A World of International Crafts at Florence’s MIDA

April 23 – May 1, 2022: MIDA, The International Handicraft Fair. Fortezza da Basso, V.le Filippo Strozzi, 1, Florence. Open April 26 – 29, 10 am – 8 pm; April 23 -25, 30, May 1 from 10 am – 10 pm.  Tickets for the fair are available online and in-person, ranging from free of charge to €7 depending on the day and person. For more information regarding times, tickets, and artisans, visit the website at https://mostrartigianato.it/.

MIDA is returning to Florence for its 86th edition, resuming in-person activities after offering a virtual showcase in 2021.  Since 1931, MIDA has welcomed artisans of all fields from around Italy and countries from France to Nepal.  The fair aims to connect the history of artisanship with new technologies and sustainability.  The artisan’s product categories include clothing and accessories, jewellery, food and wine, artistic craftsmanship, design, beauty and wellness, objects, furnishing accessories, and international craftsmanship.

Local to Florence, Cecilia Falciai is an artisan and owner of Scagliola and Mosaic Artistic Decoration.  Falciai inherited her trade, a generational skill rooted in Tuscan history, from her father.  Since learning the Florentine commesso mosaic technique in marble and semi-precious stones, she decided to open a shop of her own.

Also native to Italy is Debora Pollina, creator of a natural cosmetics line, Alia. The Sicilian-inspired line represents and reflects Mediterranean colors and scents using natural ingredients. Some of the brand’s creations include body oil, bath cream, and hair products.

Beyond Italy, MIDA has invited international craftsmen to display unique trades of their culture. Cashmere and Calico Collections (Termeh Batic) will display handicrafts from the Yazd province of Iran. Their cashmere is intricately woven from fine wool and silk, using a technique dating back to the 6th century. The fabric is enriched by the process of printing or embroidery with gold or acrylics, typically used to produce curtains and tablecloths.

Those looking for a culinary experience will find an array of events that will showcase food and beverage. Visitors can attend a culinary showcase focusing on Italian food and wine producers led by Leonardo Romanelli, follow a cooking class hosted by Giorgione Barchiesi, and indulge in the offerings of food trucks representing regional cuisine from throughout Italy.

Family-friendly educational and creative workshops for children are also on the fair’s itinerary. From ceramics to textiles to wood inlay, children will be able to explore their self-expression and creative thinking skills. All workshops are free of charge; however, reservations are required. To reserve a spot and learn more about the offered programs, visit https://www.osservatoriomestieridarte.it/.

MIDA takes great pride in its international community, as its artisans and crafts range from Tuscany to worldwide. This year, in solidarity with Ukraine, the fair will present Made in Ukraine. The non-profit organization has worked to promote Ukrainian craftsmanship around Europe with help from the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture since 2013.

Other MIDA special initiatives include: Crafts 4.0; Montelupo Ceramics; the flower show Orchids in the Fortezza; Prodigy. Craftsmanship and Performance; and Unique Pieces.

Crafts 4.0 addresses sustainability and includes an activity for guests to create new crafts through recycled plastics. Montelupo Ceramics demonstrates the historical tradition of Florentine ceramics alongside innovations. Prodigy. Craftsmanship and Performance has invited 18 local art workshops to represent traditional artisan and present ceramics, inlays, scagliola marbling and more. Unique Pieces utilizes materials such as yarn, gold, silver, leather, and paper in their creations. Each initiative highlights the importance of Florentine craftsmanship and individual creativity through workshops, performances, and demonstrations.

As part of this year’s in-person activities, the fair has expanded to include the first-ever “Orchidee in Fortezza,” organized by the Italian Orchid Federation and Firenze Fiera. Located at the historical Nazioni Pavilion, visitors can admire, purchase, and photograph orchids of different colors and sizes.

Artefacendo is an interactive project of the CNA Firenze Metropolitan. Thirty-five artisan businesses will be showcased at the Ghiaie Pavilion, where visitors can watch the creative process take place. Displays from Florence Jewelry Week and LAO can also be dound at the Polveriera. Students’ jewelry and contemporary accessories from LAO’s collection will be displayed. In addition to the exhibitions, events include goldsmith and student demonstrations, including stone setting and engraving.

Six marble works from the Henraux Collection will be displayed at Cavaniglia Pavilion. Henraux – Fondazione Henraux will host sculptor Renzo Maggi as he completes one of his works, “Omaggio a Giocasta,” at the fair, where visitors can watch the process of creating a marble sculpture. Also scheduled at the Pavilion are talks on contemporary marble works given by art specialists and critics.

Emporio MIDA, a digital showcase, is designed for buyers to connect with artisans. Created to replace the in-person events of the 85th Edition, Emporio now works as an additional mediator between buyers and creators. By visiting an artisan’s page, visitors can browse their catalog and contact them.

Firenze Fiera will renew its partnership with the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, in honor of the grand exhibition ‘Donatello and the Renaissance,’ taking place at Palazzo Strozzi until July 31. Those who have purchased MIDA tickets will be able to enter the Donatello exhibition for a reduced price of €12, compared to €21-25 online. On the other hand, those who attend Donatello can attend MIDA for €5 instead of €7. Those interested can enter the code MIDA22PSTR online to reserve their ticket or present their entrance ticket at Palazzo Strozzi. For more information on ticket codes and pricing, visit https://mostrartigianato.it/info-biglietti-orari/. (gioia guarino)