Ferragosto Festivities in Florence Gardens 2020

Fried seafood served at the Anconella Park

Outdoor Ferragosto events to celebrate the national Italian holiday on and around August 15 are taking place in two leafy gardens close to downtown Florence as well as the Synagogue garden near Piazza Sant’ Ambrogio.


Celebrating its seventh edition in 2020, a key part of the annual Giardino dell’ArteCultura (a shady park on via Vittorio Emanuele II, 4) calendar is Tuttapposto a Ferragosto, a series of musical performances dedicated to local bands at no charge that takes place during the August 15 holiday week and beyond.

The Giardino dell’Orticoltura (Horticultural Garden) is open year-round, but from May through September, it becomes Giardino dell’ArteCultura (Art & Cultural Garden) to provide the perfect summer relaxation spot.  Live music is interpreted nightly from 7:30 to 10 pm, and every concert is free for the public.  On August 13. there is a tribute to Pink Floyd; August 14 brings rock and blues of performers and bands such as Eric Clapton, ZZ Top, Jethro Tull and Jimi Hendrix; and August 15 is dedicated to the history of rock as presented by Rick Hutton of Videomusic, one of Europe’s first music channels. On August 16, the Old Florence Dixie Band will play New Orleans jazz, while Francesco Bottai will sing pieces by famed Italian singer-songwriter Francesco De Gregori on August 17 (both performances start at 7 pm).


This summer, a cocktail hour or dinner with live music outdoors with free admission returns to Florence. The Synagogue gardens will once more be transformed on Thursday nights during August into a “Balagan Café”— Balagan is Hebrew for “merry chaos” — in the spirit of the temple’s foundation.  In the 19th century, an appointed commission chose one Jewish architect and two Catholic architects to build the splendid, Moorish-style synagogue, which was inaugurated in 1882.  Today, guided visits, talks and entertainment will be offered starting at 7 pm, continuing throughout the night.  Admission is free (except for food and guided visits) and people of all faiths are encouraged to attend.

Gates open at the garden on August 13 at 7 pm, to offer a series of events including with live music (7 and 9:30 pm, the latter featuring Raiz and his band Radicanto); guided visits of the Synagogue (8 pm, €5); plus a dinner of Hebrew specialties from different nations including a type of lasagna typical of Ferrara filled with spinach, peas and a vegetarian sauce between layers of unleavened bread, caramelized red onions and hummus prepared by chefs Michele Hagen and Jean Michel Carasso (reservation necessary: book at www.balgancafe.it). The meal will be followed by a talk illustrating the history of the Jewish community in southern Italy, given by professor Gabriele Mancuso (8:30 pm).


From 5 pm until late evening all are welcome to stop by Anconella for a quick snack, aperitivo, drink, or meal. Guests can choose from a wide range of options from a menu curated by chef Alexandra Sala whose specialty is fusion food including Japanese street food, panini with fried chicken, ricotta, honey, and figs, as well as and vegetarian options. Beginning at 7 pm, you can also enjoy burgers, tacos, fried seafood (pictured) in addition to finger food all made from seasonal vegetables. 

The park reopened for the season earlier this summer and will continue to offer live music, art installations, and delicious food until September 30. All of this programming is made possible by a collaboration between Diramazioni Festival and CambiaMusica Firenze with artistic direction by Costanza Mascilli Migliorini, a multifaceted young Florentine artist, writer, musician, actress, and director. Events will take place from 7:30 pm onwards in the Garden, a “polmone verde” (green lung) of Florence located at via Villamagna 39/d.

This week’s calendar

Thursday, August 13, Romano Pratesi will play jazz accompanied by an electronic dj set by Stroboman aka Lorenzo Nardi.

On Friday, August 14, Italian-American guitarist and singer Leo Boni will bring the sound of blues on stage.  He and his group “Weeping Willie,” were named the best blues band of Boston.

For Ferragosto, August 15, the Kayal Trio (Kayal, vocals and guitar, Carlo Bonamico, double bass and Rik Calcini, percussion, will interpret funk and soul classics by such artists as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Isley Brothers, Incognito, Herbie Hancock, Donna Summer, Jamiroquai, Bill Withers and others.

Cris Pinzauti will perform pieces from his first solo album “Black” together with Paolo Loppi on the guitar on Sunday, August 16.  (rosanna cirigliano & elizabeth berry)