Best events in Florence in May 2017
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Best events in Florence in May 2017

Thu 04 May 2017 11:23 AM

EU/Festival d’Europa
May 4-31
Various venues in Florence

With 2017 marking the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome and 30 years since the introduction of the Erasmus European exchange program, the Festival d’Europa has more resonance than ever. Organized by the European University Institute in collaboration with local and regional authorities, the biennial festival encourages participants to reflect on the Europe of today and envision the Europe of the future. Conferences and performing arts make up the bulk of the program, with two highlights being the Open Day at Villa Salviati on the final day of the State of the Union conference (May 6; more information here) and the Notte Blu event series at Le Murate. See the full program here.

HISTORIC/Fiorentina Women at Franchi

May 6, 3pm
Stadio Artemio Franchi, viale Manfredo Fanti 4, Florence

Photo by Dario Garofalo

Through a petition that circulated in recent months, the Fiorentina women’s football team earned the right to a match at Franchi stadium, “kicking” years of exclusion behind them: this is the first time in Italy’s history that a women’s Serie A team will play in a FIFA regulated Serie A stadium. The Viola women have won all of their matches bar one and will face off against Tavagnacco in their last game of the season. Tickets cost just one euro. For more information, see the Fiorentina Women Facebook page.

GEMS/Preziosa: Florence Jewellery Week
May 24-28
Various venues in Florence

Danni Schwaag, Mother of pearl, rings, 2011

The city cheers on fine jewellery craftsmanship with the new edition of Preziosa: Florence Jewellery Week, put on by Le Arti Orafe in partnership with the Museo Bellini and various Oltrarno galleries and venues. Goldsmiths, designers and academic instructors will team up to host lectures (held in both Italian and English), workshops and exhibitions. Despite our city’s long history as an artisan capital, the event is not focused solely on Florence: among the many international events are the exhibitions Jwahr: New Iranian and Persian Jewellery (Museo Bellini) and (Galleria Botticelli). For more information, see Le Arti Orafe’s website.


FIT/Deejay Ten
May 14, 10am
Starting line: lungarno Zecca Vecchia, Florence

Deejay Ten is designed to put your standard workout playlists to shame. More of a casual runners’ party than a serious competition, the footrace has 5K and 10K options that both take place to the beats of big hits. Dance your way through downtown: both routes move through some of the Tuscan capital’s most scenic landmarks, including piazza della Repubblica, Porta Romana and Ponte Vecchio, with finish lines in the Santa Croce area (5K) and in piazza della Signoria (10K). A festive runners’ village will be set up in piazza Santa Croce throughout the weekend. For more information and to register, see the website.


FLOURISH/Iris Garden
Until May 21
Eastern end of piazzale Michelangelo, Florence

Escape the chaos of the city: wind your way over to Florence’s two hectare Iris Garden, one of the city’s most tranquil green spaces, all volunteer-run and open only for a brief period each May when the flowers are in bloom. Want more than a wander? The garden volunteers have also organized a series of “Pomeriggi letterari” (Literary Afternoons) in collaboration with the Natural History Museum of the University of Florence; the next dates are May 25 and June 1 at 4.30pm both days. For more information, call 055483112 or see the website.


BLOCK PARTY/ Sdrucciolo in Festa
May 20, from 3pm
Sdrucciolo de’ Pitti, Florence

Giulia Materia, shop on Sdrucciolo dei Pitti | Ph. Michelle Davis

If there were ever a downward slope to be on, Sdrucciolo de’ Pitti would be it. The tiny but panache-packed strip between piazzas Pitti and Santo Spirito is hosting a street party on May 20, with participation from area shops and mini-celebrities. Get down to a DJ set by Letizia & Stefano, watch a fashion show, catch a live acoustic performance by Lorenzo Niccolini and much more; at the last edition, the fun concluded well after midnight. The event is tied to Maggiolata, a festival put on by Associazione Via Maggio celebrating Florentine May. For program updates, follow area boutique Giulia Materia’s Facebook page.

OUTDOOR/Art is in the Square

May 13, from 11am
Piazza San Lorenzo + via Faenza 43, Florence

Take part in a whole-town toast to the artistic achievements of students at the international Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici. Art is in the Square is an annual May showcase of student artwork, as well as a celebration of cultural diversity and Florentine heritage. The day begins with a pop-up art and design exhibition in piazza San Lorenzo, followed by a 5pm dance performance in the hidden Church of San Jacopo in Campo Corbolini. Rain locations are the nearby via dell’Alloro 13 and 14.


POETRY/Murray Lachlan Young
May 4 & 6, 9pm
Tasso Hostel, via Villani 15, Florence

Dante’s legacy looms large over Florence: now another poet will be making a ruckus in the Renaissance city. Murray Lachlan Young is known as “The Million Pound Poet” for his first record deal—an unprecedented agreement with EMI. Blending stand-up, poetry and music, Murray’s unique brand of performance has made him a headliner at numerous festivals, but this will be his first stop in Florence. Locally based actor Tim Daish will host both evenings; entrance is 10 euro or 15 euro with a drink included.


BATTLE/Florence Cocktail Week final contest
May 6, 4-7pm
Mercato Centrale, first floor, Florence

Matteo Di Ienno of Locale Firenze | Ph. Mary Gray

The second edition of Florence Cocktail Week is currently entering “last call”. At the finale event, competing bartenders will face off in a drink mixing contest for the ages, judged by a panel made up of barmen Alessandro Procoli and Mattia Pastori, as well as international mixology master Hidetsugu Ueno (of Bar High Five, Tokyo). Actor Neri Marcoré will be present, and journalist Stefano Nincevich and bartender Rachele Giglioni will serve as emcees. For more information and other final events at FCW, see the website.


REMEMBER/US Memorial Day

May 29, 11am
Via Cassia S.N., Tavarnuzze, Impruneta

Ph. American Battle Monuments Commission

Ever stepped on United States soil in Italy? Florence’s American Cemetery will host its annual Memorial Day Ceremony on May 29, an apt occasion for first-time visitors to experience the burial grounds. The 70 acre site holds the headstones of 4,401 military dead—most fell in the battles that ensued after the June 1944 capture of Rome. Participation in the ceremony is free and open to the public. For more information and directions, head here.


CRAFTS/Artigianato e Palazzo

May 18-21
Giardino Corsini, via della Scala 115, Florence

Set in the lush Corsini Gardens—rarely open to the public—the artisan showcase and marketplace Artigianato e Palazzo is a springtime fixture on the local calendar, bringing together around 80 exhibitors. The 2017 theme is “Fiori d’Arancio” and this edition will have a special wedding focus. Workshops, live demonstrations and conferences will all be part of the program. Don’t miss the “Ricette di Famiglia” talks, a major hit in past years: in keeping with the theme, chefs from Desinare at Riccardo Barthel will recreate dishes served at speakers’ weddings. For the full program, see the website.


ARTS/Fabbrica Europa
May 4-June 17
Stazione Leopolda and various venues in Florence


An official “twin” of Festival d’Europa, Fabbrica Europa is an interdisciplinary and intercultural performing arts showcase spanning dance, theatre, concerts, installations and other events, all looking toward the communities and rituals of the future—in Europe and far beyond. One of the early highlights will be “Hidden Body”, a show by Japanese dancer and choreographer Anan Atoyama, who will pay tribute to Kazuo Ohno, a pioneer in the Butoh genre, reinterpreting his moves for a contemporary audience (May 10, Stazione Leopolda). Numerous workshops in varied disciplines will also take place. Follow program updates on the website.

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