New Years Eve - 1st January
New Year’s Eve in Florence is not the raucous affair so characteristic of many British city centres. Most Florentines spend the evening at home but for the younger crowd, many of the clubs put on special parties. Many eateries also put on special menus of traditional Tuscan fare.
La Befana (Epiphany) - 6th January
A much anticipated day for kids and a national holiday for grown ups, the Befana is actually a mythical old lady who distributes presents to children from her broomstick (the well behaved ones anyway; the naughty ones get only get a stocking of coal!). Lots of the smaller towns around Florence hold street parties.
Carnival starts 10 days before Shrove Tuesday and involves a programme of parades, floats and general dressing up and silliness. The best place to see the festivities is on Lungarno Amerigo Vespucci.
Festa della Donna
A celebration of International Women’s Day. You may be offered traditional yellow mimosa flowers if you are out on the town. In recent years, bars and clubs have started to put on male strippers for the gangs of girls out on the town in celebration.
Week before Easter
Somewhat more traditional than Festa della Donna but fascinating nevertheless. The best dressing up and processions are in the smaller Tuscan towns where they re-enact the life of Christ on Good Friday.
Scoppio del Carro
This festival dates from the 12th century and involves four oxen pulling a carro (a kind of wooden cart) from the west of the city to the Piazza del Duomo. Then the fun really starts. At 11am, a priest lights up a bizarre mechanical dove which proceeds along a wire from the high altar to the carro outside where it sets off a firework display! Tradition dictates that if the operation runs smoothly then there will be a bounteous harvest. Get there early because the Piazza del Duomo fills up quickly.
Mostra Internazionale dell'artigianato
Held in Fortezza da Basso
An international crafts show which serves to promote the rich craftwork heritage of Italy.
Mostra Mercato di Piante e Fiori
Late April-early May (and again in early October)
This is an absolute must for garden lovers. Head out to the Horticultural Gardens on Via Vittorio Emanuele 4 (bus no. 4), for this amazing flower show centred around a lovely 19th century glasshouse.
Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
From late Apr to late June.
Two month festival of concerts, dance and opera featuring many famous internationally renowned artists. In the final week there are free concerts in Piazza della Signoria.
Last Sunday in May.
Many wine estates in Tuscany open their doors to the general public and hold wine tastings. For details visit local tourist information.
Festa del Grillo
Held in Parco delle Cascine.
Now simply a giant market, the origins of this festival are more interesting. People used to sell crickets in hand painted cages which were used to impress the opposite sex and keep them company when their sweethearts were away from home. The real thing is no longer sold but the mechanical crickets on sale are just as much fun.
Republics boat race
Calcio in costume
Luminaria di San Ranieri
Festa di San Giovanni
Biennale Internazionale d'Arte Contemporanea di Florence: December
The Florence Biennale for contemporary art is a recent event on the Florence scene, but it has already become enormously successful: in the 2002 edition, there were 600 artists, including painters, sculptors, digital artists and video art creators from all over the world.
Fochi di San Giovanni: 24 June
For centuries, Florence has celebrated the birth of St John the Baptist, the city’s patron saint, with celebrations and amazing fireworks displays.
For fifty years, Pitti Immagine has been an international window for Italian fashion, a reference point for the development of the Made in Italy industry in the world, thanks to the creation of the several annual events that take place. Here are just a few:
Pitti uomo: November and June
Pitti casa: January-February
Pitti Moda pelle: September and February