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Best Florence Summer Activities

Living the City

Florence shines with cultural events all year long, but when summer starts to show its true colors, and outdoor activities are possible, it seems like the city explodes with rhythm and color. The museums, the local government and the art centers all compete with extraordinary calendars of actvities.  A full list of can be found under the name EstateFiorentina (in Italian only).

But for those of you who are looking for a few pointers (and don't read Italian) we have listed below some extra special moments that you can easily incorporate into your itinerary while touring art exhibits, national monuments and walking the via and viale of the city center of Florence.

The Italian Brass Week

The International Brass Instrument Festival will work its way around several of the more suggestive areas of the city from the 17th to the 24th of July starting with the Orticultura Garden, Villa Bardini and Basilica di San Michele and Gaetano. All except for the first and last concert, they will be open and free to the public. The concert on the 21st will feature Roger Bobo, brass legend, virtuoso soloist, world renown teacher conducting the Brass Orchestra with Dale Clevenger on Ponte Vecchio, while soloists float on the Arno River, chiming in to create an unforgettable musical experience. With no less than 100 musicians, acknowledging the 50th anniversary of the last flood this is a date not to miss, for more information and details: full calendar at the official website

A New View of Florence

With the city wide celebrations for the Feast of Saint John the Baptist, three amazing monuments opened for the summer season, the first is Tower of San Nicolò (read our article with opening hour details.) In addition to San Nicolò you will also find the Tower of the Zecca and the Porta Romana, both open for a limited time only.

Torre della Zecca, located next to the Arno River in the direction of Piazza Beccaria, Mercato Sant'Ambrogio and some great afternoon happy hour spots was once the last outpost along the Arno River. Visit the tower on Sunday June 25, July 17 and September 18 or on Saturday 6 August from 5 pm till 8 pm.

Porta Romana, the southern most gate to the city built in the early 1300’s. This is truly a special treat, since it is rarely open to the public.  It will be available for 30 minute tours on Sunday 26 June & 21 August and Saturday 23 June & 10 September, from 5 pm till 8 pm.

It's All Under the Bridge

The Arno River is quite the protagonist this summer, between the concerts, sports activities and shows. It is unfortunate that most shows are in Italian - though you can visit the Medici Dynasty for a live theater performance, in English and hosted in a spectacular setting (almost as nice as the Arno River!).

However, having said this sometimes it is the beauty and the uniqueness of the setting that can make the event memorable. The ZauberTeatro will be presenting a drama in memory of the Flood of 1966 using the stable, flat bottom boats of the renaioli as both stage and audience seating.  Or there is the boat based theater narrating history as you have never seen it before, read here for days.  

If you are not feeling up to the language barrier but still want the thrill of floating on the Arno, then check out our article on the multi lingual activities on the river this summer.

Can you Feel the Rhythm?

Summer in Florence always includes making music under the stars. And this year’s headlines will have your head spinning with the beat! The local resident and international star STING will be serenading the city on the 28th of July at the Visarno Arena in the Cascine Park, with his Back to the Bass Tour.

The beautiful Piazza SS Annunziata is also playing a major role providing a truly spectacular backdrop to a series of concerts with Musart.  Entertainers like Malika Ayane, Ludovico Einaudi and a totally unique Sunrise Concert with Remo Anzovino at the piano can be combined with a special buffet inside the newly opened Museum degli Innocenti. Tickets required.

Dancing your way through summer is easy here in Florence. Check out the exciting presentation of the White Circus in the splendid setting of Orticoltura Garden on the 19th of July; showcasing the magic of cabaret, swing and more. The Compagnia Opus Ballet has a calendar of shows throughout the city, making use of interesting open spaces like Church of the Marino Marini Museum, Courtyard of Palazzo Strozzi and the Novecento Museum.

Bargello also features a calendar of dance and theater in its suggestive courtyard, under the stars; from the classical theme “Romeo e Giulietta” to guest star l’étoile Letizia Giuliani, and “Urban Contamination.”

These highlights of the Florence summer calendar are just a few of the exciting events that will be available. Check in regularly with our updated list of select activities for July, August and September and a list of the best exhibits to visit.  Another good place to check for music and activities near Florence is EstateFiesolana, read our article to find out what is happening in Fiesole.

Author: Donna Scharnagl

It has been over 24 years since I took my first steps in Italy and I still haven’t found a good reason to leave.  Between the food, the culture, the history, the art, the landscapes … did I mention the food? I have become a lifelong student. And I soon learned that Italians all have stories that long to be told; stories that paint a picture of how hard work produces character, how life is made of ups and downs and how good it feels to laugh.


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