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Best Florence Summer Activities (updating for 2018)

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 9th to the 16th of July like Pitti Palace, Giotto Bell Tower and Ponte Vecchio to mention just a few. Some of the concerts will be open and free to the public, fore more detailed information and tickets costs take a look at the official web site. The concert on the 12th will feature the soloists of the festival and the Florentine Chamber Orchestra under the direction of the Maestro Giuseppe Lanzetta and will be taking place in one-of-a-kind location: the Podestà Chapel inside the Bargello National Museum, for an enchanting virtual journey throughout the history of music starting from Baroque to last century, inspired to those movements that have influenced all the art, literature and music history. Full calendar at the official website

Happy hour with a view

In a majestic setting like that of Piazzale degli Uffizi, Apriti Cinema has become one of the most eagerly awaited events of the Estate Fiorentina rich calendar. Popular and high quality movies will be offered in their original language with subtitles in Italian, so it's the perfect kind of event that you may want to attend to if you have free time (every night from 10pm from June 26 to July 19 except of the 4th of July). Free entrance while seats last. Full calendar to be announced. Check this page

Enjoy the wide celebrations for the Feast of Saint John the Baptist from an exclusive location: the Riverside pic nic on the Arno River will be offering you an amazing point of view of the fireworks celebrating Florence Patron Saint. Easy Living - Spiaggia sull'Arno is one of most popular summer locations in Florence, with a rich program of activities for all ages with free entrance. Restaurant with gourmet menus open for lunch and dinner, happy hours and drinks with live music by the popular Chiosko and many other events on program will give you the impression of being on an active Tuscan beach while being surrounded by the beauty of Florence. If you feel like touring the most trendy afternoon happy hour spots of the city, take a look at this article.   

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, once again this coming summer, several shows and dramas using the stable, flat bottom boats of the renaioli as both stage and audience seating: dates for Come in America have already been scheduled (in June and September), while more performances have still to be announced throughout the month of July for E' canto o forse incanto? Stay tuned on the official web site for all updates. 

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 Visarno Arena in the Cascine Park will host the Firenze Rocks Festival from June 23 to 25, three days of excellent music with international artists and music groups of the likes of the Aereosmith and Placeebo, both showing on stage on the 23rd (with a unique ticket, you have the possibility to assist to all the concerts on program for that day, more info on the official web site). 

The Visarno Arena will be housing more super exciting live concerts, inaugurating the music summer season on June 14 with the Radiohead and going through the 18th of July with some of the most famous artists in the world - like the Cranberries, the Jamiroquai and the System of a Down: The Firenze Summer Festival and the other music performances will be giving you the chance to see your most favourite artist in a unique live show, detailed info at the Visarno official web site.

The beautiful Piazza SS Annunziata is also playing a major role providing a truly spectacular backdrop to a series of concerts with Musart from July 17 to the 23rd.  Entertainers like Paolo Conte, Francesco Gabbani and a totally unique Sunrise Concert (at 4.45 am) with Cesare Picco 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 Fondazione Fabbrica Europa in the splendid setting of Piazza Ognissanti from the 11th to the 13th of July showcasing the magic of a music mix among different and distant cultures: for this Festival au Désert, many artists from all over the world will be singing and playing for a new social, musical and cultural project. More info on the Fabbrica Europa site.  Music under the star is another series of dates with live concerts of classical music, aimed to bring people closer to music through shows and orchestra performances held in uncommon places throughout the city of Florence, like churchyards. Free entrance to all the concerts in program, the complete calendar on the Toscanaclassica official website

From July 6 to August 3, the Lungarno del Tempio will be housing 5 dates with the puppet theatre: both children and grown-ups will have the chance to assist to 5 shows inspired to the traditional Italian masks and puppets, like Harlequin and Pulcinella, read here for more information.

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 more than 25 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. It didn't take long to learn 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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