Festivals in Florence

Hi all! I will be in Florence during the month of June, and I just discovered that I will be there for the "Annual Flower Display". Sounds awesome - but what is it? Also, I will be there for San Giovanni (John the Baptist) and Calcio Fiorentio. Should I be excited!!?? - or scared??!! :) Anyone experience any of these events before?
Thanks! Monique

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3344 posts

The Mostra dei Fiori is at the end of April (apr 25-may1) and October at the Giardini dell Orticultura. I'm not aware of something going on in June. St John is Florence patron saint and it's a holiday in Florence (I.e. it's like a Sunday and things close). In the evening there is a firework display from atop pizazz ale Michelangelo. Best views are from along the river Arno right in front of the Piazzale. On that day there is also the final game for the calcio Storico fiorentino. It's a sort of rugby game with 27 players. Just more violent, both on the field and sometimes on the stands, since passions run high. Most of the players are tough looking former inmates or felons on parole. Each quarter of the City hires the toughest tugs to win the game. Although they try to put some rules in place, the game is largely a ruless fight. Originally the winning team was the one with the most players alive or at least standing. Nobody dies nowadays but most players will require some medical attention at the local hospital at the nd of it. It's fun though. It's the closest thing you'll get to the ancient gladiators fights. No lions or tigers. Just kicking and fistfights to get the ball. Search Calcio Storico Fiorentino on YouTube and you will see what I mean. Lots of renaissance pageantry too. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AXe-Vo6cZmI