Santa Claus is coming to… Tuscany! Find out where to meet Father Christmas this December on his tour through Tuscany and get into the Christmas spirit with the sparkly events scattered around the region. Light festivals, Christmas markets and nativity scenes – Tuscany is the place to be in December!
Shadows and lights will chase each other during the magical light festival Lumière in San Gimignano. The third edition of this enlightening event will take place on 5 and 6 December from 6 to 10pm. Be prepared to meet strange figures from the forest lurking in the shadows while the Duomo lights up thanks to a live art show. Put in the spotlight like this, the medieval town of San Gimignano becomes even more attractive than it already is – so this is definitely an event you don’t want to miss! Photo contest, documentary filming, live music and light shows are all part of the programme. More info on the website. Follow the festival on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram.
Another fun event during the first weekend of December is the so-called ‘Mercato del Campo’, the market in Piazza del Campo in Siena. Go back to the Middle Ages while you walk past the 150 stalls with handmade items and delicacies from the past.
Christmas in Florence?
In Florence in December? Then make sure you don’t miss the lighting of the Christmas tree on December 8th in Piazza Duomo. The big nativity scene is a must-see as well and the streets in Florence look even prettier than usual due to all the sparkly lights. A personal favourite is Piazza della Repubblica with La Rinascente shining brightly over the most central square of Florence.
Yes – Piazza Santa Croce is hosting the German Christmas market again this year and it never seizes to amaze locals and tourists alike with its cosy Christmassy atmosphere. Find your gifts, sip some glühwein and try some all-but-Italian delicacies. The market takes place from the 2nd until the 20th of December.
After a visit to the Weihnachtsmarkt, you can continue surrounding yourself with Christmas-related fun on the other side of the river, or Oltrarno. During ‘Natale è Oltrarno’, stalls of all kinds will be set up in the neighbourhoods of Santo Spirito, San Niccolò and San Frediano. The initiative starts on 8 December and ends on 6 January and runs from 10am-10pm. Keep up to date via their Facebook page.
Jingle bells, jingle bells…
Are you a sucker for Christmas songs? Then reserve a seat at the Basilica di Santa Maria Novella on the 19th of December. The enchanting concert is free, but you do need to book tickets. It will start at 9pm and will end at 11pm.
From Santa’s place to Pinocchio’s town
From November 6 to January 6 a special bus is leaving from Santa’s house at the Castle of Terme Tamerici in Montecatini Terme and will head for the Pinocchio Park in Collodi. In Montecatini Terme kids can write and send letters to Santa and join educational workshops. In the Pinocchio Park they can, well, you know, meet Pinocchio. Your kids will love it and you get to go to two Tuscan gems; win-win! More info here.
Santa has invested loads into real estate apparently and he even has a house in Chianciano Terme. Visit the good old man in the special Santa Clause village and do some last-minute Christmas shopping at the handicraft fair. The fun runs from November 6 to December 27.
Head to Montelpulciano from November 21 to January 6 and admire the Christmas village in Piazza Grande, Piazzetta Danesi and in Via San Donato. Check out Santa’s castle (told you the man was rich), shop at different types of markets, visit the toy factory exhibition, ride the antique carousel, or hop on a pony at the mini ranch, or go ice skating at the rink and try out the giant electric track for toy cars while you’re at it. Need I say more? Check out their website here.
For the real Christmas die-hards, Arezzo is the place to be since the whole city will be dedicated to Natale until December 27th. Think nativity scenes, Christmas markets, a Tyrolean market, handicrafts fairs, you name it.
Like your classic Italian nativity scenes? Then head out to the somewhat smaller towns around Tuscany and check out Jesus’ crib (pun intended). A live nativity scene will be happening in Casole d’Elsa on 26, 27 December and 1, 3 and 6 January. Some other great places for presepi are: San Donato in Poggio a Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, Palazzuolo sul Senio, Camaiore, Cigoli, Castelfiorentino, San Godenzo, Bettolle, San Giovanni Valdarno, Scarperia and San Miniato Basso.