Insider’s Florence in May
By Jennifer Tattenelli
Easter and “May Day” (Labor Day here in Italy) have come and gone and we’re entering what may be the most glorious month of the year in Florence.
Truly no time like the present to sip an Aperol spritz out on the terrace of our JT Caffè in piazza Pitti. Who needs a “room with a view” when you’ve got a terrace with the former Medici family residence in your front yard?
Come pop by for a coffee or a cocktail if you’re in town.
For those of you living in or visiting Florence, May, per usual, is packed with things to do and see. Let’s start with that “front yard” of ours I mentioned before: Boboli Gardens will be hosting the contemporary plastic arts sculptor Tony Cragg in an outdoor show that will open May 5 and run until October 13.
Attitudes about contemporary art infiltrating the Renaissance city can range widely (do you remember the Jeff Koons sculptures in Piazza della Signoria a few years ago?), but personally, I love it when our favorite, familiar Florentine landscapes mix things up—all art was once contemporary, after all! Still, if present-day plastic arts aren’t really your thing, Boboli’s still the place to be this month: they’ve opened the Ananassi Botanical Garden for the first time in (known) history, and are planning to restore a never-before-public section of camellias for future visits.
Also around the corner from our Atelier and Café, our friends in via Maggio will soon be hosting their annual springtime block party, the Maggiolata, on May 18. Art galleries, antiques stores, bars and other spaces all host special openings, visits, exhibitions, music and other events from morning to evening, and it’s such a lively, community-oriented way to spend a special weekend.
This neighborhood vibe can carry over into your next stay in Florence if you won’t be here for the party: friends and clients frequently ask us for tips on where to hang their hats when in town, and while this Oltrarno area is hands-down one of our favorites, it’s definitely not the only one worth staying in—if you need good leads on Airbnbs or neighborhoods slightly off the beaten track, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!
For people—like me, like my team—who love and appreciate fine craftsmanship, nothing beats the annual spring ritual of Artigianato e Palazzo, an artisan showcase held in the lush Corsini Gardens from May 16 to 19.
This year it reaches its 25th edition, and you can bet they’ll have some exciting surprises up their sleeves for the occasion. The whole event is a wonderful way to support talented and passionate Italian artisans working tirelessly to preserve their traditions and skills. Plus, the gardens alone, lined with orangeries and gorgeous landscaping, are honestly well worth the (modest) price of admission.
Wine lovers are never short on things to do in Tuscany, perhaps least of all in May. The delightfully celebratory Cantine Aperte weekend, when wineries up and down Italy throw open their doors for special events, tastings and discounts, comes back from May 25 to May 26.
If you’re a wine lover who’ll be anywhere in the Boot that weekend, have a browse on the Movimento Turismo del Vino website and start brainstorming your “bucket list” of wineries. You certainly won’t be short on choices.
Best wishes for a beautiful start to your month....what to say? I love what I do! I can't help!!
Jennifer Tattanelli, who lives and works in Florence, is a designer and manufacturer of gorgeous clothes, leather goods like jackets and shoes and purses in woven Bottega-like style. Visit her website or her stores in Westhampton Beach, Palm Beach and, of course, Florence.