As we wave the pandemic ciao ciao and concerns remain high regarding the war in Ukraine and exorbitant energy prices, we look to Florence to provide solace through creativity in 2023. Here’s our round-up of the year ahead.
Cinema enthusiasts will be thrilled at the reopening of Cinema Astra in piazza Beccaria on January 26. Expect daily showings of arthouse titles and original-language films in this 100-seater movie theatre with retractable chairs.
Sign up now! Only 15 The Florentine readers will be able to enjoy an exclusive tour of Casa Buonarroti on Tuesday, February 7 and private time with Artemisia Gentileschi’s Allegory of Inclination, which is currently undergoing restoration thanks to Calliope Arts association and art collector Christian Levett. Linda Falcone and chief restorer Liz Wicks will explain all. 40 euro. Sign up now: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll also be going for lunch afterwards at a local restaurant; venue TBA: open to all!
The popular Italian food showcase Taste makes a comeback from February 4 to 6. Held at the Fortezza da Basso, food enthusiasts gain a flavour of the unexpected as the 500 producers from the country’s contemporary food scene present their specialities. Pasta is this year’s theme (we’re there!) as well as alcoholic bitters in the special spirits area. If you can’t make it to the fair, embrace the occasion by reserving a Fuori di Taste themed dinner at a local restaurant.
Wine-tasting event Chianti Lovers & Rosso Morellino returns to Florence’s Fortezza da Basso on February 12, followed by Chianti Classico Collection at Stazione Leopolda on February 14 during the Tuscan wine preview week (February 11 to 17), which welcomes connoisseurs for tastings of Chianti, Chianti Classico, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and other leading regional appellations.
Acquired by Pitti Immagine, the large-scale international event, Danzainfiera, returns to the Fortezza da Basso from February 24 to 26. Dancers, teachers, choreographers, international étoiles, schools, academies and beloved brands of dance apparel and accessories will gather in Florence for the new edition with the slogan All You Need is Dance.
From March 4 through June 18, Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi hosts the exhibition entitled Reaching for the Stars. From Maurizio Cattelan to Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, which showcases major works by international contemporary artists such as Maurizio Cattelan, Sarah Lucas, Damien Hirst, Lara Favaretto, Cindy Sherman, William Kentridge, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Josh Kline, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and Rudolf Stingel to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Turin-based Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Collection, one of the most prestigious collections of contemporary art in Italy.
The five-star luxury resort Borgo Santo Pietro reopens the gourmet restaurant along lungarno Cellini. Helmed by chef Ariel Hagen and vaunting a new name, Saporium, expect farm-to-table cuisine and flawless design by proprietors Jeanette and Claus Thottrup, who inform me that the reopening is expected to take place on March 10. Look to Ammalia in via de’ Ginori for another exciting restaurant opening in March. Owned by Erica Campisano and Elias al Chbeir and styled by Philippines-born architect Sophia Sanchez (aka @iamsophiasanchez on Instagram) with contractor Chelini Italian Project, the eatery aims to leave diners spellbound with a green and gold palette, respecting the Renaissance interior while being forward and modern.
Due to open in April 2023, Hotel La Gemma is the latest five-star establishment to open in central Florence. Set within Palazzo Paoletti on via Calimala, the design-driven digs are being masterminded by the Cecchi family in a palette of vibrant greens, powder pinks and gentle ivories. The hotel’s amenities will include Luca’s Art Deco-style restaurant led by chef Lorenzo De Vivo Martini as well as the subterranean Allure spa using Biologique Recherche products.
May 27 is always a somber day in Florence when the city commemorates the five people—Angela Fiume; her husband, Fabrizio Nencioni; their daughters, Nadia Nencioni (9) and Caterina Nencioni (just 50 days old); and 22-year-old student Dario Capolicchio—who lost their lives in the via dei Georgofili bombing. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the terrorist attack carried out by the Mafia to the rear of the Uffizi on May 27, 1993. After boss Salvatore Riina was captured in January 1993, the criminal organization began a campaign of bombing Italian cultural sites as a warning to its members to not turn state’s witness.
On a lighter note, May 2023 brings Issue 300 of The Florentine. We’ll be organizing a big party and several satellite events. For presales and ways to get involved in the extravaganza (yes, a few sponsors would be welcome!), email email@example.com.
Firenze Rocks returns to the Visarno Arena in June. Rockers can look forward to The Who on June 17 and Grammy-award-winning pop band Maroon 5 on June 18, with other acts still to be announced.
We’re all missing the Cinema Odeon Firenze, but the beloved city centre cultural hub has announced plans to reopen in a new guise “before the summer”. A partnership with Florentine publishing house Giunti will interweave an eclectic bookstore alongside the new-generation cinema screen. The plan is to remain daily from morning to night for movie showings, book presentations and talks. Plus, there’s fantastic news for English speakers: the Odeon will retain its original sound programming!
From October 14 to 22, the contemporary art and design world will descend on the Fortezza da Basso for the Florence Biennale. This year’s theme focuses on the concepts of individual and collective identities in their philosophical, psychological, sociological and cultural meanings. Expect more than 450 exhibitors and over 70 countries represented in this major art showcase organized by the Celona family.
Meanwhile, over at the Palazzo Vecchio Museum, the 500th anniversary of the birth of Flemish artist Giovanni Stradano will be marked with an exhibition titled Il palazzo di piazza e il nuovo mondo. Jan van der Straet worked for Cosimo I within Vasari’s circles before designing various tapestries for the Palazzo Vecchio as well as ideating panels for Francesco I’s study and Eleonora di Toledo’s apartments.The show is expected to run until January 2024.
October will be a month of play as Dreoni Giocattoli toy store in via Cavour celebrates 100 years of business and giving back to the city.
International road runners return to Florence on November 26 for the 39th edition of Firenze Marathon. Athletes are accompanied by centuries of art, history and culture all along the 42.195 kilometre route.
For the 100th anniversary of the death of Giacomo Puccini, plans have been announced to restore the villa where the composer spent more than 20 years in the Tuscan town of Torre del Lago between 1900 and 1921. In 2024, Italy and the entire world will be called upon to mark the important anniversary of one of the world’s greatest ever composers, who died in Brussels on November 29, 1924. Puccini composed many of his most famous works in Torre del Lago, such as Tosca and Madama Butterfly. The end goal is to finish the restoration by 2024 in order to welcome Puccini lovers from all over the globe, including the pianoforte room with its impressive wooden coffered ceiling and the gardens. Another major project involves digitizing the Puccini archives.
December 2 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Galileo Chini. The Florence-born decorator, designer, painter and potter was a prominent member of the Italian Liberty-style movement and taught decorative arts at Accademia di Belle Arti. The Chini 100 events programme is expected to offer opportunities to view the artist’s legacy in Viareggio, Montecatini, Lucca and Grosseto. Watch this space!
And into 2024!
Plus, there’s some big news for 2024. For the first time in its 120-year history, the Tour de France will start in Italy—and in Florence no less! Florence-Rimini will be the opening stage in the exacting men’s bike race, paying tribute to local legend Gino Bartali, who won this very competition in 1938.