Throughout the month of April, food, culture and entertainment will be offering a wide range of opportunities to enjoy the days as they gradually get longer and warmer. Below you’ll find our tips about what to do and to see in Florence and the province throughout the entire month of April.
Strolling along Medieval lanes with a gelato in hand...
At top of this section dedicated to food and culture is a very particular festival: the Florence Gelato Festival. It first took place in 2010 to celebrate the Florentine origins of ice cream (said to be invented by Buontalenti in 1559 when he was at the Medici court) and then, over the years, it has become one of the most popular itinerant festivals all over Italy and Europe. From Florence, in fact, the manifestation will be moving to various Italian and European cities, spreading the love for ice cream and its innovative creations in a virtual path which retraces its history from Buontalenti to our times. Competitions, workshops and practical demonstrations will be held from April 21st to the 25th (these are the Florentine dates) at Piazzale Michelangelo, from 12 to 8pm. Browse the official website for more info and the scheduled programs of the event.
From April 23 to 25, the Florence Parterre will be housing the traditional Bonsai and Suiseki exhibition (stones which are supposed to evoke natural landscapes and objects) and a Japanese antiques fair, whose proceeds will go to the victims of the last major earthquake in 2011.
From April 23 through May 1, the Fortezza da Basso will be housing a traditional event that has given life to wonderful works of art throughout the past 80 years, where innovation and tradition, creativity and technology perfectly blend together turning into exclusively handmade masterpieces thanks to the cute talent of some among the greatest artisans ever: the 80th edition of the International Handicraft Market Exposition. From 10am to 10.30pm, except on the last day, May 1, when the exhibition will definitely close its doors at 8pm.
If you love biking, then head to the Cascine Park from April 15 to 17, when the green lung of Florence will be turning into one of the greates bike park ever! The Florence Bike Festival is an event dedicated to the world of bike: demonstrations, shows, performances and bike-races will be offering everyone three days of open-air entertainment. Free entrance.
But if you're a runner more than a cyclist, you'll surely want to participate in one of the most traditional Florentine non-competitive race of the annual calendar: the Vivicittà Half Marathon Florence, held on April 3 with the special slogan "50 years later a coloured river of runners flows throughout Florence", dedicated to the disastrous flood that hit the city 50 years ago. A wonderful sport manifestation surrounded by a one-of-a-kind artistic and cultural background, more info about the race story, registration fees on the official website, where you'll also find information about the other non-competitive races that will be organized as part of the same manifestation, like that dedicated to kids and the guided tour A Spasso con Dante, a walking through the historical center of Florence to the discovery of those places that still preserve important traces of Dante Alighieri's life in Florence, guided by the President of the Italian Dante Society. The event will be taking place on April 2 and will be started from Santa Croce Square. Advance registration required (a maximum of 150 participants is allowed); more info on the website.
The last event taking place in Florence that I would like to point out is the traditional Notte Bianca (literally, white night). An entire night dedicated to music, concerts and live performances that will liven up many of the city’s squares, in a tribute to the universal language of music represented by different genres, from rock to pop, from reggae to soul. Shops, bars and local museums will be open until late at night, usually until 1am or 5am (April 30, the complete program is still to be published and the official website to be up-dated).
T-bone steak, street food specialties and local folklore: what else could one ask for?
Stepping out of the city and into the province, let's head to San Casciano Val di Pesa for the 7th edition of the Carnevale Medievale Sancascianese, held on April 3. A step back into the Middle Age, with street performances and entertainment, parades with people dressed-up in historical costumes, food and typical products stands and the most eagerly awaited event of this manifestation: the Giostra delle Contrade, during which the five contrade of San Casciano will be competing against each other to win the Chiave del Borgo (the town's key).
If the Street Food Truck Festival won't be taking place in Florence this year, the most typical street food of the various Italian regions will be flowding the streets of Barberino Val d'Elsa, paying homage to the Chianti area and its wine and food specialties. If you're a passionate of this delicious kind of food, head to Barberino on April 16 and 17 for a day or two of "walking gourmet"!
Instead of leisurely walking along the historic center, a trekking excursion along the river will guide participants through the discovery of the enchaning natural landscape of the Mugello and Valdarno, on the mountains that surround the town of Borgo San Lorenzo and Pontassieve starting from Monte Giovi. Through this one-of-a-kind trekking excursion, you'll also be offered the best of the local culinary tradition, with wine-and-food tastings that give this manifestation the odd name of Magnalonga 2016 (on April 24).
Panzano in Chianti, where the famous bistecca alla panzanese (a special cut of the T-bone steak) was born, will celebrate the Anniversary of Italian Liberation from Nazi-Fascist occupation on April 25 with the Festa della Stagione Bona (Good Season Fair): it’s an historical reenactment of a working-class insurrection that will take place all over the village center, while at the same time celebrates the arrival of Spring.
Once again on April 25, in Fucecchio the Fiera del Gusto (the Taste Festival) is an annual event aimed to celebrate the best of the regional culinary tradition, such as cold cuts, cheese and wine, all excellent expressions of the Made in Tuscany we are all proud of.
From April 30 to May 3, Barberino del Mugello will be home to Cantà Maggio, Palio dei Rioni e Fiera Promozionale, a manifestation running for 4 days dedicated to entertainment, live performances, food stands and itinerant music concerts winding their way through the streets of the town. Cultural and culinary initiatives will be taking place each evening in one of the 5 contrade (or quarters) of Barberino, which will also compete against each other during the Palio in 5 different games, and in the end a winner will be declared. On the last day of the manifestation, the May Market will crowd the town streets with stands and local products. Browse the official website for news and updated information about this edition.
Enjoy your time in Tuscany this April :-)