Babbo Natale, Olive Oil, Vino Novello & Chestnuts
Even if Tuscany is one of those regions that just keeps on surprising you, December mostly stands for Christmas here in Tuscany (as it does in many parts across the world)! Christmas, in turn, stands for events, delicious food, traditional festivals, colored lights, music and, obviously, presents. This means that all of Tuscany gets dressed in its Christmas clothes, giving life to Christmas markets, exhibitions and traditional manifestations that are typical of this period but, at the same time, bring with them a genuine touch of their local origins.
That said, I wish to point out that not all events in Tuscany are dedicated to celebrate Christmas: after all, it’s about Tuscany we’re speaking about, an extremely resourceful region! Art, culture and food continue to be present all over the territory, bringing a particular touch of tradition that contributes to make December special and, meanwhile, to extend the delicious tastes of Fall that Tuscany commonly celebrates with its most typical regional products, such as olive oil, wine, chestnuts and mushrooms.
Below you will find a list of some of our favorite food festivals, as well as exhibitions, events and markets for the month of December.
This month is so special that we have added a few extra calendars that concentrate on all the Christmas markets and the typical & traditional Christmas Nativity Scenes or Presepe found throughout the region of Tuscany.
Without a doubt, someplace merit their own dedicated calendar, for example Siena.
We are constantly updating the activities for the each year however, if they have not yet been posted by official sites then we write in TBA (to be announced) - so keep checking in with us...or write us on the Forum.
Traveling to Florence while visiting Tuscany? Remember to check out the calendar for Florence and the many select events that happen in this great city.
Tuscany | #DOMENICALMUSEO | 1° Sunday in December
A standing appointment every month
How about enjoying a bit of art, history and culture on a Sunday? How about enjoying it with free admission? Then mark the first Sunday of the month on your calendar and make note of the following State museums (and archaeological areas) across Tuscany where you can take advantage of free entrance.
Pistoia | CAPITALE CULTURALE D’ITALIA | 2017
the Cultural Capital of Italy for 2017
Celebrate together with Pistoia! Between classical music concerts, art exhibits, cultural activities, blues & jazz in the town squares and so much more, this stunning little Tuscan town is prepared to show the world their true colors when it comes to their cultural prowess. Each month they are planning over 200 events including theater, music, book presentations, learning labs and more. Check in here every month to see select highlights from the Pistoia calendar.
Arezzo | FIERA ANTIQUARIA | December 2 & 3
The oldest and the biggest antique fair
Many years ago, Ivan Bruschi gave life to one of the oldest and biggest antique fairs in Tuscany...maybe even all of Italy. He transformed his love for the old, unique and precious into an event that fills the streets of Arezzo every first Sunday of the month and the Saturday that precedes it that month.
Panzano in Chianti | APRILANTE | 1st Sunday in December
Handcrafts & Vintage
We know they call the fair "April"ante, but it really goes all year round! This monthly market in the streets of this charming town in Chianti is where you will find hand crafts, vintage and delicious typical foods and all of it this is just outside in the countryside surrounding Florence.
Greve in Chianti | IL PAGLIAIO | Every 4th Sunday of December
Organic and Artisan Market
Piazza Matteotti is filled with locals who feature goods from their gardens, their kitchens and their workshops. Often you will find not only great bargains, but music and opportunities to do some taste testing.
Barga | MERCATINO ANTIQUARIATO | 2nd weekend of the month
head into the Garfagnana
It's not all about the food, in fact just north of Lucca in the area known as the Garfagnana you will find fall colors, flavors and an antique fair that merits a visit.
San Gimignano | LUMIERE | Dec 2 - 3
lit up with contemporary lights & images
The city center, the Duomo, the squares and the streets will tell a dream vision thanks to the suggestions created by the works of the artists, the lights, the sounds and the shadows. Free admission.
Tuscany | TOSCANA GOSPEL FESTIVAL | December
It’s been over 20 years that Tuscany has invited gospel groups to perform in the month of December creating a festival atmosphere. Over the course of the month, there are several different concerts for the public to enjoy.
Pienza | GIOCO DEL PANFORTE | end of December
a folkloristic competition in Valdorcia
It’s a competition where participants have to throw an entire panforte (a typical Christmas treat from Siena) wrapped in paper over a long table, trying to get it to go to the opposite edge or as close as possible. This game has recently become so popular among both inhabitants and tourists, which are also invited to participate. Stop by and try your throw.
San Quirico d’Orcia | FESTA DELL’OLIO | Dec 8 - 10
the moment to savor the new olive oil
Montefollonico | LO GRADIRESTE UN GOCCIO DI VIN SANTO | TBA
13th edition celebrating the delicious vin santo wine
An area of Tuscany particularly rich in the production of quality vin santo wines, with a tendency of being sweet filled with the aromas of the land. It’s a festival aimed to promote the local "holy wine" or vinsanto, as the sweet dessert wine made in Tuscany is called and the products that usually are eaten with it, like cantucci, the almond biscuits typical of Prato. Wine, food tastings and even a competition for the best holy wine of the festival!
Abbadia San Salvatore | ASPETTANDO LE FIACCOLE | Dec 8 - Jan 8
a bit of folklore & good food waiting for the flames
”Le Fiaccole” are pyres (sometimes 7 meters tall) that will be lit on the 24th of December. There are lots of dates to remember in this small town, from the 8-11 of December they start making the pyres which decorate the city streets, the pyres are lit on the 24th with the Sacred Fire and from the 8th of December till the 8th of January everyone can have fun visiting the “Village of Elves”.
Monteriggioni | NATALE CON I FIOCCHI | Dec 8
Abbadia Isola ospiterà il magico mondo di Babbo Natale
The amazing little town of Abbadia Isola brings to life Santa Claus, the Elves and the magic of the holiday season.
Volterra | CENE GALEOTTE | Dec 15
giving back to the community
Volterra will be home to an event whose total earnings will be given to charity. Named after the prison of Volterra where dinner will take place. The event will consist in a collaboration among some of the most renowned Italian chefs from Florence (this year) and the prisoners in Volterra's ancient prison, which means setting up a delightful dinner open to the public with all proceeds going to charity (reservation required).
Castelnuovo Garfagnana | CITTÀ’ della CASTAGNA | Dec 2 - 3
Delicious recipes: Necci, Mondine and Polenta
The “City of the Chestnuts” is ready to tempt your tastebuds with their quality DOP chestnut flour and make some of the special recipes. Local restaurants are participating in offer some of the more traditional and unforgettable flavors for you to try.
Lucca | NATALECCI | Dec 24
Bringing good luck for the new year
In the historic little town, just outside of Lucca, called Gorfigliano there will be huge bonfires set in several locations of the village, a tradition which illuminates the skies on Christmas Eve.
Lucca | I GIORNI DI PUCCI | Dec 2, 7, 13 & 21
A program filled with theater events
For a more cultural experience, head to the center of Lucca for a birthday celebration for Pucci and the musical master of the area. The charming setting of Teatro del Giglio will be housing 4 theatre concerts and music performances on the note of this famous Tuscan composer
Manciano | SEGUENDO UN FILO D’OLIO | Dec 8 - 10
following the perfume of olive oil in the south of Tuscany
Three whole days dedicated to local traditions celebrating the new olive oil harvest and all those products that usually come with it - like fettunta, vino novello, bread with salumi as well as chestnuts!
Saturnia | DEGUSTAZIONE DI ZUPPE MAREMMANE | Dec 8 - 10
test tasting the flavors of the Maremma
It all happens in Piazza Vittorio Veneto of Saturnia: the traditional tasting of typical Maremmane soups. The tastings will be accompanied by fritelle, bruschette with new oil, vin brulè, and other and delicious maremma specialties, served with excellent wine! The tasting schedule is from 12:00 to 19:00
Faltona | POLENTA DOLCE E BALDINO | Dec 8
a tradition which has been passed down for centuries
Chestnuts were treasured as a source of nourishment filling in the holes of hunger during the long, cold winter months. Now they are a source of delicious treats - roasted, boiled, ground and made into flour for desserts. Come and taste them in every form in the valley of Casentino.