DOWN-HOME/Florence Folks Festival
Ex-Manifattura Tabacchi, via delle Cascine 33-35, Florence
Which of Florence’s many summer music festivals will ultimately be the most memorable? The answer may be “blowin’ in the wind”, but the Florence Folks Festival has a good shot. The homespun event, now in its third edition, features four days of rootsy revelry. Adding new intrigue in year three is a venue change from Ponte di Varlungo to the bare-bones, industrial backdrop of the Ex-Manifattura Tabacchi; it’s just one of many city-backed revival projects in store for the space this summer. The program kicks off with a show by the duo Dente & Guido Catalano (July 25): not quite readings, nor concerts nor plays, their performances mix elements of stand-up comedy and social commentary with acoustic music. Day two brings the now-annual Extraliscio event (July 26), a show presenting folk standards re-interpreted with a rumba sound and a dash of experimentation. Colombian artist Elkin Robinson, New Yorker Nickodemus and Salento producer Popolus round out the program highlights. The #RuffinoCares responsible drinking campaign is also alive and kicking at the festival with its branded bikes and baskets containing alcohol testers, virtual reality vizors and informational brochures. For more information, see www.florencefolksfestival.it.
Ph. Andrea Bardi
The Florentine's summer partnership with historic winery Ruffino continues this week: speaker at the next #WineWednesday event will be Benjamin Wohlauer, Consul General of the United States of America in Florence, who will highlight 200 years of shared history between Tuscany and the United States. Attendees can expect an informal talk and free tasting in the open-air, summery setting of Serre Torrigiani in Piazzetta, a "secret urban garden" sandwiched between La Rinascente and Zara (piazza dei Tre Re, accessible from via dei Calzaiuoli, via Orsanmichele and piazza della Repubblica). The event is part of the #RuffinoCares campaign for a responsible approach to wine culture and consumption; see more details here.
In 1487, Egyptian sultan Qayt Bay sent Lorenzo the Magnificent a giraffe in a gesture pointing to the positive relations between the Medici court and the Islamic world. The giraffe, a then-relatively unknown animal for the population of Florence, died just two months later, but piqued several painters’ interests: Giorgio Vasari, Piero di Cosimo, and Francesco Botticini all depicted and celebrated the creature. Centuries later, in the 1830s, the Viceroy of Egypt gifted Grand Duke Leopold II with another giraffe, today preserved in the Natural History Museum of La Specola, but which has moved to the Uffizi as a centerpiece of the exhibition Islam and Florence: Art and collecting from the Medici to the 20th century. Strategically-gifted giraffes are just the beginning, though: the show is a wide-ranging overview of art from far-flung corners of the Muslim world, art in which many prominent Florence-based collectors, including Frederick Stibbert and Stefano Bardini, took an interest.
The 29th edition of Florence Dance Festival continues to shake things up in the Grand Cloister of Santa Maria Novella, its new stage this year. This week's highlights include a New Generation Night spotlighting the young talents of Toscana Dance Hub, Compagnia DNA and Antitesi (July 21, 9.30pm) and a July 19 performance by the Milan Ballet. #ICYMI: get more background on Florence Dance Festival's 2018 scope in our interview with festival co-founder and artistic director Keith Ferrone; view the full program here.