18 Festive Things to Do in Florence in Winter (+ Christmas Tips!)

This site uses affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Are you looking for the best things to do in Florence in winter this year? This guide details how to spend Christmas in Florence (and the rest of the season)!

Are you planning your trip to Florence last minute?

If youʻre booking your trip to Florence last minute, we have you covered. Below are some of the top tours, hotels, and more!

Top Experiences and Tours in Florence:

  1. Leonardo Interactive Museum Skip-the-Line Ticket (most popular!)
  2. Uffizi Gallery Timed Entrance Ticket
  3. Entrance ticket to see Michaelangelo’s David
  4. Wine tasting tour of Tuscany (seriously the best!)
  5. Cooking class in Florence (perfect winter activity)
  6. Half-day trip to Pisa

Top Hotels in Florence:

  1. Ostello Bello Firenze(right by Michaelangelo’s David!)
  2. Hotel Brunelleschi (top-rated luxury)
  3. Arte’ Boutique Hotel Firenze
  4. Hotel Burchianti (top-rated boutique hotel)
  5. Loggia Fiorentina (budget option)

While summer remains the most popular time of the year to go on a trip, you should consider going on a trip during the winter to Florence!

With Christmas, New Year’s, sales, and more, Florence has a different magic to it in the winter season!

Best things to do in Florence in winter
Best things to do in Florence in winter

Here are our top picks for the best things to do in Florence in the winter! Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments. Thanks!

Winter in Florence Quick Facts

Florence Winter Temperatures

Like much of Italy, Florence does not get very cold in the winter, with the highs ranging around 11 degrees Celsius (52 degrees Fahrenheit). 

Temperatures can be below freezing at night, though, so be sure to pack your warm clothes, on the other hand! 

Here are the average winter temperatures in Florence during the winter:

  • Florence in November: highs of 15C (59F), lows of 6C (43F) 
  • Florence in December: highs of 11C (52F), lows of 3C (37F)
  • Florence in January: highs of 11C (52F), lows of 2C (36F)
  • Florence in February: highs of 12C (54F), lows of 3C (37C)

One thing to note is that the winter months are the rainy season in the Italian city!

November is the wettest month, averaging around 9 days of rain.

Does it Snow in Florence?

Florence does not get much snow, although it’s not impossible! It’s pretty rare, though, so don’t expect snow during your trip.

Snowfall in Florence really only accumulates every couple of years so if you see anything, it will likely be flurries.

Christmas Tree at Piazzale Michelangelo
Christmas Tree at Piazzale Michelangelo

How to Get to Florence

The main ways to get to Florence are via plane or train.

You can catch a flight to the Florence Airport or the Pisa International Airport, which is 100 km away.

Most airlines offer flights to these airports, but you will get the best deals if you fly from Europe.

If you’re in another city in Italy or in Europe, you can also consider taking the train. There is a high-speed railway central station in Florence, the Santa Maria Novella.

Best Things to Do in Florence in Winter

Go on a Wine Tasting Tour of the Tuscany Region

Discover the wine-making history and secrets in Chianti Classico by air-conditioned minibus and with an English-speaking driver after starting your journey in Florence.

You’ll get a chance to visit the most renowned wineries in Tuscany, where you will have an opportunity to taste three types of wines and the locally made fresh olive oil.

You’ll get acquainted with the unique technique they make wine and compare the differences, stroll around the wine cellars, and know the local viniculture even better.

Delicious wine in Tuscany
Delicious wine in Tuscany

Of course, the 5-hour tour will include local specialties from Tuscany, such as cheese, salami, cold cuts, and bruschetta served along with the wine.

Also, driving through the hills of sunny Tuscany and marveling at its breathtaking views will be a thing to experience and will make your tour even complete.

>> Check tour rates and availability here

Take an Italian Market Tour and Cooking Class in Florence

Italians are famous for their cooking and shopping; thus, this 5-hour-long experience will improve your skills in both.

In the beginning, you’ll head to the local market with famous local chefs.

There you’ll learn how to shop for fresh ingredients from the local farmers, butchers, and bakers, and under the expert guidance of your chefs, you’ll get how to distinguish the highest quality.

Market in Florence, Italy - T photography - Shutterstock
Market in Florence, Italy – T photography – Shutterstock

As you’ll have all the necessary ingredients, you’ll make your way to the home-style professional kitchen, where you’ll reveal all the secrets of making an authentic Tuscan meal.

That will include fresh Tuscan-style bruschetta, homemade pasta, and a seasonal main course, all accompanied by a selection of Chianti wines.

Finally, you will start tasting what you’ve prepared and evaluate yourself. A graduation certificate from the Food & Wine Academy of Florence will be provided as a class accomplishment.

>> Check tour rates and availability here

Go Ice Skating in Florence

Once you are in Florence during the holiday season, you undoubtedly need to visit Firenze Winter Park.

The park consists of two ice-skating rinks: one of them, called “MASTER,” measures 18×38 meters, and the smaller one, called “RIVER,” measures 10×20 meters.

The smaller rink is mainly for kids and those who are taking the ice for the first time. On both rinks, you can play Ice Stock with friends or kids.

That game from the Curling family doesn’t require ice skates.

Ice skating in Florence - Mau47 - Shutterstock
Ice skating in Florence – Mau47 – Shutterstock

The park also organizes spectacles over the ice, and caterings around the ice rinks promise you will not leave the spot with an empty stomach but will enjoy delicious Italian Pizza, even gluten-free!

Once you decide to visit here, don’t forget to buy your magnetic card at the counter.

See Christmas Lights Illuminate the City

As it is said, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. You will never forget your Christmas in Florence as every corner of the city has its own holiday story to tell.

F-Lights, or the Florence Light Festival, is one of Europe’s most momentous light festivals.

For a month, the city comes alive with light installations in some of the city’s most notable locations and piazzas.

Santa Maria del Fiore at Christmas in Florence
Santa Maria del Fiore at Christmas in Florence

This will make you experience the holiday in Florence on another level. Of course, you’ll find the season’s symbol with a unique appearance everywhere.

You can take selfies next to the most impressive Christmas trees in the Piazza San Firenze, outside the headquarters of the Andrea Bocelli Foundation, in the Piazza Della Repubblica and finally, marvel at Florence’s lights from the top of Piazzale Michelangelo.

Visit the Accademia Gallery

In the Accademia Gallery, just for 12€, you’ll be able to observe the largest number of sculptures by one of the most prominent artists of all time: Michelangelo.

The gem of your tour around the Gallery will definitely be Michelangelo’s David unless you’re a lover of other Florentine artists.

The Gallery’s collection includes many paintings from 1300–1600 by Giotto, Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Filippino Lippi, and other renowned artists.

Accademia Gallery - H-AB Photography - Shutterstock
Accademia Gallery – H-AB Photography – Shutterstock

Despite the historical archives, you’ll find displays of around fifty musical instruments from the private collections of the grand dukes of Tuscany, Medici, and Lorraine.

This tour around the Gallery will satisfy your cultural thirst and be one of the best art therapies during your visit to Florence.

Don’t forget to check Accademia’s list of exhibitions so as not to miss any available exhibits.

>> Click here for a timed ticket to the gallery

See the Life-Size Nativity Scene at Piazza del Duomo

The nativity scene is a notable exhibition mostly specific to Christian traditions, particularly during Christmas when a representation of Jesus’ birth is derived using different art objects.

Thus, during Christmas Time, one can find impressive nativity scenes in all the churchyards in Florence.

However, the most remarkable among those remains the one that decorates Piazza Duomo.

Nativity scene in Florence - gianni triggiani - Shutterstock
Nativity scene in Florence – gianni triggiani – Shutterstock

Presented usually starting from the beginning of December, the scene represents the birth of Christ accompanied by life-sized statues and decorations, creating an illusion of reality.

The nativity scenes differ every year and are installed by different artists.

Thus locals and tourists head to Piazza Duomo on the previously announced date to witness the Christmas Tree lights on and take a glance at the new nativity scene installed in the yard.

Taste Italian Hot Chocolate at Hemingway

Everyone knows Italians are good at making the most delicious meals, but once in Florence, you need to try the Italian hot chocolate at Hemingway.

Just in a 2-minute walk from Piazza del Carmine, you’ll find this cozy shop where a variety of hot chocolates will be offered along with freshly made biscuits, muffins with chocolate chips, or diversity of cakes.

Besides tasting hot chocolate here made from the most exotic cocoa beans from around the world, one can also try homemade ice cream with old Tuscan recipes.

Hemingway is an excellent place for “afternoon snacks” for those with a sweet tooth, and besides hot chocolate, you can have fine tea or coffee here. Also, when in the cafe, ask the waiter about their brand new chocolate soup!

Visit Florence’s Biggest Christmas Market 

Christmas markets are an integral part of the Christmas spirit in almost all Christian countries.

Florence is no exception, and Piazza Santa Croce is the home to the largest Christmas Market in Florence, which has become an annual tradition in the past 500 years.

Whether you just stroll around the market, open from 10 am-10 pm, or are on a hunt for a unique gift, you won’t pass inattentively along the mouthwatering foods offered in the market.

Florence Christmas market
Florence Christmas market

The bratwurst and pretzels, Dutch crepes or tasty Italian cheese, jams, chocolate, and mulled wine perfect for the brisk winter’s day will make your time in the market even tastier.

The wooden stalls decorated with light will convey the holiday spirit and make your day unforgettable.

You can find various gift options in the market, from Christmas ornaments and candles to English ceramic home goods and fine jewelry.

Go on a Hot Air Balloon Ride over Florence

Explore the breathtaking Tuscany and Chianti wine region from the bird’s perspective, enjoying an unforgettable hot air balloon tour near Florence.

Your 3-hour long experience will start early in the morning after the dawn when the sun will begin covering the picturesque countryside with its light.

During your flight, you’ll be able to see Florence and Apennine mountain range in the North, see the famous Tuscan hill towns of Elsa Valley, San Gimignano, Certaldo, and Volterra in the West, and get wowed by the beauty of Poggibonsi, Colle Val d’Elsa, and Siena with Monte Amiata in the South and the breathtaking Chianti Mountains in the East.

When your certified pilot lands after the 1-hour long flight, you’ll get your chance to enjoy a Prosecco breakfast, which includes local produce such as famous Pecorino cheeses from “Fattoria Corzano e Paterno” and olive oil tastings with traditional Tuscan bread.

Take in the Fresh Air at Boboli Gardens

Owned by different noble families through the 15th to 19th centuries, the Boboli Gardens in Florence have been enriched by different kinds of vegetation, statues, and constructions.

The garden was mainly enhanced by the Medici family. It became an open museum where one can find Roman and Renaissance statues and fountains and stroll around the numerous terraces and tunnels.

View of Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens
View of Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens

In the Boboli Gardens, you will walk around the “Viottolone,” or a large avenue flanked by cypresses and statuettes that then lead to a large pond with an enormous fountain.

Of course, you will marvel at the Giardino Del Cavaliere built by Michelangelo, the green Kaffeehaus, and the Neoclassical Palazzina della Meridiana next to Palazzo Pitti, which today hosts the Costume Gallery within the Pitti Palace.

This fantastic experience around the most renowned garden in Florence will cost you around 10€.

>> Click here to get a timed entrance ticket

Visit the Uffizi Gallery

When in Florence, one has never to miss the chance to visit the Uffizi Gallery, famous in the world for its outstanding collections of ancient sculptures and paintings.

The 16th-century building designed by Giorgio Vasari is a home for numerous paintings, sculptures, books, prints, and drawings and will make you wonder with its mesmerizing architecture.

The gems of the Gallery are renowned “Primavera” and “The Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli, “Annunciation” by Leonardo da Vinci, “Madonna of the Goldfinch” by Raphael, and “Medusa” by Caravaggio.

Uffizi Gallery
Uffizi Gallery

Also, the Gallery exhibits an invaluable collection of ancient statues inherited from the Medici family and Roman copies of lost Greek sculptures.

The entrance ticket costs 12€, but one can get a combined ticket for 38€ for a visit to Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Pitti, and the Boboli Gardens.

We recommend getting your timed entrance ticket beforehand, though!

Taste a Traditional Christmas “Panettone” 

In the Middle Ages, people from Milan never celebrated Christmas without a sweetened white wheat loaf, available to all on Christmas.

Once, a kitchen boy called Toni from the court of the Duke of Milan burned the Duke’s Christmas Eve dessert, and to make up for it, he mixed the leftover dough with sugar, egg, candied fruits, and raisins and baked a voluminous loaf.

The duke loved it a lot, and pan de Toni became the official dessert of Christmas.

Panettone
Panettone

Don’t miss your chance to taste panettone with the soft and fragrant richness of flavors derived from the traditional Milan recipe in Florence.

Da Rigacci a Cerbaia, Siena da Nannini, and Iginio Massari are some renowned bakeries in Florence that will let you experience the famous Italian panettone. 

Take a Day Trip Viareggio for Carnival

If you have the chance to visit Florence between January to March, you undoubtedly need to participate in the Viareggio Carnival.

This carnival dates back to 1873 and takes place for five to six weekends on the seaside promenade.

During the Viareggio Carnival, you’ll see marching bands, many people in masks and thematic costumes, and huge allegorical floats.

In 2023, it will be celebrated the 150th anniversary of Carnevale di Viareggio, dedicated to all traditions, stories, and cultures presented in the carnival so far.

Viareggio Carnival - marchesini62 - Shutterstock
Viareggio Carnival – marchesini62 – Shutterstock

Along the streets, you will see enormous floats of different sizes with different topics such as universal peace, environment, or political satire.

They all participate in a competition, and the jury announces the best float on the final day of the carnival.

You can also try delicious fried donuts, cotton candies, or fluffy doughnuts filled with cream from the street trucks available during the Carnevale.

Admission tickets start from €22 for adults, and you can easily get there via a direct train from Florence.

Celebrate Christmas in Florence at the Verdi Theater

The Nutcracker, or Schiaccianoci as Italians call it, has become the classical integral part of Christmas.

Besides visiting museums or strolling around the Christmas markets in Florence, one can entirely immerse in Christmas and culture by seeing the Nutcracker performance by Balletto di Milano.

The arrangement based on the libretto by E. T. A. Hoffmann and a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is a must-see classic.

The Nutcracker’s ballet performance ticket prices start from €20.50, and it will take place in Teatro Verdi, the biggest Italian-style theater in Tuscany.

The reinterpretation of the famous ballet conveys all the magic of the original story of the Nutcracker as the public expects: from the Christmas tree to the snowfall and opulently dressed performers.

Visit the Duomo

The Complex of Santa Maria del Fiore, located in the Piazza del Duomo, has become the symbol of Florence.

This architectural masterpiece known worldwide started to be built in the 13th century.

It consists of five main constructions: the Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore, a Gothic-styled church considered the third largest in the world; the Baptistery with the huge mosaic representation of Christ during the Last Judgment and bronze doors; the Dome, which is the largest masonry vault in the world with the most astonishing architectural solutions; the Giotto’s Tower considered to be the most beautiful campanile in Italy with seven bells; and the Opera Del Duomo Museum which houses artworks from Michelangelo, Pisano, Donatello, and many others.

Santa Maria del Fiore Duomo
Santa Maria del Fiore Duomo

The full pass across the complex costs 30€ for adults and is valid for three days after the purchase.

At the end of your tour, don’t forget to marvel at the majestic Florence view above the Duomo Terraces.

Go on a Half-Day Trip to Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa has become one of the symbols of Italy. Marvel at the beauty of the Leaning Tower and the Piazza dei Miracoli during your half-day tour to Pisa from Florence.

Your tour will start from the ancient entrance of Porta Santa Maria, and, passing through the medieval walls, you’ll admire the green lawns of Piazza dei Miracoli.

With directions from your expert guide, you will discover the monuments of the Piazza, including the Baptistery and the Monumental Cemetery.

Pisa with a little snow - Marco Taliani de Marchio - Shutterstock
Pisa with a little snow – Marco Taliani de Marchio – Shutterstock

Of course, you will marvel at the gem of the tour, the monument everyone has seen in history books: the Leaning Tower.

You will get your chance to take a photo next to the marble beauty and learn about its story.

In the end, you can climb the 294 steps to the top of the tower and enjoy the sweeping views over the city.

>> Check tour rates and availability here

If you opt for an independent day trip to Pisa, it is just as easy by train! Be sure to also include Lucca in the trip (it is not far from Pisa).

There are many things to do in Lucca, like visiting the Anfiteatro Romano and the Guinigi Tower that make it worthwhile!

Check Out the Medici Palace

After visiting the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, one may think that this is the exact place where the Renaissance period started.

It has been the home of Cosimo the Elder and Lorenzo the Magnificent and the workplace for glorious artists such as Michelangelo, Donatello, Paolo Uccello, Benozzo Gozzoli, and Botticelli.

During your visit to the palace, you’ll be able to stroll around the Medici Garden, characterized by classical elements, and see the antique artwork collection by the last resident of the court, the Riccardi family.

Palazzo Medici Riccardi
Palazzo Medici Riccardi

Then you’ll see the Magi Chapel, all covered by frescos by the Renaissance master Benozzo Gozzoli, representing the Medici family and its story.

At the end of the tour, you will visit the sparkling Hall of Mirrors and get more insights about the ‘second life’ of the palazzo after the Riccardi family purchased it.

You’ll be able to experience all this Renaissance only for €10.

Take Advantage of Italy’s January Sales

If you are in love with Florence and shopping, you’ll hit a jackpot visiting there in winter, as starting from January 4th, the great discount period begins in the city.

Also, if by any chance you stay at the Brunelleschi Hotel in the historic center of Florence, then you will easily reach the streets of international shopping such as Via de’ Tornabuoni, Via Roma, and Via de’ Calzaiuoli.

There you will get excellent offers from the factory outlets of great designers such as Armani, Versace, Gucci, Prada, and Neuber.

You can also find several outlets a few kilometers away from Florence, such as The Mall or Barberino Designer Outlet, with 30%-70% reduced prices.

Italy has always been one of the leading fashion hubs in the world.

Thus, even if you’re not a shopping fan, it is worth updating your wardrobe with some stylish pieces. 

Where to Stay in Florence

You will find plenty of amazing places to stay in Florence for your trip! Here are some of our top picks for any budget!

Did we miss any other amazing things to do in Florence in winter?

Let us know your tips for a winter trip to Florence, Italy in the comments! Thanks!

More Italy Winter Travel Guides

Pin this Winter in Florence Guide

Searching for the best things to do in Florence in winter? We help you plan a winter trip to Florence, including the best Christmas markets, day trips, and more! | Winter in Florence | Christmas in Florence | Florence Christmas | Florence Christmas markets | Florence day trips | Florence in November | Florence in December | Florence in January | Florence in February | Snow in Florence | Day trips from Florence | Winter tours in Florence | Winter activities in Florence

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *