Best events in Florence in February 2019

Our top picks

Mary Gray
January 31, 2019 - 13:15


February 21-23

Stazione Leopolda and The Student Hotel, Florence

Illuminate your mind this month with the inaugural edition of BRIGHT Festival, a celebration of digital arts, lighting design, electronic music and all things diamond-level-shiny. An impressive bill of guests and master class teachers includes 3D animation specialist Craig Caton-Largen, who’s worked on the special effects of, oh, just a few small films like Jurassic Park, Ghostbusters, Apollo 13 and Terminator 2, as well as Italian artist and video designer Stefano Fomasi (aka “Stefano Fake”), who’s behind many of the immersive exhibitions staged in Florence recently. Friday and Saturday night DJ sets are what’s spinning at the Stazione Leopolda, while talks, workshops and demo sessions dominate at The Student Hotel. For the full program, see



VINTAGE/Wine previews

February 10 & 12

Fortezza da Basso & Stazione Leopolda, Florence

Chainti Lovers at Fortezza da Basso


Cin cin to—'tis the season of wine previews! The Consorzio Vino Chianti’s splashy showcase Chianti Lovers (February 10, brings together dozens of producers, filling in the Fortezza da Basso to spotlight the 2018 vintage along with DOCG wines already on the market. A winter fixture for wine lovers-by-trade as well as by tipple, last year's edition brought some 4,000 visitors to the venue. Doors will  open at 4pm to the public; industry professionals can take part in earlier previews. Pre-sale strongly recommended at:


Also of "note": the storied Chianti Classico Collection, the equivalent event of the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico (, is opening to general audiences for the first time ever on February 12 at Stazione Leopolda.



CONTEMPORARY/Kiki Smith: What I Saw on the Road

February 14-June 2

Andito degli Angiolini, Gallery of Modern Art, Palazzo Pitti, Florence

Winner of the 2005 Venice Biennale and a past exhibitor at the MoMA and Fundació Joan Miró, Kiki Smith has earned her feminist stripes. Up through the 1990s, the female body—its fragility as well as its force—was the dominant theme in her bold work. More recently, the Nuremberg-born artist has shifted her focus to the full interplay between humanity, nature and the cosmos, with pronounced pacifist undertones that have been called an “antidote to times of hate and brutality.” Connecting traditional techniques with advanced digital technology, both sides of Smith’s style can be seen in the dozen jacquard tapestries Palazzo Pitti will host in the Andito degli Angiolini. For more information, see




February 23

Nelson Mandela Forum, piazza Enrico Berlinguer 5, Florence

Subsonica are Turin-born top-of-the-rock charters—“ma, ten years ago,” says TF’s Giacomo, with a wary eyeroll but also a flicker of enthusiasm. The group lands in Florence later this month on their 8 Tour promoting their (you guessed it) eighth album. Released in October, 8 has been called a return to their ‘90s roots, at least in a sonic sense: “but this time with new possibilities and new maturity,” writes Massimo del Papa of Lettera 43. With twenty years of music making behind them, Subsonica may no longer wield the same power in the pop and political spheres, yet this quintet is sure to draw nostalgic crowds. For more information and tickets, see



CULTURE/Black History Month Florence

Until March 3

Various venues in Florence

Entering its fourth edition this year, Black History Month Florence has become a February stronghold. Unlike its counterpart United States celebrations, BHMF doesn’t focus on African-American cultural contributions but instead on the broader African diaspora—and, in particular, its dialogue with and longstanding presence in Italy. At the heart of BHMF’s mission is celebration of the diversity within African and African diasporic cultures and challenging of the one-dimensional narratives that often surround them. This year’s music-inspired theme, “Adagio”—performed in slow time—invites participants to have nuanced, long-term discussions of these themes in an age of surface-level social media speak. Close to 60 events are on the program this year, spanning theatre and dance to food events, lectures, art and more: see    



BODY/Danza in Fiera

February 21-24

Fortezza da Basso, viale Filippo Strozzi, Florence

International dance showcase DanzainFiera welcomes its “teenage” years with a host of activities and exhibitions geared at all dancers and enthusiasts, from prime ballerine to fans with two left feet. The 13th edition features much of the usual choreography—multi-genre lessons and performances, auditions for coveted companies, exhibition areas—but with a twist (or a tour jeté). This time the spotlight’s on dance as therapy and a force of strength for those facing health difficulties. Also on the program: a tribute exhibition to the iconic British dancer, mime artist and choreographer Lindsay Kemp. Famous primarily for his work with David Bowie on the Ziggy Stardust world tour, Kemp spent his final years in Livorno and frequently visited Florence. See the full program on



RETURN/Antony Gormley

February 26-May 26

Aula Magliabechiana, Uffizi Gallery, Florence

From Antony Gormley's Forte di Belvedere exhibition, "Human"

Just a few years after his retrospective at Forte di Belvedere, contemporary giant Antony Gormley returns to the Renaissance city for a multi-site solo show, Being Human, curated by Eike Schmidt and Max Seidel. Twelve of the British sculptor’s human body-themed works—ranging widely in dimensions and materials—will be displayed in the Aula Magliabechiana, while two others will be placed in dialogue with the Uffizi’s permanent collection and a third with the masterpieces of the Loggia dei Lanzi. Several sculptures in the lineup have been created specially for the exhibition: look out for a 3D cast iron depiction of the central nervous system in Veer II (2018) and the ambitious allegorical work Breathe (2018), which applies the cosmic principles of the Big Bang to a single human body. For more information, see

BASKETBALL/PosteMobile Final Eight

February 14-17

Nelson Mandela Forum, piazza Enrico Berlinguer 5, Florence

The big boys (literally) of Italy’s basketball scene converge on the Mandela Forum mid-month for the Coppa Italia, known as the “Final Eight”, held over four days. “Nothing but net?” Not so much. It’s the premier basketball tournament for the Boot, consisting in quarter-finals, semis and the decisive match on Sunday, February 17. Last year’s winners were Fiat Torino, nabbing their first cup ever after a squeaker victory over Germani Baskket Brescia (69-67). 2017 champions AIX Armani Exchange Milano challenge Segafredo Virtus Bologna in the quarters (8.45pm, February 14), while Vanoli Cremona goes to court with Openjobmetis Varese (6pm, February 14). For more information and the full schedule, see and


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