Florence offers so much to keep your itinerary full, but if you can time your trip just right to coincide with one of its popular special events or festivals, you’ll truly be spoiled for choice with options. From fashion to music to religious festivals, here are some of the more popular ones.
Almost more popular than Christmas and held on January 6, a grand parade honouring the arrival of The Three Wise Men or Magi, and general celebrations fill the city marking the 12th day of Christmas. The procession starts from Palazzo Pitti, ending in Piazza del Duomo.
February: Viareggio Carnevale (Carnival)
Much like Carnevale celebrations across Italy, this festival features parades of enormous paper-maché floats up to 20 metres high carrying several costumed participants, competing for ‘best dressed’ prizes. Glamorous masked balls, musical comedy and theatre shows and choir performances also take place.
April: Scoppio del Carto
The ‘explosion of the cart’ held on Easter Sunday at Piazza del Duomo consists of a giant wagon rigged with fireworks awaiting a dove shaped ignitor that sets of a bevy of colourful explosions in celebration of Easter and a bountiful agricultural harvest ahead.
April – June: Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Since its beginnings in 1933, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino is now Italy’s oldest arts festival. Taking place from late April until June, virtually every arts venue fills with internationally acclaimed classical music performers, ballet recitals, chamber music concerts and opera performances.
May – June: Giro d’Italia
This annual long-distance professional cycling race also known as the Tour of Italy and is held over three weeks every year in May or early June. The starting point changes each year, always ending in Milan, but it passes through Florence with great fanfare.
June – July: Estate Fiesolana
Taking place every (Italian) summer, this arts festival celebrates all things dance, music, theatre, poetry and cinema. Held as an open-air festival, it attracts thousands to experience concerts and performances in Fiesole’s 2,000 year old Roman amphitheatre.
September: Festival of Lanterns
Each September the Florence Festa della Rificolona, brings the farming community together with a celebratory farmers market in the Piazza of SS Annunziata on the eve of the birth of the Virgin. Celebrations, music and children carrying rificolone (paper lanterns) are now part of the festival.
September: Wine festivals
Throughout September, several wine tasting festivals and events take place in the regional winemaking areas, celebrating all things Chianti. Wine tastings, winery tours and wine matched dinners are held in Chianti and the nearby town of Vagliagli.
November – December: Festival dei Popoli
Florence’s film festival typically takes place in late November or early December and has both international and Italian categories and focuses heavily on documentaries. The cities cinemas offer a huge variety of screenings, talks and special events for film general buffs and industry professionals alike.
Various dates: Pitti Immagine
The fashionistas flock to Florence for this series of fashion events, each focussing on their own genre for men, women, children, even accessories and fragrances are showcased. There are five different events a year so it’s likely you'll be there when one is on.