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.
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.
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.
Ph. Marco Badiani
Florence pays tribute to its patron saint John the Baptist every year on June 24, his feast day. The day kicks off with a parade through the city center, but the real highlight comes at night when a fireworks show is shot from piazzale Michelangelo and crowds look on from the lungarni below (start time is around 10pm; arrive early if you don't want to be stuck standing on your tiptoes). In the afternoon at 5pm, the 2018 calcio storico final will play out between the Rossi (Reds) of Santa Maria Novella and the Verdi (Greens) of San Giovanni; tickets are on sale exclusively at the Box Office headquarters at Le Murate, via delle Vecchie Carceri 1, and a maximum of 5 tickets per person is allowed (details here). If "Renaissance city rugby" isn't really your style, the Duomo will host its customary San Giovanni concert (10.30am), this year a team effort among the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (information: 055 2302885 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
By day during the height of summer heat, the swarms of people in piazzale degli Uffizi can be a deterrent. But by night, the Giorgio Vasari-designed square has always had a vastly different feel – a magic that's even more pronounced now that the venue is serving as an open-air movie theatre for the second consecutive year. Apriti Cinema! features a packed program of nightly films, a mixed bag of selections from Florentine festivals (Middle East Now, Festival dei Popoli, Lo Schermo dell'Arte, Florence Queer Festival, among others). The numbers and dates have more than doubled since last year's inaugural edition (with 48 films scheduled, compared to last year's 23) and all movies will still be shown in original language with Italian subtitles. Entrance is free while the limited seats last – but the view is grand even from the gallery steps.
-The celebration Festa della Cultura San Giovanni Battista, a fusion of art, spirituality and community in honor of Florence's patron saint, is ongoing until June 24.
-The soon-to-be-repurposed Manifattura Tabacchi will host an Open Day on June 23 (10am-midnight) for all those curious about the giant investment involved and the cultural initiatives to come.
-Last-minute tickets are still available for the June 21 Millennium Sunset Concert at San Miniato al Monte.