Florence’s May 1 Labor Day Festivities 2024

A design display at the International Crafts Fair

Italy’s Labor Day, a time-honored national holiday celebrated annually on May 1, serves as a day of rest, solidarity, and cultural festivities, honoring workers’ rights, fair labor practices, and the achievements of the labor movement. Leading up to and during this holiday, numerous events will take place.

‘SACRED MOUNT’ CONCERT. Tuesday, April 30, Piazza del Duomo. 9 pm.

To commence the holiday festivities, a sacred music festival will take place the night before Labor Day. The Cathedral of Florence will host the premiere performance in Florence and Tuscany of the concert “Sacred Mount,” a spiritual journey in music spanning ancient and contemporary, East and West, under the artistic direction of Gabriele Giacomelli. The Calixtinus Ensemble, led by Giovannangelo de Gennaro, a close collaborator of Vinicio Capossela, will present the event.

The 27th edition of the sacred music festival offers free entry, with mandatory reservations until seats are filled. Those interested in attending can email eventi@duomo.firenze.it. “Sacred Mount” is designed as a genuine sonic expedition in search of the sacred, traversing from Gargano to Mount Athos to Ararat. The evening will feature compositions by artists such as Komitas Vardapet, Georges Ivanovic Gurdjieff, de Hartmann, Franco Battiato, alongside traditional instrumental pieces from Asia Minor.

“Here, the Middle Ages meet the classical and contemporary sounds of the string quartet, the music of ancient Greece meets contemporary cello improvisation in dialogue with the fourteenth-century lute, in search of a profound common root of spirituality,” De Gennaro said about the event. 

A scene from a rehearsal of the ‘Sacred Mount’ concert

SPRING PLANT AND FLOWER MARKET. Through May 1, Via Vittorio Emanuele, 4. Second entrance on via Bolognese 17. 9 am – 7:30 pm. Free admission.

The final opportunity to visit Giardino dell’Orticoltura market will be on May 1st. Throughout the day, visitors will have the chance to select from a variety of azaleas, roses, and other flowers available for purchase. Additionally, there will be workshops held onsite. Over 75 individual exhibitors from the Tuscan region will participate in the plant and flower market, offering a diverse selection of both ancient and modern flowers. Alongside, visitors can explore displays of bonsai, exotic cacti, citrus plants, climbing plants, indoor plants, aquatic plants, and a wide array of herbs. These vibrant additions will further enrich the natural splendor of the garden setting. Guests can leisurely stroll through the garden on Labor Day, admiring the antique 19th-century greenhouse that serves as its centerpiece, while also appreciating the wide range of products available.

May 1 also brings Italy’s National Flag Throwing (Sbandieratori) Championships in Piazza Signoria, preceded by a historical parade.  Click on link to read an article. Free admission.

IRIS GARDEN.  Piazzale Michelangelo.  Through May 20.  Open 10 am – 6 pm.  Free admission.

INTERNATIONAL HANDICRAFTS FAIR. Through May 1, Fortezza da Basso. Open daily from 10 am – 8 pm. Admission: €8, weekdays €6 for under 25 and over 65. Children under 12 are free with an adult.

Starting on one international holiday (April 25 Liberation Day) and ending on the next (May 1), the International Handicrafts Exhibition returns for its 88th year as Italy’s premier artisan fair. 530 exhibitors will fill the building to share their craftsmanship with the Florence community. 

Guests wishing to spend a full day in the center of Florence will find various merchandise sectors, including clothing and accessories, home furnishings, design and innovation, jewelry and costume jewelry, beauty and wellness, food and wine, international craftsmanship, and more. Additionally, the fair will feature conferences, workshops, and live demonstrations with the active participation of the global artisan community.

In addition to the increase in exhibitors, there is also an uptick in the number of participating foreign countries. The presence of three significant groups of Chinese artists, along with the substantial representation of artisans and artists from Iran and a cooperative consisting of 25 female artisans from Egypt, will add diversity to the event. They will showcase their fabric creations crafted using the Talli technique, also known as Assuit, an age-old embroidery method using metallic thread that gained popularity in the 19th century, highlighting the empowering role of labor in female emancipation.

A notable addition to the 2024 edition is its synchronization with the 9th edition of the Salon of Art and Restoration, Italy’s premier trade fair event dedicated to the preservation, restoration, and enrichment of the global artistic and cultural heritage. Taking place at the Sala delle Colonne and Sala dell’Arco, this event will witness the participation of the Italian Ministry of Culture, businesses, organizations, and key entities within the cultural heritage realm. Highlighting the fair is the international conference FLORENCE HERI-TECH – The Future of Heritage Science and Technologies, scheduled for April 29 and 30, serving as a focal point for scholars, researchers, and experts in the realm of science and technology applied to cultural heritage restoration.

Furthermore, there will be space for cooking demonstrations and events organized by Unicoopfirenze featuring tastings from the Fior Fiore Coop line, scheduled for April 27, 28, and May 1. Workshops and events will also be held with a special focus on environmental themes: games and challenges to discover MATER-BI (biodegradable and compostable plastics). Throughout the duration of the fair, workshops with Tuscan master artisans for adults and children, with reservations, will also be held at Palazzina Lorenese. A Children’s Space is located on the top floor of the Spadolini pavilion for kids aged 3 to 12.

The 2024 International Handicrafts Fair offer an enriching and diverse experience for visitors showcasing the finest craftsmanship from around the world and providing insight into the future of heritage science and technologies. With its vibrant atmosphere and array of activates, it continues to be a highlight of Florence’s cultural calendar. 

Click this link to purchase for ticket: and here for more information on the crafts fair. (Sophia Koch)