Girl in Florence

A Tuscan Texan immersed in Florentine life

What to Do in July 2018 in Florence: Personal Suggestions For a Great Month


Summer, you’ve finally arrived. The first day of July rolled in the same day as a heatwave in Florence, no-one is complaining because we all remember the “summer of lucifer” (last year) and it’s July after all. I ended this June on admittedly a stressful note, too many projects and fires at work to put out combined with that email from my commercialista with the first tax-bill for 2018 (trust me, being a freelancer here is not fun)…

To battle my dumpy mood this end of June, Nico and I went to a place I absolutely love. The blissfully-serene town of Bonassola on Liguria’s glittery coastline, a world away from the hordes of people at Cinque Terre and more of a casual beach bar/bike ride kind of place where everyone knows one another and does nothing much of anything. 

As I sit here, typing at 11pm on a Sunday, I am proud of myself for adulating at the age of 33, this means not having burnt myself at our real seaside vacation this year. We have to celebrate these “small victories.”

Now, let’s get to why Florence is so awesome in July in regards to events and an extra-long “link love” this month (my birthday is on the 13th so I’m feeling extra generous). On a side note, we are on our way to Montenegro and Albania for a 10 day trip this month so if you have any tips you want to share, I’d love to hear them. I will report back on the blog, after the trip. 

Anyone visiting Florence might be slightly dismayed by the massive crowds and long museums lines, but they will also be treated to the opening of one of the summer’s foremost exhibits (Forte Belvedere) and outside terrace dining that makes the stinky height of the day kinda worth it.

Link love for the month of July

Last month kicked off Gong, an imposing retrospective exhibition at 16th century Fort Belvedere dedicated to one of contemporary art’s major protagonists Eliseo Mattiacci. The exhibit features a monumental presentation of twenty sculptures exhibited outside the fort and within the villa, in addition to an extensive collection of drawings, about eighty, which, for the first time ever, allow the public to admire the always supreme graphic activity of Mattiacci. It is an almost shamanic exercise, aimed at exploring the sublime of the cosmos, the orbits of the planets and stars, the rhythms and geometries that belong to the infinite universe, so as to draw stellar maps that today, just like millions of years ago, also function in symbolic, ritualistic terms. It isn’t free this year but residents can buy a card for 2€ for the whole season (bring your residency document) while visitors will may a 3€ entrance fee. The full price ticket costs 3€, open from 11am-8pm. Via di S. Leonardi 1.

A portrait photo marathon, part art, part social experiment, will be taking place July 3rd by photographer Niccolò Chimenti in Florence’s Loggia del Mercato Nuovo for a full 24 hours, 9:30am on the 3rd until 9:30am on the 4th. Come and get your photo taken and seen it displayed in the loggia on July 9th during a photography contest.

Drink and Run Firenze includes two of my favorites things, alcohol and exercise and combines them in one fun event this July 3rd in Florence. What’s on tap (literally) are several stops for beer along an 8km route around the city’s prettiest points. More info and how to join is here. The meeting point is 7pm at  Lungarno del Tempio 3, Firenze. 

Might I suggest a climb up Torre di San Niccolo, or San Niccolo’s tower, one of the city’s best preserved ancient gates. Luckily it is open now until September 30th (excluding Mondays). You can climb the tower via guided tour (both in English and Italian) daily from 5-8pm (from September, 4pm) for the affordable cost of 4€.

My favorite wellness center in Florence, Relax Firenze, is hosting both yogilates, pilates and meditation this month at their beautiful studio in the heart of the historical center. This is the place to go for mind. body wellness and in regards to treatments; ask about their deep tissue massage, EMS workouts and reflexology.

Every #WineWednesday at this summer’s urban garden at piazzetta dei Tre Re in the center of Florence there will be an evening of wine talks hosted by Ruffino Wines and co-curated by Ruffino’s Francesco Sorelli and The Florentine’s Helen Farrell with a series of very interesting speakers. I’ll be joining the fun this September 12th but until then, here’s the lineup.

Looking to meet some interesting new people in Florence? I always personally enjoy the open-mic night at Tasso Hostel (via villiani 15)  held the first Wednesday at every month. The July edition (the 35th!) will take place on July 4th hosted by Samuel Webster, centered around “independence.”It is a fun event open to anyone who wants to share a song, a story or basically anything they’d like to present! Check out the info here.

A happy-hour event at startup-incubator Nana Bianca will take place on July 5th from 6-9:30pm for the “Share my Bag” a start-up, a sort of community wardrobe sharing that is really fascinating.

You don’t want to miss a special festival this July from the 5th to the 8th at Villa Romana.  “Stop Human Trafficking” is the theme of the African Diaspora Cinema Festival, a theme that draws on the principle that being African is a bond that goes beyond geography, birth or lineage; as people of African origin are spread across the globe. Sounds uber interesting and I’m hoping to make it to a few of the events myself. 

The Dragon Boat festival (July 6-8th) is coming to Florence and its an important event in the city, The Florentine has the scoop on what it’s all about and why you should care (and join the fun special events).

Storytellers in Florence is back on July 7th and the theme has yet to be decided (you can follow the discussion here).  As per usual it will take place at independent bookshop cafe Todo Modo (Via dei Fossi) starting at 7pm and ending at 9pm. You are more than welcome to just come and watch people share their stories. If you have a story to share based on this theme, be sure to contact Linda on Facebook or by email at [email protected]

For those who want to improve their Italian or simply just meet new people in Florence, I highly recommend attending the “Speakeasy multilingual happy hour” on July 4th, 11th, 18th at (my favorite) Circle Rondinella. The linguistic libations take place from 7:30pm-10:30pm, aperitivo costs 5€ (a steal!).

I never thought I would see the day when there was an actual slide in the courtyard of Palazzo Strozzi but indeed that day has come. Science meets nature in one cool project called The Florence Experiment, a new site-specific project devised by celebrated German artist Carsten Holler and plant neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso, that has already kicked off. More info on how you can hurl yourself down a terrifying slide while holding a plant can be found here.

Palazzo Strozzi, Florence’s foremost temporary gallery space in the center of the city, has launched its exhibition “Dawn of a Nation: From Guttuso to Fontana and Schifano” from March 16th until July 22nd, trust me you don’t want to miss this. From the Strozzi website: “a truly mesmerising exploration of art, politics and society in Italy from the 1950s to the protest years in the late ’60s, with eighty works of art by such masters as Renato Guttuso, Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri, Emilio Vedova, Piero Manzoni, Mario Schifano, Mario Merz and Michelangelo PistolettoThe exhibition, curated by Luca Massimo Barbero, is bringing emblematic works of art together for the first time to form a display illustrating the effervescence of Italian culture after World War II, the years of the so-called “economic miracle” that marked a major transformation in Italian society, up until the fateful year of 1968.” Open 10.8pm, late opening until 11pm on Thursdays. 

The monthly organic market in Piazza Santo Spirito will be held on July 15th this month and will be themed around grains. This is a great opportunity to browse like a local and enjoy one of Italy’s best pastimes, searching through a market like a champ and enjoying the classic Italian art of “people-watching.”

Not in Florence but this is an event close to my heart and would be such a wonderful experience for anyone visiting Florence. A wonderful organic winery Querceto di Castellina (in Castelina in Chianti, a hour from Florence) is hosting summertime celebrations showcasing the culinary delights of La Tenda Rossa and their fabulous organic wines. This summer’s vineyard dinners will be on July 21st and August 4th. Reserve your spot by emailing [email protected], +39 0577733590 or [email protected], +39 055826132. I had a great time last year and would recommend this to anyone who loves unique dining experiences.

Street Food Along the Arno #Lungarnodeltempio: This is by far one of my favorite things to do in the summer. Along the Riva del’Arno on Lungarno del Tempio, you’ll find a cool outdoor space with food trucks including “PescePane” (the Italian answer to the fish burger) and a pretty awesome burger truck along with gelato, a Texas bbq truck among others. This is definitely a place where locals go and if you like street food/being outside, this is the place for you. open 12pm – Midnight.  address: Lungarno del Tempio.

I’m excited to hear that Apriti Cinema, a great initiative showing outdoor movies in Florentine locations, will be back this year with the location being Piazza Santissima Annunziata. The fun has already begun and will show films (with Italian subtitles) nightly until August 11th. Full program can be found here.

I’m excited about the return of the Florence dance festival (this year in the courtyard of Santa Maria Novella) running until July 25th in the majestic settings of the courtyard of one of Florence’s most important churches. Expect over 500 performances and a true expression in visual dance creativity combined with a celebration of performance arts. Each act starts around 9:30pm with the cost of the ticket ranging around 20€ per adult (discounts apply for multiple shows, they are offering a special card this year offering three entrance tickets for the price of two).

At the huge space of Maniffatura Tabucchi (via delle cascine 5) will be the Florence Folks Festival, an urban festival of sorts (info is lacking on what this means) with food, music and convivial fun, from July 25-28th.

When I can’t take the heat in my third-floor walkup, going to the movies means I get free air conditioningwith the cost of a cinema ticket so I highly recommend seeing this month’s original language lineup at The Odeon Firenze. It’s a short lineup this month because the cinema closes (why?!)  for the summer on July 13th.

Belmond’s Villa San Michele in Fiesole has an uber-fun lineup of activities this July and its a great excuse to see one of the prettiest hotels in Italy (the view from here is one of the best overlooking Fiesole/Florence) with your friends for a fancy night out. I’ll share the best events below. Prices are around 45-48€ per person.

  • Picnic Aperitivo in the gardenThursday July 5th and 19th (aperitivo buffet dinner and grilled veggies)
  • “Be street” street art, street music and street food July 12th and 26th 
  • Pool moon party, July 27th. Music, drinks, snacks and yes you can use the pool.

Hotel Salviatino in Florence (a gorgeous property on the outskirts of Campo de Marte) hosts a lovely aperitivo every Thursday evening with live music for 20€. This would be a nice option if you are looking to escape the city and bask in a beautifully landscaped garden over craft cocktails.

While not exactly a specific event, June marks the opening of many of the city’s rooftop terraces. Most of which are 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 protected].
  • Glance Summer: Every Tuesday and Thursday from 8-11pm you can enjoy a panoramic aperitivo with live music on one of Florence’s newer rooftops with a pool. address: Via Nazionale 23.
  • 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.
  • B-Roof is an awesome rooftop bar on Hotel Baglioni. It is the ideal place for a sundowner aperitivo with a large, expansive terrace at your beck and call with a bird’s eye view of the Duomo cathedral (and not only). Dig into curated snacks and fun cocktails, keep in mind that it’s best to make a reservation. Added bonus, you are very close to the train station should you need to jet off quickly. +39 055 23588865
  • 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.
  • Hotel Plaza Hotel Lucchesi’s stunning rooftop terrace by the National Library is one of my favorite places to go for a rooftop drink and they are probably the best price/value for fancy hotel experiences, do keep in mind that prices went up in 2018 and you cannot get just a drink during sunset. Be prepared to spend at least 25€ if not more. Reservations recommended +39 0552623500 [email protected]address: Lungarno della Zecca Vecchia, 38.

  • Hotel Kraft is one of the lesser-known spots for dinner or a drink in Florence and I actually quite like it. You’ll find it on Via Solferino, 2 near the American Embassy. 
  • Grande Hotel Minerva, ‘360 Three Sixty’ Rooftop Bar. Always an iconic destination in Santa Maria Novella. Open daily from 7pm-midnight. Email [email protected] for a reservation.
  • Hotel Torre Guelfa has a tiny bar on Borgo Apostoli on top of an ancient tower (you have to ask at reception if they have space, hotel guests get first priority). The view from here is one of the best in town and drinks are as affordable as 9€ for a spritz (a steal on a Florentine rooftop).

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3 Responses

  1. Great information for July in Florence. The rooftop bars sound lovely. Do you happen to know if any have elevators? Many thanks! Headed that way July 21-27

  2. I am from Albania but live in the States. So glad to see that a lot of travellers are starting to discover Albania lately. Where in Albania are you planning to be? I am from a beach town called Durrës (2,400 old town) about 40 km from the capital, Tirana. If you go to Durrës you have to check out the amphitheater, the old villa of King Zogu( not sure what condition or is it even allowed to go though) . And of course the beaches and resorts. Gjiri i Lalzit in Durres is worth it, I have not been yet as it is a newish resort. North of Albania is absolutely spectacular too with amazing mountains. South beaches are amazing too, try Ksamil and Dhermi.

Georgette Jupe

Welcome to my personal blog by a curious American girl living and working between Zug, Switzerland and Florence, Italy with my husband Nico, our newborn Annabelle and Ginger the beagle. This space is primarily to share about my love for Italy (currently on a 13 year romance) with a fair amount of real talk, practical advice, travel suggestions and adjusting to a new culture (Switzerland). Find me on IG @girlinflorence @girlinzug

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