upcoming events: may 2013

We’re back, as promised, and hoping that everyone made a full recovery from the mid-week festivities. Because there’s so much more to see and do this month! The first few weeks of May are arguably when Florence is at its finest: vibrant wisteria is casually draped all over the city, all other flowers are bursting with color, and the summer crowds and heat are yet to overwhelm the city. So let’s explore the best of Florence’s outdoor settings and soak up the sunshine!

Florence Iris Garden 1 by jen-the-librarian, on Flickr

Florence Iris Garden by jen-the-librarian

The Iris Garden | May 1-20

Time to tack another incredible stop onto our San Miniato walk! The Iris Garden on the east side of Piazzale Michelangelo is in full bloom now, but only for a short while. The garden, dedicated to Florence’s iconic giglio, has been a sanctuary since 1954 for all types of irises donated from around the world, including Japan and the United States. Paired with the Rose Garden, which will also be in bloom, anyone who makes the walk in the weeks to come will be in for a visual and fragrant treat. Click here for more information.

Guarda Firenze Walk & Run | May 5

Hosted by the Firenze Marathon Team, Guarda Firenze is “a sport event for everybody to rediscover Florence by running or walking amidst the beauties of Florence historical center.” Participants can chose from 3 – 10 km routes that will take them through the likes of Piazza del Duomo, Piazza della Repubblica, over the Ponte Vecchio and out the Porta Romana. The race starts at 9:30 a.m. outside the Duomo; there’s still a chance to register for an official spot Sunday morning on-site until 9 a.m. We say spring for the registration, but if you’d prefer to watch, then happen to get swept up in the excitement and run the route yourself a little later on, who could blame you? Full information can be found at http://www.firenzemarathon.it/.


Notte Blu | May 11-12

The encore to Notte Bianca, Notte Blu celebrates Europe with 27 hours (one for each state in the EU) of events. While it doesn’t get nearly as much press as her big sister Bianca, Blu holds her own with free lectures across the city, Italian rap concerts at Las Palmas, and this happening we’re most excited for: “A reenactment of the arrival of Charles VIII and his clash with Pier of Gino Capponi on the beach of San Nicolo. Later, there will be a reconstructed military camp with a tournament at arms, arts and crafts market, flag-wavers, jugglers and Jesters, dances and dance historians and more.” Historical reenactments and dancing on San Nicolo Beach? What we wouldn’t give to be there Saturday at 10 a.m.! For a running list of all the events, visit the Notte Blu facebook page.

*FFF bonus round: Notte Blu is part of a greater celebration of European culture from May 7-12, when there will be additional opportunities to check out sporting events, attend concerts, and even see movies for free. For that full lineup, click here.

Free Museum Sundays & Mother’s Day (U.S.) | May 12

Another chance to get into some of Florence’s top museums for free. The Palazzo Vecchio, the Stefano Bardini Museum, the Fondazione Salvatore Romano Museum, the Santa Maria Novella Museum, and the Brancacci Chapel at Santa Maria del Carmine will swing open their doors if you have the right card and a reservation – click here for the details. We know we’ve suggested this event before, but considering it’s also Mother’s Day back in the States, we say you climb the Torre di Arnolfo and take a selfie from the top. Because every mom loves a picture of the Florentine skyline with their darling’s smiling face right in the middle of it! Look at that – a free visit and a free Mother’s Day gift! We’re here for you.

Degustazioni by Wine Town, on Flickr

Degustazioni by Wine Town

WineTown | May 17-18

One of our favorite events is back! While you might have to shell out a few euros for a tasting card (like you wouldn’t be buying that bottle of Chianti tonight anyway!) WineTown is so much more than the 100+ wines to sniff, swirl and sip. Dozens of concerts, performances, and other spettacoli are free to check out. Plus, Friday night there will be an awards ceremony for the winners of the Italian round of the 2013 International Chocolate Awards, where entry is free. We’d be more than surprised if you couldn’t score a taste or two of the gourmet treats to pair with your wine. For full details on all the events, click here.


{Update!: Looking for La Notte dei Musei on Saturday, May 18th? We’ve gushed about it over here.}


Florence Design Week | May 20-26

Is everyone around the city looking extra chic this week? Make sure to dust off your best-looking duds because Design Week will have taken over Florence. “Professionals from all over the world, companies, universities, buyers, art directors, enthusiasts, artists will gather in Florence, in the heart of the city, in the most beautiful days of the year, for an all-round experience of LifeStyle, Pleasure, Art de Vivre in the name of business and conviviality.” Nothing to argue with there! Expect installations, live music, and exhibitions across town. Click here for locations and the full program.

Finally, two things that aren’t free, but we wouldn’t dare to skip over:

Gelato Festival | May 17 – 26

Did watching that video make you giddy, too? This one is self-explanatory. Lots of gelato tastings and ice-cream centered events in three of the city’s most popular piazzas: Santa Maria Novella, Repubblica, and Strozzi. You’ll have to purchase a tasting card to get to the good stuff (usually around 10 euros), but considering that it’s Florence’s most famous dessert in some of its most unavoidable spots, your will power to resist it probably won’t last long. We say give in early and enjoy the full 10 days of the festival! For all the details, click here.

Cantina Aperta | May 26

After you’ve had your fill of design and gelato, grab a bus to Greve for this wine-lover’s dream. Across Italy, wineries will open their cellars and vineyards for public tours and tastings tonight. This year, the event is celebrating its 20th anniversary, so things are expected to be even more magical than usual. You’ll just have to pay your way to the countryside and then spring for a glass of wine (or two). To find a participating spot, click here.

…And that’s not even all there is this month! Be sure to check the calendar for more events as they come up. Now we’re off to daydream about enjoying the Iris Garden enjoyed with a scoop of artisan gelato. Until next time!


  1. My Oh My!!! Wish we were there….especially for the wine and gelato and flowers and…..well, you get the picture…LOL!

    1. ugh! we are right there wishing with you!

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