Florence at Christmas: Piazza del Duomo with Christmas tree
Uncategorized

Florence at Christmas: festive events for kids they’ll love this holiday season

Enjoy Florence at Christmas with this list of family-friendly events in Florence this Christmas to celebrate the festivities and make the most of the city in the festive season.

Christmas is an exciting time to be in Florence.

During the holiday season, Florence shines bright with many Christmas lights illuminating its elegant center and enticing visitors of all ages, with family-friendly Christmas events in many of its piazzas, historical palazzi and parks.

The full calendar of events has only just been published and starts today, the 7th of December, with the lighting of the trees.

This is the list of the events currently scheduled for Christmas in Florence in 2023.

The information on this page is provided by the event organizers and the Municipality of Florence. All events are susceptible to changes at the organizers’ discretion.

To find my personal recommendations to enjoy Florence as a family and my tips, please check here >>> my family guide to visiting Florence with kids.

Lighting of the trees ceremonies

The best Christmas trees in Florence and in Piazza Duomo, Piazza Della Signoria and Piazzale Michelangelo.

The official lighting ceremony for all of them is planned for the 7th December at the following times

Piazza della Signoria @5.30pm Map https://maps.app.goo.gl/NxxbQszQBTnLhhz7A
Piazza del Duomo @6.00pm Map https://maps.app.goo.gl/VjBGuSR59FaxJM2z8
Piazzale Michelangelo @.7.30pm Map https://maps.app.goo.gl/8LGdwgTaiYVjrRws5

The ceremonies are officiated by the Mayor of Florence and city dignitaries and have special guests such as the Light Gospel Choir and Corteo Storico della Repubblica Fiorentina (a historical organization: their costumes are the best!)

Smaller trees also dot smaller squares and local areas of the city, for a total of about 60 of them around town!

Christmas market in Piazza Santa Croce

A Florence Tradition, the Santa Croce Christmas market comes back in Piazza Santa Croce from 21 November to 17 December with food and gift stalls.

Christmas Markets in Piazza Santa Crore, Florence , Italy.

Florence Ice Village and Santa Encounter

Florence Ice Village is a seasonal event that brings to Florence two exciting features: the biggest ice skating ring in Tuscany and a ferry wheel!

The event this year is in a new location, in Parco delle Cascine where families also find a Christmas Village with seasonal and food stalls, opening on 8th December. The ice rink will be operational until mid-January.

Parco delle Cascine is aso where Santa likes to come when he’s in Florence and where kids age 3 to 10 can meet him!

This Santa experience at Cascine Park comes complete with a mini train ride across the park that makes you explore this large green area before delivering you to Santa himself.

The train ride and Santa encounter are a package and must be booked in advance. Link to book here >>> https://www.eventbrite.it/e/biglietti-trenino-al-parco-768210808207 <<<

Green Line light projections

GreenLine is the name of an event that lights up the most prominent Florence landmarks with colorful projections.

As darkness starts falling onto the city, Ponte Vecchio and Piazza dell Signoria light up with projects that are free to enjoy at all ages.

Santa’s house and letterbox

If your kids are worried Santa may not know where to deliver presents this year, they’ll love to learn Santa has a special postbox in Florence that delivers straight to the North Pole!

The post box is in Palazzo Vecchio, right in the center of Florence, and is active from the 7th of December to the 24th.

Map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/KGqJazsqBhi8jBGL8

Carriage rides

Carriage rides will allow little ones to enjoy Florence city center on with a carriage pulled by white horses, during the holiday season.

The rides are for kids between 3 and 8 years of age and must be booked in advance.

The meeting point is in Piazza della Repubblica, in front of Caffe’ Giubbe Rosse. Map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/rCa3wUz3SMTTgFJZA

Please note: for the safety of the horses, the ride may be canceled in case of unfavorable weather.

Info and tickets >>> here <<<

Christmas concerts in Florence museum

Several Florence museums and churches offer musical events for their visitors on selected dates. These include:

  • Santa Maria Novella 9 December (accordion) and 16 December (Accordion and Cello) at 11.30. Booking required at: info@museifirenze.it
  • Palazzo Vecchio, piano concert on 7, 8, 23, 26, 30 December and 6 January
  • Palazzo Bardini, Orchestra, 10 and 17 December @11:30 Free admission for museum ticket holders.  
hotel minerva santa maria novella square florence

Epiphany (6h January) The arrival of La Befana

La Befana is a magical visitor who comes to children’s homes on the night between the 5th and the 6th January, bringing sweets in a stocking to nice children (if you’ve been naughty, she gets you coal instead! Read here >>> all about Epiphany and La Befana in Italy <<<<

In 2024, the children of Florence expect her also to make a daytime appearance at 11.30 in Piazza della Repubblica. Map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/TTj2Hg2sM56Mpe4P6

la befana

NYE events in Florence piazzas

Several music events take place in Florence’s main piazzas on New Year’s Eve. The main ones are planned as follows (no additional info available yet):

  • Piazza Signoria – Canto e Magia (Songs and Magic)
  • Piazza Duomo – Gospel concert
  • Piazza del Carmine – Pop e Cantautorato (pop and singer-songwriters)
  • Piazza Santissima Annunziata – Jazz
  • Piazza Santa Croce – orchestra con scuole di danza (Orchestra and dance schools)
  • Oltrarno – Marching band.

Upscale festive brunches and Christmas lunches in Florence hotels

Christmas lunch is a big family event in Italy, and this affects the ability to eat out on the day.

If you are planning to have Christmas lunch in Florence, it is best to make plans ahead.

You can find here >>> our list of recommended family-friendly restaurants in Florence <<< with contact details for current opening hours and availability.

Some of the most festive for the atmosphere are in the city hotels and more upscale restaurants. Contact them directly with good notice to make special arrangements for children.

Some you may want to consider this year:

Four Seasons Hotel

  • 24 December – Christmas Eve dinner,
  • 25 December – Christmas Brunch; Christmas dinner
  • 26 December – Santo Stefano Brunch
  • 31 December – NYE Dinner Gala
  • 1 January – NYE Brunch

Hotel Brunelleschi

Christmas Lunch, Monday, 25 December 2023 from 12.30 pm Website: Hotel Brunelleschi Christmas Lunch

Hotel Lungarno Collection

  • 25 December – Christmas Lunch at their 1 Star Michelin Restaurant Borgo San Jacopo, view over the Ponte Vecchio. Website: Lungarno collection dining experiences

Hotel Savoy

  • 24 December – Christmas Eve dinner
  • 25 December – Christmas Lunch
  • 31 December – NYE dinner with live music
  • 1 January – New Years’ Day Brunch
  • Website: Hotel Savoy Florence

Ristorante elisabella (2 Michelin stars)

Christmas Luch and Ristorante Elisabetta

Christmas cake panettone and Christmas decorations.

The Museums of Florence at Christmas: opening hours / festive closures

The Christmas festivites impact the opening of museums and attractions. If you find yourself in Florence at Christmas, you may need to know the following:

The Uffizi Gallery is closed on 25 December and 1st January, as well as every Monday during the year.

The Accademia Gallery is closed on 25 December, 1 January as well as every Monday. It also has shorter opening times on the 24 and 31 December (last access 5.30pm, closure at 6pm)

Bargello Museum: closed on Christmas Day.

Comments Off on Florence at Christmas: festive events for kids they’ll love this holiday season

Marta Correale is an Italian mama of two. Born and raised in Rome, Marta has a passion for travel and especially enjoys showing off Italy to her kids, who are growing up to love it as much as she does! A classics graduate, teacher of Italian as a second language and family travel blogger, Marta launched Mama Loves Italy as a way to inspire, support and help curious visitors to make the most of a trip to Italy and learn about Italian culture on the way.