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Here’s our round-up for December, 2022.
An ideal winter day for those seeking a little more action this holiday season, the Florence Ice Village is freezing over Fortezza da Basso with a 300-metre ice skating rink (supposedly the largest one in Europe). Strap on your skates and take a spin throughout the scenic park, or for an unforgettable view of the city from greater heights, ride the photo-worthy Ferris wheel that returns this year.
The photographic series curated by Sergio Risaliti explores the intersection between religion and violence, with a focus on the Ukrainian war. The artist invited Ukrainian refugee women to tell their stories through images and interviews, with ten flags bearing their portraits installed in the external loggia of the Museo Novecento. The title takes its inspiration from the image of St. Javelin disseminated over the course of the war in Ukraine, depicting the Madonna holding an anti-tank missile and a javelin, the symbol of resistance, in her arms. A second installation is found inside, where the Die Taube series consists of eight photographs on the sacred theme of the Last Supper.
Following Maggi’s Water Spell performance on the Arno in September, which saw the artist staging a Neptune-inspired performance on a boat accompanied by musicians, he now returns to Florence with a solo exhibition curated by Caroline Corbetta that weaves through the spaces of the eclectic Stefano Bardini Museum, with his artistic vision mainly expressed through ceramic sculptures, paintings and sound.
Two exhibition routes between Pisa and Florence are dedicated to the scientific discipline of photography, with the focus in Florence on the scientists Giorgio Roster and Odoardo Beccari. The displays look at photography as a fundamental tool for research and scientific documentation since its invention. From the first photos of the Moon to eruptions on Mount Etna, crucial moments have been captured by scientists, some of which have never been exhibited before.
The doors of Palazzo Corsini in via il Prato open on December 8 for a grand Christmas concert, with the Mascarade Emerging Artists performing with a warm Yuletide spirit under the direction of Julia Lynch, the programme’s head of music.
The former Santo Stefano al Ponte church in piazza Santo Stefano is transformed with Banksy’s street art from November 26 to February 26 in an immersive experience. Created by the Crossmedia Group and curated by Gianni Mercurio and Madinart, the spaces are projected with the pseudonymous England-based artist’s instantly recognizable works, as images, sounds and music blend together to conjure Bristol’s underground culture.
Teatro Verdi hosts the famous American choir on December 9, with a tribute to Nina Simone a highlight of their extraordinary Christmas show. Founded in 1986 for celebrations in honour of Martin Luther King, they are among the most well-known gospel choirs, coming to Florence to spread messages of love, peace and harmony.
Florence gets a festive makeover each year, with projections, video mapping and art installations adorning the city’s best-known monuments. One of the most significant artistic light festivals in Europe, the magical displays are promoted by the City of Florence, bringing the centuries-old settings to life with striking exhibits that spread smiles throughout the city. This year, the title is ‘Green Line’, under the artistic direction of Sergio Risaliti.
Embrace the holiday season with an evening at the theatre on the occasion of the inauguration of the modern Teatro di Fiesole. Canadian pianist Hershey Felder will play the role of Beethoven in his original portrait of the German composer. Performances on December 6, 7, 10 + 11 are in Italian, with the English version on December 9 when you can join The Florentine for a welcome drink at 7.45pm, followed by the show at 8.45pm. Special price for The Florentine newsletter subscribers: 20 euro (instead of 28.75 euro).
Whimsy and wonder are in full effect at Teatro Verdi’s annual children’s concert. Narrations of Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman are accompanied by live music and projections of the much-loved illustrations. A memorable event for the whole family, this is a perfect way to settle into the holiday spirit with loved ones.
Be sent to far off lands as you listen to Tchaikovsky’s soaring strings and gaze in wonder at the international ballerinas from the Romanian National Opera as they take over the theatre with dream-like dancing on December 23. There’s something quintessentially festive about seeing ballet in a stunning setting such as Teatro della Pergola over Christmastime, with the historic theatre hosting the exceptional ballet, replicating the original story as it was almost 150 years ago. Tickets cost from 22 euro to 57.20.
Head outside Florence for a taste of Tuscan festivities with the OltreColle Christmas Edition in Toscana Resort Castelfalfi from 2pm to late evening, December 17-18. Music, art and great food are guaranteed, with the allure of the lights and the Christmas atmosphere making it well worth the (short) trip. The medieval village is transformed into a Christmas wonderland, with local crafts, traditional products, installations and performances spreading joy.
From light shows, enchanted forests, and even Santa’s current residence, Arezzo transforms into the Italian “north pole” with a genuine winter wonderland. Don’t miss the awe-inspiring planetarium that will screen films and documentaries to take visitors into outer space.
Head to the Harold Acton Library (lungarno Guicciardini 9) from 3-6pm on December 2 for a free entry Christmas fair selling books, handmade gifts and goods, with a tea and cake station. The Wednesday Lecture Series sees Patrick Kragelund speak on ‘New light on the Latin Inscriptions of Medici Florence’ at 6pm on December 7. Gather for readings, mulled wine and singing with the free admission Christmas Concert at 6pm on December 14, in partnership with St Mark’s English Church.
Alanah (aka Cariatide Embroidery) hosts a Christmas-themed workshop at the cultural space on via de’ Pucci 4, guiding you in embroidering a decoration on December 2 and 15. December 17 is a Christmas card-making session for little ones, with a session on engraving and printing for adults on December 10+11, or try your hand at the Amigrumi crochet technique on December 14 and 21.
Life drawing takes place weekly at lungarno Guicciardini 15 from December 5 to 19, while long-pose drawing will be at 7pm on December 7 and 14, led by Tom J. Byrne. Brainstorming for writers with Lori Hetherington is at 7pm on December 20.
A Candlelight concert series takes place at Cattedrale dell’Immagine, with music by Ennio Morricone, Vivaldi, Einaudi and Christmas classics enthralling audiences.
At 7.30pm on December 14, join WIN for their holiday celebration at Palazzo San Niccolò, with a special menu, white elephant, gift exchange and holiday bake-off open to members and guests. Reservations required.
Come find the Christmas pop.up from Deccember 1-24 at the FAF space in Borgo San Frediano 131, where you’ll find crafts arranged in art installations with an exhibition displaying works by Giò Pomodoro, Giorgio Morandi and Piero Fornasetti on show.
Local libraries host a series of events for little ones over the festive season, with the Natale Junior line-up.
The 22nd edition of the popular film fest featuring all things Indian will be held at Cinema La Compagnia in Florence and online at Più Compagnia from December 6 to 11. Special guest this year is award-winning director Anurag Kashyap, with showings of his supernatural thriller Dobaaraa and the love story Almost Pyaar. With an exhibition titled Mannequin by Arko Datto, talks, fashion shows, and food and wine experiences, the all-encompassing Indian culture fest fosters a flow of ideas between the Ganges and the Arno.
Restored classics in the original English language (with Italian subtitles) are scheduled at the Stensen (viale Don Giovanni Minzoni 25) over the holiday period. Gene Kelly is a blast from the past with Singin’ in the Rain shown on December 12 on the occasion of its 70th anniversary. Catch the Oscar-winning documentary, Leon Gast’s When We Were Kings, on December 13, looking at the incredible career of boxer Muhammed Ali. Peter Bogdanovich’s The Great Buster comes to the big screen on December 2 and 18, tracing the legendary life of Buster Keaton.
St. James Episcopal Church (via Bernardo Rucellai 9) holds the First Mass of Christmas at 6pm on December 24, with Midnight Mass at 11pm. Mass on Christmas Day will be held at 10am. Services are in English, with hymns and organ accompaniment. firstname.lastname@example.org
St Mark’s English Church hosts a Christmas tree lighting event at 4pm on December 3, with an afternoon of crafts for children. A further afternoon of creativity for kids will be held from 4pm on December 10. A traditional Christmas carol service with the St Mark’s choir, followed by mince pies and mulled wine, starts at 6pm on December 17, with Christmas Eve Mass at 11pm, and Christmas Day Mass at 10.30am.
The Santi Apostoli Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Christmas Vigil on December 24 with a Mass in English at 5pm and in Italian at 6pm, with Christmas Vigil Night Mass in English and Italian at 11pm. On December 25, Mass in English takes place at 10.30am and in Italian at 11.30am and 7pm. The church will lead a Holy Land Pilgrimage in English from January 15-22, contact email@example.com for information.
Get in touch with Florence’s vibrant Jewish community for guided tours of the Synagogue, museum and cemetery during Hanukkah, December 18-26. www.firenzebraica.it.
The beloved German-inspired market returns to its cozy home in front of the basilica. Warm up with a pair of handmade wool gloves or hug a steaming cup of mulled wine. On until December 18, in piazza Santa Croce.
Nestled in Palazzo Corsini, the market organized by FILE, a charity aiding community members facing serious illness, will feature clothing, accessories and artisanal food, with traditional panettone and pandoro for sale. Doors open December 2-4.
The American International League of Florence hosts a Christmas market dedicated to helping out local nonprofit organizations. Offering handmade crafts, books, home décor and more, you are sure to find something crafty and loved to take home for the holidays. December 7 (3-6pm) and December 8 (10am-6pm) at the Tepidarium in Giardino dell’Orticoltura.
From 11am to 8pm on December 4, The Social Hub calls all fashionistas as Pimp My Vintage satisfies all of your festive festa ‘fits. While you’re there, don’t miss out on new designs from young creatives: you’re sure to find something completely one of a kind. 11am to 8pm, December 4.
Pick your presents for a good cause as Associazione Tumori Toscana offers a Christmas market spilling with designer clothes from brands such as Prada and Ferragamo. Along with handcrafted goods and a selection of artisanal food and wine, all proceeds go directly to ATT. 11am-7pm, December 3-4, Palazzo degli Affari.
Get into the holiday spirit with an indoor charity market with secondhand clothes, handmade accessories, decorations and more, with all donations going towards the nonprofit Made in Sipario Association. 11am-5pm, via de’Neri 25.