Things To Do in Florence in December 2015

Top of Christmas tree at piazzale Michelangelo with Brunelleschi's cupola

So what are the things to do in Florence in December 2015?  For the holidays there's plenty going on!

Of course, you will want to just soak up the festive atmosphere by strolling the city's cobblestone streets and enjoying the twinkling holiday decorations and light displays.

Once you're ready to sneak inside somewhere to get warm there's a long list of options...

Florence's world famous museums are pleasantly un-crowded in December so you can admire the renaissance masterpieces without pushing and shoving - a real treat!

And if you want to get into the Christmas spirit, there is no lack of holiday concerts all over town throughout the month as well as the best of Italian opera in historic churches.

Also city tours, a winter park for skating and skiing (yes, skiing!), soccer, and more!

Find out the best things to do in Florence in December 2015 below...

The Classics

No matter the month, the most popular things to do here in town are without a doubt, museum visits, walking tours, shopping, and, well, eating!

Check out the most popular choices for discovering Firenze...


Cooking Classes

Museum Tours

Walking Tours

Christmas Concert on December 24th

One of the most special things to do in Florence in December this 2016 is to take in the Christmas Concert at Teatro Verdi in the heart of town.

One of the city's most loved concert halls, the Verdi theater will be home to an evening's performance of classical music festivities for the holiday season.

The program has Peter Guth conducting and the Tuscan philharmonic orchestra.

The program will feature the best of the Viennese waltz tradition with pieces by Strauss, Suppé and Stolz among others.

when: Thursday December 24 at 5 pm, in via Ghibellina 99r (near Santa Croce)

More info about the 2016 Christmas concert and book tickets

Hottest Ticket! Take an 'Inferno Tour'!

Dan Brown's thriller 'Inferno' takes place in Florence

One of the hottest things to do in Florence in December is the ever popular 'Inferno' Tour.

Fans of Dan Brown's thriller will certainly want to go the same route as Robert Langdon did, while an expert fills you in on the significance of each stop along the way.

Based on Dante's Divine Comedy, the book takes place right here in Firenze and sees such historical monuments as the Boboli Gardens, the Vasari Corridor, Palazzo Vecchio, and the Baptistery as a backdrop to the drama.

Don't miss out on the chance to check out Vasari's famed painting with the infamous words 'cerca trova' (seek and you shall find) hidden in the (huge) canvas (will you be able to spot them?).

The tour lasts half-a-day, is a great adventure, and also gets you into Brunelleschi's Dome, Giotto's Bell Tower and other not-to-be-missed sights - all included!

Dan Brown Inferno Tour

Nativity Scenes

Nativity scene at the Florence cathedral

One of the favorite things to do in Florence in December for locals is to go around seeing the nativity scenes at the historic churches downtown.

Nativity scenes, known as 'presepe', can be either right outside the church or near the altar inside, in which case most churches stay open even in evenings to allow people to visit.

The Florence cathedral has one of the largest and most suggestive presepe (see foto), but it's interesting to just stroll around downtown taking in all the other churches' creations as well.

Two other popular ones are at the church of Santa Felicita in Piazza Santa Felicita and the church of Santa Maria dei Ricci in via del Corso.  

The Wine Road

Love wine and great food to go with it?

In December Florence welcomes an exciting festival dedicated to everyone's favorite vintages: 'the Wine Road'!

What is it? An itinerant wine tasting event where you can stroll along the cobblestone streets sipping a vast variety of Tuscan wines - the classics as well as the newest novellinos.

Needless to say, there will also be plenty of gourmet and traditional Tuscan foods on offer to go along with each wine tasting.  

A wine and food lover's dream event so don't miss out!

when: Sat & Sun December 19-20 from 3 pm to 10 pm

where: all along via dei Neri (near Santa Croce area)

cost: €10 includes 5 wine tastings, register and get your glass in Piazza del Grano

see official site

Traditional Christmas Market

Christmas Market in piazza Santa Croce, Florence Italy

Open-air Christmas markets are a European tradition typical of Germanic countries and Scandinavian towns (after all, Santa Claus does live in Finland's Lapland!).

In any case, Florence has joined in on the fun too with its own outdoor holiday market in one of the city's most spectacular squares: Santa Croce.

Just like a nordic market, the stands are set up in rustic wooden stalls resembling country huts.  

On hand you'll find plenty of hand-made holiday items as well as the foods of the season like hot steaming vin brulé to warm you up and freshly baked cinnamon strudels!

This is one of the nicest things to do in Florence in December for free!

where: in piazza Santa Croce, 10 am to 10 pm 

when: December 2 - 20

Vegan Christmas Dinner Event

The Florentine based vegan association 'Progetto Vivere Vegan' has organized a special event for the holiday season.

At the local community center in Settignano, a small village in the hilly area just outside of Florence, a gourmet vegan dinner will be served in a benefit event to raise money for the charity group.

Menu: marinated vegan cold-cuts served on a bed of rucola, cauliflower and walnut soufflè with a vegan cheese sauce, wide pasta in rosemary dressing served on a bed of black bean purè, polenta slices covered in sauteed seitan with artichokes and onion, and dessert of sponge-cake filled with chantilly cream.

The little town of Settignano is truly a gem and offers wonderful views of Florence so get off the beaten path and enjoy this special local event and scrumptious dinner in Florence in December!

cost: €20 for a 5 course dinner 

where: at the Casa del Popolo in Settignano, via San Romano, 1

when: Sunday 13 December at 8,30 pm


How to get there: bus no. 10 from San Marco square, take bus to main square in Settignano (last stop).  To get back to Florence you will need to take a taxi as the last bus goes at about 9,45 pm - taxi should be about €15 euros.

Opera & Classical Music in Historical Churches

One of my favorite things to do in Florence in December is to take in an Opera Night in one of the city's historical churches.

Whether at the Duomo Auditorium or an ancient basilica, the setting is cozy and intimate - you see and hear all the action up close!

Precedence goes to Italian operas by fellow Tuscan Puccini or Verdi and Rossini with popular faves like: La Boheme, La Traviata, or the Barber of Seville.  Then, there's Mozart too, and Bizet, with Carmen or the Marriage of Figaro....

And that's not all .... if opera's not 'your thing' there's also classical music concertos in the Medieval church of Santo Stefano!

See What's On the Events Calendar in Florence in December 2016

Winter Park!

the Florence Winter Park offers skating, skiing and snowboarding

Looking for things to do in Florence in December with kids?  Check out the Winter Park!

True, snow and ice are not the first images that come to mind when thinking of the cradle of the Renaissance, but, this too can be found in Firenze....

Along the Arno river an ice-skating rink and ski slope are set up for the whole of the winter season, a great choice for people looking for something to do besides museums and a little bit 'off the beaten path'.

No worries about not having the right equipment - you can rent all the gear you need  (e.g. skates €4) and just concentrate on having fun!

opening times: Mon-Thur 3-10, Fri 3-Midnight, Sat & Sun 10 am - 10 pm (facilities open every day in mornings on the days right around Christmas and New Year)

where: OBI Hall, Lungarno Aldo Moro

when: opens from December through to March

cost: entry between €6-10

The Nutcracker Ballet!

A popular favorite during the holidays is the Nutcracker ballet

Tchaikovsky's most loved ballet will be performed in Florence on the day before the national holiday, 'the Feast of the Immaculate Conception'.

Conductor Elik Melikov and choreographer Marius Petipa bring this popular ballet in two acts to one of the city's oldest theaters, 'Teatro Verdi'.

Performing will be the Moscow dance troupe 'La Classique'.

when: Monday December 7 at 8:30 pm

where: Teatro Verdi in via Ghibellina, 99 (near Santa Croce)

cost: tickets start at €20 (can also be purchased at theater box office)

See site for more info and online booking

Artisan Markets for the Holiday Season

Florence's beautiful piazza Santo Spirito where the fierucola market is held

The 'fierucola' market is one of the city's most loved events for people who appreciate a natural life style and original craftsmanship.

This is an open-air market whose stalls are all dedicated to home-made or organic foods and hand-made crafts such as knitted goods, ceramics, wood carving, and so on.

One of the special things to do in Florence in December is to take in either the fierucola of the Immacolata (held for the national holiday 'Feast of the Immaculate Conception') or the Christmas fierucola.

Both markets focus on holiday items such as tree and home decorations, holiday foods including ginger bread treats and Christmas cookies, and artisanally made gift ideas.

where: piazza Santo Spirito

Fierucola dell'Immacolata: Tuesday December 8, from 9 am to 8 pm

Christmas Fierucola: Sunday December 20 from 9 am to 7 pm

This is a free event and a great off the beaten path way of enjoying Florence!

Irish and Celtic Music Live

Love Irish and Celtic music?  

Well, the Whisky Trail is coming to Florence!

For those nostalgic for the melancholy tunes of lore, the Whisky Trail have been playing classic celtic instruments since 1975 and have toured all over Europe with their original mix of Irish music with an Italian twist.

The band is celebrating its 40 year anniversary and will be playing a mix of tunes from their 15 studio albums.

This special concert is organized in Scandicci, a small district on the outskirts of Florence, the area where the band members are from, so the atmosphere is bound to be exciting!

when: Friday 11 December at 9 pm

where: Teatro Studio Scandicci in via Donizetti 58

cost: tickets €12 (purchase at theater box office or see ticket offices in town)

phone: 055 21 08 04

How to get there: from the SMN train station take tram no. 1 to 'Resistenza' stop.  Take via dei Turri, the theater will be on your left after about 350 meters.

Fair Trade Christmas Market

Yet another Christmas market in Florence in December, but this one is a bit different...

The 'Mercato della Solidarietà' is an outdoor market for the holidays with a special focus on fair trade products and locally and artisanally produced items.

This market is also unique in that all earnings from sales go to sustain various charities and volunteer work in and around Florence.

There are also some special performances to be seen:

The magnificent Tuscan flag throwers - dressed in renaissance garb - will put on a show on Saturday & Sunday at 3 pm and on Sunday at 11 am and 3 pm there will be renaissance dancers performing.

when: December 18 - 22 from 10 am to 8 pm

where: Piazza Santa Maria Novella (near the train station)

cost: this is a free event

New Year's Eve Concert in Piazza Signoria

Conductor Giuseppe Lanzetta leads the New Year's Eve concert in Florence

One of the most popular ways that Florentines love to bring in the new year is to attend the free New year's Eve concert in piazza Signoria.

A traditional appointment every December, this year conductor Giuseppe Lanzetta will be leading the Chernivtsi philharmonic orchestra who will entertain with Viennese polkas and waltzes.

Crowds come early to grab a spot so get there in time to make sure you have a good view!

where: piazza Signoria

when: December 31 starts at about 11 pm

entry: free of charge

Soccer -  an Italian pastime!

AC Fiorentina team

If you are interested in things to do in Florence besides museums then think about catching a live soccer match!

December in 2015 has 2 matches on at at the stadium:

The local team Fiorentina vs Udinese, on Sunday December 6 at 3 pm

And Fiorentina vs. Chievo Verona on Sunday December 20 at 3 pm

where: Artemio Franchi stadium, viale Manfredo Fanti, 4 (campo di marte area, bus 17)

tickets: can be purchased at box offices outside stadium (about €25) or see online boxoffice

Being part of an Italian football match is a real local and authentic way to experience the real Florence and is one of the great things to do with kids or teenagers too!

New Year's Eve with Beethoven's Ninth!

Here's one of the hottest tickets for things to do in Florence for New Year's Eve: Vladimir Jurowsky conducts the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino orchestra in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

Beethoven's ode to brotherhood and freedom which debuted in 1824 is a classic that never fails to entrance audiences.  A rarity in its use of a full chorus, the finale's Ode to Joy is one of the most recognized and loved pieces in the history of classical music.

After the performance, a dinner will be held in the grand foyer of the music hall.

when: December 31 at 8 pm

where: Opera di Firenze music hall in viale F. Rosselli, 7

cost: tickets start at €50

find out more or book tickets

New Year's Eve in Florence!

New Year's Eve fireworks in Florence

Last but not least, what are the great things to do in Florence on New Year's Eve?

There are free outdoor concerts in several of the city's squares, something for everyone really...

The headliner for the evening is Irene Grande - one of Italy's biggest pop singers - performing in Piazza Pitti, with various opening bands and DJ set.  In piazza San Lorenzo the international artist Sarah Jane Morris will be performing along with the jazz ensemble Tentet Swing with Nico Gori.  Love gospel music?  Head over to piazza Santissima Annunziata for live performances.  And for classical music lovers conductor Giuseppe Lanzetta brings his orchestra for the traditional concert in piazza Signoria (see above).

All concerts are free of charge and open air.

The action starts around 10 pm in all locations leading up to the midnight toast and celebrations!

see an updated page on all the goings-on for New Year's Eve in Florence!

Find out more about Florence...

Where to Eat

Florence Cathedral Complex

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