If you’re a return visitor to Florence, you will probably want to visit your favourite churches, piazzas or cafés, but you’ll also have time to see some of the temporary exhibits that the first-time visitor doesn’t always pay attention to. From spaces that only hold temporary shows (like Palazzo Strozzi) to others that are temples of tourism (the Uffizi), the summer is the prime moment for blockbuster shows. Let’s take a look at what is on in Florence for Summer 2013.

Putti room at the Springtime of the Renaissance

At Palazzo Strozzi until August 18 is “The Springtime of the Renaissance,” a survey exhibit about early Renaissance sculpture and its connection to painting and to the start of the Renaissance. I reviewed this exhibit in depth for The Florentine which you can read here. The highlights of the exhibit are the recently restored Donatello St. Louis of Toulouse and the pair of putti by Donatello on loan from the Musée Jacquemart André in Paris. Actually, there is a whole room dedicated to putti, which was the topic of my PhD dissertation, so you can imagine I enjoyed that. If you’re in town at just the right time, sign up for the tactile visit to the sculpture exhibit, it’s something really special that gives you a new understanding of the work.

In the basement of the Strozzi is the contemporary space called Strozzina, where there is currently an exhibit in which contemporary artists revisit the concept of beauty. It is worth it to get the combined ticket and see both shows at once.

Antonio de’ Benintendi (attrib), Giovanni de’ Medici Cardinal, ca 1502, London, Victoria and Albert Museum

The Florentine state museums always host a line-up of temporary exhibits through the warmer months. On various themes, these don’t always get the attention they deserve because it is hard to see a large, thematic show after having gone through the whole Uffizi. Luckily, the show on Spanish Mannerism at the Uffizi closed in late May so you don’t have to worry about that one. Rather, you might be interested in the one at the Accademia on Civic art in the Renaissance (until December 8, 2013), in which you can explore the symbolism of David or the Giglio as it relates to the city of Florence. Another exhibit that is worth seeing, albeit in a small space, is one dedicated to Pope Leo X, “Nello Splendore Mediceo,” at the Medici Chapels until October 6. It’s an opportunity to review Medici history and learn something new about this figure who was so important for Florence.

Lorenzo Lotto (Italian, c. 1480 – 1556/1557 ), Allegory of Chastity, c. 1505, oil on panel, Samuel H. Kress Collection

The most exciting show of the summer is, however, “The Dream in the Renaissance” at Palazzo Pitti (Galleria Palatina) until September 15, 2013. A thematic exploration of the iconographic representation of dreams in this period, the show contains some very interesting works, including two by Lorenzo Lotto, whom I particularly adore. You can find my lengthy and scholarly review of it here.

If you’ve never been to the Horne Museum, now’s a good chance to go explore this little known house museum of an eccentric British collector: until December 7, there’s an additional exhibit about his life and collection, including video material. Find out more, plus opening hours at www.museohorne.it

Take a look around this blog for more help planning your summer trip to Florence. And if you haven’t booked your flights yet, you can search and compare prices as well as book flights to Italy with Expedia.

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