HOGWARTS/Quidditch World Cup
June 27-July 2
Piazza Santa Croce and Cerreti sports complex, Florence
“Muggles” still in mourning after never receiving their Hogwarts acceptance letters will have a second shot at experiencing a highlight of the Harry Potter world. Quidditch, a competitive game which the wizards and witches of Harry’s school played on broomsticks, is now a bona-fide, full-contact sport played in the “real world” across dozens of countries (disappointingly, with no flying involved). The International Quidditch Association (IQA) regulates the game across the globe and every year hosts a World Cup for its members. This year the IQA World Cup will take place in Florence (fittingly, just after the final match of Florentine calcio storico, another near-otherworldly sport). 31 teams from around the world will bring their Beaters, Seekers, Chasers and Keepers to town, fighting for the championship title currently held by the Australian Dropbears. For more information, see the official Facebook event. Ticket info here.
Get a sense of Florence’s game-changing hospitality center and community space, The Student Hotel – Florence Lavagnini, at the hub’s inaugural event, BedTalks Florence. In the spirit of letting the student in all of us live forever, the informal series of talks—held in beds, John Lennon and Yoko Ono style—encourages speakers and community members from diverse industries to share ideas and acquired wisdom. Featured are over 100 presenters from a range of professional fields (humanitarian, fashion, design, business, publishing, medicine and music, just for a start), all of whom will have the chance to win a coveted “365 Pack” to put their ideas in motion: 365 days of free office space, 365 hours’ use of meeting rooms, 365 cups of coffee, 365 paper clips and 36.5 percent off on hotel rooms. Rounding out the program are food and drinks, music, performances and more. Register (required) here.
Part sacred arts festival, part community celebration, the Festa della Cultura San Giovanni Battista pays homage to Florence’s patron saint John the Baptist, culminating with his feast day on June 24. Per tradition, the Church of Santi Apostoli is the festival’s spiritual center, but many events will be dispersed throughout downtown. A program highlight is the art exhibition Peace, Light and Hope, in which Florence-based artists explore themes related to John the Baptist and Florentine inspiration; in a noteworthy development for 2018, the show will be held in the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno (June 18-22, Salone al primo piano). A guided tour offering the chance to meet participating artists and explore the Accademia’s refined setting at Palazzo dei Beccai will take place on June 21 (10am-12 noon). The same prestigious venue will also host a multimedia concert on the history of the birth of opera in Florence (June 18, 9-10pm, Sala delle Adunanze). For the full program, see the website.
Now in its 14th edition, The Season is NYU Florence’s summer series of readings, concerts, plays, lectures and tours, all capitalizing on the university’s sprawling campus at Villa La Pietra, the former home of British aesthete, scholar and adoptive Florentine, Sir Harold Acton. June highlights on the program include a performance of Romeo and Juliet (June 22, 8pm) by longtime Season collaborators The Continuum Company and Word(s), Image(s), Intuition, a presentation and discussion of Whistle Down the Wind, a visual album from Joan Baez, followed by a related performance (June 15, 9pm). Another major section this month is The Writers’ Season, a series of talks and readings from literary figures, authors and poets, this year held in partnership with poetry festival Voci Lontane, Voci Sorelle (June 4-18). All events offer free entry but require advance booking (firstname.lastname@example.org). For the full program, head here.
World-famous menswear fair Pitti Uomo will enter its 94th edition this month, bringing a fresh crop of buyers, bloggers, models, designers, journalists and tastemakers to Florence. You’ll recognize the “Pitti people” by their colorful suits and socks, cuffed trousers and calculated nonchalance as they congregate around the Fortezza da Basso fashion village, unfussed about being photographed (so it would seem). Highlights of this edition will include the opening of two new rooms at the recently inaugurated Gucci Garden Galleria in piazza della Signoria, plus a special focus on Scandinavia and a public exhibition, Fanatic Feelings, in the Santa Maria Novella complex (June 13-July 22). Although trade shows and VIP parties are closed to the general public, expect much fashionable fanfare around town, off-circuit events and some of the best people-watching you’ll be privy to this summer. For more information, see Pitti Immagine's website.
LattexPlus Festival / Ph. Marilù Parisi
Titans on the international electronic and dance music scenes will come to Tuscany for the second LattexPlus Festival, a two-day, open-air event set in Sesto Fiorentino’s Villa Solaria (and its welcome shade). With a focus on DJ sets, the event will bring big names including Antal, co-founder of Rush Hour Music of Amsterdam and known for techno and house roots topped off by indigenous touches from Brazil, Africa and Japan; Londoner Josey Rebelle, who fuses breakbeat, techno and house genres; and Detroit techno giant Kenny Dixon Jr. aka Moodymann, who is known among industry insiders for making his “distinctly black imprint on techno and house.” Other names to watch for: Roman Flügel, Maceo Plex and Italian-turned-Londoner and NTS Radio host Elena Colombi. For the full program, see the website.
Get your Vinyasa flow going and celebrate wellness in all its forms in a fabulous outdoor setting. Oxfam Italia will host the sixth edition of Oriental Garden, a fundraising event supporting the organization’s fights for justice and equality while showcasing shiatsu, reiki, massage and various forms of treatments and exercises borrowed from the Eastern world. With an entrance fee of 10 euro, visitors will have the chance to sample Shakti dance or try out acroyoga, a discipline fusing acrobatic gymnastics, yoga and Thailandese massage. Pilates, gong baths and plenty of other healing exercises are on the program; just take your own mat and you’ll be good to go. While most group activities are open and run throughout the day, reservations are recommended for individual-focused items, such as naturopathic medicine treatments. For more information, see Oxfam Italia's website.
Deceased German artist Fritz Koenig inadvertently created an international icon of survival when his cast bronze sculpture The Sphere (1971), located in Liberty Park at the World Trade Center, survived the attacks of September 11, 2001. But his oeuvre is far more than just this famous orb. The Uffizi Galleries will celebrate Koenig’s prolific career with a retrospective spread across the gallery and the Boboli Gardens—billed as the very first of its kind, since Koenig was known for being private, rarely attending art fairs or taking part in exhibitions. Works on display will span from the 1950s up to just before his death in 2017; many of them exhibit Italian influence, making Florence a fitting setting for the first large-scale show in his honor. Drawings, models and sculptures of varying sizes will make up the exhibition, which will explore a wide range of themes including solitude, mass movement, the Holocaust and romantic passion. For more information, see the Uffizi website.
Held between Florence and Palermo each year and hosted by the Società Italiana dei Viaggiatori, Festival del Viaggio is an annual festival where travel takes center stage. The festival’s customary lectures, cultural events and exhibitions are still on the program—look for Armenian Lights and Shadows, a photography show by Andrea Ulivi, at the Teatrino della Società Machiavelli—but this year also brings several exciting new events and guided tours, several of which will be offered in English. A “Jodorowski walk” will take place through downtown Florence at sunrise (June 9, 6am, email@example.com to book), complete with Tarot cards to add a psychic dimension to the experience. This year the festival has also teamed up with Vetrina Toscana to offer a guided food-themed tour and lunch along the Tuscan stretch of the via Francigena (June 3, departure from Pieve a Coiano; call 329.2903283 to book). Additional highlights include the customary barefoot walk through the Cascine (June 10) and an exhibition of Tuscan landscape painting by Paolo Solei, set up in the garden of Serre Torrigiani (opening June 9 at 6pm). For the full program, see the website.
Escape the stifling city heat and head to Fiesole for fresh air and live music in its Roman amphitheatre. Music Pool and Prg srl have teamed up for the 71st edition of Estate Fiesolana, a series of six concerts and theatrical productions held above the city of Florence in arguably the most remarkable setting of Fiesole. The sunset performances, paired with awe-inspiring panoramic views, are the perfect way to spend a summer’s evening, though TF suggests starting with a Spritz or other aperitif in the amphitheatre’s neighboring bar. This year’s Estate Fiesolana lineup includes Bobo Rondelli, Stefano Bollani, and a Fabrizio De Andre’ tribute from Neri Marcorè, among others. Bonus: the Archaeological Museum, part of the same Fiesole complex, will occasionally host special night openings with free entry for ticketholders during the events. For more information, visit Bitconcerti.it.