The quiet months of January and February are an excellent time to visit the Tuscan capital. Piazzas, streets and museums are blissfully crowd free and there are many accommodation bargains to be had. Here are some of the top events that are happening in Florence in January and February 2016...
Three Wise Men fresco in the Magi Chapel of Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence, source: Wikipedia
The Christian festival of Epiphany, that marks the arrival of the Wise Men to Bethlehem, is celebrated in Florence with a magnificent parade of the Magi through the streets of the ancient city. The reenactment sets off from Piazza Pitti and crosses the Ponte Vecchio then heads over towards the Duomo.
This six hundred year old procession has an impressive history with members of the Medici family taking part in the annual event (as depicted in the Gozzoli mural in the Magi Chapel of Palazzo Medici-Riccardi).
2pm, 6 January, Piazza Pitti
Florence Brewer of the Year 2016
Florence Brewer of the Year, source: www.facebook.com/birraiodellanno
The popularity of beer is skyrocketing in Italy as craft brewers are pop up all over the country. Florence’s Brewer of the Year festival (Birraio dell'Anno) brings together Italy’s top beer artisans to compete to win the coveted title. Visitors will have the opportunity to sample over 100 beers from Italy and overseas.
15 - 17 January, ObiHall Theatre, www.birraiodellanno.it
Divine Beauty from Van Gogh to Chagall and Fontana
Study for Crucifixion, Graham Sutherland, source: www.palazzostrozzi.org
In January there’s just time to catch this wonderful exhibition that explores the relationship between art and religion from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. The collection, that comprises over one hundred works by well-known Italian and international artists, includes pieces by Domenico Morelli, Lucio Fontana, Vincent Van Gogh, Edvard Munch, Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Georges Rouault and Henri Matisse.
Until 24 January, Palazzo Strozzi, www.palazzostrozzi.org
Street style at Pitti Uomo, source: www.duchamplondon.com
This trade fair, which takes place every January and June, is arguably the world’s most important platform for men’s clothing and accessory collections. If you’re not in the industry then I’m afraid you won’t be able to get in, but being in Florence around this time still makes for some excellent people watching. Pitti Uomo is credited with making dandyish acceptable again and the sartorially savvy street style on display will not disappoint.
12-15 January, Florence, www.pittimmagine.com
Fiera del Cioccolato Artigianale, source: www.facebook.com/Fiera-del-Cioccolato-Artigianale
This annual festival is dedicated to all things sweet and dark. Visitors can marvel at exquisite Italian artisanal chocolate creations and even sample some of the goods.
Date in February to be announced, www.fieradelcioccolato.it
Carnevale di Viareggio
In early February celebrate Carnival in style in Viareggio, just one and half hours away from Florence.
The Tuscan beachside town is home to one of Europe’s finest carnival celebrations which is second only to Venice’s Carnevale for party spirit. Giant 40 tonne floats carrying up to 200 people, which have been built in the 5 months leading up to the event, are paraded through the streets with performers, actors and comedians. Other events include fireworks, masked balls and comedy shows.
7, 14, 21, 28 February and 5 March, Viareggio, buy tickets at www.carnevale-viareggio.it
Italian Opera in Santa Monaca Church, source: www.classictic.com
Experiencing opera up close in Tuscan capital is an unforgettable experience. The city’s opera programme boasts intimate venues including ancient basilicas and medieval churches. The operas performed are mostly Italian and include Puccini, Verdi and Rossini with popular favourites like La Boheme, La Traviata and the Barber of Seville.
Various locations and times, www.classictic.com