Happy 2015, Florence friends! I’m not big on resolutions, but I will promise to never be this late again on a monthly event listing. Seeing as we’re over a week into the new year, I clearly started it off on a less-than-go-getter note. But! That just means I felt extra guilty and put even more effort into tracking down the best free things to do for the remainder of the month. So please say you’ll forgive me? Consider the lineup below my bouquet of apology roses.
Tu sei qui | Now until January 25
We’re telling you, Palazzo Strozzi Contemporary is on a roll. Two of our must-sees this month are both part of this program. First, a new site-specific work has been erected in the palazzo courtyard. Tu sei qui (“you are here”) by the artistic duo Bianco-Valente is an incredible installation made of mirrors, light grids and more that leave you no choice but to interact with it and evaluate where you are. The work is up until the 25th, so be sure to pop in for a quick viewing.
CHERYL @ Palazzo Strozzi | January 15
The second part of Palazzo Strozzi’s punchy lineup. Some people stateside might have heard of CHERYL, the artist collective out of Brooklyn, NY known for throwing high-energy, costume dance parties around the world. For the first time they are bringing their own brand of fun to Italy by hosting a provocative event at the Strozzina. If you’re wondering what you might be walking into, here’s a small taste:
Visitors, who are invited to don a mask, find themselves immersed in the surreal atmosphere of such videos as White Cube, an ironic parody of the art gallery world in New York City, or Tropical Hospital, a surreal reflection midway between reality and dream. Inside the CCC Strozzina’s rooms the artists also involve the public in collective actions and in exploring the venue’s totally deconstructed and altered spaces.
The party runs from 7-11 p.m. Will you be there? We certainly can’t think of a better way to spend a Thursday night.
Il bello e il misterio: Santissima Annunziata | January 24
We’re stumbling into this lecture series a bit late, but we’re glad we found it. The Oblate is currently hosting a monthly meet-up that provides historical context and deeper meaning for the Florentine monuments we ogle daily. Sure, the bello is obvious, but the misterio can be even more interesting and intriguing. Basically it’s saying that Florence, on first impression, is a knock-out, but maybe you should take some time to get to know how cool she is, too. This month’s focus is on Santissima Annunziata and starts at 5 p.m. The series continues through April. For all the details, check out this brochure.
Fiorita di San Zanobi | January 26
If you were asked to run to the pillar that marks where a dead man made a tree spring into full bloom from inside his coffin, would you know where to go? Many wouldn’t. It seems as if one of the city’s best stories (there are many) is hidden right in Piazza San Giovanni. Florence’s first bishop, San Zanobi, was believed to have raised 5 people from the dead during his lifetime, and his final life-giving flourish came after his own death. As the Florentine tells it, in the winter of 429, his coffin crossed what is today Piazza San Giovanni and brushed against a “dead” winter tree. Upon contact, the previously sparse tree sprang into full bloom. Today, the site is marked by the tall column just steps from the Baptistery. Finally give Zanobi the props he deserves by checking out the historical parade that honors him at 9 a.m. this January 26th. For more info on San Zanobi, click here.
Concert for the Day of Remembrance | January 26
January 27 marks the anniversary of the liberation of prisoners from Auschwitz in 1945. In remembrance of that important event and to commemorate all those that suffered and died during the Holocaust, the Opera di Firenze is hosting a free concert the evening before. Make your way out to Piazza Vittorio Gui by 8:30 to enjoy the music and share in the observance. For more details on the event and the Opera di Firenze, visit here.