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May in Florence: Events to Mark on Your Calendar

Colorful, Exciting Events Await you!

The Tuscan countryside is filled with plants and trees in full bloom which let off their inebriating perfumes: the warmer time of the year is knocking at our door and May pays its tribute to the rebirth of nature with a lot of events celebrating the enchanting sight of parks and city gardens during this period. Here are some of our suggestions if you just want to spend some time at Florence's top gardens.

View of Florence from the Rose Garden - May and June are when the roses are in bloom

Staying outside and enjoying the days as they get warmer before they get oppressively hot is the best advice one may receive. Especially in Florence and its surroundings you’ll breathe an atmosphere full of a "contagious" joy, where time seems to stand still and you’ll have the chance to recover your natural rhythm of life amidst nature, enjoying the secular rural traditions of the Tuscan countryside while taking part in those events designed to spread and share the ancient popular culture of these places - that's what a vacation is for, right?

Getting back to what's going on in Florence and surroundings in May, here are our selections of what we consider some of the most important or interesting events you could take go to.

State Museums in Florence | FREE ENTRANCE | May 7

It is a standing appointment the first Sunday of every month, free entrance into some of our favorite Florentine museums. Check our calendar to see if you can find a new place to discover and explore.

Check our list of State Museums in Florence

Scarperia | COLLEZIONISTI IN PIAZZA | 1st Sunday of May

Antiques in the Square

Actually, the first sunday of month heralds this event in Scarperia. Just imagine a stroll through this picturesque town center to find a wide range of goodies including vintage, antiques, clothing, and more, Stands are set up from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm.

Panzano in Chianti | APRILANTE | 1st Sunday in May

Handcrafts & Vintage

We know they call the fair "April"ante, but it really goes all year round! This monthly market in the streets of this charming town in Chianti is where you will find hand crafts, vintage and delicious typical foods and all of it this is just outside in the countryside surrounding Florence.

Official link

Markets in and Around Florence March 2017

Greve in Chianti | IL PAGLIAIO | Every 4th Sunday of May

Organic and Artisan Market

Piazza Matteotti is filled with locals who feature goods from their gardens, their kitchens and their workshops. Often you will find not only great bargains, but music and opportunities to do some taste testing.

Facebook Page

Fortezza del Basso | INTERNAZIONALE DELL’ARTIGIANATO | April 22 - MAY 1

81st Edition of the International Handicrafts Trade Fair

An event which hosted the most important master craftsmen of history inside a privileged space, where tradition and innovation merge to create extremely valuable handmade products.Admire the work from famous Florence workshops, as well as remote arts which are being rediscovered both in the regions of Italy and worldwide.

Official Webpage

Monteloro | SAGRA DEL CINGHIALE | April 22 - May 1

The Delicious Flavor of Wild Boar

For the last 16 years, this small town in the Mugello countryside has been preparing a food festival based on the savor flavors of wild boar. Be sure to put this on your calendar if you want to try some authentic Tuscan cuisine.

Florence | TANGO FESTIVAL | April 25 - May 1

dancing, lessons, and shows

Join the rhythm, the dancing, and the fun during the annual Tango festival in the city. The festival will take place mainly in the theater Affratellamento salon, Florence Salòn CALDIN and the Social Hall of Grassina, all three of which boast genuine wooden floors.

Official Webpage

Iris Garden | GIARDINO DELL’IRIS | April 25 - May 20

59° International Iris Competition

The garden is open from April 25 - May 20 but the Irises don't usually start blooming until the second week of May (but of course it depends on the weather - the sunnier it is, the faster the buds will open up). 8 - 13 May 2017 is the annual International Iris Competition, which participants have been preparing for years!

Official link for the Competition

Barberino del Mugello | Cantà Maggio | April 29 - May 3

Palio dei Rioni, 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.

Check Calendar on Official Website

Piazza Signoria | IL TROFEO MAROCCO | May 1

Colorful Flag Throwing Exhibition

Magnificent colors flying through the air, the tapping of the drums echoing in the square and the gasps of surprise as each of the four competing groups pull new tricks out of their period customs. Bandierai degli Uffizi, Sbandieratori e Musici Città di Lucca (LU), Sbandieratori e Musici Città di Giove (TR), Sbandieratori e Musici del palio dei Terzieri di Montecassiano (MC) will delight and amaze this year - be there to lend your support.

Facebook Page

Dicomano | MAGNALONGA | May 1

A Holiday for your Tastebuds

10 or 20 km of savoring local delights and antique recipes. You choose the length of road you want to hike and the little town of Dicomano will take care of the treats. Sign up for the Dicomano and enjoy a hike from DICOMANO – PIEVE DI S. MARIA – IL LAGO – FROSINANA – CASA ROMANA – PODERE MONTE – BOVANA – PIEVE S. MARIA – DICOMANO. There will be four programmed stops where you can taste cheese, cold cuts, fruit, wine, and special delights like bread soaked in wine and crusted with sugar...that will keep your energy level up for sure.

Official Link

Pontassieve | MOZZAFIATO | May 1

A vision to behold

This town just outside of Florence, and easily reached by train, will be home to the traditional half marathon which is nicknamed “mozzafiato” - this literally means “takes your breathe away”. But not for the reasons you think! No sir, it leaves you breathless for the fantastic views you encounter.

Official Link

Another Discover Tuscany team member running the half marathon in Florence

Dicomano | FIERA di MAGGIO | May 5 - 7

Another way to appreciate the local culture through this agricultural-zoological exposition where there are also craftsmen, artists and people who eagerly await this date to take part in the local competition.

Official Link

Opera di Firenze | DON CARLO - OPERA | May 5 - 14

A bit of culture in the city center

A Grand Opera based on conflicts in the life of Carlos, Prince of Asturias (1545–1568). Played out in four acts with the music by Giuseppe Verdi

Official Link

Scandicci | FESTA DI SAN ZANOBI | May 10

Saint Zenobius (337–417) is venerated as the first bishop of Florence and the patron saint of Scandicci. The town celebrates with a historical parade followed by holy Mass, a pilgrimage to the San Zanobi Cave and finally, at the end of the manifestation, entertaining games for children and grown-ups. The week before will offer concerts, sport competitions, interesting exhibits and many other events to mark the opening of the great feast.

Lungarno Zecca Vecchia | DeeJay TEN MARATHON | May 14

10 km around the City Center of Florence

Get those sneakers ready to hike through the streets of Florence and up the hills to Piazzale Michelangelo! And be ready to do it like a DeeJay! Starting at the tower calle Zecca near the Arno river this path will lead you on a panoramic view of Florence.

Official Webpage

Dicover Tuscany Team runs the marathon, like a DeeJay 

Italy | GIORNO DELLA MAMMA | 2° Sunday in May

Italian Mother’s Day

For all of those travelling with their Mom in Florence, remember to give her an extra hug and wish her Happy Mother’s Day, Italian style of course...that means a double scoop of gelato!

Ponte a Ema | GIRO D’ITALIA | May 17

The national sporting event of the year: Giro d’Italia (by bike of course!!) This stretch doesn’t include one single flat stretch passing over the mountains that separate Florence from Bagno di Romagna: Passo della Consuma, Passo della Calla, Passo del Carnaio and Monte Fumaiolo. You can join at the starting line in the town of Ponte a Ema, easily reached with public transport from the city center of Florence.

Read more about this event

Corsini Gardens | ARTIGIANATO E PALAZZO | May 18 - 21

“Fiori d’arancio” is the theme

Throughout the 23rd edition of the exhibition, visitors discover how artisans create their objects by hand by watching them work in the small workshops erected in the garden and orangeries. The event will be held in the 16th century gardens Corsini Gardens designed by Gherardo Silvani and open to the public specially for the occasion. The theme of “Fiori d’arancio” and wedding bells, highlights Florence as a destination wedding venue.

Official Webpage

Castelfiorentino | IN/CANTO E BANCHI | May 19 -21

Nights filled with magic

Enchanted evenings, where many open-air theaters scattered around the ancient hamlet of Castelfiorentino, will host spectacle of magic, manifested in its many shades: from great illusions to manipulation, from transformation to the ground and to stilts to illusionism, from the Mentalism in the performing arts. A mysterious and dreamy journey into the world of fantasy and illusions.

Read more about this event

Florence | 2° FLORENCE WALKING BY NIGHT | May 20

“Fiori d’arancio” is the theme

don't miss the chance to take part to a one-of-a-kind walking throughout the historical center of Florence: the Florence Walking by Night is an occasion to take a 5 km long and noncompetitive walk through the artistic and cultural marvels of the city by night with Milena Megli, a renowned athlete. The walk starts at 9pm touring Le Murate and Piazza Madonna della Neve

Piazza della Signoria | FIORITA COMMEMORATION | May 23

A True Florentine Tradition

The Fiorita Commemoration takes place at the circular plaque embedded in the stones in Piazza Signoria, the very spot where Savonarola was put to death. Just as the townspeople had done the morning after the hanging of the preacher, the citizens of Florence leave flowers the man and revolutionary who ruled the Florence republic from 1494 to 1498. The ceremony includes: mass in the Palazzo Vecchio Priory Chapel, the floral tribute in the square and a historic procession that reaches Ponte Vecchio, from which flower petals are tossed into the river.

Teatro Goldoni | HISTOIRE DU SOLDAT - OPERA | May 24 - 29

“A crazy undertaking”

“A crazy undertaking”: this is how Igor Stravinsky defined L'Histoire du soldat, a theatrical plot with few instruments or characters, an opera without song, a narration without scenes. Composed during the last few days of the first world war, the plot is inspired by two Russian fables and tells the story of a soldier, Joseph, who makes a deal with the Devil: in exchange for his violin, he is transported into the future, where he discovers that his girlfriend has married another man, with whom she has had a son. The riches that he obtains are returned to the Devil who, despite being beaten, gets his revenge.

Official Link

Cascine Park | FESTA DEL GRILLO | May 25

music, entertainment, & food

Though the connection to the cricket (grillo) is a little vague and lost in history, there is an important "religious" interpretation which explains why this feast was celebrated on May 25, the Ascension Day. The winter cricket larva stayed underground and took flight in May, much resembling the resurrection. At one time it was celebrated today by the purchase at the Cascine Park of a little cage where a cricket was placed. This custom has lost its fascination over time, ever since 1999, when the City of Florence issued a law prohibiting the sale of crickets.


Tuscany Wine Cellars | CANTINA APERTA | May 27 - 28

Bring your tastebuds & wine glasses

THis special event includes the opening of many famous and not so famous vineyards throughout Tuscany. Surprises in everywhere with wine tasting, food and tours of this interesting areas. Read here for more information on this event.

Click here to find who is open


Lastra a Signa | WALKING e BENESSERE in NOTTURNA | May 27

Springtime at night

Another opportunity to enjoy the fresh evening air with a 5 km walk organized for keeping you healthy. Follow Milena Meligo around the park along the Arno river in this busy suburb just outside of the Florence city center.

Scarperia | INFIORATA | last Sunday of May

The fragrance of Spring in Mugello

The picturesque streets and squares of the town will be decorated on May 28 with original and bizarre artistic creations made up with flower petals by the local citizens, following a common theme previously arranged. This year’s theme is flowers of the Zodiac.

Official Website

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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