Does Tuscany close for Christmas & New Year 's? No way! There is even more to do than ever during this season!
We receive so many questions regarding the Christmas and New Year's holidays in Florence and Tuscany, especially "Does everything close down?" and "What is open on Christmas?" and the simple answer is Tuscany is never closed to the curious visitor looking for adventure!
This page is designed to lead you to the many informative articles we have on the site giving you valuable information about the holiday season in Tuscany and Florence. We have structured this piece to give you a brief overview of what to expect during the months of December and January while loading it up with lots of links to articles that offer more detailed information.
Still can't find what you are looking for? Then write us at our forum and we will get back to you.
Where to stay?
Even during the holiday months of December and January guests exploring the region will find that accommodations in Tuscany and B&Bs in Florence never close and neither do restaurants, monuments, museums and churches albeit they have shorter winter hours or special holiday hours.
However, in our experience, it always pays to be organized, and if you know what you are looking for and make a few plans in advance, you will see a side of Tuscany that many never experience, including local celebrations, cultural events and delicious aromas and flavors of Christmas.
What is there to see?
Admittedly northern Italy, bordering with Austria and reaching into Germany is where the original Christmas Markets can be found, but many towns throughout the region of Tuscany have charming markets with gift ideas, Vin brulé (spiced, warm wine) and roasting chestnuts. CHECK OUT OUR LIST OF CHRISTMAS MARKETS »
Nothing says Christmas in Tuscany like visiting a live or artistic nativity scene with elaborate settings and historic re-enactments: envision the Holy Family at Christmas time traveling through miniature towns with intricate decorations or life-size camels and processions. DISCOVER MORE ABOUT ITALIAN STYLED PRESEPE »
DID YOU KNOW? You can participate in the markets, the fairs or explore on your own with a twilight tour of the city enjoying the enchanting holiday atmosphere.
What's more, many small towns in Tuscany plan a busy calendar of events including extra concerts, and food festivals.
However, there are some towns which feature extensive calendars, and we have dedicated articles to:
- Siena always has a special holiday calendar CHECK OUT THE COMPLETE SIENA CALENDAR OF EVENTS ».
- Pistoia features quality events for the holidays. VIEW THE HOLIDAY CALENDAR FOR PISTOIA »
- Florence, which decorates the streets with hundreds and thousands of fairy lights and puts together a spectacular Christmas celebration just in time for Babbo Natale (Santa Claus). LEARN ABOUT THE CHRISTMAS PRESEPE TRADITION » (In addition to the Florence Christmas Calendar, there are many other types of activities to be experienced in Florence for the month of DECEMBER » or JANUARY »)
Ringing in the New Year
The Italians will tell you that the holidays don't end until the 6th of January when the only thing you'll find in the storefront windows are the “SALDI” SALE SIGNS. But, before we get that far into the new year - how about the excitement of ringing in the New Year right here in Tuscany?
NEW YEAR CALENDAR
- Many towns throughout the region plan concerts and street festivals with food, music, dancing, and parties. CHECK OUT THE LIST OF EVENTS IN TUSCANY »
- Florence, Italy: What could be more romantic than celebrating the stroke of midnight in the heart of the Renaissance? Every city has its own way of celebrating the “nuovo anno”, many of which include long dinners and fireworks. CHECK OUT MORE DETAILS ON NEW YEAR’S IN FLORENCE »
- Pistoia puts together a great calendar for both New Year 's Eve and the “Re Magi” on the 6th of January. PISTOIA HOLIDAY CALENDAR »
AFTER THE NEW YEAR: the BEFANA!
“Epifania porta via!” That 's right, the holiday season winds down (until the next holiday: Carnivale) with the coming of the Three Kings parade in Florence, though for many youngsters the real event is the “Befana”, a scary old hag that brings candy and gifts to all the good little boys and girls.
Don't miss the flavors of the season
Everyone wants to know if the restaurants are closed! The Tuscan holiday menu is a tradition that can not be missed, stuffed with local seasonal sweets! Just think of the perfume of the truffles and the fresh pressed extra virgin olive oil. And though Jack Frost is nipping at your nose and chestnuts are roasting on an open fire, there are still many activities and places open for business.
Some places may close for a few days, but many of Florence's best-loved Trattorias are open for the locals to enjoy. May we suggest that instead of a sit-down meal, you try some of the Florentine street food specialties, a cup of hot chocolate or tea, or an afternoon “panino” to warm you up.