Now that we are sliding into spring and masses of tourists have infiltrated our city with floppy hats, umbrellas , cameras and lots and lots of khaki , are they going on a safari? I figure besides people watching, I better provide a ‘get away’ list for those who want a refuge from the crowds. April is a funny month, both in the mood of the weather gods for example, is it going to rain OR not? and the information for events. We all know Florence needs rain since the local papers are already threatening a long and arduous summer but I for one will take some precipitation since as the old adage says April showers bring May Flowers.
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Obviously there is EASTER which normally means loads of Italians will pack up and head off to the seaside or wherever they can enjoy the 3 day weekend since the following Monday is also a holiday pasquetta. If your in Florence for this holiday and are wondering what to do, you will be pleased to know that museums will have regular opening hours on Sunday and for some more info regarding what to do and how Italians celebrate Easter, check out my article in the local newspaper here http://www.theflorentine.net/articles/article-view.asp?issuetocId=7603.
There are actually some pretty cool events going on this month that I am really excited about. One of which I already spoke about in a previous post. The Middle east film festival going on at the Odeon cinehall from the 12-16 of April. I find the films to be especially passionate and with all of the turmoil in those regions, I find myself really drawn to the very humanistic stories this festival normally produces. You will definitely see me there, snacks in hand. I had the chance to go to their press conference today and I am even more inspired to attend. One movie in particular “The Relunctant Revolutionary” examines the situation in Yemen (which happens to be the most armed country in the world) and in particular one determined tour guide ; it looks to be a great movie and there are also many cartoons showing before the featured films/docs. We also got to attend the press conference today which was very interesting and also had a lebanese buffet after where I may have eaten 5 pieces of baklava, it .was.amazing.
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We also got to see a photo preview of the exhibit done by an American photographer who lived in the middle-east for 10 years and her photos (which were also published in Time magazine, New York Times, The New Yorker and Newsweek, follow the transitions she saw during those years. This exhibit is FREE and located at the Tethys gallery on via maggio 58/red.
We are also very lucky that in April there happens to be the very cool international artisan fair at the Fortezza di Basso from the 21-29th.
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This has to be one of my favorite fairs to attend in Florence and it only costs 5 euros to get in. They have various areas where all sorts of handicrafts are being sold or being demonstrated and last year we even saw a flamenco performance while sipping milky tea from ‘Nepal’. Expect to see stands from all over the world mingling with those local to Tuscany. They normally have really good food as well (which lets be honest, is half the fun for us! ). For more info regarding this fair you can check out their website (in English, good site too! ) here http://www.mostraartigianato.it/en/.
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There is the annual Tuscany Walking Festival which takes place from April 6th to May 6th and again in the autumn. This year daily or weekend hikes will take place in the Archipelago Tuscan Islands ( such as Elba ) http://www.tuscanywalkingfestival.it/. If you read my blog you know I love to hike and who wouldn’t want to get some excerise in the stunning background of these islands. My and some friends are planning a girls trip to Elba in May so I hope to at least mimic one of these itineraries.
For museum lovers, if you happen to be visiting Florence in April you have lucked out in that from the 14th to the 22nd is this year’s “culture week” which means free entrance to many museums, villas, archeological areas and usually events that go with it. I always try to use this week like a greedy local who doesn’t make enough money to pay for normal tickets , oh wait.. that IS me.
Tango lover’s will appreciate the 10th edition of the Florence tango festival held at Obihall-Saschall from the 25th of April until the 1 of May. A short description is below.
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The Firenze Tango Festival will be a special event for tango dancers from all over the world, with a big staff of first class teachers, long milonga nights in a great location with two dance floors, tango orchestras and tango shows, classes with registration limit, search partner service for workshops, transfer to lessons, large Festival Team helping for any need and making you feel welcome – a really great and international tango party is waiting for you during wonderful spring days in one of the most magic cities in Italy.
So….don’t miss it!
Notte Bianca or “White Night” will be held on the 30th of April ( Renzi, Florence’s mayor wants this date to be symbolic) which means many local businesses will be open all night and if it’s anything like last year, expect 150,000 of your closest “friends” to be out and about in the historical center walking around. At 6am they offer a FREE breakfast in the Palazzo Vecchio and usually the buses run all night as well. They usually have loud live music, tons of booze and its as if everyone is Italy is celebrating life itself if only for one night. I kinda love it.
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With the warmer weather comes the return of my favorite sagre/food festivals and this April there is a few that may be worth hitting up. In Vicchio (outside the center ) there is the festival of tortello and steak…I am literally drooling already. Dates : 14th to May 1 roughly. Another festival of tortello and a type of mushroom called prugnolo will be held in Borgo San Lorenzo from the 13-15th and the 20th-22nd. There will also be steak, roasted meats, pasta with duck ragu and more. For seafood lovers, there is a food festival for seafood soup or cacciucco in Rufina, 28-30 of April and May 1, 5, 6. This is a very famous dish and is definitely worth trying, its delicious. They will also have fried fish, grilled shrimp as well as some classic dishes from the land as well. Just comment on this article if you want exact address are more information.
I am always happy to share my food festival knowledge and its usually one of the first places I take people if they are visiting me, its the Italy people really should experience, locals sharing food together, and often the people working at the festivals are volunteers. The environment is always very lively and these festivals are much cheaper than a restaurant.
If I missed out on anything, let me know, these are just events that I have a particular interest in and even though I am extremely tired and a little stressed this week, I had to share before this April gets any older.
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I can tell the seasons are changing from all of the laniccio dei pioppi or poplar fluff which is currently choking the air. Ciao Allergies! Luckily with said allergies we have flowers and scenes like the photos below.