I always cringe a bit when April 1st comes around, because I’m not big on April Fools’ Day. That’s bad for people looking for cohorts to plan pranks, but good for readers of this column, as I can solemnly swear that the following free things to do in Florence this month are–to the best of my knowledge–all true and truly happening. Enjoy them, sans mischief or malice.
Easter | April 5
“Holy smokes” is a phrase my grandfather liked to say. I thought it was just nonsense until I saw the spectacle at Santa Maria del Fiore on Easter. You see, Florentines have celebrated Pasqua for almost 400 years with an electrifying event called the Scoppio del Carro, or the “explosion of the cart.” Highlights include: a procession of musicians and flag throwers led by a pair of dressed-up bulls pulling a cart rigged with explosives, a (fake) dove propelled by sparks that shoots through the Santa Maria del Fiore, and close to 10 minutes of pyrotechnics set off right in between the Duomo and the Baptistery. Make your way down to the Duomo early (around 9 a.m.) so you’ll have a front-row view for the controlled madness. The parade starts at 10 a.m. and the light show around 11 a.m.
There’s also a special edition of #domenicalmuseo today. In addition to all state museums, guests can enjoy free entry to Palazzo Vecchio, Santa Maria Novella and the Museo Novecento. Also, 25 guests can tour the Roman theater ruins under Palazzo Vecchio every half hour, while 30 guests can climb the Torre di Arnolfo. (In case of rain, tower access might be restricted.)
So many ways to celebrate this year. Buona Pasqua!
Tuesdays at the Cinema with Palazzo Strozzi | April 14 & 28
Our favorite neighbors team up again just in time for a fun spring outing. The Odeon will be screening films that complement the themes of Palazzo Strozzi’s current show, Power and Pathos. Particularly interested in exploring twentieth-century interpretations of classical myths, the theater will show Alexander on April 14th and Medea on April 28. The series will continue on select Tuesdays in May with showings of Agora, Satyricon and Spartacus. Each viewing starts promptly at 8:30 p.m. Entry is free until full, so you’re encouraged to arrive early. For more information about the films, visit here.
Florence Children’s Festival | April 17-19
According to its site, the Florence Children’s Festival “could only take place in this city, where children are the protagonists of city life.” (I’m not sure who said that, but what a beautiful sentiment!) With over 200 events in 50 different locations (all free of charge), Florence will be turned into a wonderful place of discovery and adventure for children for three days. Activities are linked to the history of Florence and are sure to keep little ones entertained. We’re still waiting for this year’s schedule to be posted, but the 2014 highlight reel above will give you an idea of what to expect.
#InvasioniDigitali | April 24–May 3
Thanks to The Florentine for the heads up on this one! Sounds interesting–groups are encouraged to gather guerilla-style and host a digital takeover of a museum, monument or heritage site. Those that meet up take photos and share facts using the hashtag #InvasioniDigitali in an effort to start conversations about culture and heritage on social media. And it seems to be working–the phenomena started in Italy in 2013 but is now spreading elsewhere into Europe. Guests can jump on others’ invasions or hatch their own. Visit here to find (or start!) one near you.
Iris Garden | April 25-May 20
One of our favorite seasonal stops on our San Miniato walk is back! The Iris Garden on the east side of Piazzale Michelangelo is in bloom, but only for a short while. The garden, dedicated to Florence’s iconic giglio, has been a sanctuary since 1954 for all types of irises donated from around the world, including Japan and the United States. When paired with the Rose Garden, which should also be in bloom, anyone who makes the walk in the weeks to come will be in for a visual and fragrant treat. Click here for more information.
Still looking for ways to get out and about this month? Check the calendar for more happenings, read about how to make the most of Easter week or use these five remedies to cure your spring fever. See you soon!