Best events in Florence in winter 2016

Our top picks

Mary Gray
November 30, 2016 - 12:16

CITYWIDE/Strings City
December 3
Various venues in Florence


The grand finale of sizzling festival Estate Fiorentina is “Strings City,” a 30-hour musical event taking place across 40 of Florence’s top cultural venues. “Orchestrated” by the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Orchestra della Toscana and the Conservatorio “Luigi Cherubini”, the event will place chordophones at center stage, from harps and violins to human voices. No genre is off limits and performances will take place in some of the city’s most prestigious spaces, from splashy theatres (Teatro Niccolini) to hidden sacristies (inside the Santa Maria Novella pharmacy). All events are free, but require a reservation; see the website or call 366.9771128.

INDIA/River to River
December 3–8
La Compagnia, via Cavour 50r, Florence


No need for “a room with a view”: take “a passage to India” here in Florence! River to River Indian Film Festival is the penultimate event of the 50 Days of International Cinema series. This edition’s special guest is Kabir Bedi, star of Sandokan, a kitschy 1970s Italian miniseries. Bedi will attend the screening of the first two episodes (3pm, December 4). Other highlights will include the bittersweet drama and grand finale Parched, featuring a stellar performance from another festival guest, Bollywood actress Radhika Apte (8.30pm, December 8). The festival will also explore the emerging webseries medium through popular show Permanent Roommates. View the full program here.

GIVE/Nataleperfile + AILO Christmas Bazaar
December 1–4 (Nataleperfile) and 10–11 (AILO)
Palazzo Corsini and Convitto della Calza, Florence


Chip in this Christmas at two of Florence’s top charity markets. Nataleperfile, held at Palazzo Corsini (lungarno Corsini 8), benefits palliative care organization FILE; long-held market traditions like the “Panettoneperfile” and “Pandoroperfile” cakes will sweeten up the festivities. Hours are 6.30–9.30pm on December 1 and 10am–7pm on December 2–4. Save some energy for a second round of spirited market shopping at AILO’s Christmas Bazaar, which runs from 3.30–7pm on December 10 and 10.30am–7pm on December 11 at Convitto della Calza (piazza della Calza 6, by Porta Romana). The packed stalls will spill over with holiday decorations, toys, baked goods, books, clothes, accessories, jams, jewelry and much more. 

GOLDEN/Giovanni dal Ponte
Until March 12, 2017
Accademia Gallery, via Ricasoli 58-60, Florence

cm 203,4x230,4x13

Despite figuring prominently into Florence’s late Gothic period—and leaving behind a legacy that would influence the early Renaissance—Giovanni dal Ponte is an artist who hasn’t been spotlighted in depth. The current show at the Accademia is the first major monographic exhibition on dal Ponte, whose nickname was first coined in Vasari’s Lives of the Artists. The exhibition features a recently restored Coronation of the Virgin with Four Saints, and around 50 other works, many of which are on loan from institutions including London’s National Gallery and Madrid’s Museo Nacional del Prado.

8pm, December 30 + 31
Opera di Firenze, piazzale Vittorio Gui 1, Florence


Cap off 2016 with a “Happy Ending” from Mika, the international pop and glam-rock artist behind the 2007 hit of the same name. The Maggio Musicale Fiorentino teams up with the charismatic chameleon for his third set of symphonic concerts conducted by Simon Leclerc, following a successful Italian summer tour. Concertgoers can expect to hear Mika’s fan favorites, like “Grace Kelly” and “Boum Boum Boum,” but with the backing of a classical orchestra and choir, lending them a majestic quality. Tickets are selling out fast—snag yours quickly here.


BALLET/The Nutcracker
8.45pm, December 23
Teatro della Pergola, via della Pergola 12/32, Florence

Lo Schiaccianoci 05 2015 r

In the mood for something merry? Spend a night with the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Mice King and company when the Ballet of Moscow performs holiday classic The Nutcracker. Tchaikovsky’s iconic score comes to life on stage with a cast of colorful, costumed characters. A plot refresher: young Clara breaks away from her family’s Christmas Eve party when her brother Fritz breaks her brand-new Nutcracker. Drifting off, she ends up in a dream land where the schiaccanoci is brought to life and eventually turns into a prince. Let this holiday standard waltz its way back into your memory, just before Christmas Eve: book tickets by calling 055.0763333.

JOURNO/The Force of Words

December 2–3
Palazzo Strozzi (Gabinetto Vieusseux) and Palazzo B.G. Strozzi (corso dei Tintori 21), Florence


Explore the power of words at a timely conference inspired by the complex legacy of Florentine journalist Oriana Fallaci. Born in Florence in 1929, Fallaci made a name for herself based on her coverage of war, but later gained notoriety for her scathing remarks about Islam, particularly after September 11, 2001. Talks at this two-day conference, put on by Florence University of the Arts, include a keynote speech by Antonio Bandini, former Consul General of Italy in New York; panel discussions on Fallaci’s career and the force of word choice in politics; and related lectures dissecting rhetoric used by public figures from Donald Trump to Antonio Gramsci. For the full program, see FUA's website.

FASHION/Pitti Uomo 91

January 10–13
Fortezza da Basso, viale Filippo Strozzi, Florence


With a new year comes a new parade of Pitti men (or punchlines, depending on your point of view). Fashion tastemakers, buyers, journalists, designers and more descend on the city for the prestigious menswear showcase Pitti Uomo; trade events and runway shows are rigorosamente closed to the public, but pretty people sightings are off the charts for a few days. Look out for knighted British designer Paul Smith, the special guest at the 91st edition, who will launch his new diffusion line PS by Paul Smith. The theme for the fair is Pitti Dance Off, so don’t be surprised if the crowd seems more Footloose than high fashion.


NYE… Not Yet Established?

If you haven’t pinned down plans for New Year’s Eve, keep an eye out for Florence highlights this year, which are still in the works. Mark your map now: the key places to be will be piazzale Michelangelo, Galluzzo and Isolotto, but concert and event details are still to come. Watch The Florentine for updates!

more articles