Buon Natale! Christmastime in Florence

From spring through fall, Florence is flush with tourists. But to see a different side of this glorious city, come for a visit in December while staying at Casali di Casole.

Winter is the one time of year when locals dominate Florence and lines and crowds disappear, so take full advantage. Browse Renaissance art at the Uffizi and visit Michaelangelo’s David at the Accademia and shop Italy’s most famous designer stores from Gucci to Salvatore Ferragamo free of tourist crowds.

There are also plenty of seasonal activities to take advantage of during the holiday season. Visit the German Christmas Market at Piazza Santa Croce for everything from food and wine to decorations, toys and stocking stuffers. If you have children, opt for the Florence Noel Christmas market at Stazione Leopolda near Porta al Prato, where they can have their picture taken with Babbo Natale, the Italian Santa Claus.

Once nighttime falls, take a walk along the Arno River where strands of twinkling lights bring the path alive. Then go ice skating at the Parterre of Piazza della Liberta, or take in a Christmas concert like those held at Chiesa San Marco on via Maggio daily through the holiday season.

The holidays themselves offer unique experiences as well. Celebrate Hanukkah in the Ghetto, Florence’s Jewish neighborhood, where the menorah is lit each night at the synagogue near Santa Croce before festivities commence. If you’ll be in town on Imactulate Conception day, December 8, most shopping will be closed, but you’re in luck nonetheless because you’ll catch food and art fair Fierucolina dell'Immacolata in Piazza Santissima.

Italy is quite religious so Florence more or less shuts down on Christmas Day, but the devout will enjoy the unique chance to attend midnight mass at Il Duomo and celebrate the feast day of Santo Stefano on Christmas in churches and markets around the city.

If you stay on until New Year’s Eve, which is also the Feast of Saint Sylvester, you’ll find that no one knows how to ring in the New Year like Italians. Enjoy an extravagant Tuscan meal then head to the Fortezza da Basso at 10 p.m., where the merriment lasts all night until 8 a.m. the next day.

Good thing for that excellent Italian coffee.

To join us as a guest at Hotel Casali di Casole over the holidays or any day, please contact us at 866.917.2152 or +39.0577.961508 or via email, [email protected]. To learn more about ownership at Casali di Casole and spend the holidays at your home away from home, please visit our website or contact us via email, [email protected] or [email protected].