Estate Fiorentina 2016

Six months of “summer” heat

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May 26, 2016 - 12:50

Though the solstice is still a few weeks away, Florentine summer is already in full motion, and this year, it’s a staggering six months long. Sand and surf season may grind to a standstill post-Ferragosto, but the spirit of summer lives on through the end of October—thanks to Estate Fiorentina.

The annual arts and cultural kermesse launched its longest-ever edition on April 30 with the “First Night of Summer,” once known as Notte Bianca, taking on a more literary and less party-oriented focus. This year, Estate Fiorentina’s full program features more than 750 events taking place in some of Florence’s most vibrant venues—from local icons (Palazzo Vecchio, the Bargello) to contemporary hubs (Museo Novecento, Le Murate) to places undergoing their own Renaissance (Palazzina Ex-Fabbri, piazza del Carmine). Artistic director Tommaso Sacchi confirmed that Estate Fiorentina is “Italy’s largest interdisciplinary festival”: these highlights alone will keep your calendar full all season long.

Follow the official website for program updates.


Don't miss...

XL Day
June 5


Electronic music comes up from underground at the second edition of this marathon mega-fest, organized by Tenax and held at the Visarno Arena in the Cascine Park. This year’s main guests are The Martinez Brothers, a dynamic DJ duo born and raised in the Bronx. Others include Siberian DJ Nina Kraviz, a fixture on the international club scene; 26-year-old Tuscan producer Marco Faraone; and the “mainstream-resistant” Germans Santé and Sidney Charles. XL Day will shake the Cascine from noon to midnight. Ticket information is available here.

Street Art Fest
June 16 and 17

Dust off your skateboards and “street clothes.” One of the key new entries to Estate Fiorentina this year is the first Street Art Fest, organized by Controradio. The broadcasting group will host two days dedicated to hip-hop culture, urban art and skateboarding in the Cascine Park, anchored at the Visarno Arena. Art workshops and music will be on the program, and some surprise appearances from local street artists are sure to crowd-please.

Cena Bianca
July 6

Ph. by Michele Monasta Ph. by Michele Monasta

Event organizers Venti Lucenti will paint the town white once again this year at this elegant evening in an as-yet-unconfirmed piazza. Diners adhere to a strictly white dress code and candlelit tables and scenic views make for a thoroughly atmospheric summer serata. Participation is free, but reservations are required, and spots always go quickly: follow Venti Lucenti's website for information on how to register ahead of the crowds.


Pitti Contemporaneo: Secret Florence
June 11–13

Top figures from the global fashion scene come to Florence each June for Pitti Immagine’s prestigious trade fairs. This time, though, the tastemakers will glimpse a hidden side of Florence. The Secret Florence project will feature three days of events highlighting the Renaissance city’s contemporary relevance to a globally-minded, style-conscious crowd. Events include dance performances from the Virgilio Sieni company; a sonic “Living Objects” show curated by the experimental sound gurus at Tempo Reale; and a series of initiatives organized in collaboration with Fabbrica Europa, Lo Schermo dell’Arte film festival, the Marino Marini Museum and Le Murate.

Apriti Cinema
June 11–July 9


Watch films with a famous basilica as the backdrop: piazza Santissima Annunziata will host the outdoor movie series Apriti Cinema, organized by film groups Quelli dell’Alfieri and Quelli della Compagnia. Save your cash and catch up on quality cinema: until July 9, free nightly screenings will be offered, including some highlights from the most recent editions of three key film festivals: 50 Days of International Cinema (particularly its Festival dei Popoli segment), Primavera di Cinema Orientale and Premio Fiesole ai Maestri del Cinema. The full program is now online here.

Duran Duran
June 10

Sing your synthpop heart out at the Visarno Arena when these ‘80s new wave icons take to the stage. Made famous by the advent of MTV and known for such singles as “Hungry Like the Wolf,” this Birmingham-born British band is currently on their Paper Gods tour, named for their album released last September. At press time, concert tickets are still available in Box Office Toscana locations

Massive Attack
July 24


After last year’s sold-out shows in Milan and Padua, this Bristol-born band—titans on the trip-hop scene—will take over the Visarno Arena. The charismatic duo—Grant “Daddy G” Marshall and Robert “3D” Del Naja—is currently on a Europe-wide tour, following the January release of their acclaimed EP Ritual Spirit. Tickets start at 36.80 euro and are available via TicketOne.

July 28


By now, the former Police frontman’s affinity for Florence and Tuscany is no big secret. Though he’s known the world over for his group and solo hits, he also has a long-standing connection to the region, owning the 600-acre estate Il Palagio, where he “moonlights” as a winemaker. He’ll be back in Florence on his Back to Bass Tour, but it’s his first time to take the stage at the Visarno Arena. Tickets are available via LiveNation and TicketOne.

Balagan Café
Until September 18

On select nights throughout the summer season, Florence’s synagogue and hub of Hebrew culture will open its spectacular garden for apericene, concerts, lectures, poetry readings and more. Events are modeled after the improvised “Balagan” folk theatres of 18th and 19th century Russia. Visitors will have the opportunity to try traditional foods and explore various components of Jewish culture, from klezmer music to the Florence community’s history. The series re-launched with a successful inaugural event on the Prima Notte d’Estate (formerly Notte Bianca), and will continue through September.

Michael Nyman in the Sala d’Arme
15 days from June to September

Michael Nyman Photographer: Perou

See Michael Nyman perform from the (digital) piano bench on select days from June to September. The contemporary composer and pianist, known for his minimalist sound and long collaboration with British film director Peter Greenaway, has chosen Palazzo Vecchio’s Sala d’Arme as the venue for several new video installations.  

Italian Brass Week
July 17–24


Brass is the word at this weeklong music festival featuring performances by young musicians studying with members and maestri from some of the world’s most prominent orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Berliner Philarmoniker, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Now in its 17th edition, the festival vaunts Luca Benucci, principal horn for the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, as its artistic director. Master classes are held for budding virtuosos, with public concerts in some of Florence’s most prestigious spaces, including the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Bargello courtyard, Palazzo Pitti and more. The full program will soon be available here

This starter list only scratches the surface of Estate Fiorentina’s six-month programming. Here’s a preview of more events and initiatives to look forward to once the summer heat dies down. Keep your eyes on the official website for event updates as they come in.

Spoon River Anthology: 100th Anniversary Celebrations
Throughout September
Music from Fabrizio de’ Andre and readings from Edgar Lee Masters’ famous poetry collection

Cat Power
September 7
Eclectic American singer-songwriter performs in the Cascine

Cirk Fantastik
September 15–25
Contemporary circus festival with prize-winning performances and acrobatics

String City Firenze
September and October
One hundred string concerts in one hundred museums, performed by area music schools

Hai Paura del Buio?
A festival for Florence’s Sollicciano neighborhood, inspired by the Italian rock group Afterhours’ sixth album

Sonic Somatic
October 20–22
Visual art and sound festival inspired by the body


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