talk (in Italian) on magazine photography (TF’s director and photo editor Marco Badiani will serve as moderator) and a presentation of the city’s thriving free-press scene (September 26, 5pm).


PARTY/Get Rivered!September 24, 7–10.30pmSerre Torrigiani, via Gusciana 21, Florence

The city is gearing up for the River to River Florence Indian Film Festival, an early December event dedicated to Bollywood, documentaries and the best of Indian cinema and culture. Now in its fifteenth edition, this colorful film festival is the only one of its kind in Italy, and it’s just launched a crowdfunding campaign to finance important extras, like bringing in a special guest from India. Support the initiative in a fabulous Indian-style serata: 15 euro gets you a tasty Indian cocktail and a sampling of spicy and savory specialties. Lounge music, dance performances and an “Indian style” dress code round out the evening. More details here.


JUXTAPOSITION/Jeff Koons in FlorenceSeptember 26–December 28Sala dei Gigli, Palazzo Vecchio, and piazza della Signoria

Best known for his balloon dogs and playful Pop Art-esque pieces, American artist Jeff Koons brings two monumental works to Florence, just as the Antiques Biennial kicks off. The towering Pluto and Proserpina, noted for its peculiar resemblance to Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabine Women, will be on display in piazza della Signoria, a few short steps from the David copy. Inside Palazzo Vecchio, the attention-grabbing Gazing Ball (Barberini Faun) will stop visitors in their tracks. This provocative piece is part of a series of plaster casts of famous Greco-Roman sculptures to which Koons has added a symbolic blue sphere. The exhibition is a rare chance to see Florence’s Renaissance masterworks juxtaposed with envelope-pushing contemporary pieces. corrilavita1

RUN/Corri La VitaSeptember 27, 9.30amPiazza del Duomo, starting point

Registration is still open for one of Florence’s most popular races, a September standard. A chance to support the city’s valiant effort in the fight against breast cancer, Corri La Vita blends charity and community in one action-packed day of sport and culture. Sign up for a 12.8 or 4.6kilometer route: with a 10 euro donation, you’ll receive one of the official T-shirts, which will grant you free access to exhibitions like Divine Beauty at Palazzo Strozzi, A Palace and the City at the Ferragamo Museum and more. For more information and to register, see



STREET PARTY/Bellissima: Via Maggio x BIAFSeptember 26–October 4Via Maggio and surrounding streets, Florence

The historic via Maggio will be particularly vibrant this week as Florence’s Antiques Biennial kicks off. Shops, galleries and restaurants will open their doors for aperitivi, lectures and a smorgasbord of other events. Throughout the week of festivities, St. Mark’s is organizing an opera flash mob; new bookshop Edizioni Clichy will turn into  an old-style literary salon; Casa Guidi will be open for visits; Tornabuoni Arte Antica hosts a jazz night; and families can watch and participate in live-painting sessions. When you get hungry, head to special tastings at Gusta Pizza and Gelateria Santa Trinita. The fun kicks off on September 26 around 4pm and continues through the night. For more information on the full program, consult Associazione Via Maggio’s Facebook page or write to [email protected]



SPEAK/Fluent Florence! September 26 Language institutes of Florence

Flaunt your fluency (or build your basic vocabulary) during Florence’s celebrations of the European Day of Languages. Organized by the city’s four main language institutes—the British Institute, Institut français, Deutsches Institut, and Centre de Lengua Española—the day will feature a series of workshops, games, food and cultural events. Polyglots: prepare to show off your skills in a multi-lingual marathon (with prizes including a language course a scelta), taking place from 3 to 7pm in the various institutes. Francophiles can watch films en langue or feast on French specialties at an aperitivo. Institutes will offer evaluation exams (by appointment). 


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