Best events in Florence: early autumn 2016

Top picks for September and early October

Mary Gray
September 5, 2016 - 15:39

SOUNDS/Firenze Suona Contemporanea*
September 14–30
Various venues in Florence

Michael Nyman | Ph. Perou Michael Nyman | Ph. Perou


Contemporary visual arts and music combine for this year’s eclectic edition of Firenze Suona Contemporanea, which brings internationally renowned composers, artists and musicians to the Renaissance city. Program highlights include video installation “Fallen Falls”, brainchild of Austrian artist Erwin Wurm with music by Andrea Cavallari, performed by Klangforum Wien (9pm, September 14, Tepidarium del Roster), and the world premiere of the seven-screen installation “WAR WORK: 8 Songs With Film”, a Michael Nyman project incorporating archival materials from World War I, images from the Dada movement and expressionist poetry (September 20–30, Sala d’Arme, Palazzo Vecchio). Events are free, but registration is required. Learn more on the website.


September 23–January 22, 2017
Palazzo Strozzi, piazza Strozzi, Florence


Palazzo Strozzi pushes the envelope this season with “Libero,” a highly anticipated exhibition by China’s leading au courant artist Ai Weiwei. An international icon of resistance against censorship, Ai Weiwei is as well-known for his political activism as he is for his art. Works on display will include large-scale installations, sculptures, video and photography, spread throughout the entire complex: most notably, the Reframe installation will include 22 inflatable lifeboats hung on the Palazzo’s windows, alluding to the Mediterranean refugee crisis. For more information, see Palazzo Strozzi's website.


COMMUNITY/Vigil for Peace
September 12, 6pm
Piazza della Signoria, Florence

Ph. Simon Collison Ph. Simon Collison


Florence’s intercultural community reaffirms its commitment to peace with a poignant public tribute to those who lost their lives in the Al-Qaeda attacks and aftermath 15 years ago on September 11, 2001. Although primarily focused on 9/11 victims, survivors and their families, the vigil will also be a symbolic remembrance of all those whose lives have been lost to senseless violence. Residents, university students and officials will read and perform music from a variety of religious and cultural traditions. The event is organized by NYU Florence and the Comune di Firenze. For more information, see the website.



September 17–18
Palazzo Vecchio and piazza della Signoria, Florence

Devendra Banhart Devendra Banhart


Dive in to the “Digital Renaissance” here in Florence: WIRED Next Fest comes to Palazzo Vecchio for two days of talks, workshops and events focused on innovation. Over 100 Italian and international guests will speak, including Alice Rawsthorn, designer and writer at the New York Times; Scott Fahlman, inventor of emoticons; Antonio Campo Dall’Orto, general director of RAI and Devendra Banhart, freak-folk musician and visual artist. This year’s theme is “Beauty,” explored not only from an aesthetic point of view, but as a cultural force for change. Events are free, but registration is required.


TRICKS/Cirk Fantastik!*
September 15–25
Cascine Park, viale degli Olmi/piazzale del Re, Florence

Circo Incantesimo Circo Incantesimo


Be wowed by world-class acrobats, mimes, cabaret performers, tightrope walkers and more at the eleventh edition of Cirk Fantastik!, the international festival of contemporary circus arts. Watch mind-blowing tricks, classic clowning and dance routines from companies from Denmark (Brunette Bros), Italy (Magda Clan, Zenhir), Spain (Circo “eia,” Trespertè) and beyond. In addition to the programs on tap for the Big Top, participants can enjoy free shows in the park, children’s circus workshops, seminars, concerts and more. For the full program and ticketing information, see the website.


RUN/Corri La Vita
September 25, 9.30am
Piazza del Duomo, Florence


Nothing signals the arrival of fall in Florence quite like large-scale charity run Corri La Vita: Florence’s center fills up with thousands running, walking or even dancing their way through downtown to fight breast cancer. Participants in the 11.8km run or the 5.2km route pay a minimum of 10 euro and receive a snazzy blue T-shirt provided by Salvatore Ferragamo, which grants them free access to numerous local institutions on race day (noteworthy among them Palazzo Strozzi, Gucci Museum, Palazzo Medici Riccardi and the Bardini Museum). Registration is required on the website.


BELLE ÉPOQUE/French Market
September 17–October 2
Piazza Santa Maria Novella


Inject some Toulouse-Lautrec-inspired color into your days: a nostalgic nod to Belle Époque Paris takes over piazza Santa Maria Novella this month. Stroll through market stalls packed with French products, from cosmetics and cheeses to teas and trinkets: the setup will be partially inspired by Paris’ universal exposition of 1889. After shopping and snacking, gather some friends for a glass of Bordeaux and soak up the atmosphere on two evenings of jazz music (dates to be announced). For more information, see the Facebook page ‘Mercatino Francese Belle Epoque’.


DINE/Via Martelli for Meyer
September 14, 8pm
Outside Eataly, via Martelli, Florence


Give back as you dine near the Baptistery: what’s not to love? Eataly Firenze has teamed up with six super-chefs for a charity dinner to benefit Meyer Children’s Hospital. Tables will line via Martelli, where a lucky 150 guests will dine alfresco in the shadow of Brunelleschi’s dome. The menu includes mouthwatering selections from Tuscan culinary masters Simone Cipriani, Filippo Saporito, Cristiano Tomei, Marco Stabile, Beppe Barone and Alberto Sparacino. Cost is 50 euro—Chianti wine included—and all proceeds will be donated to Meyer. Tickets are available at Eataly Firenze; for more information or to make reservations, write to [email protected] or call 055/0153610.


HEADBANG/Nextech Festival*
September 8–10
Sala Vanni, Viper Theatre & Fortezza da Basso, Florence

Wooden Crate Wooden Crate


House junkies and electronic music lovers, take note: now in its tenth year, Nextech is one of Italy’s longest-running electronic festivals, having now made its way into the Florentine mainstream. The September edition is spread across three unique venues, with Backwords and Greg Haines kickstarting the show in Sala Vanni (September 8); Andy Stott, Ricardo Baez and Ryan Elliott ramping things up at Viper Theatre (September 9) and Ilario Alicante, Speedy J, Teo Naddi and Wooden Crate closing with a bang at the Fortezza da Basso (September 10). For more information, see the website


CLOCKS/Real Time + the Time of Reality
September 13–January 8, 2017
Gallery of Modern Art, Palazzo Pitti, piazza Pitti, Florence

French workshop (Courvoiseur L. e C.), Table clock with automatons and chime, 1810–15, ormolu, wood, crystal and enamel, 40 x 27 x 17.5 cm., Galleria Palatina, Round Cabinet, detail French workshop (Courvoiseur L. e C.), Table clock with automatons and chime, 1810–15, ormolu, wood, crystal and enamel, 40 x 27 x 17.5 cm., Galleria Palatina, Round Cabinet, detail

Time is of the essence! Take a break from bronze turtles and Botticelli: the Gallery of Modern Art’s unconventional exhibition “Real Time and the Time of Reality” showcases Palazzo Pitti’s wide-ranging clock collection, made up of about 80 pieces dating from the 17th to the 20th centuries. Marvel at the intricate mechanics or simply focus on the extraordinary casings and protective shells of each clock—all carefully crafted artworks in their own right. Additional information is available here.

*Starred events are part of the official Estate Fiorentina 2016 program.

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