FLORENCE, ITALY – It was the first handicrafts fair in our country and, 82 years later it is still the place where the best Italian and international handmade products are on show in Florence. This is the International Handicrafts Trade Fair, where every year over 140,000 visitors meet to wander through the charming premises of the Fortezza da Basso, just a few steps away from the city centre and the Santa Maria Novella central railway station.
This year, the Fair, born in 1931 in Florence – world capital of arts & crafts – will open from Saturday, 21st April to Tuesday, 1st May. On a surface of 55,000 square metres, over 800 exhibitors coming from all over Italy and from 50 other countries will create the ultimate annual event for Italian and International beautifully-made handicrafts. The international audiences particularly love this exhibition and place it among the ten most loved Italian Fairs abroad (source: AEFI).
“The past may speak for us, but this edition is also set to write our future”, commented Leonardo Bassilichi, President of Firenze Fiera. “Today, our master craftsmen are many young and creative people, real representatives of change, happily combining ancient know-how and new technologies. These people will impress and surprise you, that is why it is important to come to Florence and spend a day at the Fortezza da Basso”.
To try and conquer new markets, the B2B Italian Crafts Accents platform will be launched, created by Firenze Fiera in co-operation with Artex and sponsored by the Region of Tuscany, where professional craftsmen and young talented designers will be able to display their own works: an event inside an event, scheduled for 26th and 27th April, with the participation of buyers coming from the United States of America and China.
Handicrafts are a driving force for the whole Italian industrial production, accounting for around 10% of a GDP of 1,508 billion. Potentially, it could grow even more, considering that in this sector there are 1 million and 327 thousand craft businesses out of little more than 5 million active companies (source: National Business Register), the majority of which (90%) have less than five employees. This shows that the Italian handicraft tradition is still genuine and handed down from generation to generation.
This edition comes with plenty of new features, as well as special projects and events dedicated to exhibitors and visitors – from live workshops to cooking shows, from music shows to cultural events, in addition to the commercial extravaganza of the traditional sectors: Italian handicrafts, International handicrafts and taste handicrafts.
Vietnam will be the Guest of Honour Country, presenting the excellence of its craftsmanship with an exciting journey through its traditions and charming centuries-old story. The Far East handicrafts will also star in this edition – next to numerous other proposals offered by exhibitors coming from other continents – thanks to the presence of a large delegation of representatives of Chinese arts & crafts, coming from Shanghai and from the Sichuan province.
The best handmade products from all the Italian regions will also be on show. Many Sicilian and Sardinian exhibitors will arrive at the Fortezza with a massive presence of excellent craft businesses. Do not miss the arts & crafts exhibition called I Mestieri dell’Arte tra Tevere ed Arno (Art Trades between the Tiber and Arno Rivers), organised by the Artistic Federations of Confartigianato Imprese Arezzo and CNA Arezzo, in co-operation with Firenze Fiera. The Fair will display artefacts made in the arts & crafts workshops of the Arezzo area. Moreover, as a sign of solidarity, the Fair will also host for free artisans coming from the regions affected by earthquakes in Central Italy.
Among the various events, Health & Beauty will be an area entirely devoted to handmade beauty products & cosmetics, while in a nearby space, the latest findings on products and services linked with age evolution will be presented. Inside the Food Area, make sure not to miss Le Delizie di Leonardo (Leonardo’s Delights), an eclectic space created by Leonardo Romanelli, the famous and popular wine & food expert from Florence. Meetings, stories, anecdotes, companies and products will be presented hourly by Romanelli, along with the various protagonists of this gourmet event. Visitors will be able to watch exclusive demonstrations led by star chefs such as Riccardo Monco from the Enoteca Pinchiorri and Filippo Saporito from La Leggenda dei Frati. On schedule, cooking workshops on classical and creative themes with Sabrina Somigli, photography classes with Paolo Matteoni, and Dario Cecchini, the butcher-poet from Panzano, presenting his latest mystery novel.
The world of living will star at the Fair with the section called Design Space: Home Decor, Graphic & Interior Design. Home & living will also play a major role in the section Casa In & Out (Home In & Out), devoted to the world of living, from eco-sustainable constructions to energy saving and all the innovative proposals linked with this sector.
Concerning innovation and design, the area Visioni (Visions) curated by Artex, will keep a watchful eye on the excellence of arts & crafts. The area Absolute Handmade: Limited Edition will be totally devoted to fashion artisans. A tribute will also be given to vintage with Rendez-vous Vintage in Fortezza. Great attention will finally be paid to recycling, creative reuse and eco-design within the area T-Riciclo Green Market.
INFOS – Opening Times. Every day: 10.00 am-10.30 pm. On the last day: 10.00 am-8.00 pm. Full price ticket – Weekdays: 4 EUR (Reduced price: 3.50 EUR) – Holidays and days before holidays: 7 EUR (Reduced price: 5 EUR). Weekdays, 1 ticket for 2 admissions: 7 EUR. Every day, from 7.00 pm on: free admission.