Fireworks lighting up the sky on a warm summer night while people gather in Santo Spirito and listen to music and eat street food. These events only happen in Florence and they happen every summer. As the month of June ends, Florence celebrates its patron saint, St John the Baptist or San Giovanni. This is a celebration that happens every year on June 24th. Along the river Arno the locals find a cozy spot on the grass looking up at Piazzale Michelangelo where the fireworks are shot from. Along the river people pack a sack lunch with a bottle of wine or some pick up some street food such as a hamburger or a slice of pizza.The fireworks start as the sky begin to dim from the summer sun. They usually last for about 20 minutes but this last year it lasted for about 50 minutes. Make sure you get to the Arno river early to claim your spot to watch the fireworks. The crowds will begin to pile up around 9pm. The fireworks won’t start until probably after 10pm. Don’t get stuck in the crowds.
Notte Bianca is another great tradition that happens each year in June. Around the same time as San Giovanni, Notte Bianca is when the warm streets of the Oltrarno open its doors to the summer time nightlife. All the shops in the neighborhoods of Santo Spirito and San Frediano open up and serve drinks, fresh fruit and serve great meals late into the evening. Every street, square, craft shop, gallery, artists’ studio, cafe, restaurant, church and courtyard, garden, cloister and museum comes to life with a different and unexpected event that will give the opportunity for young and old to choose what is best for them to see. The streets of the Oltrarno are full of people it is hard to get through. There are bands playing in each piazza and DJs spinning music from smaller side streets. Friends meet and get lost during this festival. The great thing about this night is that the stores that are open late they sometimes have private shows of musicians performing where you can just walk in and join in on the fun. Sing along or stand quietly admiring the talent these Italians have. The night begins at 9pm until 3am.