Things to Do in Florence, Italy This Christmas

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Francesca Masotti

Florence is one of those cities that seems magical around Christmas. The festive atmosphere starts in early December, and throughout the month, there are plenty of events, markets, festivals and things to do. Enjoy the Tuscan capital city during one of the best times of the year.

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Visit the Weihnachtsmarkt German Market

Florence has Christmas markets all over, but the most famous is the annual German market in front of the church at beautiful Piazza Santa Croce. It usually starts early in the month and ends a few days before Christmas, so check the Florence tourism website to be sure not to miss it. The Weihnachtsmarkt is the perfect spot to find craft goods and gifts created by artisans, as well as typical German food, such as pretzels, sausages and some delicious hot beverages to keep you warm.

Attend the Christmas Eve Mass in the Duomo

The stunning Cathedral of Florence, also called the Duomo, becomes a magical place during the Christmas season thanks to the big tree and the nativity scene just outside. If you are planning to visit, there is no better time than during the winter holidays. One of the best ways to experience the typical Christmas atmosphere is to attend the Christmas Eve Mass. Make sure to arrive early because the church is very busy, especially during the holiday season.

Sip Tea at the British Institute of Florence Christmas Fair

For tea fans, there is nothing better than spending some time at the British Institute of Florence during the Christmas holidays. Their Christmas Fair features books, crafts and more to help support the Harold Acton Library, one of the most beautiful libraries in town that is well worth a visit if you get the chance. During your visit, taste some of the delicious cakes, pastries and, of course, English tea.

Watch a movie at River to River

It might not be as famous as the Venice Festival, but 50 Giorni di Cinema Internazionale a Firenze takes place from October to December every year. The last festival event is called River to River and is entirely dedicated to films from and about India. This event, the first festival in the world of its kind, aims to promote cultural exchanges. Visitors may also take Indian cooking classes between viewings.

Watch The Nutcracker at Teatro della Pergola

On December 23rd each year, Teatro della Pergola, one of the most important theaters in Florence, hosts a production of The Nutcracker, one of the most famous ballets in the world. Those in Florence during the Christmas season should be sure to reserve tickets for the special performance by the Moscow Ballet. Some advice—book the tickets in advance, as they tend to sell out quickly.

Ice skate at Florence Winter Park

It rarely snows in Florence—last time was in 2010—so you’ll be disappointed if you’re looking for a white Christmas. But for those who love to ice skate, Florence has a rink open near the Arno River at Florence Winter Park. You’ll find families with children, older couples and groups of friends looking to have a good time together. It is one of the best ways to get out of the crowded city center and spend a few hours just having a lot of fun.

Admire Nativity Scenes in the City Center

Piazza del Duomo in the historic centre of Florence is a must-visit

Italy is famous for its nativity scenes. Every family makes them in their houses and puts them in the living room from early December until Epiphany. But you can find nativity scenes in the city center, as well. The most famous in Florence are outside the Duomo Cathedral, but you can also see them near the Church of Santa Felicita and the Church of Santa Maria dei Ricci, which are rarely visited by tourists.

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