Fabbrica Europa

In the suggestive Leopolda Station, the International Festival of dance, theater and performing arts


Probably not all of you know, the International Festival of Theatre and Contemporary arts called Fabbrica Europa.

Florence is the tourist city in Tuscany for excellence, for its beauty as well as for its incredible museums such as the Uffizi Gallery, and is home to a great Italian art Festival in which various artistic disciplines such as dance and music come together with cutting edge performances in field of theatre visual and performing arts.

The Fabbrica Europa Festival takes place in the spring and is located in the nearby Cascine Park and the Porta al Prato train station, inside the Leopolda Station.

The Fabbrica Europa Festival in Florence is a very important cultural Festival of Italy that offers a multifaceted look on experimentation and innovations in the arts, as well as the opportunity to take part in workshops, meetings, conferences with artists and various types of events.

Fabbrica Europa

Fabbrica Europa is a way to get to know the city getting in touch with the local cultural and theatrical identities and to discover something different during your trip. Do not shy away thinking it is an elite event or created only for the insiders ... art, in all its forms, needs public and basically, the public needs new stimuli for different readings of the world.

We recommend that you take advantage of this spring art Festival in Italy to find new points of view and new ideas as you never know what you might discover!

If you like the theatre or if you are a performer, we are certain that you will not be disappointed! Find out with us what the main stages of the festival in Florence are and its potential as a multicultural meeting place. In May, among the events of this wonderful city, there is not just Maggio Fiorentino!


HISTORY. Fabbrica Europa was founded in 1994 at the request of Maurizia Settembri and Andres Morte Terés, in order to constitute, within the city of Florence, an alternate reality where one could find the cultural and artistic mirror of all Europe. For over twenty years it has tried to create an open space with a mix of different and innovative languages and where the voices of different artists could find a meeting point.

For many, Fabbrica Europa has been a showcase, as they say in art, for others, a workshop in search of new roads and cutting-edge languages. Some famous guests have already performed proposing a personal work ready for the stage, while lesser-known groups have entered into this place as a rehearsal room and experimented with their own ideas. A cultural issue to be noted has been the recovery of a part of the urban area of the city considered unattractive and the area of the Leopolda station, that had been left in disuse for too long.

The deeper meaning of this new area is indicated by the two terms that give name to the Italian art festival. Fabbrica is a working environment and at the same time an occasion for socializing and multicultural sharing. Europe is the great area with which we are confronted in an increasingly broader and multicultural world.
To visit and take part in the Italian Theatre Festival means to meet and clash with ideas and heterogeneous characters and for this reason, if you are in the company of young people or children, it is a good example to show the possibilities of dialogue and discovery between common denominators and disparate traditions.

Fabbrica Europa Forence, during its numerous editions, has created training projects, support for artists and productions of shows internationally. The communicative action makes this theatre festival in Italy one of the most committed to building a very active social network of exchange and dialogue. The truly European appearance of this culture festival of Italy is also evident in the attention and investments that have come from the European Union to fund the most important projects worldwide.

If you are interested in taking part in the artistic and educational profile, it is important to know that each edition offers workshops and interesting possibilities for collaboration!


PROJECTS AND PERFORMANCES. Fabbrica Europa has promoted and produced interesting artistic and Italy cultural Festival projects that are worth remembering. For example, 1994 saw the presence of 'Disorder of the arts, a design created through the Kaleidoscope program aimed at the implementation of projects of European perspective. The disorder was the guideline that pushed towards the intertwining and intermingling of different disciplines to actually manage to put on a show open to new possibilities of expression.

Subsequently, the project 'Art-ventures' (1998), also linked to Kaleidoscope, focused on interpolations and new hybrid arts formations, in turn inserted in the digital age that was growing at great speed.

Another interesting project funded by the European Union and the Cultura 2000 program, was 'The Myth of Europe' where the focus was on the theme of tradition and the relationship with the contemporary world; in this case the performance saw its debut at Fabbrica Europa in 2002, then moved to Athens and Cardiff where modifications and new artistic questions developed.

In 2003 the Fabbrica Europa Foundation for Contemporary Art was launched in collaboration with the Pontedera Theatre Foundation and the Association of Music Pool in addition to the support of the Tuscany Region and the city of Florence. The objectives of the foundation are those to promote creativity and international and interdisciplinary dialogue in arts, in addition to the desire to get to know and appreciate contemporary artists to fight back the prejudice of elite and against the accusations of ‘incomprehensibility' and 'uselessness' of this type of cultural entertainment.
How many times have you thought 'I do not understand', 'it is hard stuff ' or 'I would have been able to do it too'? How hard is it to enter into direct relationship with this 'stuff'! Well, started visiting an event like Fabbrica Europa and your opinions will change soon!

Finally, in 2006, the European Union identified Fabbrica Europa as a cultural body of European interest with high-value objectives developed through international projects and events of significant impact on the city of Florence and beyond.

The last years of the design history of the Fabbrica Europa have maintained the level of international recognition and appreciation with a constantly growing number of followers ready to get involved in this great artistic wave which brings spectators beyond the borders of their own country and their own cultural identity.


STAZIONE LEOPOLDA FESTIVAL. Fabbrica Europa takes place in a location with an interesting history. In 1841, the Grand Duke Leopold II, began to build a railway linking the cities of Florence and Livorno and its surroundings. The terminal station was designed by the architect Enrico Presenti, who chose to use an area outside the city walls and close to Porta al Prato. 
It was a period of great urban innovation. In fact, in that year, the central station (the main station, which it still is today) near Santa Maria Novella, and dedicated to the wife of the Grand Duke, Maria Antonia of Bourbon, was also built.

The Leopolda Station was constructed as a large station and decorated in neoclassical style. However, the importance of the central station caused the inexorable decline of the use of this station as it was located outside the city walls and so it was closed in 1860, just twenty years after its construction.
In the first year, 1861, the building was used to host the first National exhibition which was inaugurated with the presence of King Vittorio Emanuele II and saw a great number of exhibitors and visitors. Among the artists present, Macchiaioli had their first official debut on this occasion.

In later years when Florence was the capital of Italy, from 1865 to 1871, the Directorate General of Customs was established and the station was renovated and expanded to optimize all its capacity, both width and height. Along with offices, there was also a small workshop for the maintenance of the station that increased in size in the early 20th century.
With the First World War, the premises of Leopolda were turned into workshops for the production of bullets, while during World War II they were again used for railway repairs.
Many movements of the Resistance often sought to sabotage and steal raw materials to counter the Nazi occupation, at least until 2 May of 1944, when the bombings caused significant damage and forced the Leopolda workshops to be finally closed down.

Only in the 90s did people begin to think back of this great space as a location that could be used again forncreative purposes: among the forerunners of artistic ideas in the same way as Fabbrica Europa; Mario Mariotti should be mentioned, who launched the initiative of 'Wall of Artist' at these long abandoned locations.


'But I, why should I come’? This question, which Dante asks Virgil in the 'Canto of Hell', is a very legitimate and common question regarding certain events that are a little alternative and special.

How many times have you been dragged from your friends to one of those cultural evenings that you would willingly give up in exchange for a film? How many times has your girlfriend forced you to accompany her to the theatre to see the show of mime of her friend? These situations are, in general, unappealing or even boring. So often, the theatre and our prior experience of contemporary art or performance are linked to a negative idea and to a stereotype so that you think that it is' stuff for boring intellectuals deprived of any sense of' humour.
Do not make this mistake even you and especially not this time! Fabbrica Europa Italy art Festival is a meeting place and an opportunity to spend the evening in a large location where you can watch artists from all over Europe.

No matter if you are new to theatre and contemporary dance, you do not visit Fabbrica Europe to write a review or an article (unless you are a reviewer or work in this field). The Leopolda Festival is an opportunity to explore the contemporary art scene, to share ideas and see stimulating images from a new and unusual viewpoint, and to escape a little from the everyday life! Sometimes you will leave a show with dreamy eyes, sometimes laughing and sometimes without any particular emotion or maybe one with a phrase or gesture that struck you in particular, in any case, the collective experience of seeing and even touching the ideas of an artist more or less famous, whether fleeting or lasting, will leave an impression on you.

After all, as one of the greatest masters of the 20th century Jerzy Grotowski wrote: "It is not the theatre that is necessary, but definitely something else. Crossing boundaries between me and you: get to meet you in order not to lose you in the crowd, or between words, or between statements or between ideas nicely specified, giving up fear and shame forced on me by your eyes as soon as everything is available "as one piece". Do not hide me more, being what I am. At least a few minutes, ten minutes, twenty minutes, an hour. Finding a place where being in common in this town is possible. "


By Insidecom Editorial Staff