Florence New Year’s Day 2019 Happenings


The prior of San Miniato al Monte, Padre Bernardo, will personally conduct a tour of the 1000-year-old church and abbey to explain its symbolism and theological significance beginning at 3:30 pm.  The meeting point is in front of the church.


Some Florentines will literally ‘make a splash’ to begin 2019. Members of the Florentine Rowing Club, the Societa’ Canottieri Firenze, have for more than 125 years initiated the New Year with a plunge into the Arno River. In recent years, Tuscan regional council president Eugenio Giani has joined them in their watery adventure. The annual event begins at 11:30 am with 25 boats in parade on the Arno rowing from Ponte alla Carraia to Ponte alle Grazie. The parade and the brave divers in their red and white suits can be watched at the Arno overlook between the Uffizi and the Ponte Vecchio.


In a free performance at the Opera di Firenze (11:30 am), students from the prestigious Fiesole Music School, joined by the Italian Youth Orchestra and conducted by Daniele Gatti will perform Mendelssohn’s Symphony #4, known as the ‘Italian Symphony’ and Verdi’s Overture of Sicilian Vespers.

The Orchestra della Toscana (ORT) offers a program of operatic areas by Verdi, Mozart, Rossini, Puccini, Donizetti and Bizet.  Held at Teatro Verdi (via Ghibellina 99), and conducted by Maurizio Agostini, the event begins at 5 pm.  Tickets range from €12-37.


The Odeon (piazza Strozzi) is screening OLD MAN AND THE GUN starring Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, and Tom Waits. Cinema Odeon, Piazza Strozzi. 4,  Showings are at 5:45, 7:30 & 9:15 pm.  Click here for a plot synopsis.


Nearly all Florentine museums are closed with the exception of the Marina Abramovic exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi (10 am – 8 pm ), Palazzo Vecchio (2 – 7 pm), the tower of Palazzo Vecchio (2 – 5 pm); museum and church of Santa Maria Novella (1 – 5:30 pm) and  the Novecento Museum of 20th Century Art (2 – 7 pm).  Several churches will be open, including Santa Trinita (8:30 – 10:45 am,  4 – 5:45 pm); the Orsanmichele (10 am – 5 pm) and Santo Spirito (11.30 am – 1:.30 pm, 3 – 6 pm).  The Roman theatre and archeological area as well as the Bandini museum in Fiesole can also be visited, from 10 am – 3 pm.  (rita kungel & rosanna cirigliano)