Following a two-year hiatus, Florence once again celebrates its patron saint, San Giovanni Battista (St. John the Baptist) on June 24 with fantastic fochi (fireworks). Expect the city’s symbol, the giglio (lily), with butterflies and a new weeping willow as part of the dramatic display. The spectacle is organized by the Society of San Giovanni Battista, thanks to the Fondazione CR Firenze, which has financed the highly anticipated fireworks display for over 90 years, in collaboration with the Municipality of Florence.
The programme for June 24, 2022
8.30am A historical procession gets things started, with costumed figures undertaking the delivery of the Cross of San Giovanni, made by goldsmith Paolo Penko, to the Mayor of Florence. The troop make their way from Loggia del Bigallo, travelling along via de ‘Calzaiuoli until they reach Palazzo Vecchio.
9.30am The procession is joined by the Florentine banner and the Palazzo family who will parade along with the Mayor from Palazzo Vecchio to the Baptistery. This year, for the first time, they will carry two artistic celebratory candles, one from the Society of San Giovanni Battista and one from the Municipality of Florence.
10am In the Baptistery of San Giovanni, the candles will be offered.
10.30am Mass in the Cathedral, celebrated by Archbishop Giuseppe Betori, with sacred music performed by the Pueri Cantores of Santa Maria del Fiore with the Cappela Musicale of the Cathedral and voices from the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.
4pm The Historical Parade of the Florentine Republic, with characters in period costume, starts from piazza Santa Maria Novella, heading to piazza della Signoria for the welcoming ceremony of the Magnificent Messere, reaching piazza Santa Croce.
6pm The final match of the Calcio Storico Fiorentino (Florentine historic football) takes place between the Reds of Santa Maria Novella and the Azzurri of Santa Croce.
6.30pm The Palio Remiero, a Florentine rowing tradition, will be held among the crews of the four historic districts of Florence in the stretch of the Arno between Ponte alle Grazie and Ponte Vecchio.
8.30pm Entertainment conducted by Alessandro Masti of Radio Toscana and a concert by the Fanfare of the Marescialli e Brigadieri dei Carabinieri School of Florence precedes the ‘Fochi di San Giovanni’, the 40 minute long dazzling firework display to finish up proceedings in style, taking place at Lungarno della Zecca.
Towers, gates and fortresses reopen
From June 24, many of the city’s towers, gates and fortresses reopen for summer, with the inauguration taking place on the day that celebrates the city’s patron saint, San Giovanni. The openings are organized by the Florentine Civic Museums and MUS.E, allowing visitors to discover the history of the city and its defensive structures, all while enjoying a breathtaking view of Florence. Read more.
Read more about the city’s patron saint, St John the Baptist.