February: It’s so much more than Valentine’s Day.
Especially in Florence. When you kindle romance 365 days a year like Italians do, a single giorno for showing affection feels a bit underwhelming. So this month, our events are focused on other things to celebrate, including free museums, Carnevale viaggi and a chocolate festival that doesn’t care if you’re single or taken. Of course, if you are in the mood to celebrate St. Valentine, visit here or here for walks perfectly planned for February 14th.
#DomenicalMuseo | February 1
Big freebie news for 2015, folks. Last year, it was announced that on the first Sunday of every month, all state museums and archeological sites are open to the public free of charge. Well this year, that series has been combined with Domenica al Fiorentino–an overall win, because now anyone, not just Florentine residents, can enjoy all the program’s perks! Like with Fiorentino, an itinerary of free shows and tours is sent around before each Sunday to let you know which activities might need a prenotazione. Each listing also features one particular museo per month. In February, the spotlight is on Museo Novecento. You can find the February highlights here, and for a full list of participating institutions in Florence and throughout Italy, visit here.
Carnevale | All Month
It’s rare we deviate from free and Florence-centered activities in our event series, but we always make an exception for Carnevale. We still count our visit to Viareggio among one of our favorite Italian experiences–the costumed crowds, the larger-than-life floats, the unending amounts of sugar–and we believe it’s worth it for everyone to check out at least once. Viareggio plays second fiddle to Venice, but both are worth the price of a the train ticket to experience the incredible (and extended) celebrations. There will also be festivities held in Florence’s Cascine Park on February 7-8 and 14-15–details are still forthcoming but should be updated here.
Fiera del Cioccolato | February 6-15
Our favorite guilty pleasure festival (besides the Gelato Festival, of course) is this annual celebration of all things chocolate. 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. And although it’s yet to be posted, we’re hoping this year’s supplementary event lineup rivals that of last year.
An “Angel” in Santa Croce | February 5-7
This sounds like quite the happening: over the course of three nights, the Compagnia delle Seggiole will take groups on a theatrical experience through the Santa Croce complex. This hybrid of visit and show will explore the rich history of the space, covering topics ranging from Dante to the flood of 1966. Amazingly, the experience is free! Each night, there are two tours of 50 people, at 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. For more details and to make a reservation, click here.
*Unfortunately, as of this posting all visits are full, but we’re leaving it up in case some of you would like to check if there are any last-minute openings. If not, you can still get your Santa Croce fix for free this month–head over on the 7th at 6 p.m. for evening mass in Canto Gregoriano, and stay to check out the tombs after.
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 museums every February 18th with free entry and free guided tours for locals and visitors alike. Stay tuned for this year’s specific festivities.
Four weeks packed with free museums and sweet treats. Enjoy!