11am-8pm, November 23-25
Ippodromo del Visarno, piazzale delle Cascine 29, Florence
Ph. Fulvio Chiari
Japanese cultural association Lailac takes to the Cascine for the 20th edition of the Festival Giapponese, a local event that’s been running, in organizers’ words, since “long before sushi landed in everyone’s mouths.” With more than 40 special guests and over 50 events, the weekend will feature a wide range of arts and crafts demonstrations; martial arts shows; sake tastings; Mangiappone (“Eat Japan”) food booths with finger-licking dishes beyond just sushi and sashimi; origami and calligraphy workshops and more. Early-winter stress got you tied up in knots? Don’t miss the chance to enjoy an ancient-style shiatsu massage. Admission is 2 euro; current Lailac members enter for free. For more information, see facebook.com/lailacfirenze.
‘Tis (almost) the season to be jolly. When the end of the month rolls around, the German-style holiday market rolls into town. Though Florence’s rendition of Weihnachtsmarkt isn’t quite the Candyland-esque experience you’d find in Cologne or closer to home in Bolzano, it’s nonetheless a charming way to get into a merry and bright kind of mood. Expect sauerkraut and mustardy sausage dogs, stroopwafels and pretzels aplenty: seasonal street foods from beyond Italian borders are always among the market highlights. Wash them down with mulled wine and pick up some early (or last-minute) gifts and knick-knacks at the whimsical wooden booths.