Why would you choose to visit Tuscany in December? Easy. The weeks leading to Christmas fill the Tuscan towns with magical lights and decorations, and the region stages atmospheric Christmas markets and traditional events rich in local colour. And of course, there are the amazing food specialities that make an appearance on the Winter menus!
Here we have a look at the main December events around Tuscany, the highlights of the Tuscan Christmas, and give you some trip ideas for your Winter break in one of Italy’s most bewitching regions.
December in Tuscany, What’s on?
December is a lively month, when everyone is excited by the fact that Christmas is approaching. Florence starts the run up to the Christmas party on 8th December, when a huge decorated tree is lit in front of the Cathedral, bringing lights and magic to the city.
And Siena boasts a tremendous market in the wondrous Piazza del Campo, on 7th and 8th December 2019, with local food products and beautiful craft objects.
Shopping is, inevitably, at its peak, and every city and town gets involved with decorated windows and post-shopping aperitifs. Meanwhile the countryside turns quiet and atmospheric with misty mornings, and smoking chimneys dotting the frosty fields.
=> Check out our Tuscany Shopping Guide.
=> Check out some great Florence Walking Tours, to learn about the city of the Renaissance and the fascinating Medici family!
Events, trip ideas and inspiration
Exploring scenic Medieval towns like San Gimignano, Montepulciano, Volterra or Cortona will give the term ‘picturesque’ another meaning: narrow cobbled streets, towers and stone arches are made even more quaint by all the twinkling lights.
=> Discover the best hilltop towns in Tuscany to visit!
The most intrepid travellers can go in search of the most ancient Tuscan traditions in Abbadia san Salvadore on Mount Amiata. Here every Christmas’ Eve fiaccole (bonefires) are lit in the square, often reaching 7 metres tall; a ‘sacred fire’ whose origins are lost in time. At 6pm the ‘blessing of the fire’ gives a new start to the festival, with brass bands chanting Christmas songs. It’s a unique show filled with atmosphere. (more info on the official site).
Or you can check out one of the food festivals that animate the region; including the Chestnut Festival in Castelnuovo Garfagnana, where you find all sort of typical products made from chestnut flour produced in this mountainous area north of Lucca, the Garfagnana.
In the town of Lucca itself , during the ‘Lucca al Desco Festival‘ – that takes place in the beautiful Real Collegio from 29th November to 1st December and 6th-8th December 2019 – local producers showcase their products and share culinary ideas (official site)
The delightful small town of San Quirico d’Orcia celebrates olive oil from 6th to 8th December 2019.
Looking for a relaxing break? Booking a stay at one of Tuscany’s prized spa resorts might be just the perfect choice for those who want to pamper themselves and mix a bit of sightseeing with total relaxation.
=> Check out the 7 Unesco sites in Tuscany.
Weather in December in Tuscany
Temperatures vary from 3/4 degrees Celsius (27 F) to a max of 10/12 (50/53F) degrees. It can be a wet month, averaging 9 days of rain.
Florence is usually less cold, while out in the countryside temperatures feel colder (especially at night). On dry and sunny days you’ll find it’s still pleasant to walk in the countryside.
If you travel to the mountainous areas of Tuscany, remember to wear waterproof jackets and shoes, as these areas get more rain. At high altitude it can snow, especially in the second half of December.
Suns rises at 7:30am – Sunset 16:40pm
=> School Holidays in Italy start on 23rd December and run up until 6th January, so expect many Italian tourists during these two weeks.
Christmas is in the air! Best Christmas Markets around Tuscany
The timeless and beautiful squares of Tuscany are for Christmas festivals and you’ll find plenty of Christmas atmosphere. Virtually every town hosts a market twinkling with festive lights.
In Florence the colourful Christmas market is staged in one of the most scenic squares, Piazza Santa Croce (23/11-22/12/2019).
The splendid Piazza Grande in Arezzo gets festive every weekend (Thursday to Sunday) from 16/11 to 26/12/2019, with stalls selling products from the Tyrol and Germany, and in Montepulciano the ancient fortress is turned into a “Father Christmas castle” (every weekend between 16/11/2019 and 6/1/2020).
Cortona’s streets will fill with stalls from 8th December until 6th January (first only at weekends, from 21st December every day until 31st December, 1-5-6-7 Jan).
=> See all the best Christmas Markets around Tuscany!