Back again we are, in the “vacation month” that is August in Italy. You might have already noticed less cars struggling to park on any given city surface, whole piazzas void of people and small shops shuttered until September. Yes, it can be bewildering for some who might not be aware of so many closures but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth coming to the city anyway. Yesterday, Nico and I headed to one of the prettiest parks just outside the city walls, the 16th century Limonaia di Villa Strozzi and its surrounding greenery — is also referred to as “il boschetto” locally. There’s an enclosed dog park and at at the Limonaia, a small kiosk sells cheap cocktails and crispy Tuscan pizza, and more importantly its open all of August with plenty of events. Walking back through the ancient gate of San Frediano, I reveled in the feeling of the city taking on an emptier vibe. Instead of being almost run over, as we three crowd together on the city’s famously-small sidewalks, we had free reign, and it was glorious.
Sure, it can be tricky the opening hours for local eateries this month as they head off for Ferragosto, but I already did that work for you with this list here. The official city list of summer events can be followed via this FB page. In honor of my fellow friends and readers who plan on being in Florence for August this year, enjoy this list of events and know that you’re far from alone. I’ll be there too, working from my “cave” at home, eating gelato in San Lorenzo, having a walk to San Miniato, and hanging out in any shady spot I can find to finish my newest read, The Black Prince of Florence, a newly-released book on a lesser-known character of Florence’s famous Medici family.
Ps. I’d love to know your plans this August, are you going away or staying here? Share your plans in the comments below :). And if you need a decent Rome list, Natalie of An American in Rome has you covered.
Open-Mic | The August edition of Tasso Hostel’s Open-Mic night, August 3rd, 8:30pm
Looking for something fun to do this first week of the month? I highly recommend heading to this always fun open-mic night at the awesome Tasso Hostel (also a wonderful place to access free WIFi) . Typically anyone is able to volunteer and take part, whether that means reading a poem, short story, telling jokes, playing a song. Essentially just be your awesome badass self and you will be more than welcomed. Address: Tasso Hostel Florence, 15 Via Villani, 50123 Florence, Italy. More info here.
Theater | Medici Dynasty Show, Every Wed-Sun in piazza san lorenzo. 7pm.
Almost 300 years later the last two heirs of the Medici Dynasty are brought back to life in a multimedia masterpiece of “infotainment” Art History Intrigue with a fun show hosted in the former Convent of Sant’Onofrio delle Monache di Foligno, dating back to the early 15th century. This is a year-round show, five shows every week, every day except for Monday and Friday, the fun starts at 7:00pm , duration 1 hour. address: via faenza 48, you can buy tickets at their office in piazza san lorenzo –> address: San Giovannino dei Padri Scolopi Library (piazza San Lorenzo, n. 6). facebook page. Price — full 30 €, students (to age 25) 20 €, children under 12 free, Groups of 8 people or more booking at the same time 26 €, For bookings email firstname.lastname@example.org. official website. address: via faenza 48.
ART | FIRST FREE SUNDAYS, August 7th, ALL OVER ITALY
First free Sundays is something I have been including in every monthly lineup because how amazing is it that in a city with so many museums, they offer at least one day where you can visit some of the most important places in town, for free. After May day holiday and #nottebiancafirenze (which ended up being pretty lame), head out this Sunday for a little art & culture. I recommend visiting lesser-known but incredible places like the Bargello Museum, Palazzo Vecchio and the Brancacci Chapel near piazza della carmine. FYI the Palazzo Vecchio is open today from 9am-11pm, Santa Maria Novella: 1pm-5:30pm, Archealogical area at Palazzo Vecchio: 9am-11pm, Museo Novecento 1pm – 5pm, Cappella Brancacci in Santa Maria del Carmine: 1pm to 17. More info can be found here on which museums are free and open.
- Ps. On July 2nd, there will also be a special initiative offering a reduced price to some of Florence’s museums. Here are the details: Galleria dell’Accademia, sabato 2 luglio, h. 19.00-22.00, € 1,00; Museo del Bargello, Saturday July 2nd, h. 20.00-23.00, € 1,00; Museo Archeologico, Saturday July 2nd, h. 14.00-18.00, € 1,00; Palazzo Davanzati, sabato 2 luglio, h. 16.00-20.00, € 1,00. More info here.
Art & Theater | Uffizi “Live” Throughout August, Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Every Tuesday night
Now this is exciting, apparently every Tuesday evening the Uffizi will partner with Firenze Musei and organize a fun summer festival. Between 7-10pm these evenings, guests can visit the artworks while enjoying a selection of performances. This is a seriously cool initiative. The price is the same as a regular entrance ticket and this gives the local artistic community a wonderful platform to showcase themselves. More info can be found here.
Tuesday 9 August: there will be a double show of itinerant musical theatre and mime performance in “full masks”. In the Giotto Room and adjacent rooms, “The Passion” will be on stage, a project curated by the composer Davide Fensi in collaboration with the Lombardi TiezziCompany and based on a text by Pascal Abatiello.
Tuesday 16 August: a musical and artistic journey conceived and curated by Giovanna Maria Carlias a tribute to the young Mozart, namely Journey to Italy in the 18th-century sonata between feelings and inventions, executed by the violinist Giacomo Granchi and the harpsichordist Giacomo Benedetti. On display three music stands for “artist books of different shapes” which look like illustrated “scores”, realized by the artist Andrea Granchi.
Tuesday 23 August: another double show. La Macchina del tuono Company directed by Roberto Andrioli will amuse visitors with a sensational play of commedia dell’arte which takes inspiration from the renowned musical and theatrical repertoireof the 16thand 17thcenturies to improvise lines uttered by the most famous masks, such as Harlequin. Moreover, in three different spaces of the Gallery, Agnese Lanza and Julie Havelund will present “Inter Pares Project”, an international experimental performance of contemporary dancefocused on characters and poses inspired by the surrounding artworks.
- Tuesday 30 August: the month ends with another double show, in a light-hearted atmosphere rich of “poetical amusements” to entertain both adultsand children. After the great success achieved in July, Bustric the Magician will come back disguised as an odd “night attendant” of the museum. He will accompany visitors in a funny itinerant performance of magic and illusion connected to artworks on display. At the same time, on the terrace of the cafeteria,Bacenetti-Gherardi-Piccioli, trio of young musicians/jugglers will put on stage “Ball Percussion”,an impressive artistic project combiningbody percussion, choreographicmovements and juggling.
Exhibition | “1966 l’Alluvione di Firenze” Photography Exhibit, Oblate Library, Until September
Starting from the day of the tragic flood of November 4, 1966, the journalist Franco Mariani, historian and expert of that tragic event, along with colleague Mattia Lattanzi will take participants on an unprecedented trip on what is still the first media flood of the twentieth century. Many photos and movies, often unpublished, will reconstruct the history of the great flood. All with the addition of unpublished historical documents discovered recently by Mariani. Consider it a compendium of 20 years of extensive journalistic research on the topic. address: Via dell’Oriuolo, 24. Open Monday 2-10pm, Tues-Saturday 9am-midnight. Closed on Sundays and from the 4th to the 15 of August. Free entry. More info here (In Italian).
Festival | “Festa di San Lorenzo,” August 10th, Piazza San Lorenzo, 7pm onwards
One of my favorite traditional events in Florence involves the Perseids meteor shower and celebrating a saint (San lorenzo) and oh yes, comes with free lasagna and watermelon. It might seem bizarre to some, but I’m not complaining. From 7pm onwards in piazza san lorenzo, come to celebrate its patron saint and partake in the free food and possible siting of a meteor shower. Always plenty of fun and a nice chance for tourists and locals to mingle. During the day you can check out the historical parade that starts around 10am in Piazza di Parte Guelfa, and heads from Piazza Signoria towards the basilica di san lorenzo.
Art | Park Eun Sun a Firenze exhibit in Florence, Until September 18th
Celebrating Korean artist Park Eun Sun, who lives and works in Pietrasanta, in his newest exhibit based in Florence, Italy this summer. Eun Sun’s sculptures are an emblem of essentiality and elegance, a blend of the oriental style and Italian materials. Stems, boxes and balls made of two-tone marble, to emphasize the continuity with the Romanesque style so present in Tuscany, but also a symbol of Yin and Yang in the search of perfect balance with their modernity in typical Florentine spaces. You can see his art at piazza michelangelo, san miniato, pitti palace gardens, the rose garden, outside the Florentine airport, and the courtyard of Palazzo Vecchio. Official site here.
Pool Time | Why not visit one of the cities public pools?
The seaside is overcrowded, so thanks to The Florentine, you can swim in the city with this awesome list. My personal favorite is Le Pavoniere 🙂 but come early!
***For those who love a Tuscan sagra (food festival) check out this list of what’s on this summer (in Italian).
Park | “Giardino Dell”Arte Cultura” Horticulture garden, All of August, open daily 10-Midnight
In Florence, green spaces might be rare, but they do exist. One such spot is the “Giardino dell’orticultura” close to piazza della liberta. Like the “boschetto” park, they are currently hosting a summer of events which is all part of the “estate fiorentina”2016, Including live music, streaming football matches and just generally being a nice place to come for a picnic, lunch or apertivo (they have a small kiosk selling food in the park). For the full list of events, check out the official program here. address: : Via Vittorio Emanuele II, 50139 Firenze.
Park | “Limonaia Strozzi” or “Il Boschetto” Garden, All of August, Open daily
My favorite place to go with our dog Ginger or just when I need a nice walk in a shady green space, is the lovely park of Villa Strozzi on via pisana. This is also home to their limonaia, a former 16th century greenhouse that now plays to a more contemporary audience an easy 20 minute walk from ponte santa trinita. All this summer there have been outdoor events, a small kiosk selling cheap cocktails and pizza. The exact address/map can be found here. address: Via Pisana, 77 , Firenze, Tel: +39 055 2767113.
Food | City “sagra” Food Festival del Mugello, All of August, Daily until September 7pm-midnight
Sagre aka food festivals are part of the lifeblood of Italy. I adore heading into the wilds of Tuscany to eat slowly-stewed wild boar or fresh tortellini for cheap prices. For those without a car and in Florence, a good option is the “Festa del Mugello” outdoor sagra in Florence south, you can take the number 14 bus to get there. Get off at Via ripa. address: Via Fabrizio de André 3, 50136 Florence, Italy, Phone number +39 055 6504112.
Park | “Torrine Estate” Torrino di Santa Rose, Open daily 7:30-Midnight
Another cool space along the Arno river by the San Frediano gate hosting a series of summer events. Every Tuesday there is yoga from 8:30pm-10pm.
address: Via Lungo le Mura di Santa Rosa, 2. Open 7:30-Midnight.
Food Trucks | Lo and Behold Foodtrucks and Outdoor Space has a place in Florence
I highly recommend hopping on your bike, walking or getting on a bus to visit an area long the lungarno where you can hit up the famous Foodtruck ‘La Toraia.’ which Florentines consider to be one of the best in the city. I was there just a few weeks ago and went for the PescePane (fish food truck) located next door, and there is also gelato. A fun space to while away those summer evenings address: Lungarno del Tempio. Firenze. Tel. 338 5367198. For a great list of comprehensive outdoor spaces to eat/drink in Florence, check this out (in Italian).
DRINKS AL FRESCO! | WHERE TO GET A DRINK WITH A VIEW IN FLORENCE
While not exactly a specific event, if you’re looking to have a drink in a special spot on one of the many city’s terraces, save this list. Most are located on top of hotels, where anyone can go for an aperitif drink or sometimes even stay for dinner. The bonus is you get a beautiful, panoramic view of the city, just be aware that drinks will often be a little pricier. This is definitely one of our favorite activities on a beautiful summer evening. Favorites include:
“La Terrazza” on top of Hotel Continental is open to the public and is a sexy, sophisticated spot to sip a moscow mule with a birds-eye view of the Ponte Vecchio. Pricey, cocktails cost around 16 (if not more) euros, open daily from 3:30pm-10pm. address: Vicolo dell’Oro, 6r – 50123 Florence, Phone. +39 055 2726 5806 , E-mail. email@example.com.
The Oltrarno Pick: La Scaletta Rooftop is on the main road from the Ponte Vecchio to Florence that I discovered thanks to my friend Coral of Curious Appetite. Book a table at the pretty rooftop bar/restaurant (ask for the 360 view) and enjoy the amazing view. Can’t believe its taken me this long to discover this place. address: Via Guicciardini, 13 – 50125 FLORENCE Italy. Phone: +39 055 283 028.
S.esto at Hotel Excelsior is a prime spot for fashionistas to grab a drink on one of the best terraces in town. I would skip dinner here and just get the drink. Piazza Ognissanti, 3. Open 7:30pm-10:30pm. address: Lungarno della Zecca Vecchia, 38, 50122 Firenze.
An interesting view can be found at the Empireo rooftop bar at Hotel Lucchesi, along the Arno river, it overlooks the National Library and features a small plunge pool (for hotel guests). What I like about this place is that they often have live music to go with those cocktails. For a look at the program of music here. Open 7-Midnight. address: Lungarno della Zecca Vecchia, 38, 50122 Firenze.
Say hello to the Duomo! Grand Hotel Cavour is my usual choice to take people for a drink with an awesome view. I like its intimate feel and niceness of the bar staff. My only complaint is that apparently this year they have added a 10€ fee per person just for your spot on the terrace, it doesn’t even include the drink. Basically means double than last year (drinks range 8€-12€). However I suppose they are trying to raise their status or filter out who comes, this does include finger foods. The view though, is always lovely! address: Via del Proconsolo, 3. Reserve a spot by messaging firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oblate stays cool. On top of the Oblate library lies a cafe that is quite popular with the Italian student population. The great thing is you can also get a drink here and prices are cheap so this is a wonderful option for those who are on a budget, but still want the Duomo smack in their face. address: via dell’Oriuolo, 26. Cool place to organize a private aperitivo as well. Info here.
Grande Hotel Minerva, ‘360 Three Sixty’ Rooftop Bar: has a new menu for 2016. Next to the pool in piazza santa maria novella, this place is too cool for words which is perfectly in line with the hotel’s recent renovations. Open daily from 7pm-midnight.. Drinks range from 6 euros for a glass of prosecco and 12 euros for a cocktail. Email email@example.com for a reservation.