Buon anno nouvo, this phrase has probably left my mouth and hurriedly typed on whatsapp a hundred time in the past few hours and yet I’m still smiling and luckily have less of a hangover than in year’s past. Last night Nico and I decided to depart from our typical elaborate NYE celebrations around the world to just settle in Florence after a week-long trip to France. Last year we rang in 2016 in New York City with good friends, the year before in Istanbul and before that, Lisbon.
Instead, he made two cakes, a tart lemon pie and a gingerbread loaf with cream cheese frosting (someone is becoming quite the baker around these parts) and I dove into making a huge lasagna, relishing in having the time to brew a proper ragu, the smells permeating our house as it bubbled slowly on our stove for hours. We popped champagne, gave each other a kiss (ginger too) and spent the a quiet evening at home and away from the huge crowds outside as they proceeded to pop firecrackers in every available square meter (not cool). Why haven’t I done this more often?
If you are new to Florence, or Italy in general and you are checking out my blog for the first time, benvenuta! I did this interview with the regional blog Around Tuscany that tells you a little more of my story if you’re interested and you can see my work over at Italy Magazine, Lonely Planet, among others.
- A Friend In Florence
- Italian Reflections
- Creative People in Florence
- Foreigners in Florence
- Life in Italy, When Life Isn’t Always So Bella..
Here’s my 2017 January roundup of the best events around town!
Art | First Free Sundays, January 1st, All Over Italy
One of the coolest initiatives in Italy continues in 2017, state museums will remain open to the public the first Sunday of every month, while city museums are also free for residents of the city. It is important and fantastic to have something like this even for residents because it helps locals like us get to enjoy the beautiful art that surrounds us, but hesitate to pay to see. Since the first free Sunday coincides with a public holiday, times are a little different than the norm. Here’s what I know is open and when: Palazzo Vecchio (14-19), Santa Maria Novella (from 13 to 17.30), and various exhibitions, such as those at Palazzo Strozzi (10 to 20). Check out this full list for open museums + hours all over Italy thanks to La Repubblica.
Sales! | Saldi season starts January 5th, all over Tuscany
National sales are regulated by the Italian government and the winter ones commence this January 5th, in a bid to get spending up after the Christmas holidays. They last until March though the good stuff typically gets picked through quickly. My advice is to tackle your favorite shops first, this is THE time to pick up annoying but necessary items such as home goods, glasses, shoes, jackets, and anything else your heart desires. I also keep an eye out to see what technology offers are going around..
Holiday | Epiphany, January 6th, All Over Italy
A national holiday in Italy, this coming Friday is a treasured day for Italians which marks the Epihahny commemorating the arrival of the Three Kings in Bethlehem. It also marks the days when the good witch Befana visits Italian children with a small gift (or candy coal for those who’ve been naughty). In the center of Florence will be the “Cavalcade of the Three Kings” and a costumed parade throughout the city that starts at 2pm from Palazzo Pitti, which you can read more about thanks to Discover Tuscany.
Also there is typically a vintage car show that starts off in Cascine park and makes their way through the center of town which is really fun to watch. As I get more details, I’ll let you know, just keep your eyes out!
Art | Splendida Minima Exhibition Extended until January 8th, Palazzo Pitti
The exhibition Splendida Minima (Beautiful Miniatures) at the Pitti Palace Medici Treasury in Florence displays small sculptures in hard stone, which belonged to the Medici family.
The works are from the Uffizi Gallery, which holds a valuable collection of small sculptures in precious and semi-precious gemstones, mainly produced in Hellenistic and Roman times. The technique for making these sculptures was lost during the Middle Ages, but rediscovered and revived during the Renaissance.
It is the first exhibition dedicated to this particular type of artistic expression, highlighting the unique technical and stylistic characteristics of the objects
*Also don’t miss a similar awesome exhibit at Pitti which also runs until the 8th showcasing clocks from Palazzo Pitti from XVII to XX century.
Fashion | Pitti Uomo 91. When? January 10th to the 13th. Where? Fortezza di Basso.
One of the world’s most important platform for men’s clothing (and women) plus accessory collections. This is also the time they launch new projects in men’s fashion and basically peacock around Florence in their best finery, hoping to get photographed by a NY Times photographer. We all know it, it’s a bit ridiculous but it does make for a very fashionable few days in Florence and great people watching. Pitti Uomo was created in 1972 and is held in Florence twice a year.
“Tell me how you dance and I’ll tell you how you’ll dress”. Pitti Dance Off is the theme of this year’s edition.
Obviously many of the runway shows and the tradeshow is not open to the public but there are many fun events that you definitely want to attend. As soon as I get notice of them, I will add them below.
Fashion in Florence through the lens of Archivio Foto Locchi
09.01.2017 | 6:00pm-9:30pm – Palazzo Pitti
Piazza de’ Pitti 1, Firenze
Opening. On display 100 extremely rare photographs ranging from the 1930s to the 1970 which tell the story of fashion in Florence.
Open Mic | Open Mic Night At Tasso Hostel, January 11th TBD
A fantastic way ti be creative or just come and listen in a cool place in one of my favorite areas of Florence. This month the Open Mic Night is on the 11th of January, before returning to its usual time slot of first Wednesday of every month. Open to all and free to come! address: 15 Via Villani, 50123 Florence, Italy. Check for updates on facebook.
Walks | January Walks + Talks With Alexandra Lawrence , Jan 14th and the 21st.
One of the only ways you should see Florence, and especially more hidden areas of the city, is with a trained guide. My friend Alexandra Lawrence is one of the best and she also offers locals an affordable way to discover parts of Firenze that they may have never seen by offering a series of exclusive walks for insanely cheap prices. Below are her January walks, which I highly recommend you reserve in advance as these spots tend to get filled fast.
Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot.
Drawing in Venice: Titian to Canaletto
Saturday, January 14th at 3pm
20 euro + Uffizi ticket
This visit will focus on the exhibition of Venetian drawings currently being held at the Uffizi Gallery. As Venetian artists are typically discussed in terms of their use of color, in contrast to their Tuscan counterparts’ insistence on “disegno”, the exhibition provides an excellent opportunity to see a different side of Venetian masters like Giovanni Bellini, Vittore Carpaccio, Titian, Paris Bordon, Tintoretto, and many more. We will also go into the gallery proper to see some of the paintings by artists from the Venetian school, including Bellini, Titian, and Lorenzo Lotto.
Fear: From Foe to Friend
Bargello + Coaching Workshop
Saturday, January 21st from 3pm-6pm
Join us for this unique combination of art history and life coaching to kick off the New Year! We will first visit the Bargello, focusing specifically on examples of Renaissance statuary that communicate an individual’s ability to transform fear into strength. Depictions of figures like David, St. George, and the mythological Jason offer perspectives into how victory is obtained after facing extreme fear.
Following the visit we will participate in a workshop with Sophie Charlotte* which addresses the question: What if fear weren’t an issue anymore?
The 55 euro includes entrance into the Bargello, guided visit, and the coaching workshop. Maximum 15 participants. *Sophie Charlotte is a Women Empowerment Coach who helps her clients get out of their own way and step into their own power, so that they can stand stronger, live out their purpose full out & fabulously, and rock their own world. She specializes in confidence coaching and dealing with fear and doubt in an effective way. She has overcome anxiety disorder by following her own dreams of moving to Florence, Italy and setting up her own global life coaching business. She strongly believes that if she can do it, so can her clients! Move from fear to freedom as well with the help of this free 3-step mini guide.
Antique Market | Piazza Vittorio Veneto. When? January 14th & 15th, 9am – 7pm. Where? Cascine. What? This is the monthly antique market which is typically at the fortezza di basso but has moved to Cascine. Good fun searching for that unique antique plus a very beautiful Russian orthodox church is nearby which I highly recommend visiting if you go to the market.
Workshops | Winter Workshops with Molly McIlwrath, January 15th, 28th
Join three fun workshops with local guide (specializing in family travel) offering a series of winter workshops around Florence offering a different kind of experience of places rarely visited by those in Florence.
Market | “Winter organic market” aka Fierucolina d’inverno, January 15th, piazza santo spirito, 9am -7pm
Always one of my favorite markets, the one in piazza santo spirito always has a wonderful selection of food, clothes, quirky items and more. Highly recommend visiting also for the people watching and jovial atmosphere! Double with a morning visit to the beautiful Santo Spirito church which is often overlooked.
Fashion | Vintage Selection 2017 “Let’s Dance”. When? Jan 25-29th 10am – 9pm. Where? Stazione Leopoldo, Viale Fratelli Rosselli 5 (google map)
One of the coolest places in Florence, Vintage Selection is in its 29th edition in concurrence with Pitti Filati 80. I highly recommend a visit, it is always a lot of fun and I highly recommend checking it out, if even only to play ‘dress up’ for a moment, have your picture taken and browse through a bit of fashion history.
This year the theme is disco dance to celebrate the 29th edition, as always there will be extra events, aperitivo, exhibitions and more with a 1980’s musical theme. Entrance: 5,00 Euro.Website.
Tel. +39/055/212622. Address: Viale Fratelli Rosselli, Florence, Italy
Food | Beer Festival Birraio dell’Anno, January 20-22nd, Teatro Obihall
In its 8th edition, revelers can enjoy a fun beer festival recognizing the “beer of the year” at the Obihall theater (easy to reach with the number 14 bus, get off at via ripa). Expect over plenty of craft beer tastings via a special card, street food and more.
Cinema | Original-Language Movies at The Odeon. When? The month of January. Where? Odeon Cinehall, piazza strozzi.
So let’s be honest, even a person as social as myself really doesn’t do that much in January. It’s cold, I don’t have a lot of money, and it gets dark early. What’s a girl to do? Go to the movies. And since I hate subtitled films, the Odeon is a wonderful place in town to watch movies in their original language. And there are plenty this month including ‘Captain Fantastic, Passengers, Assassin’s Creed, Food Revolution, check out the program here. Price: 8 euros for a normal ticket, or you can get a pass for 8 shows for 44 euros.
Art | Ai Weiwei. Libero, Art Exhibit (closes January 22nd), Palazzo Strozzi (Strozzina)
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.”
Open Daily including holidays 10.00-20.00
InfoTel +39 055 2645155
Art | Klimt, Multimedia exhibition in Santo Stefano al Ponte Until April 2017
Near the Ponte Vecchio Klimt fans should head to Santo Stefano al Ponte to check out the” Klimt Experience “, an unprecedented exhibition produced by cross-media group. Life, the figures and landscapes by Klimt are the protagonists of this new immersive multimedia presentation, dedicated to the founding father of secession viennese. You’ll be able to view works like Kiss, the Tree of life, or Judith.