The city of Florence enjoys a number of festivals each year. It’s well worth trying to time your visit to coincide with one of the events – they offer a unique insight into the Italian culture and are great fun.
The first major festival of the year is on Easter Sunday. The Scoppio del Carro (Explosion of the Cart) sees two morning parades making their way to the Duomo. At 11 a.m. fireworks are set off from the main square.
From April to June, there is the Maggio Musicale, Italy’s oldest music festival. The easiest place to learn more and to find the programme of events held each season is via the official website – www.maggiofiorentino.it. This will also give you details on ticket prices and how you can purchase tickets.
The Festa di San Giovanni is held in June each year. There is always a fantastic fireworks display in the Piazzale Michelangelo and the final of the Calcio Storico is played in the Piazza Santa Croce. This is the culmination of a series of matches between teams from each of the four historic quarters of the city – Santa Croce (paying in green), San Giovanni (red), Santa Maria Novella (blue) and Santo Spirito (white). The winning team receives a calf which is then roasted in a street party and shared amongst the players in the four teams as well as the inhabitants of the winning quarter.
Later in the year, on 15th August, there is the Festa del Grillo (Festical of the Cricket) held in the Cascine Park. The park is filled with stalls amongst which you will find people selling tiny wooden cages filled with mechanical crickets.
The following month, on September 7th, there is the Festa delle Rificolone (Festival of the Lanterns). This is a great festival for those with children. Each child carries a coloured paper lantern housing a candle in a lovely torchlit procession which winds its way to the Piazza Santissima Annunziata where there is a fair. A parade of floats follows and people celebrate long into the evening.