The Free Creative Playground of ‘Firenze dei Bambini’ (Children’s Festival)


Hundreds of activities, readings and workshops will be taking place around Florence from May 19 to 21 in a celebration of culture and learning. Families with children will be invited to make the most of the many free creative opportunities on offer. The festival is now in its 10th year, and the 2023 edition is dedicated to the author Italo Calvino, a pillar of 20th century Italian literature, marking 100 years since his death.

The opening event is scheduled to take place in the large cloister of Santa Maria del Fiore, on Friday 19 at 5.30 pm. Following the prize-giving for the competition, ’Our Palazzo Vecchio,’ children and adults will get the chance to meet one of the most renowned interpreters of Italian theatre, Lella Costa, who will be reading excerpts from Calvino’s stories.

The programme will get into full swing in the weekend, with events hosted primarily at the following venues: Palazzo Vecchio, the Innocenti Museum, Oblate Library, Horticultural Garden, the Murate Prison and Santa Maria del Fiore complex. Below is a selection of the events on offer, but more information about the full programme can be found using the link below.

Italian Fables

Palazzo Vecchio

May 21, 5.30 pm, 1 hr 15 mins

Children aged 3 – 12 years

Three artists will be interpreting the stories of Calvino, in three different mediums. The actress Debora Mancini will be giving theatrical interpretations of the tales; the artist Cristina Lanotte will be using sand art to illustrate them; and the musician Daniele Longo will providing the soundtrack to the already animated performance.

Leafy Treasure Hunt

Santa Maria Novella

May 20, 3:30 pm, 2 hrs

Children aged 3 – 12 years

A treasure hunt with a botanical spin, children and adults alike will be invited to wander through the grounds at Santa Maria Novella complex and the Palazzina Reale, guided by an information leaflet, in search of various kinds of plants.

Singing to the Tune of Calvino

Biblioteca delle Oblate 

May 20 & 21, 10 am, 11 am, 12 noon, 14pm, 3 pm, 4 pm, (only on May 20) 5 pm

Children aged 6 – 9 years

A workshop focusing on the songs of Calvino, participants will get to learn about the message of piece behind the music, as well as the opportunity to experience the magic of singing together, as a group, the elegant garden of the the Oblate library.

The Many Colours of Chemistry

Le Murate

May 19, 3:30 pm, 1 hr 30 mins

Children aged 12 – 13 years 

Why are some things blue, others red? What happens when we mix colours together, and why? If your children are scientifically-minded and interested in learning about how the world around them works, as most children are, this workshop, which will be exploring the science of colour, may just be worth a visit.

Sustainable Fashion Workshop

Istituto degli Innocenti

May 20 & 21, 11 am, 1hr 30 mins

Children aged 9 – 12 years

Sustainability should be high on the agenda of any fashion brand. At this workshop, children will be encouraged to collaborate and exchange ideas about how to reuse old materials, working together to make a garment, out of recycled fabric, for a mannequin.  (Sophie Holloway)