Below are some of our most recent entries posted in the Annual Events category - use the links at the end of the page to access all the articles individually.
This annual event of the first pressing of Olive Oil from the town of Reggello is a great opportunity to get the full flavor of the spicy, green and gold Tuscan olive oil (our favorite!). And of course it is all for sale. For years they had set up in Piazza Santa Croce - but the info on their website has the festival taking place this weekend in Reggello (about a 45 minute drive for the center of Florence). If you have a car, I highly recommend it!
Here is a message from the Mayor of Reggello:
La Rassegna dell'Olio di Reggello, giunta all'onorevole traguardo della quarantunesima edizione, rappresenta un momento importante nella vita della nostra comunità.
Con l'anticipazione della data abbiamo voluto infatti segnare nuovamente,(come fu pensata in origine) l'inizio vero della campagna olearia.
L'olio è il prodotto di maggior pregio che la nostra terra produce. L'olio è simbolo del nostro territorio, abbellito dal colore verdastro degli olivi sui terrazzamenti delle nostre colline; è il veicolo per trasmettere la qualità della nostra agricoltura e l'eccellenza del nostro territorio.
La purezza chimica e organolettica del nostro olio trova le sue radici nella sapienza e nel lavoro della nostra gente che coltiva l'olivo da tempo immemore e che continua a farlo, pur tra tante difficoltà,ancora oggi.
Venire a Reggello ad assaggiare l'olio nuovo, sarà il miglior veicolo per trasmettere , attraverso il suo gusto unico e la sua bontà, la bellezza di un territorio e al tempo stesso la saggezza di un popolo che ancora sa privilegiare la qualità, il gusto del buono, il piacere del bello.
Dott. Cristiano Benucci
Here are some photos from the "Fiera della Ceramica", in Piazza Santissima Annunziata. This is an annual event that usually takes place the first weekend of October and is organized by the Arte della Ceramica. It is a wonderful market with so much unique work by a wide variety of European ceramists, along with some food local vendors and entertainment. Highly recommended!
I have highlighted the work of German artist Heiner Bauer above. Heiner was always one of my favorite artists at this event year after year, but I am afraid to say that he passed away sometime in 2012.
There are also some amazing pieces by Stefano Innocenti among many others.
Up until 1750 Florence began the civic year not in accordance with the modern solar calendar on January 1st, but on March 25th, marking the start of the year from the religious feast of the Incarnation (which also - surely not by coincidence - is near the first day of spring).
There is a plaque in the Loggia dei Lanzi commemorating the event:Florentine New Year.
The Notte Bianca or "White Night" in Florence takes place on the evening of April 30th every year. The streets flow with people making rounds between food stalls, exhibitions, art installations, museums, dj sets, and live music and dance performances scattered throughout the center of Florence.Continue reading Notte Bianca.
This event usually takes place sometime during the second half of March. You can always check their website for the most up to date information: http://www.koreafilmfest.com
Calcio Fiorentino or Calcio in Costume - better known in Florence as Calcio Storico - is a traditional football game dating back to the 15th century. A violent mix of football, soccer, wrestling and perhaps boxing, the tournament is played in medieval costume every year from mid to late June. The final match is always held on June 24th, as a celebration of the city's patron saint, St. John the Baptist (San Giovanni). The event takes place in Florence's Piazza Santa Croce, where the piazza is transformed into a playing field with a thick layer of sand under the players and bleacher-style stands for the spectators:
The exact origins of the game are unclear, but some believe it began as a way to keep military troops in shape while waiting to go to battle. Later, it became more of a competitive sport for young Florentine aristocrats. The first official rules for the Calcio Storico were written by Florentine Count Giovanni de'Bardi di Vernio in 1580. Each game of the Calcio Storico has 54 players divided into two teams of 27 which are lined up in three rows. After that, it seems there are no real guidelines - just the final objective of making a goal. The round ball is tossed around the field while the players do anything in their power to stop their opponents from scoring. Punching, tackling, kicking and clawing are all acceptable tactics to stop the opponent (we also saw biting and sand throwing one year!). A goal is made by throwing the ball over 4 foot high wooden wall that runs the length of the field.
The four teams consist of players from four areas of the city: Santa Croce ("Azzurri" or Blues); Santa Maria Novella ("Rossi" or Reds); Santo Spirito ("Bianchi" or Whites); and San Giovanni ("Verdi" or Greens). Needless to say, passionate loyalties fuel the ruthlessness of the tournament.
Before each game, a long procession of the players, flag throwers, drummers, and other Florentine citizens all dressed in historical costumes starts from Piazza Santa Maria Novella and slowly makes its way to Piazza della Signoria, down Via de'Neri, and then up Via dei Benci until it finally reaches Piazza Santa Croce. The comradery, pageantry, costumes and trumpets are quite impressive and worth watching even if you don't have the stomach (or tickets - which are usually very hard to come by) to watch the actual game.
For a real sense of the atmosphere of the event, we found several well-done videos of the Calcio Storico:
The official website of this event is at: http://www.calciostoricofiorentino.it
The Mille Miglia or the "thousand miles" has been called the "most beautiful race in the world". Initiated in 1927, the race was canceled for reasons of safety in 1957 and twenty years later was revived as a road rally.
Every May over the course of three days, more than three hundred of the most important vintage racing cars (and some contemporary models) from around the world parade through over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of Italian roads highlighting countrysides, mountains, ancient villages and city centers including Piazza del Campo in Siena and Piazza Signoria in Florence. Starting in Brescia, Lombardia they travel to Rome and back, winding through the countrysides of the Veneto, Marche and Umbria regions and returning through Tuscany, including Siena and Florence where they pause for a mid-afternoon break. The collection includes pre-1957 models of classic cars from Ferrari, Maserati, Porsche and Alfa Romeo, among others.
The first car passes through Florence in the early afternoon and makes a tour through the center - in 2012 the race is scheduled to cross the Ponte alle Grazie, Lungarno degli Acciaioli and Piazza della Signoria (the exact time and route is subject to change from year to year).
Here are some of our favorite photos from the last couple of years:
One of Florence's newer annual events, the Florence Gelato Festival has been happening for a couple of years now, usually around the end of May.
These comments were about the first festival in 2010:
"We had lots of great gelato, but the lines were long at times and the overall organization seemed a bit lacking. It did seem to be a big success however judging by the number of people eating ice cream. The "Gelato University" put on in Piazza Santissima Annunziata by industry giant Carpigiani was also packed for every lesson."
This year's event (2012) is scheduled for May 23rd to 27th and will take place in the following piazzas:
I think last year's edition was better than the first, and maybe 2012 will be their best yet. There is much more going on than just tasting gelato of course - visit the official website for more details (in Italian only).
These photos are from 2010 and 2011:
Since Italians don't have Thanksgiving to interfere, they get right down to business and start thinking about Christmas in mid-November - the shops are already decorated and pushing their Christmas wares. By December the streets in the center will be draped with lights and Piazza Repubblica and Piazza Duomo will put up their annual Christmas trees. But you really know Christmas is coming when Piazza Santa Croce sets up for the annual German Christmas Market (Heidelberger Weihnachtsmarkt).
Every year the German town of Heidelberg's 500-year-old market comes to Florence with it's holiday tradition and festive atmosphere. Piazza Santa Croce is filled with small wooden stalls selling everything from unique woolens and Bunzlau ceramics to handmade toys and colorful ornaments. It's a great place to pick up stocking stuffers, holiday decorations or unusual sweets.
This market also worth a visit just for the food: you can enjoy some bratwurst and a beer or traditional Heidelberg Lebkuchen cookies and a spiced vin brulè. Our family never misses the
merry-go-round style rotating bar (no merry-go-round in 2012!) which offers a place to relax and look over the festive sights of the market kiosks while sipping the drink of your choice.
From about November 30 to December 18 every year
Everyday from 10am to 8pm
Piazza Santa Croce
September is the time for many Florentine and Tuscan events and festivals. One of our favorite nights of the year here in Florence is the "Festa della Rificolona", an evening parade through the streets of Florence, with children carrying paper lanterns lit with candles, while other children shoot the lanterns with pea shooters! (In the modern version these "pea shooters" are hollow metal cylinders and the "peas" are tiny balls of clay or spitballs) The festivals origins are not exactly clear or agreed upon.
Here is some background information from See Tuscany:
More probably the Festa della Rificolona grew out of the great fall market held September 7 (the day before the Nativity of the Virgin) in Piazza Santissima Annunziata. It was perhaps the most important market-day of the year, because it allowed the farmers to gather cash for the coming winter: To arrive early those living in the outlying regions would shoulder their packs long before dawn and carry lanterns, made by suspending candles within tissue-paper wind-shades, to light their way. Entire families would come, dressed in their Sunday best, but they were ignorant county folk and their attempts at elegance only made the city people laugh (Florentines still call an overdressed, over made-up woman a rificolona). Children would blow whistles at them, and make their own lanterns with colored tissue paper to follow along, or shoot at the farmers' lanterns with blowguns, in an attempt to knock over the candles and set the tissue paper ablaze.
And this is from Vive Firenze :
It probably dates from the mid 17th century when country folk travel to the city from distant areas on the eve of the Feast Day, congregating in the square in front of the Basilica of Santissima Annunziata. They naturally brought their wares, giving rise to a market that coincided with the celebrations in the Basilica when the entire city came to worship the miraculous image of the Annunciation. They often had to start out at night or at the crack of dawn to find a good site for their stalls, guided by the wavering light of paper or canvas lanterns, tied to sticks or poles.
The parade and ending night festival is on September 7th of each year (which is also the Feast of The Madonna), starting in the Pizza Santa Croce and ending up in the Piazza Santissima Annunziata, with a band leading the way.