Estate Fiorentina 2017: a preview

Highlights at this year’s multifaceted summer festival

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May 31, 2017 - 18:26

It may always be sunny in Philadelphia, but it’s (nearly) always summer in Florence. Spanning alfresco aperitivo spots to highbrow arts performances, the annual cultural festival Estate Fiorentina offers a blend of events that’s as crowd-pleasing and fresh as an Aperol spritz. The best part? You can drink it all up well into autumn. Here are some highlights.

Cascine music
June 14 to July 11, Visarno Arena

Rock out in the Renaissance city this summer: the Cascine Park is hosting Madison Square Garden-level mega-names, from unclassifiable giants like Radiohead to the last living Seattle legend, Eddie Vedder, formerly of Pearl Jam. Presales are underway on TicketOne (tel. 892.101) and in Box Office Toscana locations.

Radiohead | June 14
Aerosmith, Placebo, Deaf Havana | June 23
Eddie Vedder, The Cranberries, Glen Hansard | June 24
Jamiroquai | July 11


Secret Florence
June 10-16, various venues

A series of Florence-based, internationally bent groups, associations and institutions will present a packed program of free-entry events and initiatives during the week of Pitti Uomo. This cross-genre collaborative effort will feature film screenings, performances, site-specific installations and plenty of other happenings in a range of venues, among them the Ex Manifattura Tabacchi, the Santa Croce complex and Le Murate.

Italian Brass Week
July 8-16, various venues

Go ahead and toot your own horn: the international Italian Brass Week is back. Created and directed by Maestro Luca Benucci, principal horn for the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino orchestra, the festival is now in its 18th edition. From July 8 to 16, instructors and international guests will be in town for a week of masterclasses, conferences and concerts focused on all things brassy and bright.

The key event for the public will be a concert held in traditional Renaioli boats on the Arno river: 100 musicians from orchestras around the world will perform the world premiere of a work by Enjott Schneider (date and details forthcoming).



Apriti Cinema
June 23 to July, piazzale degli Uffizi

After four successful editions, the nightly open-air movies at Apriti Cinema have become a Florentine summer fixture—so it’s only natural that the time has come to shake things up. This July the festival will move to piazzale degli Uffizi, bringing a family-friendly initiative to an increasingly neglected square. Screenings will include a range of rare films, Italian premieres and themed series, all shown in original language with Italian subtitles. Behind the scenes are organizers Fondazione Sistema Toscana and Quelli dell’Alfieri, in collaboration with prestigious local film festivals (Lo Schermo dell’Arte, Primavera Mediorientale, Festival dei Popoli, Florence Queer Festival, France Odeon, Balkan Florence, Una finestra sul nord, Middle East Now and NICE – New Italian Cinema Events).

Redistribuire lo sguardo
. Behind the scenes in Florence
From June 17, various venues

Enjoy Firenze is behind a new series of cultural itineraries designed to get locals and visitors out of the center—or at least its cookie-cutter cornerstones—and explore less-obvious destinations. Tours will be led by experts and archaeologists in collaboration with the Cooperativa Archeologia, and will launch on June 17 with a visit to the workshops of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure at the Fortezza. Also on the calendar: an afternoon of soft rafting along the Arno and a day to discover the art of the Commesso Fiorentino.


Bach in Black
June 21, Salone dei Cinquecento, Palazzo Vecchio

Spend the summer solstice in one of Florence’s signature spaces. The Salone dei Cinquecento will host a “Bachout” event with eight hours of uninterrupted music from Baroque master Johann Sebastian Bach. The first half will run from 7 to 11pm and will feature several pieces being performed together for the very first time in their entirety. Don’t miss Tuscan writer Marco Vichi’s midnight cameo: the author will interview “Johann” himself to the soft hum of a cello, in a scene loosely based on his books.

Genius Loci
July, Basilica of Santa Croce

In the shadow of Dante’s honorary tomb, the Santa Croce complex will host Genius Loci, a 48-hour event put on by Controradio, showcasing poetry illustrated through music, explained and sung by major figures on the Italian artistic and cultural scene. Expect workshops, debates among key scholars and historians of music, meetings with high-level Italian singers, storytellers and poets, readings and acoustic concerts.

Grand Puppeteers and Italian Masks: Pupi di Stac
July 6- August 3, lungarno del Tempio

Five evening appointments and numerous other Teatro di Figura shows will spotlight traditional Italian puppets and masks. Journey from northern to southern Italy with Pulcinella, Tavà, Fagiolino and Sandrone, Areste Paganos of Sardinia, plus Florence’s own Stenterello and other popular heroes. Key traditional poems and poets will be re-interpreted and impersonated by the most famous “sacred monsters” of puppetry and narration.

Bonus: as the audience waits for each show to begin, young street artists will keep them entertained with games and performances.

Festival au Désert
July 11-13, piazza Ognissanti

Get ready for three days of rhythms, reflections and socializing with the return of Festival au Désert. Piazza Ognissanti will bring multicultural music to life during this event put on under the auspices of Fabbrica Europa; since 2010, it’s brought together artists from all over the world. Events and neighborhood workshops are also planned.


Musart Festival
July 17-23, piazza Annunziata

Concerts, exhibitions, art and guided visits are all on the menu at the second edition of Musart Festival: on stage will be Yann Tiersen (July 17); Raphael Gualazzi (July 18), Orchestra della Toscana conducted by Daniele Rustioni with the Coro di Roma (July 19, performing Carmina Burana and Boléro); Paolo Conte (July 29); San Remo star Francesco Gabbani (July 21) and Deproducers (July 22, performing Botanica). And, once again, a splendid sunrise concert to conclude the show, kicking off at 4.45am on July 23, with pianist Cesare Picco at the bench.

From 8pm until the beginning of each show, concertgoers will be able to visit area monuments and museums including the Biblioteca Umanistica of the University of Florence, the Innocenti Museum, the church of Santa Maria degli Innocenti, the Chiesa di San Francesco Poverino, the Archaeological Museum garden, Santissima Annunziata, and the Mensa della Caritas Diocesana – San Francesco, where Pope Francis ate with the homeless during his 2015 visit. A shuttle service will run between piazza Santissima Annunziata and the parking area at Parterre; delicious eats will be available for purchase; and the exhibition Because the Night, highlighting major Florentine concerts of the 1970s and 80s, will strengthen the event’s art-music ties.


Cirk Fantastik!
September 14-24, piazzale del Re, Cascine Park

No clowning around here: Cirk Fantastik! is a high-level contemporary circus festival with an ultra-varied program comprising 40 performances by acclaimed national and international companies, both under and outside the Big Top in the Cascine Park. Children’s workshops, shows by promising new performers from Tuscan circus schools and emerging local artists will all take place. Organized by Aria Network, Circo Tascabile, Side Kunst Cirque and Baraka Circ.

A Room With a View
30 years with a view
October 4-8, various venues

Lucy Honeychurch’s legacy lives on: in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the screen adaptation of A Room with a View, the definitive Anglo-in-Florence film, director James Ivory and some cast members will be coming to town. The Odeon Cinema will host a special screening with a star-studded guest list, and the British Institute, continuing its centenary festivities, will host Ivory at “tea with a view”. Finally, La Compagnia will host a festival dedicated to Ivory’s filmography (October 6-8). Organization by Fondazione Sistema Toscana.



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