This visual arts and music festival is the brainchild of composer Andrea Cavallari, pushing more boundaries with each year that passes. The 2017 theme is Breath of statues, capitalizing on new collaborations with the Uffizi, Palazzo Strozzi and Prato’s Centro Pecci. Genoa-born, Los Angeles-based guest of honor Vanessa Beecroft, known for lofty and body-centric performance art, will set up two site-specific installations in the Palazzo Strozzi courtyard (September 29, 9pm) and the Uffizi’s Sala delle Niobe (October 2, 3pm). For the full program, see the website.
Modern pilgrims, mobilize! The Slow Travel Fest returns this weekend to the small town of Abbadia a Isola, celebrating sustainable travel and the art of getting around by foot and bike. Tributes to key trailblazers in this arena will take place – among them Jack London, author of The Call of the Wild (traveler-writer-translator Davide Sapienza will give a talk about the 1903 novel on opening night, September 22, at 9.30pm). In the lead up to Sapienza’s talk, the morning highlight will be an inaugural Welcome Walk along the via Francigena stretch between San Gimignano and Monteriggioni (participants will leave at 9.30am by bus from Abbadia a Isola). Not to be missed is a discussion with Darinka Montico, the Italian blogger, photographer and explorer who made headlines when she rode a bamboo bike across Italy without a single spicciolo in her pocket. She'll be promoting her new book The Neverending Road (La Strada Infinita), which highlights her experiences biking and sailing around the world (September 23, 6pm). Live music, excursions and adventuring opportunities make up the remainder of the program, with something in the lineup for all ages and levels. See the full program and sign up for individual events on the official website.
The post-Bill Viola dust has barely settled, but Palazzo Strozzi is back in full force, launching Act III in a trilogy that began with 2010’s Bronzino exhibition and continued in 2014 with Pontormo Rosso e Fiorentino. The newest installment is The Cinquecento in Florence. From Michelangelo and Pontormo to Giambologna, which will explore the cultural period ushered in by the Counter-Reformation and the Council of Trent, with special attention dedicated to the controversial figure of Francesco I de’ Medici. Expect over 70 artworks by grand masters: besides the namesakes, the lineup features Giorgio Vasari, Santi di Tito and Bartolomeo Ammannati, among others. For more information, see Palazzo Strozzi's website.
A time-honored September tradition since 2003, this non-competitive race (with 12km and 5km route options) raises funds for breast cancer prevention, bringing the community together for a day of solidarity, sport and culture. Sideline cheerleaders can expect a sea of blue, the shade of this year’s customary Ferragamo-designed event T-shirts, which allow free admission to numerous museums and monuments on race day. The 15th edition features a symbolic “endorsement” from Electress Palatine Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici, and more current celebrity support from Sanremo Festival winner Francesco Gabbani and actor Jamie Campbell Bower. Registration is still open (for a limited time) on the website.
Florence continues to up the contemporary ante in piazza della Signoria, following feather-ruffling shows by Jeff Koons and Jan Fabre. The man of the hour is Urs Fischer, the Swiss artist who first rose to fame in 2011 with a full-size wax replica of Giambologna’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, presented at the Venice Biennale. This exhibition will feature two wax candle sculptures placed on the Arengario of Palazzo Vecchio, which will gradually melt over the duration of the show, underscoring the finite nature of our existence. A second highlight will be the 12-meter metal sculpture Big Clay, on loan from the V.A.C. Foundation Collection and in dialogue with the Torre di Arnolfo. For more information, see the MUSE Firenze website.
Paint the town rainbow during the 15th edition of Florence Queer Festival, focused primarily on LGBTQ+ films, but spanning art exhibitions, book presentations, lectures and associated events. Making its Italian premiere is Jewel’s Catch One, chronicling the life of entrepreneur and activist Jewel Thais-Williams, the face of the United States’ oldest African-American-owned disco, and featuring interviews with icons from Madonna to Sharon Stone. Another highlight will be the September 27 screening of documentary Chavela, on the influential queer Mexican singer Chavela Vargas. Singer Ginevra di Marco will be in the audience for the show. For the full program, see the website.
The Florentine is one magazine among many on Florence’s pitch-perfect publishing scene. Local free presses (Lungarno, Florence is You, Riot Van, FUL and others) will celebrate common values, mingle with readers and share inspiration at the third edition of Firenze Rivista, Italy’s only festival focused on all things magazine-related. This year’s theme is Ricerca and the program includes a variety of talks, labs, film screenings, events and guests, plus institutional involvement from the Accademia della Crusca, the Premio Italo Calvino and a collaboration with Trieste-based project Parole O_Stili. Follow program updates on the website or see our list of highlights here.
Rub elbows with Renaissance city upper crust at this world-renowned event, first launched in 1959 and now arguably Italy’s most important antiques fair. Dozens of Italian and international exhibitors will have their finest wares for sale in the sumptuous setting of Palazzo Corsini. If your mere mortal budget can’t be stretched for 16th century credenzas and sparkling French porcelain, treat the event as the magnificent pop-up museum that it is: the marketplace will be open to the public (September 23-October 1), and numerous celebrations, such as an inaugural fireworks show on September 21, will set the stage for an elegant week. For more information, see the website.