Your Thursday forecast: best events in Florence

Our top picks from December 12 to 19

Jane Farrell
December 11, 2019 - 14:48

CRIBS/ 30 nativity scenes by Carlo Ladurini

Until January 6


Santa Claus Village



Thirty (both usual and unusual) nativity scenes by Carlo Ladurini are on display at the Rivoli Boutique Hotel until January 6. Among the works exhibited will be a crib focused on remembering the collapse of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa, cribs on the theme of immigration, the Pope and technology. Interestingly, there will also be a volcano (a tribute to Mount Etna and the artist's Sicilian origins) as part of a Santa Claus village built by Salvatore Sciuto with sparkling lights and moving structures. The novel scenes highlight that victims and the vulnerable should not be forgotten at Christmas in order to move forward to a better future. The free exhibition will be open from 11am-11pm. Those wishing to give donations to the Tommasino Bacciotti Foundation are welcome to do so.


Rivoli Boutique Hotel, via della Scala 33, Florence




MYTH/ Leonardo from paper to paper

Until March 14


Exhibition retraces the most remarkable aspects of Leonardo's myth-making



Exploring the origin of the legend of Leonardo and how it grew during the 19th century, this exhibition focuses on the impact of Leonardo da Vinci. From a Tuscan painter to a universal symbol of the Renaissance, the exhibition takes place as part of celebrations marking 500 years since Leonardo's passing. From education and psychoanalysis, to history and politics, Leonardo's legacy has been enormous. This influence is explored through 110 documents including books, manuscripts, photographs and engravings, both from the library collections and important loans. For more, see


Sala Dante, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, piazza dei Cavalleggeri, 1



EXHIBITION/ Dopo Caravaggio 

From December 14 to April 13



After Caravaggio: The Neapolitan seventeenth century collections of Palazzo Pretorio and De Vito Foundation exhibits never-before-seen paintings from the De Vito Foundation along with the most interesting 17th-century paintings of the Palazzo Pretorio Museum in Prato. The works detail the incredible impact of Caravaggio's painting on Neapolitan school artists in the 17th century. See the museum website for info:


Museo di Palazzo Pretorio, piazza del Comune 2, Prato




ILLUMINATION/ F-Light Festival

Until January 6


Ponte Vecchio becomes a canvas for F-Light



On December 8, Florence embraced the Moon with the launch of the F-Light Festival, this year dedicated to the fiftieth anniversary of the Moon landing. Projections, video mapping and art installations, all with a lunar theme (concept created by Galileo Museum), adorn the city’s best-known monuments until January 6. Under the artistic direction of Sergio Risaliti, and with the collaboration of MUS.E and the City of Florence, the programme will also feature exhibitions, educational activities, special visits to museums, performances and conferences. From Ponte Vecchio and piazza Santa Maria Novella to Palazzo Medici Riccardi and the Oltrarno, lights flicker all over the historic walls, spreading magic throughout the city. See for full details. 


Various locations




LISTEN/ Lucia, la radio al cinema

December 1214, Manifattura Tabacchi


Inaugural festival dedicated to aural storytelling



Rediscover listening at Lucia, la radio al cinema, a purely auditory affair. Manifattura Tabacchi hosts this inaugural festival celebrating radio productions, podcasts and aural storytelling from all over the world. Presented and promoted by Radio Papesse, the packed programme sees international authors, producers and artists gather to celebrate the art of narration without images. The meaning behind the name of the festival is that the Latin word for light (lux) is the etymology for Lucia, or Saint Lucy, the patron saint of the blind, who is celebrated on December 13, the shortest day of the year. Narratives, documentaries and live fiction are combined as if in a cinema as subtitles are projected on screen while words fill the air. Other unique events include a workshop held by Jonathan Zenti on how to make a podcast and children’s "noise workshops". Learn more at


Manifattura Tabacchi, via delle Cascine 33-35, Florence




CHARITY/ Four Seasons Open Day

December 15, Four Seasons Hotel


Four Seasons festivities



The magnificent Giardino della Gherardesca welcomes visitors from 10am to 4pm, with a Christmas market lined with items ranging from Richard Ginori fine china to Pedersoli linen and, of course, food and wine that will both satisfy and impress. Music by Radio Toscana and gospel choirs will liven up the atmosphere and Santa Claus will make a special visit for the little ones. Culinary delights from Florence’s finest restaurants gratify gourmet lovers and you can be content that your entrance donation of a euro will be in support of the recently launched Patrizio Cipollini Foundation, in honour of the hotel’s former general manager who sadly passed away this year. All proceeds will go towards scholarships for students at Barga’s catering college.


Four Seasons Hotel, entrance from via Gino Capponi 54, borgo Pinti 97, and piazzale Donatello 12




SPACE/ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

December 1826, Odeon Cinema


Highly-anticipated Star Wars comes to the Odeon



Episode nine of the cult space saga sees the last surviving members of the Resistance face the First Order, while Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron continue their journey. The highly anticipated final battle between the Jedi and the Sith ends the central conflict of the famous Star Wars epic once and for all. Sure to be one of the major film events of the year, this last installment of the Star Wars series was produced, co-written and directed by J.J. Abrams, starring Daisy Ridley, Billie Lourd, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver and Lupita Nyong’o. For screening times and to book tickets, see


Odeon Cinema, piazza degli Strozzi, Florence




MUSIC/ Strings City

December 1415, various locations


Wonderful performances in elegant surroundings


For two days, music enriches the city as melodies and song resound throughout the city’s most impressive spaces. Symphonic strings perform in 50 extraordinary locations in this popular festival that’s all about string instruments. Unforgettable performances in historic venues such as the Uffizi and Palazzo Vecchio as well as contemporary spaces like The Student Hotel are all free. The varied performances expand musical horizons as audiences are entranced by violins, violas, harps and cellos in a stirring melodic experience. For details about the programme, see


Various locations




SANTA/ Babbo Running Firenze

December 15, piazza della Santissima Annunziata


Santas take to the streets



You might have to rub your eyes as countless Father Christmases take to the streets for Babbo Running Firenze, a five-kilometre run in Santa costumes with all proceeds going to the children’s charities Tommasino Bacciotti Foundation and La Compagnia di Babbo Natale. Winding through the streets of the historic centre for the ninth year in a row, ho-ho-hos will ring out and spread some festive cheer in support of those in need. Santa costumes provided! Sign up at (cost 15 euro for adults; kids under 11 go free).


Beginning and ending at piazza della Santissima Annunziata, Florence




More festive events


Christmas at the winery




This Saturday, head for the hills to celebrate Christmas with world-famous winery Ruffino as the cellar opens its doors for a festive fair from 11am to 7pm. Make the most of promotions on wine as well as enjoying a bite at the Le Tre Rane Tuscan restaurant. Fun and games guaranteed for adults and children alike!

Click here for more information.



Children's Activities



The Children's Lending Library at St. James Church, via dei Rucellai 9 will host 'Dr Giacomino's Tiny Bookshop' by Franco Travoglio and Marco Davide Bellucci on December 14. Santa will make his annual visit too! Suitable for children above the age of 5. Baked goods, toys and books will be on sale. Open to members of the library, or non-members can enter by paying 3 euro. Seating is limited so reserve by emailing [email protected] 




Christmas Party at the Paperback Exchange 



Toast the season with some sweet and savoury treats along with a glass of wine from 4pm on December 12 at Paperback Exchange, via dell Oche 4/R. All new books will have a 10% discount!

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