If you’ve never been to Florence, December is the right month to do so. During Christmas period the atmosphere is magic lights and colors decorate the city and create a surreal feeling, almost fictional. During Christmas time, Florence is very beautiful and elegant. The huge Christmas tree lights up on December 8th, lighting up Piazza del Duomo, and with the big Nativity scene, they are the meeting place for Florentines. You can smell the scent of roast chestnuts and people walk quickly to buy the last Christmas gifts. It’s nice to share this intimate atmosphere that recalls past times, and the traces that Renaissance left are even more highlighted.
The churches of Florence celebrate one of the most heartfelt and ancient moment of religion; the solemn masses, the concerts, and the beautiful Nativities (both static and moving) celebrate the birth of Christ. Maybe Christmas is one of the best times to try the real taste of an art city full of history.
Christmas in Florence also means markets, and the city offers many, selling typical products. Gift ideas, and sometimes even products connected to cultures and traditions that are not necessarily Italian, like the market in Piazza Santa Croce that is surely a must-see.
Art and architecture of the city merge with Christmas lights and that is a reason why you can’t miss the “Florence Light Festival”, which takes place from December 8th for a month, and will cover monuments and squares in lights , offering video-mapping, projections, light games, artistic equipments, activities, visits to museums, shows ad cultural events.
This festival, promoted by the Comune di Firenze, is meant to highlight the brilliance of Leonardo da Vinci; in 2019 it will be 500 years since his death.
From December 8th to January 6th many places of the city will be involved: above all Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Vecchio, Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Piazza Santa Maria Novella and Oltrarno, with a special attention to the Towers and Doors of the city and the neighborhoods outside the historical center.
The title given to the festival evokes the lighting up of minds, and its symbols will be then the flame that lights up a candle in the dark of night, and the fiber that warms up.
During your visit in Florence you can also improve your Italian, taking a short course here at school. During the mornings you can improve your conversational skills in class, get to know other students and meet them in the afternoon to attend the Christmas themed school activities.
June in Florence: an eventful month
The Florentine Calcio Storico matches take place on June 11th, 12th and 24th in Piazza Santa Croce with several events organized by the associations of the four districts.
The four teams are: Santa Croce (blue), Santo Spirito (white), Santa Maria Novella (red) and San Giovanni (green). Usually the two semi-finals take place on one weekend.
The 2016 semi-finals will be on June 11th, “Verdi” against “Bianchi” at 5 PM and on June 12th, “Rossi” against “Azzurri”.
The final match will take place in big style as usual on June 24th , when the city celebrates its patron saint, San Giovanni Battista. A marvelous parade of historical costumes will cross the whole city centre, starting in Piazza Santa Maria Novella and arriving in Piazza Santa Croce. All four teams will take part in the parade, even those who are not playing the final match. The parade will begin at about 4 PM and the final match at about 5 PM.
Don’t forget to conclude this day of celebrations on the banks of the Arno River assisting the traditional fireworks which are shot from Piazzale Michelangelo.
Museums open at night on Saturday May 21st
For the European Night at the Museum on Saturday May 21st all participating museums will be open with a special entry fee of 1 Euro.
In Florence will definitely participate Galleria dell’Accademia and Uffizi with a special evening opening from 7 PM to 10 PM.
The entry ticket will be 1 Euro (except rights for free entries) and it will not be possible to reserve the visits.
The Night at the Museum is a special event happening in museums all over Europe on May 21st 2016. In this occasion the participating Tuscan museums will be open for free from 9 PM to 11 PM and besides the possibility to visit their precious treasures, there will also be events such as workshops for adults and kids, stage shows, concerts and more.
News summer 2016: beach, sea, sun and fun in Rimini
From June to October 2016 new summer courses are open in Florence and Rimini thanks to the cooperation of the school Rimini Academy. It is possible to attend one or two weeks in Florence and one or two weeks in Rimini.
Learn Italian, know friends from all over the world, admire the beauty of Florence, discover Italian culture, enjoy the sea. A wonderful journey and an unforgettable experience!
See details and costs of the complete package on the list of courses in the web site.
Like every year from April 21st to 25th in Florence there will be held the Festival del Gelato, a great event to try new ice cream flavors created by the “maestri gelatieri”.
From noon to midnight 8 ice-cream makers will challenge each other in a creative contest with innovative and original flavors.
The 2016 tour will be around all Italy, in cities like Florence, Rome, Turin, Milan. It will also be in European cities like Amsterdam. In may the tour will have its finale in Florence.
The ice-cream makers facing in Florence are 8 artists who are all part of the association Gelatieri artigiani fiorentini (Florentine artisan ice-makers).
A jury will judge the flavours taking part in the contest and choose the best one. Also the audience will be involved and it’s possible to vote your favourite ice cream with a special ‘Carta Gelato’. From the judegs’ and audiences’ votes will be chosen the first ranked who will take part in the European finale.
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From March 19th to July 24th 2016 Palazzo Strozzi is hosting an exhibition of more than 100 masterpieces of European and American art between 1920 and 1960 made of artworks from the American collectors Peggy and Solomon Guggenheim.
The exhibition, curated by Luca Massimo Barbero, is the result of a collaboration between Palazzo Strozzi Foundation and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation of New York, offering its visitors a unique opportunity to compare crucial works of European masters of modern art such as Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Man Ray and European masters of the “Art Informel”, such as Alberto Burri, Emilio Vedova, Jean Dubuffet, Lucio Fontana, with the large paintings and sculptures by some of the most important American artists of the 1950s and 1960s such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein and Cy Twombly.
This exhibition, devoted to the Guggenheim collections, tells the story of the birth of the “neoavanguardia” movement after World War II, in a tight correlation with European and American artists. Realizing such an extraordinary exhibition in Florence, means celebrating a special relation which takes us back in the past.
The large paintings, sculptures, engravings and photographs exhibited in Palazzo Strozzi, on loan from the Guggenheim collections in New York and Venice and other important international museums, offer a wide cross section of the extraordinarily season of 20th century art.
On the morning of Easter Sunday, the 30-foot-tall (9.1 m) antique cart (in use for over 500 years), moves from the Porta al Prato to the Piazza del Duomo . Hauled by a team of white oxen festooned with garlands of the first flowers and herbs of spring, the cart is escorted by 150 soldiers, musicians, and people in 15th century dress.
Meanwhile, a fire is struck using the historic flints from Jerusalem at Chiesa degli Santi Apostoli. It is then carried in procession to the cathedral square by members of the Pazzi family, clerics, and city officials.
The cart is loaded with fireworks while a wire, stretching to the high altar inside the cathedral, is fitted with a mechanical dove (the "colombina"). Shortly thereafter, at the singing of the Gloria in excelsis Deo during Easter Mass, the cardinal of Florence lights a fuse in the colombina with the Easter fire. It then speeds through the church to ignite the cart outside.
During all of these stages, the bells of Giotto's campanile ring out.
The complex fireworks show that follows lasts about 20 minutes. A successful display from the "Explosion of the Cart" is supposed to guarantee a good harvest, stable civic life, and good business.
The event of the Scoppio del Carro has its origins in the First Crusade, when Europeans laid siege to the city of Jerusalem in a conflict to claim Palestine for Christianity. In 1097, Pazzino de' Pazzi, a Florentine from a prominent family, was by tradition the first man to scale the walls of Jerusalem. As a reward for this act of bravery, his commander gave him three flints from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which were then carried back to Tuscany. These are kept in the Church of Santi Apostoli
It became the practice for a "holy fire" to be struck from these flints at Eastertide, which was then carried throughout the city by groups of young men bearing torches. In time, this tradition evolved to something similar to what is seen today; a cart bearing a large candle was rolled through the city to the cathedral, from where the holy fire would be distributed.
By the end of the 15th century, the Scoppio del Carro assumed its present form.
The ultimate origins of the event may be quasi-pagan, since it involves a display of great noise and light to ensure a good harvest.
Up until 1750 Florence began the civic year, not in accordance with the modern solar calendar on 1 January, but on 25 March, marking the start of the year from the religious feast of the Incarnation.
In the city and in the lands belonging to it, the New Year was celebrated with a difference in reckoning of two months and twenty-five days, even when in numerous Italian and foreign states the modern calendar had been operating since 1582.
The Florentines did not change the calendar until 1749, when respect of the new temporal
calculations was imposed by a decree of the Grand-duke Francesco II of Lorraine dated 20 November of the same year.
In Florence, on the day of the Spring New Year, a great crowd would set off in pilgrimage to the basilica of Santissima Annunziata, founded by the Servites, to venerate the miraculous fresco of the Annunciation (anonymous Tuscan fourteenth century) in which the face of the Virgin, according
to an ancient legend, was said to have been executed by the hand of angels.
This flocking of the people to the basilica gave rise to the "Fair" which is still set up in the piazza in front of the church on 25 March. In past times, at the end of the New Year celebrations, for "the joy of a great number of persons come from afar", the Servite fathers, the Signoria and, later, the Granddukes would arrange the performance of "beautiful music played on the organ".
By reviving the concert at the Servite basilica (to which entrance is free) as well as the Historic
Procession of the Florentine Republic from Palazzo Vecchio to the basilica of Santissima
Annunziata, the Municipal authorities wish to commemorate the ancient memory of 25 March as
the Florentine New Year, recalling a significant moment of social gathering with profound historic
Taste is devoted to the delicacies of taste and food lifestyle.It is the main event of food and lifestyle where the best international food and cooking operators meet a wide and enthusiastic audience of foodies.
The lively and colorful atmosphere reminds of a country festival with bright lights and green installations. A sort of modern Greasy Pole is the main theme of the new layout, conceived by Alessandro Moradei. Pitti Taste wants to make its audience of professionals and visitors experience a full immersion in the exhibitors’ products and the news of this edition.
The itinerary will be fascinating and surprising, and animates both Stazione Leopolda and the recent location of the Teatro dell’Opera which square and foyer will host for the first time events and projects of Taste.
The Taste itinerary is made of flavors, people and uniqueness. An authentic journey through taste offered by Pitti for this eleventh edition!
Taste Tour is a journey to discover and try the products of more than 330 exhibitors, chosen among the best producers from all over Italy.
Tools are the chef’s tools but also those of who love cooking. Food&Kitchen design, apparel, equipment and innovative ideas for the kitchen.
Shop is the store for exclusive food. Here you can buy everything you tasted during your tour and more. More than 1850 items, a total of 40.000 items in the catalogue and more than 22.000 items sold during the last edition.
Also the special Press area for books and specialized press in the food and wine sector makes part of this year’s Taste itinerary.
March 5th-6th Firenze Urban Trail, a night race among art and history
Florence reintroduces the 13 km night race that already enchanted thousands of enthusiasts. The weekend of March 5th and 6th will be a weekend of sport, nature and art. To participate in Florence Urban Trail means also participating in a solidarity event.
Trail running is a quite particular sport, being a run along trails (sometimes mountain trails) and in any case in contact with nature. It’s a new way of moving, letting go of your stopwatch and competition.
In Florence the “trail” will be “urban”, along the city’s streets, and moreover, at night. The start is scheduled at 9 pm in Piazza Santa Croce. The itinerary will pass through the streets and squares that are known for their art all over the world. It will be a race among history and nature, up and downhill around the city for a total of 13 km. It goes up to Piazzale Michelangelo where you can admire the city from above.
The use of a headlamp is mandatory. This will create an extraordinary sparkling, a swarm of runners moving ahead.
The registrations are already open, you just have to register on www.firenzeurbantrail.com and choose your favorite race.