upcoming events: june 2014

Sixth month of the year is almost here, you say? It’s only fitting, then, to add a bonus event to this month’s list of top free things to do in the city. Your six events follow!

David & Flag by Mamluke

David & Flag by Mamluke

Festa della Repubblica | June 2

Put your Italian pride pants on! Each June 2nd, the country celebrates the founding of the Italian republic in 1946 following World War II. You should expect to find some businesses and offices closed, but there will be a special mass starting at 9 a.m. in the Duomo, followed by events throughout the rest of the day. This year’s festivities have yet to be released, but they should look something like last year’s, which you can preview here.

Panel by Pontormo for the Mint Wagon

Panel by Pontormo for the Mint Wagon

Guided Tour of the Chariot of St. John the Baptist | June 3

Remember way back when, Hannah explained to us how awesome the Traces of Florence exhibit was at the Palazzo Vecchio? Well, the space lives on to showcase the lesser-known side of Florence’s rich history. These days, as a tie in with the Pontormo e Rosso show on exhibit at Palazzo Strozzi, Traces of Florence is featuring Pontormo’s artistic participation in the Chariot of St. John the Baptist, also known as the Mint Wagon.  From the museum:

The exhibition in Palazzo Vecchio hosts the thirteen surviving pieces of a set of panels which Pontormo painted in c. 1514 for the monumental float used in the ancient Funzione degli Omaggi. The panels will be on display alongside all the other paintings and sculptures – never shown in public before now – that adorned the float until it was eventually dismantled some time between 1808 and 1810.

This sounds like an interesting piece, and – lucky for you! – there will be a free guided tour of its remaining pieces at 6 p.m. today. A reservation is required, however, so call up +39 055 2469600 or email prenotazioni@palazzostrozzi.org to affirm your place. For exhibit hours and details, click here. And if you still haven’t seen Pontormo’s main event at Palazzo Strozzi, stopping by for Giovedì al quardato on June 12 is the perfect time to take it all in.

Gnomone Florence

Lo Gnomone | June 6, 13, 21, 25

The Duomo’s gnomon, an astronomical instrument installed by Paolo Dal Pozzo Toscanelli in 1475, will (somewhat) capture the summer solstice on June 21st. The first 150 people to fill Santa Maria del Fiore at 12:30 p.m. will be able to witness the sun passing through a bronze plate in the cathedral’s dome, casting a bright circle that fits perfectly within the marble circle built into the Duomo’s floor. It was used to measure the position of the sun in the sky throughout the year, but only on this day will it fall directly in line with  the Cathedral floor. Guests are also encouraged to visit for viewings at 12:30 on the surrounding weeks for a good look and interesting information. For a much better explanation of the history and science involved, visit here. For official event information, click here.

Duomo Fresco by berenice carroll

Duomo Fresco by berenice carroll

O Flos Colende | June 12

This popular series has returned for 2014. “O flos colende” (oh venerable flower) is the opening line for the Gregorian chant dedicated to San Zanobi, the beloved first bishop of Florence that miraculously brought more than a few persons back from the dead. The phrase is also the name for a free ongoing series of sacred music preformed in the Duomo until October. Even Florence’s old pros will agree it’s a whole new way to experience Santa Maria del Fiore; this nighttime concert doesn’t start until 9:15 p.m., which means you can expect haunting Gregorian chants and classical music under the shadows of Brunelleschi’s dome. In June, the focus is on sacred music from the 1700-1900sfeaturing music by three Italian composers. For full details, click here.

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 12.38.29 PM

A Special Night at the Ponte Vecchio | June 16

Stefano Ricci is a luxury men’s clothing designer, known all over the world but based in Florence. So, in celebration of Firenze Hometown of Fashion by Pitti Immagine, Ricci has donated new lighting for the Ponte Vecchio, to be unveiled tonight. The ceremonies will be hosted by none other than Andrea Bocelli, but the main attraction is the “aquatic spectacle on the Arno” by the French company Ilotopie, who will perform a larger than life show on the Arno itself for the city to enjoy. The show starts at 10 p.m. Perhaps show up a bit early with your vino to get a good view! There will be a number of other cool events celebrating Florence as Fashion Capital throughout the month; here’s the full schedule of events.

Calcio Storico by Stefano Pogliani

Calcio Storico by Stefano Pogliani

Feast Day of St. John the Baptist & Calcio Storico Finals | June 24

This event deserves an entire post to itself – and Hannah has it here! Highlights include men practically fighting to the death on a transformed Piazza Santa Croce covered in sand, historical parades of epic proportions, and fireworks shot off from Piazzale Michelangelo. Considering St. John the Baptist is the patron saint of Florence, it’s safe to say the city goes all-out for this celebration. Have a look for yourself at Hannah’s evidence  as to why this might be one of the very best days of the year. For more information on tickets to the Calcio Storico games (qualifying rounds for the finals are played on June 14 & 15), click here. 


  1. I’ve always wanted to see the Calcio Storico so thanks for this post with info! Cheers!

    1. it’s definitely an event we think everyone should see once in their life…because we’re not sure there’s anything else quite like it!

  2. Thanks so much for all of this information, it’s wonderful to see all these events, exhibitions, etc., that are taking place in Florence. My wife, Vicki, and I are moving to Florence in September and we will certainly put your blog to good use. A presto!

    1. moving to florence! take us with you?! in all seriousness, that’s excellent, thanks for following (and take us with you).

  3. You got it covered! Wish i could be there…Florence, always has it goin’

    1. i know. making these lists always make us thrilled to find so many free things to do each month…and sad we can’t do them all!

  4. Oh how I wish I could be there for the Special Night on the Ponte Vecchio! I love Andrea Bocelli’s music!

    1. we’re right there with you. luckily ytaba36 tipped us off to this live stream of the ponte vecchio…no guarantees we’ll be able to see anything come the big night, but it’s worth a peek: http://www.webcamfirenze.net/

  5. This is a very useful list of events. We have shared it with our students at SACI!

    1. wow, thanks so much SACI! we post one for each month, so hopefully it will help some of your students get connected with the city.

  6. Great info, really! Thanks for sharing.

    1. it’s always our pleasure, jean-pierre! thanks again for stopping by. how are things over at delightfully italy?

  7. I’ve been watching the live webcam http://www.webcamfirenze.net/ which is focused on the Ponte Vecchio. I wonder if the ‘cherry pickers’ I saw there had anything to do with the new lighting?

    Thank you so much for your excellent information, it is appreciated.

    1. WHOA! you just made our day/blew our mind. we had no idea there was that live streaming of the ponte vecchio! maybe it’s a way to watch the event (granted, without sound) for free from afar? thanks again for the tip!

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