Christmas in Florence is a magical time of the year when elegant lights illuminate the streets, trees take centre stage in city squares and nativity scenes emphasize the essence of the holiday season. This is The Florentine’s guide to Christmas 2021 in Florence.
Christmas lights in Florence
Now in its sixth consecutive year, F-Light is one of the most significant artistic light festivals in Europe. Reflections is the title of this year’s edition of Florence’s festival of light, which is promoted by the City of Florence and organized by MUS.E, under the artistic direction of Sergio Risaliti. From December 8 to January 9, 2022, between 17:30 and midnight, Florence comes alive with light installations on the Ponte Vecchio, the Chamber of Commerce, Galileo Museum, Basilica of San Lorenzo and in piazza Santissima Annunziata. Don’t miss the glitzy lights on the façade of the Rinascente department store in piazza della Repubblica and the southern Italian-style lights on the central market frontage.
Christmas trees in Florence
The magic moment when the Christmas tree lights are switched on is anticipated each year. The tree in piazza del Duomo was revealed in all its glory on December 7. Climb up to piazzale Michelangelo to admire Florence’s lights from above and marvel at the beautiful tree provided by Coldiretti, Italy’s leading farmers’ association. Back down in the historic centre, head to piazza San Firenze for a selfie with the pretty tree outside the headquarters of the Andrea Bocelli Foundation. In shopping central, piazza della Repubblica, be wowed by the light show on the façade of the resident department store while gazing at the iconic carousel and the tree decorated by the City of Florence.
St. James Episcopal Church (via Bernardo Rucellai, 9) invite everyone to their 6pm Christmas Eve Service (First Mass of Christmas) and Midnight Mass starting at 11pm. The other festive services are Christmas Day Mass at 9am. All services are in English and feature hymns with organ accompaniment. St. James is a parish of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the USA and part of the Worldwide Anglican Communion.
St. Mark’s English Church (via Maggio 16) has plenty to offer over the Christmas season with Midnight Eucharist on Christmas Eve at 11pm, Christmas Day Choral Eucharist at 10.30am and Eucharist on December 26 at 10.30am.
Things to do this Christmas in Florence
Don’t miss House of Gucci at Odeon Firenze (piazza Strozzi) this Christmas: December 27-31, January 1-2, as well as Spider-Man: No Way Home! on December 27-29, 31 and January 1+2. At Cinema La Compagnia, settle into your seats for Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow on December 24 at 5pm and other cinematic treats over the festive season, including on Christmas Day afternoon and New Year’s Eve.
Classical music + opera
At Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, classical music lovers will be able to experience the just-inaugurated Zubin Mehta Auditorium with Beethoven’s Fidelio on December 28 and 30, while the main space will delight opera fans with Puccini’s Madama Butterfly on December 27 and a New Year’s Eve concert featuring Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 in F major Op. 93 and Symphony No. 9 in D minor Op. 125 for soloists, chorus and orchestra. Head to Teatro Verdi for the Christmas Eve and New Year Eve concerts with the Orchestra Regionale Toscana, from Mozart’s arias to Tchaikovsky’s waltzes.
The ferris wheel and ice skating in the Fortezza gardens remain open daily (10:00/24:00) throughout the festive period.