Best events in Florence, February 16–22, 2017

Our top picks for the week

Mary Gray
February 16, 2017 - 10:37

LITERARY/Firenze Libro Aperto
February 17-19
Spadolini Pavilion at Fortezza da Basso, viale Filippo Strozzi, Florence

The city writes a new chapter with the first edition of Firenze Libro Aperto, a new festival dedicated to the publishing world and its protagonists. More than 100 publishing houses will gather in the Spadolini pavilion for three days of book and magazine presentations, round tables tackling timely political and social issues and meetings with authors. Among the international guests in the lineup are American pulp author Joe Lansdale, best known for his suspense novels, and Moroccan writer and poet Tahar Ben Jelloun, winner of the International Dublin Literary Award for Cette aveuglante absence de lumière (This Blinding Absence of Light). For the full program, see the website


GO DUTCH/Italian Hours

February 18-May 19
NIKI Istituto Universitario Olandese di Storia dell'Arte, viale Torricelli 5, Florence

After a recent residency at the Dutch Institute for Art History in Florence, contemporary artist Ramón van der Ven will be back in town to showcase 28 of his works carried out while clocking “Italian Hours”—the title of the show. In a quasi-impressionistic style, van der Ven sought to capture some of Florence’s most emblematic monuments and spaces, as well as lesser-known corners of the city, at varying times of day. Like so many Florence residents and visitors, van der Ven has fallen in love with the city's soft Tuscan light, and you'll see it emphasized in his paintings. "Italian Hours" will be open on weekdays from 9am-1.30pm and 2-5.30pm. For additional information, email or call 055.221612. 

COMMEMORATION/Honoring the Electress Palatine

February 18
Civic Museums of Florence

Too often, contemporary visitors and residents look at Florence's status as an art capital and chalk it up to little more than chance. But it was the foresight of the last Medici descendant, Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici, Electress Palatine, that largely created the Florence we know and love today. She signed the Family Pact of 1737, granting the Medici's art collections to the state on the condition that they remain in Florence "for the ornament of the State, the utility of the public and to attract the curiosity of foreigners." On February 18, the anniversary of her death, Florence's civic museums will honor her legacy by offering free admission (see a list of the civic museums here). Major Medici buffs will want to take part in an afternoon event in the Sala di Bona in the Palatine Gallery at Pitti Palace – a meet-and-greet with the Electress Palatine herself. Participation is free, but visitors must still purchase tickets to the Palatine Gallery. The event will run hourly at 3, 4 and 5pm. Call 055/2768224 or 055/2768558 to make reservations.


February 16, 6pm
Villa La Pietra (NYU Florence), via Bolognese 120, Florence

The second edition of Black History Month Florence continues with Conductors, a conversation with Rome Prize Fellow Nicole Miller. Miller's short video The Conductor prompts audiences to examine their own biases and stereotypes about African-American men. The discussion will delve into the societal forces at play that shape these stereotypes. Reservations are required: call 055/5007219 to book your spot.


MUSIC/UnePassante + L'Albero

February 18, 10.30pm
Glue Alternative Concept Space, viale Manfredo Fanti 20, Florence

Ph. Sara Mautone

With a fresh new album Seasonal Beast just released on Florentine indie label Chic Paguro, trio unePassante will bring their arty electro-pop sound to the stage at Glue. Fronted by guitarist and singer Giulia Sarno – a Sicilian global citizen who's found her niche in Florence – the group will give a double concert with fellow Florence-based group L'Albero. Sign up for annual membership in Glue's cultural association (10 euro) and you'll have free entry to this concert and all events.

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