Shop windows are stacked high with chocolate eggs, colomba cakes are crowding supermarket shelves and spring is in full swing: it must be Easter in Florence! From the most somber moments of Holy Week to borderline-kooky local customs, here’s a roundup of all that’s happening around town. Buona Pasqua!
Holy Week religious services in English
St. James Church (Episcopalian). Via B. Rucellai 9, tel. 055/294417
Palm Sunday, April 9: Eucharist, 9am & 11am
Maundy Thursday, April 13: Eucharist, foot washing and stripping of the altar, 6.30pm
Good Friday, April 14: Liturgy and veneration of the cross, 12noon and 6.30pm
Holy Saturday, April 15: Great Vigil and First Mass of Easter, 6.30pm, followed by Agape reception feast
Easter Sunday, April 16: Eucharist at 9am and 11am. After the 11am service, an Easter toast and reception will take place on the church’s front portico, followed by an Easter egg hunt
St. Mark’s English Church (Anglican). Via Maggio 16, tel. 055/294764
Maundy Thursday, April 13: Holy Mass followed by the Watch, 7–10pm
Good Friday, April 14: Veneration of the cross and Good Friday liturgy, 11.30am; the Three Hours Devotion, 12noon-3pm
Holy Saturday, April 15: Ante Communion, 10am; Easter Vigil and First Mass of Easter, 8pm
Easter Sunday, April 16: Sung high mass, 10.30am
Santi Apostoli (Catholic). Piazza del Limbo 1, tel. 339/2425734
Palm Sunday, April 9: Mass and procession, 10.15am
Holy Thursday, April 13: Bilingual mass (Italian-English), 7.30pm, followed by a Holy Hour until 9.30pm
Good Friday, April 14: Celebration of the Passion (reading of the passion, adoration of the cross, Communion), 5pm
Easter Sunday, April 16: Mass, 10.30am
Sacred music concerts and church services with Florence Gospel Fellowship International and visiting artists
Good Friday, April 14: JaVonn Bright & La Bella Voce Ensemble (USA). 8pm, Methodist Church, via de’ Benci 9
Holy Saturday, April 15: Angela Williams & The Florence Gospel Choir. 8pm, Chiesa Evangelica Battista, borgo Ognissanti 4
Easter Sunday, April 16: The Florence Gospel Choir. 10am, Methodist Church, via de’ Benci 9
The Florence Gospel Choir. 6pm, Chiesa San Marco
Easter morning tradition: the Scoppio del Carro
The beloved “Brindellone” returns to piazza del Duomo every year on Easter Sunday. Housed 364 days of the year in via il Prato, this cart filled with fireworks is paraded through the city streets, arriving in front of Santa Maria del Fiore at around 10am. After the cathedral’s morning mass, much pomp and circumstance ensues before the festivities end in a pyrotechnic spectacle: a dove-shaped rocket called the colombina sets off the sparks. Arrive early to stake out a spot in the square—this ritual is one of the Renaissance city’s most famous!
Museums: special hours on Easter Sunday (April 16) & Pasquetta (April 17)
Palazzo Vecchio. 9am–11pm on Easter & Pasquetta; tower 9am-9pm on Easter & Pasquetta (weather permitting)
Museo Novecento. 11am-8pm on Easter & Pasquetta
Santa Maria Novella. 1-5.30pm, Easter; 9am-7pm, Pasquetta
Stefano Bardini Museum. Closed on Easter; 11am-5pm, Pasquetta
Brancacci Chapel. Closed on Easter; Pasquetta 1-5pm
Fondazione Salvatore Romano (cenacolo of Santo Spirito). Closed on Easter; 1-5pm, Pasquetta
Museo Bigallo. Closed on Easter; 9.30am-12.30pm, Pasquetta
Uffizi Gallery. 8.15am-6.50pm on Easter & Pasquetta
Accademia Gallery. 8.15am-6.50pm on Easter & Pasquetta
Pitti Palace complex:
Palatine Gallery. 8.15am-6.50pm on Easter; Pasquetta closed
Tesoro dei Granduchi. 8.15am-6.30pm on Easter & Pasquetta
Gallery of Modern Art. 8.15am-6.50pm on Easter; Pasquetta closed
Boboli Gardens. 8.15am-6.30pm on Easter & Pasquetta
Museo della Moda del Costume. 8.15am-6.30pm on Easter & Pasquetta
Palazzo Strozzi’s “Bill Viola. Electronic Renaissance” exhibition will be open from 10am-8pm on both Easter Sunday and Pasquetta.
Reopening: the Parco Mediceo di Pratolino
Give Boboli a break and venture to Vaglia, just outside Florence, to take in some fresh air at the Parco Mediceo di Pratolino. This extraordinary green space, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, will reopen on Easter (10am-8pm) and stay open every weekend (Friday through Sunday, 10am-8pm) until October 29. Admission is free, and guided visits within the park (the Buontalenti Chapel, Cupid’s Grotto and other sites) are available for a small fee; booking is required via firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 055.290832. To get there on public transport, take bus 25A from piazza San Marco.
Expansion: Santa Maria Novella
After a successful “unveiling” during the Christmas holiday season, the Caserma Mameli within the Santa Maria Novella complex is once again opening to the public, offering low-cost guided tours through the Associazione Mus.e., beginning on Pasquetta (April 17) and continuing every weekend from April 22 forward. The Grand Cloister and the Pope’s Chapel are on the itinerary; booking is required by calling 055.2768224 or 055.2768558.
Help ensure that children of families in need have an uplifting Easter morning: participate in the Angels for a Day Easter egg drive. In the days leading up to Easter, stop by English language bookshop Paperback Exchange (via delle Oche 6r) to make a minimum 2 euro donation and to write a message for a child.
At a loss for what to do with your little ones? Spend the Saturday before Easter soaking up sun in Florence’s Giardino Stibbert (via Federigo Stibbert 26). The International Babysitters group is hosting an Easter egg hunt for children ages 18 months to 8 years. A picnic will follow. Costs are 10 euro for the first child’s admission and 5 euro for each additional sibling. Booking is recommended; call 3920397288 or email email@example.com.