Florence at Christmas
In Florence, as in most Italian cities, Christmas lighting begins already in November. Shops, restaurants, bars, big shopping centers prepare windows and locations inspired by the Christmas atmosphere. The atmosphere is particularly magical and intimate, you breathe Christmas air everywhere and all the Florentines are in the center to buy last gifts, greeting cards, panettone, pandoro and sweets. Bags, ribbons, bows and Christmas boxes are mixed with the sound of Christmas songs that can be heard in the central squares performed by folklore groups. While choosing gifts, there is also the time to stop for a coffee or a hot chocolate and, why not, with some ricciarelli or cavallucci (typical Tuscan Christmas cookies) in order to have enough energy to continue the day dedicated to the preparations.
Tourists arriving in Florence in December will find a city with a warm, luminous, intimate atmosphere with lots to see and do.
December 8th is the date when the holidays begin. In Florentine houses everything is ready, the Christmas tree is lighted up and the Nativity Scene is set, and also in the center of Florence in Piazza Duomo the big Christmas Tree is lighted in the afternoon, with many people watching and shouting the countdown.
During of the ceremony of the lighting, the Procession of the Florentine Republic will walk through the historic center until it reaches Piazza del Duomo.
The Cathedral porch is set up with a real-size Nativity scene of terracotta statues, depicting the Holy Family. The statues of the Virgin Mary, Saint Jospeh and Baby Jesus are unique pieces, handmade by the artisan Luigi Mariani. The Nativity is placed on the opposite side of the Campanile di Giotto, next to the big Christmas Tree, where it will stay until Epiphany, when, during the traditional Ride of the Magi, the terracotta statues are replaced by real and living people and animals, making the setting even more suggestive.
In the early days of December, Florence is getting ready to light up with "F-Light": the Florence Light Festival, for one month from December 8th to January 6th, it will shed new light on the monuments and squares of the city. The event will offer video-mapping, projections, light games, artistic installations, educational activities, special visits to museums, shows and cultural meetings.
Also on December 8th, for the eighth consecutive year, Babbo Running will return, the official walk with Santa Claus' beard and costume, a whole day dedicated to the joy and fun of Christmas. A ludic-motor event full of joy in which you participate dressed in a Santa Claus costume to bring a breath of joy.
Christmas, however, is also synonymous with typical markets full of gastronomic and artisanal products.
This Christmas as well there will be the usual appointment with the Weihnachtsmarkt, the German market in Piazza Santa Croce from November 28th to December 20th. The more than fifty installations hosted in the characteristic wooden houses will bring the aromas and flavors typical of Christmas with products of artistic craftsmanship and traditional foods from all over Europe to Florence.
An opportunity to taste tempting gastronomic specialties, warm up with delicious hot drinks and look around the stands in search of original gift ideas and handmade Christmas decorations.
So, you will only be spoiled for choice, you just need to organize and pack a suitcase to spend a few days in a beautiful, welcoming, warm city that will welcome you with open arms among its narrow and illuminated streets, with the smell of roasted chestnuts and, why not, even a glass of good Chianti.
December 31st is a special occasion. There are concerts in many squares, each one of a different kind of music: classical, jazz, rock. In Piazzale Michelangelo there is always a special concert with famous artists and singers every year.
At midnight the fireworks begin with the collective toast on the banks of the Arno.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!