A special and dynamic edition awaits visitors at the Fortezza da Basso from 21st April to 1st May 2018 for the 82nd International Handicrafts Trade Fair, the first Italian certified handicrafts fair, organised by Firenze Fiera in co-operation with the main institutions and industry associations. The international audiences particularly love this exhibition and place it among the ten most loved Italian Fairs abroad (source: AEFI).

A Fair fine-tuning different voices, an intriguing and colourful pinwheel of events, an exciting journey to the roots of creativity, an endless variety of handcrafted proposals, live demonstrations, like tiles of a mosaic constantly moved by the over 800 exhibitors coming from all over Italy and from around fifty foreign countries (including Algeria, Bhutan, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Morocco, Nepal, Peru, Poland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uzbekistan, etc.), with VIETNAM representing the lion’s share as guest of honour country. And it will be a sold-out exhibition for those who wish to spend some time inside a Medicean fortress, in the city centre of Florence, amidst an endless variety of handmade creations ranging from traditional trades to futuristic 4.0 handicrafts, enjoying also the numerous food delicacies, including local delights and treats offered by the participating foreign exhibitors.

“The Handicrafts Trade Fair is over 80 years old, but has never looked younger – ironically states Stefano Ciuoffo, Councillor for Productive Activities, Credit, Commerce & Tourism of the Region of Tuscany – because it is still innovative and vital, pioneering and ground-breaking, it is linked with the past but still as modern as the original intuition of the early years. The so-called “Made in Italy”, with its history and traditions, finds the ideal showcase in this context to prove how the excellent know-how of this territory produces and combines with products coming from other parts of the world. Its ongoing popularity both in terms of audience and exhibitors cannot but confirm the dynamism of this Fair, the crown jewel of Tuscany”.

“This edition triggers a new excitement, – says Cecilia Del Re, Councillor for the Economic Development of the Florence Municipality – coming from the various realities operating in the Florence arts & crafts world, which are willing to star in this important and historical city event. Thus, it will be an “exhibition-workshop”, during which we will take our time to think about the next editions of this Fair along with these local businesses, and to work together to promote ‘Florence as the UNESCO Creative City for Handicrafts'”.

“The past may speak for us, but this edition is also set to write our future – underlined 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 and participate”.

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, 27th and 28th April, with the participation of 62 companies and 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 of Euros. 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 (silk, ceramics, gold-leaf lacquered furniture, spices such as the wonderfully scented pepper from the Island of Phu Quoc) with an exciting journey through its arts, culture and history. Spotlight on the event “Le Vietnam sur la route des 9 Dragons” (Vietnam on the 9 Dragons Way), to explore mountain populations – the Hmong people – living on the Northern highlands, down to the Mekong delta, the “river of the nine dragons”.

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 and cultural events. 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 locations 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 pop space created by Leonardo Romanelli, the famous and popular wine & food expert from Florence, who will bring the most qualified chefs, Tuscan producers and Florence pastry chefs at the Fortezza. And for your sweet tooth, do not miss the special area Laboratorio del Gelato Artigianale by Gelato Festival (Homemade Ice-Cream Workshop by Gelato Festival).

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. Mani Creative (Creative Hands) is the section devoted to creations by young artisans coming from all over Italy, with live demonstrations.

Concerning innovation, research 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.

Make sure not to miss the Unicoop Firenze Arcipelago Pulito (Clean Archipelago by Unicoop Firenze) project to safeguard the Tuscan sea, along some side events dedicated to the indissoluble combination of art and crafts like Ori e Tesori (Gold and Treasures), Firenze Scultura (Florence Sculpture), I bozzetti di scena della Fondazione Zeffirelli di Firenze (The Scene Sketches of the Zeffirelli Foundation in Florence), Florence Street Art Project – Art Can Change the World (organised by Florence Biennale – Mostra Internazionale di arte contemporanea) and Pop-Up Show – La magia dentro i libri  (Magic Inside Books): 70 three-dimensional books to let your fantasy fly, from the early examples to the more recent artistic creations, including a rare book by Andy Warhol.

Thanks to an agreement between Firenze Fiera and the Opificio delle Pietre Dure (the Florence Workshop of semi-precious stones), you can book  guided tours inside the restoration laboratories on 23rd, 24th, 26th and 27th April, located inside the Fortezza da Basso: a unique experience only for the Fair visitors!

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.