As by tradition the Christmas markets and venues have started up nearly two months before the event. Florence kicked off on October 28th with Firenze Winter Park, an enormous playground where visitors can do some ice skating, skiing, snowtubing and broomballing, or simply enjoy a delicious meal at the restaurant. The facility is on Lungarno Aldo Moro and will be open until March 6th.
Instead, today, November 7th The Christmas Town, La Città del Natale, of Montecatini, turns on its lights. Every year the spa town hosts the Little Enchanted Kingdom, Piccolo Regno Incantato, and the House of Father Christmas with elves, animation, puppets, clowns and labs for children. On until the Epiphany, January 6th.
Another spa town gone ‘Father Christmas’, yesterday, is Chianciano Terme, Siena. Until December 27th, here children will not only find the House of Father Christmas but also a merry-go-round, the Polar Express, an ice skating rink, (a little off topic) the Dinosaur Park and a go-kart track.
From November 21st to January 6th, Montepulciano is celebrating Christmas with a traditional market and the original Castle of Father Christmas. Together with a merry-go-round and a ice skating rink, Montepulciano also offers a colourful Toy Factory and a Pony Ranch with the bargain.
On November 29th, the medieval village of Porciano, Pistoia, is hosting its large Christmas event up in the mountains. Porciano e i sapori del Natale, ‘Porciano and its Christmas flavours’, open from 10 am to 7 pm, hosts the classical Village of Father Christmas and a Christmas market with many stalls. It will also be possible to visit the art museum and follow the ‘Christmas Crib route’ as well as tour the village by horse carriage while pipers play in the streets.
From December 2nd to 20th Piazza Santa Croce in Florence is hosting its traditional German Christmas Market, Weihnachtsmarkt, where one can buy from the wooden stalls both Christmas decorations and presents as well as typical German food items such as frankfurters, sauerkrauts, pork shanks, pretzels and more.
A tradition started back in the 14th century is the Mercato Nel Campo of Siena. On Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th December this tradition is being held in the breathtaking Piazza del Campo with over 150 stalls decked out with Christmas handicraft items and traditional Italian cakes and sweets.
One of Tuscany’s oldest Christmas traditions, however, is on the mountainside of the Amiata at Abbadia San Salvatore, where, since ancient times, the population have gathered around enormous bonfires on Christmas Eve. This year the medieval village is lighting its lights up on December 5th and welcoming visitors to its Christmas market, Crib exhibition and the building of its famous bonfires. On December 19th there will also be a Father Christmas Race. Events will continue until January 6th.
Wherever you are in Tuscany, you’re sure to find a Christmas market somewhere, especially on the long Immaculate Conception weekend holiday on December 8th, a typical Italian tradition. Well, even if it’s too early: Happy Christmas Season!