Florence is the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region. It is home to many Renaissance art masterpieces and architectural wonders. Landmarks include the Duomo cathedral, the Galleria dell’ Accademia which holds Michelangelo’s David and the Uffizi Gallery which exhibits Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” and da Vinci’s “Annunciation”.
The city is a lovely place to visit year-round, but it may be at its best at Christmastime. This is when many markets fill Florence streets and infuse the atmosphere with the spirit of the season. If you plan to be visiting during the holidays, here are some markets you won’t want to miss out on.
Christmas Market on Piazza Santa Croce
The Weihnachtsmarkt on the Piazza Santa Croce adopts the look of a small Christmas village. It features wooden chalets that are characteristic of the South Tyrol region of Italy where the event takes place.
Shoppers will find a variety of goods such as Italian handmade gifts, Christmas decorations from throughout the world and delicious meats, cheese, wine and holiday treats. Foreign exhibitors are often brought in each year.
The market dates back to the 12th century and it has been a holiday tradition for over 500 years. It kicks off in late November and closes just before Christmas. It is a fantastic place to find a variety of seasonal food and gifts.
Fierucola dell Immacolata
This market happens every three weeks. It is designed to support local artisans and it’s a terrific place to find unique gifts including candles and other items made with olive oil and beeswax that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
The Christmas version of the market happens over the first weekend in December at the Piazza Santissma Annunziata.
This Christmas market is held at Stazione Leopolda near Porta al Prato. It is a one-week event that typically occurs in early December.
In addition to great gifts, it also provides a variety of family friendly activities. Children can walk through a former train station transformed into the North Pole. Each room is decked out in holiday cheer and there is even one that serves as home to Father Christmas. Stars dance on the ceiling adding to the cheerful atmosphere.
There is a post office where children can write and mail letters to Santa. There is also a chocolate village where hot chocolate is served, and spaces are available for the creation of homemade crafts and decorations that can be placed on the tree.
Mercato Tedesco di Natale
This German themed Christmas Market takes place in Piazza Santa Croce. It runs three weeks, from early to late December. It’s a terrific place to find a variety of goods including German sausages, Christmas wine and holiday candy. There is also a carousel on site.
And while the market has a German theme, you can find plenty of Italian goods there as well.
Open Day for the Instituto Degli Inncenti
This one-day market happens at the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel in Via Borgo Pinti in Florence. The lovely park area hosts the market and features many stands where you can buy gifts, food, wine and more. There is also live entertainment on hand.
Guests must pay an admission price of one euro which is donated to help a worthy cause.
Markets Outside of Florence
There are several markets that take place outside of Florence in the city’s province. These include:
Mage Dell’Avvento (Magic of the Advent)
This four-day market happens in Palazzuolo sul Senio in the upper part of Mugello, a small town that’s worth checking out. In addition to being able to find some terrific gifts, guests may also enjoy the “1000 Presepi per Palazzuolo (1000 Nativities/Cribs for Palazzuolo) which fills the city with many nativity scenes. These are on display until January 6.
Natale in Corso
This market happens in Barberino di Mugello, a commune in the Florence. It takes place on the first three Saturdays of the month of December. The historical streets are filled with stalls, entertainers, live statues, street artists and nativity scenes.
Fiocchi de Natale
This market is located in Firenzuola, another Florence commune. The historical center will be filled with stalls selling artisan craft items. There are plenty of family friendly activities hosted as well.
Florence hosts several smaller markets in addition to the ones listed here. For example, the Christmas Market Exhibition of the Italian Red Cross held for three days at Palazzo Capponi is worth checking out.
Oltrarano Fair is a one-day event hosted at Piazza Santo Spirito.
You can shop for antiques at the Fortezza Antiquaria, a two-day fair held at the Piazza Vittorio Veneto in mid-December.
There are also plenty of markets just outside of Florence in the Mugello, Chianti and Fiesole areas.
Florence is a great place to visit, especially during the holiday season. The markets that light up the streets fill the city with a magical vibe. Which will you be going to when you’re in the area?