It seems far away, but December is coming and, with it, the Christmas atmosphere. In the beginning of Santa’s month, all the storekeepers in Florence will decorate their shop windows and the traditional decorative lighting, so charming and enchanting, will be placed all around in town. From the first day of December to the epiphany, here’s what you can’t miss:
1- Christmas trees and nativity scenes
Each and every church of Florence has a “presepe” in Christmas time, and they are so worth visiting. But some are even more special, as the terracotta life size nativity scene in front of the Duomo. There you can also see a huge, beautiful and well decorated Christmas tree, which is lighted up on December 8th, the Immaculate Conception Day, accompanied by an official public ceremony with the participation of Florence’s Mayor and sometimes other events, such as concerts and entertainment for everyone.
Here is a list of other nativity scenes you must visit:
- Santa Croce
- Basilica of Santo Spirito
- Santa Maria Novella
- San Miniato al Monte
- Santa Trinità
2- Christmas markets
This is for shopping lovers! Many Christmas markets take place in Florence in December, especially during the weekends. And you can find almost everything there: from gifts do kids to furniture, food and, of course, Christmas decoration.
The most famous one – and also the biggest – is in Piazza Santa Croce. It usually lasts from the last weekend of November till Christmas. And it’s so cute, with typical wooden houses. Another very traditional one, but smaller, is the Fierucola dell’Immacolata (Immaculate Small Fair) organized in Piazza Santissima Annunziata on the 8th of December.
During the weekends, walk around the city to find many other smaller Christmas markets, with unique products and a lovely Christmas atmosphere.
3- Skating on ice
Usually, it doesn’t snow in Florence, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t ice-skate during the winter. At the Parterre area (near Piazza della Libertà) there is an ice rink where you can also rent ice skates. Another great option is the Tuscany Winter Park, at the Obihall, where you will find a covered “MASTER” main skating rink, measuring 18 meters x 38 meters; and a “RIVER” track, smaller than 10 meters x 20 meters, always covered, designed for the little ones and for those who approach for the first time at the skating rink, and on which it will be possible to practice the Ice Stock a sport of the same family of Curling suitable for adults and children, which does not require the use of skates.
4- Christmas food
The Christmas food in Florence is certainly one of the greatest gifts that Santa can bring to you. Among the delights, the appetizers are a good start. They are usually a selection of hams and salamis, cheeses and plump olives produced within the local area and harmonize well with a glass of prosecco.
Other typical dishes are the Crostini Toscani, which is a chicken liver-pâté on Tuscan bread; hand-made tortellini served in broth; pasta with a boar sauce or a lasagna; the ‘bollito’, mixed boiled meats in delicious sauce, and a side dish or two of the freshest of fresh in-season vegetables. For desert, pastries and cakes.
5- Explore the city and feel the Christmas
Florence is beautiful and amazing every time of the year, but during Christmas time it gets another vibe, an even more welcoming spirit, full of hopes and dreams for a better New Year. So, walk around, feel the love, enjoy the beauty. Spend some minutes along the Arno, watching the Christmas lights reflecting everywhere. Climb up to Piazzale Michelangelo and admire the view of the city bright and decorated. It is an experience that you will never forget.