September in Florence is a joy. As the month that rounds off the Summer, it brings balmy days, plenty of sunshine and deliciously cool evenings. It’s also the time of the vendemmia, or grape harvest, when Florence celebrates the new wine with its very own festival.
It’s a time for taking long relaxing walks along the Arno river, and for spending some time exploring the city’s best gardens, choosing between the tree-lined avenues of Boboli Gardens or the magnificent views over Florence from the Bardini Garden. It’s still warm enough to have a nice dinner or an aperitivo outside in one of the city’s squares or roof terraces. On the evening of the 7th September join the Rificolona Festival, which fills the streets with paper lanterns and excitement.
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September in Florence – Wine, festivities and magic lanterns
Rificolona – 7th September
Every year on the evening of the 7th of September, the streets of Florence are lit up by hundreds of colourful paper lanterns for the popular Rificolona Festival. The main parade starts at 8:15 pm in Piazza Santa Felicita and ends up in Piazza della Santissima Annunziata. It’s a traditional festival that used to take place in this square the night before the 8th September, when the birthday of the Virgin Mary is celebrated.
Carro Matto – September 29th
Wine lovers, this one’s for you. The Carro Matto (literally: ‘mad cart’) is a festival which honours the new wine. A display of fiaschi (traditional wine bottles in wicker holders) is masterfully arranged on a cart that parades through Florence’s historic centre, pulled by two white oxen. This fanfare relives the moment when in the past the new wine used to arrive from La Rufina, a wine producing area just outside Florence. The farmers were coming to the city to offer their products to the Signoria and receive the blessings.
Starting at 3:30pm from Palagio di Parte Guelfa – it arrives in Piazza Duomo for the blessing of the wine. At around 5:00 the parade arrives in Piazza Signoria where there is a flag-throwing show.
Events near Florence in September
Some other events take place in September in various locations near Florence. These are places a that can make a good day trip from Florence to experience a bit of real Tuscan tradition.
ASSEDIO ALLA VILLA, POGGIO A CAIANO – In Poggio a Caiano you can relive the splendour of at time when Villa Ambra was one of the Medici‘s favourite retreats. On the 14-15-16 September 2018 this Medicean Villa is brought to life with historic costumes, artisans showing their ancient crafts, Medieval games and a light show that enhances the elegant architecture of of the Villa. (FB page Assedio alla Villa).
SAGRA DELLA CIPOLLA BIANCA, CERTALDO – A food festival dedicated to onions? It’s a thing in Tuscany. The hilltop town of Certaldo is very proud of the much celebrated ‘white onion’ which is produced in this area. From 23th August to 2nd September 2018 you can taste various onion-based dishes based, including the famous Certaldo onion soup. It’s a chance to visit one of the prettiest Medieval small towns in the region.
FESTA DELL’UVA, IMPRUNETA– Impruneta is a small town set just outside Florence on the way to the wine region of the Chianti. Every weekend in September it hosts a Grape Festival that attracts lot of attention. Events include: a cooking competition, concerts, and an exhibition dedicated to the fiaschi. The grand finale is on Sunday 30th September with a music concert and various grape-themed shows organised by the town’s districts (official site in italian).
More trip ideas? ⇒ Take a day trip to Lucca or the Mugello. Both are great destinations at this time of year.
Is September a good time to visit Florence? What is the weather like?
Yes, absolutely. Early in the month can still be a little hot and humid but for the most part you can expect mild pleasant temperatures and long sunny days.
Expect some crowds, mainly in the most touristy spots, but if you are prepared to explore less obvious attractions and areas along with the must-see ones, you’ll find there’s plenty to enjoy. For the most popular museums such as the Uffizi it’s better to book in advance.
Try this September delicacy!
Schiacciata con l’Uva always makes an appearance at this time of year in Tuscany. It’s a sweet flat bread made with grapes that has all the flavour of Tuscan tradition and countryside. The grapes give a intense purple colour to the cake and a delicious aroma. There are a few different varieties (some bakeries use aniseed too, while others make a ‘double layer’ but the result is always splendid. Look out for this sweet in one of the local bakeries. How to order: “Potrei avere un pezzo di schiacciata con l’uva per favore?”. Enjoy!