Here it is! Your monthly installment of the best free things to do, see, and hear around the city. March is jam-packed with events, holidays, and exploding carts full of fireworks, so let’s skip the small talk and jump right to it!
Festa della Donna | March 8
Ladies, time to drop what you’re doing and bask in the glow of yellow mimosas. Each year since 1945, Italy has celebrated International Women’s Day, drawing attention to women’s rights locally and globally. At a time when women are still advocating for equal treatment, it’s nice to take a day to celebrate both their grand achievements and everyday contributions. As a “thank you for all you do,” expect to see men giving their mothers, daughters and friends handfuls of bright yellow flowers – mimosas. Oh, you thought we were talking about the drink? We say you celebrate your sisterhood with one of those, too. Get it girl – today’s your day!
Free Guided Tours of Palazzo Portinari Salviati | March 9
Speaking of loving the ladies, for one day only guests can enjoy free guided tours of Palazzo Salviati Portinari, the very spot where Dante first met his love Beatrice. The palace was also home to a number of other Florentine greats: Jacopo Salviati, Giovanni delle Bande Nere, and Cosimo I. Reservations are required; click here for full details.
Free Museum Sundays | March 10
This is the third time we’ve covered Free Museum Sundays, but seeing as there are five spots to get to, chances are you haven’t crossed them all off your bucket list quite yet. Last month we profiled the Stefano Bardini Museum; stay tuned in the weeks ahead for our pick to explore in March. Remember, you need your card and a reservation – full details here.
St. Patrick’s Day | March 17
Yes, we know St. Patrick’s Day is not a typical Italian holiday, but considering that Patrizio was born under Roman rule, we think that’s reason enough to let this annual day of evergreen and revelry sneak in. This lass spent the day in Florence exploring the Mercato Nuovo in city center, where you can pick up some traditional Irish driving caps made in Italy, and celebrating at our favorite Irish pub (run by a Scot) – Finnegan’s! The other usual suspects – Old Stove, Lion’s Fountain – should also be hosting free festivities. We recommend you spring for a pint and then take one of our walking tours to join in the craic and commemorate the day!
Feast of St. Joseph’s (Fathers’ Day) | March 19
Now it’s the fellas turn to feel the love! In honor of Jesus’ earthly father, dads of all types take center stage today. Traditionally, Italians celebrate with bonfires, Lenten feasts, and pageants – so keep your eyes peeled for those free historical reenactments Florentines are so fond of. Now’s also the time to indulge in a zeppola (an Italian pastry typically eaten on this feast day).
FAI Spring Days | March 23 & 24
Here’s your cure for that twinge of cabin fever you’re feeling: each spring, the Italian Environment Fund (FAI) offers free admission to 700 heritage sites across Italy – some of which are otherwise closed to the public. So no matter where in the country you find yourself this particular weekend, you have a whole new world of free adventures at your beck and call. Stay tuned here for a full list of openings.
Easter | March 31
Oh March, you’ve definitely saved the best for last. You see, the Florentines have celebrated Pasqua for almost 400 years with an electrifying event called the Scoppio del Carro, or the “explosion of the cart.” We have a full post detailing this phenomena, but highlights include: a procession of musicians and flag throwers led by a pair of oxen pulling a cart rigged with explosives, a (fake) dove propelled by sparks that shoots through Santa Maria del Fiore, and close to 10 minutes of pyrotechnics set off right in between the Duomo and the Baptistery. Sure in the States we celebrate the 4th of July with fireworks, but only in Italy would you light them off right in the middle of a packed crowd.
Make your way down to the Duomo early (around 9 a.m.) so you’ll have a front-row view of the controlled madness. The parade starts at 10 a.m. and the light show around 11 a.m.
What a lineup – and there’s still more! Click here for a calendar complete with more free outings this month.