Phew, we made it! We’ve overcome our panforte fatigue and survived our family feste for another holiday season. But the seasonal parades are far from over. Prepare yourself for another month (to be followed by another year!) of free events, activities and fun. I mean, there are worse New Year’s resolutions than to enjoy just one event each month this year. We’ll make it as easy as possible for you to get there; you just have to go and have an amazing time on our behalf. Deal? Deal.
The Feast of the Epiphany | January 6
Stateside, we’ve forgotten the 12 days of Christmas, but Italy’s like an elephant when it comes to holidays. Every January 6, cities all over the country prepare for the coming of the Magi, and Florence’s celebration is particularly spectacular. Close to 700 people will participate in a parade from Palazzo Pitti to Santa Maria del Fiore, and many will be dressed as if they just stepped out of Benozzo Gozzoli‘s famous fresco The Procession of the Magi. At the end of the procession will be the Three Kings, bearing gifts for the living Nativity waiting outside the Duomo. The living Nativity will take its place at 11 a.m., and the parade will leave Pitti at 2:10 p.m. It will make its way through city centre until the Magi reach the Nativity at 3:30 p.m. Their arrival will kick off a whole host of festivities, including a balloon launch! For a detailed timeline, visit here.
Giovedi al quadrato at Palazzo Strozzi | January 9
Have you seen either of the shows up at Palazzo Strozzi? Both The Russian Avant-garde, Sibera and the Far East (on the piano nobile) and Unstable Territory: Borders and Identity in Contemporary Art (in the Strozzina) are closing on January 19th. That means time is running out to explore them, and this upcoming Thursday at the Square is probably your final chance to catch them at discounted pricing. An equation to remember for the year and exhibits ahead: second Thursday of each month = free entry to the Strozzina, a free concert in the Strozzi atrium, a hip aperitivo and 2-for-1 admissions to the main floor. Hours are 6 – 11 p.m. for special pricing, with last entry at 10 p.m., and 7:30 – 10 p.m. for aperitivo.
Antiche Sagrestie | January 22
This happening seems to be slipping under the radar, and that’s just our style. Starting January 7th, interested folks can make reservations to enjoy free guided tours of two important church sacristies: the Sagrestia delle Messe in Santa Maria del Fiore and the Sagrestia Vecchia of San Lorenzo. The latter piques our interest, as it is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture designed by Brunelleschi and decorated by Donatello. Today, it is often overshadowed by Michelangelo’s New Sacristy, but the Old Sacristy helped make Michelangelo’s genius possible. If standing in such an important space tickles your fancy like it does ours, call 055 2616056 to confirm a visit.
Fiorita di San Zanobi | January 26
Make room in your schedule for this celebration honoring Florence’s first bishop, San Zanobi. Now, I can hear your collective yawn from here, but give this guy a chance. He was believed to have raised 5 people from the dead, and his final life-giving flourish came after his own death! When San Zanobi passed away in 417, the city laid him to rest in the Church of San Lorenzo, Florence’s cathedral at the time. When the bishop’s seat moved to Santa Reparata, the decision was also made to relocate Zanobi’s remains. As the Florentine tells it, in the winter of 429, his coffin crossed what is today Piazza San Giovanni and brushed against a “dead” winter tree. Upon contact, the previously sparse tree sprang into full bloom. Today, the site is marked by a tall column that few give a second look. Right that wrong by joining the historical parade that honors him at 9 a.m. this January 26th. For more info on San Zanobi, click here.
So we start and end the month with two elaborate parades! Florence, you really know how to kick off a new year. Here’s hoping La Befana is good to you! Buon anno tutti!