Wanna catch Florence with her pants down? Then come for a visit during the winter!
The combination of being one of the most beautiful cities in the world and being blessed with a clement climate puts Florence at the mercy of vacationer invasions from spring to fall. But the winter seems to be some kind of tourist kryptonite as the season returns the streets to the Florentines.
So, without any more prosaic stalling, here are the reasons why you should come to Florence in the winter:
Don’t think Tuscany is impermeable to the cold, because it isn’t. The winter can be quite damp and even showers the valley with the odd snowflake (it actually snowed last night). However, you will get some of that lemony Tuscan sun during the daytime which feels oh so good on your face. Nothing is better than a coffee outside in December. But do dress warmly as the temperatures can dip down to the mid thirties in the evenings and night.
If the summer is when Florentines head for hills and beach, winter is when they creep back on to the streets. During the cold months you’ll hear more Italian than at any other time of the year, whether it’s browsing the outdoor markets or sitting in a cozy cafe. Finer ears will also get a good dose of Fiorentino, Florence’s own dialect.
3. Things to Do
In a city where cutting in line is a national sport, you’ll find yourself walking straight into museums and art exhibits without having to spend half your afternoons waiting to be sardined in front of paintings. Dare I say it, you could even “museum hop” while flipping through the pages of your guide book.
Should you be in need of original stocking stuffers, why not check out the Florence Christmas Market at Piazza Santa Croce. You’ll find food, wine, decorations and of course, tons of souvenirs to bring back as presents.
For an activity off the tourist menu, why not go ice skating at the Parterre of Piazza della Liberta? The outdoor rink is open from 9 AM to 8 PM and 9 PM until midnight (1 AM on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays) and is easily accessible by bus.
For music lovers, there are plenty of concerts to choose from to kick-start that Christmas spirit. For example, Chiesa San Marco on via Maggio offers daily concerts throughout the holiday season at a very affordable cost.
To ring in the new year, or “Capodanno” as they say here, meet the locals at the Fortezza da Basso, where the party begins at 10 PM on December 31 and goes all through the night until 8 AM the next day. The celebration features different styles of music and entertainment to suit every type of reveler.
Or just wander the streets admiring the sights and sounds and smells of winter in this marvelous city.
Marc Justin is a writer living in Florence. And no, it doesn’t pay the bills so he does other stuff too.