Best events in Florence this week December 7-14, 2023

Here’s our round-up for December 7-14, 2023.

The season gets properly started with the switching on of the Christmas tree lights, the launch of the Green Line festival, and the popping up of the panoramic wheel.

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7 December 2023
OPERA

The Mascarade Concert Series - Christmas Opera Gala

A Christmas Opera Gala at the Fondazione Mascarde Opera (Palazzo Corsini al Prato) takes place at 7pm on December 7. Audiences will be treated to Puccini’s La Bohème, ‘Stars’ from Les Miserables, Stauss’ Die Fledermaus, and many memorable works. Your ticket also gives you access to the Fondazione and Corsini Gardens, weather permitting from 6pm, including a glass of wine.

7 December 2023
FESTIVE

Lighting up of the Christmas trees

The annual lighting up of the Christmas trees takes place on December 7 from 5.30pm, with the Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella setting off from piazza della Signoria along with the many Santas from the Compagnia di Babbo Natale to switch on the tree lights in piazza del Duomo at 6pm, with the Gonfalone di Firenze, the Light Gospel Choir and a historic costumed parade adding to the occasion. The tree in piazzale Michelangelo will be switched on at 7.30pm and the tree in piazza San Firenze dons its holiday guise at 8.30pm. Every zone of Florence gets dedicated decorations, totalling 60 trees across the city.

8 December 2023 - 7 January 2024
FESTIVAL

Green Line light festival

From December 8 to January 7, video mapping on the Ponte Vecchio and Palazzo Vecchio gathers gazers to share in the Christmas spirit, with the theme of this year’s light festival being ‘The Winter Garden’, urging viewers to care for the planet. Promoted by the City of Florence, curated by MUS.E and with artistic direction by Sergio Risaliti, the visuals and sounds were created by Stefano Fake and The Fake Factory, with the video projection on the facade of Palazzo Vecchio down to HELLO!, with Alessandra Ioalé, created by Francesco Cacchiani. The citrus trees in the garden of Palazzo Medici Riccardi will also receive original lighting with a Christmas tree decorated in collaboration with the Leon Battista Alberti art school. The historic towers, gates and other sites will be specially illuminated, including the facade of the basilica of San Marco, the Rinascente store and the central market in San Lorenzo. An installation by Nico Vascellari titled OLTRE is an exciting addition this year, set up in the Palazzo Vecchio’s Sala D’Arme.

8 December 2023 - 15 January 2024
FESTIVE

Florence on Ice Village and Panoramic Wheel

The popular ice skating rink pops up from December 8 to January 15, said to be the largest rink in Tuscany. Skaters dash through the spectacular setting from 10am to midnight. While there, don’t miss the chance to take a spin on the 55-meter-high panoramic wheel, which will be on site from December 8 to June 10. Not a fan of heights? There’s a fabulous Christmas village with specially curated activities for families and children, as well as plenty of food stalls and more. The fun doesn’t stop there! From May 1 to June 10 there will be other attractions in place of the Christmassy-vibes, taking on a spring theme.

December 2-3, 9-10, and 16-17
FESTIVE

Natale in Manifattura

Three weekends of Christmas-themed workshops, shows and performances come to the creative space with free admission. From Christmas brunches to artisanal objects for sale, there’s truly something for everyone with dozens of activities for all ages. This weekend is dedicated to Christmas flowers and plants, with 10 workshops on offer and live presentations. Don’t miss the treasure hunt for little ones and skateboarding in piazza della Ciminiera. Children can also take part in a toy swap and readings.

9 December 2023 - 10 December 2023
MARKET

Mercato in Borgo Pinti

Expect crafts and all kinds of handmade items, with a wide array of items ensuring something for everyone.

8 December 2023 - 10 December 2023
FESTIVE

Christmas at Castelfalfi

A magical three-day event for all ages comes to Castelfalfi, when the charming village will be transformed with local crafts markets, live music, performances and delicious street food, with a cup of hot chocolate or Vin Brulé adding to the experience. Experience the thrill of meeting Santa Claus and his elves, and little ones can even take a pony ride in the stunning Medicean Park.

18 November 2023 - 17 December 2023
MARKET

Mercato di Natale

Signs of Christmas commence with the popping up of this much-loved German-inspired market, bringing street food stalls, sweet gift ideas, and a whole lot of atmosphere.

Until February 18
EXHIBITION

The Strangest and Most Beautiful Inventions in the World

For the first time in the 500 years since his birth, Flemish artist Giovanni Stradano is being featured in his own exhibition in Florence, the city in which he died. Titled The Strangest and Most Beautiful Inventions in the World, the show at the Palazzo Vecchio until February 18 showcases a selection of 80 paintings, drawings, prints, books, tapestries and instruments that express the rich variety of Stradano’s work.

Fierucola

La Fierucola markets bring together artisanal crafts and products in popular opportunities to gather and purchase sustainable fare. Piazza Santissima Annunziata will have stalls on December 8 for the Fierucola dell’Immaculata, with the fierucolina in piazza del Carmine held on December 10.

11 December 2023 - 16 December 2023
ARTISANS

Walking in Craft

Firenze Creativa, in collaboration with Artex and The Florentine, have curated free festive shopping experiences focused on artisanal crafts, taking place over the course of Christmas crafts week, December 11-16. The first route sets off at 3pm on December 11, taking participants to discover the heart of Florentine craftsmanship. At the same time on December 12, the itinerary takes a contemporary twist in the Oltrarno, dedicated to female creative energies and taking place in English. At 3pm on December 15, the products highlighted will be in the Santissima Annunziata area. Finally, the event at 10am on December 16 is inspired by Pratolini’s Le Ragazze di San Frediano.

7 December 2023 - 12 December 2023
CINEMA

River to River Florence Indian Film Festival

The 23rd edition of the popular film fest features films, shorts and documentaries, as well as special screenings and a wide-ranging cultural calendar. Special guests include Suraj Sharma, star of the Oscar-winning film Life of Pi, who will present his new feature film Gulmohar directed by Rahul Chittella, who will also be in attendance. An exhibition titled My India/Megalopolis showcases works by Rocco Rorandelli, on display at C.A.Ciampi in collaboration with Fondazione Studio Marangoni.

Until March 10
EXHIBITION

Pier Francesco Foschi at the Accademia Gallery

From November 28 to March 10, the Accademia Gallery hosts the first monographic exhibition in Europe dedicated to Pier Francesco Foschi (1502-67). The Florentine painter was a pupil of Andrea del Sarto and collaborated with Pontormo, with his successful career unfolding throughout the 16th century.

December 10+17
CRAFTS

Creative People in Florence Holiday Crafts Fair

The Creative People in Florence group is organizing a contemporary craft fair at Ditta Artigianale Sant’Ambrogio on December 10 and 17 (10am-5.30pm), with a festive event featuring over 20 crafters to give you plenty of handmade gift ideas, including homeware, clothes, ceramics, footwear, plants, woodwork, jewellery and illustrations

8 December 2023 - 9 December 2023
CHARITY

AILO Christmas Bazaar

Vintage clothes, accessories, decorations, games and must-haves for children are just some of the many items on sale for the 47th edition of the charity market organized by the American International League of Florence. Grab an American brownie, enjoy the live music, tell Santa Claus what you’re hoping for this Christmas, and make sure to get yourself a raffle ticket with great prizes up for grabs. 10am to 6pm, free entry.

8 December 2023
CHILDREN

Christmas Visarno Bambini Edition

Dreams, smiles and hot chocolate are promised for the kids-oriented event at the Florence racecourse organized by Le Nozze di Figaro. Meet the ponies, see a puppet show, laugh out loud with the clown, Giulivo, and play old-fashioned wooden games with the whole family. Children can participate in Christmas workshops where they create felt Christmas trees and coloured baubles to take home, but not before saying hello to Santa Claus. From midday to 6pm. Children enter free, 5 euro for adults, or 8 euro if two adults accompany the same child.

Market for Human Rights

From 2-6pm on December 10, there will be a screening of the films awarded in the Afro-European Film Festival, Afrobrix. The proceeds will be donated to the Mukanda community libraries project in Angola in order to train librarians and social workers. Free entrance.

9 December 2023

Children's Lending Library Christmas Party

The Children’s Lending Library in the undercroft at St. James’ Church (via Rucellai 9) is holding their annual Christmas party from 4 to 6pm on December 9, with Santa making an appearance!

29 November 2023 - 28 January 2024
IMMERSIVE

Inside Van Gogh

Immerse yourself in the world of the renowned artist with this multimedia exhibition, which surrounds you in his colours and scenes. A fascinating 35-minute digital story created through 360° multi-projections and a suitably atmospheric soundtrack takes you through the tumultuous story of Vincent Van Gogh. Don’t miss the Oculus VR stations that transport you into a 3D sensory journey through some of his famous paintings and the enchanting “hall of mirrors”.

3 December 2023 - 28 December 2023
EXHIBITION

TERNURA - Homage to Gabriela Mistral

The final exhibition of 2023 as part of the ‘Rooms with a view’ project curated by Eleonora Botticelli and Ester Di Leo is hosted in the very rooms where the famous English writer Elizabeth Barrett lived with her writer husband Robert Browning. The Chilean painter Daniela Meza Sigala displays works in homage to Gabriela Mistral, rediscovering the colours and emotions of childhood.

Until December 17
PHOTOGRAPHY

World Press Photo

Admire the winning photographs of World Press Photo 2023 in the stunning setting, with the images treating many of the most urgent themes of 2022, from the climate crises to the impact of wars on civilians.

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