International Women’s Day in Florence, 2023


An exhibit in the Cara Donna photo show

Wednesday, March 8: FESTA DELLA DONNA (International Women’s Day).

On International Women’s Day, women are honored in many ways around the world. In Florence, there will be free admission for women at a variety of museums, free guided tours for all visitors at the Bargello, the Medici Chapels and the Palazzo Davanzati, the opening of the free CaraDonna photography exhibition and a 24-hour strike affecting public and private sectors.

An idea launched by the U.S. socialist party in 1909, propelled by the publicity of the deaths of 140 immigrant workers – nearly all of them women – in the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire due to locked doors, carried forward by an international Socialist meeting dedicated to women’s rights, especially voting, the first International Women’s Day, thanks to a UN decree, was celebrated on March 8, 1975.

The significance of the day has evolved much since its inception. The previous heavily political nature of the holiday has given way to a more light-hearted sensibility. Presently La Festa della Donna in Italy is marked by the gifting of small, yellow flowers—mimosa— to women symbolizing solidarity with women all over the world.

The following are the operating hours of each museum in Florence that will offer free entry for women on March 8:

Galleria dell’Accademia:  8:15 am – 1:50 pm (last admission 1:20 pm)

Uffizi Gallery: 1:30 pm – 6:30 pm (last admission one hour before closing)

Museums in the Pitti Palace complex: Palatine Gallery, Modern Art Gallery, Fashion & Costume Gallery: 8:15 – 6:30 pm

Boboli Gardens: 8:15 am – 6:30 pm (last admission one hour before closing)

Bargello National Museum: 8:15 am – 1:50 pm

Medici Chapels: 8:15 am – 6:50 pm

Palazzo Davanzati: 1:15 – 6:50 pm

Palazzo Vecchio: 9 am – 7 pm and the Arnolfo Tower: 9 am – 5 pm

Santa Maria Novella: 9:30 am – 5:30 pm

Museo Novecento of 20th and 21st Century Art: 11 am – 8 pm

Three museums will offer free guided tours to all visitors in hopes to educate guests about the significance of female characters in each: the Bargello (10 am & 12 noon); the Palazzo Davanzati Renaissance Home Museum (9:15, 10:15, 11:15 am and 12:15 pm) in addition to the Medici Chapels (11 am, 12 noon, 4 & 5 pm). The tours will feature special stories relating to women linked to exhibits, from Verrocchio’s “Lady with a bouquet” to Grand Duchess Eleonora of Toledo.

The CaraDonna photography exhibition will be open from 5 to 8:30 pm with free admission. The display, made especially for Women’s Day, will feature over 100 portraits of women that have messages of self-love, courage, and strength written on their bodies in eyeliner. The project, created by an all-female creative campaign in Florence, aims to share the unique voices of women for them to be heard. It will remain open until March 29 and is located at the Libri Liberi bookstore on Via San Gallo 25R.

A 24-hour general strike has been proclaimed by several trade unions. Autolinee Toscane guarantees bus service for the entirety of the Tuscan region from 4:15 am to 8:14 am and from 12:30 to 2:30 pm. Closures of other places will be determined by whether employees participate in the strike or not. It is guaranteed the Uffizi Gallery, the Boboli Gardens and the Galleria dell’Accademia will be open during the times specified above. It is unknown at this time if the opening hours of other Florentine museums will be affected. (Parker Hurley & Rosanna Cirigliano)