The biennale in Florence is an international contemporary art exhibition held every two year in the Historical Fortezza da Basso. The jury is the most authoritative in the world.

In 2003, 890 artists from 74 nations came to Florence, exhibiting more than 2000 artworks. The International Scientific Committee (C.S.I), composed of 20 qualified members, categorizes the works in divisions of painting, sculpture, graphic, mixed media, installation, photography and digital art. The selection is done with no prejudice of style. Artists are selected based on the quality of their artwork and the cultural values their work represents. The International Jury that assigns recognition and awards to the invited artists is composed of distinguished figures such as John T. Spike, Art Historian and Critic, Director of The Biennale since 1998, Florence, New York; Veronika Birke, Art Historian And Critic, Former Vice-Director of The Graphisches Sammlung Albertina, Vienna, Austria; Barbara Rose, Art Historian and Critic, Madrid and New York; Dore Ashton, Professor of Art History at Cooper Union, New York; Stefano Francolini, Art Historian and Critic, Direttore settore restauro Opificio delle Pietre Dure, Firenze; David Rubin, Curator of Visual Arts, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans; Elza Ajzenberg, Professor of Art and Communication, Director of The Mac, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sao Paolo, Brazil; Julian Zugazagoitia, Director of El Museo Del Barrio, New York; R.B. Bhaskaran, Chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi, National Academy of Art, India; Pasquale Celona President of the Biennale and President of the International Jury, Piero Celona, Vicepresident of the Biennale and Public Relations Manager.

The biennale is organized by Arte Studio.

Art Historian and critic John T. Spike is the Biennale Director. He received his PHD from Harvard and is the author of several books about art with subjects ranging from Masaccio to Fra Angelico to contemporary art. Spike has also organized various art exhibitions, presented many lectures and participated in many conferences at museums and other institutions around the world.

HRH the Prince of Wales chose to exhibit several of his works at the 2001 edition of the Florence Biennale. In 2003 David Hockney presented a conference on renaissance artists and optical instruments. Many important figures have honoured the Florence Biennale with their presence, including Carla Fracci in 1999 and Mario Luzi in 2001. Marta Marzotto, Ferruccio Soleri and many other international authorities including the former President of Mexico, the mayors of Philadelphia and Portland, the ambassadors of more than 20 countries and several Cultural Ministries have also attended the Biennale.

During the 2003 exhibition, the Biennale dedicated spaces both to the Vatican Art Conservation Laboratory and to Ferrari motorcars as a demonstration of the relationships between art and science.

In 2005, the highest recognition of the Biennale, the prestigious “Lorenzo il Magnifico” award, will be given to Harley-Davidson as homage to its outstanding talent and contribution in the motorcycle field. It will be awarded to the Harley-Davidson team for it’s continuous technological development in one of the most modern expressions of life.

The most representative personalities of the Indian Triennale will also be present, as the Florence Biennale has become a partner of the Triennale. This opportunity represents an opening for artists coming from India and from all of Asia.

Since art is a vehicle of communication, the Biennale has involved the city by expanding beyond the walls of the Fortezza da Basso. In 1999, sculptures were exhibited in the Santa Maria Novella train station and in 2001 an installation of 15 000 books on religion, politics and philosophy from all over the world was built in Piazza della Repubblica by the architects Casagrande & Rintala. In 2003, an artwork by the New York sculptor Frederic Eversley was exhibited in Piazza della Repubblica outside of the Giubbe Rosse together with a work by Robert Holmes. Artists Mehves Demiren, Virginia Se and Gary Beals exhibited in Florence’s Amerigo Vespucci airport.