Sixth month of the year is almost here, you say? It’s only fitting, then, to add a bonus event to this month’s list of top free things to do in the city. Your six events follow!
Festa della Repubblica | June 2
Put your Italian pride pants on! Each June 2nd, the country celebrates the founding of the Italian republic in 1946 following World War II. You should expect to find some businesses and offices closed, but there will be a special mass starting at 9 a.m. in the Duomo, followed by events throughout the rest of the day. This year’s festivities have yet to be released, but they should look something like last year’s, which you can preview here.
Remember way back when, Hannah explained to us how awesome the Traces of Florence exhibit was at the Palazzo Vecchio? Well, the space lives on to showcase the lesser-known side of Florence’s rich history. These days, as a tie in with the Pontormo e Rosso show on exhibit at Palazzo Strozzi, Traces of Florence is featuring Pontormo’s artistic participation in the Chariot of St. John the Baptist, also known as the Mint Wagon. From the museum:
The exhibition in Palazzo Vecchio hosts the thirteen surviving pieces of a set of panels which Pontormo painted in c. 1514 for the monumental float used in the ancient Funzione degli Omaggi. The panels will be on display alongside all the other paintings and sculptures – never shown in public before now – that adorned the float until it was eventually dismantled some time between 1808 and 1810.
This sounds like an interesting piece, and – lucky for you! – there will be a free guided tour of its remaining pieces at 6 p.m. today. A reservation is required, however, so call up +39 055 2469600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to affirm your place. For exhibit hours and details, click here. And if you still haven’t seen Pontormo’s main event at Palazzo Strozzi, stopping by for Giovedì al quardato on June 12 is the perfect time to take it all in.
Lo Gnomone | June 6, 13, 21, 25
The Duomo’s gnomon, an astronomical instrument installed by Paolo Dal Pozzo Toscanelli in 1475, will (somewhat) capture the summer solstice on June 21st. The first 150 people to fill Santa Maria del Fiore at 12:30 p.m. will be able to witness the sun passing through a bronze plate in the cathedral’s dome, casting a bright circle that fits perfectly within the marble circle built into the Duomo’s floor. It was used to measure the position of the sun in the sky throughout the year, but only on this day will it fall directly in line with the Cathedral floor. Guests are also encouraged to visit for viewings at 12:30 on the surrounding weeks for a good look and interesting information. For a much better explanation of the history and science involved, visit here. For official event information, click here.
O Flos Colende | June 12
This popular series has returned for 2014. “O flos colende” (oh venerable flower) is the opening line for the Gregorian chant dedicated to San Zanobi, the beloved first bishop of Florence that miraculously brought more than a few persons back from the dead. The phrase is also the name for a free ongoing series of sacred music preformed in the Duomo until October. Even Florence’s old pros will agree it’s a whole new way to experience Santa Maria del Fiore; this nighttime concert doesn’t start until 9:15 p.m., which means you can expect haunting Gregorian chants and classical music under the shadows of Brunelleschi’s dome. In June, the focus is on sacred music from the 1700-1900s, featuring music by three Italian composers. For full details, click here.
A Special Night at the Ponte Vecchio | June 16
Stefano Ricci is a luxury men’s clothing designer, known all over the world but based in Florence. So, in celebration of Firenze Hometown of Fashion by Pitti Immagine, Ricci has donated new lighting for the Ponte Vecchio, to be unveiled tonight. The ceremonies will be hosted by none other than Andrea Bocelli, but the main attraction is the “aquatic spectacle on the Arno” by the French company Ilotopie, who will perform a larger than life show on the Arno itself for the city to enjoy. The show starts at 10 p.m. Perhaps show up a bit early with your vino to get a good view! There will be a number of other cool events celebrating Florence as Fashion Capital throughout the month; here’s the full schedule of events.
Feast Day of St. John the Baptist & Calcio Storico Finals | June 24
This event deserves an entire post to itself – and Hannah has it here! Highlights include men practically fighting to the death on a transformed Piazza Santa Croce covered in sand, historical parades of epic proportions, and fireworks shot off from Piazzale Michelangelo. Considering St. John the Baptist is the patron saint of Florence, it’s safe to say the city goes all-out for this celebration. Have a look for yourself at Hannah’s evidence as to why this might be one of the very best days of the year. For more information on tickets to the Calcio Storico games (qualifying rounds for the finals are played on June 14 & 15), click here.