Italy's Liberation Day (Festa della Liberazione) is a national Italian holiday commemorating the end of the World War II and the Nazi occupation of the country. There is usually a morning ceremony in Piazza dell'Unità with Carabinieri marching band, war veterans and city officials, and a concert in the afternoon in Piazza Signoria. Wreaths are set out in the city in various locations, similar to the one below:
If you want to witness one of the more strange, interesting and exciting rituals of Easter than the "Explosion of The Cart" or "Scoppio del Carro" (also known as "il Brindellone" or the "Cart of St. John") is a must see event on Easter Sunday in Piazza Duomo.
It is an ancient tradition that dates all the way back to the crusades, and an elaborate event that has to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. A large, towering wooden "cart" is pulled into the square between the Duomo and the Baptistry by huge white oxen and accompanied by much fanfare, flag throwing and bell ringing. Inside the church, a fake dove is ignited in the middle of mass and sent on a wire into the cart that is loaded with various fireworks and explosives (and I mean loud explosions that go one for several minutes - and lots of smoke). The quality of the fireworks predicts the fate of Florence for the year - while in the middle ages it was more closely linked to the quality of that year's harvest. If you are in Florence for Easter don't miss this extraordinary event.
The event starts around 10 a.m, with the The "Explosion of The Cart" happening around 11 - make sure you get there early for a good viewing spot! You can also enter the church for the mass, or follow the cart's procession before or after the ceremony.
Palazzo Corsini is a late baroque building, obvious throughout its many architectural details - from the roofs decorated with statues copied from antiquity and terra cotta vases, the ornate rooms and interior grotto, and the main, U-shaped courtyard that opens towards the lungarno and north bank of the Arno.
The two men responsible for Palazzo Corsini were Bartolomeo Corsini (1622-1685), the son of Filippo Corsini and Maria Maddalena Macchiavelli and, Filippo son of Bartolomeo's son (1647-1705) who expanded the portion of the Palazzo that extends towards Ponte Santa Trínita.
The construction continued non-stop for 50 years. The magnificent decorations, that were done between 1692 and 1700, belong to one of the finest and most intense moments in Florentine painting. The family commissioned several artists to decorate the noble apartment on the first floor, that includes Galleria Aurora, the Salone, the ballroom and other important rooms with work by Anton Domenico Gabbiani, Alessandro Gherardini and Pier Dandini.
Below is a history of the Palazzo Corsini from the 1905 book "Florentine Palaces, And Their Stories" by Janet Ross - some of the scholarship from that day may have changed since!
Via di Parione, 11
The Novecento (Twentieth Century) Museum is dedicated to Italian art of the 20th Century and offers a selection of around 300 works, which are located in 15 exhibition areas, in addition to a study room, a cabinet of drawings and prints, and a room for conferences and projections. The museum is located in the ancient Spedale of the Leopoldine in Piazza Santa Maria Novella.
Summer hours (April 1 to September 30)
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 10:00 to 21:00
Thursday 10:00 to 14:00
Friday 10:00 to 23:00
Saturday - Sunday 10:00 to 21:00
Winter hours (October 1 to March 31)
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 10:00 to 18:00
Thursday 10:00 to 14:00
Friday 10:00 to 21:00
Saturday - Sunday 10:00 to 20:00
Cost of ticket:
Museum: € 8.50 (reduced: € 4 for 18-25 years and> 65 years and college students, free for under 18 years of age and groups of students and their teachers, tour guides and interpreters, people with disabilities and their carers, ICOM members, ICOMOS and ICCROM)
€ 4 (reduced: € 2 for 18-25 years and> 65 years and college students, free for under 18 years of age and groups of students and their teachers, tour guides and interpreters, people with disabilities and their carers, members of ICOM, ICOMOS and ICCROM)
Cumulative museum and exhibition: € 10 (concessions € 6)
Annual subscription: € 10
Visits and activities: € 5
The Iris Garden is one of Florence's best hidden secrets, most likely due to the limited time it is open each year. The garden is on a lush hillside accessible from the east side of Piazzale Michelangelo. It makes a great place to get away from crowds and the city for a quiet stroll. The garden belongs to the "Società Italiana dell'Iris" (the Italian Iris Society), an association that promotes the flower. An international competition is held by them each year for the cultivation of the Iris. Through a combination of flowers a display is created annually that has the color of the iris represented in the coat of arms of Florence.
The garden is only open in May! From the 2nd to the 20th, Monday to Friday from 10 am to 12:30 pm and from 3 pm to 7 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm.
MOSTRA INTERNAZIONALE DELL'ARTIGIANATO
2014 dates: April 24th to May 1st
Forezza da Basso
The "Mostra Internazionale dell'Artigianato" or "International Handicrafts Market" welcomes artisans from all over the world as well Italy. This is a great fair full of hand-made crafts from all over the world - clothing, furniture, carpets, jewelry, silverware, collectibles, gifts, wine & food. It features traditional handmade products that inspired by ethnic and classical history, and a mix of contemporary and classical tastes.
Visiting the Fair
For eight consecutive days, from 10:00 to 23:00, more than 800 exhibitors from all over Italy and 50 foreign countries are waiting for you with their "hand made" creations, live demonstrations, events, performances, and more.
New Features for 2014
New features for 2014 edition of the Fair are: Bellezza e Benessere (Health & Beauty), Garden Art, Centomestieri (A Thousand Trades), and the Tuscan Handicraft Museums.
The Mercatale di Firenze will be held in Piazza Santa Maria Novella on the first Saturday of the month, starting on April 5th, 2014. This market (if I am reading the Italian correctly) is the one that used to take place in both Piazza Repubblica and Piazza Santa Croce once or twice a month (sometimes there would be extra dates around holidays, etc.). There is no market day in August (of course!) but supposedly it will start up again in September and take place all year long.Continue reading Mercatale di Firenze.
These two events are now joined and usually take place on the second Sunday of each month. To stay up to date, visit their website here.
The "Fierucola" is the traditional event dedicated to nature and organic farming, and the "Lungoungiorno" is an event sponsored by the Foundation of Florence for the Arts and Crafts and entirely dedicated to high quality crafts. Together now it is a great day of art, crafts, food, tours and events.
"Lungoungiorno + Fierucola" takes place at the Vecchio Conventino Space for Arts and Crafts (SAM), on the second Sunday of each month.
Locals and tourists can spend the whole day with the artisans, their art, and the amazing local food. Lungoungiorno + Fierucola is an opportunity to watch artisans at work, hear their stories, and get closer to their crafts and their workshops.
Each year on March 8 International Women's Day is celebrated throughout the world. The first International Women's Day was held in 1911. Thousands of events occur to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Organisations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women's groups, corporations and the media celebrate the day. Italian's call this day "Festa della Donna" and in Florence it is widely celebrated and usually includes giving women a traditional bouquet (which you will find in flower shops all over Florence):
"Traditionally the women are given a small bouquet of mimosa - yellow flowers in a small cluster, that emit a sweet fragrance, and spend the evening without male company."
(We usually break with the latter part of that - as I make a special dinner for the women in my life)
The origins of this day are many, including:
"...memorializing two events outside of Italy: a March 8, 1857, strike by women garment workers in New York, which led to the formation two years later of the first women's union in the United States, and a strike by Russian women calling for "bread and peace" on March 8, 1917 (February 23 on the old Russian calendar but March 8 in the rest of the world.)"
Florentines seem to take as much pride in their dogs as in most things - which is a lot. On any sunny Sunday in the center of town you are usually treated to a wonderful display of all kinds of breeds. Here are some we photographed in the last few years:
(This is Salvatore above - actually a dog of a friend of ours)Continue reading Florentines and their dogs.