Take a break from “juggling” everything in your everyday life and escape to the circus. The Cascine will soon host the new edition of contemporary circus festival CirkFantastik!, an Estate Fiorentina fixture that turns the park into a bona-fide Big Top for 11 days. International companies specializing in clowning, cabaret, music, visual arts and even “extreme theatre” will come together to put on performances for the young and young-at-heart. Opening night brings an “Anthropomorphic Cabaret” show by the Cordata F.O.R. company (with encore shows set for September 14 and 15), and a festive FuoriTenda (“off-tent”) events schedule will run throughout the festival. More at www.cirkfantastik.it.
Savor the final days of summer with the grand finale of the traveling Gelato Festival, which sees ice cream makers from around Europe compete for best-on-the-continent bragging rights. Finalists have been selected over a series of spring and summer itinerant stops in Italy, Germany, Poland, Austria and England, and now they return to the Renaissance city, birthplace of gelato, to go for the gold. The winner will advance to the Gelato Festival World Masters 2021, which will bring together past first-place winners (since 2011) of the All Star round. If you’re rooting for the home team, the lone Florentine is Paolo Pomposi of iconic Gelateria Badiani, whose “Dolce Vita” flavor will be up for debate. If you’re feeling heretical, Roman gelataio Vincenzo Lenci’s strawberry and red pepper flavor sounds worth sampling. See www.gelatofestival.it for more information.
Volleyball isn’t exactly the first sport that springs to mind when you hear “Italian stadium.” And yet! Legions of male volleyball players from around the world will land in Florence this month for the FIVB Men’s World Championship, co-hosted by the Italian and Bulgarian federations—the first time in history that two cultures have teamed up for the role. This is the third time that the Boot has brought in the international volley boys, holding past editions in 1978 and 2010. If you’re not an assiduous follower of the sport, some FIVB-approved MVPs to watch for are Maxim Mikhaylov of Russia, Yuki Ishikawa of Japan, Facundo Conte of Argentina and Micah Christen of the U.S. For match details and ticket information, see www.mandelaforum.it.
Move over, Molise. There’s another overlooked Italian region that wants its well-deserved time in the spotlight: Basilicata! Lucani get shown some love during the new edition of Settimana Lucana (Basilicata Week), a series of events, tastings, talks and more highlighting the happy-go-lucky spirit of this southern region, which The New York Times named “Italy’s best-kept secret” (before publishing that statement, anyway). A major highlight will be a busy evening at Le Murate featuring an apericena, Walter De Stradis book presentation, photo exhibition and Mediterranea Quartet concert (8pm, September 13). Worth noting: Matera, formerly the region’s capital, is European Capital of Culture for 2019. See www.associazionelucanafirenze.org for more details.
A skip and a jump from Palazzo Pitti, intersected by via dello Sprone, piazza della Passera is the type of cutesy square where idyllic Italian daydreams take place. For a few days every September, this cafe-dotted, charm-packed piazza sets up an open-air stage hosting poetry slams and readings, live music and performance art, set against a backdrop of general neighborhood revelry and refreshment from the area’s numerous eateries and bars. The festival’s laid-back setup always makes it a meeting point for reunions among friends who haven’t seen each other since before ferie began. Head there every evening and see who you run into; for more information, see www.theflr.net/piazzadellapassera2018.
The Florentine's bilingual literary magazine TheFLR. The Florentine Literary Review is celebrating its second "birthday" this weekend with a packed program of open-air, end-of-summer events. Each issue of TheFLR (the fourth is currently being prepared) spotlights contemporary Italian authors and poets, publishing selected works in both Italian and English. Pop by OFF BAR - Lago dei Cigni for the chance to enjoy aperitivi with some of these authors (7pm both days), to listen to lively readings (9pm both days) or mingle with other literature lovers at the party (10.30pm, September 15) and concert (10.30pm, September 16). For more information, see the Facebook event.
Outdoor adventurers will flock to Monteriggioni for the Slow Travel Fest on September 21 to 23. Learn more here.