St. John’s Day in Florence and Genoa

Florence and Genoa have their patron in common: St. John. In Italy, the patron day is like a sort of bank holiday, where schools and offices are closed.

This year, St. John, who every year is celebrated on June 24th, in 2012 will be a Sunday, so this may be a good opportunity to visit the town and participate in the many activities, not only the religious ones.

St. John in Florence

To read about the story see: About Florence, our guide to the city of Florence.

Here are some information on the celebrations. For all sport lovers, the appointment is on June 23rd with the “Notturna di San Giovanni”, 73th edition of a 10-km-long marathon, one of the oldest road races in Italy.

The marathon start is scheduled for 9 pm in San Lorenzo Square and the arrival in San Giovanni Square.

June 24th is also the last day of the Calcio Storico Fiorentino, a traditional event where four football teams representing the historic districts of Florence (Santa Maria Novella, the North-West area, red – San Giovanni, the North-East area, green – Santa Croce, the South-East area, blue and Santo Spirito, the South-West area, white) will challenge each other to win the city football tournament.

From 5 pm in Piazza Santa Croce – Tickets from 21 € to 47 €.

St. John Mass is scheduled at 10.30 am in the Cathedral of St. Maria del Fiore (Duomo).

At 10 pm, there will be the traditional fireworks show, where the sky of Florence will be filled with wonderful fireworks. A suggestion: the Arno river is the place where you can better enjoy the show.

St. John in Genoa

June 24th in Genoa is a real holiday with lots of appointments, with music, art, shows in the squares and streets of this beautiful city.

In Genoa celebrations begin on Saturday night of June 23rd, with musical events in several areas of the city and guided tours (including tour stops in the Cathedral).

In the evening, from 10 pm on, a parade will cross the city centre to reach Piazza Matteotti, where at midnight there will be the traditional St. John bonfire.

On June 24th, there will be a procession, at the presence of the highest civil and religious authorities, from the Cathedral of St. Lorenzo to the Old Port. The rite concludes with the Genoa Cardinal blessing to the sea and the city.

For the evening don’t miss the fireworks show at the Old Port called “The feast and the Sea”, where fireworks will be accompanied by music with the themes: the history, the city and the sea. The recommended places to watch the performance are on the via al mare Fabrizio de André (Pier of Aquarium), and the head of the pier Magazzini del Cotone (Calata Gadda).

For music lovers, in Piazza Matteotti there will be the Lilith Festival, an event dedicated to women songwriters.

On Sunday 24th, the city museums are open.

Further information about Genoa or Florence are available on our guides About Liguria and About Florence.

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