On November 5 and 6, Florence will host the first ever conference dedicated to the 30-plus years of Europe’s Capital of Culture initiative. Instituted in 1985, the program’s mission is to highlight the diversity of cultures within Europe, celebrate the continent’s cultural features and foster the contribution of culture to the development of cities. Italy has held the title three times in its history (Florence in 1986, Bologna in 2000 and Genoa in 2004), while Matera is set to take over in 2019, along with Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
Matera, Italy has been designated the 2019 European Capital of Culture
The conference will bring together representatives from 45 cities who have held the title, who will discuss their experiences and benefits that the designation has had not only on European integration but on the cities themselves. The first day will open with a roundtable that will include Eike Schmidt, director of the Uffizi Galleries; Cristiana Collu, director of the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rome; and James Bradburne, director of the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan, followed by a visit to the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex, at the Uffizi, and the Opificio delle Pietre Dure.
The second day will be dedicated to culture-themed seminars with experts and mayors, including economic aspects of culture, challenges and opportunities for cities, the need to protect cultural heritage and the benefits of dialogue and cultural policies for social integration and international rapports. The final result of the two days will be a signed declaration proposing a shared strategy that recognizes culture as a growing priority in Europe’s public agenda both in terms of policies and resources on every level.
The opening hours for Palazzo Vecchio will be modified for the conference: on November 5, the museum will close at 3pm, while it will remain closed for all of the 6th. On November 7, the museum will be open in the afternoon, from 2.30pm to 7pm, excluding the Salone dei Cinquecento, during the annual Unity in Diversity meeting of mayors from around the world.