Estate Fiorentina 2018
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Estate Fiorentina 2018

Thu 31 May 2018 8:15 AM

Novelist and noted Italophile Henry James famously said that the two most beautiful words in the English language are “summer afternoon”. Today we wonder what he’d have to say about the Florentine sunny season and its signature event. The 2018 edition of arts and culture festival Estate Fiorentina spans six months, features 140 projects (and counting) and touches down in the suburbs this year, too. Ahead are some peak moments on the program, which is continually being updated—visit to stay “cool” this summer.




La città dei lettori

June 1-3, Villa Bardini

Lock down the dates, Italian literature lovers. The first edition of La città dei lettori festival will take place against the dreamy backdrop of Villa Bardini. “Page 1” of the festival—June 1, opening day—brings the first official presentation in Florence of candidates for the Premio Strega, a prestigious Italian literary award for prose fiction. Another highlight will be the Florence Book Party (June 3) geared at young adult, thriller, fantasy and fiction enthusiasts, who will have the chance to meet some of these genres’ star authors. The Florentine is a proud festival partner.  




Secret Florence

June 9-16 (preview, June 8), Florence

Naomi Berrill, who will perform during Secret Florence

Strategically scheduled to coincide with premier menswear fair Pitti Uomo, Secret Florence is a series of initiatives spotlighting the chic and hidden corners of contemporary Florence, aiming to catch the attention of the fashion set. At the third edition, sound reigns supreme: catch a Sala Vanni show with violinist Naomi Berrill and pianist Simone Graziano on June 14, or opt for experimental electronica in Florence’s Planetarium, courtesy of Tempo Reale, on June 9, 13 and 15. Partner foundation Fabbrica Europa brings a side of site-specific performance art, featuring Canadian choreographer Benoît Lachambre, to the Accademia di Belle Arti (June 9 and 10), and Lo Schermo dell’Arte film festival teams up with La Compagnia for cinema screenings honoring American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat 30 years after his death (June 12). Other noteworthy venues include the Tepidarium del Roster (the Horticulture Garden’s sprawling greenhouse) and the Studio Savioli in Galluzzo.  




Eliseo Mattiacci

June 2-October 14, Forte Belvedere

Florence’s bastion of contemporary art is back with a splash. Following the success of last year’s group exhibition Ytalia, Forte Belvedere will host Gong, a retrospective dedicated to Eliseo Mattiacci, Italian avant-garde pioneer. Expect to see Mattiacci’s most iconic early works, including the monumental, 60-meter Tubo (1967), as well as post-millennial pieces and everything in between.  




MusArt Festival

July 17-28, piazza Santissima Annunziata

Music and monuments share the stage at the MusArt Festival, which returns for its third edition with headliners Jethro Tull, veteran British rock band (July 24) and Chick Corea (July 23), pianist and proverbial bar-setter for American jazz standards. A number of other artists (Baustelle, Remo Anzovino, Francesco de’ Gregori) are in the lineup, but the treasures of piazza Santissima Annunziata are also the event’s stars. Aiming to acquaint audiences with the area’s rich heritage, included in all concert tickets is free evening access to spaces such as the Istituto degli Innocenti, the Basilica of Santissima Annunziata, the Caritas Diocesana dining hall (where Pope Francis ate with the homeless during his 2015 visit), and the Archaeological Museum garden, among others. Per tradition, the festival closes with an evocative sunrise concert (4.45am, July 28) in the Cortile degli Uomini of the Istituto degli Innocenti.




Firenze Rocks

June 14-17, Visarno Arena

In recent years the Cascine Park’s Visarno Arena has become something of a revival tent for rockstars—giants of past decades who bring their A-game for cross-generational audiences. This year’s playbill features the Dave Grohl-fronted Foo Fighters (June 14, with openers The Kills, Wolf Alice and Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes); Guns & Roses (June 15, with openers Volbeat, Baroness and The Pink Slips); Iron Maiden (with openers Helloween, Jonathan Davis and Shinedown); and, for the grand finale, the “Crazy Train” conductor himself, Ozzy Osbourne (June 17, with openers Avenged Sevenfold, Judas Priest and Tremonti).




Made in Manifattura

Ongoing from June to October, ex-Manifattura Tabacchi

Explosive news of Florence’s future plans for the former tobacco factory near piazza Puccini were recently announced: through a 200 million euro investment, the space will be converted into a mini-city center in its own right, complete with apartments and homes, food courts, coworking spaces, a third Polimoda campus, exhibition spaces, theatres and much more. The ambitious project is still in its germinal phases, but this edition of Estate Fiorentina will begin bringing the masses to the Manifattura. Plans for the strategic “Made in Manifattura” initiative are still being kept under wraps as we go to press, but expect the space to host some key EF events, including the Festival au Désert, a contemporary African-Touareg music and multicultural festival twinned with another edition in Mali.




Rockin’ 1000 That’s Live Village

July 21, Maratona parking area, Stadio Artemio Franchi

1000 musicians compose the mostly-Italian Rockin’ 1000, making it the largest rock band on earth. The giant group was born in 2015 from a few superfans’ desire to bring the Foo Fighters (who happen to be in Florence this year—see above) to Cesena. 1000 musicians were brought together—no small feat—for the largest known live performance, which went viral and drew the attention of Dave Grohl and company, who ultimately came to Cesena later that year and gave a three-hour concert. Now it’s Florence’s turn to host this rowdy bunch: with the Franchi stadium as the fitting backdrop, the group will perform 18 of the golden rock hits of global radio, and living rock princess Courtney Love will even make an appearance.




Cinema at the Uffizi

June 25-August 11, piazzale degli Uffizi

Inaugural edition of the Uffizi’s open-air cinema festival / Ph. @marcobadiani

After a storied four-year run in piazza Santissima Annunziata, central Florence’s open-air summer movie screenings moved to piazzale degli Uffizi last year. The series will return this year with an expanded program, running from June 23 until just before Ferragosto (at press time, the final show is set for August 11). Organized by Quelli dell’Alfieri and Fondazione Sistema Toscana, the screenings will feature selections from some of Florence’s headline film festivals thanks to partners—Lo Schermo dell’Arte, Map of Creation (the group behind Middle East Now), NICE – New Italian Cinema Events, Festival dei Popoli and Premio Fiesole are all confirmed. But let’s be candid: more striking and memorable than the many fine films themselves is the repurposing of Vasari’s masterpiece, the reclaiming of a piazzale until now largely neglected by night. There’s no theatre quite like it.




Notti d’estate ad Arcetri

June 12-July 27, Arcetri Observatory

14 science-centered evenings in the astrophysics observatory, with cinema, theatre, music.


Cannes a Firenze

July 2-18, La Compagnia, French Institute,
Spazio Alfieri

Fine French films and Cannes festival favorites come to Florence.


Cinema Tascabile

July 16-August 9, Mon-Thurs, various venues

Big screens in the ‘burbs: pop-up movie theatres throughout Florence’s neighborhoods, far beyond the Vasari piazzale.




Genius Loci

September, Santa Croce

Take part in a three-day tribute to the Temple of Italian Glories. For the second consecutive year, Controradio Firenze will transform Santa Croce into a mecca of melodies, hosting musicians from sundown to sunrise in the various components of the complex. Musicians and performers are to be confirmed, but count on “Genius loci” living up to its name—the term refers to the distinctive atmosphere and spirit of a place, which this three-day event seeks to highlight in new and innovative ways.





The gal behind the graphic: Paula Del Mas

Graphic designer Paula Del Mas is the creative mind behind this year’s Estate Fiorentina visual concept. We picked her brain about how she got inspired to shape the festival’s 2018 identity.

TF: “Under the Tuscan sun” in Florence, we see tons of oranges, terracotta browns and yellows. Why did you choose such a fresh, original and somewhat atypically Florentine color scheme for this year’s graphics?
PdM: I wanted the visual identity, its logo, graphics and the color palette to enhance the feeling of joy and excitement that flows through the city during the festival. The design needed to pop in the streets, so I chose vibrant colors and bold patterns that catch the eye and invite the audience to enjoy a summer “fling” of rhythms and beautiful design.

TF: Where did you get your inspiration for the imagery?
PdM: I was inspired by style and imagery of the 1950s: from the iconic image of Elsa Marinelli in {the film} La Risaia to the work of great photographers like Cartier Bresson and Alfred Eisentaedt. The four illustrations that you’ll see around the city portray random moments of celebration, sharing and joy in some of the most beloved everyday spaces in Florence, like Piazza Santo Spirito, the cannotieri view of the Ponte Vecchio, piazza della Signoria and the Duomo.

TF: Any other exciting visual projects in the pipeline?
PdM: Many! But my pride and joy is @typearoundflorence. It’s an ongoing project I started in 2016 that gathers a series of illustrations inspired by the typography and lettering from the city streets.



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