Stazione Leopolda, viale Fratelli Rosselli 5, Florence
Whet your appetite for what’s sure to be a palate-pleasing edition of Taste, Pitti Immagine’s annual fair celebrating Italian food, wine and all the finer things in life. You might say the 14th edition has a “grainy” focus—Planet Bread. It’s a democratizing staple with staying power, from biblical times to the cutting boards of today’s starred chefs. Numerous workshops, talks and demos with a “daily bread” theme will take place, but the program goes beyond pane and baking. 400 exhibitors from around Italy will be on hand showcasing their products (purchase your favorites post-visit in the Taste Shop), and a packed “Fuori di Taste” off-circuit program takes the main attraction’s momentum to shops, bars and restaurants around town. For the full program, see www.pittimmagine.com.
They may have a goofy, Smurfs-esque look about them, but 35 million audience members met in more than 20 countries over 25 years is nothing to scoff at. World-renowned performance art company The Blue Man Group lands in Florence later this month while on its first-ever Italian tour. The far-flung troop has scores of “blue men” who circle the world in addition to giving ongoing theatrical productions in Berlin, Chicago, New York and a host of other cities. Their synergetic shows typically combine music, cinematic elements, and avant-garde technology and appeal to a range of age groups and interests. Night shows will run at 8.45pm on March 28, 29, and 30, with matinees at 4.30pm on March 30 and 31. For more information, see www.mandelaforum.it.
Post-Oscars season is upon us and the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, particularly Rami Malek’s Best Actor turn as Queen’s charismatic frontman, is still at the center of much of the movie-business buzz. But Mercury’s original magnetism was afforded more by stage than screen. We Will Rock You, a musical by Queen and Ben Elton, is a Greatest Hits roundup in theatrical format, having made its Italian debut back in 2009 in Milan at a show attended by Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor. If you couldn’t get enough of your Freddie fix at the cinema, or missed the movie entirely, here’s your chance to relive the British rock giants’ repertoire through the story of a struggling group of artists living in a dystopia where music is all but set to “mute.” For more information and tickets, see www.teatroverdifirenze.it.
By the end of March, spring will hit Scandicci in full force—and Florence can thank the Dutch for it. A tulip and daffodil-lined wonderland with close to 300,000 of the former and 20,000 of the latter will take over the garden around Castello dell’Acciaolo for the second consecutive year. Through the Wander & Pick initiative (www.wanderandpick.it), visitors can pay a nominal contribution to pick out two tulips of their choosing; additional flowers cost one euro per picker—likely less than your corner florist, and for a limited time. Donations will go toward the expenses of the Associazione P.A.C.M.E. Le Tribù della Terra ONG, including the bulbs themselves, park maintenance and educational initiatives and workshops. A closing date is difficult to predict; early birds will catch most of the tulips.
In collaboration with TheFLR. The Florentine Literary Review, Gonzaga University in Florence is launching GIFTalks: Incontri con scrittori americani a Firenze, a new series of lectures from top international writing talent. First in the lineup is the Massachusetts-born, Milan-based Lisa Halliday, author of Asymmetry (2018), which The New Yorker called “a literary phenomenon” for both the way the story unfolds and the way it’s been received. In the publication’s words, Asymmetry—Halliday’s debut novel—is an event. It follows the story of twentysomething Alice, a young professional in publishing, who embarks on an affair with the much older author “Ezra Blazer,” against the backdrop of early-aughts world events. Entrance is free and the talk is in English with Italian translation; for information, see www.theflr.net/gif-lisa-halliday.
45 titles from the current South Korean cinema scene are set to make a splash at Florence Korea Film Fest, now entering its 17th edition. Actor Jung Woo-sung, popular in both his native country and Japan, will be among the special guests this time, with five films in the lineup showcasing his acting trajectory, with the generational drama Beat (1996) and the erotic thriller Scarlet Innocence among the highlights. Another program high point will be the festival’s grand finale, the Italian premiere of Beautiful Days, documentary director Jero Yun’s first work of fiction. The festival will feature an eclectic mix of independent and big-ticket films, per tradition; a photography exhibition, Imaging Korea, with 100 contemporary-minded works from seven Korean artists; and a “Horror Night” for adrenaline junkies. For program details, see www.koreafilmfest.com.
March sticks with its “food mood” after Pitti Immagine Taste leaves the building. Organic mega-market FirenzeBio will return to the Fortezza da Basso for its second edition (2018’s inaugural event counted some 14,000 visitors). In its updated format, the market-showcase will feature numerous B2B opportunities as well as chances for the general public to interact with top-tier producers. Expect a greater focus on gourmet dining this year (beyond just product sampling, taste tests and shopping) and a broader marketplace featuring organic or sustainably made furniture and home accessories, cosmetics, pet products and more. For the full program, see www.firenzebio.com.
As the year marking the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death kicks into high gear, the Vinci artist’s name is everywhere. Palazzo Strozzi bucks the trend a bit, shifting the spotlight to Andrea del Verrocchio, a celebrated Renaissance artist who had a large workshop of which Leonardo was part; the pupil, of course, would go on to outshine the master. While offering keen insight into the germinal stages of Leonardo’s career, Verrocchio, Master of Leonardo will also have a special section at the Bargello highlighting pieces and key works from the many artists in Verrocchio’s 15th-century circle, including Domenico Ghirlandaio and Sandro Botticelli. For more information, see www.palazzostrozzi.org.