Your Thursday forecast: best events in Florence

Our top picks for February 21-27, 2019

Mary Gray
February 21, 2019 - 7:21


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




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




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




Catch the poignant documentary The Things We Keep, by "boomeranging Florentines" Alessandro Cassigoli and Casey Kauffman, on Sunday, February 24 at 7pm at La Compagnia (via Cavour 50r).  

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