This is my first time in Florence in December. I have always returned home to Chicago before the festivities of lights and markets appeared. I have been taking a lot of long walks alone and with friends to admire the way Florentines view Christmas here. I had an idea of what the city would transform into, this time I could see it myself.
I was so excited to see this huge Christmas tree in Piazza del Duomo. It brought the Christmas spirit into my heart. I usually am surrounded by trees and lights at home in Chicago but this year I have no decorations here at my apartment. It makes me appreciate the decorations even more.
Over the weekend, I was in the center Saturday and Sunday. I witnessed families with children hustling from one store to the next. I didn’t see many tourists in this time. A great time to visit Florence, is during the month of December. Even it is cold, it can’t be as cold as where you are from. The streets are full of locals shopping to their hearts delight. I never pictured Italians as shopping frivolously over the Christmas holiday. I pictured it much like what I saw this weekend as well. Couples holding hand in hand, slow walkers on the side walk and people gazing at the lights strung around the city. It brought me happiness to see these moments in people’s faces. How special family is!
I went to the Weihnachtsmarkt Christmas Market this weekend as well. I found many great gifts for my family and also enjoyed the atmosphere. Again the ambiance of the piazza seemed to be geared toward more traditional festivities of Florence. I didn’t hear any English. I squeezed through crowds of people to find what I wanted.
I don’t see why there aren’t more tourists in Florence this time of the year. If you are traveling to Florence now, you will miss the long lines to enter the Uffizi Gallery, the crowded Piazza del Duomo with tour groups and restaurants are almost empty every night. If you enjoy the cold more than the heat of the oven that is Florence in the summer, this is a perfect time to plan a trip. There are plenty of festivals all over Florence celebrating the Christmas season. For example the Florence Noel Festival took place at the Stazione Leopolda earlier this month and now the Weihnachtsmarkt Christmas Market until December 17th.
The months after the Christmas holiday season is also a great time to visit Florence. Even if it is not filled of summer heat, but the winter chill. The colors are much different in the winter months. If you are an avid photographer (being one myself) it is a perfect time to capture the city. The buildings have different colors and the sun highlights the city in great bold colors.
Although Christmastime is a busy period in Florence, people running from one shop to another, it has topped as my favorite season in Florence. I have now witnessed all the seasons. 🙂 Next trip to Florence, plan to come over Christmas, you won’t regret it.