October is a nice time to visit Florence, as the crowds thin out somewhat and temperatures cool down. While there are few blockbuster events on the October cultural calendar, there is an interesting mix of traditional festivals, contemporary art, and classical music. Here are some of the more interesting festivals and events that happen each October in Florence.
First Sunday of the month - Sunday at the Museum. On the first Sunday of the month, state-run museums in Florence and are free to everyone. In Florence, this includes the following museums: the Uffizi, the Galleria dell'Accademia, the Palazzo Pitti and Giardino di Boboli, the Bargello, the Medici Chapels, the archaeological museum and several more. Note that you can't reserve tickets for these days – you just have to show up and wait in what could be a long line, especially at the Uffizi and the Accademia.
Santa Reparata - October 8. Santa Reparata, a 3rd-century AD martyr is the co-patron saint of Florence, along with John the Baptist. The present Duomo of Florence is built over the ruins of Santa Reparata church – these are the ruins you see if you tour the archaeological area under the Duomo. A festa in the saint's honor takes place every October 8, and features a medieval procession from Piazza di Parte Guelfa to Santa Reperata's crypt in the Duomo.
Early October during odd-numbered years - Mostra Mercato Internazionale dell'Antiquariato. This extremely prestigious biennial antiques fair typically takes place in late September or early October at Palazzo Corsini, giving serious collectors the chance to view and bid on antiques from around the world. Florence hosts a number of other cultural programs during the time of the fair, including musical performances and galas.
Fiera di San Luca - Mid-October in Impruneta. One of the oldest agricultural fairs in Europe is held in Impruneta, about 20 minutes from Florence. The weeklong fair includes a livestock show and sale, demonstrations, traditional foods, music and terracotta artisans. Check the Fiera di San Luca website for more information.
Amici della Musica The Amici della Musica classical music concert season starts in October. See Amici della Musica for schedule (in Italian).
Ciclo Mozart. Organized by Opera di Firenze, this October and November concert series features guest conductors directing performances of Mozart's work at the Pitti Palace.
Florence Biennale - Mid to late October in odd-numbered years. At venues around the city, this once every two years event brings together contemporary artists in visual arts, film, music, and performance for 10 days of exhibitions and events at venues across the city.
October 31 - Halloween. Although Halloween is not really an Italian holiday, it's becoming quite popular, especially amongst young adults. You'll find Halloween costume parties in many of Florence's nightclubs (see Top Florence Nightclubs). Read more about Halloween in Italy.
Winery Tours October is a good time to go into the wine region of Tuscany. A good way to visit wineries and see some of the countryside is on a guided tour. Here's a selection of guided Tuscany Winery Tours, most offering transportation from Florence hotels.
Continue reading: Florence in November