Christmas in Tuscany? Why not. Probably Tuscany is not the first destination crossing your mind when you plan a trip during wintertime or the Christmas holidays. Fortunately, it is so plenty of things to do and local traditions to discover that I would not think twice to buy a flight ticket and pack my bag. Direction Toscana.

Christmas Tree in the square of Casale Marittimo
Traditional Christmas Tree in Casale Marittimo

Here I give you my personal reasons why you should consider to come in Tuscany for the Christmas.

Eight valid reasons to spend Christmas in Tuscany

First of all, Christmas in Tuscany is a magical affair. Lights, decorations, and Christmas trees brighten houses and streets, giving a different charm both to the little hamlets and cities which Tuscany is famous for.

Christmas Markets in Tuscany

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 to go shopping in these street markets than go to the chain stores. You may choose your presents between lovely handmade products instead of the same commercial items you find everywhere in Italy and in the world. Here is a list of Christmas Markets in Tuscany (not valid in 2020 due to COVID restrictions).

Christmas Market of Forte dei Marmi
Christmas Market of Forte dei Marmi in Versilia

Attend a Living Nativity Scenes

Small villages like Equi Terme in Lunigiana hosts big living nativity scenes all around the historical center. Visitors, walking along the tiny alleys, meet shepherds, blacksmiths, old weavers making clothes, and other characters of the Presepe. You can ask a fortune-teller about your future and reach the hut where a real ox and a donkey keep Joseph, the virgin Marie, and the baby Jesus warm.

nativity scene of Equi Terme jesus mary joseph manger
Living Nativity Scene of Equi Terme

F-Light Firenze Light Festival

In Florence, the F-Light Firenze Light Festival, together with the traditional Luminaria di Natale, colors the main monuments of the historical center with projections and light games. We dedicated a blog post to the event. Take a look here to get more info about the Light Festival in Florence.

Florence Pontevecchio enlightened for f-light festival
Ponte Vecchio, Florence

Meet the Befana

In Italy, Christmas celebrations end on the 6 January when the Befana comes. She is an old ugly witch but not scary and evil at all. Have you ever heard about her? We talk about Befana here. If you happen to be in Italy at the beginning of January you have the opportunity to see how we celebrate the Epiphany.

Befana my travel in tuscany

Mild and pleasant weather

Another reason to spend Christmas in Tuscany is the mild weather. This tip is valid for the entire winter season.

Honestly, colors are less bright than spring, and of course, it is colder than summer. But in the last few years, the weather in winter was not that freezing, and there were many sunny days to enjoy our spare time.

TUSCANY IN WINTER: THE PROS AND CONS

I remember a solo daily trip to Florence in January. Kept pretty warm with a coat, scarf, and hat, I visited the entire city center. Starting from the high lookout of Piazzale Michelangelo and the Church of San Miniato al Monte, I enjoyed a lovely walk with not much crowd and a perfectly blue sky. A perfect scenario also for my pictures.

View of the church of Santa Croce from the Piazzale Michelangelo
Florence from the Piazzale Michelangelo

What to do in Tuscany in case of rain

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 Museums, Michelangelo’s David at the Galleria dell’Accademia, only to mention the most famous.

Piazza della Repubblica, Florence
Piazza della Repubblica, Florence

In Pisa, you have 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 without getting wet. Otherwise, you can lead yourself to the Lungarni and admire a temporary exhibit at the Palazzo Blu.

In Siena, you can explore the Complex of the Duomo. It includes exciting places as the cathedral with its amazing marble mosaic floor, the “Gate to Heaven”, and the Piccolomini library that will surprise you for its bright-colored frescoes. If you are curious to know more about it, read our post dedicated to The treasures of the Cathedral of Siena.

The Floor Cathedral Siena Tuscany
The marble mosaic floor of the Cathedral of Siena

Relaxation in Tuscany: Wellness and Spas

If cold outside, is there anything better than a relaxing bath in one of the hot springs of Tuscany? I think hot springs are a fascinating and unusual way to spend Christmas in Tuscany. 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 luxury bath establishments to pamper yourself with special SPA treatments and massages.

Saturnia hot Springs Tuscany
Cascate del Mulino in Saturnia, Maremma

Don’t need to go to the Dolomites for skiing

If you love snow, you should know that skiing in Tuscany is possible. And here are the places where you can do it. The first snow already fell down.

Monte Cimone skiing in Tuscany MTIT
Monte Cimone on the Tosco Emiliano Apennines – Photo Credits: Consorzio Stazione Invernale del Cimone

Christmas in Tuscany: Taste the Traditional Cakes

Last but not least reason (one of my favorites actually) why you should not doubt to visit Tuscany at Christmas is to enjoy the traditional Christmas cakes! While across Italy people always debates between Pandoro and Panettore, we prefer our specialties as Panforte, Cavallucci, and Ricciarelli.

cakes traditions of Christmas
Tuscan Christmas cakes made by my aunt

You won’t find them anywhere else. They are delicious, with a unique taste, finger-licking good. And Christmas is the only period of the year where you can buy them at the Botteghe of handmade products or supermarkets. Discover the other Tuscan Christmas cakes and let us know your favorite one!

Tuscany at Christmas Buon Natale

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, enjoy this wonderful time of the year!

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3 thoughts on “Christmas in Tuscany. The Best Things to Do

    • Edoardo says:

      Hello Beyza, it depends mostly on the area and the season you are visiting Tuscany. The biggest towns offer a more wide range of opportunity to find little shops opened during Sunday, while the rural areas generally have shops closed on Sunday. But during the high seasons (generally from May to October for the coastal area, or from November to March for the mountains area), even in rural areas has shops opened. Restaurants are always opened during Sunday.

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