Italia Waves Goodbye To Tuscany

Three years after Italia Wave Festival moved from Florence to Livorno, it’s on the move again.

This year’s edition will be staged further south at Lecce in Puglia, which is on the heel of the Italian peninsula. It’s often referred to as the Florence of the south because it has similar baroque architecture.

At press time it wasn’t possible to establish the reasons why the event has switched cities yet again, but comments made by Puglian President Nichi Vendola – who said the festival will be “desired and not borne” – suggest it may once again be down to money.

It will be the first year that the festival that started 25 years ago in Arezzo, the birthplace of Michelangelo and in a region that the Italians call Chiantishire, has been held outside Tuscany.

It was originally called Arezzo Wave but changed to Italia Wave when moving to Florence in 2007. The council in Arezzo was on the brink of bankruptcy and was no longer able to help fund it.

It only stayed in Florence for a year because the site wasn’t suitable and the event was burdened with the extra cost of setting up water and electricity.

The 2008 edition was also under threat because of the political uncertainty in Florence. Antonello Chini, stand-in mayor for the city’s Campi Bisenzio district, wouldn’t commit to staging the event on his patch because he didn’t know if he’d be in power beyond the election to be held in April.

As the organisers weren’t able to wait that long before confirming the festival would happen, it struck a three-year deal to move to Livorno.

They considered staying in Livorno beyond those three years but cuts in public spending meant the city wasn’t sure it was able to support it.

This year’s festival will be getting euro 200,000 from the regional authority in Puglia and a further euro 150,000 from the city of Lecce. The annual cost of the festival is in the region of euro 1.5 million.

It will be staged in various locations in Lecce including its main stadium, the home of newly promoted Serie A soccer side U.S. Lecce, the beach and the local airport.

This year’s Italia Wave is July 14-17.