Annual Events

In this section will find annual, biannual, and biennial events of Florence, both secular and religious.

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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.

Festa della Liberazione, Liberation Day

Italy's Liberation Day (Festa della Liberazione) is a national Italian holiday commemorating the end of the World War II and the Nazi occupation of the country. There is usually a morning ceremony in Piazza dell'Unità with Carabinieri marching band, war veterans and city officials, and a concert in the afternoon in Piazza Signoria. Wreaths are set out in the city in various locations, similar to the one below:

Festa della Liberazione, Liberation Day Wreath

The Explosion of The Cart of St. John, Easter Sunday in Florence

If you want to witness one of the more strange, interesting and exciting rituals of Easter than the "Explosion of The Cart" or "Scoppio del Carro" (also known as "il Brindellone" or the "Cart of St. John") is a must see event on Easter Sunday in Piazza Duomo.

Il Brindellone

It is an ancient tradition that dates all the way back to the crusades, and an elaborate event that has to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. A large, towering wooden "cart" is pulled into the square between the Duomo and the Baptistry by huge white oxen and accompanied by much fanfare, flag throwing and bell ringing. Inside the church, a fake dove is ignited in the middle of mass and sent on a wire into the cart that is loaded with various fireworks and explosives (and I mean loud explosions that go one for several minutes - and lots of smoke). The quality of the fireworks predicts the fate of Florence for the year - while in the middle ages it was more closely linked to the quality of that year's harvest. If you are in Florence for Easter don't miss this extraordinary event.

The event starts around 10 a.m, with the The "Explosion of The Cart" happening around 11 - make sure you get there early for a good viewing spot! You can also enter the church for the mass, or follow the cart's procession before or after the ceremony.

Mostra Internazionale dell'Artigianato (International Handicrafts Market)

Mostra Internazionale dell'Artigianato

2014 dates: April 24th to May 1st
Forezza da Basso

The "Mostra Internazionale dell'Artigianato" or "International Handicrafts Market" welcomes artisans from all over the world as well Italy. This is a great fair full of hand-made crafts from all over the world - clothing, furniture, carpets, jewelry, silverware, collectibles, gifts, wine & food. It features traditional handmade products that inspired by ethnic and classical history, and a mix of contemporary and classical tastes.

Visiting the Fair
For eight consecutive days, from 10:00 to 23:00, more than 800 exhibitors from all over Italy and 50 foreign countries are waiting for you with their "hand made" creations, live demonstrations, events, performances, and more.

New Features for 2014
New features for 2014 edition of the Fair are: Bellezza e Benessere (Health & Beauty), Garden Art, Centomestieri (A Thousand Trades), and the Tuscan Handicraft Museums.

Festa della Donna

Festa della Donna

Each year on March 8 International Women's Day is celebrated throughout the world. The first International Women's Day was held in 1911. Thousands of events occur to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Organisations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women's groups, corporations and the media celebrate the day. Italian's call this day "Festa della Donna" and in Florence it is widely celebrated and usually includes giving women a traditional bouquet (which you will find in flower shops all over Florence):

"Traditionally the women are given a small bouquet of mimosa - yellow flowers in a small cluster, that emit a sweet fragrance, and spend the evening without male company."

(We usually break with the latter part of that - as I make a special dinner for the women in my life)

The origins of this day are many, including:

"...memorializing two events outside of Italy: a March 8, 1857, strike by women garment workers in New York, which led to the formation two years later of the first women's union in the United States, and a strike by Russian women calling for "bread and peace" on March 8, 1917 (February 23 on the old Russian calendar but March 8 in the rest of the world.)"

La Rassegna dell'Olio di Reggello

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!

La Rassegna dell'Olio di Reggello

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.

Il Sindaco
Dott. Cristiano Benucci

Ceramics Fair (Fiera della Ceramica), Piazza Santissima Annunziata

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.

Florentine New Year

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:


Continue reading Florentine New Year.

Notte Bianca

The Notte Bianca (check the link for up-to-date information) 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.

Florence Korean Film Festival

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 Storico

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:

GLADIATORS SPIRIT'S IS STILL ALIVE Calcio storico Fiorentino Take 2 from Brice Ansel on Vimeo.

MODERN GLADIATORS - CALCIO STORICO from David Battistella on Vimeo.

The official website of this event is at: http://www.calciostoricofiorentino.it

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