By Megan Millisky
Florence is a wonderful place to celebrate your winter break. Explore the city on foot as you discover why it is famous for its December nativity scenes. To warm up, sip mulled wine and strap on your ice skates at the Florence Winter Park. Below are 10 ways to explore the city during its favorite time of year.
1. City Center Nativity Scenes
Nativity scenes hold a special place in Florentine culture. There are many within walking distance of each other. The best-known nativity is outside the Duomo Cathedral, which you can visit throughout December.
2. Piazza del Duomo Christmas Tree Arrival
December 8, watch as a Christmas tree is brought into Piazza del Duomo. The tree is decorated and lit, and Florence’s mayor attends the Immaculate Conception Day ceremony. There will be concerts and a life-size Nativity scene.
3. Ice Skating at Florence Winter Park
This December, glide through an indoor ice rink as you lose yourself to the Christmas spirit. Florence Winter Park has two ice rinks, plus plenty of restaurants. Enjoy pizza and warm drinks to warm up.
4. The Nutcracker at Teatro della Pergola
December 23, discover The Nutcracker at this famous Italian theatre. The Moscow Ballet will be performing the classic Christmas tale. The Teatro della Pergola is a must-see for theatre lovers.
5. Mass at Saint Marks Anglican Church
There’s no lack of gorgeous churches in Florence, but one worth seeking out is Saint Marks. There will be a special Sung High Mass by the Pope on December 1. There will also be a midnight mass on December 24.
6. Festival of Lights
Florence celebrates the Festival of Lights by lighting the Christmas trees at Palazzo Vecchio and Duomo. December 8, gather around this beautiful 13th-century castle to take pictures and learn its history.
7. Free Walking Tour of Historic Sites
Select dates in December, check out this free walking tour of the most amazing sights in Florence. This walking tour lets you see Medici Chapel, San Lorenzo market, Duomo Cathedral, and much more. A guide will discuss the art and history of these buildings. There is a free food tasting as well, so bring your appetite!
8. 50 Days of International Cinema in Florence
This film festival takes place through December each year. It highlights the best auteur films from around the world! Check out River to River, the final film event, which focuses entirely on films from and about India. Viewers can even attend Indian cooking classes between films.
9. Michelangelo’s Places
Wind through Florence discovering the places Michelangelo was raised in. This walking tour, taking place various dates in December, is led by a knowledgeable guide. Take pictures and discover the best scenery in Florence. The tour finishes with a delicious brunch.
10. Library Christmas Fair
December 7, discover arts and crafts, books, and handmade goods! Each year the British Institute of Florence puts on a popular Library Christmas Fair. Stop by for tea and cakes from 3 PM - 6 PM.