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Expert Tips

 

Have a Merry Christmas in Florence this Year



Florence is another magical European city that seems to light up when Christmas comes around. Not only can you find a number of sweets and treats you have to try during this time of year, but there are also plenty of attractions to keep you busy.

First, you'll want to check out the nativity scenes throughout the different neighborhoods. Churches, hidden corners, and restaurants are only some of the places you'll find decorated with this traditional scene. The most popular one? The scene you can find at the Duomo at mass.

Next, make sure to check out the Christmas markets that take place throughout the city. The German market, or Weihnachtsmarket, has plenty of unique gifts and offerings that will make your loved ones' Christmas a little bit brighter. Spending Christmas in Italy might not be your first choice, but you'll change your mind after you've witnessed all there is to see and do around this time of year.


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While you can see the Teatro Verdi's performances throughout the year, they become especially magic at Christmas time. You'll find a whole host of options to choose from and that there is an opera available for every kind of taste. You'll want to go online and see if you can find some tickets there--sometimes you can find them reduced if you're lucky. The Teatro Verdi attracts performers from all around the world, and every performance that you see should be nothing short of breathtaking. Nothing brings in the holiday season in like music, and there is a special holiday performance as well for those who want to get into the holiday mood.

Recommended for Holiday Attractions because: You'll find some great concerts here and some special holiday concerts around Christmas.

Alexa's expert tip: Take a look online to see what kind of performances they have going on year-round.

Read more about Teatro Verdi →




Ice skating in Europe is a tradition, and it would be a shame not to take part in some of the beautiful rinks that they have available during this time of year. Florence has a rink open near the Parterre section of the city where you can strap on a pair of skates and enjoy the cool ice. You'll find all different age groups here from young children to old couples looking to have a good time. You can rent a pair of skates here if you need to. It's the perfect way to get out of the crowded city center and enjoy a few hours participating in this wintertime activity.

Recommended for Holiday Attractions because: Normally a parking lot, the Parterre transforms into a beautiful rink when the weather gets cold.

Alexa's expert tip: You can rent a pair of ice skates here if you don't have them.

Read more about Parterre →




Florence has Christmas markets all over the place, but one if its most famous is the annual Christmas bazaar that you will want to visit during the start of December. It usually ends a few days before the actual holiday, so you want to make sure to get there during the weeks you will find it in the Piazza Santa Croce. It's the perfect spot to find knick-knacks and gifts for those you love. Many of the products here are also local, so you will be supporting local businesses as well as finding exactly what you might need this holiday season.

Recommended for Holiday Attractions because: You'll find all sorts of goodies to give as gifts at this market.

Alexa's expert tip: Don't be afraid to haggle--you might get a better deal.

Read more about Christmas Bazaar →


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There are multiple Christmas markets throughout the year and depending on the week, you might want to consider visiting the German market in Santa Croce. It's a great way to sample some amazing products and to find what you need for the Christmas season. You can also sample some German food and try some delicious beverages. It's the perfect way to enjoy the winter weather and to try a new meal. Whether you are looking for gifts or you plan on just enjoying your afternoon, you'll be glad you took the time to stop by. Make sure to check online to see when the markets take place.

Recommended for Holiday Attractions because: The Weignachtmarkt is a favorite among locals and expats alike during the Christmas season.

Alexa's expert tip: Make sure to get out some cash--it's rare for a vendor to take credit cards.

Read more about Weihnachtsmarkt →




If you plan on sticking around after the Christmas holiday, you might want to think about checking out the Epiphany celebrations. Usually celebrated with a feast, you can often go to some of the best restaurants and they will have something special on the menu. One of the best things to see during this holiday is the "Gift of the Magi," a parade that goes through the center of town. Nearly everyone in the parade chooses to use wear a costume--you feel like you are transported back in time to Florence's hey-day. You also might want to enjoy some of the special sweets they make in the bakeries on this holiday.

Recommended for Holiday Attractions because: A tradition dating back from Medieval times, it's fun to see the costumes and the kids love it.

Alexa's expert tip: Arrive early so you can see over the crowds of people.

Read more about Epiphany →




You'll find a few of these scenes around the city during this time of year, but there are a few main ones that you will want to consider checking out. A favorite Christmastime activity is to go to several of the different churches and to see how many you could find. Some of the best ones are located at the at the church of Santa Felice in Piazza Santa Felicita or at the church of Santa Maria dei Ricci near via del Corso. You might want to think popping over to each church in the area and seeing the different 'presepe.'

Recommended for Holiday Attractions because: It's one of the longest-standing traditions in Florence during Christmas.

Alexa's expert tip: Think about making a small donation--it goes directly to the church.

Read more about Nativity Scenes →




Every year, Teatro Verdi puts on a production of "The Nutcracker." This holiday tradition is famous the world over, but no one does it quite so magically as the Moscow Classique troupe. Performing on the day of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, "The Nutcracker" has remained a favorite of the citizens of Florence, and it is one of the theaters most popular show. Attending the show is a great way to kick off the Christmas season and to expose your kids to a well-performed ballet. They'll love the dancing sugar plums and mice--it's the perfect Christmas show for the whole family.

Recommended for Holiday Attractions because: The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition, and the one at Teatro Verdi is worth seeing.

Alexa's expert tip: Make sure to by tickets online since they tend to go fast.

Read more about The Nutcracker →




As one of the few museums that chooses to be open during the holiday, the Bardini is a Christmastime treat. With special tours highlighting the collection and items from multiple periods of history--the Bardini has some festive events throughout the season, and it serves as something to do when the Christmas markets had closed down. When the cold weather arrives, walking throughout a warm museum can be the perfect way to get out of the house and to try something new. Highlights? The Madonna and child statues. It also helps that it's a smaller museum, so you can easily spend the rest of the day enjoying Florence.

Recommended for Holiday Attractions because: The Bardini offers something to do in the cold weather on Christmas day.

Alexa's expert tip: The Bardini is one of the few museums open on Christmas--so tours might be busy!

Read more about Museo Stefano Bardini →




Every three weeks in the Santo Spirito Piazza, the Fierucuola Association sets up a fair to support local artisans and crafters throughout Florence. At the fair, you can purchase some local items made throughout the area or in the city itself. During the Christmas season, you'll find even more items that you might want to purchase. Whether you are looking for specialized candles or items that you might want to stick in stockings. You can also find some truly unique items made with olive oil and beeswax--Florentine products that you won't be able to find anywhere else. You might also want to check out the other special markets they have going on during this time of year.

Recommended for Holiday Attractions because: This local market has some unique items for your holiday.

Alexa's expert tip: Stop by every third week for some new antique items.

Read more about Fierucola dell'Immacolata →




The Duomo is a magical spot during the Christmas season. You will find the main Christmas tree just outside its doors and it is the center of all the festivities going on during this time. One way to experience some of this magic is to attend Christmas mass at the church--it is decorated and combines the perfect amount of ceremony and holiday cheer in order to create a lasting memory of your Florence visit. Make sure you arrive early so you can get a seat since the church is especially busy during the holiday season. It's also free to attend if you are worried about the price.

Recommended for Holiday Attractions because: This is a truly special event that you can only experience here.

Alexa's expert tip: Make sure you sneak through the side entry for those planning on going to mass instead of the main entrance.

Read more about Christmas Eve Mass →


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Meet Alexa Schnee

Currently residing in Florence, Alex is a travel writer and author. She is addicted to coffee, reading, and seeing new places. She has been to near fifteen different countries in Europe, all...  More About Alexa

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