with the Fourth of July behind us (there were lovely celebrations in Tuscany at Harding University’s campus, the riverside Rari bistrot and at the US consulate, among others), we can now officially say...
I don’t know about where you are, but in Florence a serious heatwave has arrived in full force! ‘Tis the season to switch from morning espressi to caffe’ shakerati (served in classy martini glasses, ideally on the terrace of JT Caffè facing Piazza Pitti), to wind down the work day with an Aperol Spritz and to escape to the beach on the weekends.
There’s much to be said for summer in the city, though. An evening respite from the brutal temperatures comes in the form of open-air cinema once the sun goes down. For the second year in a row, the picturesque piazzale degli Uffizi—yes, the same square that houses the world-famous museum—is hosting free films every night at 10pm until August 11.
I’ve taken a peek at the program and it’s top notch, but let’s be candid: no one’s really going for the cinema itself. The experience of viewing a film in a Giorgio Vasari-designed “theatre” however, is something that stays with you!
By day the square can be a madhouse…by night, it’s simply majestic.
One of my personal favorite summertime fixtures is back, too: the Florence Dance Festival. It’s had an impressive nearly three-decade run, but for this new edition it’s switching gears, moving to Santa Maria Novella from its previous home in the Bargello courtyard.
But it’s not just a move to the basilica. No, this is big: if you missed the news last year, the huge Dominican complex has finally reopened its Grand Cloister to the public, and the always-fabulous dance festival will be headquartered there this year.
Since the early 20th century, the cloister was the site of a police school – which meant the magical interior was kept cordoned off to the general public. This year’s edition of the Florence Dance Festival is, like the Uffizi cinema, another one of those summer events where the venue is just as memorable as the show (and by the way, there are around 25 of them!)
Of course, I won’t ignore the obvious. Beating the heat in Florence can be a real challenge – especially when you have the crowds to contend with, too.
But lately I’ve been developing a real soft spot for strolls in the green spaces just outside the center. Of course everyone loves an amble through Boboli or Bardini, but the Villa Strozzi, just a smidge off the beaten path on via Pisana, has earned a spot on my list, opening early enough to where sometimes it’s just you and the breeze, and offering some surprisingly stunning views.
The Cascine is another classic, but you won’t exactly be on your own if you head there this weekend: there’s a giant, international, mega-inspiring sporting event taking place from July 6 to 8, the International Breast Cancer Paddlers’ Commission Participatory Dragon Boat Festival. Thousands of strong and beautiful breast cancer survivors from every single continent have descended on the Tuscan capital for a weekend rowing tournament designed to transmit a triumphant message.
Tomorrow there’s even a “Pink Parade” of all the participating nations taking place downtown—with the starting point set for just outside our boutique in piazza Pitti! We can’t wait to watch.
Keep refreshed, wear sunscreen, and enjoy your summer!