Since the end of November a festive atmosphere has been building in Florence in anticipation of the annual Florence Light Festival. Twinkling light installations can be seen lining the streets and adorning restaurants and shops. The massive fir Christmas tree and nativity scene have been positioned in their usual spots in the Piazza Duomo and the preparation all culminated on last Saturday the 8th, when the entire city became illuminated by the commencement of the largest ever F-Light festival. The month long event offers excitement for everyone in the form of video-mapping, projections, art installations, light games, educational activities, special “torchlight” visits to museums, and shows.
This year’s theme, F-Light Your Mind: the thought of Leonardo da Vinci, boasts magnificent displays projected on many historical buildings throughout the city. This theme was chosen by the MUS.E to celebrate the legacy that the artist and scientist left in those respective fields on the 500 year anniversary of his death. It evokes themes of innovation, creativity, mystery, and enlightenment. These displays utilise the famous facades of locations such as the Ponte Vecchio and Palazzo Vecchio as canvases for projections that range in topics from important events in Florentine history to the genius of da Vinci’s works.
Apart from the projections on the well loved monuments, there are also special lighting installations intended to shed light on hidden gems in Florence. Included is Piazza della Signoria, where lights shine on the walls and vaults of the Loggia de ‘Lanzi. A magical, mysterious atmosphere is created by the way the light plays off of the Roman sculptures. This piazza also promotes the City of Florence’s awareness campaign in the form of the hashtag #EnjoyRespectFirenze as well as the F-Light logo and slogan.
Another interesting addition this year is the lighting of a Christmas tree in Piazza Santa Maria Novella and installations in districts outside of the historic center of the city. The decor of the tree is inspired by the architecture of the basilica behind it. In the districts there are installations outlining the five points of the city: the fountain of the Fortezza da Basso, Piazza Niccolò Tommaseo in Settignano, Piazza Elia da Costa, the Isolotto walkway, and the San Donato park in Novoli. Another new aspect included this year are the permanent lighting installations. These include the Basilica of San Miniato and the Piazza Santissima Annunziata and are meant to enhance their beauty, liveliness, and celebrate special occasions such at this holiday season.
The home stadium of the ACF Fiorentina is also part of the festivities. The LED lighting system on the stadium proudly shines the colors of ACF Fiorentina and the four historic districts of Florentine soccer.
The universal energy the festival draws is represented in the flame at the heart of the festival. This symbolizes the light of knowledge as well as the warmth of shared community and heritage the city cultivates. With its beautiful exhibits and historical lessons, the Florence Light Festival is something that must be experienced during the holiday season!