Top 10 Events – from Dec 12 to 31

Rose Mackworth-Young
December 12, 2013

Our events listing keeps you up-to-date on the latest and greatest in culture, music and other English-friendly entertainment. This is a selection of the best events in Florence and Tuscany.



EMPOLI/Pontormo and his following

Until March 2, 2014

Various locations in Empoli


This exhibition, an unusually important one for a small town, highlights Pontormo’s masterpiece, St. John the Evangelist and St. Michael the Archangel, which hangs in Empoli’s church of San Michele, through works by other artists from the Empoli area who took inspiration from Pontormo, including Bronzino’s St. Michael the Archangel. For more information, see



CHRISTMAS/Nativity re-enactments


In the days before and after Christmas, several Tuscan towns present the Christmas story, complete with angels, shepherds and oxen, and involving hundreds of residents and animals. Towns hosting these so-called live nativity scenes include Casole d’Elsa (, Rosignano Marittimo (, Lari (, Barga (, Cerreto Guidi ( and Castiglion Fiorentino (



FAMILY/Kids’ open day

December 15, 10am–4pm

Giardino della Gherardesca, piazzale Donatello 12, Florence


Enjoy a fun family day of activities as the Giardino della Gherardesca opens its gates to the public to raise money for the Istituto degli Innocenti, the oldest Italian charity for the protection and care of children. In addition to meeting Santa, kids will be able to take part in sports, Christmas workshops, musical events and a great balloon release. See or call 055/26261 for more information.



CINEMA/Balkan Florence Express

December 12–13

Most events at the Odeon cinema, piazza Strozzi, Florence


Journey through southeastern Europe from your cinema seat. Including both documentaries and fiction films, this festival brings to Florence the best of recent cinema from Kosovo, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and other countries in the Balkan peninsula. Highlights include A Stranger, about ethnic divides and social obligation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Pharmakon, on family relationships in Albania. See the full programme at



PARTY/New Year’s Eve

Evening of December 31


Dance in the new year with remixes of Hendrix’s hits by DJ Tuzzy in piazza Ghiberti, waltzes and polkas from the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine in piazza della Signoria, gospel music in piazza Santissima Annunziata, jazz and blues from Nick the Nightfly Quintet in piazza della Repubblica, a huge disco with all genres of music at the Fortezza da Basso and electronic underground beats at the Obihall. See for more.



SHOP/Unusual Market

December 15, 12–10pm

Ostello Tasso, via dei Villani 15, Florence


Twelve independent shops will display their individual and unusual wares, from notebooks to houseware, clothes to candles. Lunch will be served from midday, and live retro and eclectic music sets will keep visitors entertained all afternoon until the aperitivo in the evening. Find out more at




Until December 24

Via Maggio, Florence


Contemporary culture comes to historical via Maggio for a celebration involving more than 30 galleries and artisan shops. Tradition meets modernity through aperitivi, exhibitions, lectures, concerts and presentations. Highlights include novel takes on Renaissance portraits in the street’s antiques galleries and contemporary carpet design at Otto Luogo dell’Arte. See for more.



SING/Toscana Gospel Festival

December 13–January 1, 2014


Gospel choirs from all over the United States are coming to Tuscany for 13 energy-filled concerts. Walt Whitman and the Soul Children of Chicago kick off the festival with spirit at Florence’s Teatro Verdi, followed by other groups performing in churches and theatres across Tuscany (or catch open-air concerts in the streets of Arezzo). Some of the concerts are free; go to for more.



A CAPPELLA/The King’s Singers

December 16, 9pm

Teatro della Pergola, via della Pergola 18, Florence


This six-man British vocal ensemble is one of the top a cappella groups in the world. Bringing a special Christmas programme to Florence, the King’s Singers will perform pieces by Rutters, Poulenc, Praetorius and others, as well as traditional songs arranged for close harmony. See for more.



HATS/Between art and extravaganza

Until May 18, 2014

Costume Gallery, Pitti Palace, Florence


A colourful exhibition of creative headgear from such top international designers as Prada, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior and Chanel. The exhibit is a fashion history lesson featuring hats from the last few decades as well as a showcase of contemporary Italian design. Visit to find out more.

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