Just when his addictive Sanremo-winning tune “Occidentali’s Karma” has finally stopped dominating the airwaves, Carrara native Francesco Gabbani comes to town for another concert (with his dancing gorilla in tow, we hope). On the heels of his headlining gig at this summer’s Musart Festival, Gabbani and his cheeky brand of “commentary pop” are expected to draw a crowd; fittingly, the Mandela Forum concert marks this 35-year-old charmer’s first stab at a stadium show. Gabbani’s new album Magellano will guide the set list, and concertgoers who purchase the event’s Soundcheck Package will receive a CD copy of the international version (Magellan, heretofore unreleased in Italy). For all ticketing options, which start at around 25 euro, see the Mandela Forum website.
The Florentine Wine Club kicks off a new and “note”-worthy year with Wine + Music, an evening of twisting and tasting in the heart of Sant’Ambrogio. TF’s music editor will moonlight as DJ IMDAVIS, and the sounds she spins will be handpicked to pair with the night’s wines. Award-winning producers Stefano Amerighi and Federico Staderini, both hailing from the Arezzo province, will be on tap to offer their insights on winemaking and riffs on their own musical inspirations. For just 28 euro, enjoy a full menu of creative tapas (vegetarian options available) complementing the evening’s four wines. Booking is required and space is limited; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sisters Katia e Marielle Labèque, performing January 20
The historic Amici della Musica association is gearing up for a new season of classical concerts at the always-magnificent Teatro della Pergola. Debussy gets his due in the calendar’s kickoff event: for the 100th anniversary of the famed French composer’s death, pianist Giuseppe Albanese will perform the Suite bergamasque and four preludes (4pm, January 13). Next in the lineup, the Quartetto Fonè will bring Schumann and Brahms to the stage, with help from string soloists Duccio Beluffi and Beatrice Pomarico (9pm, January 14); the event is the first in a three-part Schumann-centered series called Sehnsucht. The musicians move to Teatro Niccolini for a January 21 show with the clarinet as centerpiece. For the complete list of this month’s concerts, along with ticketing information, see the website.
Venture to the Mandela Forum to be wowed by the world’s top athletes on wheels. No, we’re not talking NASCAR: prominent skaters from the global stage will glide into Florence for the International Skate Awards, a family-friendly favorite which last year brought more than 12,000 spectators to the stadium. Two performances will take place, but will vary in content and cast. Opening night (January 13, 9pm) is reserved for the Top Champions Skate Awards, a competitive show spotlighting 2017 winners, with supporting performances by a new generation of Tuscan talents. Day two (January 14, 4pm) takes on a different timbre with Soffio di Cotone, an ensemble play fusing sport and musical theatre. Tickets start at 17 euro; for more information, head here.
25 Italian breweries and 150 craft beers will be put to the test by a panel of 100 experts over three days of tastings and competitions. Birraio dell’Anno, now in its ninth edition, is an annual showcase of the burgeoning craft beer scene across Italy. Brewers and drinkers will wait with bated breath for pro taster Lorenzo “Kuaska” Dabove’s announcement of the weekend’s top honors, Brewer and “Emerging Brewer” of the year (January 21, 4.30pm). No refined palate is required to participate, but you can work on training yours through the guided tastings and lectures on offer. Soak up all the beer samples with ample street food choices: Pork ‘n’ Roll, Osteria Il Magazzino and Stefano Callegari will all have stands. “Hop” on over to the website for more information.
The boys are back in town! Per January tradition, the premier menswear trade fair Pitti Immagine Uomo returns to the Fortezza da Basso for four days of (sealed-off-to-the-public) fashion. But there’s plenty of fun to be had outside the Fortezza, from parties and (pretty) people-watching to lectures, launch events and exhibitions. Highlights in the latter days of the fair include a “Buyer and the Beast” lecture at fashion institute Polimoda with Sarah Blair and Christopher Lacy of Barneys New York (11am, January 12, reservations required via Polimoda's website), and the Sala d'Arme goes seersucker with a Brooks Brothers photography exhibition to mark the brand’s 200th birthday (on until January 14, Palazzo Vecchio). For more information and a complete events list, see Pitti Immagine's website.
For vintage lovers and secondhand savants, hunting season is officially underway. Mega-marketplace Vintage Selection returns to Stazione Leopolda for its 31st edition, filling the venue with the castoffs of Europe’s chicest (filtered, of course, through the buying tastes of top Italian resellers, who will be here in droves). “The Next Past” is the meta-seeming theme for the January edition, which, per tradition, trails the Pitti Immagine trade shows. Besides its high potential for cool clothing scores, the fair will feature a variety of books, bags, accessories and design objects for sale. Admission is 5 euro with a special discount offered on the website.
Fusing contemporary cabaret, pop opera and classic theatre is DragPennyOpera, inspired by John Gay’s 18th-century satirical work, The Beggar’s Opera, a lampooning look at the “high entertainment” of the era. “A story of death, love, sex and money” is the tagline for the new tale, told in signature raucous style by Milan-based group Nina’s Drag Queens. At its center is Macheath, an outlaw awaiting execution, and the women he’s wronged in his life. A special promo is in place for those who attended Florence Queer Festival or the Rocky Horror Show last fall: present your ticket from either of these events in person at the box office (open 4-7pm, Thursday to Saturday) and spend just 15 euro. For more information, see Teatro Puccini's website.