Your Thursday forecast: best events in Florence

Our top picks for December 7-13, 2017

Mary Gray
December 7, 2017 - 10:49

LIGHTS/F-LIGHT: Firenze Light Festival

December 8-January 7, 2018

Various venues in Florence

Through the Christmas tree / ph. Andrea Paoletti

Editorial update, Friday, December 8, 5.15pm: 
The Christmas tree lighting in piazza Duomo has been postponed until Sunday, December 10 due to adverse weather conditions. 

Florence’s monuments and squares get an illuminated makeover for the holiday season with the return of F-LIGHT Firenze Light Festival. A festive, month-long series of video mapping, light installations and educational initiatives, F-LIGHT kicks off with the customary lighting of the Christmas tree in piazza Duomo at 5pm on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. (5pm is the approximate time that the fanfare will begin; the actual switching-on of the lights should happen around 6pm. Arrive early to stake out a spot!) After sundown on the days that follow, Florence’s facades, bridges and basilicas—San Lorenzo, Santo Spirito, the Porcellino market and Palazzo Medici Riccardi, among others—become a canvas for colorful projections and poignant messages. This year’s theme is Frontiere, or “borders”, with many of the installations aiming to raise awareness of the global refugee crisis. For the full program, see the website

INDIA/River to River

December 7-12

Cinema La Compagnia + various venues in Florence

Few Florentine film festivals are as wide-ranging as River to River, which showcases the rapidly changing realities of contemporary India through cinema. Opening the 17th edition is the Italian premiere of Amit Masurkar’s political satire Newton, India’s nominee for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 2018 Academy Awards. A dark comedy delving into issues of corruption, the story is told through the eyes of a young, inexperienced government clerk who gets in over his head while going about his duties in a small, conflict-ridden village. Producer Manish Mundra will introduce the film (8.30pm, December 7). Beyond the big-ticket movies in the lineup, around 40 other events are on the calendar, spanning art and photography exhibitions, cooking shows and lessons, lectures and more. For the full program, see the website.


MARKET/Merry & Bright

December 9-10

Palazzo San Niccolò, via S. Niccolò 79, Florence

The Creative People in Florence association adds its trademark touch to the Tuscan holiday season. In the spectacular Palazzo San Niccolò – the same venue where the first The Florentine Day took place earlier this year, if you missed it – the group will host a merry marketplace. Member artists, artisans and designers will hawk their wares and host workshops for holiday shoppers. The pop-up shop portion will be open from 11am-7pm Saturday, December 9 and 11am-6pm Sunday, December 10, while an aperitivo (December 9, 7pm), various activities and tea tastings are peppered throughout the weekend. Admission is 2 euro to benefit the Associazione Banco Alimentare della Toscana. For more information, see the Facebook event.


JEWELRY/Officine Nora Holiday Jewelry Show

Opening December 7, 6.30-8.30pm; runs until December 23

Officine Nora, via dei Preti 4r, Florence

Ph. Carlotta Nucci

One of the coolest examples of Florence's collaborative, international artisan scene is Officine Nora, the brainchild of Florentine designer Margherita de Martino Norante. A co-working space for jewelers and goldsmiths within a converted warehouse, Officine Nora both epitomizes Florence's artisan traditions and turns them on their head. Its core crew of designers – an international, young group – will host a special Christmas season pop-up shop with customizable gifts sold directly by the producers themselves. An inaugural aperitivo and celebration will run on December 7 from 6.30-8.30pm; in the days that follow, market browsers are encouraged to call before stopping by (tel. 055/9758930).

ICY/Firenze Winter Park

Until February 25, 2018

Obihall, via Fabrizio de’ Andre/lungarno Aldo Moro, Florence

The Obihall’s very own winter wonderland is open every day to keep cold-weather boredom at bay. The structure features two separate ice skating rinks (“Master” for big kids and adults, and “River” for little ones and first-time skaters). Feeling adventurous? Try your hand at “Ice Stock,” a quirky bowling-curling combo sport, suitable for both children and adults. When you need a time-out from the chilly activities, indulge in a warm cup of mulled wine, or head for the food stands managed by favorite street food eateries PescePane, Panino Tondo and La Toraia. For more information, see the website


 Book now for next week...

Premier fashion institute Polimoda is offering a rare chance to party on its gorgeous grounds. Celebrate the school's American legacy at its All Stars event, which toasts to its ties across the Atlantic. December 14; registration obligatory. More information here.

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