General info about principal events in Florence and Tuscany and things to do
Summer Events throughout Tuscany
Summer in Italy features many a SAGRA: food festival. Small villages throughout Tuscany host Sagras for specific foods each weekend like the Sagra di Porcini of Monte Catini in August. At these festivals you have the opportunity to sample the featured food in a variety of different typical recipes and often for free.
Summer also brings the Florentine nightlife outdoors-several major piazzas like Santo Spirito and Santissima Annunziata host nightly live music concerts and an open bar. A particularly popular local summer haunt in Florence is Piazza Poggi located just below Piazzale Michelangelo. Situated behind a medieval watch tower, this restaurant and bar features live music of all genres from jazz to folk every night!
Read below for some other interesting events happening this summer.
AREZZO: Giostra del Saracino
the Saracen Tournament. Arezzo’s Piazza Grande is the setting of this joust. Held on the first Sunday in September, this tournament dates back to the Crusades in the Middle Ages, when all Christendom dedicated itself to driving the Moors out of Europe. There is a lively and colorful procession preceding the event in which eight costumed knights charge towards wooden effigy of the Saracen. The aim is to try to hit the Saracen’s shield with lances. Each pair of knights represents one of Arezzo’s four rival districts and their supporters each occupy a side of the piazza.
They are quiet when their own district knights are jousting, but make as much noise as possible to distract the opposition. The winner receives a gold lance.
FLORENCE: Calcio Storico
June is Florence’s golden month. There are several things happening here in Florence. Fabulous fireworks on June 24th to celebrate St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of Florence, and the final playoff of the historical football match, held on the Piazza Santa Croce, July 24th and the 28th. It commemorates a similar match played by soldier trapped in the city in 1530.
This Renaissance soccer game played by teams representing four neighborhoods in Florence: Santa Croce, Santa Spirito, Santa Maria Novella, and San Giovanni. The game is a combination of soccer, rugby, and big time wrestling and sporting 16th century costumes.
PISA: Gioco del Ponte
This sham fight between the people leaving the opposite sides of the Arno takes place on the last Sunday in June, on the ponte di Mezzo. After a colorful procession in the 16th and 17th century costume, the combatants use contraptions on rails in attempts to take the bridge.
The “Gioco del Ponte” is the high point of “Giugno Pisano”, which also includes a regatta and the “Festa di San Ranieri”, a candelight festival on the banks of the Arno commemorating the city’s patron saint. Pisa Tour
PISTOIA: Giostra dell’Orso
After a magnificent procession held on 25 July every year, 12 knight take part in the medieval jousting tournament; the aim is to hit two stylized bears with their lances to the sound of drum rolls and fanfares. The bear (orso) is the heraldic animal of Pistoia and the Giostra is the highlight of the towns’s “Luglio Pistoiese” festival.
The Palio is Tuscany’s most celebrated festival held on July 2nd and August 16th each year in the Campo(the main Piazza in Siena). Its roots can be traced back to 1283. The jockeys represent 10 of the 17 contrade (parishes) or district within the walled city of Siena and the horses are chosen by the drawing of straws and are blessed at the local contrada churches prior to the race. These bareback horseraces are preceded by heavy betting and pageantry, but only last about 90 seconds each. The winning contrada is awarded a palio (banner) who displays it proudly until the following year
Lastra a Signa: Spring and Medieval Feast
May 25th-26th and on June 1st-2nd. A flower festival is held on June 16th and the Fair of Ginestra is held on the 17th.
Montelupo Fiorentino: Ceramics on Sunday and Art-extra
May 19th. The International Festival of Ceramics. Browse and find historic revivals, artistic pottery displays, open-air workshops, performances, and entertainment, fair and markets, in the old center. June 22nd – 30th.
San Gimignano: Craftsmans’ Holiday
Medieval stalls, typical arts and crafts, ballad singers, musicians and actors. There is a parade of knights and ladies in costume for the tournament on Sunday afternoon. June 15th – 16th.
Impruneta: Sprint in the square
Find plants, landscaping and gardens. You can find typical Impruneta products and garden furnishings. Handcraft competition inspired by the Bishop degli Agli cushion (1476c.) as well as concerts, exhibitions and entertainment. May 11th -19th .
FLORENCE: SCOPPIO DEL CARRO
On Easter Sunday a cart (carro) decorated with flowers and loaded with fireworks is set up between the baptistery and the Duomo. A mechanical dove swoops out of the cathedral door and into the cart: if the fireworks ignite, it bodes a good year.Visit Florence
SANSEPOLCRO: Palio dei Balestrieri
In May the crossbowmen of Sansepolcro travel to Gubbio (Umbria) for a contest. On the second Sunday in September the crossbowmen of Gubbio return the visit.