December has arrived at last, and all of Florence has a dazzling, fun Christmas feel about it already. Not only are there glittering shop windows and brilliant lights on the center’s streets, as soon as you step into Piazza Duomo, you’ll be awed by its gigantic Christmas tree and you’ll have to stop spellbound to look at the Santa Maria del Fiore crèche.
So how to spend your time while you wait for Christmas Eve to arrive so you can gather with friends and family to unwrap your presents? We need hardly say that shopping fans will be plenty happy this time of year, as the shops in the center of Florence will have special hours, open every day until Christmas.
And if you love Christmas markets, Florence will not let you down:
– Natale in Fortress, December 11 to December 14, 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM is at the Fortezza da Basso. This exhibition space will give you plenty of ideas to choose the perfect Christmas present. There’s also a space inside just for kids, with inflatable bouncers, workshops, other entertainment, and, of course, Santa Claus!
– German Christmas Market in Santa Croce until December 21, from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM. This market has an atmosphere of Christmas from up north, true to German traditions, with traditional wooden stalls and flavors of the north. Food or crafts make original, great Christmas gifts.
– Then there’s Nataleperfile, the charity market organized by Fondazione Italiana di Leniterapia, a foundation supporting palliative care. If you want to find a gift to your loved ones while doing good, come here and enjoy the chance to visit the beautiful Palazzo Corsini, where the market is held from December 12 to 14. Fridays and Saturdays, 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM and Sundays, 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM (www.leniterapia.it)
If you love winter sports but don’t want to leave our beautiful city, go to Obihall for the Toscana Winter Park and have fun on the ice skating rink or do a bit of skiing. (http://www.firenzewinterpark.it/)
But, at the end of the day, what is Christmas without Santa Claus? One fun idea could be going to visit his charming house at www.lacasadibabbonatale.it in Montecatini Terme (about an hour train ride from Florence) to enjoy some of that positive Santa Claus energy!
So, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!
English translation by Miriam Hurley