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ph. jhon paul dela cruz for unsplash

text Martina Olivieri

December 7, 2023

What to do at Christmas in Florence

From markets to the Ferris wheel, from downtown lights to decorated cafés: here is everything you can do during the festive season in the city

Lights illuminate the old town. The magic of Christmas envelops the shop windows. Children dream in front of the merry-go-round in Piazza della Repubblica, which goes round and round, carrying with it the wishes and dreams of young and old. Florence under the aura of Christmas is tinged with red, gold and silver, smells of roasted chestnuts and becomes a stage for joy and carefreeness. To discover the best of Christmas in the city browse the latest issue of Firenze made in Tuscany - Christmas Guide.

Firenze made in Tuscany Christmas Guide 2023

Small shops carry on the tradition of small handmade gifts, big brands show off the latest fashionable trends, the beauty of Florence is also this, a union of craftsmanship, trends and modernity that brings everyone together. Also back in Santa Croce is the Weihnachtsmarkt, the customary Christmas market (Here are all the markets not to be missed in Tuscany).

Piazza della Repubblica

Strolling through the streets of the centre, it is impossible not to notice Via de' Tornabuoni with its two large gift parcels and the customary tree in Piazza Duomo, which stands next to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore to envelop it in a fairytale-like, warm atmosphere. On the cathedral square until 6 January, the customary nativity scene set up by the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, with life-size handmade statues, also takes place.

Christmas in Via Tornabuoni 2023 (New Press Photo)

In addition to the more traditional decorations, there are the original installations of the Green Line, the festival of artist's illuminations, which until 8 January 2024 animates the squares and monuments of the city such as the Ponte Vecchio, Piazza Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza Santa Maria Novella and the Marino Marini Museum with projections and beautiful plays of light.

©Nicola Neri

If it is too cold outside, take the opportunity to see the beautiful Anish Kapoor exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi, or the Cecily Brown exhibition at the Museo Novecento (Here are all the other must-see exhibitions in the city), while here are the most beautiful churches and museums to visit.

If, on the other hand, you prefer to warm yourself up with a thick, tasty hot chocolate, you can treat yourself to a mouth-watering break at Rivoire, a landmark in Piazza della Signoria for chocolate lovers, or at Caffè Gilli, a historic and atmospheric café where you can taste real chocolate made in tuscany, made from the best persimmon blends. Iginio Massari's iconic maritozzo in the pastry shop in Via de' Vecchietti is also the right way to tickle the palates of young and old, accompanied by a warm tea or coffee (Here is a look at the best cafés in town). Also framing an already magical atmosphere are the Ferris wheel and the skating rink, which this year has moved to the Parco delle Cascine and will remain there until June 2024 (Here all the information about it).

The view from the Ferris wheel (ph. Dario Garofalo)

The Father Christmas House is set up in the Palazzo Vecchio, where children can write and 'post' their letters with their wishes (until 24 December, in the little theatre in the Cortile della Dogana), which are then sent to Rovaniemi in Finland, to Santa's 'headquarters'. Before being sent off, however, five letters are drawn at random and the lucky ones will win entry to one of the MUS.E workshops. It is Father Christmas himself who welcomes the children who pass by the little house on the weekends of 9 and 10, 16 and 17 and 23 and 24 December from 14:30 to 18:30.

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