Art, Travel & Life in Italy & Europe

2018 Exhibitions in Florence and Tuscany

Much to the chagrin of my bosses, my personal tradition is to start the year planning my next holidays. It’s not just that I have my eye on making the best of every long weekend, but there’s always a lot going on in and around Florence, and lots of good shows to see in the rest of Italy, plus we’re so well located in Europe that it’s a shame not to occasionally fly somewhere else!

Unfortunately, Italy doesn’t have the tradition of announcing temporary exhibitions well in advance, so every January I publish the best list I can of shows in Florence and Tuscany, hoping it’s at least useful to my readers and return visitors to the Tuscan capital. Here’s what I’ve been able to find so far. Is there something you are really looking forward to on the list?

Exhibitions in Florence

Keith Haring, the real origin of Street Art

Until Feb 6, 2018
Palazzo Medici-Riccardi

This (sadly too short) show is dedicated to Keith Haring and Paolo Buggiani in the background of an incendiary New York in the early Eighties. The connection to Florence is through Paolo Buggiani, a Tuscan artist born in 1933, who contributed to the street art movement in New York in the end of the 70s.


Textiles and Wealth in 14th-Century Florence. Wool, Silk, Painting

Until March 28
Galleria dell’Accademia

Fabric with ogyival pattern, Lyon textile museum

Fabric with ogyival pattern, Lyon textile museum

The show intends to demonstrate the importance of textiles as an art form in Florence in the 1300s, viewed from both an economic perspective and an artistic production of society’s clothing at the time. This is when the concept of luxury arose for the first time, and Florence’s expensive wool and silk was at the center of European fashion trends. A good one to see in the low season, when there shouldn’t be too much of a line to see the David!

Norden: Man and Nature

January 18-February 18
Villa Bardini

Luca Berti

Luca Berti

The show “Norden: Man and Nature from Scandinavia and the Baltic Countries in the Photography of Luca Berti” shows 60 photographs of people and landscapes in Scandinavian and Baltic Countries taken during trips in 2011 and 2017 by a young(ish) Florentine artist, Berti (born 1978), who has been living in Denmark for the past 10 years.

1927 The Return to Italy

Until May 2, 2018
Museo Ferragamo, Palazzo Spini Ferroni (via Tornabuoni), Florence

Salvatore Ferragamo, Closed Shoe, 1925

Salvatore Ferragamo, Closed Shoe, 1925

Salvatore Ferragamo returned to Italy in 1927 after twelve years in the United States, settling in Florence due to the city’s modern tendencies. Developed in chapters like a coming-of-age story, the exhibition focuses on the theme of “return”, not only of the great shoemaker but of traditions and skills in this city, showcasing futurist sculptures and paintings alongside shoes.


From Pinocchio to Harry Potter

February 12-June 3
Villa Bardini

The show’s full name is “From Pinocchio to Harry Potter, 155 years of Italian illustration from the Salani Archive since 1862”, which refer to a historic Florentine publisher (Salani). There will be 300 documents from the period 1964-2012, providing an overview of the history of illustration in Italy at this time.


Birth of a Nation: Italian Art from the Postwar to 1968

March 16-July 22, 2018
Palazzo Strozzi

Curator Luca Massimo Barbero takes us on a mesmerising journey through art, politics and society in the shape of work by such artists as Renato Guttuso, Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri, Mario Schifano, Mario Merz and Michelangelo Pistoletto, providing a glimpse into the later golden age of Italy.


Steve McCurry, Icons

June 13 – September ?, 2018
Villa Bardini

Rio de Janeiro, Brasile, 2009, copyright: ©Steve McCurry

Rio de Janeiro, Brasile, 2009, copyright: ©Steve McCurry

The world’s most famous travel photographer’s traveling exhibition will present 100 works in Florence; if you haven’t seen it elsewhere (Palermo or Sansepolcro of late), here’s your chance!


Fanfare e Silenzi. Viaggio nella Pittura di Primo Conti attraverso il Novecento’

September 27 2018 to January ? 2019
Fondazione Primo Conti
Information forthcoming

Marina Abramović

September 21 to January 20, 2018
Palazzo Strozzi

Marina Abramović

Marina Abramović

A major retrospective exhibition devoted to the work of Marina Abramović, one of the most celebrated and controversial personalities in the world of contemporary art, best-known for using her own body as a means of expression.



Marie Antoniette, i costumi di una regina da Oscar

Feb 11 – May 27, 2018
Museo del Tessuto

Maria Antonietta at Museo del Tessuto

Maria Antonietta at Museo del Tessuto

This much anticipated exhibition will showcase the costumes made for the Sophia Coppola film about Marie Antoniette, for which Milena Canonero won the Oscar for best costume in 2007. It runs contingent to the museum’s current rotating exhibit in their historical section, which is dedicated to the 18th century, and provides an interesting comparison between historical pieces and their popular, contemporary interpretation.

Legati da una cintola

September 8 2017 – Feb 25 2018
Museo di Palazzo Pretorio, Piazza del Comune, Prato

Daddi, Assumption of the Virgin, NYC Met Museum

Daddi, Assumption of the Virgin, NYC Met Museum

Prato’s big show in 2017, extended into 2018, celebrates the city’s most important relic, the sacred girdle of the Virgin Mary, which brought a lot of wealth and decoration to its Cathedral. The feat in this exhibition has been to reunite elements of an altarpiece by Bernardo Daddi showing the Assumption of Mary. There’s a good review by my colleague Samantha at The Florentine so I won’t write more here!


Ambrogio Lorenzetti a Siena

Until April 8, Santa Maria della Scala

Professione pubblica di San Ludovico di Tolosa, 1334-1340 / Affresco staccato / Siena, Basilica di San Francesco

Professione pubblica di San Ludovico di Tolosa, 1334-1340 / Affresco staccato / Siena, Basilica di San Francesco

Lorenzetti may be the most famous artist in Siena due to his frescoes in that city’s Palazzo Pubblico, but he’s still not a household name in most cases. With loans from the Louvre, National Gallery and others, this rich exhibit brings many of the panel paintings back to their original home of Siena – most were made, originally, for its churches.

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By: arttrav

Alexandra Korey aka ArtTrav is a Florence-based art historian and arts marketing consultant.

  • Janet Bleicken

    Alexandra, May 5th through the 15th I will show “Saints&Martyrs&Bears” at the Irtus Gallery in Sutri, Viterbo. I hope you can be there and invite your subscribers.

  • arttrav

    Thanks, commenting here is the perfect solution so everyone can see it!