On February 17th in the year 1530, Florence was besieged by the troops of Carlo V and Pope Clemente VII, who wanted to bring the Medici Family back to Florence. A game of ‘soccer’ was played to mock and make fun of the enemy. This was not the same soccer as the one we know today, but the historical game known as Calcio Storico: an ancient game, that according to some people was played by Romans, called Harpastum and played to keep the body trained. The Florentines decided to demonstrate to the army of Carlo V that life in the city was the same and they were not going to stop doing what they always did. So they decided to play the game in front of the troops. One team was dressed in white and the other in green and the prize for the winner was a calf.
Nobody knows how the match ended or which team won – it doesn’t matter….what really matters is that the game played on that day will be remembered as a great event in the history of Florence. To remember that fateful day, this Sunday 17th February 2019 the players of “Calcio Storico Fiorentino” will return to the same field in Piazza Santa Croce square to honour the brave warriors who preceded them. Santa Croce square will be as it was in the 16th century to remind people of the events of that important day.
“The match played is an anthem to Florence, a symbol that is part of the identity of each Florentine and that adds a sense of belonging to our city.”
CARNEVALE DI VIAREGGIO – FEBRUARY 9 – MARCH 5, 2019
Carnival celebrations are held all over Italy from Venice and Milan down to the villages and towns of Sicily with many of the biggest celebrations on Martedi Grasso (Mardi Gras) or Fat Tuesday. As in many other parts of the world, it is also approaching Carnival time in Tuscany.Viareggio is home to one of the most impressive Carnival festivals in Italy and 2019 marks the 146th edition of the Viareggio Carnival. This years festival is dedicated to women and so we look forward to seeing what floats have been created. It has become a well established European tradition of carnival festivals, with parades and celebrations being held for the five weekends before lent which begins on Ash Wednesday. The first indication that the Carnival Season is here are the beautiful sweets that start to appear in the local bakery.Sweet delights such as Cenci, Frittelle di Riso and Schiacciata alla Fiorentina.
Second only to the famous festivities held in Venice,the Carnival of Viareggio was born in 1873 when the first parade of festively decorated carriages was seen in the historic Via Regia, the heart of the old town. It was transferred to the Promenade at the beginning of the twentieth century and it has grown in size and popularity year after year. In 1954 a big media event was created when the newly founded Radiotelevisione Italiana – RAI sent their first outside live TV report from the Carnival of Viareggio.In 1958 the report of the parade was broadcast in Eurovision and nowadays it is the largest Italian folk event with a budget of € 5 million per year.
The Carnival of Viareggio lasts a whole month with day-time and night-time festivities, the famous parades of floats, local parties, masked balls and festivals of all kinds. The huge floats are made in what is known as the Cittadella del Carnevale.Sixteen hangars, where the “Papier-Mâché Masters” set up thehuge Carnival floats, overlook a giant elliptical square.The complex has a specific architectural structure and in addition to the hangars, there is the Carnival museum,Carnevalotto Museum for contemporary art. An historical archive, a restaurant and the big central square, where some of the most important events of Viareggio take place, like summer concerts, parties and dance shows.
DID YOU KNOW?
Burlamacco was first depicted in 1931 by Uberto Bonetti when he won a competition to design the mascot for the Carnival. He chose the red and white of the outfit from the traditional colours of the umbrellas on the beachs of Viareggio and the name Burlamacco came 8 years later, derived from the Burlamacca river.To this day Burlamacco remains a feature of the carnival and there is a statue of him all the year round on the Lungomare in Viareggio.
These days the Carnival of Viareggio is broadcast on national television and watched all over Italy. Each year famous guests, politicians and sports figures come to Viareggio to admire their papier – mâché effigies although not all are complimentary and mostly satirical.
Each year the Viareggio carnival attracts more than 600,000 people so be prepared if you decide to brave the crowds.Getting there by bus or train is probably the best option but we can also organise a private transfer to the Cittadella and also to the promenade to watch the parade!
The parades take place in a 2km long, ring-like circuit on the seaside avenue, best known as La Passeggiata.Here the floats move among the crowds of spectators, who can attend the show as there are no barriers – so the spectators often become the protagonists of the parade too!
CARNEVALE DI VIAREGGIO – FEBRUARY 9 – MARCH 5, 2019
The piazza of the beautiful Basilica di Santa Croce is home to the largest Christmas market in Florence! While the tradition began in Germany in the 12th century and spread to surrounding the countries, the Weihnachtsmarkt Santa Croce does not fail to deliver the charm and excitement of the historic markets.
The Weihnachtsmarkt market has been an annual tradition in Florence for the past 500 years and is a spot you have to experience during holiday season. From November 28 to December 20th (10 am-10pm) you can stroll through the festive, German style open-air wooden stalls to browse the local and international goods.
The Santa Croce market hosts traditional, mouthwatering foods such as bratwurst and pretzels. These create a rich, savory meal when accompanied by kraut or a beer. A must-try goodie is Kürtőskalács, also called chimney cake, covered in your choice of delicious toppings such as cinnamon and chocolate. A warm cup of mulled wine is the perfect holiday drink to warm you up on a brisk winter’s day, and some stalls even have the option to keep the mug as a souvenir! Other fun international treats can be found at the Dutch crepes and waffles stall and the Austrian booths lined with an array of tempting pastries.
An Italian twist is added to the traditional stalls with the addition of the tasty cheese, jam, chocolate, and spice vendors. Original jewelry and contemporary artwork can also be found at local artisan’s booths. Several vendors that sell winter wears such as scarves, hats, and jackets to keep warm while enjoying the market and the rest of Florence. The market is a great place to pick up unique Christmas treats and sweets for stocking stuffers or souvenirs. Beautifully crafted ornaments and candle votives of all kinds are sure to liven any holiday celebration. Lastly, there is a plentiful variety of ceramic home goods offered at the English stalls where you can also buy amazing lemon curd and fruit-mince.
Whether you are just perusing the stalls or on the hunt for one-of-a-kind gifts, you are sure to enjoy this delightful market!
Get to experience the city of Florence through a perspective unlike any other. A relatively new addition to Florence, the Festival delle Mongolfiere is sure to brighten your stay.
The festival began only two years ago and is held just a short distance from the city centre. Accessible by foot, train, bus, or taxi, make your way over to the Ippodromo del Visarno on October 13th-14th or the following weekend of the 20th-21st to witness the giants of the air light up the Florence sky.
There are many activities for both children and adults that are sure to captivate. For an unparalleled view of the city, take a ride in a free-flying or tethered balloon. For those that prefer the comfort of the ground, have your breath taken away by a musical performance of colourful balloons illuminating the night sky. If you want an even closer look, let reality fade as you explore the inside of two grounded balloons and hear the fantastic stories as told by the staff. Finally, for those travelling with children, the festival offers various free workshops and activities that allow creativity to run free.
Hot Air Balloon Festival 13-14, 20-21 October, 2018
This year marks the 17th edition of the event “Settembre in Piazza della Passera” ! After taking a sabbatical last year. The festival was conceived by Stefano Di Pucci, owner of Trattoria 4 Leoni together with the cultural association “In Piazza”, under the direction of Alessandro Di Puccio and in collaboration for the organisation with Momy Manetti. The initial plan was to include all the main squares of the Oltrarno, with the idea of using art to enhance the territory and an opportunity to meet and discover new talents.
The piazza has come alive this week with two concerts each evening, all with free admission and the idea this year was to involve young students in the event. The ‘Giovani in Piazza’ format, created with the Jazz department of the Florence Academy of music offers young talents in the sector the opportunity to open the first three evenings.
Calling all Jazz lovers! Florence is the place to be for 5 days of Jazz from the 5th – 9th September. The Firenze Jazz Fringe Festival (FJFF) will include 70 hours of music, 150 artists, 50 performances across 12 locations. Local and international jazz artists will bring to life the many iconic piazzas, churches and bars of the city, our top picks being Rifrullo, Piazza Santo Spirito and Piazza del Carmine. The inauguration is to take place on the 5th September at 9:00pm at the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte. The river Arno will also naturally set the stage for some specatcular performances. There will be an incredible floating stage in front of the Ponte Vecchio and the ‘River Urban Beach’ will also host some special performances on the night of Saturday 8th.
For more details and the whole program look at the Event website : www.fjff.it
If you happen to find yourself in Florence on August 10th, then you may be surprised to know that you can find a free dinner of pasta followed by watermelon in the San Lorenzo square!
This day, Florentines celebrate the Feast of San Lorenzo, the co-patron of the city. It is one of the most traditional festivities that takes place in Florence during the month of August where everyone is invited to celebrate in the piazza of San Lorenzo. Free pasta (traditionally lasagne but this year the menu is showing ‘penne pomodoro’) will be offered to all, followed by watermelon with yogurt and or cream.
This community festival, thanks to the operators of the central market and local street vendors will start at 8:00pm with a traditional band concert organized by Don Marco Viola, parish priest of San Lorenzo and will then be followed at 9:00pm with the distribution of the pasta and watermelon.
This night is also quite special for another reason. Don’t be surprised to see people looking towards the sky as this is the night when you will most probably see a falling star or two if you are lucky! Let’s hope that the sky is clear so we can all make our wish on a falling star.
Florence is known as the city of art and it’s easy to understand why. With its many galleries filled with masterpieces created by the usual suspects of famous artists, you may think that this is the only way to see art in this town.
Palazzo San Niccolò has once again shown how it’s spaces provide the perfect exhibition space and backdrop for any medium whether sculptures, paintings or ceramics and jewellery. And at the moment we are honoured to be exhibiting, together with The Cultural Salon a stunning show by world-renowned artist Robert Farber
‘Farber’s sensitive portrayal of the female form has resulted in 25 years of continued commissions to help in the awareness ofBreast Cancer’. Farber’s fine-art photographs have been published in virtually every form and he has exhibited in galleries and museums world-wide. Aside from his fine art photography, Robert Farber’s work encompasses major campaigns for fashion, beauty and advertising, as well as directing for TV and film.
The exhibition can be viewed at Palazzo San Niccolò until the 9th of July.
Palazzo San Niccolò offers various solutions depending on how large your exhibition is. We can also cater to a fabulous outdoor show for the Summer months as you can see by the beautiful images below.
Contact Elena to make enquiries regarding your next event or exhibition : email@example.com
This past week Pitti Uomo 94 took place in Florence. Pitti Uomo is one of the world’s most important platforms for menswear and men’s shoes, and for launching new projects in men’s fashion. In honor of Pitti, Dr. Marten’s has chosen Palazzo San Niccolò to host their #WornDifferent Pitti Party showcasing some exclusive selections from their upcoming Autumn/Winter 2018 collection! The event included live tattooing and custom drawings on Dr. Marten’s shoes. Guests were able to have their own pair of Dr. Marten’s tattooed or have custom drawing done. Overall the event was a huge success bringing together many of the industry’s top bloggers/influencers and journalists.
On June 24, Florence will celebrate St. John the baptist with a feast day that includes different cultural events throughout the day. The whole city is apart of the celebration and you will be able to see Florence come alive with traditions that display their ancestral history. In ancient times, noble lords and ladies would donate candles to the churches as a way to celebrate St. John. This tradition of receiving candles still continues today. The Archbishop of Florence will accept the offering of candles and everyone will follow him into the cathedral for mass at 10:30am. This date also marks the opening date of the San Niccolò tower, which is only opened to the public for the summer months.
The final match for Calcio Storico Fiorentino is held during this celebration. The match will be between two teams from historical neighborhoods of Florence and will begin after the parade at 5:00pm. The historical parade will begin in Piazza Santa Maria Novella and make its way toward Piazza Santa Croce at 4:00pm. After a day of festivities, the people of Florence will gather around the arno river and various places in the city. The last event to celebrate St. John are fireworks which are launched from Piazzale Michelangelo. This national holiday is full of fun activites and historical traditions which can allow the soul of Florence to shine through.