Sharon Gethings
Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Pack a picnic and head south of Florence to enjoy a spot of tilting - charging with lances, that is. In , the first Sunday in September is set aside for the Giostra del Saracino (Joust of the Saracen), an event with its roots in the 13th or 14th century. Mounted knights, one for each of the city's four districts, demonstrate various charges and duel-like manoeuvres in a historical nod to Early Medieval Arab raids. Many of the balletic and acrobatic movements carry a specific symbolic meaning, but a jousting glossary isn't necessary to enjoy this colourful spectacle.

Piazza Grande, , Italy (00 39 0575 377678) 6 Sept. Tickets L15,000- 70,000


When the Museum of Fine Arts last held a show of Monet's work - in 1990 - more than half a million people came to see it. A $1.2m private donation is going towards trying to replicate that success with "Monet in the 20th Century", featuring 75 of his lesser-known later works, from the period when he had achieved recognition. The show is organised chronologically by theme, and does include Monet's famous paintings of his water garden (above) and views of London and Venice, as well as experimental garden scenes. The exhibition comes to London's Royal Academy next year.

Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave, Boston, USA (00 1 617 267 9300) 20 Sept-27 Dec (call for details of special viewing times) $15/weekends $17.50


The Surrealist Max Ernst worked in many media and, while his paintings are well known, his sculptures have never before been presented in a separate exhibition. Arriving from Paris's Pompidou Centre, "Max Ernst: Sculptures, Houses and Landscapes" traces the artist's fascination with the landscapes of the places he visited, and the expression of this abiding interest through the creation of work for his different homes. The pieces include "Young Man with Beating Heart" from his sojourn on Long Island, reliefs and sculptures which decorated his house in Saint-Martin-d'Ardeche and the monumental garden sculpture Capricorn, created in 1948 for his home in Sedona, Arizona.

Kunstsammlung Nordheim-Westfalen, Grabbeplatz 5, Dusseldorf, Germany (00 49 211 838 1203) to 29 Nov. Tickets DM12/concs DM8

New York

If you begin to feel homesick while visiting the Big Apple, just nip down to Saks Fifth Avenue, which is celebrating all things Blightyesque during its week-long British Invasion Part II. Once you've checked out the personal appearances by designers, the fashion, the videos, the photography and the window artwork (some designed by "Sensation" artists), relax with a cocktail in the recreation of London's Met Bar on the second floor - complete with bartenders and DJ.

Saks Fifth Avenue, 12 East 49th Street, New York, USA (00 1 212 940 4240) 8-14 Sept