ART/A northern wind
Various venues in Florence
Work by Markku Piri
A new wind is blowing in from the north this season: three major exhibitions are making a splash. Markku Piri: Glass and Paintings will bring Finnish flair to Palazzo Medici Riccardi to celebrate 100 years of Finland’s independence. Launching this week (March 23) and running until to June 4, the show has the support of Rome’s Finnish Embassy, Florence’s Finnish Consulate and the Città Metropolitana di Firenze. Closer to home, contemporary artist Ramón van der Ven is currently showcasing 28 impressionistic-style paintings carried out during a stay at the Dutch Institute for Art History in Florence (viale Torricelli 5; runs until May 19). Finally, the Museo Novecento takes us to Estonia with Northern Visions: Estonian Paintings from Enn Kunila’s Collection, 1910-1940 (March 4-May 21).
Spring in Florence brings an influx of Eastern-tinged film festivals through the Primavera del Cinema Orientale series. A highlight in the lineup is the Florence Korea Film Festival, which showcases a variety of movies from South Korea, all subtitled in Italian and English. 46 films are on the program this year, with a special K-Woman section aimed at exploring the roles of women in Korean cinema. Brace yourself for the Horror Night, one of the festival’s most popular traditions, perfect for those who like to leave the big screen a little short of breath. Director and cult favorite Park Chan-wook will be one of several guests of honor. The program is still being defined; see the website for up-to-date details on showtimes and events.
One of the major rites of Italian spring returns this weekend. Cultural heritage protection organization Fondo Ambiente Italiano hosts a weekend of special openings, the "FAI Giornate di Primavera," ushering in the season. Hundreds of monuments and venues, many of which are rarely open to the public or in need of preservation, welcome visitors, with many offering free guided visits. Donations are welcome. Florence venues this year include the English Cemetery (pictured) and Palazzo Valori Altoviti, among others. See the website for the complete list.
Get a head start on beachside season this weekend at Eataly Firenze. The store is hosting a "Festival di Mare e Bollicine" packed with chances to indulge in seafood, sorbet and other summery treats, bubbly beverages included. One token costs 5 euro and allows you to try a tuna and artichoke sandwich, fried baccalà, grilled squid and cuttlefish or numerous other delicacies. "Shell out" for two tokens and your mouthwatering menu options expand. For more information, see Eataly's website.
This "tale as old as time" has been transformed from an animated Disney classic to a live-action, star-studded film among the year's most anticipated. Emma Watson stars as free-spirited protagonist Belle, alongside Dan Stevens, a French prince trapped in the body of the Beast. To break the hex placed on him by an enchantress, the Beast must learn to love another fully (cue Belle, of course). The storyline has been tweaked for a contemporary audience, with renowned film critic A.O. Scott commenting, "It looks good, moves gracefully and leaves a clean and invigorating aftertaste. I almost didn’t recognize the flavor: I think the name for it is joy." View showtimes on the Odeon website.