Pinocchio, Kid’s Lit Show & Movie Festival

Until June 6: PINOCCHIO, HARRY POTTER, MICKEY MOUSE, HEIDI, AND OTHERS. Villa Bardini, Costa San Giorgio 2, Florence. Open daily except for Monday from 10 am – 7 pm. Admission €8, reduced €6, and Coop members €4. Free on the first Sunday of every month. Parking is reserved at Forte di Belvedere (Via San Leonardo 1, Florence).

This exhibition is the real Disney for children of all ages featuring illustrations of beloved iconic characters from the Salani Editore Historical Archives.

Salani is a publishing house that was established in Florence in 1862. The company is known for publishing fantasy and fiction for young readers in Italy, including the Harry Potter series and titles by Roald Dahl, among other young adult novels and picture books.

Displayed in the upper level of Villa Bardini, the intimate space allows for a personal experience with the book illustrations and other guests. Universally celebrated protagonists from the artwork depicted in Salani’s publications line the walls, while just across the corridor the visitor can see an incredible view of the city. In each room pieces are carefully selected to show certain stories, such as Pinocchio, Mickey Mouse, and Harry Potter, to create a cohesive, familiar space.

The acrylic, watercolor, pen, and ink works date back to as early as 1904 and span over the 20th century all the way up to 2008; this long time period allows the art to transcend the gap between generations, designed to bring out the inner child or to remind one of this possibility.

In addition to the show, each Sunday at 4 pm, there will be storytelling and drawing workshops at Villa Bardini, as well. Classic stories like Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland will be read aloud and drawing supplies will be provided. Admission is free with purchase of a ticket. To reserve a spot, email  Kids are also invited to create their own illustrations at RED laFeltrinelli at 3:30 on Sunday, March 4 and 18.

In celebration of the exhibition, Dreoni Toys (via Cavour 31/33 red) hosts “The Adventures of Pinocchio” until March 10. The display showcases scenes from this beloved classic reconstructed through 90 wooden scale models. Access is free and will be available during open hours of Dreoni Toys (10 am – 7:30 pm from Tuesday to Saturday, 3:30 pm – 7:30 pm on Monday, closed on Sundays). Any purchase and receipt from Dreoni will offer reduced tickets to the exhibition at Villa Bardini and the festival below.

Additionally, the exhibition period, the films inspired by the illustrated books will be showing at Cinema La Compagnia (Via Camillo Cavour, 50r, Florence). Films include Cinderella (March 3, 5 pm); The Jungle Book (March 10, 5 pm); Alice in Wonderland (March 31, 5 pm); Treasure Island (April 7, 5 pm); Heidi (April 21, 5 pm); 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (May 12, 5 pm) and Around the World in Eighty Days (May 26, 5 pm).  Screenings will be in English, with Italian subtitles. All tickets are €5.

This exhibition is a product of collaboration between many community organizations including the CR Florence Foundation, the City of Florence, MusicArt, Bardini and Peyron Monumental Parks Foundation, and Unicoop Florence. (anna rosin)