Best events in Florence in September 2015

Our top picks

Mary Gray
September 10, 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 in September—and beyond.

TRADITION/RificolonaSeptember 7, 8.15pmStarting point: piazza Santa Felicita

Honoring the birth of the Virgin Mary, the Rificolona Festival is one of Florence’s most beloved folklore processions, moving from Santa Felicita to Santissima Annunziata. The event probably mimics 17th-century farmers’ September journeys to Santissima Annunziata, where they would pay tribute to the Madonna. Contemporary Florence’s families parade through the streets with colorful paper lanterns, creating a spectacle that puts the famous Tangled scene to shame. Lacking lantern supplies or ideas? Get crafty at Giolu (via Romana 135r) or Cartoleria La Scartoffia (piazza Santo Spirito 14r) from 4.30pm–6.30pm on Monday (more info here). Take part in a pre-parade party in piazza del Carmine from 7pm, and head to Santa Felicita before 8.15pm to prepare for the procession.


NON-LINEAR/Tempo Reale FestivalSeptember 26–October 10Limonaia of Villa Strozzi and various venues in Florence

Now in its eighth year, the Tempo Reale Festival is far from your standard concert series. This year, the always-edgy showcase of experimental music and contemporary trends focuses on ‘nonlinear’ sounds. Festival highlights include Sound Day, the kick-off event on September 26, featuring a heady mix of auditory installation artists, the winners of a contemporary music contest run by Prato’s Museo Pecci. Don't miss the Banda Vogel show on September 27, a melting pot of musicians from a range of nationalities and ethnicities. For the full program, visit


PHOTOGRAPHY/Positive Florence Photo MarathonAll day on September 13, with 9–10.30am registrationLeica Store Firenze, vicolo dell’Oro 12/r

Put your photo skills to the test at the #PositiveFlorence photography marathon, an exciting competition organized by Percezioni Fotografiche with Leica Store Firenze, Lungarno Collection and The Florentine. No room for negative imagery here: the theme is #PositiveFlorence, portrayed in a photo story set of three images. Registration will take place between 9 and 10.30am on the day of the event, and participants must submit their unedited entries between 4 and 5.30pm. Prizes include a two-day Leica Akademie workshop with an internationally renowned photographer; a week with a Leica M to develop a photo project for Leica’s social media channels; and a night for two at 5-star hotel Portrait Firenze. Read more and preregister at




COLLAGES/Susi Bellamy: Di Vino AmoreSeptember 21–November 5Castello di Gabbiano, via di Gabbiano 22, Mercatale Val di Pesa (FI)

This eclectic exhibition by British artist and former Florence expat Susi Bellamy is a reflection of everyday life in the Tuscan capital, told through textured collages depicting modern takes on the Madonna and Child. While navigating motherhood as a foreigner in Florence, Bellamy found herself particularly drawn to this iconic sacred imagery, along with the more humble street tabernacles and shrines. Her collages reconstruct the everyday elements of life in Florence, incorporating decorative and domestic materials like traditional Florentine wrapping paper, beads and gold filigree baking paper. For more on the artist, visit


POETRY/Voci Lontane, Voci SorelleUntil September 29Various venues in Florence

No place feels more appropriate for a poetry festival than the land of Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarch. Florence plays host to the thirteenth edition of this international affair, taking place at the Oblate, New York University, Le Murate and several other cultural hubs in town. Participants will have the chance to meet poets of international import, including Giacomo Trinci of nearby Pistoia, Slovenian poet and critic Aleš Steger and Haitian-born Nathalie Handal, raised in a Palestinian family across Europe, Latin America and the United States. For a detailed program, see



EXHIBIT/Divine BeautySeptember 24–January 24, 2016Palazzo Strozzi, piazza Strozzi, Florence

This upcoming exhibition is an ultra-modern remedy for Renaissance overload. Divine Beauty explores the dialogue between art and religion from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, a relationship that was not always explicitly pronounced, but still figured heavily in movements like Futurism, Divisionism and Expressionism. The featured artists read like a ‘Who’s Who’ of the period's most prominent masters: Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Marc Chagall, Vincent Van Gogh, and Henri Matisse, among others. The exhibition runs concurrently with the upcoming Fifth National Bishops Conference, which Pope Francis will attend. For more information, see

FUSION/Firenze Suona Contemporanea

September 9–22Bargello Museum courtyard, Museo NovecentoFirenze Suona Contemporanea blends the best of contemporary music with au courant visual arts.  The international festival features artists from far-flung locations side by side with Italian contemporaries. A noteworthy change this year is the festival’s expansion to the Museo Novecento, a benchmark for the bold and modern in Florence, which will play host to Passi, a cutting-edge audio-visual installation from Alfredo Pirri and Alvin Curran. Other highlights will include two performances by the FLAME Ensemble and multimedia project An Experiment with Time, showing at Le Murate. For the full program, visit


ph. Marco BadianiRUNWAY/Vogue Fashion’s Night Out

September 17, 7.30pmVia Tornabuoni and throughout downtown FlorenceTake part in a fabulous start to fall in Florence with the seventh edition of Fashion’s Night Out, a global celebration of fashion and style, taking place in top tastemaking cities. Florence’s merrymaking will be anchored in its major high-fashion street, via Tornabuoni, and all over town shops will stay open late, hosting cocktail parties, art installations and DJ sets. This year’s theme is the ‘heart’—Vogue Italia editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani called the choice a celebration of ‘love, friendship and joy’ and an effort to raise awareness of women’s cardiovascular issues. Though some of the events are by invitation only, #VFNO offers the perfect excuse to dress up, people-watch and treat via Tornabuoni as a personal runway. piazzadellapassera


FESTIVAL/Piazza Party!September 8–11 Piazza della Passera, Florence

Easily one of the most charming corners of central Florence, piazza della Passera kicks off the season with its annual series of September events. It all starts with the second edition of PPPP_LaPasseraPoesia/PerformanceInPiazza, a poetry-performance fest featuring slams (Tuesday, 9pm) and a tribute to American poet and writer Anne Sexton (Wednesday, 9pm). The fun continues with jazz, funk and hip-hop tunes throughout the week. Locales will leave their doors open, adding to the convivial, community vibe. For more information, email [email protected] or head here



ph. Simon Collison


REMEMBER/9/11 Peace VigilSeptember 11, 6pmPiazza della Signoria, FlorencePay tribute to those who lost their lives in the Al-Qaeda attacks and aftermath on September 11, 2001. New York University and the City of Florence have teamed up to organize a community commemoration. Crossing social, ethnic and religious lines, the vigil will feature readings and performances by residents and students, including religious texts from a variety of traditions, literature, original works and music. Along with paying tribute to victims, survivors and their families, the event is a public reaffirmation of the dignity of human life, and a particularly poignant one, given Florence’s historic commitment to humanism. For details, see




JUXTAPOSITION/Jeff Koons in FlorenceSeptember 26–December 28Sala dei Gigli, Palazzo Vecchio, and piazza della Signoria

Best known for his balloon dogs and playful Pop Art-esque pieces, American artist Jeff Koons brings two monumental works to Florence this fall, just as the Antiques Biennial kicks off. The towering Pluto and Proserpina, noted for its peculiar resemblance to Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabine Women, will be on display in piazza della Signoria, a few short steps from the David copy. Inside Palazzo Vecchio, the attention-grabbing Gazing Ball (Barberini Faun) will stop visitors in their tracks. This provocative piece is part of a series of plaster casts of famous Greco-Roman sculptures to which Koons has added a symbolic blue sphere. The exhibition is a rare chance to see Florence’s Renaissance masterworks juxtaposed with envelope-pushing contemporary pieces. mika1


September 30, 9pmNelson Mandela Forum, viale Pasquale Paoli, Florence

Multilingual, multicultural music icon Mika is the ultimate pop chameleon and has the performing chops to prove it. He’s bringing his signature blend of catchy tunes, loony lyrics and Freddie Mercury-style swagger to Florence’s Mandela Forum at the end of the month. With the release of his latest album, No Place in Heaven, he’s moved further away from the kitschy shtick that won him his fan base, yet his sound remains symphonically sublime. Mika is expected to draw major crowds, particularly after his bold statement against homophobia back in August prompted a supportive tweet from Dario Nardella. At publication of this article, tickets were still available via Andrea Paoletti

COLOR/Holi Dance FestivalSeptember 13, 12pmAnfiteatro Le Cascine, Florence

Wear white and add a splash of color to your September! Inspired by the ancient Hindu festival of the same name, the Holi Dance Festival is a full day of explosive color bombs, electronic music and dancing, all taking place at the Anfiteatro Le Cascine. The traditional celebrations honor the triumph of good over evil. Last year over 2,800 people attended this ‘rainbow rager,’ sending a smorgasbord of flashy colors into the sky. This year’s featured performers and DJs include Don Joe, Ema Stokholma, Federico Gardenghi and others to be announced. For more information and to purchase discounted advance tickets, see


NETWORK/Epic Failures ConferenceSeptember 17, 7pmTasso Hostel, via Villani 15, Florence

The road to professional success is paved with false starts, setbacks and the occasional epic failure. Most entrepreneurs and trailblazers have taken nonlinear paths, yet often gloss over the gritty details of their stories. Now in its second edition, the Epic Failures Conference is a networking platform that celebrates the silver linings of professional detours. Speakers span a range of backgrounds, generations and industries but have one thing in common: a willingness to share their stories, warts and all. Advance tickets are 10 euro (aperitivo included). Sign up online at www.epicfailuresconference.wordpress.comcorrilavita

RUN/Corri La VitaSeptember 27, 9.30amPiazza del Duomo, starting point

Registration is now open for one of Florence’s most popular races, a September standard. A chance to support the city’s valiant effort in the fight against breast cancer, Corri La Vita blends charity and community in one action-packed day of sport and culture. Sign up for a 12.8 or 4.6kilometer route: with a 10 euro donation, you’ll receive one of the official T-shirts, which will grant you free access to the Divine Beauty exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi, A Palace and the City at the Ferragamo Museum, and the Anthropology Museum, among others. For more information, including registration details, see

FOODIE/CookstockSeptember 4–6Town center, Pontassieve

Everyone who knows anything about food in Florence will be exiting east this weekend. With Cookstock, the pretty town of Pontassieve, just 30 minutes from Florence, is set to become the epicentre of the epicurious. Now in its second year and masterminded by food journalist Leonardo Romanelli of Quàlita magazine, the event will feature cooking shows by Tuscany's top chefs: Andrea Mattei of Borgo Santo Pietro's Michelin-starred restaurant Meo Modo, Peter Brunel of Borgo San Jacopo and Entiana Osmenzaza of Sesto sull'Arno. Explore the cellars of internationally renowned winery Ruffino, sample local street food and wander the medieval streets of the Tuscan town, home to Italian PM Matteo Renzi: see if you spot him! Check out for more details. 


CIRCUS/Cirk FantastikSeptember 17–27Cascine Park, viale degli Olmi/piazzale del Re, Florence

This contemporary circus festival is far more than just ‘clowning around.’ Prize-winning performers will come to the Cascine from all corners of the globe: Belgium-born group MagdaClan’s new cabaret project will make an appearance. Cirko Paniko, the very first contemporary circus group in Italy, will light up the stage. Danish group Karl Stets promises a comical show, calling themselves ‘professional absurdists: we look for the most complicated way to accomplish simple missions.’ Concerts, children’s activities and clowns (proceed with caution) are all part of the program, too. For details, see


SPEAK/European Day of LanguagesSeptember 26Language institutes of Florence

Flaunt your fluency (or build your basic vocabulary) during Florence’s celebrations of the European Day of Languages. Organized by the city’s four main language institutes—the British Institute, Institut français, Deutsches Institut, and Centre de Lengua Española—the day will feature a series of workshops, games, food and cultural events. Polyglots: prepare to show off your skills in a multi-lingual marathon (with prizes), taking place from 3 to 8pm in the various institutes. Francophiles can watch films en langue or feast on French specialties at an aperitivo. Each institute will offer evaluation exams (by appointment). For more information, visit and watch the British Institute’s Facebook page.mysugar

TASTE/TF Gelato Night

September 23, 6pm–8pmMy Sugar, via de’ Ginori 49r

Come sample artisan gelato at the newest and tastiest place on Florence’s sweet treat scene! Owned by an enthusiastic and entrepreneurial young couple, My Sugar carries lip-smacking all-natural flavors like Uncle’s Figs and Grandma’s Pumpkin, as well as classic fruity choices likestrawberry, orange cream and pineapple sherbet. Flavors are strictly seasonal and sure to please even the pickiest palates. Free dessert, friends and The Florentine’s first event of the fall: what’s not to love? For more information, see




DESIGN/Florence Creative FactoryEditorial update September 17: moved to September 20 after being rained out the 13thGiardino dell’ARTEcultura, via Vittorio Emanuele II 4, Florence

A ‘self-made marketplace’ spotlighting young and emerging talents in design and craftsmanship, Florence Creative Factory is a day to promote DIY practices, sustainability and a new generation of creative entrepreneurs. Check out collections of jewelry, clothes, fashion accessories, home décor, illustrations and more. When you need a break from browsing, indulge in a 1pm brunch and rock out to the rhythms of COQO’DJETTE, who will spin a mix of ’50s and ’60s tunes, reggae standards, unusual Italian songs and more. For information, visit the Facebook event ‘Florence Creative Factory.’



COLLABORATION/Firenze RivistaSeptember 11–12, 19–26OFF Bar, Fortezza da Basso Gardens, and ZAP, vicolo Santa Maria Maggiore 1

Firenze Rivista is an event series organized by a collective of Florentine free presses and literary journals, highlighting their missions, motivations and long-term visions. The initiative aims to spark conversation and brainstorming about how these publications can work together to strengthen local culture. Two of the highlights, taking place in the ZAP courtyard, include a September 25 talk (in Italian) on magazine photography (TF’s director and photo editor Marco Badiani will serve as moderator) and a presentation of the city’s thriving free-press scene (September 26, 5pm). See the full program at


ANTIQUES/Florence Biennial September 26–October 4Palazzo Corsini

The 29th edition of this antiques showcase features 74 Italian and international exhibitors. New and noteworthy this year is the leadership of Fabrizio Moretti, who was named by English journal Apollo as a leading talent under the age of 40 in the contemporary art world. Major players like Jean-Luc Baroni of London will be back in town, and a highly anticipated new arrival this year is Dr. Jorn Guenther Rare Books AG, a leading books and prints dealer with galleries in Stalden and Basel. See for further details and the full program.




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