What’s on for Festa di San Giovanni

San Giovanni in Florence, Genoa and Turin on June 24

Editorial Staff
June 17, 2020 - 15:30

Mayor Dario Nardella today announced "San Giovanni X 3", the collaborative festival that this year replaces the city's usual June 24 celebrations.


San Giovanni X 3 is a joint celebration organized by Florence, Genoa and Turin, who share a patron saint in San Giovanni, St John the Baptist. June 24 is always one of the most hotly anticipated days in the Florentine calendar, as crowds cram the riverbanks to watch the midnight fireworks over the Basilica of San Miniato.


With Covid-19, such crowds would pose a major health risk. Florence will be illuminated by a light show instead of fireworks, lasting from sunset until midnight. Porta San Gallo, Porta alla Croce, Torre di San Niccolò, Porta Romana, Porta al Prato, Porta San Frediano, San Miniato al Monte and Istituto degli Innocenti will all act as canvases for the illuminations, but the highlight is likely to be three streams of light cast onto the lantern at the top of Brunelleschi's Dome.


June 24 will be a day of culture for all, with free entrance to the Museum of the Palazzo Vecchio Museum (10am-3pm), the Bardini Museum and Novecento Museum (both 3-8pm). The Accademia will be free for residents of Florence (9am-2pm).


In terms of music, singer-songwriter Irene Grandi will perform in the Palazzo Vecchio’s Salone dei Cinquecento and Zubin Mehta will conduct the orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino opera house in the Duomo.


This year, you can watch the San Giovanni celebrations wherever you are in the world. San Giovanni X 3 will be live streamed from Florence, Genoa and Turin on www.sangiovannix3.it. Duccio Forzano, famous for his Sanremo music festival direction, is in charge of the live broadcast, which will be hosted, in Italian, by presenter Carlo Conti, who joked that “this will be the first time the Florentines can't complain that the fireworks were worse than last year’s.”


"It will be unforgettable," promised Mayor Nardella, "maybe even more special than the usual festival of San Giovanni. I have faith in the Florentines' curiosity, of all the Italians' curiosity."


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