Calendar of Events
Florence is a vibrant city, and throughout the calendar year there are numerous concerts, theatrical events and other special occasions through which both residents and tourists can enjoy added attractions to the regular tourist venues. Below are listed some of the principal festivals and annual events in Florence.
Easter Sunday - "The Explosion of the Cart"
The first major folk festival of the year. From Porta Prato to the Duomo, a cartload of fireworks is pulled by a string of white oxen. The whole cart is set ablaze by a mechanical dove descending by wire from the top of the high altar. This event dates back to the days of the first crusade, when the leader of Florentine, Pazzino de' Pazzi initiated this event. Pazzo in Italian means insane, need we say more...
Spring & Autumn - Exhibition of Plants & Flowers
An important exhibition and market that takes place in the Giardino dell'Orticoltura
Ascension Day - "The festival of the Cricket"
Dating back to Pagan times, this Florentine tradition takes place in Cascine park where amongst the picnickers you'll find stalls selling caged crickets who are then released onto the grass. A ritual that celebrates the days when men placed a cricket on the doorstep of their lovers to serenade them.
May 23 - Bonfire of the Vanities
Celebration of the death of the Domenican friar Savonavola, he preached against the renaissance the ideas that flourished from that movement. Enjoying popularity at the time, he called upon all the citizens of Florence to bring forth works of art and books to burn on a bonfire. After a mass at Palazzo Vecchio, there is a performance in the Piazza Signori.
Final June 24 - Costume Football Game
This is one of Florence 's major events. Although, the british claim to have invented soccer, locals claim this sport dates back to Roman times and a game called "Arpasto", which was played by Roman soldiers. Before the games, a magnificent historic parade flows through the streets of the town. Rather like Siena and the famous "Palio", each of Florence 's historic four quarters fields a team.
June 24 - Saint John's Day
The Patron saint of Florence is also celebrated on this day with a procession in the morning and a display of fireworks at Piazzale Michelangelo.
September 7 - Festival of the Lanterns
Known as the festival of rificolona, it draws inspiration from the pilgrimage of distant travellers from the mountains who came to Florence and illuminated the dark streets of the city with their lanterns. Nowadays, modern Florentines and especially children hang these lanterns from their windows, or carry them hanging from a long cane.
June until September - Fiesole summer festival
Dance, theatre and music shows take place in the Roman amphitheater of Fiesole , in a festival that has been running since 1948.
End of September thru beginning of October - Antique-Trade Exhibition
The oldest antiques fair in Italy, with highly reputable dealers coming from abroad representing all fields of the antique trade.
November - Florence Marathon
It starts in Piazzale Michelangelo, and the course of the marathon runs through the streets of Florence .