Best events in Florence this May, 2021

Best events in Florence this May, 2021

Thu 29 Apr 2021 8:41 AM

The new pandemic-related rules in Italy are detailed on The Florentine’s website and on page 4 of this issue. Please be advised that many openings are dependent on yellow zone status. Follow The Florentine’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for up-to-the-minute news.




CINEMA/ 19th Florence Korea Film Fest

May 21-28


From Real Fiction directed by Kim Ki-duk



It’s finally time to settle in front of the big screen as cinemas make their highly anticipated return. Online options are available on the Più Compagnia platform for all those preferring to tune in from their own homes. The line-up of the most important Italian festival dedicated to the best of contemporary South Korean cinema sees a tribute to film star Moon So-ri with screenings of eight of her films and a retrospective to recently deceased film director Kim Ki-duk. There’s a new category for this 19th edition of the popular festival: Korean New Wave, focusing on the best of Korean cinema from 1990 to 2004. Over 100 films are featured in the programme, ranging from short films to documentaries, with events dedicated to South Korean culture also set to stream online.


Cinema La Compagnia, via Camillo Cavour 50R, Florence and Più Compagnia platform




CRAFTS/ Female Artisans in Florence


Magic by Luchadora



Woodworker Jane Harman brings an exciting and colourful selection of wooden letters to the Female Artisans of Florence space in borgo San Frediano 131R. A variety of poetic fonts dangle from the ceiling in works that are most representative of Harman’s artistic output: visit the installation until May 22. Other FAF events include an art performance by Luchadora on April 30, May 1 and 8 titled Culture in an Embrace, where the artist will create a mural painting live from 11am to 6pm. May 15 will see an intuitive painting session, Show your Colours, led by Veronica Lott. The Crochet Connection takes place from May 17 to 24 and Alchemy Workshop: An Introduction to Natural Ink Making with Vintage Fables will be on May 22. Art Week from May 24-29 includes performances, music and art with Timeoutvibes, and a concert on May 30 rounds off this month’s programming with Arias from the Opera at 5pm followed by a piano performance. Find out more on their Facebook page.


Borgo San Frediano 131, Florence




FLORA/ Iris Garden reopening + spring plant and flower show at Giardino dell’Orticoltura


Iris Garden



Blooms are bound to give joy this month as we immerse ourselves in the purple blanket at the Iris Garden from May 2 to 20 with its annual offering of regal colours. Savour the scents of the award-winning blossoms with the 63rd Annual International Iris Competition held from May 3 to 8, ensuring show-stopping specimens. Open every day from 10am to 6pm, access is from viale Michelangelo 82 and viale G. Poggi 3/C. Not to be missed is the Olfactory Perfume Photographic Exhibition, a travelling multisensory show created on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Accademia del Profumo in Florence, in collaboratoin with the Italian Iris Society. It will be on display from May 8-9, where you can deep dive into 30 years of scents with photographs by Antonella Pizzamiglio, open from 10am to 6pm, with free admission. There’s more blossoming loveliness at Giardino dell’Orticoltura with the spring plant and flower show from May 28 to June 2. The idyllic gardens at via Vittorio Emanuelle II (entrance also from via Bolognese 17) fill with flora as exhibitors display the best of their blooms. Organized by the Tuscan Horticultural Society, the event appeals to gardening enthusiasts and the curious.




CONTEMPORARY/ Ali Banisadr ‘Beautiful Lies’
April 30 – August 29


Ali Banisadr ‘The gatekeepers’ 2009. Courtesy Thaddaeus Ropac



In an offsite project by Museo Novecento, international contemporary art is set up in Palazzo Vecchio’s Sala dei Gigli and at the Stefano Bardini Museum. From April 30 to August 29, the exhibition titled Beautiful Lies by Ali Banisadr (Tehran 1976) will be on show, curated by Sergio Risaliti and organized by Mus.e. The Iranian artist left his home country at the age of 12 for Turkey, and then the United States, now living in New York.  It’s the artist’s first exhibition in an Italian public museum, and his first in Florence. The paintings dialogue with the collection held in the Stefano Bardini Museum, interspersed with the marbles and Renaissance paintings. In Palazzo Vecchio, Banisadr was invited to create three site-specific paintings inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy on the occasion of the 700th anniversary celebrations for the Supreme Poet. An extensive knowledge of art history informs the works, with sources from Hieronymus Bosch, Goya, Max Ernst and de Kooning as well as Persian art and Northern Europe landscapes evident in the paintings. The exhibition ticket is included in the entrance to the respective museums

Stefano Bardini Museum, via dei Renai 37, Florence

Palazzo Vecchio Museum, Sala dei Gigli, Piazza della Signoria



LITERARY/ Honourable and Ancient Citizen of Florence: The Bargello for Dante

May 11 to August 8


Dante Portrait, Bargello Museum, Maddalena Chapel



Forming part of the line-up to honour Dante Alighieri on the 700th anniversary of his death, this exhibition at the Bargello Museum looks at the relationship between Dante and his Florence, as well as the years following the death of the Supreme Poet pieced together through manuscripts and works of art. Part of the display will be set up inside the Podestà Chapel in a suitable setting for one of the world’s greatest literary figures. Free workshops for children and families are dedicated to the discovery of Dante and 14th-century Florence.


Bargello Museum,

via del Proconsolo 4, Florence




CHARITY/ Florence Vintage Market

May 12-16


Fashion for a good cause



Florence Vintage Market, the fundraising market organized by FILE, makes its highly anticipated return. The third edition of the initiative will take place at Palazzo Corsini from May 12 to May 16, open from 11 am to 4 pm on weekdays and from 11am to 6pm at the weekend. Free admission access is from Lungarno Corsini 8, with a wide selection of high quality vintage clothes and accessories for women, men and children. The funds raised support the FILE (Fondazione Italiana di Leniterapia) assistance service for the seriously ill and their families. The initiative is supported by Banca Intesa Sanpaolo. For more information, T: 055 200 1212, or email


Palazzo Corsini,

via del Parione 11, Florence




EXHIBITION/ Turandot and the Fantastic East of Puccini, Chini + Caramba

May 22 to November 21


Theatrical mask. Thailand, early 20th century, G. Chini Collection



Dazzling costumes and glittering jewels prevail in this multidisciplinary and wide-ranging exhibition that details the Tuscan composer Giacomo Puccini’s path to choosing the painter Galileo Chini as set designer and Luigi Sapelli (known as Caramba) as costume designer for the world premiere of Puccini’s much-loved masterpiece, Turandot. The fascinating exhibition traces a path through the history of opera and art in the early 20th century, which was influenced by artistic production in the East.


Museo del Tessuto, Prato




Community events 

The British Institute of Florence’s popular Wednesday lecture series (events held at 6pm) continues with “Medieval Politics: Guelfs vs. Ghibellines” by Alexandra Lawrence on May 5, “Henry Moore and Tuscany” by Sebastiano Barassi on May 12, “Toscana…Sarda? Politics, Propaganda and Plebiscite in 19th-Century Florence” by Jeremy Boudreau on May 19, and “A city that becomes contemporary. From Moore to Gormley and beyond: contemporary presences in the cradle of the Renaissance” by Sergio Risaliti on May 26. From May 17 to 23, internationally acclaimed performance artist Marisa Garreffa will give a durational performance titled “To Remember, To Listen”, where she will inhabit the Sala Lungarno in Palazzo Lanfredini for a week, sewing together the stories of Florence shared by anyone who would like to participate. The performance will be live streamed over seven days, for seven hours each day, via Facebook and YouTube. Contact to participate. For more information on all of these events as well as the ongoing History of Art online programmes, see or email


St Mark’s English Church has another packed cultural programme this month, with the Armchair Drama Club at 8pm on May 4 and a piano recital by James Short at 6pm on May 13, performing pieces by Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms. The Florence Writers Group will meet (virtually) at 8pm on May 11, for an evening of poetry and prose on the theme of music with details on their workshop on May 25 to be announced shortly. The monthly book club meeting will take place at 8pm on May 27, while yoga will be every Friday at 5pm with Kamin Mohammadi and Italian classes on Wednesdays at 7pm, led by Laura Vinti. Held on Zoom, events are free with a suggested donation to raise funds for St Mark’s. Email or see for the full events line-up as well as info on religious ceremonies.

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