TolfArte 2017: Where The Streets Are Made Of Art

TolfArte, the award-winning arts and crafts festival, celebrated its 13th anniversary last week. The most anticipated Italian party of the summer took place between the 4th and 6th August on the streets of Tolfa, a picturesque small town situated about 80 kilometers northwest of the Italian capital of Rome, in a spectacular setting made with recycled materials by artist Riccardo Pasquini.

This year, TolfArte hosted about 500 artists from Italy and from countries around the world and presented over 150 live shows. It consisted of a variety of programs, from dances on top of the walls of the fortress to spectacular street parades with fire dancers and street bands. For three days, the streets of Tolfa were turned into a magical place where dancers, actors, acrobats, and musicians created a fantastic fairy tale for all its visitors: concerts, juggling, aerial acrobatics, poetry, clown acts, fireworks, street art, DJs, and theater performances. All events, as always, were free of charge.

Tolfa is a place where a passion for handicrafts has long been preserved – it has a long tradition of manufacturing leather for horse riding and accessories, and where the “catana” bag has always been used by shepherds and hunters to carry food. In the ’60s, hippies and students discovered the bag and made it fashionable. It has since then been reinterpreted and imitated in many different ways, but the original shape and design are still recognized as “catana” from Tolfa.

TolfArte started back in 2005 as a small cultural event located in one street in Tolfa with a program of only 20 artists. Thirteen years later, TolfArte has become a movement, a revolution, a great party recognized throughout the country, and host to around 50,000 visitors. In 2011, the festival was recognized with a national prize as The Best Emerging Festival, while in 2015 it received the patronage of Expo Milano 2015. 

A great festival such as TolfArte, which glorifies the arts, could not ignore tradition, and that is why one part of the festival is dedicated to artistic craftsmanship. During the festival, the streets of Tolfa are crowded with the stalls of different artisan creators, such as home decorations or jewelry, where you can purchase original hand-made pieces made by crafts artists from all parts of Italy. 

TolfArte is a street art festival designed for everyone, but it has a special focus on children and youth, with “TolfArte Kids” the part of the program that is designed specifically for young children. Some of the special guests at this year’s festival were popular Italian writer and poet Gio Evan, songwriter Leo Folgori, writer Elisabetta Villaggio, as well as many famous musicians and theatre groups.

The Festival was organized by the Tolfa Youth Community in collaboration with the Council for Culture of the Municipality of Tolfa. During the Festival, thanks to collaboration with the artists, there are fundraising events for the “United for Solidarity” cause, aimed at supporting the reconstruction of areas affected by the earthquake that hit Italy last summer.

Photos: Lidija Pisker and TolfArte





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