Top summer 2017 events in Tuscany

What to do beyond the beach

Mary Gray
July 7, 2017 - 14:25

With every Tuscan summer comes the temptation to find a few inches of beach and camp out until the temperatures cool. But don’t get stuck in a sand and sea rut: despite the slower summertime pace, there’s still so much to do, drink and dabble in right here on dry land. Dive in!

Calici di Stelle
August 10 / varies by town

Ph. Marco Badiani

Cin cin
! Italy-wide wine festival Calici di Stelle is a near-sacred summer ritual. Wineries open their doors (or take to town streets) for tastings, themed events and tours, coinciding with the Feast Day of San Lorenzo and the Perseids meteor shower (August 10). Tuscan highlights include four starry nights of sipping at the Rocca di Carmignano (August 5-6 + 9-10,, tel. 055 8712468); music and other “notes” in Montespertoli’s piazza Machiavelli (August 10,, tel. 057 1600250); and Castellina in Chianti’s two days of artisan and archaeology-themed events with Sangiovese as centrepiece (August 10-11,, tel. 057 7741392). Across Italy, solidarity and fundraising initiatives will be in place for those affected by last year’s earthquakes. More info



Sagra del Cinema
July 27-30 + August 18-20

Ph. Enrico Panichi

With its cheeky title (witness the T-shirt that shows a sausage as a film reel), this free outdoor film festival is TTT correspondent Cary Tennis’ top pick for Tuscan summer. July screenings take place under the medieval Tower of Cassero, and the festival moves to piazza dello Stilo for its August dates. Aiming to bring the town more than just movie nights, the festival celebrates the convivial aspects of cinematic culture (it’s supposedly a sagra, after all). Comfort food is served (for a fee) and VIP guests are given interviews (Fortunato Cerlino of Gomorrah is up first on July 27). Read Tennis’ roundup of the highlights hereMore info



Steve McCurry: Icons

Until November 5

Copyright Steve McCurry, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2009.

Famed for its Piero della Francesca paintings, Sansepolcro’s Museo Civico is currently hosting another master of imagery in a different medium: contemporary photographer Steve McCurry’s traveling show, “ICONS“, is on display until November 5. McCurry rose to fame after his 1984 National Geographic cover “Afghan Girl,” which depicted the striking Sharbat Gula and became a Western icon, frequently used in Amnesty International campaigns. Although known primarily for photography in war zones, McCurry’s artistic focus is on capturing “the experience etched on a person’s face”, as he puts it. The exhibition features around 100 photographs spanning four decades. More info


Estate Fiesolana
Until July 28

Ph. via Estate Fiesolana

Right up the road from Florence, Fiesole offers far more than a respite from the Renaissance city chaos. Its sprawling Roman Amphitheatre hosts a seven decades-strong series of theatrical productions, concerts and performance art initiatives, now in collaboration with MusicPool. Concerts by the Orchestra della Toscana are fixtures, but the program makes room for a variety of genres. Standout events this year include a journey through John Coltrane’s best by a 5-piece quartet (July 16); “Purple Whales,” a Jimi Hendrix-inspired performance with cello, sax, drums and piano (July 17); and young Londoner Jacob Collier’s “In My Room” show (July 24). More info


Lucca Summer Festival
Throughout July + September 23

Lucca Summer Festival 2016

As headliners of the most expensive show at the Lucca Summer Festival, the Rolling Stones have been the subjects of most of the event’s buzz. Mick, Keith and company will have much to measure up to once their September 23 concert arrives—numerous noteworthy acts are taking the stage in the meantime. “Miseducated” legend Lauryn Hill performs with Kamasi Washington (July 8); renowned Roman composer Ennio Morricone with 200 musicians and soloists (July 9); soulful singer-producer-DJ-doula-actress Erykah Badu with Mary J. Blige (July 12); and “Thrift Shopper” extraordinaire Macklemore with Ryan Lewis in their only Italian performance (July 22). Plenty more where those came from. More info


Cortona Mix
July 19-23

A blended cocktail of close to 40 events—spanning literature, philosophy, film, music, food and wine—Cortona Mix is a creative and contemporary festival set against a quintessentially Tuscan backdrop. This year’s special guests include Italian author and entrepreneur Elena Favilli, co-creator of the bedtime book Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, currently making a splash internationally; acclaimed British playwright and author Hanif Kureishi; and drummer Max Weinberg of Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band, whose Cortona performances are always something of a homecoming. More info



Vox Mundi Festival

July 26-August 2

Elida Almeida

Artistic director Carla Baldini is behind this multicultural music festival in the heart of the Maremma (Principina a Mare, province of Grosseto). Now in its 10th edition, Vox Mundi Festival vaunts a varied program, with feminine voices of the Maremma (Le Donne di Magliano with featured soloist Pamela Villoresi, July 26); Cape Verdean singer Elida Almeida, whose concert will explore themes of African identity (July 29); and Brazilian folk group Forró Miór, whose international following had Le Monde name them “one of the most inspired and renowned bands in the genre” (August 2). All concerts will take place under the Maremma pines of via della Sogliola. More info


Prato Estate
Until August 31

The “textile city” stays busier than a beach bagno this summer—and offers far more cultural variety (see the 68-page brochure on Prato Estate’s website for proof). Forget dry lectures too lofty for these summer temps. Instead, spots like the Ex-Fabrica (via F. Targetti 10) and the Sant’Orsola gardens (via Sant’Orsola 36) host live music, stand-up comedy and foodie events; Palazzo Pretorio puts on theatre and sound performances, as well as preview initiatives ahead of the unprecedented exhibition “Legati da una cintola“; and the contemporary art hub Centro Pecci hosts top-tier international musicians (such as Skin on July 7; More info


more articles