October has arrived, finally, and I couldn’t be less ready. There are invoices that need to be filed, articles to finish and a ton of projects that I haven’t even thought about starting. Welcome to a new month in the city of Florence.
I really look forward to this time of year as we all do when summer tends to drag. The temperatures have been higher than normal this September and I refuse to do the cambia di stagione (seasonal wardrobe change) until I can’t take short sleeves anymore.
On a personal note, I am still recovering from a myomectomy this past September but I have to say my experience at Santa Maria Nuova and with recovery has been much better than I expected with kind nurses, present doctors and a really supportive group of friends. It goes to show that whatever life throws at you, you are likely a hell of a lot stronger than you might think.
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Just a little update, the open myomectomy surgery went well and I am now just enjoying some proper rest in one of the oldest hospitals in the world that’s still in action. Luckily they’ve modernized since then. But I’m dreaming about @risto_macelleria_luca_menoni’s cured meat platter that @kirstenhillsjournalist @npeci I got to enjoy not too long ago, a girl has to have proper goals 😉. Thank you all for such kind words and messages, it’s made it a lot easier for me to get through this difficult time and a reminder that not all social media is superficial fluff and ass selfies.
Later this month Nico and I are headed to Denmark and western Sweden (think Gothenberg). I’m essentially tagging along to his work trip so if anyone lives in Copenhagen, let me know! I would be absolutely thrilled to meet for coffee while he’s at his conference. I pathetically know absolutely nothing about this side of the world but I look forward to changing that.
If you plan on visiting Florence, Italy this October my recommendation is to be prepared for cool mornings, shorter days and the occasional rainstorm, but expect a fair amount of warm afternoon sun too. Pack layers as per usual during these shoulder seasons: a foldable umbrella, a light scarf, waterproof shoes and plan on diving into Tuscany’s wonderful autumnal cuisine. I’m talking about silky porcini mushrooms, cavolo nero (Tuscan kale) and chickpea soup and drizzled new extra-virgin olive oil with its spicy kick. Or succulent slow-cooked wild boar and ribollita from Trattoria Sergio Gozzi.
Here’s a little bit of link love for you guys this October
- If you have yet to follow this blogger (and tour guide!) in Italy – remedy that immediately. Her storiesare so delightfully relatable, especially for those of us who have seen and lived it all.
- Narcissism is rife in the land of Instagram and how influencers view themselves but also within those who seek to expose them from the perspective of former friends. This long read is everything…
- Whether we like it or not, Prozac Nation really did change the landscape when it comes to the way women write about themselves. Is it still relevant today?
- Tips on how to pack by a true expert.
- Italy has many lesser-known, exceptional museums that are totally worth your time.
- Super psyched about Ciao Amalfi aka Laura’s new guidebook offering insider secrets for one of Italy’s most beautiful coastlines.
- Fellow lovers of great coffee in Florence should note these places for future visits.
- Can you believe this?
I hope you enjoy this lovely month in Florence and if you are looking for events, festivals and just simply something to do this month in the city, this roundup of events in town should do just the trick. Keep in mind that these are my personal suggestions.
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Unlike most of Florence’s large churches covered in intricate marble, the Basilica of Santa Maria del Santo Spirito offers a more plain yet distinct facade. But far from being just a backdrop to the piazza’s daily antics, inside you’ll find an elaborate interior designed by Filippo Brunelleschi in the early 15th century. It was here that Brunelleschi supplied definitive solutions to the two main problems of interior Renaissance church design: how to build a cross-shaped interior using architectural elements borrowed from antiquity (solution: turn a Greek temple inside out and be mathematically precise in regards to exact interior proportions). Hence why it’s more than worth a little extra time to enjoy this well-thought-out design the next time you visit the church and don’t miss the wooden crucifix completed by a teenage Michelangelo. #yourflorence
The British Institute in Florence frequently hosts a really eclectic program of events. For October, here’s what’s going on:
- October 2nd join Kamin Mohammadi and Emma Taylor who will be telling stories helping to explain Book Aid International, a UK-based charity that provides books and supports libraries in Africa and around the world. Every year the charity sends around one million new books to libraries in prisons, refugee camps, hospitals, schools and universities. 6-7pm.
- Music al British: The inaugural concert for their new Music al British series will feature acclaimed international violinist Elvira Bekova on October 4th, 6-7pm.
The Student Hotel by Fortezza da Basso offers a series of workshops and events open to the public. For example, on October 5thyou can join a local blogger as she hosts a workshop showcasing how to be creative on Instagram.
Each year Florence Writers, in association with Irish Writers Centre, hosts a writer for a week at St Mark’s English Church. This year they are welcoming poet Eamonn Lynskey, today October 1st, for a reading from his latest work ‘It’s Time’ and chat with Florentine poet Elisa Biagini about his work and life at 6pm at St. Mark’s English Church. If you can’t make that event you can join Eamonn on October 5thfor a poetry workshop at the same location from 10-1pm, just email [email protected] reserve a spot!
Want to practice your Italian and meet new people? Join a community of locals and foreigners who want the chance to practice many languages at a Multilingual happy hour. Their next social event is on October 5th at Le Murate.
This month on October 5th and 6th there will be an all-day “Fiera della ceramica” ceramics fair in Piazza SS. Annunziata. Not only will you be able to purchase artisan-made goods from the square, under the loggia are workshops dedicated to kids that are open to the public.
Those feeling masochistic or much more fit than myself should join the “Inferno Run” a mud-filled obstacle course at Figline Valdarno (outskirts of Florence) October 5thand 6th, there are two runs, one of 4 kilometers (also for minors) and other of 12 kilometers. The proceeds will go towards supporting the Tommasino Bacciotti Foundation.
Relax Firenze, my personal favorite wellness center in Florence, is offering a number of October specials that you should absolutely know about. Including:
- The return of my favorite yoga teacher in town: Erny Thamrin Yoga who will be teaching a yin ypga class every Thursday morning at 10am.
- On October 4-5ththey are offering all women a 10% discount on all treatments and subscriptions with 6 months to use them. AMAZING!
- On October 12thLife Coach Sophie will be hosting a YES Woman Circle on from 3pm to 5pm and will provide a safe space for women to come together, connect and exchange.
- On Octover 19ththey will be offering a Reiki I –Shoden course introducing the student to the flow of Reiki energy and developing a personal practice.
Palazzo Strozzi, the city’s foremost exhibition space, has now opened its latest exhibit celebrating Natalia Goncharova: a leading female artist of the 20th century in this major retrospective. The exhibition will explore her unconventional life and career, presenting her rich and multifaceted artistic output with masterpieces from major international collections by celebrated artists including Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso, Balla and Boccioni. I had the chance to check out a preview myself (article coming soon) and really enjoyed it. My advice? Go see on Thursday evening after hours as the Strozzi closes at 11pm!
Having tools to support mental health can be the difference between a vitalising experience abroad and an overwhelming one. Out of our comfort zones, what tools do we use to navigate? This series asks the big questions, offers tools, and opens space for discussion. October’s first roundtable session on October 9th will focus on Risks and Reducing Risk Factors: How does risk increase in a foreign country, and how can I manage this? (7-9pm at St, Mark’s English Church). While on Oct 23rd the topic will be Not to Blame and Crisis Management Why is victim-blaming wrong? What do I do in a crisis? Free to the public to join!
Head over to Piazza Ciompi on October 12th for a Creative Market featuring artisans and makers from 9:30am onwards.
From Saturday, October 12, The Porta San Frediano (aka the Oltrarno gate) will be open to the public. From 1333, the western entrance to the city is the largest and most austere of the gates of Florence that still preserves the imposing original oak door with its heavy locks. For three Saturdays this month, they are opening up the gate to visitors for 30 minute visits. The 12-19-26 October, from 9.30 to 12.30, every 30 minutes. The day of 19 October will be dedicated to Unicoop Firenze members, who will be able to enter with the 2×1 formula. The cost of the visit is € 6 per person, payment must be made in cash at the place of the visit. Access is free for holders of the Fiorentino Card. Booking is mandatory. For information and reservations: Tel. 055/2768224 – 055/2768558, Mail [email protected], www.musefirenze.it
The Showcase Open Mic is at a new location and a new night, now on October 14th! Their first Guest Artist for the season is Jack Van Cleaf, an American singer/songwriter from Nashville, TN. Drawing on an appreciation for all things literary and poetic, he crafts his lyrics in a sound framed by the Americano, country, pop, and folk music that surrounds him in his home. This open mic night will be at the Get Lucky Bar for one Monday each month at 9:00pm. Performers can sign up to play (usually for 10 minutes or 2-3 songs). Each week there is a Guest Artist”, (a local or touring musician) who performs a special 30-minute set. After the Guest Artist, the open mic resumes until midnight.
Forte di Belvedere is still in action as this former 16th century Medici fort reopened earlier this summer to the public as a contemporary art space combined with a cool place for a drink with a stunning view of the city! This season they are hosting artists Massimo Listri and Davide Rivalta showcasing drawing, sculpture and photography (the photography is outstanding – you don’t want to miss this). Opening hours are 11am-8pm (last entrance at 7pm) 3€ entrance otherwise residents of the city can get the Forte di Belvedere card for 2€ that offers unlimited access for the entire summer (the space will be open until October 20th).
This October 15th-20th there will be the 17thedition of the Florence Queer Festival at Cinema La Campania with a rich and varied program you can see here.
I love a nice autumnal fair and this month on October 20th a fiera dedicated to all things “Fall” will be happening in Piazza Santo Spirito. It will be a great time to indulge in purchases like honey, select fall vegetables, vintage clothes and more.
This year is the Florence biennale of contemporary art in Florence (now in its 12thedition) from Oct 18-27th with this year’s theme “Ars et Ingenium: Similarity and invention – Celebrating Leonardo da Vinci” with events taking place at the Padiglione Spadolini at the Fortezza da Basso (viale Strozzi 1). Expect to see drawing and calligraphy, painting, mixed media, sculpture, ceramic art, textile art, art jewelry, photography, multimedia art, video art, performance and art installation.
On October 22nd, you can join authors Lee Foust and Cary D. Tennis as they discuss their books‘Inbetween’ and ‘The Split-Second Forever’ with moderator Lynn Cole–a night of Italian adventures by way of San Francisco at the St. Mark’s English Church. They will also chat about their new publishing project, The Florentine Underground Press. The discussion kicks off at 6pm.
I love browsing antiques and every third weekend of the month is a large outdoor antique market at Piazza Vittorio Veneto (Cascine park). Alternatively, you can enjoy the expansive flea market every last weekend of the month in Piazza Ciompi and near Piazza Ghiberti.
NEW this year is the inaugural UNICEF Innocenti Film Festival will take place 25-27 October 2019 at Cinema La Compagnia, Florence, Italy. The festival will showcase a creative and wide ranging programme of cinema narratives of childhood from over 40 countries. All films will be screened in the original language with English and Italian subtitles. I am super excited about this!
Don’t miss a line-up of 12 French films from October 29th– Nov 1stas part of the France Odeon 2018 at La Compagnia on Via Cavour 50/r. This will be the 11th edition of the festival so expect plenty of surprises, I can’t wait! This year there will be atribute to Myriam Bru, a well respected, historical actress from Paris, program coming soon here.
For those of you who love Downtown Abbey, you don’t want to miss the premiere of the highly anticipated film version of the popular British series on October 31st.It will be an extravagant affair hosted by the Odeon, in partnership with The British Institute of Florence and The Florentine. A 1920s-dress code with prizes for the best-dressed adds to the sense of occasion for what is sure to be a memorable evening. Starts at 9pm; see theflr.net/downtonabbey for full details.
I usually love to welcome cooler weather and rain with a trip to the movies, so make sure to check out this month’s original language line-up at The Odeon Firenze. This month you have the films Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Joker. Here is the program until the beginning of November.
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.
OUTSIDE OF FLORENCE
Considering that this month is filled with interesting food-related festivals all over Tuscany, here are a few of my personal favorites and feel free to comment with your top picks.
- Chestnut lovers should head to the Tuscan town of Marradi for their annual Sagre delle Castagne every Sunday on October, 6, 13, 20, 27th now in its 56th year of existence. Expect outdoor food stands, plenty of people and yes, chestnuts. They also have a fun option to arrive via ancient steam train.
- In the town of Certaldo, the annual “Boccaccesca” food and wine festival will be from October 4-6th and is dedicated to one of Italy’s greatest poets, Bocaccio. An ideal excuse to visit this underrated Tuscan town.
- More chestnuts (can you feel a theme here) can be enjoyed at the Festa dei Marroni on October 13th in the town of Vicchio in the Mugello area of Tuscany. My friend Valentina aka TooMuchTuscany is from this area and I highly recommend her blog for locally-based tips.