Even in winter, Florence is wonderful, and the Renaissance architecture and museums never disappoint. The traditional, Germany-style Florence Christmas Market adds extra interest and warmth to the chilly weather.
In this guide, I’ll list the 2023 dates, opening times, the main location and local specialties.
Florence Christmas Market 2023
Florence’s Weihnachtsmarkt transforms Piazza di Santa Croce into a slice of Northern Europe. Now in its 22nd edition, this German-style market brings traditional festivities with its wooden stalls.
You can shop for Christmas decorations, clothing, homewares and gifts. The tempting aromas of warm pretzels, wurstel and mulled wine complement the experience, alongside the sweet smells of warm strudel.
It’s not just about shopping; children can revel in festive games at Santa Claus House and even post their letters to Santa.
With 50 huts from across Europe, the market has crafts, foods, and the chance to indulge in European specialties.
Dates and Location
Florence Christmas Market dates: 18th November to 17th December 2023.
Location: Piazza di Santa Croce.
Opening times: Monday to Thursday: 10am to 10pm. Friday to Sunday: 10am to 11pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Christmas lights: No announced switch on date.
Santa: Santa’s House is in front of the Basilica. Plus, you can send a letter to Santa.
Ice skating: No.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, but limited.
Gluten-free: Yes, but limited.
Pet-friendly: Yes, dogs are allowed on a lead.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: A backdrop of stunning Renaissance architecture.
Recommended tour: Take a guided tour of Florence’s incredible Accademia where you can see Michelangelo’s David.
Specialities: Panettone, panforte, Ricciarelli biscuits, vin brulé.
Where to stay: Relais Santa Croce is 3-minutes from Piazza di Santa Croce.
For a truly magical stay in Florence, anywhere between the historic Santa Croce neighbourhood and the famous Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Il Duomo) is the best place to stay. This popular area is full of historic landmarks, restaurants and cosy cafes.
Consider booking a room at the highly-rated Relais Santa Croce, which provides not only luxurious accommodations but also a desirable location near the Basilica di Santa Croce.
Blu Notte is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a more affordable hotel.
I suggest you take the Renaissance and Medici guided walking tour for an overview of Florence’s interesting past. It’s an excellent choice for first or second-time visitors.
You’ll explore the birthplace of the Renaissance and uncover the Medici family’s influence on the city. Key sights include the Dome of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, where you’ll uncover the layers of history with an expert guide.
You might also book this Street Food Tour to sample traditional Tuscan flavours. Led by a local guide, this tour is a journey through Tuscan gastronomy, where you’ll visit vibrant market stalls and taste local specialties like schiacciata with balsamic vinegar, cantuccini, and fresh homemade pasta.
It’s an authentic way to connect with Florentine culture through its cuisine.
For an holiday break in Italy, be sure to check out my Italy Christmas Markets guide for 2023.
Christmas in Florence
Panettone: Originating in Milan but now enjoyed all over Italy at Christmas, Panettone is a tall, sweet bread filled with dried fruits and raisins. Its light, fluffy texture and distinctive dome shape make it a local favourite.
Pandoro: A specialty from Verona, Pandoro is a star-shaped, soft, buttery bread often dusted with powdered sugar to resemble the snowy peaks of the Italian Alps during winter.
Torrone: A classic Italian nougat. Each region in Italy has its own version, but they all share a chewy texture and a sweet, nutty flavour.
Ricciarelli: These are soft almond cookies from nearby Siena in Tuscany. They are made with almond flour, sugar and egg whites, similar to French macarons, but with a more rustic, artisanal look and a soft, chewy texture.
Cavallucci: Traditional cookies from Siena, made with anise, almonds, candied fruits, coriander and flour. The name means ‘little horses’, as they were originally made by stable workers who used a horse-shaped mould.
Panforte: A dense, chewy fruitcake, also from Siena, made with honey, spices, citrus peel and almonds. It’s a real treat with a history that dates back to the Middle Ages.
Struffoli: Small, deep-fried balls of sweet dough coated in honey and decorated with sprinkles. They are a Neapolitan specialty usually served piled up in a mound or shaped into a wreath.
Schiacciata con l’uva: A Tuscan grape-studded flatbread that’s both sweet and savoury, perfect for enjoying as you wander the market stalls.
Vin brulé: Also known as mulled wine, this is a hot drink traditionally made with red wine, sugar and spices like cinnamon, cloves and orange zest. You’ll find this in all markets across Europe.
Bratwurst: A nod to the market’s German inspiration, these sausages are a must-try. Grilled to perfection and often served in a bun with mustard, they’re a quick bite during your visit.
Pretzels: These twisted bread snacks are another German specialty that has reached Florence. Sprinkled with coarse salt, they’re a delicious and satisfying snack to munch on as you browse the stalls.
Gelato: Even in winter, Florence’s famous ice cream is popular. Look for seasonal flavours like cinnamon, gingerbread, or panettone to get into the Christmas spirit.
What to Buy
Ornaments: You’ll find glass baubles, painted ceramics and wooden figurines, perfect for adding a touch of Italian charm to your tree back home.
Leather Goods: Florence is famous for its quality leather craftsmanship. Wallets, belts, handbags, or even leather-bound notebooks make for a practical and stylish gift that carries a piece of Florence.
Olive Oil: Tuscany is known for producing some of the world’s best olive oils. You’ll find small, family-run producers selling their products at the market — a perfect gift for the foodies in your life.
Stationery: Florence has a rich tradition of paper and bookbinding crafts. Beautifully crafted journals, notepads and stationery sets with Florentine paper can be a thoughtful and unique gift.
Wine: Tuscany is one of Italy’s top wine-producing regions. The market is an excellent place to pick up a bottle of Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, or Vin Santo, a sweet wine often served with cantucci biscuits.
Artisanal Soaps: Beautifully packaged and often made with Tuscan olive oil, local honey, or other natural ingredients, these soaps are a little luxury that anyone would appreciate.
Ceramics: The region of Tuscany is known for its ceramics, particularly from towns like Montelupo Fiorentino. Beautiful pottery pieces are here, from decorative plates and vases to practical kitchenware, each with unique, hand-painted designs.
Gold jewellery: Along the Ponte Vecchio and within the market, you’ll find stunning gold jewellery, a testament to Florence’s long-standing goldsmith tradition.
Marbled paper: Admire the intricate designs of Florentine marbled paper, perfect for framing or creating unique stationery.
Alabaster sculptures: Marvel at these alabaster sculptures’ intricate carvings and detailed workmanship, a classic representation of Florentine artistry.
Limoncello: Sample and purchase this popular Italian liqueur made from the zest of fresh lemons infused with a sweet, tangy flavour. Although not local to Florence, it makes for a great gift.
Visit Destination Florence to make the most of your Florence experience, a helpful website packed with valuable information, tips and recommendations for things to do in Florence in winter.
Here are some suggestions for more sustainable travel in Florence.
- Eco-conscious Stays: Choose hotels that are committed to sustainability. These places use renewable energy and have measures to conserve water and reduce waste, contributing to a lower carbon footprint during your stay.
- Market Meals: When eating out, be mindful of portion sizes to avoid food waste. Enjoy the festive fare on offer, but order only as much as you can eat.
- Thoughtful Purchasing: Buy only souvenirs and gifts that have a purpose or that you’ll genuinely treasure. Florence is filled with artisan shops where you can find handmade goods that support local crafts.
- Local Food Choices: Try the variety of Tuscan dishes that rely on locally sourced ingredients. Eating locally not only supports Florence’s agricultural community but also cuts down on ‘food miles’.
- Public Transportation and Walking: Florence’s historic centre is well-suited for walking, and the city also has an efficient public transport system. Using these can greatly reduce your environmental impact while allowing you to see more of the city’s beauty.
While the Christmas season attracts tourists, Florence is generally less crowded in winter compared to the peak summer months, making it a more relaxed time to explore the city.
Winter in Florence can be cold, with temperatures ranging from 0°C (32°F) to 10°C (50°F). It’s essential to pack warm clothing and be prepared for occasional rain.
Most museums and attractions remain open around Christmas, except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, when many places are closed. It’s best to check individual attraction schedules beforehand.
As you explore the cobblestone streets adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations, you’ll find the city’s history and artistic masterpieces even more captivating during this magical time of year.
Experience the warmth of Italian hospitality as you savour traditional Tuscan cuisine in cosy restaurants and explore the bustling historic centre.
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Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Florence, Italy. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.