Ellen Miller
Ellen Miller

If you are a night owl, then stop right now and mark April 30 on your calendar.
The night is unique to Florence and is not to be missed, even if you typically opt for an earlier bedtime.
On this night in Florence the museums and much of the city stays open late for the “notte bianca.” A rarity in Florence, the streets become packed with Italians and foreigners out late to both explore and see what all the fuss is about.
For safety, there are several bus lines that will operate the entire night, so even those who don’t live in the city center can partake in the festivities.
Many museums remain open until midnight and the list of live performances to choose from is dizzying.
In addition, the night is a great opportunity to view some of the museums of Florence for free! Past participants have included the Uffizi Gallery, the Palazzo Vecchio, the Museo Casa di Dante and the Alinari photography museum.
Notte bianca is a concept created in France about 30 years ago as the “nuit blanche” but has quickly become a favorite of Florentines who use the occasion as an excuse to party and dance in the streets until late into the night.
This year will mark the epic fifth edition, meaning that the city is likely to celebrate even more intensely than usual.

ponte vecchio lights
Leading up to the festivities on the 30th the city will distribute the schedule of events around town at cafes, museums and libraries as well as posting on their website for those looking to get a head start at picking out what they are looking forward to seeing.
Previous editions have included not only special art installations, but also everything from the ordinary, such as choral performances, to the outrageous, including tightrope walkers and dancers suspended from ribbons in the sky, a la Cirque de Soleil.
For those that make it the whole night (the official hours last year were from 6 PM to 6 AM), there is sometimes a breakfast served to the public, so be sure to check for details as by that time you might be in need of a coffee! The entire event is free to the public, so don’t miss it.
Plan ahead a bit since the night is a Wednesday knowing in advance that you want to stay out late will help you to plan ahead to ensure that you do not have any major assignments due the next day and truly enjoy the evening!