This month we’re starting things off with a quick plea. We’re honored and humbled to have been named to Italy Magazine’s shortlist of Best Italian Travel Blogs. Grazie to them, and grazie mille to you for making this blog possible! To make it to #1, however, we need your vote – all it takes is a click here in the bottom right corner. Voting closes on February 8th. Thank you for your continued support!
Ok, your monthly round-up of Florence’s top free events starts now. For even more things to do, check out the calendar.
Fiera del Cioccolato | February 7-16
Is your sweet tooth aching? The start of the 10th-annual chocolate fair kicks off Friday, February 7th in Piazza Santa Maria Novella. Open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., you have almost all day and night to peruse delightful treats crafted by master chocolatiers. While entry to the fair is free, trying to leave without buying a few sweets proves a bit more difficult (especially when the event lineup includes nightly aperitivi, weekend brunches and a special Valentine’s Day menu).
Free Concerts at La Specola | February 8 & 23
Music lives on at La Specola, where free concerts are held almost every other weekend in the spring. The performances are often moved from room to room, allowing visitors to enjoy two art forms at once: the sounds of master musicians, dancers and singers plus the visual intrigue of the surrounding museum. This month, the first concert is a special show by pop record producer Michele Centonze, while the second features the music of Johannes Brahms. For times, artist details, and the full spring lineup, visit here.
*A FFF tip: If you’d like to explore La Specola after the show, remember to bring your COOP card, which discounts the regular admission price from 6 euros to just 3 euros.
Valentine’s Day is still more of an American holiday, but where better to celebrate it than in Florence? We’ve got two walks that will help you explore the romance of the city, plus a third one on the way. So pop on a pair of rose-colored glasses, grab a friend, and hit the cobblestones. Valentine’s Day can be so much more than cards and chocolate (then again, see event one on this list).
February 14th also coincides with One Billion Rising, when 1 billion people worldwide are expected to stand up and dance in opposition to violence against women. Considering much of the recent talk about eradicating such violence in Italy, the cause seems more pertinent and important than ever. This year, Florence’s contribution will take place at 7 p.m. in Piazza Santa Maria Novella (still can’t escape that chocolate fair, can we?). So break out your best dancing shoes and shake what your momma gave ya for all the other mommas and future may-be mommas out there!
Free Museums in Honor of Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici | February 18
As the last Medici with no heir, Anna Maria Luisa knew that she would have to protect her family’s legacy following her own death. Therefore, in 1737, she established the Family Pact, which turned over all Medici property – including the family’s immense art collection – to the state, under the condition that it never be removed from Florence. As a thank you for her kindness and foresight, Florence opens its civic museums every February 18th with free entry and free guided tours for locals and visitors alike.
Here are the details for this year’s event; please note that Santa Maria Novella is not offering free entry this year.
We won’t pretend that the best Carnevale experiences are free or even in Florence, but we also can’t ignore that one of Italy’s most celebrated events begins this month. There will be happenings held around Florence, but Venice (and, to a lesser extent, Viareggio) take the Easter cake when it comes to costumed revelry. Both cities, while very different, are worth the price of the train ticket to explore the streets during this festive time of year. For full details on Carnevale in Viareggio, visit here. For Venice, click here.
It’s a short month, so we’re off make the most of it! Ciao, tutti!