The right moment to "discover" a different city.
30 Nov 2019
Florence is understandably busy during the summer months, but if you head here in winter you'll have the chance to discover a different city. Florence is an atmospheric and romantic city, which means it has everything you need to get you in the festive mood. Let's take a look at the top things to do in Florence this Christmas.
Festival of Lights: F-Light.
December the 8th marks the start Florence's festival of lights, F-Light, which takes place each year until January 6th. It is one of the most significant Christmas events in Florence. Every year on Conception Day the Mayor of Florence turns on the Christmas lights and unveils the tree in Piazza del Duomo, where there is also a terracotta nativity scene. Lights are also turned on at the trees in Palazzo Vecchio. These locations, plus many more, remain beautifully illuminated all through the month. When you dine out, choose a spot along the Piazza del Duomo or at Palazzo Vecchio and soak up the festive atmosphere.
Christmas Eve Mass.
For those who like to attend Christmas Eve mass, could there be a better choice than attending one in an awe-inspiring cathedral? In fact, many people choose to spend their holidays in Florence for Christmas for this very reason. Attending Christmas Eve mass in one of the truly historic and majestic city churches or indeed in the Florence Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore) itself is the perfect way to observe an authentic, traditional and religious Christmas.
Ice-skating at the Florence Winter Park.
For Florence Christmas 2020 the city's popular Winter Park will open, offering visitors and residents the chance to ice skate. A temporary structure goes up each year by the Anno River in the garden of Tuscany Hall and remains in place from late November until late February. There are two ice rinks, the main rink and a river trail, the latter being ideal for younger skaters. Treat yourself afterwards at the onsite pizzeria.
Christmas Markets are not just the domain of German towns and cities, but today they are also commonplace all over Italy. Florence plays host to not just one Christmas Market but many. The most popular and the biggest is the Weihnachtsmarkt which takes place each year in Piazza Santa Croce. This German-style market complete with wooden lodge stalls remains in place from late November until late December. Many smaller markets only take place on certain days, so make sure to do your research before setting out. This includes the Christmas Tea Market at the British Institute of Florence. These markets are truly atmospheric and get you in the mood for yuletide, but they are also a great chance to try both local Italian Christmas food and traditionally German fare, as well catching up on your festive shopping.
Go to the Nutcracker at Teatro della Pergola
Every year on the 23rd December the Teatro della Pergola puts on a performance of the world's most famous ballet, The Nutcracker. Performed each time by the Moscow Ballet, be sure to book your tickets well in advance for this very special performance.
Where to stay in Florence for Christmas
Because so many of Florence's best hotels are steeped in elegance, they make the perfect accommodation for cosy winter stays. Look out for hotels such as UNAHOTELS Vittoria Firenze which is located on the edge of the city, a short walk from the main attractions, but quietly tucked away from the hustle and bustle. Leading design hotels such as the Vittoria Firenze offer unrivalled festive experience and help create the perfect Christmas vacation in Florence.
Christmas in Florence is an unforgettable experience, whether you take the whole family, go with friends or plan a romantic trip for two. From festive ballet shows to German markets, ice skating and even the chance to attend Christmas Mass at Florence Cathedral, there are so many reasons why Florence should be your yuletide destination this year.