New Year’s in Florence ’21 – ’22: Events & Openings

The holiday Ferris wheel at the Fortezza da Basso, photo courtesy of Luisa Malin Melo

As 2022 approaches, plans to return New Year’s Eve celebrations in the historic center were aimed to host smaller crowds in order to spread out the audiences.  Now with COVID contagions mounting, plans for public gatherings are adapting daily in order to provide a safer environment for the remainder of the holiday season.

After a one-year hiatus in 2020 Mayor Dario Nardella declared, “The wish is to spend an evening of fun but without letting your guard down.”  Previously planned events in main piazzas in Florence have been cancelled by the municipality due to the spread of  the increasingly virulent Omicron variant of COVID-19 from December 31 to January 9.  But the mayor asserts that some concerts, museums and events with smaller audiences will be still be available to New Year’s celebrants.

A number of Florence’s museums offer extraordinary openings to the public during the holiday period.

Masks will be required in the open-air locations and as usual, for entrance to any indoor venue, masks and a “Green Pass” proof of vaccination or the equivalent will be compulsory.

On both December 31 and January 1, the Ferris wheel standing 55 meters (180 ft.) at Fortezza da Basso (viale Filippo Strozzi) with 200 seats offers a ride for €10.  The attraction, along with a nearby skating rink, Santa’s House and food and craft stalls welcome the public from 10 am to 11:45 pm.

Just in time for Christmas, a new Ferris wheel standing at 55 meters (180 ft.) will be situated near Fortezza da Basso alongside many other holiday attractions. This large construction which will be inaugurated for the next month will have 200 seats and sport a large LED panel in the middle for announcements and advertisements.  Florence’s city council has approved the placement of this Ferris wheel for use between December 1 and January 15 in Piazza Oriana Fallaci.  Visitors get a ride for €10 and by showing their Green Pass.

Joining the Ferris wheel is an ice rink for visitors who wish to partake in some skating, a Christmas tree to add to the festivities and cultural activities for children and families. There is also be Santa’s House, food stalls and crafts

NEW YEAR’S EVE

Movie in English

The Odeon Cinema (piazza Strozzi) announces a special New Year’s Eve screening of the House of Gucci.  The film, directed by Ridley Scott, portrays the real-life story of the tumultuous events surrounding the murder of Maurizio Gucci, grandson of House of Gucci founder Guccio Gucci.  Lady Gaga plays Maurizio’s ex-wife Patrizia Reggiani who was charged and convicted of ordering the assassination of her ex-husband.  Adam Driver takes the role of Maurizio.  Filmed in Rome, Milan, Lake Como and Courmayeur, Italy, the cast also includes Al Pacino, Salma Hayek, Jeremy Irons and Jared Leto.  Screening of the film in English with Italian subtitles begins at 8:45 pm. Following the film, the arrival of 2022 will be celebrated with sparkling wine and panettone.  Tickets for film and midnight toast can be purchased for €22 at the cinema box office.  Green Pass and masks are required.

Classical Music

A performance on December 31 features Zubin Mehta conducting the orchestra, choir and soloists of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino offers the public another way to celebrate the end of 2021.  The program showcases the music of Beethoven with the Symphony #8 in F Major Op. 93 and Symphony #9 in D Minor welcoming 2022 with Ode to Joy.  Following the concert attendees can also reserve a gala dinner for “San Silvestro” (New Year’s Eve) with food, entertainment, fireworks and a midnight toast.  Dinner reservations can be made only in conjunction with concert tickets and cost €220 per person.  A Green Pass, documentation from recovery from COVID-19 or a negative antigen test within 48 are required for admittance.  Masks are mandatory for the entire performance.  Guests should plan on earlier than usual arrival to allow for entrance procedures.  For tickets and further information, see website:   www.maggiofiorentino.com (December 31, 6 pm, Teatro del Maggio, Piazzale Vittorio Gui, 1).

Museum Openings

Green Pass or equivalent and masks are mandatory in all museums.

Santa Maria Novella will be accessible on December 31 from 1 – 5:30 pm with free admission celebrating the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Dominican community.

The Bargello Museum from 8:45 am to 12:45 pm.

Palazzo Vecchio from 9 am to 7 pm.

The Novecento Museum of 20th and 21st Century Art from 11 am to 6:45 pm.

The Boboli Gardens and Porcelain Museum from 11:30 am – 4:30 pm.

The Medici Chapels from 1:45 to 5:45pm.

The Palazzo Davanzati Renaissance Home museum from 1:45 to 5:15 pm.

The Jeff Koons exhibition “Shine” at the Palazzo Strozzi will be open between 10 am and 8 pm.

Outside of Florence the Centro Pecci in Prato (viale della Repubblica, 277) will be open on New Year’s Eve from 11 am to 8 pm.

At the Palazzo Blu in Pisa (via Lungarno Gambacorti, 9) the Keith Haring exhibition can be viewed.  Haring, the ‘Father of Street Art’, created murals depicting political and societal themes such as anti-apartheid and HIV awareness.  The collection consists of 170 works from the Nakamura Museum in Japan.  Open 10 am to 7 pm. Admission €5-12.  Reservations through www.vivaticket.it

NEW YEAR’S DAY

Movie in English

There will be a showing of Spiderman, No Way Home starring Tom Holland, MJ, Jacob Batolon and Benedict Cumberbatch. 5 pm at Cinema Odeon, piazza Strozzi at 3 and 9:15 pm.

Classical Music

The Fiesole Music School continues its New Year’s Day tradition with a performance at the Maggio Musicale Theatre.  The Children’s Orchestra opens with two dances from the Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera with Antonino Siringo conducting the young performers.  The Galileo Orchestra, joined by the Italian Youth Orchestra with Brazilian arias followed by compositions of Magyar and Gypsy music.   The concert culminates with the popular Suite from the Nutcracker ballet by Tchaikovsky. The concert begins at 11:30 am at Piazzale Vittorio Gui, 1.

Tickets can be picked up for free at Alberti, Ceccherini, Checcacci, Data Records 93 andLa Fenice.  The Super Green Pass and masks are required for entrance at the Maggio Theatre.

For those who prefer to listen to the concert from the comfort of their home, Rete Toscana Classica will broadcast the program on Sunday January 9 at 8:30 pm and Thursday January 13 at 6:40 pm.  The radio channel for Florence, Prato and Pistoia is 93.3; for Montecatini, Lucca, Versilia, Pisa and Livorno 93.1

To usher in 2022, the Orchestra of Tuscany (ORT) conducted by Francesco Ivan Ciampa offers a festive concert “From Mozart’s Arias to Tchaikovsky’s Waltzes.”  The young soprano from Genova, Benedetta Torre, interprets excepts from Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, the Marriage of Figaro, Cosi Fan Tutti and Don Giovanni.  (January 1, 5 pm, Teatro Verdi, via Ghibellina, 99.  Tickets cost €15 – 35, €5 discount for Coop members, can be purchased at the Teatro Verdi box office or from www.ticketone.it).

Museums

The Boboli Gardens and Porcelain Museum will be open from 11:30 am – 4 pm.

Palazzo Vecchio from 2 – 7 pm.

The Novecento Museum of 20th and 21st Century Art from 2 to 6:45 pm.

The Marino Marini Museum in piazza San Prancazio hosts the Nativity of Lorenzo Puglisi from Bologna in the Rucellai Chapel through January 11 from 10am to 7pm, including January 1.

The Jeff Koons exhibition “Shine” at the Palazzo Strozzi will be open between 10 am and 8 pm.

Outside of Florence the Centro Pecci in Prato (viale della Repubblica, 277) will be open on New Year’s Day from 3 to 8 pm with €1 admission.

At the Palazzo Blu in Pisa (via Lungarno Gambacorti, 9) the Keith Haring exhibition can be viewed.  Haring, the ‘Father of Street Art’, created murals depicting political and societal themes such as anti-apartheid and HIV awareness. The collection consists of 170 works from the Nakamura Museum in Japan.  On January 1 guided tours are offered with reservations (info@kinzicacoop.it or tel. 377.167.2424).  Open 10 am to 8 pm.  Admission €5-12.  Reservations through www.vivaticket.it.

(rita kungel)