Gear up, gourmands: mega-food fair Taste returns to Florence for its 13th edition, “wilder” than ever with the new theme “Foraging”. The idea of contemporary hunting for ingredients and the use of wild plants in the kitchen will color everything from the layout to talk and workshop topics. Circa 400 exhibitors from all over the Boot will bring their best products to town, and a host of off-circuit events (Fuori di Taste) will run during, and in the days leading up to, the main event. Sample to your heart’s (and stomach’s) content as you wind your way through the main venue, then stock up on favorite products in the Taste Shop next door. For the full lineup, see the Pitti Immagine website, and head here for TF's top Fuori di Taste picks.
Sample a slice of South Korean culture at the 16th edition of Florence Korea Film Fest, which this year brings a whopping 40 feature-length and short films to town. Organized by Taegukgi – Toscana Korea Association, the showcase kicks off a series of Eastern-centric film festivals under the Primavera Orientale umbrella. Special guest at the 2018 edition is actor Ha Jung-woo, who will join producer Won Dong-Yeon and director Kim Yong-hwa at the European premiere of Along With the Gods: Two Worlds, the story of a firefighter’s untimely death (March 24). A retrospective celebrating Jung-woo’s artistic evolution will also run, remembering seven of his most memorable roles in movies such as the love story Time (2006) and erotic thriller The Handmaiden (2016), directed by the festival’s previous guest of honor, Park Chan-wook. All films will be subtitled in Italian and English. For the full program, see the website.
Photo via WorldSpeechDay website
Training for a TED Talk? Contemplating a political career? Perhaps you’re already a regular Cicero, but most of us could stand to sharpen our public speaking skills. With the tagline “Thoughts for a better world,” World Speech Day is a global celebration of the power of words. The event will take place in various institutional venues: Palazzo Vecchio, where students from Florentine schools will take the stage (9am-12noon); the Regione Toscana auditorium, where professionals in urban planning, architecture and engineering will share their points of view (1-4pm); and the Fondazione Zeffirelli, where figures from the food and wine worlds will offer a taste of their thoughts (5-8pm). Most speeches will be in Italian, but expect English input from the organization’s global president and guest of honor, Simon Gibson. More information here.
Chocoholics are counting down the days until the return of Florence’s top festival for sweet-toothed types. Formerly known as the Fiera del Cioccolato, the fair gets an upgrade this year, along with a new name, “Firenze e Cioccolato”. From choco-sicles to brownies, bars to spreads and back again, chocolate in all its forms will be up for sale (and some discreet sampling) in myriad forms and flavors. Besides browsing the booths, visitors can take part in master classes with chocolate chefs and connoisseurs (they’re a thing) and watch cooking shows (including an exciting new entry this year, “Etniciok,” which will explore how chefs from Florence’s ethnic eateries use chocolate in their native cuisines). For the full program, see the website.
After the runaway success of his Sanremo tune Il Congiuntivo, a humorous play on the perils of misusing the Italian subjunctive—with a viral video to match—Florentine Internet sensation Lorenzo Baglioni brings his trademark blend of pop music, social commentary and cutting humor to the stage. The show takes place to celebrate his new album release, Bella, Prof!, a 12-track project with an accompanying TV program on Sky Uno. A former teacher, Baglioni takes his didactic prowess to original and amusing places in each song, explaining Kepler’s laws, the human cardiovascular system, apostrophe usage and other school-system fundamentals in a flurry of different musical styles. Tickets start at 15 euro; for more information see the Obihall website.
Hollywood has seen the fury and then the fallout of #MeToo, followed by the formation of sister movement #TimesUp, which has garnered support from scores of A-listers. The momentum will continue with the 90th Academy Awards, set to take place on March 4 in Los Angeles. Following the ceremony, which airs at an inconvenient hour for Florence’s film buffs, Cinema Odeon will host its customary “Oscar Week” with limited screenings of all the previous year’s most decorated movies. Many of the major contenders have already run at the Art Deco theatre, so there could be a chance to catch that critical darling you might have missed. Watch the Odeon website for details and showtimes, which will be released after March 4.
Explore the overlapping histories of Spain and Italy in the 16th century through the era’s águilas del renacimiento español. Spain and Italy in Dialogue in 16th Century Europe highlights political and intellectual trends of the period through works by a range of artists, including Alonso Berruguete, trained in Italy and among the early adopters of a Renaissance aesthetic in Spain, and prominent turn-of-the-century figures Vicente Carducho and Francisco Pacheco. Divided into eight sections, the expansive exhibition begins by contextualizing artistic norms in Spain at the beginning of the 16th century, before the Hapsburg era began. A common thread in the show is the role of Italian artistic tradition in educating and influencing Spanish artists of the time. One area also takes a focused look at their physical movements between the two countries, as seen in the example of El Greco. More information here.
Journey through the artistic twists and turns of the 20th century in Italy at Palazzo Strozzi’s forthcoming exhibition, which culls together 80 works from such renowned artists as Renato Guttuso, Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Enrico Castellani, Mario Merz, Mario Schifano, and Piero Manzoni. Dawn of a Nation explores the vibrant culture and spurts of creativity in Italy over twenty years, starting in the immediate aftermath of World War II and continuing through the protests of the 1960s and the pivotal shifts of 1968. The artistic narrative begins with the sharp divisions between Realism and Abstraction, next touching on the Informal and Pop periods and moving onward through Arte Povera and Conceptual Art. For additional information, see Palazzo Strozzi's website.
Easter this year is on Sunday, April 1. Stay tuned to The Florentine for a forthcoming guide to traditions, special museum openings and more. For first-timers, take a look at last year's edition for an idea of what to expect.