Florence: Ice skating, holiday markets, and New Year’s fireworks
By Laura Mongillo in Florence—
Winter in Florence is an amazing time. Without the snow and ice of colder spots in Europe, Florence remains cool enough to still feel like winter. Florence fully embraces the holiday season and all the joys associated with it. The holiday lights, combined with smaller crowds, really brings out the best in the city and its inhabitants.
Here are a few of my favorite activities in Florence for this time of year:
Piazza della Libertà, 45
First of all, there’s always ice skating! Florence’s rink is found at the Parterre, a modern exhibition space right by Piazza della Libertà towards the north of the city. It’s not the most picturesque of areas (or skating rinks for that matter), but you are guaranteed to have a blast stumbling around on your skates to the latest pop hits provided by the local radio station.
Skates only cost €6 to rent and the rink is open until late, until midnight on weekdays and until 1 a.m. on weekends. Do note that the rink closes from 8-9 p.m., so it’s better to come either before or after.
Best of all, this fun isn’t limited to the holiday season: The rink stays open until the end of February, even for Carnival!
German Christmas Market
Piazza Santa Croce
If you happened to visit Florence in the next couple of days before Christmas, you must visit the annual German Christmas market in Piazza Santa Croce. While it may seem strange to eat sausage with sauerkraut and strudel standing in front of the green, white and pink marble of Santa Croce’s façade, it definitely puts you in the holiday spirit and happily fills your stomach.
You can pick up an array of kitschy gifts, but definitely check out the exotic spice stand and the food from all over Europe. You’ll even find British Cheddar, a very exclusive commodity here in Italy!
New Year’s in Florence
Finally, don’t miss out on a Florentine New Year’s! As in many parts of the world, New Year’s in Florence means fireworks, but Florentines take their pyrotechnics very seriously. Count down to midnight high up in the hills to the north or south of the city to fully enjoy the view (and to avoid any rogue fireworks).
Happy Holidays from Florence!