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Events in November, in Florence and surroundings

November in Florence will be a truly Italian mix of food, culture, spirituality and sport; a clear demonstration that though winter is beginning to descend upon the city there is still much activity buzzing in the streets, theaters, museums and on the culinary front. The change of seasons maybe an indication that the vegetation goes into hibernation but the Florentines are just as active a ever preparing for the holidays, tasting the new harvest of olives and checking out fashion. The “apericena” (happy hour buffets) are still held in the picturesque city streets but everyone is huddles around the heaters...while sipping a spritz and grazing on the offered snacks. The museums are still busy... if anything even busier with grand openings and closings, new exhibits and new frontiers.

Setting the Table in November

The predominant flavours of the month are fresh pressed extra virgin olive oil, white truffles and chocolate. Sounds like a culinary dream come true (perhaps not all on the same plate …. though you just never know!)

In the hills surrounding Florence, there are several dates for the first taste of this year’s liquid gold production. Towards Scandicci, at San Michele a Torri together with Slow Food, will open their wine cellars and olive oil urns for tasting music and fun on the 7th of November. Another suburb of Florence, Calenzano, has two weekends dedicated to extra virgin olive oil, chocolate and an open air market. The chocolate extravaganza is on the 7th & 8th while the olive oil exhibition is the 7th, 8th, 14th & 15th. Reservations are necessary for taste testing. (you can write an email to ) Catch the bus towards Bagno a Ripoli on the 21st and 22nd for the annual Prim.Olio Fair, which highlights the local production with a fair in the middle of the city center with tastings, handcrafts and even a competition for the best flavours.

Borgo San Lorenzo, in Mugello, will be celebrating the prestigious white and black truffle on the 7th & 8th along with the flavours of chocolate (dark, milk and everything in between). The Mostra Mercato del Tartufo Bianco e Nero del Mugello, the Fair and Market of the White and Black Truffle of Mugello will offer traditional dishes made with truffles, handicrafts and products from local farmers, called 0km farmers markets in Italy.

Then there are events that highlight all of autumn like the Festa di Fine Autunno at Rignano sull’Arno. For three days starting on the 6th of November in the historic center of Figline val d’Arno they will highlight local products, music and games. And the Sagra for Polenta, a creamy corn meal served with a selection of rich meat and mushroom sauces as well as Tuscan grilled specialities and desserts in Compiobbi near Pontassieve from the 25-29th.

An Explosion of Art in Florence

While the above celebrates the art of flavours on the table, the museums are exploding with visual and audio opportunities. Make plans to visit the newly opened Museo dell’Opera del Duomo and be prepared for the visual itinerary which will have you feeling the power of the more than 1000 artists who contributed to the Duomo in Florence. With over 70 rooms, a panoramic terrace and 200 plus pieces of artwork - this museum is a spectacular testament to the works it exhibits.

In the particular and evocative Museum of Marino Marini, not only can you enjoy a unique combination of past and present with the work of the artist and that of Leon Alberti Batista but you can still view the contemporary work of Betty Woodman and Fredrik Vaerslev. The colors and textures are displayed in the crypt of the ex-church San Pancrazio.

For a limited time only there is a spotlight on Japan and China in two separate initiatives. Easily reached with the tramvia “Resistenza” in only 20 minutes you are at the Centro Rogers where the XVII edition of the Japanese Festival is being held from the 27th to the 29th with dance, art, origami and the tea ceremony. Closer to the city center at Palazzo Medici Riccardo until the 17th of November there will be a showing of 65 contemporary pieces of artwork from some of the top names in China today. This event takes place every five years and is recognized as one of the most important Chinese exhibitions outside of its borders.

Fashion is another form of art and one that has particular spot in the heart of most Italians, especially the Florentines who gave birth to names like Gucci, Ferragamo, Gherardini and Braccialini. From the 20th to the 22nd Modaprima 79 will feature fashion & accessories collections for a/w 2016/2017 and the bestsellers of s/s 2017 at Fortezza Basso.

Music, like good food and artistic expressions, has no language boundaries to surpass. When you speak of an international master like Ludovico Einaudi, he will draw an appreciative audience from all corners of the world. His musical creations are featured in films like The Untouchables and I'm Still Here, as well as the TV miniseries Doctor Zhivago. On the 26th and 27th he will be performing at Teatro Verdi, reserve your tickets now and plan an evening with great music and in this historic theater from 1854.

From Spirituality to Sport

Florence is hosting the 5th National Ecclesiastical Convention, from the 9th to the 13th, with the much awaited visit of Papa Francesco. Besides addressing the convention and visiting the Cathedral of Florence, he will be celebrating mass for the public at the sports center Franchi on Tuesday the 10th. Beware, there could be delays and re-routing of traffic on the day he is in the city.

While on the theme of religion, Christmas is getting closer and Florence can't be behind Pisa on this: if the latter will be housing the Fabbrica di Babbo Natale around the middle of November, the former will be home to the Christmas traditional market; the Oberdrauburg Christmas Market will be held in the old center of Signa, about 15 minutes driving distance from Florence, with the participation of the two twin cities Maromme (France) and Oberdrauburg (Austria). It will be a special occasion to taste traditional products and getting a head start on your Christmas shopping!

Another event which might have traffic re-routed for a bit is the 32nd Florence Marathon which will be taking place on 29th November. This 42km competition crosses the entire city center, passing by some of the most beautiful and suggestive places in Florence. It has become the second national race (after the Roma Marathon) in terms of popularity and number of participants (and the 20th on an international ranking). Preceded by a 1 km relay race dedicated to Mauro Pieroni at the Luigi Ridolfi Stadium. Plus a family event, with a Ginky family Marathon for the young people and adults to promote enthusiasm across the board. Register now and join in on the fun.

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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