Florence Events and Festivals 2014 / 2015

(Florence, Tuscany, Italy)




Florence Events, Festivals and Things to DoLeading magazines for upcoming Florence festivals and events are regularly published and there are weekly event guides that are readily available. They contain up-to-date listings of events throughout Italy, with a focus on Florence and are aimed specifically at tourists and visitors.

These magazines are a useful source for shopping, dining and entertainment - providing you with a huge choice of things to see and do in Florence, Italy.


National Public Holidays


  • 1st January - New Year's Day
  • 6th January - Epiphany
  • Early April - Easter Monday
  • 25th April - Liberation Day and St. Mark's Feast Day
  • 1st May - Labour Day
  • 29th June - Local Feast Day
  • 15th August - Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • 1st November - All Saints' Day
  • 8th December - Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • 24th December - Christmas Eve
  • 25th December - Christmas Day
  • 26th December - Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day

January


  • New Year's Eve / Day (Capodanno)- there are celebrations throughout Florence to welcome in the New Year
  • Fashion Shows (Florence) - held throughout January, the prestigious events feature leading Italian designers presenting their spring and summer collections

February


  • Viareggio Carnival - one of Italy's biggest carnivals, lasting for almost three weeks in February. Elaborate floats are paraded every Sunday

March


  • Feast of San Giuseppe (Siena) - this festival includes donkey races, floats and tournaments

April


  • Explosion of the Cart / Scoppio del Carro (Florence) - Easter Sunday, at noon a dove descends on a wire from the high altar of the cathedral and starts a large firework display from a cart
  • Exposition of the Virgin's Girdle (Prato) - this precious relic is displayed from Donatello's pulpit in the facade of the cathedral on several occasions during the year - Easter Sunday, 1st May, 15th August, 8th September and Christmas day
  • Festa degli Aquiloni - Kite Festival (San Miniato) - first Sunday after Easter, kite lovers perform aerial acrobatics on the Prato della Rocca, the grassy common above San Miniato
  • Sagra Musicale Lucchese (Lucca) - this extensive festival of sacred music is held in the city's numerous Romanesque churches
  • Mostra Mercato Internazionale dell'Artigianato / Exhibition of Crafts (Florence) - last week in April, this important European exhibition displays work of artists and artisans in the Fortezza da Basso

May


  • Festa del Grillo / Cricket Festival (Florence) - this festival takes place on the Sunday after Ascension day in Cascine Park and stallholders sell crickets in tiny woven straw cages, which are traditionally released by their new owners in the park for good luck
  • Maggio Musicale (Florence) - the city's major arts festival lasting until early June, with concerts by the Orchestra Regionale Toscano and dance, including ballet performances
  • Balestro del Girifalco / Falcon Contest (Massa Marittima) - first Sunday after 22nd May, preceded by a long procession throughout the streets, marksmen try to shoot a mechanical falcon on a wire with their crossbows. Also held again in August
  • Ufficio Stampa Firenze Gelato Festival - late May, lasting around five days, both the Piazza della Repubblica and the Piazza Santissima Annunziata are transformed into giant open-air 'gelato' ice cream shops, attracting the finest Italian ice-cream makers around. There are also lots of family based activities, while the Piazza Santissima Annunziata offers related exhibitions. This event now attracts more than 300,000 and is usually spread over the last weekend in May

June

Florence Events, Festivals and Things to Do
  • Gioco del Ponte / Game of the Bridge (Pisa) - this game involves two groups of people, representing the two halves of the city, one on each side of the river Arno, trying to push a seven tonne cart on rails to the opposite side
  • Calcio in Costume / Football in Costume (Florence) - mid to late June, usually held in the Piazza di Santa Croce, this ancient game is a combination of football and rugby
  • Estate Fiesolana / Fiesole Summer (Florence) - mid-June to the end of August, this is a festival of music, arts, drama, dance and film
  • Regata di San Ranieri (Pisa) - 17th June, boat races in costume and stunning processions of colourfully decorated boats are held on the River Arno

July


  • Corsa del Palio (Siena) - 2nd July and 16th August, this is one of Tuscany's most famous events in the Campo. It is a bareback horse race watched by thousands of people and was first recorded in 1283
  • Feast on San Paolino (Lucca) - a torchlight parade in period costume held in honour of the city's patron saint. There is also a crossbow contest
  • Joust of the Bear (Pisa) - 12 riders, three from each quarter of the city, gallop with a lance and attempt to spear two targets in the form of bears
  • Pistoia Blues (Pistoia) - early July, this famous international festival of blues music takes place in the Piazza del Duomo

August


  • Festival Pucciniano (Puccini) - throughout August, performances of the composer's operas in an open-air theatre by the lake (Torre del Lago) where he once lived
  • Rodeo (Albrese) - throughout August, cowboys of the Maremma demonstrate horse training and cattle herding
  • Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte (Montepulciano) - first half of August, this is an important festival of new work by leading composers, dramatists and coreographers
  • Festa della Bistecca (Cortona) - 15th August, this is the festival of beefsteak, a local speciality
  • Il Baccanala (Montepulciano) - penultimate Saturday, this is a feast of wine and food, celebrating the local Vino Nobile

September


  • Giostra del Saraceno / Joust of the Saracen (Arezzo) - first Sunday in September and throughout the summer, this medieval-style joust begins with a colourful parade of locals in period costume who proceed to the Piazza Grande
  • Festa della Rificolona (Florence) - 7th September, children from all over the area converge at the Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, carrying candlelit paper lanterns to honour the eve of the birth of the Virgin
  • Feast of Santa Croce (Lucca) - 13th September, another torchlight parade in honour of the Volto Santo or 'Holy Face' wooden crucifix figure, which is usually kept in the cathedral, but on this day is paraded around by torchlight
  • Palio della Balestra / Crossbow Contest (Sansepolcro) - second Sunday, this contest originated in a dispute between the crossbowmen of Sansepolcro (in Tuscany) and those of Gubbio (in Umbria). The participants all dress in period costume
  • Rassegna del Chianti Classico (Chianti) - second week, this is the biggest Tuscan celebration of local wines
  • Mostra Mercato Internazionale dell'Antiquariato (Florence) - September to October, a major biennial antiques fair

October


  • Amici della Musica (Florence) - October to April, the 'Friends of Music' concert season
  • Sagra del Tordo / Festival of the Thrush (Montalcino) - last Sunday, this archery contest is set in the grounds of the 14th-century Fortezza (castle)

November


  • Feast of Santa Cecilia (Siena) - a varied programme of concerts takes place in honour of the patron saint of music
  • Festival dei Popoli (Florence) - November to December, this is Tuscany's most important film festival and is open to everyone, showing films in their original languages with Italian subtitles, at the Piazza dei Congressi

December


  • Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Bagni di Lucca) - 8th December, this important feast day is celebrated by a fair in the Fornoli quarter
  • Burning of the Tree (Camporgiano, near Lucca) - 24th December, an immense bonfire of evergreen branches burns, accompanied by the great bell of San Giacomo
  • Feast of San Stefano (Prato) - 26th December, a feast celebrating the patron saint, St. Stephan
  • Feast of San Lucia (Siena) - ceremonies in the church of Santa Lucia are followed by an outdoor poetry and ceramic fair
  • New Year's Eve - 31st December, masses are celebrated in churches and there are also many parties and general celebrations







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