Best events in Florence in May 2019

Best events in Florence in May 2019

Tue 30 Apr 2019 2:48 PM

VINTAGE/Visarno Market Spring Edition

11am-9pm, May 4-5

Visarno Arena, viale del Visarno 14 (Cascine), Florence

Soak up the spring weather and score some vintage and handmade finds at the May edition of the Visarno Market, an eclectic, expansive pop-up event formed by the strategic force-joining of separate organizations Gran Bazar / Mercato Urbano and WOM – Wonderful Market. Dozens of vintage vendors will be hawking their wares, but don’t expect just thrift shop castoffs: think vinyl records, fine handmade goods from Florentine artists and artisans, illustrations and design pieces and household items. Kid-friendly activities and workshops will keep the little ones happy, and an ample selection of street foods, snacks and drinks from a host of local favorites will see you through a full day of shopping, should you choose. Admission is free. For more information, see



DRINK/Florence Cocktail Week

May 6-12

Various venues in Florence

Since splashing onto the scene in 2016, Florence Cocktail Week has become a must for both aspiring mixologists and casual cocktail enthusiasts. Created by Paola Mencarelli and Lorenzo Nigro, FCW offers a rare fusion of “industry insider” insights and appeal to average (thirsty) Florentine folk. Participating bars around town (and in greater Tuscany, for the first time) will develop a drink menu for the occasion, offering their unique twists on four guiding titles: a Signature Cocktail, a “RiEsco a Bere Italiano,” an I Love Bitter and a Green Drink. Beyond the easy excuse to bar-hop, the week features masterclasses, tours of historic bars and round tables with barmen and women from around the world. Noteworthy for Negroni lovers is an event with famed bartender and author Luca Picchi and other panelists to celebrate 100 years of the stiff Florentine favorite (10am, May 11, Palagio di Parte Guelfa, For the full program, see


STUDY ABROAD/Art is in the Square
11am-6.30pm, May 11
Piazza San Lorenzo, via dei Pucci 4, and via Faenza 43

Art is in the Square / Ph. Simone Stanislai

In addition to welcoming hundreds of international students to Florence each semester, Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici has made a name for itself in the San Lorenzo neighborhood through its annual springtime student showcase, “Art is in the Square”, now entering its 13th edition. Spotlighting work from fine arts and design courses, the event has three main sections: an open-air museum anchoring it all in piazza San Lorenzo (11am-6.30pm, rain location via dell’Alloro 13); a dance, choir and jazz performance in the deconsecrated Church of San Jacopo in Campo Corbolini (3-5pm, via Faenza 43); and, new for this year, an expansion of the main exhibition in LdM’s recently launched student gallery (11am-6.30pm, via de’ Pucci 4). It’s a chance for students to exhibit their work, yes, but a community celebration at its core, cementing the institute’s ties to San Lorenzo and paying tribute to cultural diversity. For more information, see

CONTINENTAL/Festival d’Europa
May 1-10

Various venues in Florence

Villa Salviati

With its tagline “Nice to Meet EU,” biannual event Festival d’Europa is a far-reaching initiative highlighting and celebrating the many facets of European culture just a few weeks ahead of the elections. Expect a mix of hard-hitting “Debating Democracy” events, focusing on hot-button issues like migration, security and gender equality, and more leisurely cultural and artistic initiatives (the wide-ranging performing arts showcase Fabbrica Europa, which runs until July 12, will be inaugurated during the broader Festival d’Europa on May 3). A centerpiece of the EU-focused activities is the State of the Union conference organized by the European University Institute (May 2-4), which this year focuses on 21st-century democracy in Europe. Participation in the conference portion is by invitation only, but an open-to-the-public highlight will be the family-friendly Open Day at Villa Salviati, headquarters of the Historical Archives of the European Union (May 4). For the full (30-page!) program, see



CRAFT/Artigianato e Palazzo
May 16-19
Corsini Gardens, via della Scala 115, Florence

Florence’s sprawling Corsini Gardens are preparing for the “silver anniversary” of international crafts showcase Artigianato e Palazzo—in official parlance, its “vermeil edition” as it reaches year 25. Held in the 17th century Gherardo Silvani-designed gardens, along their winding pathways and inside their airy orangeries, the festival will host some 100 artisans from Italy and abroad, all of whom will both sell their wares and offer live demonstrations of their techniques. Key developments for 2019 will be a special exhibition dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci and goldleaf production, as well as a fundraising focus on “Memories of Russia in Florence”: admission proceeds will go toward restoration of Russian artistic gems in the Renaissance city (the Demidoff Collection in the Stibbert Museum; the Hemicycle at the Allori Cemetery; and the onion-domed Church of the Nativity of Christ and Saint Nicholas the Thaumaturge). For more information, see


STREET ART/Fiesole I Feel So

4-10pm, May 4

Piazza Mino, Fiesole

A work by the street artist ZED1


Head uphill to Fiesole for the first edition of street art fair Fiesole I Feel So, organized by the municipality in partnership with the Fondazione Primo Conti and IED Firenze. Fiesole I Feel So focuses on street art, student creativity and youth involvement in the public space: a key event on the program will be the inauguration of a new mural created by ZED1 in the garden adjacent to the town archives (6pm, entrance from via Giovanni Pascoli side of the building). Florence’s Street Levels Gallery in via Palazzuolo will transfer to piazza Mino for the afternoon to host a children’s printing workshop with the artist Nian (4pm), with a live painting performance for parents to enjoy as a backdrop. Finally, history buffs will have a chance to explore the hilltop town’s past at the photography show “Fiesole Perspectives” (opening at 4pm). For the full program, see




May 5-October 13

Boboli Gardens, piazza Pitti, Florence

The Boboli Gardens’ quasi-rebranding as a summertime contemporary art park continues with a solo exhibition by the Britain-born, Germany-based artist and sculptor Tony Cragg. As the founder of nature-and-sculpture nursery Waldfrieden Sculpture Park in Wuppertal and a prominent member of the plastic arts genre, Cragg is a fitting figure for Boboli; his work is known for its Minimalist inspiration, Futurism-like dynamism and experimental elements. Expect to see a dialogue between art and public space (and a perplexing centerpiece that resembles a giant assemblage of discarded pepperonis). The exhibition is curated by Uffizi Galleries Director Eike Schmidt and Jon Wood and admission is included in the entry ticket to the Boboli Gardens. For more information, see


WINE/Cantine Aperte

May 25-26

Various venues around Florence and Tuscany



Who could say no to an Italy-wide wine weekend? Cantine Aperte is a beloved springtime sipping ritual organized by the Movimento Turismo del Vino, running since 1993 and seeing wineries and bars up and down the boot open their doors for guided visits, tastings and toasts. Dozens of Tuscan participants, all members of the MTV, are on the program: you’ll be spoilt for choice even if you plan to stick within the Florence province (Ruffino’s Tenuta Poggio Casciano, Castello di Vicchiomaggio, Antinori Chianti Classico and Castello di Querceto are among the players). Art and gastronomy also tend to be part of the tradition, with some wineries hosting mini-exhibitions and musical performances for the occasion, and area restaurants joining in on the fun. For details about the Tuscan edition, see






David Battistella’s new film The Innocents of Florence: The Quest to Save 600,000 Children is premiering in English at Cinema La Compagnia on May 17 at 9pm. See page 7 for more details.


Related articles


Best ways to enjoy spring in Florence

How to spend the season in the city and surroundings.


Daisy’s Dining: an evening of fine dining + entertainment

Starting at 8pm, this weekly series of special dinner shows is bringing evenings alive in Florence.


Castello di Casole, A Belmond Hotel, Tuscany, a bike and nature farm estate

Cycle the gravel paths, revitalize with an Etruscan massage and enjoy the deep nature of Tuscany.