Spending the holidays away from home can often be a bummer. Luckily, visiting Italy is always a joy, especially during holiday season. Starting in early December, the city becomes illuminated with Christmas spirit and decorations. There are many ways to ring in the holiday season in the Renaissance city in Florence, ranging from religious activities to just fun seasonal options. Here are the best things to do during Christmas in Florence.
Hey, we sell tours too!
While the information we provide here is free, we also sell tours at very reasonable prices. Taking on the beautiful city that so many iconic Renaissance artists called home? No need to conquer it alone. Our excellent guided Florence tours will show you the best parts of the city led by a local. See Michelangelo’s David, the Uffizi Gallery, and maybe even consider an outing to the Tuscan countryside.
Christmas Market and Holiday Shopping
The largest Christmas market in Florence is in Piazza di Santa Croce, the beautiful square outside of Basilica di Santa Croce. Here, you can find a traditional German-inspired Christmas market with wooden kiosks and pinstriped awnings. The market will close December 20, so make sure you get your shopping done soon.
For other Florence shopping, there are tons of options. Check out the San Lorenzo Market and surrounding stores for budget-friendly leather goods. If designer brands and posh fashion is more your scene, you’ll find high-end shopping surrounding Piazza della Repubblica. For department stores, check out La Rinascente in Piazza della Repubblica. In the same area, you can even find two Zaras across the street from one another. Florence shopping is pretty sweet.
The most iconic building in Florence is without a doubt the Church of Santa Maria del Fiore, popularly known as “the Duomo.” It would be a shame to celebrate Christmas in Florence without fully taking advantage of this religious spectacle. Celebrate Christmas Eve Mass at the Duomo at midnight. Arrive at 11 pm if you’d like to take part in Vigil prayers. At this holy religious tradition, you’ll be able to join thousands of other Florentines, travelers and even the Cardinal of Florence.
Piazza della Repubblica
As someone who lived in Florence during holiday season, I can say wholeheartedly that my favorite holiday display was in Piazza Repubblica. You may recognize this piazza from pictures of its alluring golden archway or colorful carousel. During the holidays, though, this area is even more majestic. On a chilly December or January evening, grab a cioccolata calda and stroll through the bright piazza covered in elegant Christmas lights.
Piazza del Duomo
Next to the Baptistery of St. John, you can find a beautiful Christmas tree. During the holiday season, this piazza can get quite crowded. Meander the less crowded alley ways and corridors to get a sense of the local community. If you want to experience the magic of the Duomo’s interior, consider our Florence Walking Tour.
Observe the wonder of Christmas in Florence on top of it all, overlooking the entire city. Here, you can get a glimpse of the city’s skyline, looking down upon all of the holiday splendor. If you’re lucky, you may be able to experience the beautiful lookout in the snow. There’s nothing like a white Christmas, especially in Florence.
Looking for the ice skating in Florence scene? Unfortunately, there aren’t too many options within the city. Since Florence is more like a town and less like a metropolitan city, there isn’t too much open space for a rink. The best place to go if you’re really itching for a skate is Firenze Winter Park in eastern Florence. To get there, we recommend taking a taxi. Public transportation in Florence is pretty lacking, unfortunately.
Museums & Tours
So, are the museums in Florence open on Christmas? Unfortunately, no. Luckily, the city of Florence is basically an open air museum. If you’re in Florence for more than just Christmas Day, check out our selection of Florence tours. It would be a shame to miss out on the David, Uffizi Gallery and Florentine cuisine because of the holiday. Make tourism a priority for sure.
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