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Ponte Vecchio, Florence
Photo © Nicola Neri
Photo © Nicola Neri

Christmas and New Year holidays in Tuscany

Lights, music, markets and skiing: many ideas for spending the holidays

If you want to take advantage of the long December vacations to treat yourself to a vacation in Tuscany, we suggest a few travel ideas: get swept away by the magical Christmas atmosphere!

Contents
  • 1.
    Lights and music in the city
  • 2.
    Fun in the mountains
  • 3.
    Relax at the thermal baths
  • 4.
    Christmas markets
1.

Lights and music in the city

Palazzo Vecchio - Green Line Florence
Palazzo Vecchio - Green Line Florence - Credit: Nicola Neri

As every year, Florence dresses up in lights for Green Line (December 8 - January 7) that will give new colors to urban spaces thanks to video-mapping, projections, light shows and art installations.

Classical music lovers can delight in the concerts of the Orchestra della Toscana, which offers concerts and operas in various locations around the city and the traditional Christmas Concert, which, from December 15 to 24, will touch down in a different city each night: starting in Cortona and ending in Florence, on Christmas Eve afternoon.

The Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino is a magical place to spend a festive day of excellent music and enchanting stagings: the Christmas Concert will be held on December 19, while on December 22, on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the Maggio Musicale Chorus, the Petite Messe Solennelle by G. Rossini for soloists, chorus and orchestra will be performed.

1.

Fun in the mountains

On the Campolino mountain
On the Campolino mountain - Credit: Daniele Bettazzi

Sports enthusiasts and mountain lovers will find in Tuscany many ways to have fun.
There are high-altitude ski slopes in Abetone, Zum Zeri, Garfagnana and on Mount Amiata, as well as many other engaging activities for the whole family such as snowshoeing in the snowy forests.
In Lunigiana - from the Apennine passes which are easily accessible by car - there are many itineraries for both the more experienced winter walkers or for those approaching snow hiking for the first time. 
Amiata also offers routes of all types and difficulty to discover the snowy face of Europe's largest beech forest.
At Abetone, you can choose routes which are halfway up the coast or along the ridge, enjoying vast views that go from the Alps to the sea: one of the most popular routes is undoubtedly the one that leads to Libro Aperto, one of the symbolic mountains of the area.

1.

Relax at the thermal baths

Theia Thermal baths, Chianciano Terme
Theia Thermal baths, Chianciano Terme - Credit: Stefano Cannas

With its prestigious establishments and natural pools, Tuscany is a true spa paradise.

From Lunigiana, with its caves and springs that are rich in mineral salts, to the Cascate del Mulino in Maremma, the healing waters of Tuscany flow among hills, gullies and forests also in Valdichiana, Val d'Orcia and in the Terre di Siena, all the way to ​​Versilia and the Etruscan Coast.

These sources that are known since ancient times have also been frequented by famous people: poets such as Byron and Shelley and musicians as Paganini and Puccini have stopped at the Bagni di Lucca thermal baths; to Bagno Vignoni came  Pope Pius II Piccolomini, Saint Catherine of Siena and Lorenzo the Magnificent.

Today in Tuscany there are about thirty establishments dedicated to wellness: health care but also beauty treatments and sensory pathways, surrounded by dreamy landscapes.

1.

Christmas markets

Christmas Market in Piazza Santa Croce, Florence
Christmas Market in Piazza Santa Croce, Florence - Credit: Alessandro Farese

The charming Christmas markets in the squares of Tuscany where you can buy gifts, sip a glass of mulled wine or bring children to meet Santa Claus are not to be missed.

Siena hosts the Mercato nel Campo, the historical re-enactment of the "Mercato Grande" in Piazza del Campo, with more than 140 exhibitors selected as spokespeople for the agri-food, wine, arts and crafts excellence of the Sienese territory, as well as other typical Italian products.

In Florence, Piazza Santa Croce traditionally is home to the Weihnachtsmarkt, the Christmas market featuring over fifty stands with the characteristic wooden huts displaying artistic handicrafts and traditional foods from all over Europe.

To end the year on a sweet note and sprinkle your holidays with icing sugar, there's nothing better than a traditional Christmas dessert.

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