This is a long one, so we’ll cut right to the chase: October is our favorite month, here are our top-five free events, check out the calendar page for more awesome things to do!
Astronomic Observations at Villa Demidoff (Pratolino) | Thursdays in October
Everyone talks about the Tuscan sun, but few take the time to study the incredible Tuscan stars! Now’s your chance to change that; hop on the #25 bus and head to the Medici garden at Pratolino. Every Thursday at 8:45 p.m., anyone over the age of 15 can meet with astronomy experts and study the night sky. Each evening also has its own special focus, whether that be a planet, comet or asteroid. Scared of the dark? Don’t be – you’ll see it all under the watchful eye of this guy. Astronomy nights are free; reservations are required.
While there, grab a flyer for the free concerts also held on site (October 5 & 26). Interested in seeing more of the park (and its giant giraffe pit)? Pratolino always offers free admission and is open from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays in October.
Thursdays at the Square at Palazzo Strozzi (Giovedì al quardato) | October 10
We know, we know – we’re always harping on Thursdays at Palazzo Strozzi, but can you blame us? The second Thursday of every month offers free entry to the Strozzina. Or, spring for a 10-euro ticket and you’ll enjoy 2-for-1 admission to the main exhibit and 2-for-1 aperitivi. Hours are 6 – 11 p.m. for special pricing, with last entry at 10 p.m., and 7:30 – 10 p.m. for aperitivo.
We think it’s smart to go this month in particular, because the main floor just debuted an intriguing show, The Russian Avant-garde, Sibera and the Far East. With over 130 works, this international exhibit takes visitors on a journey to “the edge of the world,” bridging the gap between West and East as seen through the eyes of Kandinsky, Malevich, Filonov and Goncharova. Visit here for more information.
Not to be outdone, the Strozzina will also debut a new show on this very Thursday! Unstable Territory: Borders and Identity in Contemporary Art showcases the work of 10 international artists who challenge the ideas of national borders and offer “a new reflection of the individual in relation to a specific territory or community.” For the full breakdown, click here.
BiblioPride 2013 | October 5
As two Florentine graduate students who spent hours drifting off in dark reading rooms, we’d be remiss to not include BiblioPride in our list of top events. Italy’s second-annual celebration of book borrowers and lenders sets up shop this year in Santa Croce, chosen for its presence as “the temple keeper of the great intellectuals and its proximity to the Central National Library of Florence.” There, librarians, publishers, and all types of libro-lovers will converge for scholarly readings, children’s events, and more. Click here for full information.
Biannual International Antiques Fair | October 5-13
A world-renowned fair, the Biennale internazionale dell’antiquario di Firenze is full of antique statues, paintings, pottery, and other collectibles destined to be on display in both public and private collections. We’re guessing your Florentine budget doesn’t include buying a pricey antique, but we think you should still commit to the 10-euro ticket price. You’ll get to explore Palazzo Corsini, brush elbows with a few celebrities, and check out artwork not usually on display for public view. Plus, a Biennale ticket will also get you ingresso libero to the Stefano Bardini Museum, the Palazzo Vecchio, the Salvatore Romano Foundation in Piazza Santo Spirito, and the Richard-Ginory Museum in Sesto Fiorentino. For hours, pictures and the history of the event, visit here.
Festa di Santa Reparata | October 8
Move over, St. John the Baptist, and make way for Santa Reparata, Florence’s lesser known patron saint. The Florentine explains, “Santa Reparata’s miraculous intercession in 406 CE helped Florence defeat an insurgence of the Ostrogoths, led by King Radagaiso, who had besieged the city. Because of her role in maintaining ancient Florence’s independence and the triumph of Christianity over the barbarians, Santa Reparata was named patron of the city and the city’s then main cathedral was dedicated to her.”
Although there aren’t fireworks like there are for San Giovanni, the city still puts on a good show for her feast day every October 8th. This year, there are two amazing guided tours scheduled for 9:30 and 10 a.m. (reservations are required and limited; call 055-2616056 between 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Monday through Friday). The first starts in Piazza del Limbo and explores the churches of SS. Apostoli and S. Salvatore al Vescovo before heading to the Santa Reparata excavations under the current Duomo. The second covers the inside and outside of the Baptistery before moving onto the Oratories of Misericordia and Bigallo.
If you’re not one of the lucky 20 to make the morning tours, don’t fret – you can still catch the 4 p.m. historical parade as it makes its way to Santa Maria del Fiore, where a candle and wreath will be offered to the patroness.
And this isn’t even the full lineup! Don’t miss the markets overflowing with the autumn harvest, Gregorian chants in the Duomo, guided Fiesole hikes, a Florentine Sunday and more listed on the calendar. Buon autunno!