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10 Things to Do in Florence at Christmas

Florence is a magical city at any time of the year, but the lighting, atmosphere and Christmas decorations make it a dream place. Do you dare to visit it during these special dates?

María Cano

María Cano

9 min read

10 Things to Do in Florence at Christmas

Christmas tree in Florence | ©The Florentine English

If Florence stands out for something, it is for being one of the most beautiful cities in the world and if you take advantage of such a special time for your trip as the Christmas season, it will seem even more special. The illumination of the palaces, museums and churches, the decoration of the streets and shop windows, as well as the atmosphere, captivates all those who visit at this key time of the year. Take note of all the plans you should not miss on your trip to Florence during Christmas.

1. Lose yourself in the Christmas market in Piazza Santa Croce

Piazza Santa Croce Christmas Market| ©Dade2287
Piazza Santa Croce Christmas Market| ©Dade2287

The most popular and important Christmas market in Florence is organized in Piazza Santa Croce and welcomes thousands of visitors every year from the end of November to the end of December. This market recreates a Christmas village and the stalls are wooden houses decorated with Christmas motifs.

It has fifty exhibitors with gastronomic proposals, handicrafts, toys, clothing ... both from Italy and Europe in general. Ideal for looking for gifts for Christmas and to taste a Christmas sweet, a mulled wine or even a bretzel or strudel in the middle of the tourist day.

The opening hours of this market are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. approximately. In addition to the Santa Croce market, the city of Florence organizes Christmas markets in other squares and streets, so take a stroll through every corner of the city and let yourself be surprised!

Book a guided tour of Florence

2. Visit the Nativity Scene in Piazza del Duomo

Nativity Scenes in Florence| ©Pilar Arcos
Nativity Scenes in Florence| ©Pilar Arcos

Very close to the most popular Christmas tree in Florence, in Piazza del Duomo, is placed the popular Nativity Scene of the city. A manger worth seeing whether you are one of those who like nativity scenes or not. It is characterized by life-size terracotta figures. If you travel between December and early January do not hesitate to approach. It is kept until January 6, Epiphany Day.

And after visiting the crib, do not hesitate to enter the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and see Brunelleschi's Dome.

Book a tour of the Duomo with access to the Dome

3. Escape the cold in one of the city's museums

Galleria dell'Accademia entrance| ©Mongolo1984
Galleria dell'Accademia entrance| ©Mongolo1984

And, of course, to escape the cold, do not hesitate to visit one of the main museums of the city of Florence.

  • Uffizi Gallery: the essential visit on your trip to Florence. This gallery houses some of the most important works of classical art. The Birth of Venus' by Botticelli or 'The Annunciation' by Da Vinci are just some of the most characteristic examples of the more than 1,500 works of renowned authors such as Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian, Giotto, Fra Angelico and Masaccio. Read the post tickets for the Uffizi Gallery or the best paintings of the Uffizi Gallery if you want to have more details of your visit.
  • Galleria dell'Accademia: another unmissable visit. In this museum you will find the original sculpture of Michelangelo's 'David', 5.2 meters high. You will also have the opportunity to see works by other Renaissance artists, such as Fra Filippo Lippi, Botticelli or Andrea Orcagna. Read more information on tickets for the Galleria dell'Accademia or the best works of the Galleria dell'Accademia and prepare your visit in detail.

If you want to know other museum proposals, see the post the best museums in Florence.

Buy tickets for the Uffizi Gallery

4. Admire the Christmas trees

Christmas tree in the Duomo Square| ©Filippo Bianchi
Christmas tree in the Duomo Square| ©Filippo Bianchi

Strolling through Florence at Christmas is the best plan you can make. The lights, the decorations, the atmosphere and, of course, the Christmas trees that decorate the city will make you fall in love. The most popular fir tree is the one installed in the Piazza del Duomo, whose lighting ceremony is celebrated in style with the attendance of authorities and a day with various activities such as concerts and shows for both adults and children.

In addition, you can also see the Christmas trees in Piazza della Signoria, Piazzale Michelangelo, Piazza della Repubblica, Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, Piazza Pitti and Piazza Santa Maria Novella.

Traveler's tip

Florence is a city of dreams, but if you have the opportunity to visit it at Christmas, with the lighting and decorations characteristic of this time, you will be even more captivated by its beauty.

5. Enjoy a winter's day in Firenze Winter Park

Firenze Winter Park| ©Sicrea
Firenze Winter Park| ©Sicrea

Firenze Winter Park is open, except in exceptional years, from late November to late February in Lungarno Aldo Moro, in the Obihall garden, and is a sort of winter theme park with facilities for ice skating, downhill skiing and other similar activities. In addition, the youngest members of the family can visit Santa Claus' house and also take the opportunity to have some sweets or snacks at one of the food stalls on the premises.

6. Ice skating on the longest ice rink in Europe

Longest ice rink in Europe| ©Richard Chester
Longest ice rink in Europe| ©Richard Chester

With the arrival of Christmas many of us get the urge to go ice skating and have a few laughs with friends and family. And what better setting than Florence, a unique picture for our photo album. The city is also home to the longest ice rink in Europe, with a length of over 300 meters.

But this is not the only option, as you can enjoy the ice rink in Piazza Libertà, located north of the historic center, as well as the ice rinks in Firenze Winter Park, which has a rink for adults and another for children.

7. Come to Fierucola dell'Immacolata

Touring the Fierucola dell'Immacolata| ©Gogo
Touring the Fierucola dell'Immacolata| ©Gogo

Considered one of the oldest Christmas events in the city, the Fierucola dell'Immacolata is held in Piazza Santissima Annunziata for a couple of days in December, and is a flea market where you can find handcrafted items, as well as local products such as olive oil, wine, honey, jam, sweets.... In addition, as part of this celebration workshops are organized for both adults and children and book presentations related to various topics such as organic farming, healthy eating ...

In addition, you can take the opportunity to go see the Museum of Leonardo Da Vinci, an interactive museum dedicated to the artist, inventor, scientist and painter where you can see some reproductions of the machines he invented made from his sketches. In the post tickets for the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum in Florence you can learn more about this museum located next to Piazza Santissima Annunziata, just a three-minute walk away.

8. Capture the best snapshots from the Pizzale Michelangelo

Viewpoint of the Pizzale Michelangelo| ©Peter Oshkai
Viewpoint of the Pizzale Michelangelo| ©Peter Oshkai

On your visit to Florence at Christmas do not hesitate to go up to the Piazzale Michelangelo, one of the best viewpoints in the city. This is an essential plan throughout the year, but if your trip coincides with Christmas you will have the opportunity to see a different image, more amazing, both for the lighting and for the Christmas decorations.

To do this, choose a time from sunset, when the city gradually begins to light up, and let yourself be dazzled by the emblematic museums and monuments such as the Ponte Vecchio or the Duomo, as well as its main streets and squares.

And after enjoying this viewpoint, consult the practical guide to enjoy Florence at night and discover the next plan for your day.

9. Taste typical Christmas products and dishes

The pannettone| ©Vicky van Santen
The pannettone| ©Vicky van Santen

If you go to Florence you can not miss the Christmas sweets. The pannettone with raisins or chocolate or pan d'oro are some characteristic products of this time of year. But, in addition, on your trip to the Florentine city you can also taste the panforte, a sweet made with honey, spices and almonds; the riciarelli cookies, made with egg white, almond flour and sugar, or the callucci cookies, with candied fruit and nuts.

And if you want to delve deeper into the gastronomy of Florence, do not hesitate to take a gastronomic tour. Read the post the best gastronomic tours and make the one that best suits your tastes and interests.

10. Take a Christmas tour of Florence

Christmas Lights in Florence| ©Sajiv Gurung
Christmas Lights in Florence| ©Sajiv Gurung

Another proposal that you can only enjoy at this time of the year, is a Christmas tour that will take you through the monuments, squares and streets that stand out for their illumination and Christmas decorations such as Ponte Vecchio, Piazza del Duomo, Piazza della Signoria, Piazza Santa Croce, Piazza San Lorenzo,... This tour, which is organized throughout the month of December and the first days of January, will fascinate you. Let yourself be carried away by the Christmas spirit!

Temperatures in Florence at Christmas

Snow in Florence| ©Sara
Snow in Florence| ©Sara

The weather in Florence at Christmas time is characterized by low temperatures and humidity, with temperatures between 2°C and 10°C. Some days it can even drop even lower. Some days it can even drop even lower and if you are lucky you may have the chance to see snow.

With such low temperatures I recommend that you take advantage of outdoor activities in the central hours of the day. Also, start the day as early as possible, since it is already dark by 5 pm. Even so, during the days of Christmas, there is a lot of life in the street and the opening hours of stores and restaurants are longer than in other winter weeks despite the cold.

The influx of tourists in Florence at Christmas time

Florence with the smell of Christmas| ©Mark Soetebier
Florence with the smell of Christmas| ©Mark Soetebier

Despite being the most magical time of the year, the influx of tourists during Christmas is not as high as in other months of the year. It is true that there are more tourists than on other winter days, but it is still lower than in other seasons when the weather is more pleasant.

Prices in Florence at Christmas

Euro tickets| ©Pixabay
Euro tickets| ©Pixabay

Prices in Florence at Christmas are more expensive than in the winter season in general, as the city is very touristy and it is always usual that coinciding with the vacations there is more tourism. Even so, it is not something excessive and the prices of both flights and hotels are still cheaper than in summer and spring, when the tourist influx is higher.

What to bring in your suitcase to visit Florence at Christmas time

Luggage| ©Vlada Karpovich
Luggage| ©Vlada Karpovich

If you are traveling to Florence at Christmas, dress warmly. Do not hesitate to take several thick sweaters and the warmest coat, jacket or down jacket you have. If it is waterproof, all the better, as the city is not only very cold but also very humid. On the other hand, do not forget your hat, gloves, scarf and thick sweaters. And, of course, wear comfortable, non-slip and waterproof shoes.

Holidays in Florence at Christmas

Christmas in Piazza della Repubblica| ©Kari
Christmas in Piazza della Repubblica| ©Kari

If you are going to Florence at Christmas, keep in mind that as in Spain there are a number of public holidays when the schedule of public transport, as well as the main attractions and museums may be altered or even closed. These days are December 25, Christmas Day; December 26, Santo Stefano; January 1, New Year's Day and January 6, Epiphany.