Christmas is in the air in Tuscany. It’s that time of year when the cooler weather makes you want to cuddle up by the fire with a nice glass of Chianti Classico wine and listen to Michael Bublé’s classics… Or, head out and get into the mood with holiday markets, photos of your child making Christmas wishes on Santa’s lap, Christmas shopping and a touch of vin brûlé. Tuscany offers a bunch of Christmas markets that will help you get in the mood.
In Tuscany, Christmas festivities start at the end of November when cities and village squares masquerade themselves in festive cheer with local products, tastings, and of course, special meetings with Santa for the children. Here’s a list of the best christmas markets this winter.
Il Mercato nel Campo, Siena
December 5 – 6, 2015
Siena’s Campo, one of the most beautiful squares in Italy, evokes the Middle Ages during this re-enactment of the “big market” that was held here in the fourteenth century, with kiosks made in wood. Here you will find local products as well as those from other of Italian regions, wine and food tastings and some lovely handcrafted goods for your Christmas presents.
Mercatino di Natale di Montepulciano, Montepulciano (Siena)
November 21 – January 6, 2015
In Piazza Grande, Piazzetta Danesi and via San Donato, Montepulciano hosts a market with 60 beautifully decorated wooden houses that feature high-quality, original products. There will be performances and entertainment for the whole family in this huge space. From ornaments and Christmas decorations to food, sweets, clothing, and handicrafts, this market will cover all of your Christmas needs… and be fun!
Il Paese di Babbo Natale, Chianciano Terme (Siena)
November 6 – December 27, 2015
In the thermal bath town of Chianciano Terme, the Christmas market is particularly family-focused. Attractions include not only the usual Christmas market, but also an ice-skating rink, a lifelike dinosaur exhibit, a Polar Express train ride that recreates the magical atmosphere of the animated film, and a go-kart track.
December 2 – 20, 2015
This is the most famous Christmas market in Florence (and perhaps in all of Tuscany) and it is traditionally held in the beautiful Piazza Santa Croce. The German-themed market this year will contain 40 wooden huts and street vendors that serve traditional products such as sweets, mulled wine, beer and hot dogs, among other foods. Also available will be traditional crafts, Bunzlau ceramics, Pfefferkuchen spice cookies, Christmas decorations, nativity scenes, and more.
Marradi Mercatini di Natale, Marradi (Florence)
December 6 and 13, 2015
In the adorable mountain town of Marradi, a pilgrimage for Christmas-market seekers every year, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or try a delicious sausage cooked over the fire. You also can’t go wrong with the fresh roasted chestnuts (a local speciality) and mulled wine, a perfect combination on a cold day. The market will of course also feature Santa Claus, who will respond to your Christmas letters, and there’s a puppet show for kids and adults.
Magie dell’Avvento, Palazzuolo sul Senio (Florence)
Every Sunday in December
The Magie dell’Avvento, or Advent Magic Christmas market will take place in the small village of Palazzuolo sul Senio in their central piazza, Piazza IV Novembre. This market is the highlight of the town’s social calendar, so it’s a don’t miss! The sound of Christmas music and the sight of nativity scenes will fill the air with Christmas joy. There are stands that sell Christmas products such as nativity figures, tree decorations, candles and much more.
Natale in Piazza, piazza San Francesco, Prato
December 8 – 23, 2015
If you want to discover a hidden gem of Tuscany, Prato is perfect for you. This beautiful town – which is only a short train ride away from Florence – host every year a market in piazza San Francesco that features classic Christmas items such as crafts, antiques, collectibles, and more.
These are just a few of the various Christmas markets hosted in Tuscany every year. From Lucca to Pisa or Signa to Arezzo, almost every town celebrates this magic period with markets, concerts and other fun activities for the whole family.
If you can’t wait for the winter holidays and you are a huge fan of the big guy with red-cheeks, white hair, and a funny smile, Tuscany is the place to be!
Words and research assistance by Steven M. Bramel.