Best events in Florence in May 2015

Our top picks

Mary Gray
April 30, 2015

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 in May—and beyond.


ph. Enrico BuonincontroRELAX/ Art in the Park

May 16, 10am

Stibbert Park, via Federigo Stibbert 26, Florence

Artists of all levels, from seasoned pros to Sunday dabblers, are invited to paint and draw en plein air at the Stibbert Park. Bring your own materials and set up your open-air studio. At 5pm, the museum’s Limonaia will host a pop-up public exhibition of all the work created during the day. The Florentine is a media partner of this event, which is organized by the Angeli del Bello and The Sigh Press, with support from the Stibbert Museum, FROG Architecture, Garden Club Firenze and the municipality of Florence. The event is free and open to all, but booking is required by email: [email protected]


FUTURE/Festival d’Europa

May 6–10

Various venues in Florence

What does the future hold for Florence—and for the whole of the European Union? This is a central theme of the Festival d’Europa, a major event prompting reflection on the Europe of tomorrow. The festival touches down in dozens of locations, with a packed program of concerts, lectures, exhibitions, film screenings and more. Many English-friendly events will take place at the festival-within-a-festival Notte Blu, headquartered at the Le Murate complex but also extending to the whole Sant’Ambrogio area, the RFK Center, the British Institute, La Cité Libreria-Café and more. For the full program of events, visit



POETRY/ Dante Day!

May 14

Piazza Santa Croce

All through May, Florence will be hosting #Dante750 events to celebrate 750 years of the Sommo Poeta. The morning of May 14 is sure to be a major highlight: at 10am, festivities will kick off in piazza Santa Croce, featuring flag throwers, readings and more. A memorial wreath will be laid on the base of the poet’s statue in the square. For further information, call 329/4132868.


FIT + FUN/ The Color Run

May 23, time TBA Starting point: Cascine Park Globally branded the ‘happiest 5k on the planet,’ the Color Run is coming to Florence! Wear white and acquire a rainbow while you run: all along the course, sideline cheerleaders douse the runners with colorful powders. Your goal is to make the most kaleidoscopic finish! There are still some slots open and the exact afternoon starting time is not yet confirmed. Register at Universo Sport at piazza del Duomo 6/7/8r—but act fast, 15,000 people have already signed up! For more details, see PARTY/ Borgo Ognissanti Bash

May 23, 11am–10pm

All along Borgo Ognissanti

Borgo Ognissanti is hosting a block party! From bakeries and boutiques to galleries and ethnic eateries, the street offers plenty for everyone. The 8-euro ticket buys tastes of five specialties from neighborhood shops, including food, wine and gelato. Children under 6 eat free. The party includes special hours, 9.30am to noon, for visiting the Ghirlandaio Last Supper fresco at the Ognissanti church; funds will be collected to restore a stone low relief of the Madonna, which fell from the nearby San Giovanni di Dio building on April 17.

ARTISAN/ Artigianato e Palazzo

May 14–17, 10am–9pm Corsini Gardens, via della Scala 15, Florence

This annual market-showcase presents the crème de la crème of local, national and international craftsmanship. In the lush Corsini Gardens, Artigianato e Palazzo will spotlight 90 master artisans, many of whom offer live demonstrations of their techniques. This year’s show has a particular focus on applied arts. To view details and purchase tickets, visit

irisph. Instagramer @puppettinaSPRING/ Floral Florence!

Until May 20

Le Mulina, viale del Pegaso, and Iris Garden

Spring has sprung and Florence has the flowers to prove it! Until May 11, international floriculture showcase FloraFirenze will be in bloom at former racetrack Le Mulina (take bus 17C from Santa Maria Novella station). For the full program, visit Until May 20 visit the iris garden (access it at the eastern end of piazzale Michelangelo). Guided visits in English are available; call 055/483112 and leave a message to book. Entry and visits are free, though donations to the volunteer-run organization are encouraged.


DIALOGUES/ Festival delle ReligioniMay 12 + 15–17Various venues in Florence includingSanta Croce, the Biblioteca delle Oblate, Odeon Cinehall and more

Florence will play host to lively intercultural dialogues on the pressing issues of our time. The second edition of the Festival delle Religioni will gather prominent contemporary philosophers and members of different faith communities, all with extremely varied theological and social views. Some of the most highly anticipated events in the lineup will be a talk on the mafia and the church and another conference on religious instruction in Italian schools. The full program will soon be available on



JAVA/Pausa Caffè Festival

May 20–22, from 10am

Piazza Santa Maria Novella

Get your espresso fix in the shadow of Santa Maria Novella! Whether you’re a coffee connoisseur or just appreciate a piping hot pick-me-up, Pausa Caffè festival offers the perfect excuse to take a well-deserved break from the daily ‘grind’ (get it?). Watch baristas battle it out in cappuccino art competitions or participate in workshops to hone your coffee-making craft. For details, check out



ph. Alexandra Korey 


Until September 27

Forte di Belvedere, via di San Leonardo 1, Florence

British sculptor Antony Gormley’s exhibition ‘Human’ explores the connections between art, anatomy and space. Winner of the 1994 Turner Prize and knighted in 2014, Gormley chose Forte di Belvedere for its powerful past and defensive functions. The show features life-size sculptures widely and purposefully dispersed throughout the site, ‘encouraging the viewer to think again about who they are and how they negotiate the spaces around them’—as Gormley intended. For more information, call 055/2768558 or visit

LITERARY/ TF Short Story Night

May 12, 6pm

Libreria Todo Modo, via dei Fossi 15/r

Feeling bookish? In tribute to all those who participated in the short story contest launched by The Florentine and The Sigh Press last month, we’re throwing a literary fest. Join us for a reading of the racconti at Todo Modo, an independent bookshop just around the corner from The Florentine’s office. Raise a glass to the winners with an aperitivo (12 euro) of food and wine from the finest regional producers.


CULTURE/ Amico Museo May 16–June 2 Various museums in Florence and Tuscany

The annual AmicoMuseo offers family activities, special events and guided visits. Highlights include the Europe-wide Night at the Museum on May 16, during which many museums in Florence and around Tuscany will offer free entry and extended evening hours. For further details and all participating venues, see


PERFORMANCE/Fabbrica Europa

May 7–July 3

Stazione Leopolda + various venues in Florence and Tuscany

Headquartered at Stazione Leopolda, this ultra-contemporary performing arts showcase has a packed calendar of concerts, DJ sets, dance performances, art installations and beyond. Artists hail from dozens of different countries and their performances range from one-man shows to major ensemble productions. See the full program at

mbadianiph. Marco Badiani 

DAY TRIPS/That’s Prato

Sundays from May 3–July 5

Various locations in Prato, with transport provided from Santa Maria Novella

Explore the best of Prato this summer! From villas and castles to contemporary art and industry, this Tuscan city brims with cultural heritage and hidden spots. Enjoy exclusive guided visits in English to many of these places—for free! You pay only for museum tickets. For the full calendar and to register, see


*Can’t participate this summer? The Prato tours will take place again in November—so if you’ll be in Tuscany then, don’t miss out! The program will be released at a later date. Email [email protected] to reserve your spot now.




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