WWII Liberation Day 2023: Festivities & Free Museums

Tuesday, April 25:  WWII Liberation Day.

A rich program — public ceremonies and speeches to themed picnics and concerts — will take place on April 25, a national holiday in Italy: Festa della Liberazione (Liberation Day). The commemoration marks the day in 1945 when, thanks to behind-the-scenes and front-line work by resistance fighters (partisans or partigiani), the Italians succeeded in their efforts to oust the remnants of occupation by Nazi-Fascist armed forces.

Dario Nardella, the mayor of Florence, will lay a wreath on the monument honoring the fallen in piazza dell’Unità at 10 am in the presence of the city’s political and religious authorities. At the end of the ceremony (10:30 am), a procession will form, accompanied by citizens in historic costumes carrying banners, proceeding to Piazza Signoria where the official ceremony, with the mayor officiating, will take place at 11 am.

Organized by ANPI, the fight against fascism yesterday and today will be the subject of talks hosted on a stage at 11:30, the live music will start, and at 12:30, lunch will be available for guests for a reasonable fee.  Normally held in Piazza Poggi in the San Niccolò neighborhood, the event has been moved to the Mandela Forum due to the weather forecast.

Lunch will be €15 for adults and €8 for children under 10 years old, and free for kids under five. To reserve, email piazzapoggi2022@gmail.com, or message 366 6492844 on Whatsapp.

Festivities will continue in Piazza Santo Spirito starting at 3 pm, capped off by an 8:30 pm concert in the square.

There, a wreath will be placed honoring resistance commander “Potente” (Aligi Barducci) who lost his life because of a German grenade launched in Piazza Santo Spirito in August 1944 during the Nazi retreat.

Cinema La Compagnia (via Cavour 50/r) will be screening two WWII liberation classics:  Bella Ciao (3 & 5 pm, €5 admission), and Rome, Open City (Roma, Città Aperta) by Roberto Rossellini at 9 pm (free admission).  The latter is a cinematic Italian neorealistic masterpiece

At Settignano (#10 bus from San Marco), a hike titled “The Walk of Liberation” has its starting point at the Casa del Popolo at 9:30 pm, and will lead participants to places that witnessed clashes in the fight to liberate Italy from occupying Nazi-Fascist forces during 1944 and ’45.  The Casa del Popolo will also host a concert beginning at 4 pm, leading off with Irish music, followed by progressive rock.

In honor of Liberation Day, the following museums can be visited free of charge:

Uffizi Gallery: 8:15 am – 6:30 pm

Palazzo Pitti: 8:15 am – 6:30 pm

Boboli Gardens: 8:15 am – 6:30 pm

Accademia Gallery: 8:15 am – 6:50 pm

Bargello Museum: 8:15 am – 1:50 pm

Medici Chapels: 8:15 am – 1:50 pm

Museum of Palazzo Davanzati: 8:15 am – 1:50 pm

Museum of San Marco: open 8:15 am – 1:50 pm

National Archaeological Museum of Florence 8:30 am – 2 pm

Villa Bardini, Cenacolo di Sant’Apollonia, Cloister of the Scalzo, Garden the Medici Villa of Castello garden, and the Medici Villa of Petraia will also be free and open to the public. (Abby Capra)