Things To Do in Florence in October 2016

Events Calendar and What's On Guide for Firenze!

The bi-annual antique show is held in a historic palace

Looking for the best things to do in Florence in October 2016?

Here's the big picture in a flash about what's on in and around the city of Firenze at the start of the Fall season.

Summer is behind us, but that's no reason to feel glum...

October is often a month filled with lovely mild weather, and there are many events still being held all'aperto in town.

Florence celebrates its first patron saint with the Feast of Santa Reparata.  The city's first cathedral was dedicated to Saint Reparata and still today she is considered co-guardian of its people who remember her each October with local festivities.

City tours let you discover the fascinating history that took place during the Renaissance, the classical music and opera season is back in full swing, and the lines at the world renown Florence museums actually become doable!

Antique Fair 

Room in Palazzo Corsini where antique fair is held

The 'Biennale dell'Antiquariato di Firenze' has reached its 30th edition!

'Biennale' means bi-annual, so this event is held every 2 years, the next being year 2017.

By now, this exhibit has become the most important antique fair in Italy.

The location alone is worth the price of the ticket: held in the elegant Palazzo Corsini (1600's) situated along the lungarno overlooking the river, the fair is the only occasion locals and visitors have to enter this magnificent location.

With paintings, sculpture, furniture, porcelain, jewellery, antique fabrics, and over 5000 display pieces (including some rare gems such as renaissance paintings from the 1400's) the exhibit is more like a temporary museum than an antiques trade show.

Not to be missed is the closing night fireworks show off the Arno on the 1st!

when: Sept 23 - October 1 2017       time: 10:30 - 8 pm

where: lungarno Corsini, Palazzo Corsini   cost: €10

more info at official site about this special bi-annual event, one of the best things to do in Florence in October 2017!

The Classics

What are the best things to do in Florence in October?  

Most people like to start with the classic ways visitors to Firenze like to enjoy their time here in the hub of the renaissance...

Museum Tours

Cooking Classes


Walking Tours

Feast of Santa Reparata

Statue of Santa Reparata on the facade of the Florence Duomo

The date of October 8th commemorates Santa Reparata in Firenze

The city's first cathedral was named after this saint who remains, still today, a co-patron of Florence.

In ancient times the festivities on this day included two races: one on horseback and one on foot, both running across the city.

Nowadays, in remembrance of these races, a modern-day foot race is held which starts and ends in piazza San Giovanni, in front of the Duomo.

Runners in the race are picked among the local footballers, and the competition is kicked off by a marching procession of the Florentine Republic dressed in period costume.

The procession leaves from piazza di Parte Guelfa (near piazza Repubblica) and marches on towards the Duomo at 4 pm.

This is a real occasion to take part in one of the more traditional things to do in Florence in October!

Baviera Beer Festival

People enjoying the evening in Florence at the Baviera festival

If you're interested in the world famous Oktoberfest in Munich, the Florence Baviera fest is for you!

The atmosphere is similar but you don't have to travel up to Germany to experience it...let the white and blue striped canopies, wooden picnic tables, huge variety of brews, hot pretzels cooked on the spot, and lots of freshly baked strudel bring the German culture to you.

Some special beers will be presented just for this European Baviera tour: try the Konig Ludwig HELL lager, the Konig Ludwig WEISSBIER, a murkier brew, or the OBERBRAU a double malted dark beer going back to 1605.

Of course, it's not all eating and drinking....there's music too with live cover bands!  And entry is free of charge to boot!

when: from Friday 23 September to Sunday 2 October from 7:30 pm 

where: OBI Hall venue in via Fabrizio De Andrè (along Lungarno Aldo Moro)

more info at official site (in Italian)

Ceramics Market

Stall at the ceramics fair in Florence

Ceramics artisans from all over the world show their skills and wares at the annual pottery fair, 'Fiera Internazionale della Ceramica'.

This international ceramics fair is one of the best things to do in Florence for those who appreciate master craftsmanship and the best of made-in-Italy and abroad.

The fair features top Italian ceramicists as well as the best of England, Japan, the USA, Russia, France, Germany, Spain and many other countries as well.

Items cover a wide range of pottery: rustic ceramics, majolica, fine porcelain as well as gres and raku pieces that go from the classics (platters, bowls, mugs, etc) to jewellery and decorative objects large and small.

Don't miss out on this open-air ceramics fair held in one of the city's loveliest piazze!

when: Saturday & Sunday, October 1 & 2      time: 10:30 am - 7:30 pm

where: piazza Santissima Annunziata (near Duomo)    cost: free

Tip for those traveling with children!  In morning and afternoon there is a free workshop for kids to learn how to work clay and make their own ceramic pieces! 

Florence's Music Hall

Florence's new modern-design music hall

Florence's annual music festival, Maggio Musicale, is famous the world over. 

Now, it has a new home, the Teatro dell'Opera di Firenze, the city's modern music hall.

Each year top notch performances are put on of operas, ballet, symphonies, as well as jazz and popular music, so there's something for everybody!

In October the program includes a 'bel canto festival', a tribute to the bel canto style of opera featuring works such as Rosmondo D'Inghilterra by Gaetano Donizetti.

The Music Hall is right off the Cascine park, easy to get to and has plenty of parking.

go to official site and check out the calendar of events

(note: not all performances are at the Music Hall, some events are held in different venues in the city)

Opera in Historic Churches

Operas held in local churches are very popular in Florence

If you're a fan of classical music or opera don't miss out on the chance to take in an authentic Italian production of your favorite pieces!

One of the really special things to do in Florence in October is to see live performances by top-notch professional singers and musicians at one of the historic locations in the city.

Operas and concerts are staged in the small cozy setting of local antique churches or in a small auditorium right near the Duomo in the heart of town.

These intimate settings let you see the performers up close and allow you to really get involved in what's happening on the stage.

If you're worried about not understanding, don't be: the narrator keeps you up to date on the story line, so you can just sit back and enjoy! 

see full schedule for performances in October 2016

Incredible Florence Exhibit

The multimedia display Incredible Florence brings history to life!

The Incredible Florence exhibit takes you on a journey through 2000 years of the history of Firenze, bringing the past to life through its multimedia displays.

Whether its with 3D images, digital reconstructions, or original film footage, visitors are guided along through the centuries experiencing the city's major events as they transpire.

Conceived for both adults and children alike, Incredible Florence is both fun and educational, and is a great choice for the family to enjoy the show together.

where: Santo Stefano al Ponte church, entrance in via Por San Maria (near Ponte Vecchio)

when: daily 10 - 7 all October

tickets: adults €12 children €8

see official site for more info

Wine & Jazz off Ponte Vecchio

Enjoy a Wine & Jazz night at Signorvino

How about an evening of wine sipping while enjoying some live jazz music, all in a locale just off the Ponte Vecchio with views of the bridge and Arno river?

Then a night at SignorVino is just for you!

On Thursday evenings in October, check out the winning combo of wine shop turned live jazz venue at a location that only Florence can offer. 

Here is the program:

6/10: "Sogni Cubismo" with Emiliano Degl'Innocenti and Giovani Cifariello playing "Jazz Standards time!"

13/10 : "Octopus Jazz" with Emiliano Degl'Innocenti and Roberto Andreucci playing "Old jazz, ballads and tentacles!"

20/10 : "Aqua Mood" with Emiliano Degl'Innocenti and Massimo Signorini playing "Etno jazz, Mediterranean love"

27/10 : "Indaco Jazz" with Emiliano Degl'Innocenti and Corrado Rossetti playing "Contemporary jazz"

where: SIgnorVino, in via De' Bardi 46/r

time: start at 8,30 pm

entry: concert is free of charge, you pay for wine or eats

Booking is appreciated: tel. 055 286258    email:

Creativity Fair

Handmade straw hats at Florence's creativity fair

For appreciators of handmade goods and original ideas, Firenze offers the very special 'Florence Creativity' fair dedicated to bringing one's imagination to life.

Objects of every type (clothing, knick-knacks, accessories, interior design goods....) made of any and all types of materials will be on display and available for purchase.

But there's not just admiring to do, you can try your own hand at creating with the many courses and demos going on throughout the day: costume jewelry workshops, cake decoration exhibits and paper-machè classes are just a few examples.

where: at the Fortezza da Basso exhibit center in viale Strozzi (near station)

when: October 27-30 (Thurs - Sunday) 

hours: 9,30 am - 7 pm

entry: €10 children under 10 free

official site for more info (in Italian)

Comic Performance: History of Florence

Actors perform the History of Florence in English

Looking for things to do in Florence with kids?  Looking for things to do in English? Then this is the event for you.....

The Auditorium of the Santo Stefano al Ponte church is offering live performances in English (also with singing and video footage) of the 'History of Florence'.

The show recounts the city's past in a comic and abridged version (60 minutes) of the history of Florence.  Performances take place in a medieval church dating from 1100, a unique and suggestive environment for this very special show!

From the Romans, to the Medieval period, to Dante, leading up to the city's renaissance with Lorenzo the Magnifico, Leonardo and Michelangelo, the scientific achievements of Galileo, and the 1966 flood....learn while enjoying yourself and laughing with the family!

October dates: 7-14-21-28

time: 8,30 pm

address: piazza Santo Stefano, 1 (near the Ponte Vecchio)

tickets: buy at the venue before the show, start at €20 young children free

Ethnic Music Festival

African musicians performing live at the festival

Looking for things to do in Florence that are off the beaten path and a bit different?

How about the Festival dei Popoli, an Ethnic music festival held at one of the city's alternative music venues, F.L.O.G.

F.L.O.G. is a locale for live music that is quite dark and fringe, and is where many local heros got their start in the music scene like Litfiba and Irene Grandi.

In October and November, at this historic and very characteristic location you can hear the latest trends in African and Ethnic music.

In its 11th edition, this festival is growing more popular every year!

address: at the venue 'FLOG' in via Michele Mercati, 24b - locale is not very visible from street though! (bus no. 28 to Alderotti stop or bus no. 4 to Montelatici stop)

dates: September 24 - November 11

In October there are performances on October 1, 8, 15, 17 (at OBI Hall location), 28, 29, 30

Program and more info (in Italian)

Contemporary Art Exposition

The 'Biennale' in Florence is a platform for up-and-coming contemporary artists

This bi-annual event is one of the wonderful things to do in Florence in October for the artistically minded visitor.

The Biennale is a forum for artists of all types coming from all over the globe to showcase their unique talents in a city as renowned for art as Firenze.

Reaching its eleventh edition, the Biennale is an independent self-financed platform for contemporary art, a must for anyone looking for something off-the-beaten-path in town!

where: Fortezza da Basso  in viale Strozzi, 1  (short walk from SMN station)

when: dates to be announced for the year 2017 edition

cost: about €12

See official site for more info (about 2015 edition)

Soccer - Root for the Local Team, AC Fiorentina!

AC Fiorentina team

Want to do something really different while you're here?

This is one of the most fun things to do in Florence with kids or teenagers too!

A truly memorable experience is to take in a soccer match and support the local team live at the football stadium.

You have not seen Italians get excited until you have been to a soccer match!! 

What matches are on?

  • Sunday October 16, 12:30 pm:  AC Fiorentina - the Florence team - up against Atalanta, playing for the Italian League
  • Wednesday October 26, 8:45 pm: Florence vs. Crotone, two of Italy's passionate cities fight for points in the Italian League

where: Artemio Franchi stadium, viale Manfredo Fanti, 4

online boxoffice or get tickets at the door before match (go early, buying tickets may take some time)

Going to the stadium is one of the most popular things to do in Florence in October! 

Gregorian Chants in the Cathedral

a chorus of singers who perform Gregorian chants in churches in Florence

Gregorian chants are sacred songs and liturgical music used originally to accompany mass as far back as the 7th and 8th centuries.

Sung in Latin with no musical accompaniment, Gregorian chants focus purely on the human voice and spirit of interpretation of the Medieval songs.

The Viri Galilaei chorus has been performing this traditional Christian music for many years in Tuscany.

One of the special things to do in Florence in October is to see and hear them perform in the antique churches of Firenze.

Performance conducted by E. Ventroni.

Dates: Sat 1 October 9 pm Santa Trinità church, Sunday 9 October at 4 pm San Miniato church, Sat 15 October 5,30 pm at San Miniato church

see pdf of official poster in Italian with schedule

Operatic Performances at a Florentine Villa

The Bardini Villa and garden, a green oasis just across the Ponte Vecchio

Looking for interesting things to do in Florence in October besides museums?

Here's a real treat that not many people know about....

The Bardini Villa, a sumptuous residence just over the river yet easily reached on foot, is holding opera concerts in which duets and popular arias from the most loved operas are performed.

Depending on the weather performances are held in the lush Italian garden (some of the best views of Florence are from this vantage point!) or in one of the villa rooms.

program: October 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28, 30    

time: Thursday and Friday at 7:00 pm and Sunday at 12 am

cost: €32  seniors over 65 €25 (children under 12 go in for free)

where: Costa San Giorgio, 2 (just over Ponte Vecchio)

phone: 055 200 662 06 (booking a must)

download brochure (in English and Italian)

Films in English at Romantic Movie House

Elegant and romantic interior of the Odeon theater

Looking for things to do in Florence in October for couples?

How about cuddling up at one of the city's oldest movie houses while watching a film in original language (English, French, Spanish might all be on the calendar.....).

The Odeon theater is one of the few remaining old-fashioned movie houses with large comfy plush seats, high ceilings and elegant finishings, a perfect place to spend a romantic evening in Florence!

See what's playing in October by checking out the official calendar of movies that are on.

where: piazza Strozzi (near p. Repubblica)    

This event offers discounts for students, show ID for reduced price ticket

Antiques Market

The Florence antiques market in piazza dei Ciompi is a long standing tradition

The antiques market is open all year round in piazza dei Ciompi, but on the last Sunday of the month it triples in size.

The usual stalls - half open, half covered - spill out onto the streets, sidewalks and just about any available spot in and around this famous Florence square.

The market focuses for the most part on antique furniture, but you can also find artwork, jewellery, books and magazines and all sorts of decorative furnishings for the home.

when: Sunday October 30   9 am - 7 pm

where: piazza dei Ciompi

This is another of the fun things to do in Florence in October for free for travellers on a budget!

Keep Discovering Firenze....!

Where to Eat

Florence Cathedral Complex

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