In November, the smell of food is different. It is an orange smell. A squash and pumpkin smell. It tastes like cinnamon and can fill up a house in the morning, can pull everyone from bed in a fog. Food is better in November than any other time of the year.
― Cynthia Rylant,
While Tuscans aren’t in love with cinnamon like us Americans, this quote does ring a bell personally. I absolutely adore the month of November. A time of year when the weather gets crispy enough to don my fuzzy hedgehog slippers, and when days are shorter, but surely cozier. Olive harvest season usually begins in November, the spicy, bright green liquid so pure and fragrant, and best dribbled on a hot slice of crusty bread, rubbed a few times with raw garlic. It’s also the month Nico and I tied the knot, our one year wedding anniversary fast approaching.
Yeah you could see how I’m a little biased but my excitement will hopefully translate to this list of events and posts throughout the month. Also read this post for more info on the 50th anniversary of the great 1966 flood of Florence (with a list of flood-events), and for daily updates, check out my instagram account and especially stories, where I tend to share almost too much from my day. In the meantime, happy Ognissanti or “All Saints Day” when Italians traditionally honor their passed away loved ones by going to Mass and then paying a visit to the cemetery.
Exhibition “Alluvione in San Niccolo,” Flood in San Niccolo Exhibition, November 1-9th, Circolo Url Arci San Niccolò
Another flood-related event that is very local. The circolo (which is sort of an open member’s club) of the neighborhood is hosting a photographic exhibition the first week of November featuring shots from the 1966 flood based around the area of San Niccolo. Open to the public. address: via San Niccolò 33r – Firenze, tel 055 2343916. More info here.
Community | Open-Mic Night at Tasso Hostel, November 2nd, 7:30pm
A new month means a new Open Mic! Come out this Wednesday to kill off those post Halloween blues with their band of intrepid troubadours! Bring your shiniest poem, your slyest story, your silliest song and wow everyone with your talent for words or music–or just come for the camaraderie, a tasty beverage, and a great show! 8 minute limit, all comers welcome, original material only! See ya there! address: Tasso Hostel: 15 Via Villani, 50123 Florence, Italy. Facebook event.
Lecture Series | “The Arno Unleashed” Seven centuries of art and floods in Florence, 2 – 5 NOVEMBER 2016 at the British Institute of Florence.
As Florence commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Great Flood of November 1966, join one of the best institutions in town dedicated to Italian culture and history this autumn for a special one-week course devoted to the historic floods of Florence and their impact on the Art of the city.The course course surveys these events within the larger timeline of Florence’s artistic rebirth through on-site visits to local museums, monuments, conservation workshops and archives, as well as lectures held, on the Arno, at the Harold Acton Library. For info and how to book, check this out. Cost. 450€ for the entire course, 55€ for selected sessions (per person) .
In addition on the 4th there will be a special event open to the public “Responses to the 1966 Florence flood 4 November 2016 – 17:00” more details on this here.
Food | Il Borro Tuscan Bistro Presents A Dinner Series With Top Producers, November 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th
Art | Two Nights With Vasari, November 4th and 5th, Opera di Santa Croce, from 8pm to midnight
from 8pm to midnight, with free entry to Cenacolo of Santa Croce.
Irene Sanesi, president of Opera di Santa Crocewhen and where? Opera di Santa Croce, Florence Friday, Nov 4th and Saturday, Nov 5th, 2016 from 8pm to midnight
free entrance from Piazza Santa Croce #16. Event info here.
Photography | “I Giorni dell’Alluvione” (Days of the 1966 Flood), Photography exhibition at Tethy’s Gallery, Until November 27th
Back on the flood train this time we move to the Oltrarno for a month-long photo exhibition featuring a photo collection taken during the great flood of Florence in 1966. You can peruse the horrific time in local history captured by Balthazar Korab at a really underrated gallery close to piazza della passera. Tethy’s often plays host to interesting exhibits and this one will certainly be no exception. More info can be found here. address: Via dei Vellutini, 17r, 50125 Florence, Italy. Open from 9am-6:30pm
Market | ‘Wool Of San Martino’ November 5th & 6th (9-7pm), Piazza Santissima Annuziata
This special market will be selling a variety of organic goods including (I believe) wool from San Martino ;-). You can read more here and I am guessing it is yet another excuse for a lovely market in one of the city’s best squares.
Art | FIRST FREE SUNDAYS, November 6th, 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.
Snow Sport | Toscana Winter Park is back, Until March 6th, 2017.
Yep folks, this quirky ‘fake-snow’ park is located at the ex Obihall, Lungarno Aldo Moro, in Florence, a short bus ride away. Catch bus 14A in the direction Girone. Snow-tubing, ice-skating and snacking can all be found here. website
USA | American Election Night Party, November 8th, 7pm-2am at Fosso Bandito
Like many of you (I Hope), I voted early via absentee ballot and will be watching the
horror election from Florence. Luckily there will be a few election parties worth attending for those interested in joining others.
- 1. Democrat’s Abroad Election festa will be held at the SMS Rifredi – via Vittorio Emanuele II, 303 – 50134 Florence. When: Tuesday, November 8, 2016 – 8:00 pm ’til the West coast results come in. Refreshments will be available (cash bar). Please rsvp by November 5 to [email protected] Info: 328.061.0262.
- 2. at cute spot Fosso Bandito (Cascine park) which will be live tracking the action. See more on how to attend here.
Food | Biennale Enogastronomica di Firenze 2016, November 10-28th, all Over Florence
The tastiest biennale in town is back, 18 days of food-related events that occurs every two years for experts and non. Between innovation and tradition this event is a privileged showcase for both the best of “made in Italy” culinary excellence of the world all over town, get the full list of events here. As part of the “fuori biennale” program is a food market in Piazza della Repubblica (from 10.00 to 9pm) from Nov 10-13th, also the “Palio of ribollita” at the San Lorenzo Central Market (from 11.00 to 14.00) where amateur ribollita enthusiasts will present to a jury their nest version. Participants must register for free at the info point of the San Lorenzo Central Market, or by phone or email: 055 2705233 [email protected].
Body Art | Florence Tattoo Convention, November 18-20th, Fortezza di Basso
This is always a lot of fun if you are into the “ink,” and even if you’re not. This annual festival is back for this three-day important event in the tattoo world. Spectators are more than welcome and if you were thinking of getting a tattoo, this would be a good time. More info via the official website here.
Guided Visit | New Walks + Talks With Alexandra Lawrence, November 19th & 28th
For those who want to add a little culture to their agenda while in Florence, my friend and amazing tour guide Alexandra Lawrence is offering two screamingly affordable visits to lesser-known areas in Florence that are often missed on the tourist beat. Hope to see you there! RSVP by emailing [email protected].
Women in Santa Maria Novella
Saturday, November 19th at 10am
Tour fee: 15 euro
Entrance fee: 5 euro (free to Florence residents—bring your Carta di identità)
The convent of Santa Maria Novella boasts innumerable stories about medieval and Renaissance women—join us as we get to know the nobildonne of the Decameron, Petrarch’s Laura, Ghirlandaio’s Tornabuoni women and many more.
Exploring Vespucci’s neighborhood: Borgo Ognissanti
Monday, November 28th at 10am
Tour fee: 15 euro
This walk will center on the neighborhood of one of Florence’s most famous families: the Vespucci. We will visit the church of Ognissanti as well being treated to a private visit of the Ospedale vecchio di San Giovanni di Dio, begun by the Vespucci family in 1382 as the Spedale della Santa Maria dell’Umiltà.
Wine | Florence Wine Event, November 19th and 20th, Ex3 – Centro Per L’Arte Contemporanea.
Another excuse to hop on the bus to the area close to Gavinana and sip wine with local producers. I don’t have much info on the event but you can keep tabs on their FB page here. address: Viale Giannotti 81/83/85. – Firenze, 50126 Florence, Italy.
Market | ‘New Oil’ November 20th (9-7pm), Piazza Santo Spirito
This month’s organic market in piazza di santo spirito will feature new olive oil, fresh from this seasons harvest which always takes place in November. For those who don’t have a car to buy great oil direct, this is THE time to pick up some truly quality extra-virgin oil, plus other foodstuffs from trusted local producers.
Culture | Master Class: “Dante’s Re-presentation of God’s art in Purgatory x”, November 22nd, Opera del Duomo
Join this open-to-the-public master class with local scholars who delve into the Dawn of the Renaissance and help us understand a deeper side to famous personalities such as Dante and Giotto. I’ve attended the Giotto one and was absolutely enthralled. I highly recommend this to anyone who might be in town during this period. The November edition will be taught by scholar Alexandra Lawrence who will give us a peek into Dante’s Purgatory. Cost is 50€ per lecture, and the class will take place at the Opera del Duomo structure across the Baptistery. RSVP by emailing [email protected] including the number of participants and their full names.
Art | Ardengo Soffici and the Avant-garde in Florence, Until January 8th, Uffizi Gallery
The exhibition devoted to Ardengo Soffici (1879–1964) will provide visitors with an opportunity to explore the figure of this painter, writer, polemicist and art critic who played such an active role in his day, coming into contact with, and on occasion even deeply and courageously clashing with, the movements on the Italian and European art scene of the time. The title of the exhibition, Discoveries and Massacres, alludes to the title of Soffici’s collected writings, published between the first and second decades of the 20th century and acknowledged today (together with the cultural initiatives that he promoted and organised, such as the First Italian Exhibition of Impressionism in Florence in 1910) as marking a crucial contribution to the renewal of Italian art in a 20th century vein.
The exhibits on display (from Segantini, Cézanne, Renoir, Picasso, Degas, Medardo Rosso and De Chirico to Carrà and beyond, in addition to Soffici’s own work), chosen on the basis of Soffici’s explicit predilections and aversions, will be accompanied by critical pieces from his writings on art, ideally accompanying the visitor on a voyage of rediscovery to explore one of the most fertile and productive interpretations of the origins of contemporary art, with its crucial “discoveries” and equally drastic “massacres”.
Art | Ai Weiwei. Libero, Art Exhibit (Ongoing), Palazzo Strozzi (Strozzina)
I visited when they opened and I have to say, this is definitely one you don’t want to miss. It runs until January 22, 2017. From Palazzo Strozzi: “The exhibit will present Italy’s first major retrospective dedicated to one of the world’s most celebrated and influential contemporary artists: Ai Weiwei. Libero, who is a dissident artist with a leading voice, he is known world-wide as much for his challenging contemporary art practice as for his political activism.
Ai Weiwei will be the first artist to exhibit across the entirety of the Palazzo Strozzi spaces, presenting a series of new and major works from the façade of the building and the courtyard to the piano nobile and the Strozzina gallery. This major exhibition will include key monumental installations, sculptures and objects, as well as videos and photography series produced throughout his career. These range from his years living in New York 1980s and ’90s when he discovered his ‘masters’ Andy Warhol and Marcel Duchamp, to the large iconic assemblages works from the early 2000s consisting of objects such as bicycles and stools, to his recent controversial and engaged works such as portraits of political dissidents built with LEGO bricks, and his projects on migration in the Mediterranean region.” Remember that they have extended hours on Thursday evenings.
Open Daily including holidays 10.00-20.00
InfoTel +39 055 2645155
Thanksgiving | What’s on around Florence, Thursday, November 24th
Since the expat community is so large here in Florence, you better believe they also celebrate this holiday in many restaurants around town. Also you can do your own thing at home too and order treats such as pumpkin pie or turkey from places like Mama’s Bakery or a local forno. I will add to this list as I find out about more Thanksgiving-related events and feel free to let me know some too!
Hotel Savoy: Special Themed Menu at Irene Bistro, one of my favorite places for a beautiful meal in town. The fun starts at 7pm with a gourmet take in this American classic, more details here.
Quinoa- Gluten-free restaurant by the Duomo will be hosting a 100% gluten-free menu at their beautiful location. Look for more details on their FB page (I spoke to them in person so I know this is going to be up soon!).
Movies | 50 Days of International Cinema, Starts October 28th – December 9th, La Compagnia
‘50 Days of International Film’ features nightly showings of entries from 10 international film festivals in downtown Florence. Founded in 2007, this festival provides a place for films to be screened that are not normally accessible to the general public. Throughout the festival, various producers, actors, and directors will speak and give awards to further enrich the cinematic experience. Movies will be in the original language with English & Italian subtitles so you have no excuses!
This year they have changed locations to the new cinema La Compagnia on via cavour 50/r (just down the road from the Duomo towards piazza san marco) which also has Ditta Artigianale running the inside bar/cafe. Themes include “Una Finestra al Nord” (A window into the north) (November 2nd and 3rd), documentaries, Indian and more. It’s an amazing roundup each year and as the weather gets colder, going to the cinema is always a nice option. Check out the program and more info here.
Marathon | Firenze Marathon, November 27th.
In its 33rd year and the second most important marathon race in Italy, the 42 kilometer route takes you by all those landmarks of singular beauty that have made Florence famous worldwide: views over the enchanting hills and countryside, and passing right by the Duomo Cathedral, Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio, before entering the majestic Piazza Santa Croce. Official site.
Events Outside Of Florence
Antiques | Fiesole Antiques Market, First Saturday and Sunday of the month, Piazza Mino da Fiesole, 8am to sunset.
Take the number 7 bus from piazza san marco to head to the Etruscan hill-top town that is only a 25 minute bus ride from the center. Not only is a prime spot for panoramic views, hiking and picnic lunches on a nice day. The first Saturday and Sunday of the month, they host an antiques market in the central square.
Oil Fair | Olive Oil Food Fair in Montemurlo, Prato November 13, 18, 19, 20
We are all obsessed with new oil and find out why by visiting one of the fun, traditional events in the Tuscan countryside. You can taste local products, listen to live music, and have a grand ol’ time. The full program can be seen here.
Truffles | 46th edition of the San Miniato Truffle Fair, November 12, 13-19, 20-26th, 27 in San Miniato
The Mostra mercato nazionale Tartufo Bianco di San Miniato is huge deal in the truffle world, and the kicker is, it is easy to reach San Miniato by train or bus. The white truffle fair features stands selling truffles, truffle-made goods, wine and food all around the beautiful town. I went a few years ago and had a great time, we even bought our first truffle. official website here.