How to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Florence

How to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Florence

From the family friendly to fiery fiestas

Tue 30 Apr 2024 11:27 AM

Though tens of thousands of miles away from the holiday’s place of origin, the ever-so-welcoming city of Florence is no stranger to the vibrant hues of Cinco de Mayo. With a buzzing expatriate community and a growing affinity for Latin culture, Florence offers several valuable commemorative experiences for this holiday. As a Mexican student in Florence, I’ve been on a mission to find out where the best Cinco de Mayo parties will be happening this year. From the family friendly to the fiery fiestas, here is everything you need to know about where and how to celebrate Cinco de Mayo on May 5. 

The history of Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is a fundamentally Davidic story of Mexico’s resistance against the French invasion during the second French intervention of 1862. Mexican army General Ignazio Zaragoza flew well above his station and courageously led a mere 600-person army into an unprecedented victory over a military superpower. No one ever believed such a small army and such a low-ranking leader could defeat the entire French forces! Soon enough, it would be eternally commemorated by Mexican-American-led celebrations hallmarked by exuberant parades, mouthwatering street-food and breathtakingly rhythmic footwork to the romantic strums of Mariachi music. 

For ethnic bites + culinary celebrations

Raices Messicano
Corn tortillas, pork cooked at low temperature, marinated red onions and coriander at Raices Latin Food
Jalapeno Street Tacos with breaded prawns, cheese, salad and guacamole at Tijuana Mexican Grill

With traditional papel picado adorning the establishment and sarape-inspired cloths delicately gracing each table, Raices Latin Food (via del Sole 23R) promises to whisk both your palate and soul away to the heart of Mexico. Renowned for its striking flavors, every dish here is inspired by my home country. Their Tacos De Birria are a personal favorite as this spicy, slow-cooked beef stew is so authentic that it transports me home with each bite. If you’re more of a salsa verde person (one of the ultimate Mexican debates), their Enchiladas Verdes dish is a delicacy bathed in traditional tomatillo sauce, crowned with sour cream and queso fresco. Make sure you save room for dessert because the Tres Leches cake symphonizes vanilla and cream into sweet harmony. 

Well known in all of Florence, as soon as you step into Tijuana Mexican Grill (via il Prato 57-59R + via Ghibellina 156R), the lingering aromas will let you savor the magic of Mexico at length. Named after a Mexican city celebrated for its street tacos, this restaurant serves up beer-battered shrimp tacos (Tacos Pacificos) and a Picadillo Burrito like no other. While the spice might not be as strong as back home, the all-day happy hour and culturally infused atmosphere will allow you to truly immerse in the festive spirit. 

For a culturally immersive experience

For a richer understanding of Mexican heritage and traditions, consider attending the Día de los Muertos event by theater company La Compagnia delle Seggiole and dance troupe Mariachi el Magnifico de Florencia at night in the Varlungo cemetery on May 3 and 4. A Mariachi concert is a colorful experience capable of bringing any expat to prideful tears. With five members from all over Mexico, this group has been paying homage to their home country through their energetic renditions of traditional Mexican folk music since 2017. 

For sips + spectacles

From I’Margaritaio’s cave-like location to their festively brimming frozen margaritas, this Mexican pub in via dell’Anguillara offers an ideal setting for anyone seeking a lively cocktail hour. The selection of appetizers is also sure to impress with standouts like Nachos that “share tales of Mexico’s heat”. Now with a second location called Marga (via Verdi 47-49), the spirited Cinco de Mayo celebrations only continue to grow. You’re in for a treat with a complimentary t-shirt, gadget and a happy hour spanning from 12 noon to 6.30pm!

Eby’s Latin Bar (via dell’Oriuolo 5R), in the heart of the Santa Croce neighborhood, is an oasis of cocktails and playful shots, promising both a sip and a spectacle. The Latin-inspired atmosphere sets the stage for any group’s Cinco de Mayo celebrations. If hunger strikes, be sure to savor their Quesadillas or Empanadas for an unforgettable taste of Latin America. 

While celebrating Cinco de Mayo can be exciting and—dare I say—delicious, don’t forget that this holiday should foremost be recognized as a historical commemoration of Latin strength and resilience in a battle against colonialism and cultural erasure. More than anything, Cinco de Mayo should convey a sense of pride, strength and triumph of Mexican culture, which is recognizable from any corner of the earth. See you over a brindisi on May 5!

Related articles


Benheart: both a brand and an inspiration

Passion, care and commitment to high-quality Made in Italy products.


Manifattura Tabacchi gives guided tours of the Caveau

Explore the archive of the former tobacco factory.