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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.
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.
Cathedral of Florence, Via della Canonica, 1, Florence, Italy,+39 055 2302885
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.
British Institute of Florence, Lungarno Guicciardini, 9, Florence, Italy, +39 800 323 70480
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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.
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.
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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.