With thousands of American students pouring into Florence each fall, it’s little wonder that Florence has begun to take on some cherished American traditions. In October, of course, this means Halloween.
So for those of you studying abroad with fears of not being able to celebrate an American favorite, do not fear: The clubs and bars across Florence will guarantee a haunted vibe. Expect costumes and drink specials throughout the nightlife scene, making you feel right at home. Most of the bars and clubs have some sort of Halloween party and their advertising isn’t exactly scarce here in the city.
In Italy, the holiday has been embraced more-so by adults, but in recent years young children have been known to dress up and trick-or-treat from storefront to storefront because Florence isn’t exactly your typical suburban neighborhood. Halloween conveniently falls on the day before All Saints’ Day, a national holiday in Italy. Known as Ognissanti, it was recreated by Pope Boniface IV with the intention of replacing the pagan holiday with one of Catholic roots, with the same intention of taking a day to pay respects to the deceased.
Ognissanti is a time for families to bring flowers and lights candles to the graves of those family members who have died and a time to celebrate all Catholic saints and martyrs. Cities shut down on Ognissanti: museums close, store hours are cut and classes are cancelled — creating the perfect (though irreverent) excuse to deal with Halloween’s inevitable hangover.