Florence Festival Guide: Best Festivals in Florence By Month

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In this Florence Festival Guide, you’ll discover something to celebrate year-round in Florence.

It’s no secret that Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. But you may want to add a festival or two to your itinerary to experience Florence in its full regalia.

Read more to find a Florence festival that aligns with your travel dates, below. You’ll also discover helpful tips to make the best of your experience.

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CONTENTS – In this Florence Festival Guide, you will learn all about the best festivals in Florence throughout the year, including:

It’s Festival Time in Florence!

Florence, Italy is the home of the famous Michelangelo’s David, the Uffizi Gallery, and some of the best festivals in Europe.

No matter which month you visit, you are sure to find a festival you enjoy!

But it is probably best to check this Florence Festival Guide first.

Before you head out and about, drop your extra bags and backpacks at a Florence luggage locker first. Then you can thoroughly enjoy the occasion!

Dive into Florence’s festive spirit and beyond with our comprehensive guide to Italy.

Here’s what you can expect, month-by-month in 2023.

January Festivals in Florence:

Feast of the Epiphany

Also known as the 12th day of Christmas, the Feast of the Epiphany on the 6th of January is a day to celebrate the Adoration of the Magi.

You’ll enjoy a huge costume parade starting at the Palazzo Pitti with the Three Wise Men, a live nativity, and more.

This party at this Florence festival lasts all night long with food, music, and fun.

February Festivals in Florence:

Carnival

At the Piazza della Signoria on February 20 – 25th, celebrate Carnival in Florence.

The festival actually starts with a parade on Fat Thursday and ends with another parade on Fat Tuesday.

You’ll see floats, dancers, and the most amazing costumes.

Don’t miss the delicious Schiacciata Fiorentina, the Berlingozzo cake tradition, and other amazing food during Carneval.

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March Festivals in Florence:

St. Patrick’s Day

Believe it or not, you’ll find more than two dozen Irish pubs in Florence.

There, you can join in the Irish tradition of drinking green beer from March 17th through the weekend for St. Patrick’s Day.

Among our favorites are Finnegan’s Irish Pub, the Florence Irish Pub, and the Fiddler’s Elbow Pub. You can indulge in your share of Guinness beer, whiskey tasting, darts tournaments, and trivia. 

The Feast of St. Joseph

Two days after St. Patrick’s Day every year, Italians celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph.

From religious ceremonies to baked goods, there is a bit of everything going on at this event.

Perhaps the best pastry on St. Joseph’s Day to try is the Zeppole di San Giuseppe, a delicious cream-filled cream puff.

After the local priest blesses the altar and food, everyone gets to chow down for the rest of the day!

Florentine New Year

Also known as the Feast of the Annunciation, this New Year celebration went on from 1250 until 1750 in the city of Florence at Santissima Annunziata.

Although the date was changed to January 1st in 1749 to correlate with all the other cities’ celebrations, Florentines still celebrate March 25th as their own personal New Year celebration.

At the stroke of midnight on Florentine New Year, you might find yourself eating cotechino con lenticchie, a dish of sausages and lentils.

During this Florence festival, the sausages–rich in fat and sliced in coin-sized bites–represent abundance and wealth in the new year!

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April Festivals in Florence:

Historical Reenactment of Holy Friday

On Good Friday, Florence celebrates a historical reenactment of the Passion of Christ with a parade of 500 figures in costume.

Dating back to the first decades of the XVII century, this religious ritual has been celebrated all over Italy.

But the Grassina Celebration is the most well-known.

Explosion of the Cart (Scoppio del Carro)

At the Piazza del Duomo on Easter Sunday, celebrate the Explosion of the Cart or Scoppio del Carro.

This event has been going on since 1622, originally marking the first victory of The Crusades.

Here’s what you can expect.

Starting in the morning, the Pazzino priest lights the Easter candle, which then lights the coals under the cart. The cart is then pulled to the Archbishop at the Duomo.

Fireworks, food, and fun ensue afterward!

Liberation Day

April 25th is Liberation Day in Italy.

This is a national holiday similar to the U.S. D-Day.

All over the country, you can find parades, historic reenactments, air shows, and festivals.

Florence features concerts, fairs, and other special events of their own.

Many churches and basilicas hold religious celebrations as well.

May Festivals in Florence:

Maggio Musicale Fiorentino

From the end of April until the end of June, you can see a variety of musical shows at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.

At this annual Italian arts festival in Florence, performers may include the likes of Daniel Harding, Don Giovanni, Lang Lang, Siberia, and Zubin Mehta.

No matter what you are interested in seeing, you have over two months of performances from which to choose!

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June Festivals in Florence:

Republic Day

On June 2nd, Italy celebrates its own Independence Day, which they call Republic Day.

Although many of the businesses will be closed, you will find parades, concerts, and festivals all over the country, including Florence.

At this Florence festival, look for the military ceremony held in Piazza della Signoria, which is the political center of Florence.

Sesto d’Estate

Enjoy Sesto d’Estate at the Villa Solaria in Florence during June and July.

You’ll find live music, wine tastings, food festivals, and theatrical celebrations all over the city, too!

The main events include a Wheat Festival, the Ernesto Ragionieri Library Courtyard concert, and theater performances at the Le Fornaci di Doccia Theater.

Patron Saint Day

On the 24th, Italy celebrates St. John the Baptist with Patron Saint Day at the Piazza Santa Maria.

Throughout the city of Florence, you’ll discover folklore and cultural events.

Starting with a parade and feast, and ending in a major firework show, the day is full of fun.

Here’s an extra tip for this Florence festival: Don’t miss the boat rides on the Arno River!

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July Festivals in Florence:

Aprilante

Every first Sunday of July, the Aprilante market in Chianti at the Piazza Gastone Bucciarelli fills up with locals.

They’re there to show off their handmade items and produce, and host workshops.

While not technically in Florence, Chianti is just about 20 miles (30 km) away, and well worth the trip.

For one reason, you’ll find great bargains.

You’ll also learn about organic and artisan food, and get free samples of many different foods and drinks.

August Festivals in Florence:

Florence Dance Festival

If you enjoy dance, check out the Florence Dance Festival at the Estate Piesolana Teatro Romano.

From the last weekend in August until the second weekend of September, you can see dozens of performances produced and choreographed by the studio.

This is a favorite event for many Florentines and a Florence festival you don’t want to miss!

September Festivals in Florence:

Festival of the Paper Lanterns (La Festa delle Rificolone)

One of the most famous celebrations in Florence takes place on September 7th at the Piazza Santissima Annunziata.

That’s when you can enjoy the Festival of Paper Lanterns.

This celebration honors the day the Virgin Mary was born.

You’ll enjoy delicious food, parades of paper lanterns, and a big festival at this event!

October Festivals in Florence:

Feast of Santa Reparata (Festa di Santa Reparata)

On October 8th at the Piazza del Duomo, Florence celebrates the Feast of Santa Reparata.

Honoring those who died in the battle of the year 406, the feast begins with a colorful procession at Piazza di Parte Guelfa.

It ends with a ceremony and feast at Piazza San Giovanni.

November Festivals in Florence:

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All Saints Day

All over Italy, the national holiday known as All Saints Day is celebrated on the first of November.

As with most Italian celebrations, it is enjoyed with a feast and parades all over the country.

All government offices and most businesses are closed.

This gives everyone a chance to enjoy the day!

December Festivals in Florence:

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception

To honor Mother Mary, the Solemnity of Immaculate Conception is celebrated on December 8th.

All across Italy, you can find religious and historical festivities and celebrations.

At the Piazza del Duomo, the day is enjoyed by the lighting of the Christmas tree, as well as a live nativity and performances.

10 Tips for Exploring Florence’s Vibrant Festival Scene

Here is what you can look forward to when you go to a Florence festival.

1. Be Part of Florence’s Festive Atmosphere & Cultural Preservation

As you explore Florence, you’ll be captivated by its magnificent architecture, including the iconic Florence Cathedral and the historic Pitti Palace. But there’s more to this city than just its stunning buildings.

Florence is also known for its vibrant and diverse festival calendar. These festivals reflect the city’s rich cultural heritage, blending historic traditions with modern celebrations just for you.

Imagine the city authorities and festival artistic committees working year-round to organize a variety of national and international competitions and events. These festivals are designed to draw visitors like you from all around the globe. They offer a unique blend of art, history, and contemporary culture that only Florence can provide.

Whether you’re passionate about classical music, modern film, or traditional celebrations like the Festa della Rificolona, Florence has something for everyone.

In Florence, you’re not just a visitor; you’re an active participant in preserving its rich cultural heritage. So go ahead and participate in the city’s meticulously organized festivals, where you can connect with the history and art that shape Florence.

These festivals are not only entertaining but also enlightening, deepening your appreciation of this culturally vibrant city.

The city transforms into a bustling hub of activities, catering to a wide array of interests. The atmosphere showcases Florence’s enduring appeal as a cultural epicenter, inviting you to be a part of its lively celebrations.

2. Discover Year-Round Delights in Florence’s Summer and Winter Festivals

In Florence, Italy, you’re in for an unrivaled experience with a rich tapestry of festivals all year round. The city bursts with life in every season, each bringing its unique celebrations and events just for you.

Imagine the summer months in Florence. They’re especially vibrant, buzzing with renowned events.

For instance, picture yourself at the Gelato Festival during the third weekend of June. There, you can indulge in a variety of artisanal Italian ice creams. The summer scene also features classical music concerts.

These events take place in historical venues like Palazzo Corsini, providing you with an elegant cultural experience.

When winter arrives, Florence transforms again. The city glows with festive lights and seasonal activities. This festive atmosphere keeps the spirit of celebration alive.

You’ll witness events that showcase Florence’s enduring charm and cultural depth. It’s a city that celebrates with you, offering unique experiences in every season.

3. Explore Cultural and Culinary Experiences in Florence, Italy

As you delve into the festivals of Florence, Italy, you’ll discover a delightful blend of cultural and culinary experiences. These festivals are perfect for you, regardless of age.

The city’s rich heritage shines through its various film festivals, live performances, and traditional music events. They all capture the true essence of Italian culture, just for you.

Culinary delights are a cornerstone of these festivals.

Local and international food vendors offer an array of Italian specialties. Imagine indulging in authentic Florentine cuisine; you can savor sumptuous gelato, classic Tuscan dishes, and other regional delicacies. It’s a feast for your senses!

Events like the Gelato Festival and the Festa della Rificolona stand out for their gastronomic offerings. If you’re a foodie, these festivals are your playground. There, you’ll dive into the tastes of Florence’s culinary traditions, all set against a backdrop of vibrant cultural activities.

4. Go to Family-Friendly Events and Historic Celebrations

In Florence, Italy, you’ll discover a variety of family-friendly events and historic celebrations that mirror the city’s rich cultural heritage. Imagine the city coming alive during Notte Bianca (White Night), transforming into a lively hub of activities and performances that entertain all ages.

You’ll experience the spectacle of the Explosion of the Cart (Scoppio del Carro), a stunning Easter tradition featuring a historic parade and a breathtaking fireworks display. This provides you with a unique glimpse into Florence’s cultural heart.

Moreover, you can immerse yourself in the Festa della Rificolona, where traditional paper lantern parades bring a magical ambiance to Florence’s streets. It’s captivating to young and old alike!

These events, including the delightful Gelato Festival and various historical reenactments, showcase the perfect blend of tradition and vibrant modern culture. It’s these experiences that make Florence an exceptional destination for families. They offer a window into the city’s soul while providing endless entertainment.

5. Enjoy Easy Access and Convenience at a Florence’s Festival

When you visit any of Florence’s festivals, you’ll appreciate the wealth of convenient amenities that enhance your festival experience.

Right in the heart of Florence, near major festival hotspots like Piazza della Repubblica, Piazza Santa Croce, and Palazzo Vecchio, you’ll discover a range of accommodation options.

Whether you prefer luxury suites in 4-star hotels or more budget-friendly choices, you’re covered. These hotels often come with perks like free Wi-Fi and valet service, ensuring you have easy access to the city’s vibrant festival scenes.

Imagine being just a short walk or a quick drive away from key cultural attractions. This central location of these accommodations makes them ideal for festival-goers.

Enjoy the Gelato Festival, Festa della Rificolona, and the historic Calcio Storico without any hassle.

6. Navigating Florence’s Festivals: Transportation and Accommodation

As you plan your visit to Florence’s festivals, it’s important to consider transportation and accommodation options. Florence’s historical center, known for its charming narrow streets, is predominantly a Limited Traffic Zone (ZTL). This means vehicle access is restricted, especially during festivals when pedestrian traffic increases.

For the most convenient experience, consider staying in accommodations near major festival venues like Piazza della Repubblica, Piazza Santa Croce, and Palazzo Vecchio. Florence offers a variety of lodging options, from luxurious 4-star hotels to budget-friendly choices, often equipped with modern amenities like free Wi-Fi.

To navigate the city, you’ll find public transportation to be a reliable and efficient option. Florence’s extensive network of buses and trams makes it easy to reach festival locations without the hassle of driving and parking.

If you do prefer to drive, paid parking garages are available outside the ZTL, from where you can easily access the festival areas either on foot or by public transport.

This approach ensures you can fully immerse yourself in renowned festivals like the Gelato Festival, Festa della Rificolona, and the historic Calcio Storico, without worrying about transportation challenges.

7. Explore the Charm of Florence’s Old Town During Festivals

As you wander through Florence’s Old Town during festival times, you’ll be enveloped in a magical atmosphere. Imagine walking down ancient streets, surrounded by lively celebrations at places like Santo Spirito or Piazza Santa Croce. These festivals offer you a unique blend of history and living tradition, making your visit to Florence a journey through time.

8. Plan Your Cinematic Journey at Florence’s Film Festivals

If you’re a film enthusiast, Florence’s film festival scene is your haven. Here, you can immerse yourself in a variety of film festivals showcasing everything from short films to international masterpieces. Picture yourself in historical venues like Palazzo Vecchio, engaging with international cinema and connecting with fellow cinephiles!

9. Experience Traditional Celebrations: La Befana and San Lorenzo Festivals

Join the joyous festivities of La Befana in early January and the Feast of San Lorenzo in August. You can revel in the folklore and festive activities of La Befana, bringing delight to both children and adults. At the Feast of San Lorenzo, you’ll be part of religious processions and community feasts, experiencing the heart of Florence’s traditions.

10. Think of Florence as Your Learning Vacation Destination

Florence is your ideal destination for a learning vacation. Engage in educational and leisure activities at the city’s festivals. These events include workshops, exhibitions, and cultural activities that provide insights into Florentine art, history, and traditions, making your stay both enriching and enjoyable.

Where to Stay in Florence, Italy (Interactive Map)

If you’ll be exploring Florence, consider booking convenient accommodations. Compare popular hotel booking platforms, like booking.com, expedia.com, and hotels.com to get the best deals.

Or, you can use this full-featured interactive map to hone in on your preferences.

Tip: You can adjust the dates, budget, and filters, as well as zoom in/zoom out to narrow down your options. Adjust the filters to explore tours, restaurants, and other attractions here, too!

Final Thoughts on the Florence Festival Schedule

Although March, April, and June have the most events, every month of the year has something to rejoice in Florence.

In fact, this is just the shortlist, as many celebrations in the city are not listed here.

Whether you want to enjoy music, dance, theater, food, or religious ceremonies, you can find it in at a festival in Florence!


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About Jackie Gately, editor-IN-CHIEF

I'm Jackie Gately, your travel confidante and the creative force behind Enjoy Travel Life, awarded the "Best Casual-Luxury Lifestyle Blog (USA)" in Travel and Tourism by LUXlife Magazine for four consecutive years.

With 25 years of published expertise, I'm a seasoned writer, editor, and photographer curating inspiring travel guides and lifestyle tips for empty nesters. I hope to kindle your spirit of exploration, encouraging you to overcome obstacles and turn your dreams into reality.

Learn to minimize your pre-travel angst and maximize the joy of exploration with insights from my experiences. Let's make every adventure a celebration of this exciting phase of life! 

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FAQs About Florence Festivals

Here are some commonly asked questions about festivals in Florence, Italy.

What is the festival in Florence?

Florence celebrates various festivals year-round, including the traditional Festa della Rificolona and the historical Calcio Storico, blending cultural heritage with modern entertainment.

What was the carnival season in Florence?

Carnivale in Florence takes place in February and features colorful parades and festive events that showcases traditional costumes and activities leading up to Lent.

What festivals are in Florence in June?

June’s highlights in Florence include the Feast of Saint John with fireworks and cultural events, along with classical music concerts and artistic celebrations.

Is June 24 a holiday in Italy?

Yes, June 24, the Feast of Saint John. It’s celebrated in Florence with religious ceremonies, historical reenactments, and vibrant public festivities.

What is celebrated on 24 June?

On June 24th, Florence celebrates the Feast of Saint John with events like Calcio Storico, fireworks, and diverse cultural activities, commemorating its patron saint.