Your Thursday forecast: best events in Florence

Our top picks for August 10-16

Mary Gray
August 10, 2017 - 11:53

STARS/Festa di San Lorenzo
August 10
Piazza San Lorenzo, Florence

Basilica di San Lorenzo, Florence

Buck the beach trend and stick around the city come mid-August—even if for no other reason than the Festa di San Lorenzo, one of the namesake neighborhood’s top traditions. Every year, residents and tourists mix and mingle for an evening that’s part dance party-DJ set, part dinner and 100 per cent popolare. Why the 10th, and why San Lorenzo? It’s the peak of the Perseids meteor shower, traditionally associated with “the tears of Saint Lawrence”, whose 258 CE martyrdom is marked on August 10. To pay tribute, San Lorenzo residents and volunteers distribute free, fresh watermelon and pasta al sugo (hours for the food portion can be a little elusive, but we’d recommend arriving around 9pm—or eating elsewhere, should you have no patience for elbowing. Saint Lawrence would understand).


CULTURE/Balagan Cafè
Select Thursdays until September 10
Synagogue gardens, via Farini 6, Florence

The blue-domed synagogue of Florence is a standout in the city skyline, but before Balagan Cafè, the complex’s shady garden was far quieter. These days, the cultural event series is a well-established rite of Renaissance city summer, a chance to dive into the contemporary life of Florence’s Hebrew community. On select Thursdays, the synagogue hosts abundant apericene, paired with talks and concerts (this week, it's David Krakauer, Zeno de Rossi and Alfonso Santimone on August 10; booking recommended, email [email protected]). The series traditionally concludes with a blowout event on September 10 for the European Day of Jewish Culture. Follow program updates on the website and the Facebook page Balagan Cafè.


SUMMER/All’aperto venues
August and beyond
Various venues in Florence

Serre Torrigiani in Piazzetta

The chiuso per ferie (closed for holidays) signs have already started cropping up. While the cultural calendar may look a little lighter during the months of July and August, there’s no shortage of outdoor oases for a drink, a laugh or a spot of live music. Some of our favorites this year are the Festa del Mugello, a mini-sagra set in the gardens of the Obihall; summer classic Easy Living, the beachy Arno-side hotspot known for its sandcastle competition on Ferragosto (the top event of the day for those in town on August 15; book by emailing [email protected] with the names of no more than 10 team members); and “urban garden” Serre Torrigiani in Piazzetta, sandwiched between via Calzaiuoli and piazza della Repubblica (pictured, open until midnight all summer long).


MUSIC/Tuttapposto a Ferragosto
August 11-20, 7pm nightly
Giardino dell'ARTEcultura, via Vittorio Emanuele II 4, Florence

This low-key live music festival is a fixture for those summering in the city each year. Take in tunes from Rabarbari, known for their swing-y takes on classic songs, as well as original compositions (Sunday 13); Tumbason, a trip through traditional Cuban sounds (Monday 14); or  Alien Roy Trio, a group of bossa nova big shots (Tuesday 15). The backdrop is one of Florence's coolest green spaces, a family-friendly venue serving up pizza and cocktails to keep the heat at bay. For more information, see the Giardino dell'ARTEcultura website


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