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Spending the Christmas holidays in Florence offers adventurous travellers a tremendous variety of activities and sightseeing trips, landmarks, restaurants and beautiful views to photograph. This pretty city comes alive over the festive season, offering a welcome and cheerful holiday location for visitors both young and old. Picturesque at any time of the year, this city is truly beautiful during the Christmas season when lights and decorations add warmth and magic to shops, restaurants and landmarks dotted around the city. Shopping centres are filled with lights, music, and visitors from all over the world sample the gifts and food on offer and enjoy the fine wines served up by authentic Italian restaurants.
Attending Midnight Mass at Florence's Duomo is a wonderful way to celebrate and honour the Christmas holiday and its religious significance. If you prefer to experience it in English, opt for St Marks or St James (both holding Midnight Masses at 11pm). The Duomo offers a Christmas Day mass which features magnificent Gregorian chants. Since Florence is a very traditional city, many restaurants are closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and St Stephens day. There are still plenty of options for Christmas day lunches at one of several restaurants which do remain open, which may be enjoyed by a warm fireplace.
After lunch, explore the architecture of the city with a walk through the town centre and take a stroll along the Ponte Vecchio with your camera. Enjoy the panoramas from Piazzale Michelangelo, in Oltrarno district. Trains are less frequent but do still run to some of the smaller towns on Christmas Day if you are interested in visiting some of the nearby towns.
The Christmas Markets of Florence are another wonderful experience which you can enjoy during the holiday period. Here you will find a variety of local artisanal crafts, which are original, innovative, and often better constructed than some items found in commercial stores. The Florence Noel and Weinachtsmarkt are busy, vibrant markets to browse and are open from mid-November to Christmas Eve. Food, crafts, clothing, jewellery and other items are all on display.