Visiting Florence in winter feels like stepping back in time. With its renowned Renaissance architecture, the city lights up with a Christmas market that adds a touch of warmth to the chilly weather.
In this guide, I’ll be filling you in on the 2023 dates, opening times, locations, top Christmas stalls and local specialties at the Florence Christmas Market.
In Florence in winter, the chill in the air pairs well with the city’s warm lights. The historic buildings seem to shine a little brighter, and the familiar scent of seasonal treats fills the streets.
You’ll hear the cheerful sounds of music and performers and feel the city’s unique spirit brought out by Christmas.
Florence Christmas Market 2023
At the Florence Christmas Market, you’ll find a collection of stalls with charm. They sell everything from handmade crafts to Italian delicacies.
You can take your pick of local wines, cheeses and the famous panettone, a traditional Italian Christmas bread.
Be sure to check out the stalls selling handcrafted ornaments — they make excellent souvenirs.
Amid the hustle and bustle, you’ll also find spots just to relax and soak up the festive atmosphere, surrounded by the beautiful architecture that makes Florence such a unique city.
Dates and Location
Florence Christmas Market dates: Likely dates: 18th November to 17th December 2023.
Location: Piazza di Santa Croce, Florence
Opening times: 10am to 11pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Admission: Free, no tickets required.
Christmas lights: Yes, no announced switch on date.
Ice skating: Yes, at Piazza di Santa Croce.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, but limited.
Gluten-free: Yes, but limited.
Accessible: Yes, if you can manage cobblestones.
Pet-friendly: Yes, dogs are allowed on a lead.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: Handmade crafts unique to Florence. Tuscan wines. Traditional panettone. Handcrafted ornaments for souvenirs. 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. Schiacciata con l’uva. Roasted chestnuts.
Where to stay: Relais Santa Croce is 3-minutes from the Christmas market.
Hotels near Florence Christmas Market
For a truly magical stay in Florence during the Christmas season, the Santa Croce neighbourhood is an ideal choice due to its close proximity to the festive market.
This popular area is brimming with historical landmarks, restaurants and cosy cafes.
Consider booking a room at the highly-rated Relais Santa Croce, which provides not only luxurious accommodations but also an enviable location just a stone’s throw away from the heart of the Christmas market. Blu Notte is a great choice if you’d prefer a more affordable hotel near Florence Christmas market as it’s only 4 minutes away.
Location of Florence Christmas Market
City and Christmas Tours
Taking a city tour of Florence is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the city’s deep-rooted history and vibrant culture. With its enchanting old town, distinctive facades and breathtaking Renaissance architecture, Florence is a city that caters to a broad range of interests.
I suggest this city tour of Florence, where you can explore the city’s highlights accompanied by a local guide for a reasonable cost. This tour is particularly suited for those visiting Florence for the first time.
On a city tour, you’ll pay a visit to some of Florence’s most iconic landmarks and attractions, including the historic Piazza della Signoria, the stunning Fountain of Neptune and the impressive Florence Cathedral.
Or, you might want to opt for this food tour to understand the local culture through its cuisine. Food tours are gaining popularity, and having experienced several during my travel blogging career, I highly endorse this type of tour.
For a comprehensive and insightful journey through Italy at Christmas, be sure to check out my Italy Christmas Markets guide for 2023.
What to Expect in Florence
Discover the enchanting world of the Florence Christmas Market by watching this video. You’ll get an understanding of the city’s unique festive atmosphere, Christmas lights and sights.
Christmas Specialties in Florence
Panettone: Originating in Milan but now enjoyed all over Italy during Christmas, Panettone is a tall, sweet bread loaf filled with candied fruits and raisins. Its light, fluffy texture and distinctive dome shape make it a Christmas favourite.
Pandoro: A Christmas 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 Christmas nougat made from honey, egg whites, toasted nuts and citrus zest. 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 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 from Siena, made with honey, spices, candied peel and almonds. It’s a real treat with a rich history, as it dates back to the Middle Ages.
Struffoli: Small, deep-fried balls of sweet dough coated in honey and decorated with coloured sprinkles. They are a Neapolitan specialty that is usually served piled up in a mound or shaped into a wreath.
Brodo Vegetariano: A hearty vegetable broth made with a mix of seasonal vegetables such as carrots, celery and onions. It’s often served with tortellini or other types of pasta during the Christmas meal in Italy.
Caponata: A Sicilian dish made from eggplant, celery, capers and a sweet and sour sauce. Although it’s not a Christmas dish per se, it’s a flavourful vegetarian option that could easily find its place on the holiday table.
Food at the Christmas Market
Schiacciata con l’uva: A Tuscan grape-studded flatbread that’s both sweet and savoury, perfect for enjoying as you wander the market stalls.
Roasted chestnuts: A warming street food staple, you’ll find vendors roasting chestnuts right on the streets of Florence. The sweet, smoky aroma is a telltale sign of winter and the holiday season, and these hot, toasty treats are a joy to eat as you wander around the market.
Vin brulé: Also known as mulled wine, this is a hot drink traditionally made with red wine, sugar and various spices like cinnamon, cloves and orange zest. It’s a festive staple at Italian Christmas markets, perfect for sipping on a chilly evening.
Bomboloni: These are Italian doughnuts, typically filled with cream or Nutella. Soft, fluffy and dusted with sugar, they’re a delightful sweet treat you’ll often find at street stalls during Christmas.
Schüttelbrot: A traditional South Tyrolean bread, it’s a crispy, dry flatbread often flavoured with fennel seeds, coriander, or caraway. It’s a common find at the Florence Christmas Market due to the market’s German influences.
Bratwurst: A nod to the market’s German inspiration, these savoury sausages are a must-try. Grilled to perfection and often served in a bun with mustard, they’re an irresistible quick bite during your Christmas market visit.
Pretzels: These twisted bread snacks are another German specialty that has found its way to the Florence Christmas Market. Sprinkled with coarse salt, they’re a delicious and satisfying snack to munch on as you browse the stalls.
Crespelle: Delight in these thin, savoury pancakes filled with a variety of ingredients such as ham, cheese, or mushrooms.
Schweinshaxe: This is a German-style roasted pork knuckle that’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Often served with sauerkraut or potatoes, it’s a hearty dish you might come across at the market.
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
Handcrafted ornaments: Florence Christmas Market is a treasure trove of unique, artisanal ornaments. You’ll find delicate glass baubles, intricately painted ceramics and wooden figurines, perfect for adding a touch of Italian charm to your Christmas tree.
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 with it.
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.
Scarves and Textiles: Look out for stalls selling textiles and scarves. Many are made from high-quality Italian wool or silk and come in various colours and patterns.
Jewellery: You’ll find stalls offering a range of jewellery, much of it handcrafted. From delicate silver pieces to bolder, more rustic designs, there’s something for every style.
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. You’ll find beautiful pottery pieces, 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.
Fierucolina di Natale Christmas Market
Fierucolina di Natale is a charming Christmas market held in the heart of Florence, known for its focus on organic, locally-produced goods and traditional crafts.
This market offers a more intimate and authentic experience compared to some of the larger Christmas markets in Italy.
As you wander through the stalls, you’ll discover a variety of artisanal products, such as handmade soaps, organic honey and natural textiles.
Fierucolina di Natale is a perfect destination for those seeking unique and sustainable gifts while enjoying the warm atmosphere of Tuscany.
Fierucolina di Natale Christmas Market dates: Likely dates: 7th December 2023.
Opening times: 9am to 7pm.
Location: Piazza Santo Spirito, near the Palazzo Pitti.
Location of Fierucolina di Natale
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.
Sustainable Christmas Tips
Many of us are increasingly concerned about climate change and sustainability. Here are a few tips on how we can travel more responsibly in Florence at Christmas.
- Choose eco-friendly accommodations: Opt for hotels or guesthouses in Florence that prioritise renewable energy and energy-efficient practices, such as solar power or LED lighting.
- Reduce food waste: Visit local markets like Mercato Centrale, where you can buy fresh, local produce in the exact quantities you need, minimising food waste during your stay.
- Support ethical businesses: Seek out fair-trade and eco-friendly shops in Florence, such as Libera Terra, which sells products made by cooperatives that cultivate land confiscated from the mafia.
- Embrace a sustainable diet: Sample traditional Tuscan vegetarian dishes, like ribollita or pappa al pomodoro, which are both delicious and environmentally friendly.
- Use public transportation: Take advantage of Florence’s extensive public transportation system, including buses and trams, or rent a bike to explore the city in an eco-conscious manner.
- Carry a reusable water bottle: Fill up at one of the many public drinking fountains, called “nasoni,” found throughout Florence, reducing plastic waste and staying hydrated.
- Join sustainable tours: Choose guided tours promoting responsible tourism and supporting local communities, such as walking tours highlighting Florence’s eco-friendly initiatives or artisan workshops.
Florence Christmas Market starts on 18th November to 17th December 2023.
The Florence Christmas Market is held in the picturesque Piazza di Santa Croce, in the city’s historic centre.
The market generally opens around 10am and closes around 11pm, but hours may vary slightly depending on the day of the week and specific events.
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 during the Christmas season, with the exception of Christmas Day and New Year’s Day when many establishments are closed. It’s advisable to check individual attraction schedules beforehand.
Venturing to Florence this winter will immerse you in the city’s unique charm, with crisp air, fewer crowds, and enchanting holiday festivities.
As you explore the cobblestone streets adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations, you’ll find the city’s rich history and artistic masterpieces even more captivating during this magical season.
Delight in the warmth of Italian hospitality as you savour traditional Tuscan cuisine in cosy restaurants and explore the bustling Christmas markets in Florence.
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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.