Your Thursday forecast: best events in Florence

Our top picks for July 20-26

Mary Gray
July 20, 2017 - 8:14

MONUMENTAL/MusArt Festival
Until July 23
Piazza Santissima Annunziata, Florence

Interior of the Basilica of Santissima Annunziata | Ph. via MusArt

Piazza Santissima Annunziata picks up the pace this summer with the second MusArt Festival, a multidimensional showcase of music, art, culture and gastronomy. Key names in the lineup are headliner Paolo Conte, giving his sole concert in Italy this summer (July 20) and Sanremo Music Festival winner Francesco Gabbani (July 21), whose tune “Occidentali’s Karma” has been stuck in our collective heads for months. Included in the price of tickets are guided visits to some of the square’s monuments: also, music junkies won't want to miss the second installment of the "Because the Night" exhibition, which showcases photographs from some of the most memorable concerts in Florentine history (until July 23 in the Salone Borghini at the Istituto degli Innocenti). For more information, see the website.


LANDSCAPES/Llewelyn Lloyd
Until January 7, 2018
Villa Bardini, costa San Giorgio 2, Florence

Despite his wonderfully Welsh name, Llewelyn Lloyd was born in Livorno and a member of the Postmacchiaioli movement during the 20th century. British-Italian and best known for his landscapes (think rose-hued sunsets, seaside paintings and striking views of Florence), Lloyd came to the Tuscan capital at the turn of the 20th century and ended up adopting it as his home. The Villa Bardini exhibition brings together 62 works from various private and public collections around Italy—particularly Livorno and Florence, the cities most closely associated with the painter. Paintings on display reflect Lloyd’s interest in chromatic relationships and creating compositional balance—and the landscapes have an easy, natural complement in Villa Bardini’s lush views. For more information, see Villa Bardini's website

SOUND/A Sonic Map of Alexandria

Until September 3
Museo Novecento, piazza Santa Maria Novella 10, Florence

Set up in the courtyard of the Museo Novecento, this installation was inaugurated on July 14 with nearly 200 people in attendance. The Alexandria Streets Project, its "mother project", is an artistic initiative of sonic mapping that began in the namesake city's streets in the autumn and winter of 2012, nearly two years after the revolution of 2011, under the Mohamed Morsi presidency. Audio excerpts which last an average of about 10 minutes each investigate the relationships between people and space, creating an archive of stories, voices, music and sounds that all capture an Egypt in transition. Listen closely to samples of the traditions that still color the city; sounds of animated post-revolution squares; bookshops, cafes and street booths that keep the memory of the old city alive, and more. Locally, the installation is part of the Middle East / Voices and Sounds series and the Estate Fiorentina calendar. More information here.


VIDEO/Final days of Bill Viola: Electronic Renaissance
Ends July 23
Palazzo Strozzi, piazza Strozzi, Florence

Bill Viola, The Deluge (Going Forth By Day) 2002, 36’. cm 370 x 488. Courtesy Bill Viola Studio 

The most buzzed-about show of the season is coming to a close. Pro tip: crowds of latecomers will inevitably take over the place on Sunday, so if you're among those who haven't seen it yet, carve out some time before the weekend rush.
In Bill Viola. Electronic Renaissance, classical and contemporary interact in a way that only a place like Palazzo Strozzi could pull off. Viola’s art relies heavily on space, music and sound effects, but at its core it’s about people, chipping away at humanity’s big questions.  Expect a comprehensive overview of the artist’s prolific career, beginning with his early experimental work in the 1970s and reaching up to his 21st-century installations. The most compelling aspect of the exhibition, however, is Viola's dialogue with past masters – his works are juxtaposed with the likes of Pontormo and Paolo Uccello. More information here.

GOSPEL/His Eye is On the Sparrow

July 21, 8-10pm
Chiesa Battista, borgo Ognissanti 4, Florence

There's no shortage of outdoor classical music concerts this summer, but the seasonal uptick in Bach, Beethoven and their ilk may have you craving some other genres. Head to the Baptist church in borgo Ognissanti to take in a dynamic, animated program by Florence Gospel Choir, led by Nehemiah Brown. This particular evening will pay tribute "Sister Mary Clarence" herself (a classic role by Whoopi Goldberg in the Sister Act movie series), as well as the women of the gospel world and the joys of the genre. Note: lively as it will be, this is not strictly a performance, but a worship service as well. More information on the Facebook event.


Intrigued by our bilingual literary magazine TheFLR. The Florentine Literary Review? Head to Prato on July 26 for the next stop on the magazine's tour: editor Alessandro Raveggi and publisher Marco Badiani will speak at Dieci / Ottavi.

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