The Festival of Saint John is held on the same day every year – June 24th. It has gained popularity in Florence, so it draws plenty of attendees from all over the world. However, it is also celebrated in Genoa and Turin during the same day. It celebrates Saint John, who is also known as John the Baptist.
Most businesses and offices are closed during this festival.
Overview on Saint John Festival 2015
The festival is also known as La Festa di San Giovanni. In Florence, it only takes one day. In Turin and Genoa, it starts one day earlier, on June 23rd, so it spreads over two days. People celebrate and engage into all kinds of activities, while the end of the festival is marked by beautiful fireworks. As a general tradition, locals eat gelato (ice cream) during the fireworks. As for the activities, some of the most popular ones include dancing, music, parades, bonfires and sporting events.
The morning begins with a flag bearers procession, as well as a parade that brings back the Renaissance spirit. During the afternoon, people spread between Calcio Storico and a rowing race on the Arno.
Discvering Calcio Storico
If there are two things the Italians are good at, those are football and culture. Calcio Storico (also known as Calcio Fiorentino) is said to be the first type of football, yet it mostly looks like rugby. The game lasts 50 minutes and involves 27 players. Whichever team scores more, wins.
The game was suspended for a couple of years, until 2008, after an amazing brawl started in 2006. After all, the game gets pretty violent sometimes. All in all, it is part of the tradition, so it is certainly worth some attention.
Everything is in the fireworks
Despite all the activities and games, most people are barely waiting for 10PM. That is when the Patron Saint of Florence is celebrated with an outstanding fireworks displays. The show is known as “fochi” in Florence. It takes place in Piazzale Michelangelo, yet locals know that the best place to watch the show is the Bridge of Santa Trinita, so you better get there early for a spot.
Given the fine weather and the perfect temperature after the sun goes down, you will see most Italians eating a gelato while admiring the fireworks.
Entry fee for Festival of Saint John
Venue of Festival of Saint John