Christmas in Tuscany. The best things to do
Tuscany probably won’t be the first thought when you plan a travel during winter or Christmas time. If you are asking yourself if it is worth spend a Christmas in Tuscany, my answer is yes, it is worth it. Fortunately it is so plenty of things to do, places to see, and local traditions to discover that I would not think twice to buy a flight ticket and pack my bag direction Toscana.
Traditional Christmas Tree in Casale Marittimo
I have at least five valid reasons to spend Christmas in Tuscany
First of all, Christmas in Tuscany is a magical affair. Lights, decorations, and Christmas trees brighten houses, streets up, giving a different charm to the little hamlets and cities which Tuscany is famous for.
Traditional Christmas markets are almost everywhere. Wooden stands full of goodies, traditional cakes and knick-knacks, make all happy, adults and children. It is definitely nicer for me go shopping in these markets where you can find lovely handmade products than go in the chain stores, that sell the same items everywhere in Italy and in the world. (Here is our list of Christmas Markets in Tuscany)
Christmas Market of Forte dei Marmi in Versilia
Small villages like Equi Terme in Lunigiana hosts big living nativity scenes all around the historical center. Visitors, walking along the tiny alleys, will meet shepherds, blacksmiths, old weavers making clothes, fortune-tellers, and all the other characters of the Presepe including a real ox, donkey, Joseph, the virgin Marie and the baby Jesus.
Talking about Christmas celebrations, have you ever heard about Befana? If not, here is a post where we talk about her, but if you are in Italy the 5th and 6th of January you have the opportunity to see how we celebrate this old ugly lady.
Living Nativity Scene of Equi Terme
Mild and pleasant weather
Another reason to spend winter and Christmas in Tuscany is the mild weather. Colors are less bright than spring, and of course, it is colder than summer, but the last few years the weather was not that freezing, and many are the sunny days to enjoy our spare time. I remember of a solo daily trip to Florence last year (kept pretty warm with coat, scarf, and hat) when I visited the city centre starting from the high lookout of Piazzale Michelangelo and the Church of San Miniato al Monte, enjoying a sunny day with not much crowd and a perfect blue sky (good also for my pictures).
Florence from the Piazzale Michelangelo
In case of rain or cold weather, you can still visit museums, temporary exhibits, and churches. Florence has so many things to offer that you would need days: the Duomo, the Baptistery, the Basilica of Santa Croce, Uffizi and Galleria dell’Accademia only mentioning the most famous. Talking about temporary exhibits, worthy of mention is “The Cinquecento in Florence” at Palazzo Strozzi.
In Pisa there is the entire Piazza dei Miracoli to explore. The interior of the Cathedral, the Baptistery, and the monumental Cemetery will satisfy your interest in art and history. Otherwise, you can lead yourself to the Lungarni and admire a temporary exhibit at the Palazzo Blu (this 2017/2018 is M.C. Escher the protagonist).
In Siena, you can explore the Complex of the Duomo, which includes interesting places as the cathedral with its amazing marble mosaic floor, a Gate to heaven, and library that will surprise you for its bright colored frescoes. If you are curious to know more about it, read our post named “The treasures of the Cathedral of Siena”.
The marble mosaic floor of the Cathedral of Siena
What about wellness?
If cold outside, is there anything better than a relaxing bath into one of the hot springs of Tuscany? I think hot springs are a fascinating and unusual way to spend Christmas in Tuscany. And places as Saturnia, Bagno Vignoni, and Bagni San Filippo offer the possibility to enjoy, at your choice, the wild free hot springs and the surrounding nature, or the services of equipped luxury bath establishments when you will pamper yourself with special SPA treatments and massages.
Cascate del Mulino in Saturnia, Maremma
Don't need to go to Dolomites for skiing
If you love snow, you have to know that skiing in Tuscany is possible and here is the list where you can do it. The first snow already felt down.
Monte Cimone on the Tosco Emiliano Apennines – Photo Credits: Consorzio Stazione Invernale del Cimone
Taste the traditional Xmas cakes
Last but not least reason (it is one of my favorites actually) why you should not have doubt of visiting Tuscany at Christmas is to enjoy the traditional Christmas cakes! While across Italy people always debates between classic cakes as Pandoro and Panettore, we prefer our specialties as Panforte, Cavallucci, and Ricciarelli. You won’t find them anywhere else, they are delicious, unique taste, finger-licking good, and Christmas is the only period of the year where you can buy them into the Botteghe of handmade products. We dedicated a special post on Tuscan Xmas cakes, take a look clicking here and let us know what you think about them!
In the meantime, we wish a happy Christmas wherever you are (not only in Tuscany) to all our readers and loved ones.
Tuscan Christmas cakes made by my aunt
In the meantime, we wish Tantissimi Auguri di Buon Natale to all our readers and their loved ones, wherever you are spending your Christmas holidays!